Is this really it?
I’m surprised, saddened and excited by some of the conversations I have. People often mention their future dreams in passing, and then dismiss them almost immediately afterwards. Maybe I’m listening better. Perhaps I’m asking the right questions. Maybe people are sharing more with me.
I’m fortunate that I have a lot of conversations. Through my Blue Diamond coaching and workshops, through Age Life Balance, through networking, and through general social interactions. I’m naturally curious and interested in other people, so I often find myself listening and asking questions. It seems preferable to talking about myself, although I’m willing to share when people show an interest in me and my life!
So back to my initial thread. Why am I surprised, saddened and excited by what I’ve been hearing? And, more importantly, what did they tell me?
I’m surprised because I had no idea that so many people had such dreams. Many of these people currently work and seem engaged by what they do. From the outside, anyway.
- One told me she’s always wanted to be a children’s book illustrator – she’s a project manager for a large telecom company
- Someone else told me she was interested in caring – she’s an accountant working in Financial Services
- Another still, a teacher, told me she’d like to do something completely different
So, why was I so surprised? I’d been having similar thoughts myself about doing something different. I guess I just thought that I was the unusual one. But maybe not…
In 2017, the ADP Research Institute (ADPRI), revealed that 70% of UK employees would consider leaving their current job, with nearly a quarter (24%) actively looking for new opportunities and nearly half (46%) passively looking.
I was saddened as almost as soon as my acquaintances had shared their dream, they told me it wasn’t feasible – mainly for financial reasons.
“There’s no money in it” – “I’d not be able to make a living out of that” – “I’ve got my mortgage and bills to pay”.
It saddened me that this small sample of people, that I happen to have had discussions with over a short period of time, could be representative of a much bigger population.
– Some people do jobs they’re not full engaged in
– Others live with unfulfilled dreams and potential
– Many feel stuck in their situation
Those that know me know I’m not one to be kept down for long. I’m a natural optimist and pragmatist. Resilience and resourcefulness are my sister strengths.
On reflection, I’m truly excited that so many people have these passions and dreams, even if they are latent today.
There is potential for some of these dreams to be realised through work i.e. a career change. Don’t we all envy those people who don’t consider their job as ‘work’ because they love it so much?! There could alternatively be opportunities through hobbies, voluntary work and getting involved in other initiatives. There are numerous different opportunities for us to find ways to lead more fulfilled lives.
What’s it to me anyway?
Roll back the clock several years and I was feeling strangely unfulfilled. I felt a little lost, and as though something was missing. For the first time in my life, I felt “Is this really it?”.
Up until then, I’d been enjoying my work – maybe not every minute of every day – but overall. I did a fair amount of soul searching and – Eureka! – that’s when I got the idea for my Age Life Balance blog. I love writing and sharing my ideas with others.
I also discovered coaching at a similar time – another piece of my ‘life puzzle’. Having experienced the power of coaching first-hand, I then wanted to use coaching to help others. I’ve since been building up my coaching skills (and qualifications) and I’ve clocked up almost 500 hours coaching others to date!
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike my ‘day job’ – I was an accountant for 22 year. Some days I even loved it! But I frequently questioned whether I wanted to be doing this for the next 20 years? Or even the next 5?
In my mind, the sooner I refocused my time and energy into something I felt truly passionate about, the better. The more time I could spend on my new vocation, the more I could benefit from it and the bigger impact I can have on helping others.
I finally left my secure full-time roll in July 2019.
How do you find your reason?
If you can’t relate to what I’m saying here, then that’s perfectly fine. Maybe you’ve already found your purpose. Or maybe you’ve just not reached your “Is this really it?” moment.
For those that can resonate with me, though, help is at hand! Here are some things that could help you to move forward:
The magic of coaching
Coaching can help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. It can also help you to articulate what it is you are aiming for in the first place.
Through Blue Diamond Career Coaching, I empower disenchanted mid-career professionals to take control of their work & their lives.
I don’t need a coach
I know some people prefer to try and help themselves. Here are a couple of resources that could be useful to you:
Blue Diamond Fulfilment Ladder – a tool I designed to help people just like you
Freedom Seeker by Beth Kempton – Freedom Seeker: Live More. Worry Less. Do What You Love
Free Range Humans by Marianne Cantwell – Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love and Still Pay the Bills
Become who you are by Rasheed Ogunlaru – The myth of modern living , finding yourself, innate happiness and the value of fear.
You could also learn more from some inspiring people that have already transformed their lives.
Life changing stories
I know many people that have already successfully made changes to their lives. Some of these are moderate changes e.g. setting up their own business in their existing field – this is already be a big, brave, bold step, so I don’t want to belittle this. I have tons of these examples.
I know many people that have many huge changes to their lives:
- Rich and Nikki – who retired from the RAF and combine quality of life with a holiday rental
- Emily – who left a secure role in financial services to become a stand-up comedian
I’ve also met countless entrepreneurs over the last few years who are combining part-time work, full-time work or motherhood with running their own businesses of all shapes, sizes and flavours. It’s all very inspirational. It’s all totally in your reach….
I am truly excited by the amount of passion and potential out there, even if this lays dormant today.
If you do find yourself asking “Is this really it?”, you may choose to ignore it – you may even succeed!
On the other hand, you may want to listen to your heart and find out more about how to address this need in your way, and how this could complement other parts of your life. I wish you all the best!
Thanks for reading. Check out other Blue Diamond articles to help you take control of your work and life.