As a young entrepreneur, I started a printshop in downtown Los Angeles with my then partner. We were young and ambitious and quickly grew the business to lucrative levels - yet our mistrust of each other and our inability to create a working partnership created a situation which I felt was "toxic" and my only option seemed to be to dissolve the partnership. I was only 22 years old when I left, and felt there was a whole world ahead of me, and that surely I deserved to work with colleagues who respected me and were more trust-worthy.
As I continued my education and expanded my career into technology, healthcare and later into corporate consulting, there would be times when I would be 100% engaged with my work, and other times when I couldn't focus at all. There would be times when I'd feel on top of the world, where everything seemed perfect and I felt so lucky to work with such wonderful colleagues. And other times when I would feel that certain colleagues or places of work were just "toxic" and that I deserved better. There were times when I'd feel that my level of disengagement at my place of work was because I hadn't found my "purpose" or that the particular workplace or project just wasn't delivering the level of "joy" that I needed. I even took time to live in pristine environments, breathing clean mountain air, eating organic foods, and working with "highly conscious" individuals.
Yet, through it all, my levels of engagement were never a direct result of what the workplace was offering me or the result of the clarity of my "purpose" or "vision".