The real secret to how I got unstuck - and it wasn’t working with a coach!
Updated: Jun 10, 2020
I used to wake up dreading going to work (and literally shuddering when I got there).
I used to spend my weekends wandering restlessly, looking for something purposeful to do.
I used to feel guilty that my ‘good’ life with a house, partner, daughter and well-paying job, wasn’t enough.
I was always looking for more.
And I worried the problem was me.
I jumped from job to job, never finding fulfillment. I dragged my partner on weekend adventures his physical job left him too tired to go on. I spent my free time writing a novel I still haven’t finished with dreams of being the next Suzanne Collins (author of “The Hunger Games”).
I know a lot of us feel this way and convince ourselves that it’s just a part of life. It seems too overwhelming to take on and after all, if we have all the things we need in life, what is there to complain about?
We convince ourselves that it’s OK to settle for the lives we’re living, even though they’re not truly filling us up.
But for me, everything changed. I got unstuck, discovered my true calling and now spend every day filled with purpose.
Here’s my story:
I worked in a field I did truly enjoy and care about (that I even studied for in school!) - mental health promotion. But despite that, I felt trapped.
Working full-time was frustrating and overwhelming. There was too much to get done in the little amount of time I had off. I was resentful of time spent at work because of all the other things I needed and wanted to do.
I spent hours daydreaming of all the other jobs I might pursue and creative hobbies I wanted to spend time on.
I didn’t feel like my time was my own, like my life was my own. My job was pretty good as far as jobs go but I knew I had more to offer the world and it felt frustrating on a very deep level to know that I wasn’t living to my full potential.
I wasn’t fulfilled five days out of seven, 52 weeks a year, and it was killing my spirit.
In the meantime I was also a mom to a toddler whose Dad worked more than full-time hours. Life was as it is for many two working parent families but to me, it felt hard. Too busy and frantic. Too full of stress. Too full of have-tos and boring everyday things. Not enough fun. Not enough of the things I wanted to do.
It left me wondering: was this really all there was to life?
Then I got pregnant. The prospect of a year off for maternity leave felt like the light at the end of the tunnel
But this pregnancy and the one right after changed my life.
The first ultrasounds I received in both cases confirmed failed pregnancies. I was told to wait until my body miscarried.
When your body continues to hang on to an embryo that isn’t living, as though it hasn’t clued into the fact that no, you won’t actually be having a baby, it’s called a “missed miscarriage”.
In both cases, my body continued to think it was pregnant for a month after I first found out I wouldn’t be having a baby. And when I did miscarry, both were brutal, with severe hemorrhaging, ER visits and a blood transfusion.
The mental and physical recovery was rough. I didn’t want to be at work that’s for sure but I was hard on myself. Instead of taking the break my brain and body were trying to tell me I needed, I thought it would be lazy. I had already taken so much sick time away from work and I wanted to show I was a good employee.
Unfortunately, my body forced me to take a break when I completely burnt out.
Burn out for me meant my brain stopped working. I couldn't think straight. I couldn't process anything. I couldn't make decisions. I couldn't plan. I spend hours at a time sitting in my lounge chair on the deck in the yard just listening to music. The slightest bit of stress would bring me to tears.
The naturopathic doctor I saw told me I had adrenal fatigue - caused from my body being under too much stress for too long.
I had no choice but to take a leave of absence from work. I also worked with a grief therapist and took things day by day. I got the space, care and time I needed to clear my head.
I thought a lot about my future career. My priority was to be my own boss so I could feel in control of my own life. I brainstormed all the different ways I could pursue a different career but still use my skills, interests and background.
It was hard to think outside the box of what I thought were the only options available: work in mental health promotion in government or non-profit (I didn’t want to pursue either).
When I first considered life coaching I immediately brushed the thought away. I had worked alongside psychologists and mental health professionals. Life coaches were a joke.
But I investigated Professional Coach training and signed up to try the first in-person weekend of training.
It blew my mind.
It helped me uncover all the excuses I had been holding on to that were preventing me from quitting my stable job to pursue a life that would make me happy. I worked hard on my thoughts (and still do everyday and as it turns out, life coaches aren’t a joke).
In all my years working to support people in developing positive mental wellbeing, coaching is the first thing I’ve come across that actually works.
It helps you create a vision and goals that are aligned with who you truly are and what you truly want, unhindered by fears, supports you to take action and holds you accountable to that action. I can think of no better strategy to assist you in making a change.
Eventually I got pregnant again (this time with a healthy baby that grew into my now 2 year old son - that's him in the pic) and quit my old full-time job.
The transition was terrifying (I had a good salary, pension, benefits …).
I didn’t know what lay ahead but I knew without a doubt that I had to make a big change if I ever wanted to feel fulfilled.
I decided to prioritize a life of fulfillment rather than that safety, predictability, benefits and pension. Don’t get me wrong, those things are still awesome, but I am so grateful I’m no longer stuck in a place of fear where I feel like I have to trade in my happiness for them.
Unfortunately, I had to burnout to really realize that.
Now I help others who are where I was. Stuck at work. Feeling like they can’t or shouldn’t leave. Feeling guilty for wanting more from life. Who have a dream but make too many excuses for why they can’t go for it.
I use my 5 step process to help them get unstuck, figure out what they’re really meant to be doing with their lives and ‘maek’ it happen.
You don't have to wait for burn out to get the time you need to figure out how to change your life.
Before you get to burnout, consider booking a chat with me or, you can start with my Get Unstuck worksheet, which will help steer you down a new path.
You can do this, don't wait for burnout.