How one question changed my career path
A simple question during a work meeting changed the trajectory of my legal career forever.
One fine afternoon in the midst of a discussion about legislative amendments, a senior colleague asked:
“Do you know what’s ahead of you if you continue on this path?”
Until then, I had never thought about the what-if’s, or what lay beyond the daily routine of getting the job done.
The turning point in my career
As he started to paint a picture of postings to different government departments, promotions every few years (if I was lucky), and (if I was lucky and hung around long enough) achieving superscale (the pinnacle of accomplishment and recognition), I felt a growing sense of panic and unease.
I saw myself trapped in a cage, running frantically faster and faster on a treadmill that wouldn’t let me get off.
Even now, I can feel my chest constrict and my spine tingle remembering the vision.
That is when I knew I had come to a crossroads: should I stay or go?
If I stayed, where else could I go and what kind of role would be more fulfilling?
If I left, what did that mean about all my years of study and work?
What would my family and peers think?
Who would I be if I was no longer a lawyer?
My identity crisis
Deciding to quit without a plan B led to the biggest identity crisis of my life. It was a huge jolt to my system, as all the parts of my life I had taken for granted gave way with just one decision.
From that day on, I found myself between worlds, in a spiritual and emotional wilderness. I had left behind security, stability and prestige, but I did not know where I was going nor whether things would work out once I arrived. I was in strange territory, on a solitary quest for profound answers that were less of “What do you do for work?” and more to do with “Why do I do what I do? What do I really care about? How do I want to contribute to the world?” Uncertainty, anxiety, self-doubt, impostor syndrome, fear of failure, and fear of judgment were my constant companions.
“Nothing changes until you change”
I look back on my younger self and I say: thank you for your courage.
Today, I get to combine the transforming power of personal development, mental health, and trauma-informed recovery with my love of spirituality and my strengths as an introvert and highly sensitive person, to support quiet individuals to find their authentic voice and flourish in a noisy world – without feeling that they have to act extroverted or in ways out of alignment with their integrity and values.
During the pandemic lockdowns in Melbourne, I founded a Meetup community which acts as a safe space for introverts to connect, with regular in-person events around Melbourne and Zoom sessions. We focus on mental health, coffee/chai tea, nature walks, and being in low-sensory environments where the sensitive and anxious among us won’t get overwhelmed.
Four types of people I particularly love working with:
- The quiet achiever ready to step up to become a Quiet Warrior who speaks, leads, and acts decisively, using her quiet strengths and calm wisdom.
- The introverted entrepreneur feeling conflicted because they want to put their creative, brilliant selves out there, but fear being seen and judged.
- The professional migrant woman starting over in a new country and rebuilding her family life, career, and networks.
- The Asian “good girl” and high achiever seeking to heal from damaging inherited values and beliefs, so she can fully express herself and her truth.
All these are past versions of me.
What I didn’t know then I know now, and I share my experiences with you so you don’t have to do it alone or feel there’s something wrong with you.
Book in a time to have a conversation about how I can support you.