I am often asked what inspired me to leave the corporate world.
It was subtle and not so subtle messages, found mostly in in a number of books, that forced me to re-assess my life and Design a Life that worked for me, one that allows me to fulfil my purpose. (And not one that predominantly worked for my employer).
My introspection started when a friend gave me an Oprah magazine, which I flipped open to an article by Martha Beck. The article guided you through a series of questions around defining your ideal world of work. Let me add that I was on my 3rd business flight for that particular week. I took the plunge and just let the answers flow out of me from my soul.
To say I was horrified when I read my responses would be an understatement. Nothing, and I mean nothing, that I had written was vaguely like my current world of work. It was the start of the internal awakening - read chaos - for me. I put down the magazine and quietly said to myself: "Diane, stop being silly!! What you wrote down there is a pipe dream."
In the hotel that evening I started reading a book entitled 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert .
It was like the book burnt me on Page 10 with this paragraph: "My husband was sleeping in our bed. I was hiding in the bathroom for something like the forty-seventh consecutive night, and just as during all those nights before - I was sobbing. Sobbing so hard, in fact, that a great lake of tears and snot was spreading before me on the bathroom tiles, a veritable Lake Inferior (if you will) of all my shame and fear and confusion and grief". In that paragraph lay what I was dealing with around my career.
I clearly remember reading the rest of the book through the night and thinking: "Could I do something completely different with my life?" But I chose to listen to the whisper inside me that said: "Why are you even thinking this? You need the job and the salary and anyway, what do you have to offer?"
About a month later, enter the Universe, and another message through another book. I am often drawn to books based on their covers. I know it sounds silly, but if the cover appeals to me, I normally enjoy the book.
'The Beach House' by Sally John drew me in through it's cover and then the book proceeded to forever change me.
In a nutshell, its about four childhood friends, all turning forty who rent a beach house to celebrate their respective birthdays and reconnect with each other. Reconnect they do, but with themselves first and foremost. They enter the beach house one person and leave another.
I began reading that book as one person and finished reading it another. And still I chose to quell the message inside my soul urging me to change.
I have always admired Robin Sharma and was gifted his book The Saint, the Surfer and the CEO. While reading it, I felt like Robin was sitting next to me saying: "Listen, absorb and live your purpose."
This time I listened and took the quantum leap to leave the corporate world and create a life that works for me, doing what I love.
Was it traumatic - Hell Yes!!
Was it worthwhile - Double Hell Yes!!
These books 'live' next to my bed, with a number of others, and serve to remind me of their lessons again and again.
What books have had a profound effect on you in your journey?