It’s been about nine weeks since I left my old career behind to find a new path, and with it, hopefully a degree of job satisfaction. It’s almost impossible to describe how much things can change in the space of only a few weeks! I was talking to someone just the other day and she said that she couldn’t have imagined a year ago that I’d be in the place that I am now. When I reflected, I realised that I couldn’t have even imagined 6 months ago the kinds of changes that have gone on in my life. A year ago I had a plan – I would stay in my job until the end of 2018, with a view to seeing my son through primary school before making any big life changes. I was going to look for a new teaching role in the hope that I could feel rejuvenated in a new environment and reinvigorate my career. But things changed.
I suppose a few things happened to my thinking. I realised that I didn’t feel in control of what I was doing. I wasn’t able to make many of the decisions related to the work I was doing. I needed to be able to take back the wheel. I also realised that genuine change wasn’t going to just appear, and would likely not be adequately fulfilled by a new job in the same industry. The other thing I realised was this: change would happen one way or the other, but if it was going to be change that suited me, I’d have to get it in motion myself. So within a couple of weeks of finishing my job, I let a lingering thought creep into my head a little more…
I had been thinking for a couple of months that I’d like to teach mindfulness. So I spent a few days thinking and wondering how I might go about it. I thought of applying for jobs, getting some sessional work in a local community centre or similar. That’s when it hit me – if I was going to be able to create the change I desired, I would need to go out on my own. The things that had frustrated me in my work as a teacher had the same potential to arise working for anyone else. I would get politics. I would get decisions made above my head, seemingly without purpose. If I started my own business, then I could make the decisions, set the tone and the expectations. So I did. And the one thing that has become obvious in the weeks since I started: there is always going to be change.
Like Heraclitus wrote, “There is nothing permanent except change.” I mean, I’ve even written about it here before. When I wrote before though, I wrote about perspective and acceptance. Both of these things still ring true. Change does become easier from the right perspective, and the path to it becomes smoother if it is paved with acceptance. But as I have moved forward in the last nine weeks – developed a new career direction, changed it again, started a business, let the ideas evolve – I have noticed something more about change. And this little something means that perspective and acceptance are a given. When I said genuine change before, this is what I meant. Genuine change is the change you make yourself that reflects your values. Making a change that fits entirely with your values leaves you with no excuses not to see it through. A decision made by an employer might change something about how you have to work, but only you can affect that change. And if it doesn’t align with your values, can you really see it through to its fullest potential? If you can, I’m not sure you can enjoy doing it.
So I have made changes. Big changes. And they’re the changes I needed. They’re the changes I want. Because they fit in with what’s important to me. I don’t have to worry about whether my employer values what I do. Because that’s me. I don’t have to worry about the direction I’m heading – it’s my direction. I don’t have to worry about whether others are making their contribution, because the only contribution that matters is mine. Sure, there are small questions around adequate income and building a new life. But at the end of the day, money comes and money goes. People come and people go. And I know more opportunities will come, as long as I work hard to create them.
While the idea of being in control of my own destiny from a business point of view is so empowering, it’s actually the message that I’m hoping to get across to my clients that inspires me to work so hard towards my goal. The content of the courses I’m developing is so close to my heart, that I just cant wait to share it with others, in the hope that they’ll be even half as inspired as I have become to change! This is probably sounding a bit like a pitch, but that’s certainly not my intention. What I want to point out here is that I am now completely at the wheel of my own vehicle. And that motivation has become irrelevant because I’m doing something that fits in with what I value most. It has taken me time to change the way I think about some things, but I’m not too worried about that. Because let’s face it. The only thing that is truly certain in this life is just that: change. Sure, there are times when I’m afraid. There are times when I feel vulnerable. But facing the fear and vulnerability is so incredibly exhilarating. And as far as that goes, I wouldn’t change a thing!