Welcome to Part 3 of this sequence.
In Part 1 , I shared about my “wake up call”, which had me moving to the Netherlands and in Part 2, how I set off on a transformational journey inwards. One that I have come to realise is an ongoing process, forever.
Next to my personal journey, my career at Merck had taken off as well. Within 2.5 years, I moved from customer service Agent to Manager. And after 5 years I had become Regional Manager with teams in Amsterdam, Madrid and Milan.
I was very good at my job, considered a “talent”, travelling all around Europe for meetings which, as an Argentinian, had an extra excitement. I was once invited for a one day speed-meeting in France with the top leaders just to get more ‘visibility’. I could not believe it!
My team consisted of 50 people, with whom I developed an endearing relationship. I truly cared about each of them and, to be honest, that shows. Whenever difficult decisions needed to be made, - like letting go of someone - I would ensure we did it as best and considerate as we could.
When you start living consciously, your awareness slowly permeates all aspects of your life, even if you are not particularly intentional about it.
My way of connecting with myself and others shifted. I dared to bring my true Self to work and when I did, others did too.
My team meetings were much more meaningful. I was comfortable making decisions that I knew would not make everyone happy, like a couple of new hires that would surprise everyone but FELT good to me. I KNEW it was the right call, saw something in them and I trusted, coached and challenged them every step of the way. I had allowed my intuition to be a part of my decision making process.
My way inspired them to find their own, and that is what conscious leadership means to me. As a team, we were in a state of Flow and thriving. At least for a while.
Don’t get me wrong, I made mistakes, plenty of them, but I believe I have cashed them in as learning opportunities.
Though I was making my way up, ticking off all the boxes and getting profiled as a top talent, I felt that something was missing. I was making progress, but it somehow failed to fulfill me.
I could not see it clearly back then, but eventually I realised that I had lost myself in the process. Was it my own boxes I was checking, or were they someone else's, and whose?
If you observe these questions in detail, you will notice that they start within - “What do I want and need?” - and evolve into an external form - “How can I help?”
I looked around at my team, peers, and colleagues. As I walked around the office, I saw some young guys powering up with a Red Bull at 9am, others piling up near the coffee machine, and others “needed” a Coke at 3pm to move through the rest of the day.
Stress was poorly managed and burnout cases were no longer exceptions. I even had them in my team. My biggest concern was that while we were all doing our best, there was a generalized frustration and disengagement.
It dawned on me that people around me were missing the basic wellbeing tools I had integrated into my life throughout the years: meditation, my conscious eating and sleeping habits, emotional relief, exercise, a sense of purpose...
And with that, I found my answer - I was to help others by sharing the tools that supported me best!
I made it my mission to bring Wellbeing not only to my team, but to the rest of the organisation.
As part of my own development plan, I created a business case with facts and figures, trends and benchmark analysis, and presented it to my manager.
I had worked on it for weekends on end, and the more I connected with it, the better I felt. My purpose became clearer and my skills were just what was needed to make it happen.
We needed to bring Sustainability and Wellbeing to the Management table. My case was compelling and the timing was perfect. I had created my own role and job description as “Culture Manager” within the organisation. Wow.
What followed next was great. I will share more about this phase in a next entry. For now and as usual, my learnings:
If you are going through something similar, and would like some support, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’d love to hear from you and see how I can help with my own experience and tools.
I’ll be sharing part 4 next week. Stay tuned!
Until then, take good care.