Not so many years ago I found myself in a very messy place. I had fallen out of love with my career, though I'm not sure I had ever loved it to begin with in all honesty. I had fallen out of love with my husband, who I had definitely loved, fiercely, I had fallen out of love with my life, which felt to me like I was stuck on a treadmill, just putting one foot in front of the other in a perpetual cycle of obligations and responsibilities. And, most of all, I had fallen out of love with myself.
Life had happened to me and I had no real idea of how I'd gotten there. Just rotten luck I guessed. "Wrong place, wrong time". Well, that was the story of my life.
After I had switched one crappy job for another, and jumped ship from my marriage, in an attempt to feel better about myself, I found that I was still unhappy in my life and desperately miserable with myself. And then, one day, before I had ever conceived of ditching my corporate career to become a coach, I read an article that contained the phrase... "You have the exact life that you chose."
Try as I may, I've never been able to find the article since, so can't credit the writer, but the general tone was that wherever I had found myself in life, it was of my own making. So, how did those words change my life?
Well, it was the first time I ever really appreciated how the decisions I had made in life, had put me where I was. I suddenly realised that it wasn't that life had happened to me, but more that I had happened to life. Every choice I had made, big and small, had delivered me, with laser precision, to this exact place.
For example, when I was in my teens, and had chosen to keep few friends and mostly keep myself to myself, a habit I cultivated long into adulthood. When I decided to go to college instead of 6th form, and wound up spending two years of my life just scraping by academically (due to limited attendance and effort) and mainly drinking beer and playing pool. When I decided that seeing the world wasn't as important as clothes and shoes and partying. When I decided to get an admin job instead of going to uni. When I decided I had to buy a flat at 19 instead of enjoying my youth. When I settled down at 20, married at 23 and had kids at 24. When I decided to put the status and financial rewards of my career ahead of my loved ones, and myself. When I decided to take on a mammoth 4 year degree, despite already working 50-60 hours a week, having little time for my family and having no time for myself. I mean seriously, I look back at all of that now and it's little wonder I wound up hating my life.
So, after a week or so of wallowing in self-pity about what a mess I had made of things, it suddenly occurred to me that okay, I had chosen that life for myself but, more importantly, I had the power to choose something different. I had the power to choose anything that I wanted. And, yes, it was scary. It was scary as hell (sometimes it still is). To change course so radically. To push myself way out of my comfort zone. To feel absolute terror, yet go after it anyway. To gamble my security. To change my entire life! But I did it with purpose, by putting a lot of importance on making sure I didn't just knee jerk in a different direction, and find myself somewhere else that I didn't want to be. I mean, after all, that was how I got here in the first place. From not thinking about what I actually wanted from my life. And, once I had a clear idea of where I wanted to be, it was far easier to figure out the steps I needed to take to get me there. And the risks I've had to take, though far bigger than any I've taken in the past, actually felt like less of a risk than continuing to live a life that left me feeling like my life was meaningless. Like I was just put here to pay bills and wait for retirement (if I lasted that long).
So how about you? What words or experiences have changed your life, for better or worse? And, what things would you love to change or improve?
I'm Jo Davidson, a professional life coach and NLP practitioner, specialising in helping women to get whatever they want. My mission is to lead you to shed your limitations, break out of your box, build incredible confidence, and create the life you never dared dream of.
You can have any career, relationship, health and fitness, finances, confidence, or anything else that you want, as soon as you're ready to let go of the idea that you can't.