I have 2 favorite quotes, both of which I picked out in my pre-teen years as quotes to live by.
"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." -Robert Byrne
"Be the change you wish you see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi
At the beginning of this year, I spent time clarifying my 'why' and understanding my purpose so I could live the first quote even more deeply. I read Simon Sinek's book Start with Why and Danielle LaPorte's The Desire Map. I was newly inspired to further discover and align with my purpose.
During that same time and after lots of coaching sessions with teammates at work, I also reflected on what it truly means to BE the change I wish to SEE, especially in the workplace. All the stories I was hearing of shitty bosses, meaningless work and people being fired after years of service made me question "What is this all about?" I had a deep knowing that there HAS to be a better way to love what we do and do what we love.
I came up with my working life purpose (I'm totally open to it morphing and changing as I do) - To advance self-leadership for a more inspired workplace and world - and felt a sense of peace in not only knowing it, but also accepting it as my calling and my mission. I had no idea what would happen next or how quickly my life would change when I wasn't even trying.
I tell you this as a prequel to the 'getting my dream job' story because what I know for sure is that this sense of clarity and purpose are why the following screenshot / text came my way at 9:30pm on Groundhog's Day, exactly 3 months ago, from my dear friend and fellow twin mom Valerie.
What? Could this be real? A Dream Manager? Someone who inspires and coaches other, who is authentic, altruistic, dedicated, passionate? That's SO me!
I immediately thanked Valerie, emailed Josh (the husband / company owner from the screen shot), shared my interest in the position and sent over my resume. He responded the next morning with a link to a DISC and Values assessment for me to take - the first sign that this job might just be perfect for me. (You should take it too - it's FREE!).
From there, I decided to do something special to make myself stand out. I found a beautiful red journal that said "Dream" on the front and a miniature dream catcher, printed a fresh copy of my resume on some really cool paper, packaged it all up and included a note about how freakin' cool this position sounded and how I was a perfect fit for it. I mailed it off before over-thinking it. Of course, as soon as it was in the mailbox my mind chatter started - "What will they think?" "You're basically bribing them to interview you." etc etc etc. I let the chatter be what it was and kinda held my breath as I waited to hear back.
Two days later I got this:
Sigh of relief. The package went over well enough to land me a first interview. Sweet! And off I went to the interview, knowing that it wouldn't be a typical first interview, mostly because this wasn't a typical job and Josh wasn't a typical hiring manager. It felt different from the get-go.
So I went all in, was totally authentic and honest, and even though I knew it could mean me not getting the job, in the first interview I said that I wasn't looking for another JOB but instead to start a business. This didn't even phase Josh. He didn't say "Thanks but no thanks" but instead tilted his hear and said, "Tell me more." I told him about being really clear about my purpose and my why, and that I wanted to inspire people to be more inspired at work so that they love what they do and do what they love because life is too short to not enjoy it. He said he'd like to explore that more with his business partner. He seemed even more curious than BEFORE I told him that.
The first interview went really well, we learned a lot about each other, found plenty of commonalities. Oh! And the reason Josh liked the pre-interview gift so much was because he's passionate about giving meaningful gifts and passed me a copy of the book Giftology. I left feeling really good and full of energy about the possibility of this being a REAL opportunity.
That afternoon, I got an email from Josh and this picture from his fortune cookie at lunch:
Josh, Dave (the other owner) and I had a video meeting the Friday after our first interview to talk more before they left for a week in Jackson Hole. Josh was calling in from his cabin in the mountains on a Friday and they were wearing t-shirts - these people get the whole "you can work from anywhere' and 'life before work' mentality that are super-important to me. Another good sign.
The conversation went really well again and we agreed to touch base when they returned from vacation. The following day, I joined Dave and some of the team members from the company at a 'dream' project they were creating at one of their apartment buildings - raised garden beds for the residents to have a community garden. Just the fact that they invited me was so meaningful to me. I got warm and fuzzies from the whole experience and connected well with the awesome people who were there.
We were on to something.
While Josh and Dave were away, things at my work started to not go so well. I was being asked to do very HR-y work that I don't love and left a meeting crying after not getting credit for work I did. Ugh. Instead of getting too upset about it all, I saw it as a sign that the Universe was steering me away from this job and towards the Dream Manager role.
Then I sent a bold and scary email to Josh and Dave about how much money I wanted to make because I just HAD to know if this was going to be possible. What if our numbers were not even close?
The response back, "That number doesn't scare me." Sweet. Onward.
When Josh and Dave returned, they had some new thoughts and ideas about the position and shared those via email, looking for my guidance and approval. I responded and then told them I would put a proposal together and that we should meet in person.
I created a very pointed (and might I say beautiful) presentation with what I thought the role should be, the metrics and how Greenleaf would benefit from the position, of course taking into consideration all the needs and thoughts they had laid out. I made two brilliant color copies, stuck them in gold envelopes, put a note "Let's grow something awesome together" on two seedling kits and donned my gold shoes as I presented to them this 'golden' opportunity.
This was it. If this went well, I truly felt like this was my job.
They loved it and after a few emails back and forth (and letting me know that they interviewed 15 people - WOW!), they said the wanted me for the job. We adjusted to title to Chief Inspiration Officer, they offered me a salary + bonus that I was happy with, a car allowance and unlimited PTO. We agreed that the plan is for me to work for them full-time for a year and then launch the business, which they envision sharing with the investors in their company and their entrepreneur friends.
We decided not to lay out the specifics of the business yet because we want to make sure we are compatible and feel good about working together. That felt good to me.
And ever since, our emails, conversations etc have been nothing but confirming that I have made the right decision. Since that first interview, I have been super-authentic and honest about what I want. Neither of us sugarcoated the opportunity or the challenges. We laid everything on the table. And that is how I plan to continue - staying true to my PURPOSE and BEING the change I want to see in the workplace.
What I learned from this experience:
1. Know your why and the Universe will show you new possibilities.
2. Be BOLD, authentic and honest from the start. Be fully yourself.
3. Do something to stand out. Send a meaningful gift.
4. Ask for what you want, even if that scares you.
5. Be open to creating an opportunity that is atypical and/or doesn't exist at the risk of losing it all.
6. Listen to what's needed and respond with how you can help.
7. The energy of the owners and the values of the company create the energy that trickles down to the whole business. FEEL alignment between your purpose and theirs for the best synergy possible.
So much more to learn. Lots more growing to do. I can't wait for this next adventure.
How does 'work' get any better than that?
I help people be true to their inner calling and lead the life they love.