In the high-flying late 90’s, I spent some time teaching career development classes in Silicon Valley. I will never forget a class I taught to managers at Cisco Systems, which was then the biggest fat cat on the block. Administrative Assistants were driving to work in BMW sportscars and many people were retiring rich in their 40’s.
In the middle of the class, I asked the group how they felt.
"Although you are all doing well financially, you do have to work pretty hard around here to get ahead. How does that feel?"
Almost in unison, everyone stated that things were fine, it wasn’t that bad, and working hard was just the price to pay for reaping big benefits. Everyone’s body language showed puffed out chests and confidence. It was very different, however, when I did follow up coaching sessions with each of them one-on-one.
"My life is a complete disaster," one manager told me with tears rolling down his cheeks. "My wife is leaving me, my kids hardly know me and I am so stressed out I am worried about my health."
When we work inside large corporations, we are taught to swallow and disguise our real feelings for fear of appearing weak, lazy or not a "team player." Over time, this tendency to lie in public about our feelings seeps into lies we tell ourselves.
This is why you may struggle to get up in the morning and face another day at the office. You may feel lower back pain, tense and tight muscles in your neck or have stomach problems. You ask yourself "Why am I such a slacker today?" or "Why can’t I just get on with it and complete this report? I have done it a hundred times before."
What you may not realize is that your essential self is answering the questions for you, you just aren’t listening. It is saying:
I CAN’T GET OUT OF BED BECAUSE I HATE MY JOB AND IF I HAVE TO PRODUCE ONE MORE POWERPOINT PRESENTATION ABOUT THINGS I CARE LESS ABOUT, I WILL KILL MYSELF!
If you are serious about walking down the entrepreneurial path, you must get in touch with your essential self and get real about how you are feeling. It is the only way to discover the work you are meant to do, and the business structure that will assist you to thrive.
Tomorrow I will write about ways to get back in touch with your essential self.