I recently reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen in about 8 years and, as we were catching up, I was struck by the change in her.
Aged 64 she looked absolutely fabulous. There was an ease about her I hadn’t seen before, she was glowing and, best of all, she was in love.
But that wasn’t all. The most important thing she told me was how she had become fed up with her life and her relationships, specifically her fear of stepping outside her comfort zone. She believed herself to be too old to have dreams. She’d thought it was too late for her. She believed she wasn’t good enough to take the risk.
The last time I saw her she was still in employment, doing a senior and responsible job, a job she was good at, had done for many years, a job that she felt was totally uninspiring but safe in that it paid well and that she could do with an arm tied behind her back.
“So what changed?”, I asked her. This is what she said,
“It was my 55th birthday. I looked around at my life and my friendships and I thought, “do I want to live like this for the next 20 or 30 years?” The thought horrified me! The problem was, I didn’t know what to do about this deep feeling of discontent.
I remember when a friend told me how much she admired me for being so successful and that comment felt so painful because I realised I didn’t see myself as successful. That triggered the question, “what would make me feel successful?” and that was the beginning of a process of figuring out what was important to me.
It was terribly painful to realise that I wasn’t particularly emotionally engaged in any part of my life except my family.
Cut a long story short and I discovered the courage to take risks. I asked for my working hours to be reduced which meant a cut in salary. That made things tight but it was worth it because it gave me the time I needed to figure out how I wanted to live the rest of my life.
Finally I saw something that had been under my nose all this time. I loved animals!
Getting to this point took a while because I took several wrong turns but I finally got there.
So I decided to become a full time student and retrain as a vet. For the first time in years I felt like was truly alive! Yes, it was hard but I discovered a love of learning I didn’t know I had! I just took to it like a duck to water and I qualified just 18 months ago.
I’m now in the process of building a vet practice and I’ve teamed up with a woman I met on the course.
I can’t tell you how great, scary and exciting it feels!
And about 6 months ago I met a man at one of the conferences I started going to and we’ve been seeing each other. I really like him so we’ll see where it takes us.”
I thought about her story afterwards and this is what I concluded:
- She was really lucky to have figured out that she was slowly shrivelling away inside her comfort zone and decided she didn’t want to stay there anymore!
- She spent time figuring out what she really needed and wanted to feel fulfilled and engaged with her life.
- She decided to dip her toe outside her comfort zone – in her case, she reduced her working week though that seems like a big step but it felt right to her and that’s all that matters.
- She started searching for what it was that felt right for her which led her up the garden path more often than she liked but she finally got where she felt she belonged. That was essential because a veterinary degree course takes 5 years!
- Those steps opened up a whole new world for her where new people came into her life that brought new opportunities, like the woman she teamed up with to build a veterinary practice and, perhaps, love.
The great thing about my friend’s story is that it’s almost like a blueprint for transforming your life.
Which part inspired you to think, “if she can do it then so can I?”
With love and gratitude,
P.S. I coach women to grow their self-confidence so they can build fabulous relationships.
P.P.S. My third book, ‘Open Your Heart: The 7 Secrets Of Strong And Loving Relationships’ is now on Amazon and getting 5* reviews!