Most people are not living authentically. They’re not happy with where they currently find themselves…they feel trapped

I’ve been there, and that’s why I’ll show you exactly how I changed the direction of my life, and how you can too. I’ll show you the 3 secrets to changing your life’s direction:

1. Choices and Decisions

2. Acceptance and Planning

3. Take the Plunge by Changing

Most people are not living authentically. They’re not happy with where they currently find themselves…they feel trapped

I’m an author and social media marketer who is currently transitioning into coaching. I already made a huge life change in my late forties when I embraced my true self and sexuality and left my pastor husband of 24 years to pursue my truth. Despite the difficulties that resulted from that decision, I haven’t looked back.

My life was transformed into a place of centredness, where I discovered the real me, and where I found contentment. But what a change it was. From being a busy performance-driven pastor’s wife in a big group of churches tending to everyone else’s needs, but my own – to finding space to breathe, discovering the joy of mindfulness and simplicity.

My memoir, Coming Out Coming Home tells my story of how I left my husband for a woman and everything that led up to that, as well as the dramatic consequences of that decision. It wasn’t just any woman, she was and is my soul mate and I fell deeply in love with her. Being part of a fundamentalist church group who believe that being gay is sinful made it a difficult decision. Not to mention the impact it had on my ex-husband and my daughters. However, I either had to live a life that was no longer authentic or be true to myself and face the consequences.

People often tell me that I was so brave to leave my ex-husband for the woman I fell in love with, but I have to disagree. Although it was a bumpy ride, it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. And as I always say, if I could do it, anyone can. I am a pretty ordinary middle aged woman, but I want to live in truth and in freedom. And that’s what made the difference. So, let’s dive in and look at the three steps to changing your life’s direction.

changing your life direction
Image: Unsplash

1.    Choices and decisions

Most of us allow life to happen to us, rather than the other way around. We make some choices where we can, depending on our circumstances, like what we’d like to study, where we’d like to live, and who we marry. Apart from that, we generally tend to be unintentional about our lives. Oh, we have dreams and desires, but do we actively bring them into being?

We generally tend to be unintentional about our lives

Perhaps we are doing the things we originally wanted, but we’ve changed and now we feel trapped in our perfect lifestyle that brings us no joy. Losing our freedom is debilitating and tends to disempower us. So many wars have been fought over exactly that. There are many examples and here are just a few:

·      Being stuck in a job that drains you and has no soul

·      Staying in a toxic relationship that is destroying you

·      Feeling trapped in your gender due to societal or cultural norms

·      Allowing a harmful religious experience to control you

In these and other similar circumstances you have two immediate choices:

·      Keep the status quo

·      Decide to make a change for the better

This is the first point of making a decision, but probably not the last. In fact, your decision will probably prompt a whole lot more, but one step at a time.

First, take a look at these two choices. If you choose to keep the status quo, what are the consequences? How does your future look? Can you live with that? If you choose to make a change for the better, what does that change look like? What are the consequences? Who does it affect? Can you live with that? Do you have a support structure?

It’s a good idea to discuss these options with someone who is objective and trustworthy. Look at the pros and cons of each decision using that person as a sounding board. He/she may also pose some interesting questions to you.

If you keep the status quo, you may come back to this point again in the future, and I guess that’s ok. (Unless your life is in danger.)

If you take the option of change, then you’ll have to pull up your big-girl/boy pants and move on to the next step.

changing direction
Image:Pexels

2.    Acceptance and planning

Acceptance of reality is imperative to change. Until we accept the situation that we find ourselves in, we wont be truly effective. Even looking at the decision to change includes the need for acceptance. You need to honestly look at the pros and cons and possibilities of the proposed change. You need to accept that you will more than likely face a few challenges. Once you are able to accept your situation, including your role in it, then you can start planning your way forward.

Once you are able to accept your situation, including your role in it, then you can start planning your way forward

One of the mistakes that I made when coming out, was that I didn’t do any forward planning. I left in the rush of emotions and landed up penniless, jobless, and homeless. A friend took me in for a short while and it was at her home that reality hit me in the face. I took stock of my circumstances and allowed everything to sink in. I was fearful and anxious, but had to make a plan. I needed to earn money.

I made a list of things I could use:

·      I had somewhere to stay for a month

·      I had a car (that needed monthly payments and petrol)

·      I owned a laptop and phone.

I made a list of things I could do:

·      Email everyone I knew for referrals or contacts for a job

·      Scour the internet looking for work and applying to all possibilities and use social media to find connection

I also made a list of my obstacles:

·      Lack of finances

·      My skillset was no longer needed in the marketplace

·      Lack of family support

·      Little support from friends

I worked on my attitude:

·      I had a good work ethic

·      I was willing to do anything legal

·      I would knock on every door and not give up

·      I had support from my friend and from my partner

All the lists and planning forced me to accept where I was. Acceptance helped me to keep pushing forward. Planning gave me a goal to work on. Each little step was a step forward. I knew where I was. I knew what tools I had. I knew what I needed.

So, make your lists. What is your current situation? What do you need? What steps can you take towards change? Who are your support people? Perhaps you need to consider using a coach to help you through your transition. What will keep you motivated?

Once you’ve worked through as much as you have control over, it’s time for the next step.

changing direction
Photo by Belle Collective on Unsplash

3.    Take the plunge by changing

Everybody knows the Nike slogan, Just Do It. Well that is literally what this stage is all about. You’ve looked at your choices. You’ve made a decision. You’ve come to a place of acceptance. You’ve made a list of steps to take to make the change.

Now you have to start at step one. Do whatever it is that you wrote down on your list for your first step. Maybe it’s speaking to someone. It could be opening a new bank account in your name. Whatever it is, do it. Then go onto the next step. If it’s overwhelming to do all in one go, then tackle each step on a different day. If that’s too much for you, do something each week. I wouldn’t recommend stretching it further than that.

Find someone from your support group who you can be accountable to. That way you tend to actually do things because you’ve told someone what you’re going to do. Each action takes you closer to your goal and your life change. Each action gives you a small sense of achievement, no matter how small it is. It’s progress.

Each action gives you a small sense of achievement, no matter how small it is

You’re doing it. You’re changing your life’s direction. I’d love to hear from those of you who do transition. I’ve started a Facebook Group called Women in Transition. Please feel free to join it so we can support each other further. Men are welcome to join too, however the posts will be biased toward women as my coaching is essentially for women facing life changes.

Please note, that if you are currently struggling with mental health issues where you are seeing a medical professional or on medication, I would run any major changes in your life past your professional before jumping straight in. I am not a professional. These steps are based on my life experiences and on my counselling training from my church days.

 

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