I LOVE my life. I am truly grateful for my life and all the amazing people I get to meet and work with. I love to play, have fun, be with my family, walk my dog and spend time exploring who I am becoming.
But that wasn’t always me!
For many years I worked within and for, large multi-national corporations, first in private practice as an Employment Lawyer and later, in-house as a commercial lawyer specialising in Employment and Trademark law.My
I had known for a long time that despite my ‘traditional’ success, I was unsatisfied, unfulfilled, not reaching my full potential. I knew there was more.
I have a 5-year-old son who I love more than life itself and when he was born I expected to feel complete. But I didn’t and I felt so guilty about that. I still felt ambitious and like I had so much to offer the world, and now I had a child, I wanted to be a role model for him but the corporate structure, as it is, prevented me from showing up and being who I truly am. I was supposed to stop being a mum at work and then when I was at home I felt like I wasn’t giving my job my all – you know how it is.
I ignored the signs, I kept pushing – because I am strong, I’m a ‘doer’ and I was so scared to fail. I wanted to show the world how capable I was, what an awesome multi-tasking, full-time working, baking, healthy eating, exercise obsessive working career mum I was. Wow I’m exhausted just writing that!
And even though now I know I was very good at what I did (the lawyer bit), at the time I felt like a fraud. I spread myself so thin trying to please everyone else. I was a perfectionist! I was miserable! I was scared.
I liked the security of my corporate job and I felt I had responsibilities that meant I couldn’t take the risk of leaving my “secure” career. Between you and me, I also liked the label – it made me feel like I had made it (I know). I worked extremely hard, a lot of the time away from home.
I made excuses for years that kept me stuck in a place of unfulfillment. I was burnt out!
Eventually, the shame, the fear, the overwhelm, the confusion all got too much and I had a breakdown in October 2015. My body literally said enough is enough and forced me to stop. Within 10 days of that happening, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
And the strangest thing happened – my overwhelming feeling – was relief! Relief that I was going to get a break from work, from my life, from my head.
And that revelation was a smack in the face and something snapped. Something shifted inside me and I knew then that this was my chance.
My chance to start again. To be courageous and take risks and put myself out there. To stop trying to be perfect and do everything because I thought I SHOULD do it and find out what I actually wanted, thought and felt.
I was inspired, driven, excited!
Although the way in which it happened wasn’t great (massive understatement), I had been given the gift of a wisdom that comes with a life of experience, at a time when I was young enough to do something about it and really make it count.
I allowed myself to heal and explored who I really was and who I wanted to be now. I studied, read and gradually became whole again.
I discovered that the “things” we think will make us happy don’t.
I learnt that all the financial security in the world does not protect you from illness or death.
I explored and began to understand that perfectionism is not about doing your best but about comparing yourself to others and feeling like if you don’t match up, then you are unworthy of love, or that you are not good enough. Perfectionism is a shield we hold up to protect ourselves from showing our true self to the world – the person we are scared is not enough, unworthy of love or acceptance.
I began to find appreciation and gratitude in everyday things. I learnt to be present.
I learnt that only I am responsible for my feelings and my actions and so I learned how to control them.
I began to live purposefully and consciously.
I started to laugh again. To play and have fun. To enjoy life and really really live it.
I discovered that it was possible to dream and have those dreams become a reality.
Most importantly, I discovered how to love again. How to be vulnerable, compassionate and non-judgmental with the most important person in my life – ME!
I gradually started to peel away the layers of protection I had built up around myself that had numbed me from experiencing true joy, connection and love.
I made a contract with myself to make my life count. To share what I have learned with others and make as many human connections as I could so that they too could pick up the pieces of their fragmented life and become more whole than they ever imagined possible.
We are here for too short a time, too much of which is spent doing things we think we SHOULD do, living in a way we think we SHOULD live.
If fear, shame, expectations, money or responsibility were not an issue – Who would you be? What would you be doing? AND what if I told you that is actually possible?
If any of the above resonates with you I would LOVE to have a conversation with you. You can find out more at www.lizpy.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.