I’m fortunate and grateful that I’m a fast learner, I have a positive, can-do mindset and I love learning and new experiences. “Bring it on” was my constant companion, that little voice that spurred me on.
I played nearly every sport I could since I was 10 years old and I graduated to gym junkie in my mid teens. I was a regular fixture in the weight room most days. Despite having a penchant for music (gotta love the 80’s!), aerobics wasn’t really my thing …. too much left, right, up down, around hehehe! Just as soon as I “got” what we were doing, we were onto another move. I knew I was better suited to ball sports and athletic pursuits, with a strong build, excellent reflexes, good hand-eye coordination and a sharp mind for reading the play and seeing opportunities. The numerous trophies, ribbons and awards will attest to my competitive nature and sporting achievements. I played netball, mixed netball, basketball, mixed indoor cricket and softball to name a few. As an adult, I continued to lead an active lifestyle (thanks Mum and Dad for instilling this passion in us at a young age) and I was fit and healthy!
I put up my hand for opportunities to learn and progress and I sought out secondments and promotions. In a modest time, I worked my way up the ranks for a large national corporation. And there began a chapter of my life that spanned close to twenty years!
In the first year of my full-time working career, I moved in with my boyfriend at the time and I commenced a University course studying part-time to gain a Bachelor of Economics Degree. I opted for legal and social sciences electives, as I had grand visions of being a lawyer or saving the planet! After the first year, given my ever-increasing and more demanding work roles and my study workload, I decided it may be more convenient to study via correspondence and residential schools. This was tough! At the residential school, which was live in for almost a week, we covered off an entire subject of lectures, tutorials, assignment and/or exam. Intense is an understatement and sleep was a rare commodity! My life was work, study, work, study, work for 5 years until I graduated. “What an appealing life” I hear you thinking …. NOT!!
Demands and expectations were high and I found the cumbersome and rigid beast that is corporate bureaucracy and red tape extremely frustrating and stressful more often than not. A can-do positive mindset that sees opportunity and possibility can be shut down and stifled by policy, processes and procedures. They have a place, however, I believe we need to move with the times, go with the flow and adapt to evolving environments.
During the majority of my corporate career I’ve worked extremely long hours, often a minimum 10 hour day and sometimes 6 days a week. As you will appreciate, this left little time for some of the key areas of life – good food, quality sleep, minimal stress, regular physical activity and “me time” and FUN!! What was I thinking! Hindsight is a valuable teacher.
Don’t get me wrong …. I thoroughly enjoyed the roles I worked in, I usually had terrific colleagues (wonderful people, many of whom I’ve kept in contact with to this day) and I was fortunate to have access to some amazing opportunities and exciting experiences. There were aspects of the roles I truly loved and remember fondly.
Around half of my corporate career, I worked in business development (aka sales). I prefer business development, as my style is relationship based and solutions based, rather than slash and burn and sell at all costs. The word “sell” didn’t enter into my vocabulary. In roles where I was managing Queensland (solo I might add), head office was usually in Sydney or Melbourne, I had the luxury of distance. Despite having a differing approach to my managers, I always achieved and exceeded budgets. Being such a large geography, I travelled reasonably regularly. I love travel, seeing new places, meeting new people and new experiences, however, the excitement and novelty soon wore off. Travelling to tight schedules can be extremely tiring!
Being on the road regularly and for almost a decade of my career, I was unfortunately involved in a few rear end vehicle accidents during this time. These left their mark and took their toll.
After almost twenty years in the corporate world, working for national and international companies in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, my soul was slowly eaten away! As was my health and fitness! I was on the hamster wheel and had no idea how to get off …. I must have looked like a walking zombie, a lackluster and lifeless shell on the inside! I believe the eyes are the windows to the soul …. what a story of misery and pain would be seen had anyone looked deeply into mine!
A saying comes to mind around that reads something like “making a life instead of making a living”. I would love to have come across this ten years earlier!
Circumstances conspired and I took a few months out of the workforce to gain qualifications in Counselling, Coaching, Training and Assessment, and Neuro Linguistic Programming. It was time to follow my heart, passions and dreams, listen to my soul, inspire, share and give back into the community and serve people in need (little did I realize, I was probably the person most in need!). It was my time!
This was my best career choice ever and I can honestly say I do what I love and I love what I do!! :-)
I started seeing a Naturopath (and I choose as much organic and raw food as possible for nourishment), I enlisted the support of a Personal Trainer (to guide me towards optimal health), I was referred to a brilliant Masseuse (to keep my body well tuned and functioning at its best!) and I started allocating more time to me, to my health and wellbeing. I met like-minded friends who shared a passion for the water and beach and we started meeting regularly to run up and down sand hills, to go for beach walks, swim and play in the waves. This decision and these changes had a profound effect on me in a hugely positive way! I lost around 18 kilograms in around 12 months, I’m toned, fitter, healthier, have more energy, feel terrific, look fantastic and I live a life I love! :-)
It’s never too late to live your dreams, desires, passions and purpose! Are you living yours? I ask you to be honest with yourself …. How are you tracking in your life to date? What changes would you make? Do you do what you love and love what you do? Are you living a life you love? :-)
Karen Low is the owner of Coach Me Now! To learn more, please contact Karen on 0409 343 336.
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