After fifteen years in the corporate world, Bibi Brzozka reinvented her life. Stifled by the rigidity of finance and banking, Bibi had used retail therapy and casual sex to distract herself from her emptiness, until, one day, her mind, body, and spirit demanded a change. She bravely left the comfort of the corporate world and embarked on a journey to find herself. Today, she is known as a leading expert in conscious sexuality, and, in addition to serving as the wellness director at Nômade Hotel in Tulum, Bibi hosts private retreats and speaks about conscious sexuality at events across the globe. I recently sat down with Bibi to discuss lessons she can share with Thrive readers about how she transformed her life.
What first inspired you to leave corporate life?
Something was missing in my life and I knew it. I longed to find a mission, purpose, and real fulfillment rather than continue to chase the profits the finance world was promising. I realized I had to move away from what I didn’t want or like and move toward what I really wanted. The challenge, however, was that I didn’t exactly know what I wanted. The comfort of the corporate golden cage was too comfortable, the profits were there, but I knew I had to leave to throw myself deep into the unknown and search for passion. So I found the courage to walk away even without knowing what was next. That was the greatest leap and one of the hardest things for us to do. One thing I knew though, was that without risk we can’t live the life we really want.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when you made this transition and how you overcome them?
When you make a choice to walk away from corporate structure, you become truly responsible for creating your reality, designing your day, and managing your time. It’s scary but it’s liberating. Being able to design my own day was one of the reasons I wanted to leave the corporate world in the first place, but after the initial excitement of having more free time is over, it can become overwhelming. You need to be really disciplined when making new transitions and walking away from your current career. It’s easy to fill your days with small things to do and get distracted from experimenting and going out of your comfort zone. To avoid this idleness, I would schedule more challenging tasks first on my daily agenda. I made a small list of ten things to do a day. The list would start with the most challenging tasks and finish with celebrations or things I enjoy, so there was something to look for and more motivation to go through the list. This is an exceptional way to build a powerful habit and achieve goals too that so many CEO’s swear by.
Often when we jump into new territory, there are things we have to give up. Was there anything you had let go of in order to make this life change?
I had to give up my reliance on a monthly paycheck and become more conscious of how I spent my money. Ultimately, I found this to be a good thing, and I realized I didn’t need all the material things I thought I did.
You also give up the certainty and the comfort zone that the daily structure of corporate life provides. You wake up, and you don’t have to go anywhere. Your life is not planned. You are entirely in charge of your life and that’s powerful!
How did this life change allow you to find meaning and purpose in your work?
I would actually say that it was the other way around. I found my purpose and made it my work. The best part about it is that it actually does not feel like work anymore. You wake up at 6 am excited about building and creating your dreams. And you happen to be paid for it. The more passionate you are, the better you become at what you do. The money follows, but the money isn’t the goal anymore.
How did changing your course improve your well-being?
Once I found true fulfillment with my work and aligned myself with my life mission, my happiness came from within and I lost desire in most of the external things I was depending on to give me the illusion of relaxation and happiness. I stopped drinking alcohol, partying all night, engaging in casual sex, and compulsively shopping. I became a bad consumer! I naturally found myself drawn to things that were nourishing: habits, food, people, and places. I choose the places where I want to work; I live close to nature and work from small jungle cafes with organic food. I can allow myself to go kite surfing in the middle of my workday and have breaks that nourish me.
What advice do you have to others who are hoping to deviate from corporate life?
After you quit your job, give yourself time for rest and celebration. Change the environment you were in. Travel, explore, and take courses that are out of your comfort zone.
Get comfortable with the fact that it might take many projects and attempts before you find what you eventually want to do and recognize that what you want to do will keep evolving.
From my experience, more insight comes from trying new things, from action. Get the ball rolling – start projects even if you are not 100% sure it’s what you want.
If things don’t go as planned don’t see it as a failure. There is learning in everything. You might not reach the goal you planned, but you will come across a person who will lead you to your next step, or you will learn a skill that will open a new door. Stay open and curious.
Don’t fully discard your corporate skills. We often want to leave them far behind and do something completely different, but what I discovered is that we can contribute to different types of projects leveraging our previously acquired skills. For example, if you previously were a project manager, you can apply these skills helping a new sustainable startup get off the ground. Working with a smaller company, with an intimate team of like-minded people who want to impact the planet in the best way possible, can become much more fulfilling, even though you are working in a similar position.