In 2007, I stared out at a ski slope, a beautiful view from the big windows of my corner office.
Big, beautiful cubicle, but still… a cubicle. Something in me felt trapped. I didn’t know it then, but this was my introduction to the experience of cubicle crunch: the misery that plagues us whenever we get stuck serving only ourselves, while knowing deep down that we are capable of so much more.
My boss assured me with an ear to ear smile that I’d landed a dream job working for him, and a major book publishing firm.
Monthly all expenses paid meetings in our New York 5th Avenue office, the conference room cubicle overlooking Central Park, literary soirees, book launching parties, free food and liquor, juicy celebrity author gossip, and lots of really pretty people…
Managing my expense account advances responsibly meant I couldn’t afford a social life when I was back at home in Vermont. My family was elsewhere. I had great neighbors but having moved to Woodstock for my job, I didn’t have any close friends at hand.
Our well-oiled machine, our venerable institution, and my boss, couldn’t see the digital writing on the wall.
My boss couldn’t see, wouldn’t listen, and blocked me from doing the job I’d been hired to do; to bring our imprimatur into the digital age. My boss couldn’t face his pending obsolescence at first (he’d been in book publishing for 25 years and could name drop with the best of them) but the inevitable soon became painfully visible the day Borders bookstores went under.
But I could. I did everything with my pitiful potful of power to wake everyone up in our company to see what was headed our way through a new thing called Amazon. It was going to be a bumpy ride, and our cookbooks, travel guides, and lifestyle book publishing label might not survive another year.
Book sales took a nosedive. I spoke of e-books and digital rights with my boss, and he began to see me as an adversary and part of a bigger problem he wouldn’t be able to control or solve fast enough.
Our company website was a static, dead end. Even worse, my boss had neglected his relationship with our web designer, who not having been paid for a couple of years, wasn’t enthusiastic about updating our site. I wasn’t supposed to bring that issue up at a weekly management meeting, but was it in integrity to keep the rest of the staff in the dark about why we were losing ground so fast?
I didn’t think so.
Their jobs were on the line, but so was mine. Cubicle crunch began in earnest. The silent expectation was to shape up, shut up, or ship out. The ‘real me’ got smaller every day, slowly being ground down to the bone by the cubicle crunch.
Mental and emotional pain became physical pain and illness.
I came up with Plan B. Getting a real estate license in a town full of second home-owners? Could be good. But I caught the flu in the night class, got pneumonia, and walked around with it for three weeks.
Uncomfortable changes slamming me so fast, I literally couldn’t catch my breath.
Then the real estate market bubble burst. The sales license I’d acquired was now virtually useless. Two cubicle crunches in a row.
In that difficult time, alone, unsupported emotionally and now financially, I discovered that getting free of the cubicle crunch requires MASSIVE energy, a big personal charge, second only to the energy we expend being born.
The massive energy I needed to become a soul-preneur? Being laid off from that literary glam job ‘a million girls would kill for…’ and then having no way out through selling real estate, then no visible means of support? Over time, using specific skills (meditation, daily emotional events review, dream yoga) I regained enough life force, enough creative energy to become the “can” opener that freed up my best version of me..
The day I cut through those cubicle walls with the energy of “I can and I will,” the shrinking cubicle in which body, mind, heart and soul were stuck? When I was ready to be the me I was born to be… one human determined to serve others as well as myself? Cubicle crunch gradually disappeared from my reality!
What I realised was that I had all the energy, all the passion, all the clarity and focus I needed.
The very difficulty of the situation I was in held the key to my release from cubicle crunch.
The more difficult things got, the faster and more powerfully the answers came to me. For me, this is proof that life supports conscious co-creation, collaborating with who we truly are as soon as we let go of our cubicle mentality and open to life’s deeply organic and intelligent flow.
This is what the great, wild and beautiful world whispered somewhere deep inside, its message coursing through the blood in my veins…
“Welcome home! Thanks for showing up. I’ve been waiting for you.”
Has my life ever changed!
It’s been a quantum leap into an open, free space where giving my unique gifts to this world, where listening to and asking from my heart, where receiving, sharing and gratitude all became not only possible, but a natural, organic body-based reality one that I’m grateful for every day.
This open space also led to abundance, a community that gets me, more love, more inspiration, more creativity, more practical connectivity and more solid ground under my feet.
I now belong to a global community of way-showers, heart-centered misfits who are a lot like me, those of us who can’t do anything else but be our authentic selves, being, doing, and giving our best back to life.
I teach how to get intentionally get in the flow of that big, creative energy that will not only liberate you from your version of cubicle crunch, but will liberate you from the unconscious and incomplete co-creations that leave us baffled when things don’t turn out the way we’ve hoped or imagined they will.
Having mastered this after years of learning to align energy, intention, attention, emotions, I share how to set up new choices using what I call the Third Way. An abundant breakthrough in energy, inspiration, and limitless creativity all came out of experiencing my incredibly intense cubicle crunch, along with each transition that followed — not in spite of this pile-on of hardship.. What I now share with people around the world comes from leaning into challenge and intensity, not shrinking away from it out of fear..
Know what I say to the great, wild world?
Anaiis and her community of fellow co-creators will be leading Soulpreneurs Mastermind, a course to teach you how to create a heart-centred business and empowered life of purpose and fulfillment, beginning June 21.