The Road Home: The Journey Towards Living Your Purpose

“What’s the optimal speed to hit one of those trees, so I don’t kill myself but hurt myself enough to get a three-month break from work?”

My journey towards walking the light of purpose

I’d “made it” but my heart was crying

I was 32, had a six-figure salary running a $100 million sales department for the coolest IT company at the time, and 65 people working under me. Most people would say that I’d made it. And yet, here I was, considering self-harm as my only escape. Maybe I needed a break from work, not hospitalisation.

An interlude with lasting impact

This journey had started many years before, back in my last year of business school in my native Sweden.

The summer of 1993 my dream of becoming a musician was still alive.

Quitting a guaranteed career

The questions I’d started to ask myself before starting guitar school had drifted away and then disappeared altogether. Rather than following any purpose in my life, I was following a plan. And that stayed the same as before: good school, good job, good retirement. Any sense of inner purpose remained out of sight and out of mind. And so, in 1998, I graduated from business school and landed in the management trainee program at a large, Scandinavian consumer goods conglomerate.

Accepting an award from JC and his crew at Universal Studies in Hollywood 2003.

Escape, lawsuit, and vodka

I mentioned initially that my career path didn’t end up as I expected. I’m a thoughtful, careful and sensible man by nature and not given to rash behaviour. So, I quit the IT firm, but not with a bang. Instead, after a few more months of grinding away, a friend suggested that we both jump off at the same time and set up an IT management consultancy, which we did once we’d secured our first client.

The first steps to explore purpose

My lucky break came, once again, from the very corporate world from which I was trying to escape when a global networking company offered me a position. The job was actually a breath of fresh air — this was a smaller, younger, more vibrant company without all the stifling bureaucracy — but the bitter taste of my time at the telecom company remained.

Walking in the light of purpose

That answer came in the form of my coaching accreditation, which gave me the confidence to start working with clients. Eventually, this led to partnering with Oxford Leadership, and in turn, opportunities to go into large companies and work with leadership development until, a few years past my 40th birthday, I left corporate employment behind to dedicate myself full-time to explore my passion and purpose.

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Fredrik Lyhagen

Fredrik Lyhagen

Ready to become who you could be? I’m an Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant writing about Leading Self & Others from a lens of Integral, Jung and Zen.