We were having a cup of coffee, listening to mellow jazz at the local Starbucks. “You look tired,” Sam commented. “What’s going on? You are usually more cheerful.” Then, he set his cup down with a certain force and looked directly into my eyes and asked, “Are you in your optimum work zone?”
Granted, I hadn’t had enough caffeine yet and it was Saturday morning, so I wasn’t at full throttle. “Huh?” I replied, trying to figure out what was being asked. So, to buy some time I repeated, “Optimum work zone?”
He nodded. “Yes, the career that excites, liberates and fulfills you. You know – optimum work zone.”
I couldn’t help myself. I laughed. Actually, I laughed hard, until the tears pooled in my eyes. The couples at the next table surreptitiously glanced my way. My laughter died to chuckles before I answered, “Yeah, sure! And next month I’m going to run for President right after I learn to fly jets…how about you? Are you in your zone?”
Sam and I have been friends for several years and he understood my sarcasm was not directed at him. Instead it was a result of feeling discouraged and at times hopeless at work. “You may not believe this, Jen – yes, yes I am. I know it was a stretch last year when I took another position. Some people thought I was crazy with what I was doing. Even though my base was less when I started, now I’m making more money and loving every minute at work. In fact, when I wake up in the morning I can’t wait to get to my office. Now when I look back, I know it would have been crazy to keep the status quo.”
“But…you aren’t using your degree. You studied all those years to be an engineer and now you are in advertising! That took a leap of faith. What if things would not have worked out?”
Sam smiled. “I found some answers before I started looking,” he told me. “My engineering background came into play. I didn’t go into this blind, you know. I took a simple assessment…”
I interrupted, rolling my eyes, “Oh, I know – those Myers Briggs things that take a PhD to decipher. I’ve been through those sessions before.”
Calmly, Sam continued, “Nope. This one is different. It’s not like that at all. This one confirmed to me how I’m designed.” His smile broadened. “I knew on the inside who I was, but on the outside, I was acting differently because I thought I had to. Now, I know better. It’s such a relief when the inside and outside of me are in harmony. And that’s the secret, Jen. That’s why I’m making more money and am more satisfied at work than ever before. I’m not trying to live up to my degree. I am being me…and it’s great. I want the same for you.”
I looked into my coffee, seeing my reflection gazing back at me. “Ok,” I replied. “I’m game. I’m willing to go out on a limb and try this.”
Sam chuckled, “Fact is, you are out on a limb right now because you are unhappy.”
I sighed, “You know me too well. It’s true. I am restless and wish I could do something else.”
“It’s not too late,” he encouraged. “It’s never too late.”
Suddenly I didn’t need caffeine. Sam had reignited something within me. Hope!
“What do I need to do?” I asked, hearing the excited shiver in my voice.
Sam fired up his tablet. “Here – let me give you a link. Wait until you see the results! This will be a real life-changer!”
I pushed my coffee aside, stood up and walked to his side of the table. “You’re on!” I said with a grin. “Let’s go!”
Find your FIT here.