by Nicole Croizier
It’s easy to get stuck in a career that you don’t love. I know because I’ve been there. It's equally as easy to get stuck in a BUSINESS you don't love. And I also know this, because I've been there too.
I spent most of my career (and most of my entrepreneur life) trying to find my purpose, trying to find work I actually love to do. It has taken me a LONG time to finally see my purpose, to finally start doing work I actually love.
I realized that I could choose to treat my way-to-many years NOT doing what I loved as a mistake, as a waste of time (and believe me - I did do this for a while), or I could choose to see all the lessons I learned along the way and all the tidbits that I can bring to what I do now to enhance my work today.
And I can share my story with you, because I realize my story is really a bit of an accidental "purpose experiment". And I hope that sharing my accidental purpose experiment can help you gain insight into your own journey in some way - and start moving in your right direction.
So here it is:
I spent more than 16 years in the corporate world as a recruiter, VP of marketing, marketing director, brand manager, corporate communications manager, program manager, and on and on. Yes, in total about 12 different companies and roles altogether. In 16 years.
That definitely qualified me at the time as a serial job hopper.
But, I always left for something bigger, better and higher paying – so society (and my parents!) forgave me and saw me as “successful” and not flaky (or at least that’s what I thought at the time).
Like many people, when I realized that my chosen profession (that I was trained in and really good at) was really not my true passion and purpose (ok, well it started to feel like gnawing my arm off would be more fun), instead of taking a deep look inside to figure out WHY I was in a career I didn’t love, and discover what I REALLY wanted to do with my life, I reacted with fear instead.
I couldn’t just leave the corporate marketing world. It was the only thing I was trained in, and the only thing I was good at. It would take way too long to work my way up in a new profession. And I was in my 30’s. SO OLD!
Plus, I had (or at least I believed I had) some pretty hefty responsibilities and needy family members. So my subconscious and lizard self were very focused on amassing endless coffers of more and more money to stay safe in case we needed to bail someone out (lest they end up either on the street or on my doorstep).
And the clincher was – I felt like I “should” be happy and “should” be grateful. After all, my jobs weren’t horrible, I was very successful on paper, and all the people who mattered in my life respected what I did.
Who was I to complain?
So instead of digging deep into figuring out who I was and what I really wanted to do, I decided I was “stuck” in this career path and tried to figure out how to make it better.
So I became a serial job hopper, searching for that better company, better position, better workplace, better co-workers, even a better view (that job lasted three months – but the view – amazing. I still think of that view).
Every new job followed a pretty consistent pattern. A pattern I didn’t recognize then but would later on...
Everything was super interesting in the beginning. Until I figured the job out, fully assessed the marketing situation, connected all the dots, fixed what was broken, and got everything to point where it was operating seamlessly.
This usually took around six months to a year.
And then I was done. SO DONE.
I would try to stick it out, but the day would come when I just couldn’t stay a moment longer. While my mind said, “you must stay!”, my body started literally rejecting the job.
I would get sick. I would sleep in. I would forget things that would cause me to be late. I would even forget about meetings.
But I still didn’t truly believe I could change my career path. So I tried the next best solution…
Working for myself.
I would become an entrepreneur. Make my own rules. Report to ME. YES! Finally, I had found the answer.
So I started my own marketing consulting company called Corner Your Market, became a Master Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, and quickly landed some big clients. Success was mine!
Except two years in I woke up tired, exhausted and dreading the day ahead.
I realized I was just as miserable working for myself as a marketing consultant as I was managing marketing for other companies. In fact, I was doing the exact same job – but now had all the added work of being an entrepreneur dumped on top.
One day on a road trip, I realized I had hit a wall.
I needed to make a change. I was finally ready to do the deep work needed to figure out what I really wanted to do to both serve others, and nurture my soul.
I searched for books on finding your life purpose, and the one that really called out to me was “Finding Your Own North Star” by Martha Beck.
After reading three of her books, I ended up on her website and found her life coaching program.
I never thought I would become a coach, but through coach training, I realized I’ve been a coach all along deep down. But after coach training, I still didn't really feel like I was connected to my purpose. I started coaching people around loving their businesses and marketing - but it still wasn't quite right.
