We have different seasons in life – what was best at one time can’t remain the same always.
If you’re aware that you can’t or don’t want to do what you’ve been doing for another 10 – 20 years, this story of transitioning from corporate life to a path of purpose and passion is an inspiring and interesting read.
I have been part of Maria Hasting’s journey to her new chapter providing coaching support along the way. It’s thrilling to watch her progress and see her full of life as she creates the next chapter in her success story:
Moving on From Corporate Life by Maria Hastings
‘It’s never too late to live your purpose – even if you first need to discover what it is!’
It’s summer 2018. I’m saying farewell to my colleagues after more than two decades working in a big organisation. It’s not been a decision I’ve taken lightly. In my role as a Product Manager, I’ve had the privilege to travel the world, work with talented and inspiring people and develop the skills that will, I hope, see me through the next decades of my working life. It feels like a lot to give up, but in my heart, I know that this way of working is no longer serving me well. It’s taken me two years to finally get to this point, from the moment I first became aware of a growing realisation that this chapter of my working life was coming to a close.
I’d been preparing of course: setting aside spare money, learning to live with less, sharpening my skills, taking good care of my health, and enlisting the support of a coach who could help me shape my new chapter. I had some ideas and a rough direction for what I believed my new chapter might involve, though I had no real clarity or plan. Asking for help was my first bold decision: working with a coach who had been through the same process themselves really gave me the reassurance I needed. I had been quite risk-averse for many years; having a coach on my side has really helped me remain stable through the transition.
My first goal with coaching was to leave my corporate role on a high. My coach helped me take stock of my achievements over the last 25 years and really appreciate the courage I had shown in making the decision to leave.
Leaving did feel strange at first. It took me time to begin to really feel the benefits of my decision. Gradually space and time seemed to open up. I started to realise that I was no longer working to someone else’s agenda – I was plotting my own course. I started to feel such freedom – anything was possible.
I started to consider the many ways in which I could move forward. Should I do more of the same work but as a freelancer giving me the flexibility and independence I craved? Should I do something similar but in a new field, more in line with my purpose? Did I even know what my purpose was? Should I pursue something entirely new, perhaps returning to my childhood dreams? With the encouragement of my coach I was starting to trust my intuition; I was beginning to think less and feel more.
The first big challenge I faced was resisting the urge to get busy, to create something, to put something out into the world before I was forgotten about, to get “working”. The “work” I needed to do first was internal. I set about exploring my purpose, my values and my ideal working conditions. I took stock of my skills, drawing on stories from my past work experiences to really understand what I had been good at and what I had truly loved doing.
I started to realise how much the conditions I had worked in had affected how I felt about that work; how I’d never managed to fully be myself while working in an intense corporate role. Coaching helped me give myself the permission to enjoy this discovery and brought me back to the things I’d always loved. Coaching gave me the tools to conduct my self-discovery and a framework for using my new self-knowledge to make informed decisions about my future. Dealing with decisions just became easier once I had these principles in place.
Fears kept rising up throughout this process of self-discovery. What if my purpose is not worthwhile? What if I haven’t got what it takes to make it as a freelancer; what if corporate life was as good as it gets for me? Coaching helped me separate the fears and doubts from the truths by drawing on real life examples when I’ve put some of my skills and strengths into action. Mustering those skills and strengths to overcome my initial challenges has really given me the control I needed. I started tuning in to the things I loved doing and was passionate about. I surrounded myself with people that shared my passions. I started to make new connections and new opportunities started to come my way. People started to tell me how well I looked and how happy I seemed.
Now trusting my instincts, I began to follow them. I was being drawn towards health and health education, a long-time passion of mine. My purpose was becoming clearer. I knew I wanted to help others live their healthiest and happiest lives. Initially, I thought technology would be my primary route forward and started to follow that. It was after all what I knew and what I loved. But something didn’t feel right. My instincts told me the change needed to be more ambitious.
Now it’s spring 2019. It’s taken me several months (actually less than 1% of my life) to get to a point where my purpose has come back into focus: it was there all along just clouded by my expectations and conditioning. I can now see a path where my skills and passions can enable me to do work that I am proud of and that I will love to do until I am a wise old lady.
I am now immersed in Yoga Teacher Training; Yoga has been my passion for the last 20 years. I never imagined I’d have the courage to follow this path. It feels so right, so natural for me. Coaching helped me realise that everything I have done in life so far has made me ready to be exactly where I am now.
It turns out that teaching Yoga and working in Product Management have much in common: seeking out and understanding problems; researching and synthesizing information to craft solutions; creating plans and materials to share with and inspire others. I can see a future where my Yoga teaching and my Product Management work could co-exist. This quote from the classic Yoga text The Bhagavad Gita, leapt off the page as I delved into Yoga philosophy: “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.”
So that’s what I’m trying to do now. I feel excited, optimistic, grateful for the people and experiences I have in my life, and ready to help others live their healthiest and happiest lives.
Ready to start your own new chapter?
If you’re inspired by Maria’s story and are ready to start your own new chapter, I’d love to support you.
My New Chapter coaching programmes are designed to help you design, create and start living your new chapter. As a first step, book in for a free Discovery Call and sign up to my mailing list below to receive a free self-evaluation, plus my free weekly email of encouragement, guidance and resources.