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Embracing big change, saying goodbye while welcoming the new

I changed careers for the 3rd time in Summer 2023. This was big for me and it felt big too. I had added a second career of working as a coach into the mix alongside my job in 2018 so I was gently moving myself into new areas of work for a while. So some may not view my career change as a major event but it really was - for me.

It has been a very interesting period of change for me because I have known for a while that I wanted more. More for myself, more of a sense of purpose, more of a sense of fulfillment from my work effort too. I enjoyed my work in further education and I loved teaching 16-18 year olds! I just wanted more and I thought why not? Why not go and find out if there is more for me. Why not give it a go. When I explained my justification for leaving a place I loved working for all of 23 years, some thought this was maybe a superficial reason to leave as there isn't a clearly defined why. Why change careers? Especially when I have fewer years of work before than I have behind me. At times, it was conversations like this that fed the self doubt. There is always self doubt, it just depends how much you choose to pay attention to it, to how loud the doubt becomes and whether it drowns out your self belief. the self doubt led to thoughts of: was my desire to change career, part of the perimenopause, was I burnt out, was I making a mistake? The doubt was definitely there. But I know that true courage is lived when we accept the fear and still believe we can overcome it. So I did it! I wasn't burnout, running away or making a mistake. I was choosing to start again, to have a new beginning! I now work as a part time psychology lecturer and researcher and I run my own coaching business as a chartered psychologist.

Conducting research is part of my new role and I am a novice at this. This is a strange and unfamiliar feeling for me, to be a novice in my place of work. To need to ask the simple questions, to take more time than is expected to complete the task because I am slower at it than others. And that is all ok. I am ok with that. I am good with all this change in my work life as well as change to my identity too. I have coached myself through the period of thinking I am about to make a mistake. I have been open and vulnerable with fellow coaches who have provided a compassionate space to listen. And I have shared with colleagues my thoughts on not having the skills and expertise for some of the more specific tasks we perform in Higher Education roles. My colleagues have been fantastic at being open about their transition into their roles too. The phrase, we are all in this together, is one that is in my mind most days, because I know we share more experiences with each other than we think we do.

There were many moments of "I can't believe they think I can do this!" And again I check in on myself and remind myself that I can do this job and I am doing this job! For me this career change is an exciting time with moments of self doubt and uncertainty mixed in. I am living the concept that we are ever-becoming beings. We are constantly learning and changing. I am learning so much on a daily basis and not just work related information, I am learning how I am in a different environment. I am learning how to unlearn too.

Living this major change has given me an added layer of insight into some of my clients' experiences of change. It has highlighted to me the power of coaching and having that person to discuss issues with, in order to move forward with resilience. Changing careers at this stage of my life has been worth it and I am proud that I stuck with the tricky decision to change careers! We are ever becoming.....

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