Jon Zieve is President and Founder of Trust Your Energy, LLC., an Executive Coaching practice in Austin, TX.

My career in sales management started in 1983 but I never really knew what I wanted to be, so I settled for being great at what I was doing and raising a family. I wasn’t focused on moving upward, in fact I turned down several promotions.

Eventually, a VP promotion of customer support opportunity came that I felt I couldn’t turn down. I quickly learned that I didn’t feel as comfortable. I knew the experience in a different part of the business was valuable for me but I didn’t trust my gut instincts like I had learned to do in sales management.

So, in order to feel confident, I faked it by being what I thought my boss needed me to be, and I was rewarded with promotions to VP of marketing and sales. That’s when I felt something changed. My CEO expected me to trust myself and make good decisions on my own instincts. But, when he realized that I’d been blindly being what I thought he wanted me to be, he lost confidence in me. Eventually, I was demoted to a director level and scratched my head wondering what happened.

Instead of leaving the company or trying to get back up the ladder, I unconsciously accepted where I was. I focused more on myself; I saw I’d been living with a lot of back pain, fatigue and also feeling frustrated, but not understanding why. At this point in my life, everything became a challenge at the same time; My marriage, health and career.

With regard to my health, I had increasing sciatica and pelvic problems that kept me from things I loved, like playing tennis and running. It got to the point where simple things, like giving my dog a bath, were risky. I felt like I was always walking on eggshells, never knowing if I’d be able to stand up straight or not. I changed my diet, I took up yoga, and after many chiropractors found one that had a holistic approach.

She explained what was going on in my body: my spine was out of alignment because I allowed myself to change who I was to please others. The stress of being inauthentic literally pulled my body out of alignment. The thing I thought had skyrocketed me in my career had actually been hurting me! I was fascinated and eager to understand more about how things like this happen and more importantly, how I could reverse it. I came to see that my inflexibility as a person was represented in the inflexibility in my spine. I was convinced that anyone with my symptoms could benefit by learning how to overcome burnout.

At work, I found myself liberated from chasing the next career move to spend time searching within. What I learned about myself changed the way I managed my team. They saw the change in me and responded in kind. I was able to stop being a micromanager and control freak when I recognized that my value at work wasn’t in my ability to manage outcomes, it was in finding new ways to motivate myself (to overcome burnout) and help others do the same to feel better about themselves and their jobs. Without intending to, I became a coach to my employees and watched them thrive in their roles.

Doing this kind of work became the passion I’d been looking for. I decided to follow my heart and coach executives so that they could thrive and in doing so, create healthy work environments where everyone else does, too.

I took an early retirement at age 56, went to school for two different coaching certifications, and became an executive coach. Now I have a proven technique that I use with executives that helps them overcome burnout, find new motivation and improve relationships. As one of my client told me, “It’s weird but it works!”

When I look back, I see that everything that happened to me—from my demotion to my health and relationship issues—was a gift. Even though we might question at times why something is happening, it’s simply because it’s exactly what we need to heal and grow.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson