I never imagined myself in Corporate America. I was a free spirited little girl who wandered barefoot and splashed in creeks. I gently relocated snails I found on hot pavement to the cool grass. I rescued injured animals and dreamed of ways I could help everyone in the world feel love. I believed all people were good.

As I got older, I wanted to help everyone. I carried Bandaids and Neosporin in my backpack. I spoke up for people who were struggling and jumped in to make peace wherever there was conflict. I marched for change and spoke my truth in hopes of building something better. Throughout the years, some people told me I was too idealistic. Others told me I couldn’t save everyone. Some said I was imagining a world that “just doesn’t exist”. Those comments only ignited my determination to serve something bigger than myself..

In college, I studied communication, psychology, sociology- any “ologies” that would help me better understand human beings. After graduation, I had plans to travel abroad, to work for peace, heal the planet and save animals from extinction. I was told I had to be responsible- that I had to earn a living. I abandoned my nature and my plans. In my early twenties, I forgot who I was. I took my first corporate job and I focused on making money so I could be “successful”.

I worked as an Account Executive until my 30th birthday. During those years, I found myself at odds with decisions made by the companies I represented. They did not serve the interest of the people who’d entrusted them with their business. I became aware of the lack of kindness in the corporate world. I worked with people who were putting their heads down, going through the motions and suffering. I was at odds with myself. I was suffering. I started studying yoga and mindfulness as a way to reconnect with myself and survive. The stress became too much to take. I gave my notice just after my 30th birthday. I understand now that the work I did during those years was misaligned with my true nature.

In my early 30’s, I went back to school and studied healing arts. I earned a certification in Equine Therapy, combining my true nature with my love of animals. I started a company without a single client and became so busy within two years that I had to turn people away. I experienced total flow, alignment and pure joy every day for the seven years that followed. I was living into my nature. I was aligned and I felt contentment for the first time in my professional life.

In 2008, my life became a dumpster fire. I was getting divorced, the economy was tanking and my clients trickled off because the global financial crisis caused their finances to crash and burn too. That crisis started chapter two of my corporate experience which continued for the next eleven years.

From an outsiders view, I was “successful”. I was slaying any business metric put in front of me. My business relationships were strong and my financial situation was healthy. I had great benefits and I was well respected. I figured out a way to adapt, to cope and by the time 2013 rolled around, I was earning more money than I’d ever imagined. I had a great role, amazing outcomes and I worked with talented people who valued my work. It wasn’t enough. I was exhausted, overworked and stuck in a loop. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. I felt like I was drowning. I wasn’t living into my nature.

I started carrying my yoga mat on every business trip. I meditated daily, listened patiently and something shifted. I remembered who I was. I felt like I could take a deep breath. My shift in mindset stirred something I had lost. It changed my work, my relationships and every aspect of my life. It was magnetic. I realized that my nature all along was to connect with people and ease suffering. That’s who I’d always been- who I was born to be and it started with the snails.

In 2017, the pull I’d been feeling for years to live into my nature became something I could no longer ignore. I knew I needed to get brave and make a drastic change. I began making a list of the most important lessons I learned about people, business, mindfulness, compassion and joy. I felt alive. In late 2018, I turned in my resignation. In early 2019, at the height of my corporate career, I took the leap and left to live into my true nature.

I began sleeping through the night again. I had endless supplies of energy. The curiosity and creativity I’d known as a child started flowing. I was aligned with who I fundamentally was as a person and that led me to the work I was meant to do. I spent the next several months sitting mindfully, reflecting, writing, building. In July of 2019, I launched my company dedicated to creating a collective consciousness of kindness and connecting people with the very best parts of themselves. I’m living into my nature.

Neuroscientists have found compelling research that suggests our brains are wired for compassion, cooperation and generosity. I’ve given a great deal of thought to that research as I’ve considered why so many people in business are suffering. Here’s where I’ve landed. Countless people go to work everyday to jobs where they are misaligned with their nature. Many are in corporate cultures that value money, power and outcomes over compassion, collaboration and generosity. Some people have become isolated as they go through the motions of their work. Others have shut down.

The Dalai Lama has said extending compassion to others is the catalyst for joy. If compassion is our true nature and we are spending the majority of our waking hours in jobs and environments that ask us to live against our true nature, is it so hard to understand why we are suffering?

My journey has taught me three truths:

  1. When we live against our true nature we suffer.

  2. Each of us has something unique to offer to this world.

  3. If we pause long enough, we can connect with our true nature and find a way to live into it.

It’s never too late to discover the best part of yourself. You just have to be willing to pause, open your mind and listen to what you learn. By living into your true nature, you tap into the best and most real part of yourself. Living into your nature creates alignment and flow that enables connection, leads contentment and ultimately, joy.