My journey of starting again began when I developed a serious, life changing illness. I was a nurse at the time and, due to the length and severity of my illness, I felt I had to give this career up. I separated from my partner and felt very lost and isolated with so much uncertainty for the future. Would I survive? Would I ever be fully independent? What would I do for work? Would I ever feel better? Who would ever want a relationship with someone with the health issues that I had? Fast forward and I reconnected, and fell in love with, someone I had met in my late teens. We dated, cohabited and eventually got married. My health improved and I began volunteering for the Samaritans which is predominantly a suicide hotline in the UK. With my confidence at rock bottom, this was a huge deal. The boost I gained from engaging in something positive for me, and providing support to those in need, was what I needed. I volunteered for them for a number of years and I was recognized by others in the organization. I became a deputy director in two branches. I was valued again. My health was less and less of an issue and, with the support of my husband, I embarked on training to be a therapist. I was starting again.
Fast forward a number of years later and I found myself completely lost again. We had taken the decision to move to the US through my husband’s work. We sold everything. I closed my practice. We said difficult goodbyes to family and friends and moved us and our dogs to the US. The sense of isolation and lostness was overwhelming for a while. I had no family, friends, career or direction again. Although we both entered into this willingly, it was a tough transition. We relocated knowing I would need to retrain as a therapist in the US. I was reluctant to begin this process and put obstacles in the way for a while. I was stuck in grieving for my old life and not knowing how to move forward. We love living here – the weather is definitely better. It was a challenge, none the less.
Eventually, I began my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and found myself slipping deeper into a sense of ‘having’ to start again; feeling more isolated and my confidence began sliding again. Not long into the program, I realized that being a therapist in the US wasn’t for me. With this new-found sense of relief and freedom began a cycle of not knowing what I wanted to do, yet being aware that I had so many possibilities. I told myself there were many things I could do, but wasn’t feeling any excitement about them. I went round and round in circles, not knowing who I was in this strange land or where I wanted to go. I didn’t even know which direction to begin to head in.
I have come through the other side of health challenges, moving house numerous times and changing careers. I have learned to find myself through these times. It wasn’t easy. What I do wish is that I had known about life coaching sooner, and invested in myself by getting some help in finding my path and my true authentic self. I wish I had learned my own value earlier, rather than my confidence taking a battering every time I had to start again.
I have thrived in starting again, after going down a challenging and weaving road. If you are struggling with starting again and feeling lost or stuck, and don’t know which way to turn or who you are, then my suggestion is to invest in yourself. Find a life coach to help you create your new journey. You can get through the challenges quicker, and with more positivity and hope, than on your own. You truly can transform and be your authentic self. Imagine what it would be like to not feel stuck, lost and alone. My final question is what will it cost you if you don’t value yourself enough to invest and work through your challenges?
Laura Haywood is an authentic life coach working in the Triangle area in North Carolina, supporting clients on their journey to personal growth and understanding, to thrive and not just survive.