“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” – Stephen Covey, author
“Confusion reigned as she didn’t know whether to…”
Brigitte told me she was just turning thirty five, and looked well dressed in a navy, pinstripe business suit and a pair of those ‘sensible’ shoes. She presented well as the successful businesswoman. She and Daniel, her devoted partner, had two preschoolers. They had arrived in Canada ten years earlier, and Brigitte had excelled in her management career while Daniel had focused on their children’s care. Daniel was a devoted Dad and spouse, and very comfortable with letting Brigitte be the primary financial provider.
Brigitte had studied business management in university, and had focused her career on medium sized, manufacturing firms, which she felt provided diverse experience and lots of opportunities, if you were willing to work hard. Her efforts had been very successful.
Brigitte spent several productive years with one company, working days, nights and often weekends. But, she decided to moved on when she no longer felt appreciated by her employer. While, the job had been challenging, and she was good at it, being successful was a fuzzy concept in her mind, and somehow to Brigitte, more was needed to achieve it.
So, she had planned her next move carefully. She soon relocated to a larger company and to a better position with many more opportunities. Things were going fine in her new job when, about a year later, her old boss called, and asked her to come back to work for them. He offered her a better position than before, and with better benefits. Brigitte was taken by surprised. She realized, maybe they did appreciate her after all, and now wanted her back, and were even willing to make it worth her while.
But Brigitte was very confused by this situation. The new offer from her old employer was still not as lucrative as where she was now working. Confusion reigned as she didn’t know whether to stay where she was or return to her previous employer. So, she called me, and booked a consult.
“What are your three most important measures of success?
Once we got acquainted and I understood her situation and the challenge before her, I asked her a rather obvious question to help us get focused, and ensure I was going in the most useful direction, for her.
“Brigitte, it sounds like being successful is really one of your most important values…is that true?”
“Indeed it is, Ken! We came to this country determined to be successful and raise our family!”
“What are your three most important measures of success?” I asked her.
“That’s an interesting question…Daniel might have a different view, but for me…they would be a close family, financial stability and our health!”
“So, Brigitte, how did leaving your last job reflect your three criteria for success?”
“Well…I sought out a new job because, while the pay was fine, the stress of not feeling appreciated was starting to show up in my time with my family…I was moody at times and preoccupied with whether I was in the right place.”
“What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” – Robert Schuller, author
“…I’m so afraid of making the wrong choice…making a terrible mistake!”
“That makes a lot of sense Brigitte. So what is your new job like in relation to your success criteria?”
“You ask tough questions Ken! But, it is a good one, also!” Then, she paused and added, “Well, being the new kid on the block at the plant, I have certainly felt more appreciated than I did at my previous position. But, there is something special about my old boss taking the risk, and making the effort to reach out, to see if I would come back.”
“In what way, Brigitte?” I asked.
“I guess, it reminds me they did appreciate my work…and perhaps, I just didn’t notice how they showed it.”
“So, what is your point of confusion, Brigitte?”
“Basically, I don’t know whether to go back to my old job or stay where I am!”
“Brigitte, that depends on two things…your life purpose and your value system!”
“I don’t know my life purpose, and my values are rather unclear to me, and worst of all, I’m so afraid of making the wrong choice…making a terrible mistake!”
“Brigitte, there are no weeds in Nature, it takes a person with a value system to call a plant…a weed. The same applies to all your past decisions. The ones you made were right for you because they got you to be here, right now…so they worked to ensure your survival and evolution…there were no mistakes!”
“…if I knew my life purpose, I would be in a clearer position to make the decision more effectively…”
“Ken, are you suggesting, whatever I choose, will be OK for me?”
“That’s how Nature’s laws work! Whether you choose to stay where you are, or go back to your previous employer, will have equal amounts of costs and benefits to you and those around you. That’s why it is so useful to act purposeful…it enables you to do what is useful for your survival and evolution.”
“Are you saying…if I knew my life purpose, I would be in a clearer position to make the decision more effectively?” she asked.
“Yes, I am Brigitte! Do you want to do that work of uncovering and using your life purpose more consciously in your daily decisions?”
“Yes I do… and I want to start right away…because I’m tired of all the stress I’ve been having with being undecided.”
I showed Brigitte how to uncover her life purpose and to clarify her top seven highest values. Once she had these tools clearly in her mind and could discuss them in relation to her life, it was obvious to her she needed to return to her previous employer.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer, theologian
“…is there any hesitation in your decision?”
When I asked her how returning to her previous employer fit with her purpose and highest values, she said,
“Ken, my highest values are around my family, being financially stable and protecting my health. My purpose is ‘to empower others with my skills.’ So by returning to my old employer I get to continue to be purposeful with people who I care about; and in an environment which is less fast paced, stressful and unhealthy, so I will be more present with my family.”
“Brigitte, as you describe it to me, it sounds like you are very clear about it being the right decision for you…is there any hesitation in your decision?”
“When I considered both options against my purpose and values, it was very straight forward. I have appreciated my new employer who operates a plant that runs 24/7, and is successfully focused on output. The firm is an industry leader. I can see the need for that approach in that industry…but it takes it toll on its’ staff…me being one of them…for the last year. I have been getting better benefits, more status and more opportunities. But, I was also noticing the demands on my time and health. I have realized being successful for me has a very personal criteria. Going back to my old employer will require some financial realignments, but, the people, pace and environment, enables me to be more clearly purposeful…to stay close to my higher values, and so be successful by my definition.”
“Brigitte, you sound very certain in your decision and very clear in how you define your own success!”
“Ken, I know now what success is for me! And, it is interesting how, as I uncovered my purpose and values, I became more decisive, and more certain in my decisiveness! ”
“That is a common behaviour of consciously purposeful people! Congratulations Brigitte!”
“Thank you, Ken!”
“My privilege, Brigitte!”
“Success is defined and determined internally, not externally!”
– King Ayles, author
Until Next time…
So, now you can start defining your own success by uncovering your own purpose and highest values. Then you will be in a better position to be decisive about your future’ and the success you seek.
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