Expanding my definition of success

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I'm having an early mid-life crisis.

OK, so it's probably not all THAT early and I actually think that I have come through to the other side with the help of a few wise and wonderful women in my life.

For the past few weeks (or months, or several years...but who's counting?), I've been pondering what the next step in my career should be. Don't get me wrong. I adore my job and continue to learn every day. I'm just one of those spoiled-advanced-degree-having-whipper-snappers who likes to measure my success by how quickly I can get the next promotion/award/feather-in-the-cap/gold star thingy.

At least I used to be.

It really started when I had my first son. More than once during my maternity leave, I had the sneaking suspicion that something was changing. Not that I was losing myself, I simply didn't FEEL like the self that I always knew. A few months after returning to work, the feeling began to pass and I got back to something resembling life as normal. Just shy of two years and baby number two arrives on the scene, bringing with him the return of the sneaky-yet-non-descript feeling that something was different about me. More than just the whole "I'm a mother" thing - it seemed that my whole central operating principle had changed.

That bizarro feeling crept up on me again near the end of last year and hung on until about 2 weeks ago when I met my wonderful friend and executive coach, Dr. Melanie Katzman (check her out at katzmanconsulting.com. She's the epitome of awesome sauce...). I talked to her about my desire to define the next phase of my career, figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, blah, blah, blah. After listening to me blather on for about 3 sessions, Melanie told me that my story was very similar to that of most people (men and women alike) at "mid-career". When you've had a fair amount of success and grown accustomed to a steady upward trajectory, at some point you realize that what you REALLY want isn't necessarily the next big thing, but to enjoy more of the life that you have.

She told me that I needed to broaden my idea of success.

I felt like a genius and an idiot all at the same time. Like The Bluebird of Happiness, the life I wanted was right in front of me all along. I was just SO busy looking for the next step that I almost missed it.

So, these days I'm expanding my definition of success. I want a bigger life, not just a bigger job. I want to play with my kids, practice yoga, volunteer with organizations I believe in, write more, read more, date my husband, bake cookies, use my Crock Pot, write thank you notes, visit my grandparents, hang out with my girlfriends. I want to LIVE my life, not merely exist.

Thank you, Melanie. I think I might just like this whole mid-career thing...
Karla {Ironmum Karla} said...

Love it! You are right, it is there ready for the taking, just waiting.....we get so caught up in day to day we forgot to spice it up, make a change and really LIVE!

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