I was listening to Triple J on the radio this morning and they replayed the moment the winners of their school band competition “Unearthed High” found out they had won.
The school audience was screaming, people were crying, it was complete and utter joyful chaos and it has left me with a massive smile on my face and a head full of reminiscent memories.
Although I didn’t play an instrument I loved music at school, particularly singing, as did my friends. Our favourite after-school activity as teenagers was bundling into someone’s living room and singing along as the boys in the group played guitar.
I have incredible memories of my last few years at High School – good friends, amazing experiences and a number of “first” loves (why stop at one?) made it a very special time in my life. Taking the decision to move away to university was hard as I was leaving so much connection behind. But I knew that time in my life had come to an end, and I needed to move on and create new experiences and connections.
Life Moves On
Recently I have made some major personal decisions and realised that it’s time to move on again. Many look at me and ask “will you ever settle down”, or “what are you searching for”?
Anthony Robbins says that one of the greatest sources of personal unhappiness is when the life we expect to have (or think we should have) doesn’t the match the life we actually do have.
The truth is that I have discovered life is not static – it shifts and changes, morphs and moves in different ways – sometimes in ways you neither expect, nor can prepare for.
With each stage of life you have a decision to make. You can fight the changes by digging your heels in and refusing to acknowledge them – clinging on to your old version of how you expected your life to be; or you can accept them and work with them to create a new version of your life, that you know will make you happy.
A Decade of Crossroads
Around 95% of my clients who come to me for career coaching have one thing in common. They are at, or fast approaching, the end of a decade in their life, or they are right at the start of a new one.
I don’t believe that’s a coincidence.
As we approach or enter a new decade in our life it’s a natural time to step back, take stock and re-appraise where we are heading. It’s not only healthy to do this; it’s crucial from a career perspective.
Many women are anxious about the crossroads they find themselves at. Those in their 30’s and 40’s seem to have lost a lot of the confidence they felt they had when they are younger, and they’re unsure of what their career and life should look like going forward.
I want you to know you are not alone, and that it’s ok. Here’s the advice I give my clients:
1. Your experience counts – all of it.
Be proud of your past. Every step you have taken, every job you’ve had, every success and every mistake along the way – it all adds up to who and what you are now. Embrace it and use it to further your career and better yourself.
2. The only person you have to please is yourself.
It’s YOUR career, and it’s YOUR life – no one else will ever be in your shoes. You have to make decisions that are right for you, and sometimes that means dis-pleasing others. This isn’t about being selfish. It’s about understanding what will make you happy and going after it.
3. Seek guidance
I have many clients who tell me they feel better just sitting in front of me. A non-judgmental, external perspective can make a huge difference to your decision making process. Realising that you have options and you are not “trapped” takes a huge weight off your shoulders during this transition period.
4. Change is inevitable, growth is optional.
Nothing stays the same. How you react to change defines the quality of your life. Choose growth every time and you will flourish.
5. It’s your life, live it.
Stop putting off the stuff you really want to achieve. No one knows what’s around the corner – we think we’re immortal, sadly we’re not. Work out what you want to do, whether that’s travel more, sing and dance, see more of your friends or family and GO. DO. IT.
Reaching a crossroads can feel scary and daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Embracing change and accepting that you’re simply about to enter a new phase of your life will take the pressure off and allow you to make good decisions about your future.
PS If you’re currently at, or approaching a crossroads in your career, I’d love to help. Click here to answer some brief questions about your situation and book a time in my calendar for a free 15 minute chat to see if and how I can help you navigate this period successfully.