Know the Way

Last week, I started a new job running the market intelligence function of a mid-size global medical devices company that’s poised for exciting growth. My team is responsible for staying on top of customer wants and needs, competitive forces, industry trends, as well as implications of the healthcare reform. It’s a fast-paced environment, and there isn’t much ramp-up time for my specific role—not that the over-achiever in me really needs any nudging to want to contribute right from the start!

graphOver the weekend, as I reflected on my first week on the job, I simultaneously felt challenged and excited—really excited—about this new chapter in my professional life. Although there’s much for me to learn and grasp rapidly, I started to feel being in my groove again in a way I didn’t over the past 2 years, when I had shelved the business leader in me to embrace the personal empowerment work I wanted to do. I also really like my boss and my team, as well as other colleagues I’ve met thus far. What lies ahead in this role energizes me, the steep learning curve I’m facing in short order notwithstanding.

Do you know that fear and excitement carry the same energy in our body? It’s only the meaning we attach to each that makes one feel bad (fear) and the other good (excitement). In other words, it’s our interpretation that feels bad or good, not the energy itself. Knowing so gives us a great deal of power to shape our own experience in any situation, instead of being rendered powerless to the whims of circumstances. After all, we have full control over how we interpret any situation, so long as we bring consciousness to seeing what meaning we choose to ascribe to it.

Knowing the Way—and Not Losing It

As I’ve written before, I know that one purpose of my returning to the corporate world is to model fearless leadership. To be able to model anything, I need to be able to live it first. I need to stay grounded in the power of my higher self and my inner wisdom, lest I find myself sucked into the undercurrent of any chaos that may arise at any point, or falling prey to the knee-jerk reactive fear of not knowing the answer or being wrong and, in turn, losing my job. In short, I’m committed to staying centered and not losing my way.

At a practical level, I also realize that some adjustments must be made to my daily routine. Going from the past 2 years of setting my own hours working from home to some 12 hours per day away at an office—including a commute—something has to give. This change in my daily routine requires honest reassessment of what’s really important to me:

  • taoWhat do I deem as critical priorities for which to protect time?
  • What do I need to let go of and from which to release (ego) attachment?

Aside from ensuring that the important relationships in my life don’t suffer, I got clear about 3 things that are critical to maintain, lest I lose my way in this new segment of my journey:

  1. My spirituality – This is my most important priority. This last week, I woke up 2 hours earlier to make sure I started each day with my meditation and journaling practice, before easing—not hurrying—into my morning commute. For not being a morning person, that wasn’t as easy as it may read here. However, I was committed to doing so, because I knew that if I weren’t grounded in my center, I’d be prone to getting tossed around by the current of circumstantial pressures, forgetting my purpose and access to my inner wisdom—and losing my way. Beyond my daily spiritual practice, I’m in the process of looking into different meditation practices that can help me go even deeper into my connection to the Divine. By tending to my connection to Divinity, it can only make me a better leader.
  2. Time to decompress every dayIf I allowed myself to become depleted, I’d be no good to anyone, whether in my personal life or at work. Especially with a significant change in my daily routine, I had elected last week to spend the few hours before bedtime to honor my introverted self and do what felt good to me, which wasn’t much on most evenings. Going forward, I’ll be even more selective about whose company I keep after work and on weekends, and what kinds of social engagements I accept.
  3. This blog – It’s part of my personal mission to be able to share reflections and lessons learned about living—and leading—consciously from the heart, not just the intellect. I’m committed to protecting the space and time to continue to reflect, write, share and, hopefully, inspire.

On a related note, to my friends on social media, please accept my sincere apologies for my inconsistent presence and engagement of late. I trust that, after you’ve read this post, you’ll have a better understanding of the reason behind.

To everyone reading this post, I hope my personal reflections on making sure I know the way—and endeavoring not to lose my way—through this recent professional transition encourages you in some small measure to think about the following:

  1. What am I committed to doing so as to know my way?
  2. What will I do to stay grounded in my truth and connected to my purpose?
  3. What are my priorities? What’s important to keep in my life, and what must I let go, if necessary?

So, what do you say? Would love for you to share any reactions you may have in the comment box below.


