For the fifty-eleventh time the same question absorbed me from the moment I woke up.
I’d been driving the narrow road between Hilversum and the highway entrance that would take me to the office five days a week for the past three years.
The first year or so it was with excitement, even joy in anticipation of what the day would bring.
I think it was somewhere towards the end of the second year something happened and this particular question gradually infested my mind.
At times the question took silly proportions, I even spent time going through my old boxes in the basement for my physics books to refresh my memory on kinetic energy.
Other times I’d take the train to the office in an attempt to divert my mind, away from the alleyway and those sturdy trees.
The one question that had come to overtake my mind was:
” What’s the optimal speed to hit one of those trees,
so I don’t kill myself but hurt myself enough
to get three months in the hospital? “
It’s an understatement to say that I needed a break from running a $100 million dollar sales organization in one of the coolest IT-companies in the world at the time.
I was 32 years old, had 65 people reporting to me,
earned great money and I felt like shit.
I took all the breaks the system allowed me to, 25 days of paid holiday a year.
At most two weeks at a time and I spent 3-4 days winding down, 3-4 days trying to convince myself I was relaxing and the last 3-4 days dreading coming back to the office.
To be fair it was not all bad. The highlights during the work week was when I could work closely with the people in my team, try to understand the demons they were fighting, challenge them to overcome their fears, nudge them in the right direction, see them grow and jointly celebrate their successes.
Unfortunately the reporting requirements where such that I spend more time with Excel forwarding numbers up the command chain than helping my team be the best they could be!
I was living a comical tragedy or maybe a tragic comedy.
By most people’s standards I’d “made it”! The problem was it was killing my soul.
Every morning I parked my heart and head at home, took my laptop and went to the office to do things I that didn’t mean anything to me.
Every Sunday evening I longed for Friday afternoon.
I knew I had to change but I was scared because I was supposed to be happy and I didn’t know what I would do instead.
Early 2006, after almost a year of pondering optimal crash speed along the alleyway between Hilversum and the highway entrance, I realized I had completely lost myself on the way of pursuing other peoples ideas of happiness and success.
In the spring of 2006 a good friend approached me with a business opportunity and I decided to leave corporate and start a completely new chapter in my personal and professional life.
I’m grateful for the opportunities I was given, the people I got to know and what I learned – it was a great corporate school!
Two years after I had the opportunity to go back to corporate as a contractor to mentor and coach junior sales managers and in preparation for that..
I submerged myself into the world of coaching and…. eureka!
I realized this was the framework, process and tools for my own journey of getting back to passion and purpose and I promised myself that whatever I do next it must support my purpose.
The inner journey I’ve set out on is life long and the experiences
far more rewarding than the worldly travel I’ve made.