Someone called me a corporate refugee the other day.
I’m also a recovering lawyer.
And now, a leadership coach.
For the first forty or so years of my life I desperately wanted to fit in. I wanted the things that looked like they were working for everyone else to work for me, too.
I did everything you were supposed to.
I got straight As. I went to great schools. I became the first college graduate and the first lawyer in my family and worked at a firm that was the best in the country at what I did.
And I was a sweaty, panic attack-ridden, stressed-out mess.
What was I doing wrong? What was I missing?
I was in Chicago in the 1990s when Phil Jackson was coaching Michael Jordan and the Bulls to all those championships. And he talked a lot about meditation as a way of creating focus in his players.
In 1996, I started meditating, hoping it would stop the panic attacks. But what I saw started me on a different path.
I began to see that much of the way that I lived my life was based on believing stories that other people had told me. I could begin to see the stories and to create the stories that I wanted to believe about myself, rather than simply believing what I was told.
I saw that I had more choices than I thought I did. That I could do different things. That I could be different.
And over the course of the next twenty-plus years I did everything from law, to consulting, to managing large client relationships, to lobbying, to creating national marketing campaigns.
I loved that I got to do work that felt important to me. That I helped employers provide good health insurance and helped their employees save for the future.
Ultimately, though, I realized that what I had experienced with my own personal growth was much more valuable to me than any job I had along the way. I learned that I was capable of so much more than I thought I was, and that I was so much more than the bundle of insecurities I had once called “Jeff.” And I wanted to show others that this was true for them, too.
On August 2, 2016, everything changed for me. Because of a corporate restructuring, I suddenly went from a successful role at a leading financial services firm to not having a job. I didn’t know what was next. I only knew two things. I knew I didn’t want to be an employee again. And I knew I wanted to help people change their lives, and the lives of the people around them. I came to understand that my purpose was to help people see how much more meaning and prosperity was possible in their lives. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do that. But I took the next step. And the next. And the next. And today, I live in the mountains of Colorado and help founders at all stages of their journey step into lives of greater presence, purpose, and possibility. And I continue to take the next step, day after day.
You can see what’s really possible for you, too. All you need to do is take the next step.
If you would like to talk, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or or schedule time for a conversation online.
I look forward to speaking with you.