Let’s face it – motherhood brings on a lot of questions about life’s direction. A year off for maternity leave, and hours sitting in a chair breastfeeding or bottle feeding leave even more time for contemplation. Plus, having a child is a huge life change and often triggers other life changes. It seems to me that nearly every talk with a new mom involves some sort of question about their future and what it involves.
I personally have gone through that process and made massive changes in my life. First, I decided to stay with my son at home until he was 18 months old. Sounds blissful and carefree, but it’s never that simple – is it. Then, I decided not to go back to my comfortable but ultimately unfulfilling job in the corporate world. I was thinking about changing careers before I had Bastien, but my husbands hours, a desire for more flexibility and a need for more creativity in my life was the ultimate push.
But it wasn’t easy.
Even though deep down I knew changing careers was the right decision, I still felt like throwing up the day I had to tell my employers and make the decision final to become a freelance writer.
There were days when I just stared at my computer thinking what the f* am I doing? There are eager journalist grads out there, and here I am trying to make it in an extremely competitive field with no formal writing background.
But, I had a few things going for me:
I had some very kind friends who showed me how to send my ideas to publishers, and I think those professional looking pitches really do stand out. They also gave great advice. (Thank-you Raina and Vanessa!)
I read a lot of books on the subject. (My fave is My-so Called Freelance Life)
And I truly believe I have something to offer. I know I’m professional, having dealt with intense work situations where I’ve dealt with all levels of management. This work experience is priceless. I know that bosses in general want to deal with someone who will deliver a quality product, on time, without many questions, to make their life easiest possible.
And, I know I can write. Now, I may need direction here and then but I truly believe that I can write an interesting story that people will want to read.
And slowly but surely things are working out. I’m no Suzy Menkes, but I am happy.
I’ve read a lot of articles and books about other people who started out in careers that were tough or changed jobs and I’ve come to realize every single one of them needed to believe in themselves to succeed. Without that there is no hope. If you don’t believe you can do it, you are dead in the water no matter how much push you’ll get from others.
Ladies, you need to BELIEVE! Believe you can do it! That’s half the battle – I promise. If you truly believe you can do something, honestly, you are half way there. I don’t care what it is – from getting that promotion to starting your cat walking business. How often have you heard of famous authors who sent out their book to 100 publishers to have it rejected by every one? Or the crazy genius with an idea no one said would work. Those people believed in themselves!
Now, there is a fine line between belief and delusion (we’ve all watched Dragon Den) but at least you have to try to live your dreams. I know I didn’t want to look back in 30 years and say, ‘if only… ‘
And ladies, support your fellow women. Unfortunately, I have met some nasty ladies in my life who were were not supportive for whatever reason, and I have to believe there were deeper issues at work there.
AND lastly, I have shown two pretty famous examples of successful people who believed in themselves but I see it all around me everyday – from the independent café owners to people making dolls or whipping up preserves. You don’t need to change the world – you just need to do what’s right for you.