January 27, 2014

Hard Questions When Our Values and Experience on the Job Diverge

exec in passageLast week I devoured the book, Executive in Passage, by Donald and Paige Marrs. It tells the powerful story of a man coming to terms with life-disrupting changes that shake him to the core. From resistance, to curiosity, to acceptance; over time he discovers his unique path through a series of crises beyond what he thought was possible.

While it may not be unique to raise questions about purpose in life or the continuity we feel between our values and our everyday experiences, it is rare to glimpse an individual’s struggle to follow those questions wherever they lead.

With no guarantee that pushing back against the powerful inertia from family, career, and financial obligations and pressures would actually lead to a more fulfilled life, the book is like an intimate diary that reveals how this top advertising executive risked the life he knew to find satisfaction in his career and happiness in his life.

Here is a bit more about the book:

“I had quit smoking but was making ads for Marlboro. I was working on Kellogg’s while restricting the kids’ intake of presweetened cereals. I was asked to keep GM’s gas guzzlers selling during the nation’s worst oil crisis. These clients were the largest billings in the house, and the most exciting projects for creative people, but I could barely stomach working on them.”

A crushing incident during a major client presentation brings Marrs to a breaking point. He finally stops resisting change, then quickly discovers that what he thinks will be a simple career change becomes a passionate quest for whole-life fulfillment.

As the story unfolds, readers find themselves comforted and not alone. They gain a clear sense that their challenges are not the result of mistakes they’ve made or signs that they are broken or lacking. Rather, they are milestone along a natural, albeit confusing and sometimes scary, unfolding of personal and spiritual development.

There is plenty to munch on here for anyone who would benefit from expanded perspectives on their search for a happier life. To speed the passage and make it easier and less frustrating, the story’s structure highlights:

  • Three distinct phases to successful transition
  • Eleven hidden thresholds of transformation
  • Deciphering signs and markers that point toward the best choices
  • The language of inner guidance, a personal mentor for the passage

For anyone interested in attaining a deeper understanding of the mysterious underpinnings of a beautifully evolving life, this is an extremely helpful guidebook.

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