Monday, August 12, 2013

One of those (dippy) weeks...

You know those weeks where you just dip?

They come by every so often, emptying your energy and draining you mentally. It'll start with a challenge, say a large sum of money that you suddenly need to spend on fixing the house (and you need to figure out where to get the money from), continue with another so called "challenge", then another, till every little thing causes a melt down... The burnt-out lightbulb? Aaaaaargh!

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are now reaching coping capacity, please fold the tray tables in front of you, return your seats to their upright position, and make sure your seat belts are tightly fastened. It's going to be a bumpy ride..."

When you arrive at coping capacity, the world — and your perception — are completely warped and out of whack. It's not the captain speaking anymore... Instead you'll hear the voices of judgment and anger swirling in your head. Judgement for how you performed (or really, how you mis-performed and got us here in the first place); and raging retaliation against said judgement.

The best thing to do when the (metaphoric) captain disappears, is turn on auto-pilot. Auto-pilot forces you to continue flying forward, to your destination. Turbulence does not affect auto-pilot, it doesn't spend time revisiting the past, considering different options or making major decisions. Its sole purpose is to keep the plane up in the air and on course. And most importantly, it allows the captain to get some much needed shut-eye.

If you are having a dippy week, take a step back to regain perspective. Ask yourself fundamental questions about each separate challenge you are faced with, and work your way through them using lots of reason. The first thing you will find is that a lot of the challenges can be postponed to a later date, and that not all of them have a complete-by-yesterday date.

Disconnecting from the situation, allows you (the captain) to regain balance, perspective and eventually control, avoiding more unneeded turbulence.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

My choice; your choice [Guest Post]

Lauren, a fellow leaver, left her family business to become a life coach. She graciously accepted my request to guest post and share her story below.

From the moment I (virtually) met Lauren, it was clear to me that she was a "people person" and that her calling in life had to do with supporting people. It just seemed right for her. And I'm glad to see her forging her path. Good luck, Lauren!!.

You can learn more about Lauren on her website here.

When I stumbled upon this blog on October 5, 2012, I was — literally — at my wits end! I was at my desk, shaking in distraught and feeling out of control. I was miserable, trapped in my family's business and there was nothing I could do about it. How could I leave? They'd never understand. I surrendered... This was to be my life. Suck it up, this is it. Deal with it!

But in my heart, deep in my core, I just knew I was meant to do something else. Meant to be something more. With no place to go, I went online and typed in my search:"Leaving the Family Business", and there it was... like a beacon of light Wait, what??? No, it can't be!! But then I clicked the click that would change everything.

After devouring 25 posts like a starving carnivore, I typed a lengthy (very cathartic) email to The Leaver. It strikes me as I reread that email how thick and heavy the sadness was. Yet I can still feel the relief of not being alone in my plight and how equally airy and light it was. Realizing all my thoughts, feelings, beliefs, wants, dreams, were VALID! I wasn't being selfish or having a mid life crisis. Others in my situation felt this way, too! And, most importantly —— they left and survived!

A little backstory: For 18 years, I worked with my mother and her husband in his family's business. I can honestly say, I loved working with my mom but I always wondered what else was out there in the world for me to do. I thought many times over those 18 years about leaving, but since it was only her and I in the office, I felt like I could never leave her. In October, 2011, my step father hired another person to come in to the office, saying that it was so my mother could semi-retire, but that never happened. What I began to see, or feel, was that maybe, she was actually there so I could go...

I had tried to give my notice to leave in May, 2012, but my mother was against it. She couldn't imagine me not being there. So I stayed. On Halloween, less than a month after finding this blog, I had a breakdown. In front of my mother, I sobbed and cried and told her that I could no longer do it. That I was sorry to disappoint her, but that I couldn't take it any more. She finally let herself see the truth she had not allowed herself to see. She let me go. January 31, 2013, would be my last day. We had agreed to part and we began preparing my departure from the business.

What a surreal feeling that first week of February was... to be unattached... I had no responsibility to the family business! My life wasn't consumed with despair — I was filled with anticipation and hope! I felt I had regained control! But what I hadn't realized then was that I always had the control, I just chose to not engage it. Which brings me to where I am today...

Many had asked me, "So, what do you want to do?" But I had no answer. I hadn't figured that part out, yet. I just knew it was something bigger than what I was currently doing. I knew I wanted to help people; to make a difference in their lives... And so it happened — as these things tend to happen — that I met a childhood friend I had not seen for over 25 years (the universe is amazing, isn't it?!). And it was this very friend who asked me, quite simply: "why not be a life coach?" And that was that.

To me, life coaching is what I was put on this earth to practice. It's about helping people realize what it took me years to understand: we all have a choice! As ominous as it may seem, we do. I chose to stay in the family business for all those years. I chose not to explore options. And as much as I felt it was out of my control, at the end of the day, it was my choice to give control up.

Wherever you are on your journey, thinking about leaving, in the process of leaving, or already gone, please always remember these simple truths: It is YOUR life, and it's short, precious and unpredictable. You never know what the next day, hour or minute will bring. And you should choose to honor yourself by living your life in the best possible way. Everything else will just fall into place.

Enjoy today & be happy!