I had a WTF moment a few years back. It was just after the Christmas break. I had gone back to work for an organisation that I had been (happily) employed by for 15 years. I was managing the tail end of a restructure and I had managed to restructure myself out of a job. Prior to Christmas, I was secure in the knowledge that I would be OK, something would come up and everything would shuffle along nicely. Just like it always had.
The trouble was, I’d had a longish break over the Christmas period which gave me time to stop, breathe and think. For the first time in a long time, I stopped to consider what I really wanted to do next. Truth be told, I had no bloody idea except for the fact that I didn’t want to keep doing what I had been doing. I was stuck. I was at the crossroads. But I carried on, which is code for I stuck my head in the sand and hoped like hell for the best.
Sure enough, I went back to work and a new role presented itself. Which I took. For about 2 weeks. After 2 weeks I knew this role wasn’t for me. So I resigned. On the spot.
With no job to go to and a buffer of about 3 months pay up my sleeve. (Always handy to have a f*** off fund!) I thought, what the hell do I do now? After all, I had made an emotional and risky decision (I was the main breadwinner) but whether it was guts, naivety or superbly strategic, I’ve never regretted it, not even for one moment (OK, maybe for one long drive home that day!)
Fortunately I quickly secured a role which was a pivotal one for both my professional and personal development. It’s also a role where I met one of the best leaders I have ever had, who remains a dear friend and mentor to this day. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
Then Came The Meltdown
That was a massive year. I left my employer of 15 years, started a new job and I turned 40. Holy hell. So in retrospect, it is probably no surprise that I had a major ‘oh shit’ meltdown that same year. I was suddenly stuck again, doubting myself, paralysed by anxiety and thinking that I was letting everyone around me down.
Uncharacteristically, I asked for help. As a result, I started working with a professional counsellor. I commenced our year-long relationship in the style of Brené Brown (“listen I am not here to dredge up my past and talk about family shit”) and once she set me straight, we got into some seriously good territory. She got me to really listen to my innermost thoughts, understand what my values and belief systems were, how intrinsically my identity is tied to what I do and she then helped me identify tools and plan what the hell I was going to do next.
In short, she helped me know my own shit, so I could deal with my own shit then get some good shit done.
Have you ever felt stuck?
Here’s the thing. I’ve been working with women and some men, for quite a few years now. So I understand that what I went through in the year I turned 40 was character building and also completely normal. So many of us arrive at a certain point in our life and wonder what the hell is going on, how did I get here and what the hell is next. Often this is triggered by an external event, marriage, divorce, kids arriving, kids departing, redundancy, a promotion or like me, a major milestone birthday!
If this sounds like you, I wonder if you’ve taken just one day out of your full life to stop, breathe and reconnect with yourself, your ambition and have the space to kickstart your “what the hell is next” plan?
Getting Shit Done
I get it, we are all busy, but if you’re not committed to you, then who is? That’s why I run #GetShitDone Days for women. I’m running them so you can reconnect with you, your purpose and what matters to you. So if you want to take that one day out for you, to know your shit, own your shit and get some good shit done, for you, then come and see me. It might just help you avoid a meltdown like I had, or navigate one a little more quickly than I did!
If you’re curious, click on the links below to find out more. 24 women have already participated in my #GSD Days and here is what a couple of them have said:
“I attended the #GSD first session; I highly recommend you take a moment for yourself, sign up and commit to you and your development”
“I attended the first one and can’t recommend it highly enough. Joyful, supportive and very challenging – I was walking on air for days!”
This article was originally published by Advancing Women, and authored by Michelle Redfern
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