For over a decade, I’ve been berating my college-age self for choosing accounting as her major. In fact, I even have a derogatory comment about that choice in my “About Liz” page. I have considered it one of my worst mistakes, leading me into a soul-sucking career I hated. I’ve accused myself of making that choice solely for financial security. I have been very unkind to that clueless teenager who chose accounting because it seemed like the best option available. Though my work evolved more into process improvement than strict accounting, I still hated it. Now, over a decade later, I’ve found work that satisfies me on a deep soul level. This work is not yet paying my bills. In a grand gesture of support, “the Universe” managed to arrange for my prior company to call me and offer me part time project work. I accepted – my financial situation made that a no-brainer – and sat back with both relief and dread. Relief – I won’t be homeless. Dread – I’m going back to a career I hated. This was my first week on the job, and guess what? I LOVED it. I’m looking forward to going in on Wednesday. I never would have guessed that was possible.
This week I also happen to be reading The Instruction by Ainslie MacLeod. It’s a fascinating book, if you can deal with the idea of reincarnation. MacLeod, a psychic, presents many interesting concepts, including soul levels, types and missions, just to name a few. I spent some time determining my soul type, and it opened up a whole new perspective on my early career decisions. Yes, I do need work that feeds my soul, where I feel like I’m making a difference in the world. I believe that’s the main reason I’m here on the planet – to make things a tiny bit better, in whatever way I can. Without any avenue to do that in my corporate career, I felt like my soul was slowly wasting away. I knew my deathbed regrets would be endless if I didn’t make a change. It’s been nearly a year since I left corporate life to set up shop as a coach. Coaching is work that I would do for free. It’s that much fun. But…there was a part of me that missed having an excuse to create complicated Excel formulas. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, but it’s true.
I’m returning to corporate life to do process improvement work. The current process is a nightmare for everyone involved. It will take me a long time to dissect what is wrong, figure out what would be ideal, and find a better solution. I will be doing this with a team of incredibly smart people. I could not be more excited. It occurred to me this week that coaching is basically the same thing. Clients show up with some part of their life that feels like a nightmare. We dissect what is wrong, figure out what would be ideal, and find a path from point A to point B. It is the exact same work; the only difference is that I am using my soul, intuition, and right brain to coach, and I’m using my left brain to tackle the corporate process. And…I like doing both! I think it’s time for me to finally give some credit to the lost girl who chose accounting as her major. Maybe the seed of wisdom was already there.
With this in mind, I am inviting you to check out some of your own “mistakes” from the past, to see if there isn’t some greater wisdom lurking in them as well. Pick any prior “mistake” that led to a situation that seems awful and try these questions out:
-Is there any element of the situation that IS feeding your soul or that you simply like?
-Pretend you are thirty years older than you are now and look back on the situation. Can you see the gifts that you received from it?
-Pretend that there IS a fundamental seed of wisdom in your choice, even if you can’t see it right now. If you had to guess what it is, what would you choose?
I’d love to hear about your “mistakes” and the gold you found in them!