For years, I knew exactly where I was and where I was headed and I probably could have called up a spreadsheet to show you. I loved homework, goals, deadlines and tests. I flourished in prep school, worked hard at Stanford, and graduated in the top of my class. Google seemed like a great next step–a place that would promise the security of a linear, up-and-to-the-right career with a healthy dose of innovation and creativity.
True to its reputation, Google was a great place to work. Over the course of eight years there, I worked on some of the most cutting-edge products and incubation teams, with some of the most talented and brilliant (and fun!) people I’d ever encountered. And I did well: I climbed the company ladder, amassed stock options, gained the respect of my colleagues, and earned a bundle.
My resume was impressive. My apartment was lovely. My boyfriend was kind and handsome. My wardrobe was flawless.
My life? Not so great.
It started slowly, with a sense of dissatisfaction, a feeling of being stuck. I tried to push through it (I could push through anything!) and then I tried to fix it (I was great at fixing things!). I didn’t know how to consider leaving. After all, this was everything I had worked so hard for. This was the pinnacle of success, right?! So I changed roles in the company. I changed exercise regimens. I changed cities.
But it got worse. My secret misery deepened with every achievement. Every time I should have felt proud of my accomplishments, I felt worse; every career milestone made me feel emptier. Who was this person? What was my life supposed to be about? Who and what was I working so hard for?
I had succeeded, but I felt like a failure.
I had stuck to the path, but I felt lost.
I had it all, but I wanted to scream, Is that all there is?
On top of my confusion, the achiever in me piled on guilt. How could I possibly complain about a life such as mine? Was I so ungrateful, so foolish? What was wrong with me? Where had I gone wrong?
Try as I might to suppress my rising panic—to shut up, suit up, and show up every day—I was gradually falling apart. My mental and physical health suffered. Anxiety and depression were with me every day. I took a sabbatical, in hopes of ‘eat, pray, love-ing’ my way around the world and finding myself, but find myself I did not. I wanted help, but I didn’t even know where to look or who to ask. Everyone else seems to be able to figure this out, why shouldn’t I? Knowing that I simply could not fake it for one more day, I finally left Google. I felt a little bit brave, and mostly crazy.
But it wasn’t crazy. As I started to discover what I really wanted to be doing, and doing more of that, and less of what I “should” be doing, I started to feel truly sane—for the first time in a long time. At the same time, I met an amazing coach and teacher who started me on a way forward on my own path.
I came to see that success and achievement don’t have to mean stress and misery. That it is entirely sane—and not crazy—to make decisions that bring me joy and fulfillment, and to have a career that inspires me and doesn’t break me down…to create a life that I wouldn’t merely tolerate. And I began to create a life I loved living, not just one that looked good on paper.
And, then, coaching happened! The more I shared my story with friends, and former coworkers, the more I realized that many, if not most, of my peers felt similarly: “I would quit my job, but I don’t know what else I would do.” This seemed all wrong to me–many of the most talented, brilliant, and passionate people I knew, with potential to effect real change and have significant, were operating on autopilot and just getting through the day. Partnering with people to find their own answer to this question and activate their passion became my mission. News flash: though widely accepted, it is not a requirement to hate your job! I explored and studied feverishly in many different modalities, including becoming trained and certified as a co-active coach at the Coaching Training Institute, studying with other teachers like Martha Beck and Julia Cameron, Buddhist thought and practice, Jungian theory, and Positive Psychology, to develop my own coaching methodology and approach. I eventually started my own coaching practice dedicated to helping under-fulfilled over-achievers.
And, yes, I’m happy to report that it is, in fact, it is possible to find work that doesn’t feel like work, to look forward to Monday as much as Friday, and to wake up every morning (ok, most mornings) and think “I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing”…AND that doesn’t require giving up all worldly possessions or being a “starving artist” (hell, I still live in the west village and don’t ever want to leave). In fact, quite the opposite is true. Finding work that inspires you and that you are uniquely well-suited to do in the world actually exponentially increases your potential for both impact and earning.
