The March 2015 issue of SUCCESS celebrates achievers, including you and me. As we were putting the issue together, it occurred to me that while I’ve had terrific mentors who shaped me as a leader, the hardest work I’ve ever done, I’ve done on my own. At certain crucial junctions, I had to be my own life coach.
Early in my career I took a job at a magazine that shall remain nameless. My new boss had seemed a little strange in the interview process, but the salary was good and I figured, How bad could it be?
So bad, as it turned out, that in order to, uh, get off the pot every morning, I had to gulp down an unreasonable amount of Pepto-Bismol. As soon as the alarm clock rang, my stomach erupted. I had never worked for a certifiably crazy person before (nor have I since)—someone who threw tantrums, humiliated employees in front of their peers and caused at least one person to come into my office crying every day (no exaggeration). I had to get out—but how?
I made a decision: I would stay six months, enough time to look halfway decent on my résumé. After that, I would leave, freelancing while I aggressively pursued a new opportunity. I also knew that I needed a healthier way to deal with my stress than drinking so much of that chalky pink stuff that it made my ears ring. I started meditating in the morning—simply breathing and quieting my mind for 20 minutes, then studying a positive quotation or passage. Three months into life at the loony bin, my magazine was bought by a huge, thriving media company, and I was working for one of the best people in the biz.