Owning Up

Before I became a clarity coach, I was a brand strategist and storyteller in the wine industry. There is no other category in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) segment that has more individual products (aka SKUs) than wine. California alone has over 4700 wineries in it, and many of those wineries produce multiple SKUs. Add in the rest of the winemaking world, and you have an inconceivable amount of competition.  On top of that, alcohol is highly regulated. It is the A in the ATF, after all. Learning how to promote wines throughout the world was like trying to understand a foreign language. In fact, the first year and a half of my career in the industry felt like living in a foreign country. It was incredibly challenging and a breeding ground for burnout and toxicity.

I share this background to give context, or maybe to make myself feel a little better. For a long time, I didn't see the role I was playing in the sustainability of the company's culture. I thought I was an innocent victim, powerless to do anything about it. The constant venting sessions with my colleagues felt normal and acceptable. I believed my leaders were the complacent, or not so complacent, creators of the culture. It was easy to point the finger at them; conveniently forgetting that four others were pointing back at me.  In fact, I was pretty self-righteous with my leaders, telling myself all I could do to improve my situation was to share how miserable I was. And when I got the response, “you control your experience”, I always rolled my eyes because I believed they were the problem; not me. 

Fast forward to 2021 when I celebrated my 10 year work anniversary. A milestone that was deeply overshadowed by my misery. I had reached my professional rock bottom. I had no other choice but to finally take a step back, own up to who I was being. A funny thing happened when I took a step back and looked at the situation for what it was: I crafted had quite a tale, one where I was the helpless and innocent victim being harassed by the big bad wolf culture.  I was choosing to be the victim. I was choosing to blame others. I was choosing to build a shaky foundation out of sticks. What did that mean? I had a choice to be different.

My leaders were right: I did have 100% control over my experience. As I started to gain clarity about who I was being, I connected with a more powerful vision for myself, and began to look at my struggles as opportunities to become the heroine of my story.

One of the first things I shifted was my calendar, creating a few minutes of "me time" into every day. During this time, I practiced mindfulness and meditation, wrote in my journal, created something new, ventured outside, or blasted my music and danced. I did whatever I needed to do to release negative energy, connect to my inner knowing, and make decisions that felt in line with who I wanted to be.

The impact of “me time” was immediate. The more “me” I put into each day, the more patience, love and kindness I put into my work, my family and my life. I no longer acted like a victim; idly accepting my fate and being miserable about it. My self confidence grew to an all-time high, and I trusted myself to be the powerful creator of all of my experiences, both professional and personal. I was still at the same company, doing the same work, but I was different. The shift in me, had shifted everything. I had stopped building my foundation with sticks and started building it with bricks.

Recognizing the role we play in our experiences can be difficult, but it is also where our greatest opportunities lie. By owning up and gaining clarity about who we are being, we can experience more confidence, creativity and an overall sense of fulfillment in all areas of our lives.

So if every action we take is either a solid brick or a shaky stick in the foundation of the life we are building: what kind of foundation are you building? And are you ready to make the shift from stick to brick?

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