With my career change, and working with my clients on similar, there is always interest in how I went about making my change. There is also sometimes an observation on how quick and easy it looks. The truth is, it wasn’t quick, and it wasn’t easy. There was a lot of background work that went into the change that I made. It took me three years from feeling quite consistently unsatisfied with work to finding work happiness for myself. 

In a form that I did not expect and on a journey I couldn’t have predicted. 

We start, where many thoughts about the future begin, one January:

January 2017

My thoughts were percolating. I was feeling a little unsettled with my role and work environment. I was enjoying lots of it still, but feeling a little unfulfilled. Over the months, as I distilled it down, I felt like I wanted to put my energy into something that would mean more to me, where I could see the value of my time being spent. I couldn’t work out how to do this at work, so I looked at how I could find this outside of work.


July 2017

I attended a Samaritans information evening. Samaritans is charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. I felt really drawn to the mission and recognised the value that listening volunteers could bring. After the info evening, I decided to sign up for training in September 2017. I officially started as a listening volunteer in December 2017, and since then have over 300 hours of listening experience and find it one of the most purposeful things that I do with my time.

This was fulfilling in so many ways. It also gave me access to a different community of volunteers at my branch, doing so many different jobs, careers, at different stages in their lives. All sorts. Which was so refreshing for me. The biggest impact was that I learned I really enjoyed it – I had followed my instinct to do something I thought I would love without agenda, and this was paying off.

I was still feeling a dissonance with work and doing Samaritans had opened up a whole set of strengths and thoughts that I hadn’t really considered.


January 2018 

The unsettled feeling at work still wasn’t going away. I needed to do more. I started carrying a small notebook that a friend had given me to capture my thinking, and the first page reads:

It was time to take action.

Over the months, I brainstormed all the things I could think about that were possible, without filter or judgement. I watched webinars, read blogs, watched TED Talks. Basically fed my mind with lots of ideas and experiences that were not naturally in my day to day sphere. 

Two of the most impactful things I did were: 

  1. I told the friends I felt comfortable with, what I was doing. This created more conversations and brought up more ideas, reflections and more people to talk to in my network’s network. 
  2. I asked a handful of people I knew well, what my strengths were.

From this approach I discovered a very clear trend in my strengths. Everyone believed very strongly that I was an excellent person to talk to, an excellent listener and the most non judgmental open minded friend they felt they could talk to and also confide in. 

The extra bit that I discovered, that I did not know, was that everyone also said that I had a really interesting perspective, I didn’t see the challenges and situations that were brought up in the same way as others and this offered great insights and reflections when talking with me. I was surprised to learn that the things people would come to me with, they would not talk to anyone else about. And also just how much value they placed on what they received from me.

These findings then led to a discussion with a few friends, where I reflected on how my ‘research’ was going, and one friend told me about coaching and about Animas – a centre for coaching in the UK.


July 2018

I popped to an Animas information day to learn more. I didn’t know much about coaching at all, and as the day progressed, I felt like this was exactly what I was looking for. It played to my strengths and it would stretch me to learn more about myself whilst gaining valuable skills. And no risk. I didn’t have to leave my job, move country, sign my life away. It needed financial investment and personal commitment. And I chose to do both of those.

At this point, I had no idea what I would do with this in the short/medium term, for me at this time it felt extra curricular, I was just very drawn to learning more without attachment to a plan. 

As I write this, and on reflection, one thing I did have in the back of my mind was that I knew eventually I wanted my worklife to be more flexible. I wanted to be able to work from anywhere in the world, I also felt a pull to future proof my career by thinking about what a back up plan could look like if it came to a point where I couldn’t progress any further in my current career. 

I think this thought was born from a lack of motivation in doing what I was doing, but also a lack of confidence in how much longer I really wanted to work like this for. Putting so much into a job, and getting financially rewarded very well, but still feeling like I wasn’t getting the value back that would make a difference to me. 


October 2018 

I started my Animas Diploma in Transformational Coaching. I loved doing this diploma, I met so many like minded people in similar situations. It was a breath of fresh air from the corporate job and I felt quite alive learning and studying again, except this time I wasn’t hitting in the dark aged 18 about what was important to me, I had made a conscious and well informed decision at 35 about what I wanted to spend my time learning.


January 2019 

Whilst working on the diploma, I had also put some feelers out for job opportunities. I had thought about what was making me unhappy about my current work situation and evaluated that the things that were bothering me were not in my control to change (leadership, culture, politics, behaviours) so had an idea of the variables I could switch up to see if another environment would make me work happy again. I wanted a smaller company where I could have more impact, a more agile way of working, a culture of collaboration and positivity and received a job offer in April.

In the meantime I was coaching on the side, completing my training hours and writing my essays for qualification. 


June 2019 

I completed my diploma just in time to focus on a shiny new job, that ticked the boxes I had set out to look for. At this point, I still hadn’t really considered the qualification as a gateway to doing something different in the short term. And I think part of me wanted to really know if it was me or the environment that was making me work unhappy currently, and a new job would let me test this and banish any ‘what ifs’ from the future.

Six months later, I was still feeling unsettled, and I realised it wasn’t really the external factors that were causing me to feel this way, it was much more internal for me. 

I had changed over the last few years, not only because I had learnt some new things. Over the course of the years from January 2017 I had done quite a lot of reflecting and learning about myself, and the decisions and trajectory I had set off on from 18 at university and then at 21 at the start of my career were just not in line with who I was now, my values, my strengths, and what I wanted – or what I was now capable of – from my career future. I understood myself much better.

I think I intended to do this on some level, but it wasn’t so clear to me: I had given myself options for my work future. 


30th November 2019 

I left my job, and for the very first time since I was 21, I was unemployed. 

Without a plan. 

This sounds like it would have been scary, but I felt so liberated and free that it was incredibly invigorating for me. The disclaimer here is that I am not advocating to leave a job without another to go to, or without a plan, this is simply my account of what I did. I had been financially stable and well rewarded for a number of years and knew that I had the means to be without an income for a few months.

I took December to reflect on this new energy, the new freedom I felt and what felt right and wrong for me as a next step. I felt new possibilities. 

I had been coaching since October 2018 when I started the diploma and had been doing it as a side hustle since I had qualified, and December had given me time to feel free from the corporate robot feeling I had. Many people during this time had said to me that I should do it as a business, that I would be really good at it and I had a realisation that if people who knew me were starting to say how they would pay for coaching with me, that they would recommend me to friends/family, then this might actually work. I thought I would give this a go, knowing that I still had the skills and the network to go back to my first  career if it didn’t work out in 12 months time.


January 2020 

BOOM. I started my own coaching business. 


September 2020 

I haven’t looked back once. Despite this being the strange year that it has been, I feel like I am in my element. I’m making a difference to myself, to others and I am making money. This feels viable personally and commercially and feels future proof in a way that makes me excited for the next 15 years of my new career.

Watch this space!


What I have learnt

  • Significant change is not easy and fast. It takes time and requires effort. And it is entirely possible.
  • You have to take responsibility for the change you want.
  • Even when you don’t know where to start, you have to start somewhere. Your values and strengths are a great place to start. Getting to know yourself is one sure fire way of slowly working out where to start.
  • It is a process.
  • Lean on the resources, the support network and the professional network you already have access to.
  • I could have done it quicker with a coach….!


Does any of my story resonate with you? You might be at one of the many stages that I went through, or even at the very start, not knowing where to start. I’d love to hear more, feel free to book in a call and let’s talk.


Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash