At 40 Rebecca become a first time mum. She never thought she would ever leave the job she hated because she felt she could never change career at this age AND also being a new mum. After feeling completely shit about working full time in a job she didn’t care for and burying her feelings for too long she decided to go see a life coach and things quickly changed. How did she pull off a career change, become a fledging business owner at 40 and with a baby? Here is her story…
My story is one I find difficult to talk about succinctly, so for the sake of keeping you reading and not boring the tits off you, here it is in bullet point form – I wonder if any of this narrative is familiar to anyone?
- 2009 – 2015 – Worked in a 9-5 sales job, got a couple of promotions, liked it, then wasn’t so bothered, then buried my feelings about it for a while, told myself I’d be daft to change now as I had it pretty good all things considered.
- June 2015 – got pregnant with my first baby, which meant any thoughts of leaving said job went out the window as priorities were shifting.
- January 2016 – Had baby, 9 months of mat leave where job was literally the last thing on my mind.
- October 2016 – Went back to work full time, realised it was crushing my soul/spirit/will to live and that I was miserable. Feelings of boredom, stress, overwhelm, self-flagellation about how selfish and stupid I was to consider leaving as I was a mother now and you know…responsibility etc etc came thick and fast every day. Usual tactic of burying feelings didn’t appear to working any more. These feelings were not going away. Felt totally stuck, super miserable and scared shitless. Started listening to myself, actually listening. Realised I am in charge of my life and able to make changes at any point and being a mum is no reason to suddenly think this isn’t true.
- May 2017 – Go to see a life coach because I needed to do something proactive about how I was feeling, and I had bored everyone else to tears with it by this point. Realised I was born to be a life coach too. This was both a shock and the most exciting thing in the world to me. Started putting all my ducks in a row to leave my 9-5 job and set up my own coaching business.
- April 2018 – left job and was officially unemployed/a brand new shiny solopreneur. My life changed forever.
It’s a classic example of priorities changing, due to becoming a mum and turning 40, and realising that I wanted to do something meaningful and fulfilling with my life. My old life just didn’t fit with who I was anymore.
In an attempt to neatly cover all I’ve learnt this year since starting my own business I have tried to write this blog at least 400 times. It has been a cathartic and eye-opening experience.
So here are my top 6 nuggets of wisdom for you – from this fledging business owner who is seeking to empower and (I hope) inspire others to have an honest conversation with themselves about what they really want. Because, newsflash you can do that. You are allowed to follow your dreams. Who knew!
It’s never too late to change career direction
This is all about our internal dialogue, the most important and powerful conversation we will ever have. If I had believed all the stuff I told myself about myself and how the world works when I was at the beginning of the journey I would never have started at all. Particularly powerful ones were you are too old, too inexperienced, this is your lot, you can’t do anything else, you will never make it work as a self-employed person, you have too many responsibilities now. Sound familiar?
But ask yourself the question – why do you think that? And honestly answer it – a whole lot of stuff bubbles to the surface. You have to be in the right frame of mind, you have to give yourself the time and space to dig deep and get uncomfortable. But it is worth it because you cannot achieve anything if you don’t believe you can. I was a 41 year old new mum when I changed my career trajectory entirely, from an employed sales rep to a self employed life coach. I am proof that it is possible.
Your mind is not always your friend
Change can be scary, and your rational brain will go into panic mode, it will throw everything it’s got at you to get you back inside that comfort zone. The fear is palpable. Changing jobs especially if it’s entirely new, has ripple effects across every part of your life, your relationships, your friendships, your online world, your finances, your confidence, your self-worth, your identity, your courage, your biology, your health. But this is the thing – we automatically go to the negative, we automatically go to the place where these ripple effects are detrimental, they spoil things, everything turns to shit and it’s scary unpredictable and overwhelming. Now don’t get me wrong it can be all of these things but these ripples are not just negative – they are hugely, beautifully positive too.
You don’t need to know everything about something to help people and be good at it
I guess this is another way of saying ditch the imposter syndrome and the perfectionism. There is no such thing as perfect anyway and striving to attain this nirvana like mastery of your craft will leave you depleted, stressed and in a place of lack. It will also stop you from starting in the first place.
Your story is your power
I am an ordinary girl, and yet therein lies my power. I didn’t win the lottery, I didn’t inherit a huge windfall or have a miraculous transformation. I didn’t get spotted by an influencer and catapulted to stardom on their coat tails. I didn’t have a damaged childhood or an abusive relationship to escape from, no extraordinary amount of tragedy in my life – just the usual stuff. No, the truth is the power of my story comes from just that – I am just like you. I have the same worries, insecurities and lazy tendencies as you. I get distracted by social media and Netflix Originals, and berate myself for eating badly and not drinking enough water, I don’t do nearly enough exercise and I wish I could stop procrastinating. I am just like you and I decided to change the status quo. And because I am just like you and I did that I hope that my story is inspiring.
Motherhood is the beginning of new opportunities, confidences and perspectives if you are open to them
It is not the end of the story, just a chapter. There is a new chapter. They say that when a baby is born so is the mother. I love that. It’s so true, but that mother is still the same person as she was before. Yes, some pretty big shit has gone down but it is so important not to lose sight of what you want for you. Don’t be martyr to motherhood and put your own life at the bottom of the pile. Mothers are an incredible bunch. We are fierce and brilliant but can feel lost and freaked out too, especially when it comes to our careers. We lose a sense of self sometimes and that can be very destructive. With my coaching I focus a lot on mindset and confidence and kicking those shitty limiting beliefs we have in the face because that is where it all starts from isn’t it.
Define your success in your terms
Our definition of success is very personal, it’s different for everyone so don’t judge your journey against that of someone else. I am not earning nearly as much as I was when I was employed, but I don’t measure success purely from a financial perspective. To me success is about growing and learning. Proving to myself that I could do it I could charge out of my comfort zone and not look back (and I am Taurus so bloody love comfort zones). To me success is about helping people and having the courage of my convictions. It is about accepting what you want and putting steps in place to make that a reality, acknowledging along the way that the road will be rocky, the scenery will be lush, and the route may change and that’s ok. Ditch the map and keep going.
A couple of years ago I was having a brew and ruminating on life, as you do, with one of my best friends. She recommended ‘The Fire Starter Sessions’ by Danielle LaPorte – this book changed everything for me and there is one quote that has stuck with me through my whole journey up to this point – it is one I still always fall back on – If it doesn’t light you up, you’re not the right person for the job.
And so, I find myself here – as a self-employed life coach helping mums just like me, find their purpose, find their next chapter, find the courage to actually go for it. And I couldn’t be prouder. And I am lit up.
Photography by Anna Hardy Photography
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