“I think you need to leave Facebook. It's killing you."
The words my wife had said to me during a couple's therapy session were devastating. She was right. And yet I was terrified about the prospect of leaving a role I spent the last 3.5 years pouring all my energy into. My entire identity had become synonymous with my role as "Manager of User Research" on the team responsible for all the features related to posting on Facebook.
On paper, I looked like the paragon of success. I was a rising leader at one of the most sought after employers in the world. My team was shaping the experience of 2 billion people daily. I was helping grow the careers of talented researchers, and sharing my social psychology knowledge with people across multiple disciplines.
However, internally there was another story going on.
Every morning I would leave the house at 6:30am and return around 7:00pm. I would constantly respond to messages and emails up until bedtime, often cutting off good conversations with my wife to attend to work matters. Not only was I completely out of balance, but I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was caught up in chasing an "exceeds expectations" performance rating every six months (which impacted my salary and bonus), and I was constantly looking for opportunities to prove I was worthy of a promotion. I was burned out, unhappy, and unfulfilled, but Facebook was, in my mind, the apex of my career. There was no going up from there. And what would everyone think of me if I left?
I’m not a natural rule breaker.
Like many people, I spent most of my life seeking ways to fit in, be accepted, and be successful in all the traditional senses (prestigious career, wealth, relationships).
I had a desperate need to prove my worth to others, and to not stand out.
I also had serious “Imposter Syndrome”. “Imposter Syndrome” is where you feel like a fraud and that at any moment you could be caught out. You think thoughts like, “Someone is going to find out that I shouldn’t have been hired,” or “someone is going to find out that I’m not as smart as they thought I was.”
Here’s the funny thing about “Imposter Syndrome”: I know I’m smart, capable and a hard worker. I have a PhD and moved fairly quickly up the corporate ladder at Facebook and Microsoft. Still, those imposter thoughts - and resulting feeling - repeated for me.
So I worked harder, I studied more, I achieved more - but none of it was enough and none of it made me feel fulfilled.
I knew I needed to change.
In September of 2017, I left Facebook.
I started on a journey that led me to discover who I truly am - fully and unapologetically.
I hired a coach. I committed to living fearlessly and in alignment with my deepest truth. I committed to following my inner compass, no matter how immensely uncomfortable that feels at times. I committed to taking a more holistic approach to myself - getting out of my head and into my heart and spirit more.
Coaching was a life-changing experience for me. Even with all my training, knowledge, and toolsets, I couldn't see my own blind spots and ultimately needed my coach to help me rewrite my own rules.
Today, I am fully me. In every situation, with every person, confidently and unapologetically.
I know that if this is possible for me, it is possible for you.
Here’s what I want to say to you:
If you are at a place in your life where feel you don’t fit in or if you feel burnt out, stuck, or like you don’t know where you want to go next, change IS possible for you.
If your relationships are suffering or you don’t ever take time for yourself or for play - all of this can be readdressed and healed.
I can help and I want to help.