Photo credit:
Chinese character for “Tao”:

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About Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Dr. Alice Chan is passionate about developing conscious leaders and organizations. Her path to serve her life purpose has included being an award-winning Cornell professor and a leader in the corporate world for nearly 15 years. She’s the author of the book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, and creator of the program, 30 Days to Living Your Best Life. All content on this blog and website is her own, not the opinions of her employer.

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Congratulations on your new role! It sounds like a great opportunity in so many ways. Keeping your practices is essential. As time goes on, my guess it will be more challenging to do so and will take more effort to stay on track. It is the balance and focus we place on it. I am so excited to continue to learn from you and see you continue as a fearless leader. 

Thank you for all you do!  Jon

DrAliceChan moderator

@ThinDifference Many thanks for your support, Jon! Yes, keeping up the practices and priorities I identified could become more challenging in time. But I'm committed to them, as I had experienced what it's like not to be grounded while trying to manage work pressures, and wowed not to fall back into that trap again. Thank you very much for being part of my community to keep me honest in my intention to be a fearless and conscious leader!



I'm inspired by your journey, sharing and learning!  First of all I love that you pointed out the that difference between fear and excitement is interpretation.  As I reflect back on times that I've experienced both, I can see that it's my perspective that grounded me in the fear or excitement.  Knowing that empowers me to choose another perspective! 

As someone that has also stepped away from corporate leadership, I'm curious about how that will go for you.  I could totally relate to the "overachiever" in you!  Creating sacred time in the morning and in the evenings is so critical to not lose yourself in the work but instead remain centered in your way of being. 

Look forward to more from you, Alice! Enjoy this chapter!

DrAliceChan moderator

@AlliPolin Thanks, Alli! I still have to remind myself all the time that fear and excitement carry the same energy. And, yes, I'm very much enjoying this chapter. :-) Thank you for joining the conversation.


Hi Alice,

I'm impressed - you get up 2 hours earlier! I'd so desperately need a nap if I did that :o

It sounds like you have given careful thought to each aspect of this next leg of your journey! Thanks for sharing it here! I was most impressed by what you said about fear and excitement. So true that they do feel the same and that we interpret them in the way we are most inclined. Something to think about! I always learn from you when I drop by!





Congratulations on such a wonderful opportunity. May I first say that I am SO glad your blog is still a commitment. This is an exciting adventure you are on both a business and spiritual journey and I for one want to come along and learn! You continue to be such a beautiful person of authenticity. You speak from the heart and from personal experience and I look forward to reading your writing every week.

I can relate to you as I have taken on several extra business projects the last two months and have fallen behind with my blog. I finally got a little time to do some catching up, hoping I'd find something new from you - and as usual you did not disappoint! :) Even with all you have going on you are setting an example of putting the important things first. Those things are you. If you continue to put you first in all of this I know you will always know the way.

I just had a very similar internal conversation with myself as I watched the sunrise this morning. I've been pulled in a lot of directions but I've also loved the challenge. I am asking myself to apply everything I've learned about me, about who I am, what is important to me, what makes me happy...and I agree with you, if I keep doing that I will know the way too.

Working on my next blog...I am committed as well. :) I love this connection.

Thank you Alice - I deeply appreciate you!

Hiten Vyas
Hiten Vyas

Hi Alice,

Congratulations on your new job, my friend! I hope you get a lot of joy from the work you're doing and that you succeed in just the way that you want to.

Your post was an excellent one and it certainly got me thinking about my recent experiences. It seems like you and I have been going through similar shifts. I too have started a new day job recently, so my activities online have been much limited. Just like you as well, one of my commitments, which I'm determined to follow through with in my new schedule, is to ensure I continue to write a weekly post on my blog.

Once again, big, big congratulations!


Congratulations Alice. I know this is a big step in your journey. You will no doubt impact the people this role brings into your life in a very positive way. What a great opportunity to lead and serve and put into practice all that you have been teaching. I know this must have been a big decision. Great points to ground yourself in this transition. I wish you the best and so glad you will still be posting here. You have been, and still are, an inspiration.


  1. […] the beginning on July, I wrote about my commitment to being grounded in my spiritual practice as I reentered the corporate world. Although I’ve been burning the candle on both ends of late, I’ve managed to start every day […]

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