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Fear and Loathing in Bris Vegas

The Journey for Pursuit of Purpose…Part 1 - Fear & Loathing in Bris Vegas

Our story begins in the wilds of Australia… but after that, the marginally less wilds of Bris Vegas.

Nearly 15 years ago, right around this time (Winter time in Oz) I sat at my parents breakfast bar chatting to my Mum about life in general as she prepared our Saturday morning brunch. I was working in Finance for a very large global company, and I was heading towards Burn Out #1. The business unit I did finance for was an underperforming division that was undergoing its own transformation which meant I was pulling 16 hour days, working 6 days a week, and I was beyond exhausted. Each night as I trudged home, sometime between 10pm and 12am, I kept thinking, “There is more to life than this.”

There is more to life than just working my fingers to the bone, leaving my house at 6am each morning. If this is the next 40-odd years of my life, why am I doing this?

I wasn’t loving life, I wasn’t enjoying life. I was in my 20’s; it should have been the best time ever! What I was possibly too young, ridiculous, naïve <insert other adjectives here> to realise, was that I was looking for purpose even then. I also didn’t realise I was doing the wrong job. (That comes in the next stages of this story of the journey.)

My Mother still to this day laments this comment she made: “You are too young to be this worn out. If you want to experience the world, why don’t you go to London? It’s what you’ve always wanted. You can work and travel from there.” I am pretty sure she didn’t mean for me to stay for the next 15 years and for her not be able to see me for the last 2.5 years due to a global pandemic. (#scomo, open the damn borders!) Dad’s response to all this was, “Should we have Mimosas with brunch today?”

After brunch, I wandered towards home with my trusty sidekick, Oreo the Cat. (Yup, you read that right; the cat and I used to brunch at Mum & Dad’s each Saturday morning.) My head was spinning with so many thoughts:

“I have a house and a mortgage! I can’t just up and leave!” “I have a good job, and I also have this other job offer on the table that is really good, heading up a big finance team elsewhere…”

“Can I really go? I really want to go to Lapland and visit Santa. I want to eat pasta in Italy, I want to wear a beret in France and cycle around with a baguette in my basket! I want to drink giant beer in Germany!”

“I am afraid to go, I have never been to London. I don’t know anyone there.”

“I am afraid if I don’t go, what will happen to me…”

I decided on that car journey home that I was too full of the fear of NOT LIVING LIFE, NOT to do it. I decided to move out of my zone of boring. So Courage, Curiosity and I grabbed Fear by the hand and said “OK Boo, let’s make it happen! Let’s shake it up, move out of the boring zone and see where this journey will take us.”

Roughly 3 months later, 6th October, I landed at Heathrow with a suitcase with very few pairs of shoes and even fewer handbags, no job, nowhere to live and a handful of introductions to friends of friends. Little did I know that my journey of pursuit of purpose had begun.

Each day brought its own fear of learning new ways to operate, live and work. Each morning I got up out of the zone of boring, took Curiosity by the hand and caught tubes & buses. I figured out the whole A-Z map (apparently there was a time before GoogleMaps) and found my way to job interviews. The introvert in me muddled through the whole “stranger danger” of meeting new people and making new friends. I stopped converting pounds back to Australian dollars as my heart simply couldn’t take the stress, especially when I put a deposit down on a place to live!!! Each of these curious and courageous moments led me to what came next….

I found an amazing job where I began to heal the burn out. Who knew work could actually be fun, right? Being out every night at the theatre, dinners, ballet and museums living this glorious and glamorous life that I had always dreamed of. I found my little London places where I felt truly alive and wonderfully at home. I danced, sang and jumped up and down on my bed like a joyful little child in happiness again. My inner Nikki squealed with relief.

Each time I took Fear by the hand with Curiosity and Courage it led me to something marvellous. Moving to London was the spark that created the fire for me to change the way I live and work. Using my Fear with Curiosity and Courage has led me through growth in my finance career, and has led me to major career changes into the Transformation space. Being on friendly terms with Fear, Courage and Curiosity allows me to understand what people go through during transformation and change and it allows me to explore this with them to bring about their own empowerment and in turn successful change for my clients.

The journey so far has led me to setting up my own company to do this and doing it successfully with clients. It has also brought me to the place of realisation that we all need to be in the right jobs as part of our own journey.

Why am I telling you this story? Fear can be a motivator as much as it can stop us or immobilise us. When we use Fear to power us to new things #BigMagic can happen, and evolution and transformation take place. You bring yourself into a new way of being, a new way of living that sparks a shift.

The constant fear that sits on me, even today as I write this - “there has to be more to life” – is my driving force in this Journey for Pursuit of Purpose.

I will leave you with this question that a beautiful friend and cheerleader said to me on Tuesday:.

“What could or would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Stay tuned for the next instalment of The Journey for Pursuit of Purpose.

Just for fun… the pics used today were just before I left Australia with Oreo the Cat and my first weekend in London, having an adventure.


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