I took the leap into self-employment back in 2019. It wasn’t the best timing, but how was I to know that 6 months later there would be a global pandemic?!
2020 was tough, but from it, some amazing things were born – I created my Authentic Tech Leaders Mentorship programme, and am so proud of the community that has formed and the difference it’s made to participants’ lives. Reflecting back now I can see that while there were some extremely scary and uncertain times during that period, I was always ok.
2022 came along and showed me it could get even tougher.
Now I look back I can see I started the year pretty burned out and I continued to push myself hard. The opportunities seemed to be disappearing, clients were getting nervous about investing in themselves when they knew they’d be facing cost of living increases, and I got scared too. So I put my head down and tried even harder to make things work…
… and then my husband told me he wanted a divorce.
I fell apart. It wasn’t expected. I felt so alone and even more scared about how I was going to cope. At that moment I had no income to support myself and it looked like I’d have nowhere to live.
Thankfully, my deeper wisdom kicked in and reminded me I didn’t have to figure it all out. All I needed to do was deal with what was actually happening right then in that moment, and everything else could wait for later.
So that’s what I did, and what I’ve been doing throughout the year – taking it one step at a time and letting things unfold.
You don’t need to know the full details, but thankfully I didn’t end up homeless and on the streets as I’d imagined (or living in a tent out of the back of my car either).
I did manage to stay connected to what I love and the things that inspire me, and I know that that was what really helped, including:
- A nudge from an amazing friend got me training for a big walk, which meant getting out in nature and doing long walks at the weekend. I got inspired to use it as an opportunity to catch up with friends and family, loving it so much that I decided to walk the 190+ miles of the Coast to Coast path in August.
- A programme I signed up for helped me discover I could draw amazing pictures of dogs, and got me sharing them on instagram, leading to me selling my art on etsy and in an exhibition. I also discovered that these doodles were therapy for me – a way to get lost when I needed my mind to settle.
- I reconnected with friends and made new ones, and realised how much I’d withdrawn and missed them over the pandemic. I realised I wasn’t as alone as I’d thought.
- I kept on showing up in my coaching, staying connected to the elements that are most important to me, and saw record numbers sign up for my mentorship programme and big shifts in the lives of those taking part. I knew I was on the right path, and I was just facing a few more hurdles along the way.
By September I was feeling much better in myself, and much clearer about who I am and the things I want in my life, and it felt right for us to properly start the separation process.
A house came up to rent that seemed perfect, and I had the funds to cover it… but I didn’t have the financial stability I needed to consistently pay the rent.
And that’s when the new job appeared! A conversation with a fellow job walker led to a suggestion of a role, which turned into an interview and an offer… and the agreement for it to be part-time and to work alongside my business.
Even better, that role was in tech, managing, coaching and developing people, working with some fantastic people (as far as I can tell so far) and with the opportunity for me to champion women in tech.
And so that’s where I am now, preparing to move into a new role as an Engineering manager at ITV, and wondering what might happen next, reminding myself to continue taking it one moment at a time.
2022 was a really tough year, but when I look back, the tough bit wasn’t the work needed to make things happen – opportunities always seemed to appear when the time was right.
The tough bit was the emotional element. Processing my fear, grief, anger and frustration, trying to figure out what it all means for me.
2022 showed me that I can trust my wisdom, that opportunities really can come from nowhere, and those opportunities don’t come from hard work and planning – opportunities come from showing up one step at a time and doing what it makes sense to do.
I know there will be more emotion to come – there are still plenty of things to sort out, but I’m less scared of it now because I know life’s got me, and I really will be ok.
So here’s to a fantastic, exciting new role, and the rollercoaster of challenges and opportunities that 2023 brings.
So many of the things that have helped me stay grounded during this time came out of insights I got from exercises embedded in my What’s Your Why programme. Understanding what’s important to me has helped me stay focused on what matters and stopped me getting bogged down in the things that don’t. Sign up and access the programme for just £149 and get clear on what matters to you here.
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