Ever since I was a little girl, my focus lay on making money.
Throughout school and university I was driven by the prospect of being financially free and successful. An ambition which took me to the heart of the financial market, where my career kicked off. I was hired as a trader at a famous bank in London and within a couple of years only, I was managing the relationships with some of the banks’ biggest clients as well as having my own trading books. My childhood yearning and hard work seemingly paid off; I was hugely successful for my age. But still, something didn’t feel quite right.
I could buy anything I wanted, but I wasn’t content. I was respected at work, but inside I felt empty, drained, anxious and isolated from the world. One day I found myself on the trading floor feeling deeply confused and questioning my entire life.
I looked for solace in my colleagues, but saw in their expressions the same desolation I felt. I could feel my co-workers’ stress and anxiety, I saw executives with lots of money but so little time to enjoy it. Everyone seemed trapped in a spiral of forward paid bonuses leading to higher and higher mortgages, family pressures and everyone was trying to keep up with the Joneses. Even more glaring were the extreme working conditions we had all become accustomed to 90 hour weeks, lack of sleep, and days spent on edge due to stress, had become normalised.
I knew that if I stayed, that would be my fate, so I decided to leave.
From then on, I embarked on a long journey to uncover what was meaningful to me, beyond money. I realized that I had never truly thought about ‘meaning’ before, my whole life was fuelled by results and outcomes up to that point. I travelled the world visiting communities and engaging in various personal development practices. I could feel things changing inside me.
My health improved, my mental and emotional state balanced out, anxiety faded and was replaced by a deep peace and clarity. A passion and vigour was reawakened in me, but the excitement wasn’t towards anything material, but rather towards life itself. I went back to university and furthered my studies in economics, this time with an entirely new perspective. I engaged in several social projects, one of which was setting up a community currency in Brazil, which is still successful today.
At that point, I really felt a duty to bring the knowledge and insights I had gained to help people who, like me, worked in the financial sector but somehow felt misplaced. Today, 10 years out of the industry I am working with financial executives and city traders to help them find fulfillment, purpose, joy and a sense of perspective in life.
We are all better off when our jobs align with a deeper purpose, on an individual and societal level. I feel very lucky to be able to help people in this way.
From the work I’ve done so far, I have learned that many are suffering in silence, with no one to speak to, feeling like a failure if they admit that they are struggling. Many want to quit and change but bottle their dreams up, and some just need some breathing space but don’t know where to get it.
One of my clients is the Head of America for a tier one investment bank – despite all his success, he still didn’t feel he could speak to anyone about issues that had long been afflicting him. Financially he had it all, but he didn’t have any sense of meaning or purpose in his life beyond money. In our sessions we uncovered several important things about his ambitions that had been brushed over in the past. I shared with him simple practices that radically changed his everyday without interfering with his life and his priorities. One of the things I like to introduce to clients is the concept of Abundance; a natural state of being, a freedom to do what you want, when you need to do it – a state that is not at all conditioned by money. Now this client has freedom, space and clarity where previously there was none.
If any of what I have written here resonates with you, I prompt you to ask yourself some very basic questions… and simply notice the first thought that arises in you. Allow yourself to dream.
What would you like to do if money were no object?
Do I have a good enough work / life balance?
When you look back, what will your legacy be? What are you leaving behind for your kids or loved ones?
Simply notice the first thoughts that arise in you. Are there parts of you that dream of changing career, but feel like its not possible because the financial commitments to maintain you and your families lifestyle? Or more time to do the activities you loved to do when you were younger or new pursuits that inspire you or you have simply that you would like more time to spend with your family?
If this has got you thinking about where you are in your life currently or if you would like a sounding board to find some clarity and space in your life also, you can find out more about my action-focused and results orientated coaching sessions here.
Thank you for taking the time to engage with this article.