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Cog-less in the Corporate World

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Dear Sally
Weekly Advice Straight From The Horse’s Mouth.

Dear Sally,

I could use your wisdom.

After an illness, I’ve been on leave from my job for a few months. It makes sense to return, because I gotta eat and money doesn’t grow on trees, but I’m concerned because my heart doesn’t feel in it anymore. I’m worried that my heart wouldn’t be in any work, not any that actually pays.

In this time away, I’ve slowly (and not without difficulty) grown to see myself more as a whole person and not just as a useful cog in a corporate system. I’ve nurtured myself and learned that I don’t have to perform to have value. I’m afraid I can’t play the corporate game anymore, that I’ll have to do some pretending, which I’m not good at, that I’ll be miserable and skeptical and everyone will be able to tell.

The more I think about it, the more my dread grows. Should I just head out to a small town and become a waitress, a job no one expects you to really care about? Any advice would be appreciated.

Sincerely, Cog-less in the Corporate World

Dear Cog-less in the Corporate World,

Yay you! Your time off helped you come to your senses. You are awake and aware to the problems of the corporate world, the modern day human world, and you now have access to some internal wisdom. Just imagine that you have a wise mare inside of you. She lives in your cells, your gut, your heart. She has been trying to tell you something is wrong. She’s been sounding the alarm the alarm. She gives you symptoms of exhaustion and pain in your body. She gives you negative thoughts and troubling emotions. Today she says, “Finally girl! You heard me.” The wise animal inside of us always knows best. Make no mistake that your personal illness had everything to do with trying to live and work and exist in a sick system. You hear me? It’s not your fault.

So, what to do next? Let’s go back to that wise mare inside of you. Does she want you to play the corporate game or does she want you to lead yourself as you see fit, one moment to the next, one day at a time? My guess is that she doesn’t want you conforming. She wants you to rise up, challenge what you know to be broken and begin what is perhaps the most powerful form of social activism we have: Start with you. That’s right, sister. Let the change start with you. Don’t you dare play that game for one more minute. You make the system adapt to you. Create your days, your processes, your relationships in the genuine and beautiful way you need them to be. This is your natural leadership, how you lead yourself. You take it everywhere you go. By the way, the world of waitresses might be broken too. Just sayin’…. You can take this challenge, the challenge of changing YOU to make the world a better place, anywhere you decide to go. This is about committing to what you genuinely need and following through with giving it to yourself.

Horses do this work as efficiently as possible and it’s always with the balance of self care and care for the greater good. Our herd needs to live as a cohesive community in order to survive. So, consider those two factors when you are leading yourself through your day. I go to my corporate pasture and how do I start my day in a way that feels good to the wise mare inside of me? And, how is that choice actually a way of benefiting the greater good of the other humans in my orbit?

Try the exercise of planning out one work week at your corporate stink job. Write out the schedule for each day. Now, insert the things you want and need into the schedule. It might be a five minute break to write, meditate, walk outside. It might be time to graze with friends. Maybe you have some people who support you and you plan to check in with them. Add music. Add movement. Think about how you can make every day of the week matter and work for you.

Here’s your mantra: “I lead myself. I lead the wise mare inside of me I lead us everywhere I go and in everything I do. Change in the world starts with change in me.”

Love, Sally