I worked my way quickly up to senior positions, managing larger and larger teams. By the time I left the corporate world I was in charge of a team of 200 offshore staff and around 30 onshore staff.
When I started working more closely with people, doing their appraisals, their personal development plans and helping them manage any stress related absence, I soon realised that I was less interested in the business, (although I am passionate about business as you will find out), and more interested in people’s wellbeing.
I was lucky enough to come across an inspirational person who encouraged me to go for my dream and pursue working in psychology.
‘I’m too old. It’s too late for me…’
Before then I had always been fascinated by psychology, but at the age of 27 I thought it was too late to change career.
Work was “not meant to be enjoyed” I was told. And as I worked in a bank, it was a “great job to have” I was also told.
So, when I enrolled to study a full-time degree in psychology, my colleagues couldn’t understand it. I was on a great salary and was well respected. One of my family members looked at me and said, “well I think you’re crazy”.
And so it was a challenging start to my training.
I wasn’t even let onto the course to start with.
The university declined my application for a degree because I didn’t have A-Levels and I actually had very poor GCSE grades.
Yet I knew in preparation for the degree I had already bought an A-Level book on Psychology and studied it from cover to cover.
I also knew the most important thing: I wasn’t about to fail.
I explained this to the uni.
I showed them my CV.
I had them speak to my manager about how motivated I was.
And I talked my way onto the programme, reversing their original decision.
And what a good decision it was for them – three years later I graduated top of my class, despite being pulled up from my poor attendance at times.
Let me clarify this: I didn’t just bunk off.
I had to work 22 hours a week while studying my full-time degree to pay the rent.
And the uni timetable was so poor that sometimes we had a lecture at 10am, and then again at 2pm. So, I sometimes needed to miss one to go to work.
First the success, then the realisation…
I then finished my degree and was as motivated and enthusiastic as they come! Yet I couldn’t find any work in the field. I sent around 200 applications in about six months and didn’t get a single reply.
I had to volunteer, and I did for two years.
It wasn’t until ten years after starting my journey I could finally call myself an accredited Psychotherapist and Mindfulness Teacher.
But the journey wasn’t over. I worked my way up the NHS into senior positions. Starting to realise the hard way how rife burnout was among mental healthcare staff.
When things got tough, I remembered how I was always interested in business and so started telling a few people of my dream of running my own business.
“What about insurance?”
“I’ve got insurance”.
“What about supervision?”
“I’ve already got a private supervisor”.
“What if something goes wrong”.
People seemed to have a problem for every solution I had.
“Don’t forget you’ve got a mortgage to pay”.
You have to be careful who you tell your dreams to…
Not everyone can understand entrepreneurship.
And don’t get me wrong, not everyone wants to become an entrepreneur.
We have different dreams, but two things link us as human beings: We all want to feel happy and content.
Some people are more in touch with what I call ‘fear-based living’, where you compare yourself with others, you seek other’s approval, give in to limiting beliefs, self-doubt, anxiety and worry about what others will think if you do something that doesn’t follow the norm.
There’s nothing wrong with fear, but sometimes we can give in to it and avoid going for what we truly want.
So be careful who you tell your dreams to.
Not everyone will be able to understand your unique aspirations and ambitions.
Sometimes the people meant to support you are filled with their own anxieties and insecurities, and so they can’t be there for you.
So just know that it’s only you and your dreams that matters in the pursuit of a meaningful life.
Don’t let other’s desire for a safe and predictable life get in the way of what’s important to you.
So, what have I learnt?
If you have a dream, go for it! Be wary of the dream stealers!
You need support, though.
I didn’t do this on my own. I had great bosses that understood my dream wasn’t to work for them. But in a way, my guess is that they cared more about me, than they did about the work I could do for the company.
So, they supported me to follow my dreams – even if that wasn’t in the interests of the company.
If any of this resonates with you and you haven’t yet gone after your dreams, you need someone in your corner.
I know what it’s like.
Success isn’t a straight path.
A mentor who’s been there and done it
If you want a mentor, get in touch – I’m your man.
I’ve done it, and I’ve got the experience and the psychological tools to help you live your dreams.
After all, dreams really are just goals.
Along the way you will come across obstacles.
Some of these will obviously be practical.
But most can be labelled as ‘self-doubt’, or anxiety.
I will just share one quote with you…
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”. Suzy Kassem
So, whether it’s a career change, becoming a conscious leader, building the relationship of your dreams, becoming a parent, or going after that sporting achievement you desire, it all comes down to the same mechanics – mindset.
Dreams are there to be pursued.
Especially if you want to live in alignment with your true calling.
And it all requires the same tools to get there.
The regret that’s most often found on people’s death beds is that they regret the things they didn’t do.
So, how can I help you live your dreams?
As a Life Coach in Dorset I often help people go for their dreams. Send me an email or give me a call if you think Life Coaching might be for you.