Once upon a time in my life I had a job I hated. We can all relate I am sure. One of the functions of this job was to run errands for the office. My official title was Office Manager. My actual title could have been Office Gopher/Step-and-Fetch/or Errand Boy. So, I made a point to run my errands in such a way that I got to go by places or see things that gave me hope. One day I inadvertently found an oasis.
I was trying to get to a Bank of America branch. I had a large amount of coins that I had to deposit for the business owner…this was so he could put them in his granddaughter’s savings account .It had nothing to do with the business. The drive through would not take the large coin bag and I had to go to the nearest walk in branch. It was in a downtown office building that is clad entirely in glass. Inside the building were several businesses spread over 10 stories. The first floor of the building had a large water feature. When you walk in the building it was the first and loudest thing you’d hear.
The atmosphere was amazing. It was like white noise blocking out the frustration I felt inside. There was a cafe across from the water feature. I didn’t care if it took me an extra 20 minutes to get back to work. I bought a cup of coffee and sat and listened to the water. It was a healing place.
The office I worked in was one the most unprofessional places you could imagine. From the barrage of foul language to the owner’s love of smoking cigars in an open office to off color humor, I could not see any hope some days. My self worth was plummeting. Something changed inside when I found the oasis.
In that amazing place I was reminded that there was a much bigger world out there. One that was professional and didn’t smell like a cigar bar. Every time I went I watched the people around me. They were sharply dressed. They looked like they had a purpose about them. It was an amazing encouragement. Slowly, I started to believe that I could be like that.
It has been 13 years since I first found it. I am since in a career that is light years removed from where I was. It is a place where I feel like those people I described before. I have worked hard. I have tapped into the potential that was locked inside of me. I have gained skills. I have gained respect. I know the work I do matters. However, I will not forget the lesson I learned all those years ago.
I still need the oasis, though not the one I originally found. I am not the same. I need it for different reasons now. I have new dreams and goals I am working towards, both personal and professional. Life gets so busy sometimes it is hard to find a quiet moment to think. So, I have to find an oasis. After a few minutes listening to the water (or whatever the noise may be) and being surrounded by people, the thoughts begin to flow.
Do you have an oasis? Is there a place you go to gain perspective? Does it help you find focus? If you feel stuck, I encourage you to find your own place to recharge. Even if it is just 40 minutes in the middle of an average day, it will do wonders for your soul.