I used to work in marketing. I was in account service in small marketing agencies working with big corporate clients. After graduating from college I was ambitious, driven to get that job, work the hours, meet the people, learn from the pros, climb that ladder. I hadn’t been many places outside of my native New England, but once I made the money I was going to travel.
I liked the work and I felt like I was pretty good at what I did–taking care of my clients and helping them reach their business goals through the creation and execution of their marketing programs. I was dedicated, working upward of 60 hours a week. But something started to shift in me.
I remember one project and one client in particular. It was a fun online product for which I set up timelines to complete the work by their assigned due date and within their allotted budget. This client would not honor the deadlines I put in place, submitting round after round of changes which in turn racked up more and more charges from us. In the end, despite my warnings and proper documentation of the additional work required, this didn’t seem to be an issue as the project went almost $100,000 over budget. Yes, this was an important tool they were creating for their business and would bring great value to their employees around the world. But that feeling of waste, of undisciplined spending left me feeling extremely uneasy. $100,000 was a drop in the bucket of the financial worth of this giant corporation…but imagine what could be done with $100,ooo for people around the world! Imagine the impact this kind of money could have!
I started to recognize this kind of exorbitant spending all around me. How much commercial spots cost during prime time television, the amount of dollars poured in to events like the Super Bowl or the Oscars. Sure, the giant corporations make a big impact philanthropically as well, but the layers and layers of people and budgets and fluff were aggravating a newly developed tick in me.
When I became pregnant for the first time and had to make the decision to go back to this work or to stay home with my child, the answer–although not easy–was simple. No way could I go back.
I had experienced a deep shift in my core values. It wasn’t a shift from “bad to good.” I had valued professional growth very highly. I had valued promotions and raises. I had valued the power that came along with leading a team, managing huge amounts of money, and successfully executing a plan. I felt important with my suits, my business travel, my expense account.
And none of this was bad.
My values now, 14 years later, are quite different. I value personal growth (in which one can find professional growth), I believe in supporting small businesses, I believe that small impacts are just as meaningful as huge impacts. I still want to travel, but that desire is framed differently than when I was fresh out of college. I want to experience other cultures, adopt a stronger world-view, a oneness amongst all living things. I want to help those less fortunate than me, and I feel I can do that with my time, my energy, AND my money.
All of this is good.
Our core values are going to shift as we grow and develop as human beings. It’s important that we check in with them and make sure the actions we are taking in our lives are in alignment with what is most important to us, or else we’ll find ourselves working in jobs that don’t fulfill us, using our resources in ways that deplete us, and staying in relationships that don’t inspire us.
When we know what lights us up, what we feel passionate about, and when we stay rooted to those tenets and allow them to fuel our choices and our goals, we live with a greater sense of peace. We are not riddled by anxiety or overwhelm. We don’t feel like we’re chasing a carrot that we have no interest in eating anyway. Our lives have purpose, and even when times are challenging, we can be happy.
For a long time I resisted marketing my services as a Feng Shui Consultant, an Aromatherapist, and a Reiki Practitioner. All those years in marketing–I knew what I needed to do, but I was very uncomfortable selling my brand, my self. I had to take a deep look at my current values, what is driving me now. As I get ready to launch my Life Coaching business I am getting really clear on why it is I’m doing this work. I want to be of service. I want to advocate for women. I want to inspire people to examine their own values and the blocks they have set up that are keeping them from their goals and dreams. I feel so passionate that I have something meaningful to bring to the world. And guess what? The idea of marketing is getting exciting again! It’s creative and strategic and fun, especially when the brand I am marketing is me! My own style, my own message, my own mission. It wasn’t the marketing that I had an aversion to after all–it was my WHY.
Spring time is coming. It’s nature’s new beginning, a fresh start. Why don’t you take a look at your values, at your WHYs. Imagine them as seeds you are planting. What do you want to see grow this spring? Be intentional, be mindful. Design a life that inspires you~