Leaning in to Leaning Out – the beginning
This journey started a long time ago – way before I could ever put words to it.
I spent my twenties working hard. I got the job of my dreams and threw myself into it – heart, soul, hours, days and months. And I loved it. I stepped up and did things I could hardly believe. I worked with great people. Helped amazing events be realised. Worked for more hours than I would have thought physically possible. And I loved it. And I was leaning so far in that when I fell over – I didn’t think anything of it. I just got back up & started again.
I got to travel and live abroad. I knew how ‘lucky’ I was and I loved it.
I got to choose to go ‘back home’ and carry on working with an amazing team. And I remember saying to my boss, one appraisal time, that what I really wanted was HIS job.
And what I remember now, more than anything else, is that he said: ‘Be Careful What You Wish For.‘
That was it though. I had set my stall out and that was what I was going to achieve.
Except when I started to get close, I started to realise that I wasn’t loving it quite as much any more. And this is where time started to slow.
It took years for me to realise that I didn’t want to go to where I was headed anymore. That my heart was no longer in it. I was too scared and embarrassed to change course. To stop leaning in to what I had ‘wanted’ for so long – because if I stopped leaning in to that, what would support me? What would hold me up? Who could I possibly be without the title, the pay cheque, the benefits, the ‘status’?
Leaning In to Leaning Out – the middle
Two years ago, I wrote this post... about how I was feeling. About the questions that were starting to form in my head. The options that were (slowly) becoming visible…
And I realised that I could ‘lean out’ from my previous choices. From what I assumed was ‘expected’ of me by others. From ‘the norm’. From the ‘corporate ladder’. From London and everything I thought I had wanted…
I could lean out and follow my hearts desire – even if friends and family thought I was mad.
I could lean out and risk the loss of personal benefits for the gain of feeling like I was helping others little by little, to make some small corners of the world a little bit better, brighter, and less rigid.
Leaning in to Leaning Out: The end? No.
The Fresh Start!
So, two years on – and this week I got to set the new baby live:
It’s petrifying. My name, my words, my hopes and dreams are out there for everyone and anyone to comment on – and I’m well aware that it won’t all be kind.
And you know what? I don’t care.
Because this time round, I was a lot more careful what I wished for – and my leaning out has opened up a whole new world of possibilities – and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes me.
(PostScript: I need to credit the rather wonderful Jessica McClure for the use of the phrase and sentiment behind Leaning Out. When she told me about the Lean Out groups she runs, something just clicked – and so if you’re in or around the Seattle, WA region, and this has touched a nerve – get in touch with Jessica. You won’t regret it.)