My New Normal

new normal

What you have gone through in the past 3 years isn’t normal. What you are going through now isn’t normal… You have the chance to create your new normal.

– My family physician

My doctor spoke those words to me almost a year ago.  They were powerful as they offered validation that my workplace and ultimately my life just wasn’t working for me – even more powerful as they gave me permission and responsibility to change my life.

And so it was that I began my journey of rediscovery. This ultimately led to a new, open, and truly happier version of myself.  It wasn’t an easy journey, but it also wasn’t hard.  Let me explain.

I had been working in a large organization for many years.  I moved up to senior management and was privileged to lead a number of high-profile files.  Success was in my corner. Over time, as happens in organizations, leadership and roles change, including mine.

When I look back I can see the shift that occurred.  Power changed hands and consequently so did the values and behaviors of executives and co-workers.  Fear quietly seeped in and I found myself confused and reacting in ways not typical for me.  I can’t say I was always the best version of myself. The rules of the game had shifted and I no longer knew what they were.  Most importantly, what had been a place that valued the people within became competitive and unforgiving. The support for others that was once a hallmark melted away under the burden of politics.

I knew at that point my values were becoming less aligned with the organization. But I marched on in the hopes it would both get better and my pension would grow.  The final few years were spent close to home, as I had no energy for anything but family and only close friends. My world shrunk and unrelenting stress set in. I was stuck and didn’t believe I had a choice.

Leadership changed and restructuring within the organization was imminent.  I returned from vacation only to be informed that my services were no longer required. Just like that!  I listened to the words stoically and held my head high. But it was a shock. Hadn’t I given excellent and loyal service?

As I sat in that room staring at the severance package, I felt in one of my shoulders a weight lifting and floating away.  It was a relief!  This meant I no longer had to show up every day to a place where my values didn’t match.  My work had ceased to be the right fit for me. I knew deep down I would be fine – more than fine.

The winter set in and I won’t sugarcoat the dark moments that crept in. I spent hours in quiet contemplation and I am sure I read more than my share of self-help books. Coincidentally some serious health issues emerged.  The world was telling me to slow right down and pay attention – to me. It was at that point my family doctor spoke those powerful words – I had the chance to create my new normal!

That new normal came to be the ultimate gift to myself. What I discovered is not that I had to change to something new. Rather, I had to become me again. I learned to put myself first. There were long hours spent rereading old papers and a myriad of self-assessments done throughout my career. What emerged was a thread of passion – I love to serve others and help them to achieve their greatest potential.

Slowly my head lifted and I began to see a world I had closed off. My chest opened and my heart began to sing again. I chose to return to university to become an Executive Coach. This was the single greatest decision for this moment in my life.  I have since launched my own business and am blessed to be a thinking partner for others on their change journey.

As I look back at this period in my life, I know for sure that the gift given to me when I was let go from my job was just that – a gift of choice.  The period that followed wasn’t easy, as grief will be. But when I heard the words that I could create my new normal, it became curiously easy. What I discovered is that each of us has permission and the responsibility to create our own normal. Only then can we be truly open and content.

And you? Are you living your best normal? What is holding you back from letting go of what isn’t normal now?

21 thoughts on “My New Normal”

  1. Hello Eve,
    I do empathise! I rang a solicitor regarding one or two work place incidents and he advised me, “Get out. Get out and get out now.” With that validation, I was foolish enough to try and hang on but, as with you, the situation had gotten to me. It had nibbled away at me leaving me little more than a protesting husk.
    Very glad that you have renewed yourself and are now in a position to guide and support others. I do, however, have the greatest of sympathy and admiration for those who have family responsibilities and financially are, for the present, stuck in a corrosive situation.
    But if we can spread the word that there is a better existence available, let’s hope all can hang on long enough for it to be realised.
    Thank you for your post – please accept my kindest regards.

    1. Thank you Zarayna for you affirming comments. I could not have said better how spreading the word is the way forward. Like you, we all take on so much responsibility we leave ourselves stuck. With admiration for your journey, Eve

  2. Hi Eve,
    Thanks for your inspiring story!

    For me the trigger for change was the long commutes to a corporate job.
    It helped me noticed the unbearable situation in which I was. Each day I had a negotiation with myself whether to stay home or drive to work.

