You raise kids to adults in about 17 years, some marriages don't last that long. Dogs don't always live that long. Seventeen years is a long time by most people's standards. I had done great work with my clients and colleagues, built lasting relationships, received heavy glass awards and been paid abundantly in money and affirmation of my talents.
At 6pm on Friday March 30th I cleared my last email, filled out my last form and closed my laptop. Then I sat and I stared. Alone in my home office, unsure of what to feel. I had given a 6 month notice, this was not a sudden departure. I had received many messages of gratitude and praise for my work from colleagues and clients. Most knew I would be sticking around to deliver training days and keynote speeches a few days a month. It wasn't like I was moving to Bangladesh.
Yet the more I sat, the more frustrated I became. There was no parade in my honor, there was no cake in the break room, there was just me sitting alone with my decision to become an entrepreneur.
A decision I had prayed over for a solid year until the Voice of God in a somewhat frustrated tone said to me, "Rebecca, I've told you yes enough times now.... not doing it is your biggest disobedience." Then I pictured the good Lord rolling his eyes at me. I think He does that a lot actually.
I had chosen this. So what was I frustrated about?
I roamed around the house aimlessly looking for my composure and my purpose. Finally, I did what Friday nights are for and I sat down at my kitchen counter and I poured a glass of wine and just let myself stew and think and feel.
What had I expected this last day to be? Did I really think there would be more fanfare? For what? I had received my accolades and my rewards along the way both intrinsically and financially. I was owed nothing else. I had left a job. Okay call it a career if that's more meaningful but the company would go on successfully without me.
And there it was.
The huge elephant sitting on the bar stool beside me in my kitchen. I had placed far too much of my personal identity with a job. With a company. With an external force that I had very little control over.
Now. Here I was.
Me and my elephant, sitting at the kitchen counter. In that moment I released all of the pity party. My elephant and I would not dine on my retirement cake. I looked at that elephant and said, "Look, if I'm here on my own without a safety net, I can't afford to take you with me. Your gonna need to drink your wine and go."
And then I smiled to myself and sipped my wine and let myself relish in the courageous decision I had made.
We do that don't we?
We attach ourselves to things and places and jobs and people for our own sense of identity. We attach it to being the mom of a talented kid, or the child of a famous father, or the employee of a great company. Or the owner of a beautiful home or a cool car.
And while those things should be celebrated for the relationship or the reward that they are, they are not who we are.
When we walk tall in our own purpose and talents and truth we are more in control of the choices we make and the futures we hold. We don't have to quit our jobs or sell our cars to find this freedom. We have the power to own our own place in the world. We can simply look in the mirror and say, "I am enough. I am in control of my choices and my responses." And then we ask the elephant to leave and we sip our wine in peace.