You have a great career going. You are bringing your A+ game. You are going for Gold and winning - everywhere! Your personal life is equally thrilling.
Then a major life event occurs and you choose to make a significant decision that takes you on a different path. Now, You are suddenly unhappy. You are disillusioned and your negative energy has spread everywhere in your life.
How did this happen?
About 6 years ago, I went through the same journey. I started my career in Management Consulting which was an exhilarating and rewarding experience!! Traveling to new cities every week, presenting to senior executives, helping large businesses transform themselves - It was ADDICTIVE!
Then, our first daughter was born. Life changing event wouldn't you say?
When I held her for the first time, I knew that I wanted to see her grow up everyday. The decision seemed easy - I quit consulting and pivoted towards a career path that allowed me to spend more time with my growing family. I was around when my daughter rolled over for the first time. I saw her wobbling away towards her first steps. I was there to record her first laugh. Sounds like everything I wanted right?
The decision to leave Consulting upended my headspace and I didnt even know that it had started corroding my subconscious. I was coming home every night feeling dissatisfied and disillusioned. Spending time with my family was not making me happy and I was mentally checked out. I also felt like my career was falling off the rails (even though it was headed in the right direction). I made life difficult for my loved ones who needed me the most and who I had chosen to change my career for.
Why did this happen?
I was going through what is called a measurement problem. You see, if a marketing campaign is designed to drive brand awareness but the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is measuring the campaign’s success based on # of products purchased, the CMO is never going to be happy with the result. I made the same mistake. When I had chosen to pivot my career, my life’s success indicator had changed & yet, I wasn't measuring success based on it. I was measuring success based on the older yardstick and was bound to see the wrong results making me unhappy.
It took me 3 years, a lot of help, patience and advice from my loved ones (family, friends and co-workers - you know who you are!) to fix my measurement model. In the process of doing so, I learnt 3 valuable lessons:
Before making a pivotal decision, we must define and in some cases, redefine our success metrics clearly.We must make our success metrics measurable and we must hold ourselves ruthlessly accountable to those metrics with clear, purposeful action and regular self-evaluations (e.g. Quarterly performance evaluation)
Today, I am constantly improving in achieving my success metrics but having a well defined measurement model has increased my life's happiness quotient.