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.