Being a mum and having had plenty of ‘life experiences’ that have kept me on my toes over the years, I assumed that taking the leap to leave the NHS after 15 years and starting out on my own, wouldn’t be anything I couldn’t handle. I was of course, unprepared for (or at least had not conceded it could happen to me) the feeling that woke me in the middle of the night that I had made a massive mistake – what was I thinking?! I had a good job, good prospects, still room to learn, grow, develop…why, and how, had I talked my way out of that?
The truth is, I am still not sure. A month into my new arrangements and I have barely done anything other than wonder how I ever managed to organise life and hold down a full time job.
I have now accepted that I will have feelings that swing from euphoria at running things on my own schedule (when I have something to run!) to the total dread that this will be at the least, an economic nightmare for my family.
Perseverance is going to be my new friend. That and I am going to work on some good old fashioned, Self-Affirmation (Steele 1988)
Change is a scary, no matter when we do it; whether we see clearly down the road at what is head, or our view is blocked by the trees or the glare of the sunshine, the challenge is what we do with it when its here – Does the road ahead seem too long? Does it seem filled with challenge or opportunity?
I have for a long time, prided myself on having quite the Hardy personality; able to control my environment, believe that I can overcome most if not all, experiences, see challenge as an opportunity and really commit to the task at hand, finding purpose in what I am doing. And all of these things are still there, but I think my confidence just needs a bit of a boost. For this I will be turning to Self- Affirmation – the ability to demonstrate my own adequacy (to myself).
On an everyday level, this can be as much about the small acts, the small moments, as the big ones. Signing my first client and receiving positive feedback from this will of course be a great big affirming event. In the meantime however, it will be about remembering, pondering and looking around me to see all of the things that are great, that I am achieving or have achieved already, how much people mean to me, why this felt like the right change to make, remembering to make time for the view – it would be easy to focus (or fixate, perhaps) on the end. And whilst it is important to keep the goals in mind, even small inputs into the self-system (me) can have large effects, because a healthy me is motivated to maintain my own integrity and generate affirming meanings from the things around me, the things that are already mine, that I have already achieved.
It may be a long road ahead, but making time to stop and appreciate the view will certainly serve to remind me of how much of the road I have already travelled.