The Power of Unhappiness

The Power of Unhappiness

This time last year I was still in a job that felt like it was sucking my soul.  Dramatic I know, but at that job, I felt like a cog in a machine.  I was a number working for a company that seemed to put profit over people and didn’t want my opinion on how to improve sales or make the team feel like a team.  I had left my cozy but personally unsatisfying job at Lincoln to do the same thing for a different company but from home.  It had seemed like a great idea at the time.  Turns out it was the unhappiest I’ve ever been in my work and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. 

There was a quote on a Starbucks cup many years ago that said something to the effect of “the right amount of money and the right amount of praise can keep you stuck in the wrong job forever”.  I don’t know if I’m paraphrasing correctly or who said it but it’s stuck with me and summed up my time at Lincoln well.  It was the right amount of money and the right amount of praise for me to allow myself to stay unhappy but comfortable.  We all know what comfortable means, and it doesn’t mean we’re pushing ourselves to greatness or growth. 

I might not have liked what I did at Lincoln but I was always taken care of and valued by my peers and management even though I definitely didn’t always fit in.  I can’t say the same for the company I went to work for after Lincoln, I was miserable.  I don’t believe that a job or person, or relationship can make us unhappy in the long run.  That would be giving my power away to someone else and I won’t choose that.  For me attitude really is everything.  I knew that by choosing to continue to stay in that job where I wasn’t a right fit for the company and its culture, I was making myself unhappy, they weren’t doing it to me.  I’m beyond grateful to have had an experience of working for a company where I didn’t feel valued because without that experience I would never have made the decision to set out on my own and start a business that I had to fully leap into. 

Looking back, as I have a tendency to do, I’m filled with so much gratitude for the unhappiness that spurred me to action.  Yesterday I had a photo shoot to advertise my upcoming In the Company of Women” group coaching program.  My mouth curved naturally into the most joyful smile, even when I needed to look more serious I almost couldn't do it, in fact, there were moments of joy that left me speechless.  Looking around at the dynamic group of heart-centered women huddled in my living room all of which had been through the program in the past 9 months felt like a dream come true.  We giggled while my talented photographer Lindley Battle snapped photos of me pretending to do what I do best, coach and connect women with each other.  Things aren’t perfect now, there are still issues and problems for me to overcome, but now I’m doing it on my own terms in alignment with my own values and I know this happiness comes from my own doing.  This happiness comes because I made the decision to choose discomfort over perceived security.

If you feel like you’re in a job that’s sucking your soul or not the right fit, I would urge you to make a change towards your passions.  I urge you to make choices that are more in alignment with your core values.  When you’re in alignment with your values you can’t be wrong.  What do you need to spur you to make a change?