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How a Post-It Note Changed My Life

Why you should never underestimate an intuitive nudge.

It was a Wednesday, mid-winter, gray afternoon and as per normal I was at my desk plugging away. As VP of Marketing at a major media company in NYC, it looked like I had achieved my career goals, but on the inside my soul felt as gray as the afternoon. I kinda felt guilty about it too and this added to my heaviness. I took a deep breath in and sighed it out and then of course my computer decided to crash.

I called Joe, our computer tech, and headed out to grab lunch while he revived my computer. When I got back — Joe was gone, the computer was up and running (thanks Joe!) and there was a pink post-it note on my computer screen that said “You are the most organized person I’ve ever seen.”. I was kind of surprised. Wasn’t everyone this organized? I didn’t think it was a big deal, and yet I held on to that post-it note… for years.

Like the intuitive nudge it was meant to be, every once in a while I’d stumble upon Joe’s post-it note. Finally it hit me… no, not everyone is that organized. I loved helping people in my office get organized and productive. I loved acting as the project manager on big unwieldy projects and getting all the details in a row. Since I loved doing it and it came so easily to me, I had greatly underestimated my superpower for what it was.

Sometimes we achieve the big career goals and are moving along the path in front of us. In the meantime we feel a pang of dissatisfaction, a sinking feeling that this just isn’t right, a wave of panic that we’re in the wrong place. The most immobilizing part of it is that we don’t even know what we want! It’s frustrating, scary and can make you feel damn-near crazy.

So if you ever find yourself in that space, look for the breadcrumbs that start to appear. They will be very subtle at first. It may be a thought that pops into your head. A dream you had. Something that people repeatedly tell you you’re fabulous at doing. It may be something you are drawn to doing and can’t explain why. It may be a post-it note that you just can’t throw out. It may take a long time to figure out the clues, but stay open, be curious and see where the trail leads you.

It took me about five years to figure out what Joe’s note meant for me and then another five years to do something about it. While it didn’t make sense to toss my hard-earned corporate career, I really wanted to be an online entrepreneur. I started to pursue what that could look like. I embraced my superpower of being organized and productive and decided I wanted to make it my mission to help others be just as buttoned up. I held down the fort at the corporate job, but on the side I became a certified life coach, learned what I could about being an online solopreneur and when the opportunity finally presented itself, I made the jump.

It would be very easy for me to say it all works out and you will get to where you want. But I know that’s not the truth. There are days that drag. Days you think it will never be possible. That the nudge you feel is wrong. Or it’s time to get over it and grow up. You may know what you want but it feels like it will take forever to get there. Or you are still searching. What I do want to tell you is to not give up. Keep going and keep the faith. Most of all keep the post-it notes you find along the way.  

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