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My corporate ladder of success struggle

2015 was quite a challenging year for me. It felt like I dealt with one challenge after the other. Challenges which to a large extent were self-inflicted and caused by one thing: my refusal to trust my intuition and follow my heart’s desires.

The last 7 years  has been spent juggling my corporate day job with my passion for empowering people to live their best lives. The time had come for me to take my big leap and follow the things that truly make my heart sing. But did I do that? Nope. I left my job, took a short break which allowed me the time to write, spend time with my family  and set out to begin my counselling and coaching business. But Fear soon crept in, the unappealing prospect of unsteady income loomed.

Fear of coming down my precious ladder

More than anything else, the loss of an identity which for 17 years I have clung to, worn with much pride, despite the frustrating and depressing feeling that this cloak belonged to someone else. It felt ill-fitting and hindered me from truly expressing myself. So when the time came to take my huge leap and follow my heart, I did the sensible thing instead. I redefined my corporate career and emerged with a different corporate title, still holding on to that ladder nonetheless.  I ignored my hearts cry and reasoned that it wasn’t yet time to pursue my passion full time.   By day 5 of my new corporate job, I was miserable, despondent, anxious and frustrated, certain that I had made a huge mistake, slowly losing any enthusiasm and passion for anything, work or leisure. I remember thinking “I have been here before, many times, I know this feeling”, why am I still here, in this place?” Why do I strive to keep wearing what does not belong to me? Whose expectations are you trying to live up to? This was the question that my counselling supervisor asked me at our last meeting. After minutes of fumbling and avoiding answering, I fessed up.. “My parents and my culture”.

I was brought up in a culture where you aspired to a corporate career. The true mark of success is someone who has climbed the corporate ladder of their given field. What’s passion got to do with it? Who gives up the corporate world for a calling or vocation? Seriously?! These are the scripts playing in my head and holding me back from my big leap.

I love these words by Thomas Merton,“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall”

My career has been the biggest bane of my life and at the same time the one thing that perhaps I can say validates me in the eyes of “those that matter”. But not anymore. Because finally I have reached the place where the frustration and misery of not following my heart far outweighs the security and validation of remaining in my status quo. So 2016 sees me make my big leap of faith, pursuing the things that truly make me fulfilled, happy, things that make my heart sing. What makes your heart sing? How will you pursue it in 2016? Share your comments in the comments box below.



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