As we all know, life sometimes involves twists and turns that are both unexpected and seem to shatter well laid plans. The result is that the course of your future life trajectory changes quite significantly and it may not seem as if this is either positive, or in your best interests. For some people, the change is as much physically life changing as it is mentally life changing – such as for severely wounded and handicapped servicemen coming back from active service overseas.
Something that very few people will know about me. Throughout my teen years I was very keen on joining the Army. I went to Westbury for officer selection and consequently went to Sandhurst. After 3 months, the Army decided that it was perhaps better if chose something else to do with my life… even though the experience made me even more sure that that is what I wanted to do. I was 18, it was December and the only thing I had ever wanted to do was taken away from me. Pretty much a career curveball…. (#careercurveballs).
So what did I do? Faced with this problem I was unsure what to do. As a quick aside, I read something last week about problems -v- opportunities, and the comment was calling something what it is e.g. a problem, expresses the seriousness of what is happening. The specific challenge was what would Houston have done if Apollo 13 had radioed “Houston we have an opportunity”? Saying you have a problem gets focus and ensures that the magnitude of the situation is not understated.
Anyway, after much soul searching and a string of temporary jobs, I did what I would have done had I not joined the Army – I went back to University, got a degree and didn’t look back. It was hard at the time, but you realise a few things. The world doesn’t stop turning, the sun rises in the morning, there are still bills to pay. In the years it took me to get on a degree course (largely a timing issue) I resolved that I wouldn’t ever be in this position again. It hasn’t always worked out like that, however knowing that you have been there before and have come through it is invaluable.
I recently set up my coaching business… it is a long haul to get to the point where I can do this full time. However backed up by the firm belief that I will be ok, I am up for the journey. Will it be easy? Who knows… but I have been there before and survived, and will do so again. If you have your own career curveball to face… you’ll get through it as long as you keep going, that is my experience.