In January 2018, I set off for a year of personal growth, travelling the world. But wait, I love my job. I love the people I work with – my teammates and my clients are exceptional. And this company, The Refinery, has nurtured my personal and professional growth like no other experience in my working life. It’s an incredible place that does incredible work in the world.
So why am I compelled to leave?
Here’s the answer – I have come to understand, in my bones, that the only metric of success that really matters to me is growth. My vocation is to help people grow and evolve as leaders and human beings. I’m beyond grateful that these six years with the Refinery have allowed me to do that work directly.
That applies to me as well. For years, I set my sights on aggressive performance targets both personally and professionally, believing that achievement was the way to my happiness. My predisposition toward hard work and high standards meant I generally achieved every goal I set for myself, things like getting a summer job in geology in the 2nd year of my engineering undergrad when most of my friends had to wait until 3rd year, or becoming the first female class president in the previous 7 years for the largest MBA class in Canada, or competing at Nationals in 2006 with my Ultimate Frisbee team.
It was excruciating at the time, but I now feel lucky, to have experienced burn out at the age of 32. Every time I achieved a major goal, the celebration was hollow and the effects wore off pretty quick. They didn’t sustain a sense of well-being.
Since then, I’ve reset my achievement orientation towards growth, my personal and professional growth, and that of others. I’ve come to understand that the results will always come if I focus on my development. As long as I’m growing, I’m achieving. It’s a more sustainable way to my well-being.
In order to keep growing, we need two key ingredients – a way to gain new/different perspective and a way to practice new behaviours. Leaving the Refinery is me seeking that change in perspective, trusting that it will lead to my next growth phase. I don’t know what will come next, which is scary (that’s an understatement, by the way). But I trust in my ability to grow and that letting go of my world and work right now, is the right first step.
To all of my colleagues, client partners and the hundreds of participants I’ve had the gift of working with – thank-you, thank-you. You’ve given me so much. All the very best to you and your organizations!