Clearly ahead of me were the rungs, each one to be ticked off as I passed swiftly to the next.
The acquiring of the next promotion, then the next, were what mattered. The addictive high of success was what I craved.
When finally, my winning approach halted spectacularly, the ladder crumbled, and I stared up into terrifying empty space. If the ladder would ever reappear, I was certainly at the bottom.
The time to step back from the hustle of my ruthlessly driven life caused me to reflect. To my growing horror, I realised that in order to get my success fix, I had not stayed true to my values. Everything I had achieved was not truly deserved.
I had nodded along in meetings when really I should have challenged. I’d said ‘no problem’ when asked to do others’ dirty work. The values that were becoming so dear to me had been vague in my daily behaviours and practices. In trying to please everyone in order to succeed, I’d unwittingly lost myself.
I recognise now that integrity is key to my fulfilment. It doesn’t matter if I’m not pleasing everyone – the next time I am pursuing a step to success, I will do it with integrity.