Our work is to make ourselves visible in the world. This is the soul’s individual journey, and the soul would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else’s.
Before leaving my corporate employment, my mother routinely admonished me in Korean: “Work is work. It is what it is and all corporate jobs are all like that.” The unspoken but undeniable message was, “Keep doing what you’re doing. There is no other way, so keep your head down and do as they say.” To which, I’d silently scream at her: “Really? Is that the best one can expect from life? In the name of ‘security and safety,’ how many people give away their creative power and neglect their soul?” The rebellious part of me often shows up when I speak with my mother. My mother probably still sees me as a teenager sometimes and I often feel that rebellion when we get into our differing perspectives. I know my mother means well: she wants her daughter to be safe and sound, and what mother does not wish that for her child? My mother and I just do not see eye-to-eye on what ‘security and safety’ are truly made of.
For a long time I unconsciously believed that it was easier to allow someone else to control my life than to take control of my own life. I was afraid and reluctant to face accountability for my own successes and failures by stepping out of my ill-fitting corporate job into my own self-directed ventures. Instead, I kept accepting unfulfilling jobs that paid me regularly and in return I surrendered my accountability for my own happiness and fulfillment over to the nebulous corporate hierarchy. This allowed me to point the finger at someone else when things went wrong because I didn’t have to “own” the results. I could “wash my hands” and say something outwardly or silently along the lines of:
“I didn’t set these goals to begin with.”
“They wanted this, not me.”
“I wouldn’t have done it this way if I had my druthers.”
My ego found it easier to blame someone else up or down the command-and-control pyramid. In that environment, it was easier for me to delude myself and repeat the same story that I was a powerless victim because I was stuck between an unfulfilling job and the responsibility to feed my family. That story justified my avoidance of accountability and the denial of my own destiny in the name of supposed safety and security. I chronically defaulted to the conventional safe harbor of “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” However, my heart kept tugging at me like a 5-year old child who needs attention and affection from her mother, and one day I heard my heart ask: “How safe and secure are you really, if you refuse to make the hard choices about your future?” Then, I realized that by ducking my accountability to my heart’s desires altogether in favor of illusory safety and security in corporate employment, I gave away the power to create my authentic path and navigate the uncertain yet unlimited potential to feed my dreams.
Some friends and family have expressed how courageous Charles and I were to make this leap. Yes, it takes courage and integrity to seek our own destiny, to claim our birthright, and to live our one true life. However, this courage and this integrity are available and accessible to everybody. All those years when I defaulted to my safe harbor, that courage and that integrity were there for me to access. The shift happened for me, however, when I turned to my heart and started an honest conversation. My heart asked me, “How is that working for you: your current paradigm of starving your soul while feeding your family?” In the course of this conversation, my desire to live wholeheartedly overtook my fear of the unknown. I was then able to access the courage that resides in the depth of my soul as it does in any human soul. With this courage, I woke up to pay attention to my own integrity and its need to integrate my work and life, I was able to exercise its power.
My mom was right. I could not change the realities of a corporate job. It is what it is and corporate jobs are all like that. However, I became aware that I could choose to leave my corporate job. I chose the path to be accountable for my own successes and failures, and chose to make myself visible in the world.
As for me, work does not have to be work. Work can mean soul-making while I’m awake. My soul would much rather fail at my own life than succeed at someone else’s.