In other news, I am a native New Yorker (yes, I know how to drive!), an avid foodie (I know, I know, what New Yorker isn’t), iced latte lover, SoulCycler, meditator, onesie addict, introverted extrovert and practicing tarot card reader. I love my acupuncturist, I’m addicted to British detective dramas, and am usually found in either some sort of coven-esque all lady situation, or with my partner, Andy. I’m 50% A-type, spreadsheets, to do lists and no BS get sh*t done, and 50% “woo woo” stars, sage and the universe (think controlled spreadsheets about the things that I cannot control ;-)). The New Yorker, On Being and Dear Sugars podcasts, and Brainpickings are always at the top of my required reading/listening list, and I believe that a NYPL library card is the best kept secret around these parts. Most recently, I ate my way through Mexico City and took myself on a solo desert retreat in a private dome home in Joshua Tree.
I used to see a life coach, but I wanted something more potent than vision boards. Megan is, instead, my chief of staff.
She is one of the wisest people I’ve ever met.
She gives inventive, emotionally attuned and yet somehow razor-sharp guidance on matters of the heart, head, body and. . .soul. Yes, somehow Megan is a brilliant, witty and stylish Manhattan superstar who is not afraid of the soul. Never have I felt braver, more awake and more clear-eyed about my life’s course than after a session with Megan. She helps lives change.
Megan is like pure f**king magic sent from another universe.
I am blown away by this relationship. She’s given me new models and tools for thinking and a safe space – I feel valued, held, and seen in a way that is extremely rare. In just a few months, she has become one of the most engaged, centering, and constant sources of reflection in my life. She is changing the way I think and operate in the world.
It’s hard to have a real measuring stick for this sort of thing, but the impact she’s had on my life is so tangible I feel like I could grab it.
She is an archeologist using the most delicate cracks and gentle brush strokes to excavate a layer of myself that I didn’t realize was resting just beneath my feet. The ripples she’s creating in the world are massive and transformative, and it is rare, powerful, and beautiful.
Megan is a master at reading people. I was surprised and impressed that in our very first session she was already able to figure out precisely what support I needed and go me moving in the right direction immediately.
She saw me instantly.
In our sessions together, she works through my mental knots like a masseuse. With her unwavering support and humor, Megan has helped me uncover the truth behind what has been blocking me professionally all this time–I’d spent several years in therapy trying to figure myself out, and I was still frustrated until Megan. In addition, my partner and I are both working with Megan, and I really can’t recommend it enough to couples who both have their own set of personal areas they’d like to work on. She is so respectful and careful, and we both feel completely safe, but can also better support each other on each of our journeys, separately and together, as a result.
Megan is a magician, like magic dust for the soul.
She is one of the most talented coaches I’ve had the pleasure to work with. The value she adds with each session (and in-between) is tangible. Megan is equal parts business strategist, life mentor, black belt question-asker, and intuitive guide. Her sessions dig deep into the issues you’re facing in work and life, and craft a forward-thinking plan to create immediate and long-term positive change. I couldn’t recommend working with Megan more.
You are educated, accomplished, responsible, ambitious, and always go above and beyond. Given a challenge, you excel; it’s just the way you are. In fact, perpetual excellence is a big part of your identity.
But internally, you feel disheartened and disappointed. Yes, you got the job you were after—the job everyone was after.
Yes, you got into all the graduate programs you applied to.
Yes, you’re on the partner track.
Yes, your start-up has stayed up.
And, no, you’re not happy. You should be—you know that—but you’re not.
You try working harder. Giving more. Adding another accomplishment to your resume.
Moving apartments. Breaking up with someone; finding someone new. Changing your appearance. Getting a dog (perhaps the dog helps for a while). At best, these attempts distract you from your discontentment; at worst, they aggravate it.
Maybe you dread, to the point of nausea, going to work every day . . . or maybe you just have a nagging feeling that it’s time for the next thing.
Maybe you lie awake at night wondering if you can ever be happy . . . or maybe you just look around your office occasionally and think, “is this it?”
Maybe you wonder how you could possibly get through one more day . . . or maybe your days are fine, but they just don’t leave room for the novel you want to write.
Maybe you’re petrified of losing financial security and the comforts of a clearly defined path . . . or maybe you’re just not sure how to go about deciding what’s next, given all of the opportunities in front of you (the world is your oyster after all).
Maybe you hate yourself and the life you are living . . . or maybe you just know you can contribute more, have an impact, do something great.
Maybe you have persisted until your life is at a real point of crisis, like I did . . . or maybe you know don’t want it to get that far—and that, if nothing changes, it will.
Either way, in crisis or in a fog or somewhere in between, you know that something has to change.
And you’re ready to make that change.