“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinam
For as long as I can recall in my entire professional adult life, I always had a plan and something that I was striving toward. When I was a Marketing Manager, I quickly set my sights on being a Senior Marketing Manager. I went part-time to get my MBA and was promoted to Director of Marketing by the age of 27. I then wanted to be a VP and then ultimately a Chief Marketing Officer by the time I was 40.
I worked hard, I was always “plugged-in,” I took calls during dinner, I checked emails constantly (even during vacations) and slept with my cell phone next to me. I didn’t sleep well and had a difficult time relaxing because my mind was always racing.
During this time, I had a 75 year old gentleman who didn’t know me well, but knew me well enough to know that I was a striver, a “try hard,” and an overachiever. He said to me, “The only reason anyone works as hard and as long as you do is because they’re either running from something they don’t want to face in their life or they have an over-inflated opinion about themselves.”
Well, in the words of Gloria Steinam, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Those words stung because there was some truth there that I wasn’t yet ready to acknowledge.
I was running so fast, I never really took the time to connect with the people I cared about most. Of course we spoke, but we didn’t have deep, meaningful, soulful conversations – I was far too busy for such things. Here’s what I missed:
I didn’t know my best friend’s marriage was in trouble,
I didn’t know that my mother-in-law was lonely, or
What dreams or fears my husband carried.
I knew something was missing, so I thought chasing the next thing would be what would finally fill me up, finally make me content and bring me peace. Not surprisingly, it never did. So, I found myself divorced, at the top of my profession and brutally unhappy. I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed and I was completely uninspired.
So, I had to answer the question for myself about what was driving that behavior.
What was the emptiness, really, in me that I was so desperately trying to fill?
What was I making it mean about me that I could achieve more than other women my age?
What was I trying to prove and who was I trying to prove it to?
Here’s the truth:
All the answers we ever need are right inside of us.
There is no contest, there is no blue ribbon at the end.
I am valuable and important and worthy, regardless of what I do or don’t accomplish. So are you.
We only have to attempt to be the best version of ourselves each day. That’s it.
There’s nothing to prove and no one to prove it to.