I’m writing to you today from Mount St Francis retreat house outside of Cochrane, Alberta. It’s a gloriously, sunny, mild winter day. Driving out here, I marvelled at the beauty of this Alberta landscape, and the endless blue sky.
Today, I walked down snow-covered empty country roads, surrounded by trees, with the mountains in sight. I took deep breaths of crisp, clean air and exhaled with relief – everything seems possible in this space.
A lot has happened since my last post. This weekend I took time to take a breath because I’m on the verge of a life change. I came here to this retreat house to pause and honour the passage.
I’ll jump to the punch line – I decided to start collecting my federal and provincial public service pensions. Friday, January 31st, is my last working day in the Alberta Public Service.
I can refocus my energy on my private practice and writing projects. I’m calling this move restructuring rather than retiring.
As wonderful as this sounds, it feels like a bold move because it is a change. Over the last months, I have gone back and forth on the timing of my exit. I kept changing my mind.
As a wise mentor told me years ago, you can not make a choice or decision without a trade-off. And there are trade-offs to my decision and some mixed feelings. Saying yes to something means saying no to something else. And some goodbyes.
To say yes to this next chapter, I’m letting go of a job that allowed me to bear witness to the private hopes, dreams and fears of amazing people. I completed almost 3000 confidential coaching conversations with people from the front line to senior executives.
I asked thousands of people, “So what’s important about career and work at this stage of your life to be satisfied?” I remain fascinated by how people respond to this question and honoured that they trusted me enough to share their undressed-up truths.
By the end of last year, a series of events created a perfect storm that woke me up. The truth will set you free, but first, it can make you miserable.
It was time for me to ask myself, “What’s important about career and work at this stage of my life to be satisfied?”. My career decision-making criteria need to match who I am and where I am in life, now.
I couldn’t deny the conditions that made my role so satisfying for me changed. It’s a turbulent time in many sectors – especially the public service.
But even without organizational change, my time would still be up. I needed to catch up to the fact I’m entering my third chapter of life.
The truth is I have fulfilled my purpose in this role, and that container no longer fits. As a friend says, a gracious guest doesn’t overstay her welcome.
I’ve had a spectacular run, and it’s time to move on. I am grateful to leave at the right time and on the best possible terms. Whatever happens next, this stint in my career will always be a highlight.
As I close this post, I feel more free than afraid and ready to claim a bigger dream. I’m saying yes to growth and open for ways I can be of even more service.
I’m not sure where this road is going, but I am on the right path. I hope you will keep travelling with me.