Then I found Bev Barnes & her Soul's Calling Coach Training. On day three of our retreat in Mexico - I finally felt the threads of my purpose weaving together - and it was such an amazing feeling.
And I realized that my purpose wasn't helping businesses to get more leads and make more money. It wasn't even to help life coaches set up their businesses and marketing systems.
My purpose is to help other professionals and aspiring life coaches escape their own corporate hells, stop trying to be people they aren’t to fit into the corporate world, embrace who they are and find their true calling – so that they can love what they do again – and live lives full of passion, purpose and meaning.
So now I’ve transformed my marketing consulting practice into what I think is an amazing combination of life, business and career coaching.
And now I’m focusing on working with clients I can serve best – professionals, life coaches and entrepreneurs with soul like me who have realized they are well along the wrong career (or business!) path, but feel frustrated, stuck and scared that if they leave their current miserable situation, they will never be “successful” anywhere else or doing anything else.
I’m not perfect – and I don’t have to be. And I'm still in the process of bagging, bartering or bettering all the parts of my business I found frustrating and draining. All the parts of my business that weren't aligned with ME!
Or most of them anyways - I don't think it's possible to escape at least PART of doing your taxes altogether... hmmmm....
So while I hope I can serve as living proof that living your right life, on the right path is possible – I also believe that the right path is more of a constant journey vs. a destination. And I am still on my journey now.
And while my path is generally going in the right direction and I’ve learned to say “yes” to more of the stuff that’s warmer, and “no” to more of the stuff that’s colder – I am still guilty of going off track here and there (I’d like to add in here that I feel pretty lucky to have so many friends who are life coaches!)
But the good news is – I am 100% happier than I was at this same time last year, and 200% happier than the year before. And while I may still veer off track here and there, I feel for the first time in my life that I have a calling, I have an overriding purpose, and that feels amazing.
Here are two of the biggest lessons I've learned from my accidental purpose experiment:
The first lesson is to really take the time to dig deep into who you are, and excavate any muck and guck that may keep you stuck on the wrong path.
Finding your purpose & direction isn't something you can do with your mind and willpower alone. There are SO many layers to unravel to finally really connect to your purpose - and based on my years of experience, your purpose will remain elusive if you don't do this.
The second lesson I’ve learned is to not wait to figure everything out before bettering your situation. I’ve found my path and calling through action. By experimenting with what I like and don’t like. By taking the steps forward that feel warmer and avoiding the steps that feel cooler.
I now know that being a serial job hopper was one of the best things I could have done at the time. I learned so much about myself. I learned so much about how I love & don't love to work - and I can bring ALL of this information into my life coaching business now!
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had conducted a pretty fantastic personal career/purpose experiment.
And that experiment continued with starting my own business.
I learned that I don’t really LOVE all the parts of being an entrepreneur. But I hate the corporate world more. So I’m willing to suck up the frustrating parts (running the business, paying the bills, doing the paperwork) for the amazing benefits (freedom, freedom, freedom).
So if you feel like you’re stuck in your own version of corporate or business hell, and have to stay there until you figure out your exact, perfect next steps – ask yourself if that’s really true.
What can you do right now to treat yourself as your own personal experiment? Or – in what ways have you already been experimenting (but not realized it) – and what have you learned?
What can you do right now to start moving in a warmer direction? What’s your best guess for right now?
And... what can you do to get to know yourself more, and excavate that stuff that may be keeping you stuck or on the wrong path?
I bet if you take the pressure off, give yourself permission to take smaller steps, and treat your soul’s calling as a journey and not a destination – you’ll find yourself in a pretty amazing place by this time next year.
And after that – who knows what’s possible?
Jumpstart Your Purpose Experiment
Right now, in our Soul's Calling Sisterhood Facebook group, Bev Barnes and I are helping coaches jumpstart their purpose experiments - by running a four week live training to help get a bit more clear on:
So come on over and join our free training - and don't worry - if you miss a live training - we'll send you the recording. You can sign up and get all the information RIGHT HERE.
Or - better yet - you can join Bev & I live in Pismo Beach for our Unlock Your Unique Genius retreat! You can learn more here.
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