To the casual observer, it looked like I had a wonderful job running a theatre and art gallery. I had spent 15 years working towards this point, following my passions, and the next logical step looked like moving on to run another, larger venue. But something didn’t feel quite right and the passion I once had for my job had started to dim. There was a disconnect and it gnawed quietly away at me, taking the bounce out of my step, making days feel longer and tasks harder. Life was out of kilter.
I was acutely aware that life had gifted me half the puzzle – an idea of what I no longer wanted to be doing. I wasn’t at all sure what I wanted to do instead and naturally, I wanted answers! Sometimes, after we have an insight about our lives (like mine, that I wanted to move on), we demand of ourselves that we find out right away what the next step is. Our strident demands for answers, our frustrations when they don’t appear to a timeframe we’ve invented and our anxiety that we may never see what to do, only serve to prevent our wisdom from making itself known to us.
And so, with this awareness, I simply waited and trusted that, at the right time, I would know and I let go of any attachment to an outcome.
A few months passed, work carried on being busy – I had plenty to do. Every now and then niggles bubbled up, thoughts that pleaded, ‘What next, Laura? How much longer do we wait? Isn’t there something we can DO?” The thoughts bubbled up, I let them pass, calm was restored and life carried on.
And then one day, I was in work and I felt a shift in me – the last piece of the puzzle gently clicked into place and I just knew, in that moment, that my time there was done. I experienced real clarity that I needed to leave and start coaching full time. And this wasn’t about me thinking that I needed to move on and coach – this wasn’t a thought. This was a deeper knowing. This was my wisdom (intuition, gut instinct – it has many names) showing up and telling me to move in this direction.
Shortly after this, I handed in my notice. I had no savings, no other source of income and, frankly, no plan. I had a one line statement when people asked me what I was doing – ‘I’m leaving my job to coach full time’. It was my ‘No Plan, Plan.’ And it felt absolutely right. All this took less than six months, from when I first felt like I needed to make a change, to deciding to hand my notice in.
Don’t misunderstand me – I had occasional doubts about the decision I had made. Thoughts popped in that said things like, ‘Are you crazy?! What if no one hires you? What if you miss the arts after three months? What if….what if….’ But they were just thoughts and thoughts aren’t truth. So I would reconnect for a moment to that space deep down, which still said, ‘Yes, it’s time to go.’ And so in spring 2018, I walked out of the theatre for the final time.
Wisdom is available to all of us, always – I have no special skill that enables me to tune into mine. There are two key things to know that can help you connect to yours.
Firstly, wisdom struggles to compete with a lot of ‘noisy thinking’. So, sit down, stop, breathe. Wait for a while and listen. You’ll be surprised at what comes through when you make room. You’ll know it’s your wisdom because it will be simple, clear and uncluttered and it will ‘feel right’ for you.
Secondly, for many people, inaction or difficulty isn’t the result of not hearing wisdom – it’s the result of not trusting it when you do. Think of all the things that have happened in your life when you ignored your wisdom and later said with real certainty, ‘I knew I shouldn’t have taken that job / gone on that date / lent that money.’ Imagine what it would be like to listen to it in the first place!
The decision I made was completely aligned to what was true and important for me. When we act from this place, there’s an inevitability to things working out. I’m proof of this – the story above is only the most recent in a series of occasions when I took what looked like a big leap and trusted it to work out!
I trusted my wisdom and in the 10 months since I left my job I am happier than I have been in years, I feel more fulfilled and I love the work I do. I’ve replaced my old salary and I spend much of my working day with my dog asleep on my feet!
My new life doesn’t look exactly like I thought it would and there have been some steep learning curves but I am enjoying every minute and truly feel like I am thriving, not surviving.
I’m so glad I’m not sitting in an office somewhere thinking, ‘I knew I should have left my job and started my own coaching business….’