Leaving Las Vegas

February 25, 2016

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Last week I attended a retirement party of a former co-worker and friend. It was a lovely celebration of a terrific person who made a significant impact on not only the business but many people as well. It is rare to find leaders who can do both! While it was good to get to see some old friends, it was also quite interesting to be back in the city and back in the building I walked out of for the last time three years ago.



Yes, three years ago last month I left my 27-year career with P&G. I was ready, and had been for a few years. I was in my forties, cleared the "rule of 70" hurdle, but wasn't able to retire early. So I walked away...from stock options, medical coverage, job security (a false sense), and the annual company holiday gift (which always includes the best ever chocolate covered almonds!) But I wasn't walking away. I was walking toward. Toward a great opportunity at another company.  It was scary and exciting all at the same time. And while I hadn't been "looking" when the recruiter called, I was ready. My heart was ready.  I knew I had more to do. More to give. I wanted to be able to live out my purpose more fully each day. The thought of "hanging on" until retirement, well I just couldn't do it and be true to myself.  So I jumped.

While my heart was ready to go, I soon realized my mind had to catch up! I was not ready for how quickly the whole process went. Three trips to Pittsburgh, 14 interviews and the big job offer, all within 6 weeks. Phew! It was quite a ride, and through it all I learned a lot. In fact, there were 6 key learning's I would be happy to share with you if you are ever interested or find yourself ready to Leave Las Vegas.

One key learning during this time was the importance of asking for help.

I wasn't all that great at asking for help. But at that point in time, I needed help and I needed it fast. I needed advice, I needed some coaching and I also needed information in an area where I had no previous knowledge or experience. So I asked. A lot. And the support I received was tremendous - from many people, some I knew well, and some I didn't know so well. For which I will always be grateful!

Asking for help is a critical part of effectively managing change. If we have done our work to clear the emotions (see January blog) AND invent NEW possibilities (see December blog) we are going to need HELP to ACT. 

We'll explore this concept of ACTING a little more in next month's blog. Taking any old action is easy. Taking the RIGHT action is a little trickier and summed up well in Sheryl Crow's lyrics from her song Leaving Las Vegas: "Such a muddy line between the things you want and the things you have to do."

Kate Johnson
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