A year ago, I woke at 4.30 am, heart pounding, staring into the dark wondering how on earth I was 40, feeling every day of those years and fearful that I had not made the most of my time. I also felt disabled by the lack of any real plan or focus, let down by my failing ambition and tortured by a desire to do ‘something’ which would not identify itself. I genuinely felt that I had achieved nothing and had no idea what to do next. Of course, this unease had been growing over time but the morning of my 40th birthday threw a real focus on those feelings and meant I could no longer hide from them. When I tearfully declared it the worst day of my life, it was not for dramatic effect. I meant it.
I swore to myself that I would not feel that way on my 41st birthday. No more excuses, no more hiding from the difficult questions, it was time for action. I had no idea what that meant but I knew I had to do something.
And so my 41st birthday is here and how does it feel? I am relieved to say, it feels amazing. I went to bed last night looking forward to the morning and woke up with the excitement of a small child. Not because of the presents or my special day – today I am working and have turned down coffee with friends – but because I am so pleased and proud to say that I finally feel like I have a plan and that I am moving in the right direction. Not just that, it’s a plan which lights me up and which just feels right. Other than marrying my wonderful husband and holding my gorgeous girls in my arms, I really cannot remember the last time I felt like this and it feels so good!
I am not making 6 figures a year with perfectly manicured nails and a row of perfectly straight bright white teeth, I am not clean eating, I’m not doing yoga in exotic locations or posting amazing and inspiring pictures on Instagram. But that is ok. Actually, it’s more than ok; it’s incredible. I am at long last on my way!
I have worked really hard this last year to find a way of working and a way of fulfilling my itch to do ‘something’ and it has paid off. I’ve been reading personal development books, watching videos on you tube, considering my values and my inner desires – things and words that literally used to make me cringe. Cringe, why? Because I was afraid. Afraid to ask myself what it was that I really wanted because then I would be responsible for whether or not I had it. Because once I identified my dreams, I had only myself to look to. I and only I, am responsible for myself, my here and now and my future. No one else is going to fix things for me or give me what I crave, only I can do that.
I don’t have it all figured out and it is early days but at long last I seem to have found a way to make being a lawyer work for me. I have found my spiritual legal home and am working with some inspiring and like-minded people. Yet I am still working from home, dropping the kids off at school and picking them up. Yes, I am working some evenings but that is a choice and I am enjoying the work.
I have not posted on this blog for a while but that creativity and that new way of thinking which has filled my heart has not gone and today I had my first call with a success coach I have signed up with to hold me accountable to grow and develop the blog. To help me finalise a plan for it that satisfies my creative urge and delivers value to the people who read it.
So today, I can say I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur who is creating the life she desires. Wow. I cannot tell you how far away that felt one year ago!
I have no doubt that there will be stumbling blocks along the way. Equally, it has not been plain sailing to get to this point – I have tried various things that have not worked and I have even let people down too (which will always sit uncomfortably with me). I still don’t know exactly where I want to be in another 12 months but I do know where I don’t want to be and what doesn’t work for me and sometimes that’s half the battle. But the most important lesson that I have learnt is the importance of action. I have taken only baby steps forwards (and back) but they all add up and I am in a very different place to a year ago and I am delighted by it! I read somewhere that the only difference between those who succeed and those that don’t, is that successful people take persistent action. So today, I can congratulate myself on feeling successful, simply because I am moving.
I also no longer measure success by how much I earn, or by how big my house is, but by living a life that feels purposeful and in line with the things most important to me. In so doing I have given myself permission to be ambitious again and I have the beginnings of a long-term plan and a vision of what our future will be.
So, if you feel stuck in a rut, if you don’t know what next, if you feel there must be something different for you out there, all you need to do is make a start. Read a book, write something down, do something you wouldn’t normally do, try something you are terrified by. Then do it again and then some more. It’s amazing the cumulative effect of all those little things and I promise you, that even just consistently showing up for yourself, looking into your heart and asking yourself, what do I really want, will make all the difference – be patient and trust in you.
Thank you to Pinterest for the image.