Marianne MacKenzie is a coach, strategist, author and a former EVP at Blackhawk Healthcare. As a “recovering perfectionist,” she believes her various titles, both professional and personal (mother, Mormon, wife) prevented her from discovering her own truth and experiencing life without shame or guilt. Now, she proudly owns the title “student of life” and delights in teaching others the shortcuts to self by living a Radically Engaged Life™.
Top Takeaways: Marianne’s #ShareYourTruth Advice
- Get real with yourself. Until you are honest with yourself, you will be sabotaging your own ability to really find freedom and joy in your life. No more convincing yourself that it’s ok if you can just get through this day or this week. Get real!
- Assess where you currently are. If you know where you are, then identifying how to change direction will be logical.
- Dream. Identify where you desire to be. Don’t settle! Use your imagination and dream. Your greatest joys will come from identifying that ideal life to spark your passion.
- Course correct. Identify the steps you need to take to get from where you are to where you desire to be in each part of your life. Visualize your energy coming back to you with each step you take and know that your journey to this point was what needed to happen to position you for what is next.
- Listen to your own wisdom. Your body and your heart speak to you constantly, and in order to listen, you must slow down and be quiet. Carve out time for you.
After more than a few years of 14 hour days and multiple bosses and many transfers in a fast-paced technology company, I hit a wall. I couldn’t hold it all together. They say the Universe gives you a whisper, then a tap on the shoulder and if that still doesn’t get your attention, then you get a cosmic 2 x 4 upside the head. Well, I had my nose to the grindstone and insisted on doing life on hyper speed; perfection was my goal and of course, I absolutely couldn’t ask for help – it had to be done on my own.
My average day began with texts from Asia at 3 a.m. and I was in the office by 5:30 a.m. Before I realized it, my husband was calling to ask if I was coming home for dinner and it would be 8 p.m. Often, I would realize upon arriving home to a dinner plate in the microwave that I had not stopped to pee all day long. I was living an unsustainable life and heading directly toward burnout. When I did burn out, I discovered that without my work, I didn’t know what my value to life was. I lost my identity and with it, my sense of self.
How did it affect your life and work?
I hit the wall so hard that I quite literally could not get out of bed. My weight dropped to 110 pounds. My body had the aches and pains of someone 20 years older. I didn’t have time or attention to be present with my family, and if my friends weren’t part of business, then I had no time for socializing. A vacation for me meant taking a day off to catch up on domestic responsibilities rather than enjoying life. I was a mess!
At work I was short fused, impatient and intolerant of anything that resembled an excuse for why things weren’t done and done perfectly. I kept thinking, I just need to work harder and it will get better. I told myself I would get caught up and then I would take a break and enjoy life, spend more time with the kids, romance my man, and exercise.
What was it like still having to perform as a high level executive?
I was always pushing. I didn’t enjoy the activities, projects or meetings because they just meant more work, more deadlines. All of the fun and satisfaction had been sucked out of my work. The pressures just kept mounting and what used to be an exciting challenge was now the normal day of crisis after crisis.
Did you feel like you could share your truth with anyone?
I took a leave of absence, which was absolutely shameful to me. I felt like a failure and not only could I not talk about it, but nobody called to check in on me. I felt absolutely alone and abandoned by the company I had given so much of my energy and passion to. I later found out that my team members had been asked not to bother me so that I could disengage and heal. Over a decade later, some are now asking what happened, which gives me the opportunity to share with them in hopes they don’t hit the same wall.
Where Marianne Is Today
Today my work is an expression of who I am authentically. I have and continue to follow the five steps I listed above whenever I have moments of not feeling in alignment with my heart. What is a Radically Engaged Life™? It means identifying and living the life that you designed to honor who you are and what you truly desire by connecting deeper meaning in the choices you make each day.
For me, it means that each morning, my number one job is to get myself in the state-of-being of joy. From this place I am able to be much more aware of whether my choices are honoring me or stepping onto that old habit of the treadmill-of-life I had experienced earlier in my life. I have to be diligent to make good choices for myself or I risk becoming exhausted, unhappy and missing the sweetness of life – and that means the world misses out on getting the best version of me as well.
What are you reading right now?
What makes you smile?
Sunrise (yes I’m a morning person), kale and flipcharts. I’m goo goo for markers and flip-charts.
How The Truth Behind Our Titles™ Impacted Marianne
Right to the heart! It took me years to finally speak my truth and the freedom that comes with speaking the truth is unexplainably powerful. This movement allows others to know they are not alone. Life is full of challenges, but those challenges aren’t to cause shame. If we share, we are able to grow. I realize now that life is all about relationships – relationships with self, with teammates, lovers, family, friends, and the world around us.
To connect to what my daily rituals are that get me to Joy and find further information on living a Radically Engaged Life™ join me at www.MarianneMacKenzie.com.