Love What You Do And Do What You Love
It is about the journey, not the destination
One of my favorite books is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. She describes sumptuous Italian meals of meatballs and pizza and, of course, gelato! But, more than that, it is an example of a hero’s journey from a female perspective – a journey of transformation, discovery and the pursuit of purpose.
So, what is a “hero’s journey”?
· It begins with the call.
· Followed by the refusal of the call - I am no hero!
· Then, the call does not leave you alone.
· It haunts you until you go on the journey.
· The quest begins but, are you ready to take it on?
Today, I am where I need to be. I am on the journey to help people “love what they do and do what they love”. I know this is my calling. However, having the courage to leave a successful corporate career and start my own business has not been easy. It was a bit of a “hero’s journey” with many ups and downs, curve balls and a lot of resistance.
For almost 16 years, I pursued what I thought was the definition of success. I wanted to “have it all” – the big career, a great family and a feeling of achievement. During the first part of my career as a CPA at EY and then a controller of a Fortune 500 company, I worked all the time. I was in pursuit to of what I thought of as “success”. While I had some amazing mentors in the first part of my journey, something was missing for me. I was not connected with customers and I was not on the front lines of the business.
In 2001, I moved to Capital One where I stayed for 17 years and learned a lifetime of lessons about leadership, strategy, design thinking, culture, and Lean and Agile transformations. Capital One was fast-paced and all about growth and change. But, the best part of that journey was the phenomenal people that taught me so many great lessons about authenticity, courage and humility. And yes, while at Capital One, I had three children in 18 months - go big or go home! While juggling work and life, unbeknownst to be, I started the hero’s journey.
The hero’s journey begins with the call.
By all external measures, I was successful. In truth, I was exhausted, burned out and way too concerned with how things looked on the outside. I was just going through the motions. Then came the call. I started to ask questions like…Why am I doing all of this? What impact am I having? What is my purpose? I continued to think that there must be more meaning.
Then, there is the refusal of the call.
I was beginning to ask big questions and many times, I refused to answer them. Resistance showed up with a vengeance! I pretended to be happy and fulfilled. Eventually, my coach, David Martin, said, “Amanda, you have been avoiding these questions for over eight years. When are you going to answer them?” Meaning, when are you going to answer the call?
Hence, the call would not leave me alone. It haunted me.
I spent a few more years trying to define my purpose and move closer to it. It began with something as vague as …”I like transforming teams and developing people.” That initial definition of purpose was a good start, but too vague, as it allowed me to easily tie my current work to it and I knew in my heart there was something missing. The call was still haunting me. I wanted to go deeper which led me to Georgetown Coaching. The master coaches at Georgetown insisted that we know ourselves more deeply before being unleashed to coach others. Very smart people! My amazing colleagues at Georgetown served and continue to serve as mentors on finding purpose, being vulnerable (this is my first blog) and continuing to learn. The deep dive into who I am and who I really wanted to be gave me the strength to take on the quest.
The quest begins!
My quest is for creativity, to unleash my inner hero and to make a bigger difference. To do this, I knew I needed to go out on my own, to be free of a large corporate environment, to experiment, and to make mistakes. Of course, this is exactly the moment that resistance set in. Many voices showed up telling me I was crazy to leave the stability of a corporate job, crazy to take the risk, and even crazier to put myself out there. Those were very hard times. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. One day I would be on cloud nine after landing a new client and next day, I would have major doubts. It was exhausting. However, while every “hero” gets knocked down, they all had supporters and side kicks to lift them back up. I have had many. My supporters which included family, friends, other innovators and entrepreneurs encouraged me wholeheartedly to pursue my dream. Many of them are also on the hero’s journey themselves.
Now, I am on a good path. After starting Edgehill Consulting Group in 2017, I am more confident and more settled because I can see that I am moving closer to pursuing my purpose to help people “love what they do and do what they love”. I am finally internalizing that it is about the journey vs the destination. I am learning to be present, learn from my mistakes and celebrate the joy in both small and large wins.
My parting advice.
Find your passion and purpose or, at least be on the journey. Seek to love what you do and do what you love. One of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain sums it up:
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and
the day you find out why.”