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Leaving it behind: it’s OK to take a new direction

leaving it behind

Something about the last couple of years hasn’t seemed quite right. Nothing major, nothing obvious, just a quiet sense of unrest, a mild jarring, a niggle at the back of my mind.
I’ve changed focus, I’ve discovered a lot about myself, I’ve bought nothing, I’ve become more interested in politics, planet and environment. Until recently, I didn’t really realise anything was amiss, save for this little hint of a thought that had been around for so long, I almost forgot it was there.

Since I left management, this feeling has been around. And, in these past few weeks, I finally realised what it was.

I’ve never been confident. I was always the quiet one in school, shy and silent. Nowadays, I can talk for Britain about facetious problems, small talk, surface talk. But ask me anything personal and I’ll clam up, laugh it off, change the subject, unless I know you very, very well indeed. I can promote products, fill sentences with management bullshit for hours on end, and argue both sides, passionately and persuasively for a subject I may or may not agree with. But ask me to promote myself…. and I just can’t do it.

The thing is, I’ve been trying to build a business based on promoting myself. Fitness, therapy, all that jazz… it all involves putting myself out there, selling not just a service…but MY service. And that thing, that uneasy feeling, the piece that doesn’t quite fit? Well, here it is, finally at the surface. I don’t feel comfortable selling myself as a business. I dread going out and promoting myself. And, as I’ve come to realise… feeling like that, it’s OK.

It’s not just imposter syndrome, feeling I’m a fraud. I feel it’s something more, a fundamental part of me that just doesn’t want to put myself out there. Throughout the journey that was last year, I began to understand a lot of the reasons why. Importantly, I learned that it’s fine to feel like that. And even more importantly – I can choose not to.

Looking back, it never felt right. I couldn’t see what was wrong at the time, and I felt that giving up wasn’t an option. I’d continue to push through, and everything would work out OK in the end. But even as I gained clients, I still didn’t feel right. Constant doubt and worry, especially when I began to get ill, tore at my mind and made me start to dread anything to do with my business. I’d wake up and think, ‘I just don’t want to do this any more’.

I understand now I was looking at the situation in the wrong way. Instead of ‘giving up’ and framing it as a failure, I see it as a new opportunity and a new layer of understanding. Whilst entrepreneurship is a perfect fit for a lot of people, for me, at this moment, it just isn’t right. Even in a low-key way, based on help rather than selling, I still feel uncomfortable when the basis of that model is, well, me.

So, instead of trying and trying to build this business and feeling worse and worse about it, I’ve taken a step back and sucked in a big, deep breath… and I let it go.

I choose to go in a different direction. That part of my life was interesting but I understand enough about myself now to be able to accept that I don’t have to continue with anything that doesn’t feel right. It was an adventure and I learned a lot, but now I’m making that decision to turn a different way. Leaving it behind feels like the right choice.

I keep writing and blogging, working my charity job part time, which suits me no end and leaves me enough time to immerse myself in my other interests. I’m thankful for the experience, but I’m even more thankful for the knowledge of myself that gave me the confidence to make the choice.

I take another direction and keep on exploring, writing these words, and looking forward to what comes my way.


3 thoughts on “Leaving it behind: it’s OK to take a new direction

  1. It is a good lesson to learn and I speak from experience. I am 40 this year and had a ‘corporate career’. I always felt that when I returned to work (when my youngest started school) that I “owed it” in someway that I had to return to my old career or something just as prestigious. But, to whom?!?

    It took a lot of thought and some mistakes to get to the mind-set i’m at now. I realised things are great. I have changed direction. Maybe something come of it. I hope so. But, as long as I work well and my family is happy, that is all that matters.

    It takes a lot of guts to walk away from something. It can even be looked at in a more pragmatic way of stopping any further sunken costs.

  2. Hey Sally, I had doubts about my business for ages but as you say I had to look at it from another angle, i decided that if it isn’t doing that well at a certain time it doesn’t matter, as like you I don’t have to rely on it to pay my way through life I can drive any lorry on the road if I choose although I have been trying to distance myself from them as much as possible, I am now getting involved in Wendy’s business more and more as after 36 years of driving trucks I am so fed up and dissillusiloned with the whole scenario, it’s not what it was 20 years ago it’s all run by computers or not as the case may be, so I can relate to your situation but if I had not tried I wouldn’t be happy with myself.

  3. I can relate! I’ve been trying to find my way since leaving an administrative position a few years ago. I’ve enjoyed working from home with a lot of it–teaching, writing, tutoring,–being online. It’s been about three years now of exploring, going in different directions, and giving some things up. Things I didn’t feel comfortable with. I like your perspective of seeing such things as learning experiences rather than failures. We learn and move on. And that’s okay. it’s okay to be uncomfortable with something and let it go. I’m learning that. It was wonderful to hear someone put into words what I’ve been feeling from time to time. Thank you! Your posts are very refreshing.

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