How To Change Your Life (or Difficult Decisions Made Easy)
How many of us profess to hate our jobs? Or complain about not having a job? What about things you "hate" doing? Why do you do them? What would happen if you didn't do them? In this hub I'm going to explain how I changed my life, stopped hating things I have to do, and hopefully offer advice for people that wish to change their own lives. I'm not particularly brave or clever, my tips on a better lifestyle are things that absolutely anyone can do!
A teacher once asked me "why are you here?". I replied "because I have to be!" He told me I was wrong. He said:
Nobody ever has to do anything! We choose to do things rather than take the consequences of not doing them!
He was right! Everything in life is a choice. This statement changed my life. Not immediately, it took some time to understand the implications of choice, and how changing the choices I made in life could not only change my life, but also change my mind about what I thought I wanted in life. It was all about my attitude!
For example, let's take a choice we all have to make every day!
Why do you get up in the morning?
The choice is simple it seems, stay in bed, or get up! If you are desperately looking for a way to change your life, say you hate your job, then dragging yourself out of bed can be the hardest thing to do every single day. Then because you are so tired of it all, when you finally get a day off, you spend half of it in bed, and then feel like you've achieved nothing! A vicious circle emerges where nothing ever changes or improves, and you are stuck in the proverbial rut! By asking yourself (and answering) some simple questions, you can take the first steps in instigating change, either in your life, or your attitude towards it!
The thought process I'm going to describe here works for any question you need to ask yourself, but I'm going to stick with the example "Why do you get up in the morning?".
Instead of just answering with things like "Because I have to go to work", or "I have to get the kids ready for school", we need to answer with another question. "What would happen if I didn't?". Remember, we choose to do things rather than take the consequences of not doing them, so before we can change the choices we make, we need to understand the consequences. Would you lose your job? Would the school be on the phone asking where your kids are? I'm going to answer this question, and the subsequent questions in the way I did a year ago, which has brought me now to a completely new life! It's personal for everyone, so I hope my story here will help others longing for change to be honest with themselves and to feel empowered to make the necessary changes to feel happier or more content either by changing their lives, or just aspects of them that make the things they think they hate more bearable.
For 20 years I worked in care. Firstly with learning disabled adults, then in mental health, and finally with the elderly. I'm not going to be modest here, I was really good at it! I got all sorts of qualifications and worked my way up to deputy manager of the care home I was working in for the last 7 years. I was good with the service users, and the staff, and should have been happy! So what was wrong?
I found myself wishing I could spend more time with my family, work hours that suited me rather than all the hours under the sun, make more money (the only rich people in the care industry are the owners of the care homes), and I wanted the freedom to be impulsive! To be able to go to a festival or concert because a friend had a spare ticket, without having to ask the permission of my boss! After 20 years of looking after other people, I felt the need to be a little selfish, and look after myself and my family.
So what would happen if I didn't get up in the morning? I would very probably lose my job! What would happen if I lost my job? I would have no money coming in, I would have to find another job. I don't want to do care work or work shifts any more, what other job could I do?
My husband (who I'm very lucky to have and has supported me throughout all this) answered this for me. "You have a van" he said. "You love to garden, and have all the tools you need to be a gardener!".
I'll admit it, I was incredulous! How could I change career so drastically? Did I have the knowledge to not destroy other peoples gardens? How could I set up a business of my own with no money to speak of? I spent some time thinking about it. I have books and the Internet, and my wonderful mum who is the most green fingered person I know. That's the knowledge sorted, also learning as I go which is quite exciting. Was I prepared to work outside, physical work in all (well most) weathers? Yes! I already have the van and tools, how do I get work? I went to my local shops and put cards in their windows and notice boards. The cards said things like "Do you need a gardener? If so call...". I also hand drew fliers that I photocopied at my local library and put through doors. I waited for the phone to ring.
I worked a months notice at the care home, not because I "had" to, I chose to! I didn't think it would be fair of me to let them down suddenly and it was nice to spend time saying goodbye! Sometimes I visit them now, more for the residents than for anything else, and not very often I'll admit.
So where am I one year on? Well I'm not rich! Work can be really hard, but I work for myself, and set my own rate of pay which makes it more rewarding, and I've never minded hard work. I could do with more work but it is building up at a steady rate, never under-estimate the power of "word of mouth". I spend more time with my family, and have found that my son is doing much better at school now that he has more parental guidance. I have realised that before I left my job, both my husband and myself were too tired in the evenings to pay enough attention to his school work, so this is an unexpected bonus, and proves to me that it was the right decision. My husband and myself have started a new business together, using solar power to power stages at festivals. This will get him out of the rat race too, and is really a very exciting (and expensive) venture. This will be a success because we believe in it and are working really hard to make it that way.
Sorry, did I say I'm not rich? I meant to say I'm really very rich indeed, in all the things that matter! In a couple of years I hope to be rich in money too, but it's hard work that will bring us there.
So why do I get up in the morning now? Because life is exciting! I love my son and want him to go to school (at 13 he would fester in his bed all day every day if I didn't get him up), I also like an early start on jobs I have so I can fit more customers into a day. This way I can have more days off working gardens to work at home on the solar business, or writing, or doing my own garden and housework. I can choose!
So reading back on this article, I'm not sure my message is obvious. It would seem that I've been very lucky, and that doesn't come to everyone. Wrong! I have made my own luck with the choices I have made. It may seem hard to think about changing, but it doesn't have to be as drastic as I have changed my life. Sometimes all you need to change is your mind! Ask yourself, "why do I do my job?". If it allows you to afford the life you want when you are not working, then is it so bad? I am set to dig a pond for someone next week, I'm not looking forward to it! It doesn't matter, the money pays for my lifestyle, and for my future, so a-digging I will go! (I have a policy to set a much higher rate of pay for jobs I won't enjoy, if the customer is still happy to pay that, then I'm much happier about the job!).
Finally, I would like you to ask yourself, "what do I want out of life?", and then "how do I get there?". We all have the power to be whatever we want to be, I have proved it in myself, and like I said at the beginning, I'm not particularly clever or brave, or remarkable. Anyone can do it, and I hope this has inspired someone to do the same!
Thank you for reading my ramblings, take very good care of yourself and be lucky!