A few months ago, my husband and I moved our family from the Sydney city suburbs to the beautiful Blue Mountains, two hours by train from our workplace in the city centre. The view as I write is overlooking a chicken coop, and out beyond to endless trees. The soundtrack is the pulsing of cicadas, the call of cockatoos, and the occasional barking of a neighbour’s dog in the distance. I feel as if my heart has brought me home. I’m simultaneously trying not to listen to the little voice inside asking ‘what have we done?!’. It is only a tiny voice, as the majority of me feels ‘home’ and still surprised that we did it. This move still feels like a step into the unknown, and yet, also, a place I have always known and been searching for, for a long time.
The choice my husband and I have made to move away from easy commuting distance of the office and work more remotely is having a huge impact on our lives, and the lives of our two children. A lot of people have asked me what led us to make the move. My initial response is always that the impact of COVID-19 has made remote working a much more accepted option, and I am incredibly grateful that I have a lot more flexibility at the organisation I work at. Yet when I reflect, and go deeper, I realise it is only because of a lot of inner work I have done that has allowed me to free myself to make this choice. Over the years I’ve managed to de-couple my own self value from workplace accomplishments. Not only have I realised I can physically make a leadership role work from a remote location, but also, I have accepted that mentally I can make it work as well. My value is no longer derived from how people view me in the office, but how I live, love and make people feel more broadly. As I’ve become a more grounded, I’ve commensurately become less stuck. I’ve become more open to alternative options of where to live, work, and how to be. It’s incredible freeing. Not only has it allowed me to make a physical move to a beautiful mountainous location with a wonderfully green outlook, but it’s freed me up to engage with others in my work and life more broadly from a more expansive perspective.