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CHANGING YOUR CAREER

Sounds so easy doesn’t it? Just wake up one day and decide “this life isn’t for me…I’m tired of being a management consultant/Accountant/Hairdresser, I’m going to become a Professional Wake Boarder/Nomad/Goat Farmer.” That kind of instant and profound change doesn’t happen to many people on a whim – and for very good reason. Most of us have responsibilities, bills to pay and commitments to fulfil.

But the truth is, the only way to make changes to your life…is to stop doing the same thing and do something different. Waiting for everything to line up perfectly (the ‘big plan’, your finances, buy-in from friends/family/key stake-holders) may never happen. And as they saying goes ‘if you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it.’

It starts with one, single step.

I’m a great believer that often you have to take a risk on something and work out the detail later. Nothing focuses your mind more than an irreversible decision or a financial investment that makes you a tiny bit nervous. A bit like signing up for a physical challenge (a marathon, climbing a mountain, a cycle sportive) with no prior experience. But you don’t have to hand in your notice or remortgage your house to get motivated. Simply contacting someone who is an expert in the area you want to move into can be a great first step. Or sign up for a short training course. Start joining relevant LinkedIn groups or forums to network in your free time.

When I decided to quit my (successful) career in advertising to train in the Lotte Berk Method (the original barre methodology), some 15 years ago, people thought I was mad. I created advertising for some incredible brands, had a ‘glamorous’ career and a great CV with great prospects ahead of me.

But it wasn’t making me happy.

The Lotte Berk classes I had been taking for over a year had blown me away. My figure had transformed and I had literally fallen in love with the movements and the way this kind of training made me feel. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And more importantly, almost no-one was doing it. No-one knew about it. What an opportunity!

But single-concept Studios didn’t really exist then, it was Zumba or big gym chains. I spent time in New York where barre was huge and I saw, first-hand, what the potential could be. I just had to be brave enough to do it.

If you find that you keep talking yourself out of it, telling yourself that you should just settle for the status quo – a reliable income, a predictable career path, a ’safe’ pension and private health care, but crucially, you are still unhappy, write it down. Write a wish list of what you want and don’t want. What are your goals? Do you actually want them? Are they even your goals or do they belong to someone else? A parent, partner or your own sense of duty about what your career ’should’ look like.

Consider whether your goals are intrinsic or extrinsic. Extrinsic goals relate to external influences such as money, fame, status or anything that requires validation from others. Intrinsic goals are more about personal growth, health, learning new things, making a difference to the world you live in. The apparent benefit of being purely motivated by extrinsic factors will wear off. It’s human nature to adapt to external forces – they may bring immediate happiness, but once we are used to that lifestyle, we simply want something more. Create goals that are centred around your growth and what truly makes you happy.

I definitely didn’t think I had the skills to run my own business. I still have days (ten years down the line) when I think I’m making it up as I go along, or feel a sudden wave of imposter syndrome! There are sleepless nights and moments of self-doubt. I never really have a day off (I’m writing this on a bank holiday!) but I have created something I’m incredibly proud of and I could never go back to my ‘old life’. When you step out of your comfort zone, you discover who you really are and taking that first step to getting out of the humdrum, set up my own business based on my passions has also filtered through to other areas of my life. It has given me the confidence to take on immense challenges, to trust my own instincts – and the drive, born out of necessity, to constantly evolve. I learned a long time ago to forget about the ‘endpoint’ and instead to enjoy the journey in life.

Vicki Anstey

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