Going Off Script

I didn’t plan to leave adidas.

In fact, I remember shortly after my one year anniversary telling Chris that I could see myself staying there for a while and growing with the company. In hindsight, it was a long time for me in the grand scheme of things. Prior to my four years at Adidas, I had been with other companies for less than 2 years.  Sometimes though, without knowing it’s happening, things just change—they shift—and what you thought would be one path in life, turns out to be another, and you just have to roll with it. 

{To be clear, this is not a post about Adidas, this is a post about my personal evolution and reflections over the past year and half.  I do not have hard feelings towards the company and value my time there—I learned A LOT. To this day, it is hands down the best company I’ve worked for.}

I remember in the summer of 2018, two months before our wedding, feeling like something need to change. I had no idea what was going on. I’d had been moving and shaking, taking on new projects and growing quickly.  Then all of a sudden I noticed an empty nook inside of me that simply made me think.  At the time, I knew I couldn’t address it, Chris and I were in the thick of planning our wedding and there was an active re-org at the company.  A potential job or career change was not ideal for me, or my relationship, at that time. I was at max capacity. 

So I chose to let it be and observe. Observe my emotions and thoughts over the course of the week, my energy and stress levels, how I was treating people, what peaked by interested and sucked the life out of me.  Instead of trying to “fix it”, I tried to stay open, curious, and notaction oriented {the opposite of corporate culture} and instead, sense and feel {and sometimes think} about what inspired and fulfilled me on a deeper level beyond a paycheck. 

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By the end of the year I knew something needed to change.  I had gone from inspired, motivated and engaged, to exhausted, burnt out, and isolated. {What I realized was, that over the previous year and half, I was chasing money, authority and autonomy.  Once the pace with which I was moving slowed down I could see that.  At one point I did like the work, but once I came up for air, I realized that I had strayed from what I originally liked doing}.  I was going through the motions, grinding if you will.  Outside of the people that I worked with and developing a team, the day to day of the job felt mundane.  At the end of the day I constantly found myself wishing I had more time for creative projects outside of the office.  

Even though I knew something needed to change, I had no desire to chase after a new role {the polar opposite of how I was during my first three years at the company} which I pause to call out.  It’s these kinds of subtle, maybe even subconscious, thoughts and actions, that can be so revealing and often get missed or overlooked for one reason or another.  Had I not had the self awareness to recognize that, I most likely would have ignored it and found a new role.  I knew I needed to make a move, but I wasn’t clear on what it was.  I had an inkling though, that it was something outside of the original plan—something off script.

I also noticed my health and personal life start to deteriorate over the second half of 2018. If you know me, or follow me, then you know that I’m a pretty healthy person.  I eat well, workout regularly, and try to get a solid 8 hours of sleep a night {easier said than done sometimes}. What I wasn’t aware of though was the impact of the speed with which I had been running and consequential stress of it was having on me.  

I noticed myself having more regular instances of anxiety, low energy, insomnia, poor digestion.  I also found myself losing interest in things that usually filled me up like cooking and spending time with friends and family.  I finally suggested to my ND at my bi-weekly acupuncture appointment in early 2019 that we do a full workup {hormones, liver, thyroid, vitamins, minerals…the whole enchilada}.  When I got my test results back I was surprised to find out that I had elevated liver enzymes {I have maybe a glass of wine a week…} and an underperforming thyroid, something that had never been an issue previously.

To me the writing was on the wall, I had no interest in finding a new role at the company, my lifestyle was taking a toll on my health and I was craving more entrepreneurial creativity in my life. I know it’s a very millennial mindset, but I’m one of those people that needs to be fulfilled at work. I also need creativity which, I’ve come to realize can come in different forms.  There’s creating and then there’s creative problem solving. I had become very good at the later and creating process, but so deeply craved creative expression.  I needed a break from Corporate America. 

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch – I distinctly remember making endless amounts of seashell necklaces {it was “the next pukka shell necklace” I swear} as a child and attempting to sell them on the side of the road. By May of 2019 I was itching more than ever to focus on a projects outside of adidas.  I had always had a long time dream of owning my own brand, maybe even my own clothing line, and a few projects were brewing {more to come} outside of work.  I was also developing a new found interest in photography and writing and a stronger desire to share my perspective with a greater audience that I wanted to nurture. My mentality was “If not now, then when? I just got married, don’t have kids, and am not tied to my current job, so what do have to lose?”

So I did it. But not without a few months of self doubt, questioning my desires and ideas about success, and pure terror about my decision. “What am I thinking adidas is a great company, why would I leave? Why would I walk away from a regular paycheck? Can I stick it out longer and leave later? Can I build whatever I’m going to build on the side while I work full time and then make the jump? Am I (fill in the blank) enough to do my own thing? What will so-and-so think? What if I fail? What if, what if, what if?”It went on and on. 

I also had an internal battle around the idea of walking away from my comfortable salary – “my own money” – relying on my husband for income, and not financially contributing to our livelihood.  I am very privileged in that over the course of my entire decision to leave my job, I had {and have} the full support, both emotionally and financially, of my husband and I recognize that not everyone has that.  It also didn’t change the fact that I had my own fears around money, worthiness and relationship.  I had a lot of pride that I had to get over.  I literally had Brene Brown on repeat in my head for a solid 3 months

“There is no courage without vulnerability”

Brene Brown

Ultimately, it’s one of the best decisions that I ever made. I’m not even where I want to be and I can say that. It took time, basically a year, and wasn’t an overnight decision.  I spent a lot of time looking outwards for answers; listening to podcasts like How I Built This, Second Life, Goop, The Skinny Confidential and The Balanced Blonde, attended Create & Cultivate conferences, read books about purpose and self worth, explored my Human Design {check out Jenna Zoe if you’re interested}, and journaled. A lot. But all of the answers I needed were inside {my Mother is saying I told you so right about now}.  

At the end of the of the day my decision to start a new chapter was a deep knowing, something that, after a while, I couldn’t explain.  It took listening, observing and acknowledging myself and intuition to see that. I still don’t have a crystal clear picture of what the next few years look like {I let go of needing to have everything figured out a long time ago}, but I have a general direction and vision.  There are a few projects in the works that I’ll share more on later, but either way, I’m excited for the ride. 

XO

-S

August 26, 2019
September 9, 2019

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