Changes and Choices in Life and Work
Why is it that when we know something in our life needs to be changed we spend so much time agonising about it that we end up doing nothing?
One of the reasons is we fear making the wrong decision and possibly making our situation worse. We then become stuck between the dissatisfaction with our current situation and the fear of taking a risk which might or might not improve our lot. What I have noticed is that once you do just one thing to make a change, then you are already on the path. It does not matter if this works out or not for you. The most important thing is that you have taken action. You can always review it and make the necessary changes later. There are very few actions which cannot be undone or rectified if necessary, and for those few which may have permanent consequences you need to accept responsibility, learn from it and move on. When you make a change which is a step in the right direction, you feel it in your heart. There is a sense of hope and excitement, and yes it may be tinged with anxiety and doubt, but that is what life is about. There are no guarantees. It is the things that we fear most which we need to move towards for that is the key to self esteem and confidence and a healthy self image.
When we hold back out of fear we rob ourselves of the joy of overcoming our self doubt and experiencing a sense of achievement. Taking small steps one at a time towards change allows us to try on how it feels when we act differently. These small steps are the building blocks to major changes. Think about something you changed in your own life and how you did this. What made you want to change and how did you take the first step? How did you feel when you were successful? Hang on to that feeling and don’t procrastinate any longer. As they say in that ad ‘ “Just Do It”.
Making changes and choices in life challenge us and forces us to move out of our comfort zone. I wanted to share my own experience when I first started out in my private counselling practice 7 years ago. Initially I tried several locations, but none of them were really suitable. One night, a chance meeting with another new private practitioner changed everything for me. We discovered we had a lot in common. We had read the same book on setting up in private practice and were both interested in being part of a support circle to help with this process I could not believe my luck in meeting her. We found a few more women and began to meet regularly to share resources and support each other. Shortly after she told me she was looking for someone to share her room to help with the rent. I really loved the room and agreed to take it for a few sessions per week. This worked well for a few months and then just a few days before I was due to go on a 2 week holiday, she called me to tell me she had made a major decision about her life and career and was leaving counselling and going into business with her new partner who had persuaded her to join his businessin the corporate area. She was giving up the room at the end of the week and taking all of the furniture with her! She was very apologetic, but said this was what she felt was best for her relationship. I was left with nowhere to see my clients and the task of finding another room quickly or taking over the rent full time.
I had a few sleepless nights as I agonized about this decision. My practice was still getting established and I was not sure if I could build it up to the point of affording the room full time. I asked myself “what if I can’t succeed in attracting enough clients to pay the rent and have to give up? I would feel a failure. On the other hand, I had already tried two other venues which had proved unsatisfactory and I really loved the room and the location. I had dreamed of having my own practice for many years and I felt this was a now or never chance for me. Although I was nervous and somewhat panicked about the need for a quick decision, there was also a sense of excitement as I contemplated working with clients in this calm, attractive environment which would be all mine. A room of my own!
I called the owner of the room and indicated my interest in taking it over. He was pleased not to have to advertise and surprised me by offering a sliding scale of rent over the next 6 months. This sealed it for me. I couln’t believe my luck and somehow felt this was meant to be. Over the next couple of days I arranged for basic furniture to be delivered before I went on leave so that I was able to continue seeing my clients on my return. Gradually I built up the practice and learned a lot about marketing my services, discovering what clients I worked best with and the type of work I really enjoyed.
The above personal experience demonstrates a major change in my career journey which involved a chance meeting, an offer which I accepted, followed by an unexpected choice. Fortunately I was able to recognize a potential disaster as an opportunity and overcome my fear and anxiety. I took a risk and made a choice which over time has led to satisfaction and success for me. I have never regretted my decision and every day I see clients in my room, I think about how lucky I am to be doing what I do.