But I didn’t start out this way, I used to play very very safe - and it got me a long way very quickly in my career. And then I was at a crossroads. A total overachiever I’d made executive before 30 in one of the country’s biggest companies. I had *thrived* in the highly competitive, perfectionistic, pressure cooker environment running large-scale enterprise and driving a cross-company change program.
And then it happened. 6 months of utter carnage. Our transformation program was going backwards, I broke up with my then partner of 14 years, my little brother got *very* sick on the other side of the world, and my new boss turned out to be a certifiable bully. I was breaking down, mentally, emotionally, physically. And I saw the inside of some pretty dark caves in my own mind.
As I looked around me for a way to dig out of this hole I became more disillusioned. I didn’t want to be like the leaders around me - the survivors were hardened, some of them were bullies and they always looked stressed to the eyeballs. They looked sick and they were racing towards their first heart attack. I came very close to losing faith in my belief that nice guys *don’t* finish last. I questioned myself continually - who the heck are you to be here, to be in this job, you clearly can’t cope, why don’t you just get out and leave it to the big boys. I was exhausted, frustrated, I felt betrayed and was thoroughly sick of pushing sh*t uphill.