jurgen: born and raised
Vancouver is my hometown and while it might top the lists of best places to live, by my mid-twenties I had stopped appreciating it. I moved away to pursue my degree, went travelling and lived abroad for a while. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever come back. As life happens, my wife and I eventually settled in Vancouver. I knew it would be a great place to raise kids, but personally it felt like taking a step backward.
Then I got a job offer from lululemon to work as a recruiter. I’d admired the company for a long time. The product was quality and they had a great record for innovation. Their people were known for being active and healthy, and there was this great sense of community that really appealed to me.
“I’d tour candidates around the city, check out one of our city beaches or take them for a hike up a local mountain. They were amazed at how beautiful it was. I became pretty proud of my hometown.”
As a recruiter, part of your job is showing candidates from other places how great Vancouver is. I’d tour them around the city, check out one of our city beaches or take them for a hike up a local mountain. People from London, New York, Sydney, you name it, they were amazed at how beautiful it was. I guess it was unavoidable that I started to see Vancouver the way they did. I became pretty proud of my hometown. But I still had that feeling that there was something better out there.
I’d been in recruiting for a couple of years when a role opened up in brand experience redoing the careers section of our website. I had a marketing background and I lived lululemon careers, so it seemed like a perfect fit. I had some solid conversations with my manager about my long-term goals within the company. It was going to take serious personal development on my end but she fully supported the move.
I didn’t know it when I started at lululemon but personal development is core to our culture. People here really care that you are your complete and happiest self. It isn’t sitting in a circle, sharing your feelings and singing Kumbayah. There are a lot of tough questions and you’ve got to be ready for the answers.
So I was doing all this personal development work, which started with envisioning my ideal life. I listed everything I needed to be happy. “I need to be active and healthy. I need to be outside. I need to be five minutes from a mountain bike trail… .” I was creating this vision of my life, but I wasn’t putting two and two together. Even after I moved into brand experience and I felt like I was where I was supposed to be in the company, I was still holding onto this idea that my ideal life was somewhere out there.
One morning I woke up around 6am. My wife and kids were sleeping. I grabbed my snowshoes, jumped in my car and started the drive up Mount Seymour. It was dark when I got to the top and it was pretty much just me on the trails. I was standing at a lookout point, watching the sun come up over downtown, when it finally hit me. I was already living my ideal life. I’d just needed to understand what makes me whole as a person to realize it.
“I was standing at a lookout point, watching the sun come up over downtown Vancouver, when it finally hit me. I was already living my ideal life.”
I no longer take where I live for granted. Vancouver isn’t just my hometown. It’s my spiritual home. So much about working at lululemon has surprised me, but this has probably been the most important revelation for me. It is truly a gift to know that I am one hundred percent in the right place.