Monday, November 14, 2011

Is your Life's Work Disguised as Anger?

As a business coach, I have the good fortune of helping others tap into their purpose and passion. In doing so, their work becomes more than just a paycheck; it becomes their life's work.

When you tap into your life's work, you are living your brand. Your brand is a unique expression and cannot be replicated by anyone else. It provides you long term fulfillment and success.

Recently we hosted a "Texas Women who Rock" event in Houston. I am one of the founding members of this wonderful organization that was created to empower professional women in all aspects of their lives. We had several guest speakers, all of which were successful professional women who had demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity.

Each of them shared stories where anger played some critical role in mobilizing them to find a solution. Through their anger and discontentment, they found their creativity, calling, purpose and passion they were able to channel into their life's work. Here's a snapshot of their stories:
Sherry Eichberger lost two close, young friends to cancer and was angered to learn that many products in our daily lives are toxic and can contribute to illnesses like cancer. Her solution was to open One Green Street, a "one stop shop" where people can shop for green, non-toxic gifts and products. Today, Sherry's life work and brand helps people live healthier lives.

Minerva Perez, a long time anchor on major television stations, was frustrated and angered by the fact that she wasn't seeing Latin Women have a voice on shows like The View, despite the growing numbers of latina viewership. When she left ABC, her solution was to form her own television show "Latina Voices. Smart Talk." which is now in the midst of rapid expansion and growth. Today Minerva's life work and brand is giving voice to thousands of Latina Women.

Cindy Cline-Flores lost her older sister to suicide. She felt a full range of emotions dealing with this tragedy, but she also felt discontentment that her sister had lost hope. She found solace and healing by writing a book titled "Always Hope" which features 25 people who have suffered equally difficult situations yet persevered. Today Cindy's life work and brand is to bring hope to those suffering from difficulty and adversity.
In hearing these stories, I was reminded that my own journey was very similar.

As a long-time, corporate employee who had risen into the ranks of leadership, I saw and was subject to many injustices. Through my more than 20 years experience, I saw a lack of leadership, undue fairness and breaches of integrity. I was bothered and angered by it.

I was so angry at times that I couldn't see straight. I was blinded by it and at times this anger even caused me to unproductively lash out.

One day I realized holding onto this anger didn't serve me. The anger also diminished my ability to make a difference and add value to my organization and company. I needed to find a solution. And I did.

When I left Corporate America, I wrote a book about leadership because this is where I found the source of my anger. In doing so, I found my true passion, purpose and brand. Today my life's work and brand is about helping others become better leaders in their lives.

People often wonder how I successfully made the shift from Marketing Executive to Leadership Development Coach, Trainer and Speaker. My simple answer is that my life's work and brand was disguised as anger.

I believe that this was also the case for Sherry, Minerva and Cindy.

Finding your life's work and your brand may not require you to completely change your course either. You may be able to find it right there in your company or in your business by making a few simple changes and adjustments.

So next time you find yourself red with fury, don't push it aside and dismiss it. Instead embrace it and dive deep into it. It's the unlikely place where you can find your creativity, calling, passion and purpose.

Find it. Express it. Live it. It is the source of your life's work and brand.

And you may never call it "work" again.