dream jobI didn’t just have a good job; I had a great job, the stuff of every employee’s dreams: Energizing, smart boss? Check. Growing company? Check. A team I loved working with? Work I cared about? International travel opportunities? Check, check, check.

So why in heaven would I leave?

Last year one of my mentors asked me a question: “What are you saying with your life?” I posted that question on my bulletin board at work, so I would keep it top of mind. I answered it every day with the same actions: working long hours, recovering on the weekends, rarely seeing cherished friends or family. It wasn’t the company’s fault; it was mine.

Fueling the introspection, my 85-year-old mother was living in a foster home on the opposite coast, battling the final stages of Parkinson’s disease. Dementia was creeping in, and she obsessively needed to tell every family story to her most adoring audiences in her final years. So I asked myself another tough question: If my mom passed today, would I say I was a good daughter, even a good listener?

It was time for a change – and not just a small one.

So I quit the great job I had. Friends, family and colleagues told me I was either crazy, courageous or both. I was scared as hell, but I knew it was the right decision. On my final day in the office, I sent an email about why I was leaving.  The subject line:  “And Then …”

I explained it was time for me to go and listen to my mother’s stories.  Three months later, in my mom’s honor, I launched a new employee engagement company, And Then Communications. I’ve been able to visit mom several times since then and be present – truly present – while I’m with her. I’ve seen friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I’m exercising more.

One dream ended; another began. This dream, this story has yet to be written. But today my life no longer whispers; it shouts. It yells assertively life is good, especially when you have the time to hear it.

How about you? What are you saying with your life?

And then?