What is your passion? What moves you as a professional?
I was always a dynamic person who felt capable and productive. A professional who was delighted to work for the company she was proud of. A woman who enjoyed dressing up, wearing makeup and heels, doing hairstyles, yet someone who felt confident in her uniform. This was the old me – the Brazilian flag carrier airline’s flight attendant and later, the entrepreneur that established her own venture.
With my move to Dubai (UAE) in 2008, I had to leave my life and career behind to support my husband in pursuing his career abroad, becoming a wife and a stay-at-home mom. That was a hard decision, and I found myself lost for a while, as I felt I had lost my sense of purpose in life. A couple of years later, after my second child was born, I had the feeling that life was passing by and I was not doing anything useful for myself or giving back to society. I believe much of that feeling had to do with the fact that I always worked and somehow, I missed my “old self”.
I was at a crucial moment in my life as I was trying to understand “Who had I become over the years I was living there?” “What was my passion?” “What moved me as a professional?” These questions were in my head for a long time and contributed to igniting my spark and joy to change, opening up a new world of opportunities and possibilities.
In an attempt to find my answers, I decided to go back to University – whilst I was still living in Dubai, starting a master’s degree in Business Psychology at Heriot-Watt University. The day I attended the first lecture, I was so anxious that I felt like a child going to school for the first time. Reflecting back on my experience, I believe that pursuing a master’s degree was the way I found to reinvent myself as a professional while rediscovering my inner self. Feelings of excitement, happiness and self-esteem were slowly returning to my life.
For a few hours, three times a week, I could detach from my life as a mother and a housewife – where I was no longer “the mother of” or “the wife of.” I was simply me… For the first time in so many years, I was able to voice my opinion, attend workshops and meet new people, learning new things and most importantly, I could feel part of a group that helped me bring back my self-confidence.
Today, I look back and I see how strong, persistent and motivated I was to reach my goal – successfully graduating with a Master of Science Diploma two years later. It was not easy, though. I had to overcome countless internal battles, miss many social events, deprive myself of many hours of sleep, and sometimes stop attending family reunions.
I believe that what kept me motivated was my determination to finish something that I had committed to, perform such a difficult task and prove to myself that I could do it. The reward was extraordinary and inexplicable – my new professional identity full of energy, self-esteem and confidence positively impacting my personal life and those around me.
Overcoming the Limits
The first positive impact after graduating was when I applied to work for a school after 8 years away from the workplace. I was encouraged by my neighbor – who worked at the school and knew I was finishing my master’s degree. I remember being anxious before the interview, but the senior leadership manager of the education department made me feel so empowered that the interview was a success and I left the room with the job. At that moment, I realized what moved me as a professional.
My passion to work with others, inspiring and guiding people to get the best out of them, motivating and working together with them in their own journey, is what inspires me to be a business psychologist and coach.
That was the first door to open for my career as an expatriate. It was a long journey, but my desire to win helped me battle my inner fears and ghosts, achieving my goals in pursuing my passion!
What Moves You as a Professional?
Finally, don’t forget the purpose that moves you as a professional. Sometimes we go through hard times, and challenges will be there. But if you stay strong and positive, confident in your abilities, you will be able to get through these complicated times smoothly.
And once you overcome your obstacles, you’ll be able to look back and enjoy every step of your way, rediscovering your passion and what moves you as a professional!
By, Adriana Meyer, Business Psychologist & Executive Coach