Changing direction 2021

It has been an on again off again road to changing direction. This year 2021 I took action.  I signed myself up for an 8 week programme to help me make a significant career shift. 

Be prepared this isn’t one of my usual posts it’s a bit more personal.

Taking a Leap of Faith

My head is full of doubts and an inner voice that questions every little spark about what could be out there for me.

From the outside it probably looks like I have it all.  My own small business that had, until last year, survived for 12 years.  I can remember the excitement of starting out on my own, even though I knew this little wedding business of mine would take up much of my time, I really had no idea how consuming it would be.

I have lived in the world of weddings for 12 years.  What may not come across on my profile and social media is how much angst I have lived with during those 12 years for all sorts of reasons.  Will the sunshine, will there be a strike, are the flowers going to be to the bride’s liking, will the divorced parents behave for just this one day.  So much anticipation and many things outside of my control but I would worry plenty. 

A wedding day is like no other, the vision the couple has is so important to me.  I do not breathe, nor do I eat until the party is in full swing.  I would then look back and feel proud of what had been achieved, but in most cases there would be a sense of panic that prevented me revelling in the moment and connecting with the joy of the newlyweds and their family and friends.

So What’s Different

Then along came Covid-19 which turned travel and destination weddings on its head.  I had an inkling this was going to have a huge impact on my business very early on. 

I took early action to write to all my couples in February 2020 to caution about the potential fall out of the virus and the spread of infection.  Most couples were of the mind that it would all blow over.  Well we all know how that turned out. Then came the urgency to postpone or the devastating decision to cancel weddings.  It’s still on going.

The Impact of Loss and Grief

It wasn’t Covid that caused me to think about closing down Accent Events, the voice started to get louder around the time my father passed away in 2015. 

As I work on my own I still had weddings taking place in Italy.  Just before Dad died he asked me if I was going away again, he was worried I would not be there when he passed.   This didn’t happen but it was a very stressful time.

That year the trips to Italy were about 2 every month, each time we had to find people to stay at our home and look after our dogs, then hospital visits and finally getting Dad home.   

After Dad passed away I lost my life’s compass, the joy was lost and I had feelings of guilt about being away at such a crucial time. I only told my closest friends what was happening. No couples knew.  It really was a case of having two personas and to think about the energy I was giving off.  I did not want the way I was feeling to affect the excitement of each couple’s wedding day.

Outside of My Control

Then we had the year of airline strikes, having to compete with so many to rebook flights to be in Italy for weddings and then being notified the morning we were due to return to the UK that our flights were cancelled, this meant extended stays in Italy, additional costs at home for house/dog sitters.  It became overwhelming.

Some time in 2019 my decision was made, that I did not want to work with uncertainty.  I was never going to live in Italy which would have removed some of my concerns, it was time to make a change.

Careershifting for a 50-something

I call this my phase-in-life career shift.  I committed to an 8 week career shift programme.  I am on week 2 and already I can see I have made progress, moving from fear and doubt to opportunity and optimism. 

I do not usually share this amount of personal information.  I could never admit I am not in control or that I am anxious about what is out there that is available to me, a 50-something with an unconventional career history who wants to do more meaningful work with a wider impact.

My Careershift Missions

So far I have sent out friend questionnaires to get their insights about me. I have done a hypothetical 2 year hiatus of travel and living my best life with all expenses paid.  I am an imaginative person and I did indulge in some whimsical and playful ideas.

I am now on week 2 and I am more excited. The mission to make bold requests! Bizarrely I do not find it difficult to make requests on behalf of clients but if it’s for me then that is way outside of my comfort zone.  I got the ball rolling and made 6, so far only 1 reply, watch this space as there are some potential career change ideas in those requests.

The idea is not to get hung up on getting a response but to pay attention to the process of asking.  It really does become easier with each request.  I am secretly hoping there will be a few more responses, but it isn’t as much of an issue to not be heard.

Mission 2 is to write a reverse job ad – that has caused some deep thinking about what, who and where lies my next opportunity.  

I started jotting down descriptive words under headings with the intention to then write full sentences with clarity – it became very important to me to be totally clear for this career shift, this major life change.  I am kind of imposing a sense of urgency on this, no doubt it’s going to be trial and error followed by success.

I feel I am being pulled in a certain direction, one that will involve some self-work and perhaps further sharing of a traumatic period from my 20s.  

Letting Go

So far I am finding this cathartic as I have held on to a lot of negative talk and pain.  I want to shed this darkness as it has prevented me being present and enjoying life to the full.  It feels like the time is right to step away from this and make changes that will help me live my best life. To work towards a new meaningful purpose.  Now is as good a time as any.

I am excited to see where this career shift programme will take me.  It is so good to be part of a community of people all on this journey and everyone of us will have a different experience.

Anyone out there that wants to share their story?

Are there any 50somethings out there who have made changes to their life/work.  I would love to hear from you and to hear your story.