Meet Kyle

Kyle is 42 years old, married with two small children 12 and 10. Kyle has worked the last 16 years in the financial services industry. Through hard work and long hours he is now a director at his firm making $125,000 a year. He leaves his house daily at 6:15 a.m. to get to his office 90 minutes later after bumper to bumper traffic. He returns home each night between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. after his 90 minute commute. This leaves him barely time to eat, say hello to his family, and get to bed by 10 since he gets up at 5 a.m. Kyle and his wife have a lot of debt, and their expenses run around $7,000 a month.

Kyle is not sleeping

Lately Kyle is not sleeping. Despite what many would consider a dream job, Kyle struggles to get up each morning. His work doesn’t seem to make a difference to him anymore. He would love to just quit, but he can’t afford to. He feels trapped. He would love to follow his dreams. His passion is baseball. He just loves to be around the game and would take any position to just be around baseball. Kyle played in college but had to quit after an arm injury.

Kyle’s dream becomes a reality!

It seemed a long time ago but he can still remember walking into the office on Monday and hearing his phone ringing. It was his boss – he wanted to see him right away, and they needed to talk. Sales were down, his group was not meeting quota, and the company had decided to go a different direction- without him!

Fast forward two years

Today Kyle is a marketing manager for a major league baseball team. He makes about $80,000 a year, much less than he made before. But, he has never been happier in his work. He wasn’t sure two years ago, however, when he accepted a part-time job with this same team as assistant. Kyle lost his house through the housing crisis, and his relationship with his wife was strained.

Everyone pulled together

The good news is Kyle’s wife went back to work, they made major lifestyle changes, went out to dinner less, and today rent a small 3 bedroom apartment. They expect to save money and buy their own house again in a few years.

Meet Mary-Ellen

Mary-Ellen’s headaches started out a few days a week. Over time they became worse. As an executive assistant for over 35 years, she was approaching 57 and was empty and lonely. She felt like if she had to file one more report, arrange for one more lunch meeting, or reschedule one more meeting, she would just stop breathing! She made $60,000 dollars a year and, combined with her husband’s income as a salesman, they lived comfortably.

Then the crisis hits!

Mary-Ellen’s husband lost his job and was out of work for a year and a half. Their relationship void of passion and conversation had stopped years ago. Mary-Ellen felt trapped. But, what could she do?

Fast forward three years

Mary-Ellen is the CEO-Founder of her own bread company. Mary-Ellen always had a passion for baking. It was only after a compliment of a friend, who said her raisin bread was the best she had ever eaten, did Mary-Ellen even consider going into business for herself. Mary-Ellen changed much in the life. She divorced her husband, quit her job, rented a small room from her friend, and started working at a local bakery.

Today Mary-Ellen is living her authentic life

Today, at 60 years young, Mary-Ellen is busy in all facets of her business baking, marketing, and selling. She saved up enough money to buy a small condo. She has a new circle of friends and even has started to date again recently!

What can we learn from Kyle and Mary-Ellen?

They both took action when something was no longer working in their lives, both took risks, followed their hearts, changed their lifestyle, and in some cases major aspects of their lives. Recognizing the need to change is the first step, making the change is the next and most important step.

Are you doing the RIGHT work for you?

It is always better to figure this out before the crisis hits, but this usually doesn’t happen this way. You can do the work which is just right for you, but the initial steps will be the hardest work you will ever do. Believe me, it will be worth it.

Answer these questions

Are you doing the work which is just RIGHT for you?
What changes must you make in your life now?
What changes to your support network are you willing to take?
What changes in your lifestyle at least in the short term are you willing to make?
How will you measure your progress?
How can you redefine your criteria of success based on your happiness?

The RIGHT work requires new action, focus, and commitment. It also will create new energy for your life and work and an acceptance that an empty life and work is no longer acceptable.

I’ll be cheering you on as you go - Craig Nathanson and Happy New Year-2010!

Author's Bio: 

Craig is a 25 year management veteran, Executive coach, college professor, author, and workshop leader. Also, Craig Nathanson is The Vocational Coach helping people and organizations thrive in their work and life.

Craig Nathanson is the founder of The Best Manager , workshops and products aimed at bringing out the best in those who manage and lead others.