    Until one day I decided that what I’m going through isn’t normal. That I need a change. I need to find what I want to do. To chase MY dream, instead of working on someone else’s.

    Thanks a lot for sharing your story and inspiring me :)

  3. Eve
    Thanks for sharing your story. So often organisations change around us and it feels like the rug has been pulled from under our feet. Personally I know it takes time to adjust but that’s the choice we need to make.
    For many of us the choice is to a more independent way of living where we’ve less invested in one organisation.

  4. I needed to read this. I am making myself physically sick at the thought of another day in my current”normal”. It’s time for change and I’m terrified but ready.

    1. Please allow me to wish you well, Karla. You have made your decision which is the scariest part. You are already on your way out of your situation. From now on, it’s onwards and upwards, even if it takes a little while. I’m sending you my warmest thoughts.

    2. Terrified is actually a good thing Karla. It means you are ready to look at new possibilities. I know the physically sick feeling. That is a major red flag! Now ask yourself, what could change look like for you?

  5. HI Eve….your story is my story – it was a wow moment, and from the comments others are having the same turmoil of wanting to be true to self and to make this our best life, instead of settling. I kept justifying and hoping the place of work would improve, my body was manifesting all the negative I was experiencing. there were times I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t lift my arms, hair was falling out in clumps, anxiety and sadness were pulling me down. My doctor also said stop you are in a toxic environment, get out. I have taken 8 weeks out to be kind to myself and now I am singing and joyful and looking forward with anticipation at my new career and life…this is not the new me, its the one I used to be. I am setting goals, I appreciate others and continue to learn, so I am taking charge of my future, in the drivers seat, rather than a passenger and be the best me. Obviously I needed to hit the wall before I would make a change and my hope for others is that they don’t go to those extremes to make changes for the better. Thank you for your story, as it will help others to shake them out of their complacency and no accept less & to be courageous for them and for their loved ones.

  6. Gosh,it was as if I was reading my own story ! Right now,I’m in the contemplative stage – I know what I enjoy doing the most and am in the process of working out how to go about it.My family’s extremely supportive and I know things will work out as I want them to.Thanks,Eve !

    1. Interesting that so many of you have had or are having a similar experience. This tells me how common it is we find ourselves stuck in a place where we have handed over our own power and selves to others. This can challenge us to our very core. I truly believe that it is in such a time we can actually step aside and look beyond to what could be possible. Difficult times give us the greatest opportunity for change. The question is what do I want my new normal to be?

  7. Thank you Eve for sharing. I am so happy to have read your post. I am now in the situation you were in only a short while a go. I too am branching out on my own and trying my hands at something I enjoy and would have never thought of it hadn’t I been let go. Life often gives us the test first then the lesson. I can never understand it but I have grown to accept it for what it is.

  8. Many years ago I moved across the country to accept a position with a wonderful group. It was good for a long time and then we were bought out and the culture changed. I kept making adjustments but like the proverbial frog in hot water I didn’t realize how bad it was getting. However, I found myself getting more irritable, more depressed, and then I started having multiple physical problems. I finally realized I had to run screaming and I did. It was terrifying but I got out and started my own clinical practice and it was the best thing I ever did. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. It is not an easy process reinventing yourself, and sometimes self-doubt can creep in. Sometimes change is thrown upon us and is not what we have chosen. I am glad you found your way through to a better life. “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anaïs Nin

  10. I can’t tell you how much I needed this today. My husband is sinking into depression, as with you because of employment that does not match his passion or his values and I realized today that I am asking too much of him – I am asking him to jump from this job he hates to the next one as seamlessly as possible. What he needs most isn’t a job, it’s space. I need to give him space to make those discoveries you could only make when they let you go and you had time to think with your own brain and feel with your own heart rather than always trying to assume those of your company. Like in India.Arie’s song “Break the Shell,” where she says “Life’s gonna hurt but it’s meant to be felt.” Thank you!

    1. Ashley, you nailed it on the head – your husband needs space. It really does take time and support from those closest to us. Sometimes the time is short and for others it is longer. Whichever, it is critical in being able to heal and find our true purpose. Your husband is fortunate to have you. Good luck, Eve

  11. Hello Eve,
    In some ways I just experienced the same things you’ve been through and I think it’s great you made it! And it helps to read this when you’re just starting all over again…
    Thanks for sharing :-)

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