Six months ago, I was in my dream job at Prudential, a company I loved. Over nearly two decades, I had the privilege of working with hundreds of Financial Planners, helping them to grow and develop their own skills and their business models.
Then my world turned. I was to be part of redundancy programme. But, as my close friends, colleagues and Directors said, it was nothing personal. I knew that…but it still felt it was very personal, as it was happening to me.
I was absolutely gutted.
I was also completely unaware of the spectrum of emotions that I would have, and, on some days, that would become all consuming. Here I want to share the emotions I went through, how I found a new direction – and how, six-months on, I could not be happier. In fact, it has genuinely, been the best thing that could have happened to me.
Would I have made this decision on my own? Almost certainly not.
So, if you are made redundant aged 50 or more, I hope this blog will help you understand that it’s Ok to feel how you are feeling, and it’s OK to be uncertain about what you want to do, and it is OK to reach out for help. I remain astounded about the support people are willing to give, both on the emotional journey and the practicalities of creating a new role for yourself.
Why do I want to work?
I decided quickly that I didn’t want to ‘retire’ early. Theoretically it’s a little too early, but emotionally I really can’t see a day when I want to actually stop being able to find an outlet for my purpose…and mine is to add value. But did I want to do what I had always done, because I am good at it, or because I thought I should?
Shock, panic, sadness, grief, and the feeling of loss hit me hard. I can now admit that. So, through July and August I was kind to me. I gave myself time and grace to think, reflect and heal and to spend time enjoying the most amazing summer for years! Day by day I started to enjoy my freedom. My job became looking for a job, and I actively applied for many roles.
But as the months crept by, I struggled finding my perfect fit. I knew I was searching for the same role that I had loved but after five months, I concluded it just wasn’t there. It was very demoralising.
So, I proactively grew my social media contacts, I met dozens of people for coffee and cake, and I learnt the art of Skype and Zoom! I made sure it wasn’t one-sided, so we shared insights and I tried to give back as much as I learnt. Half a stone heavier [way too much cake!] and with a flood of ideas, I decided to invest in my own development. I researched and attended some amazing training courses and met some wonderfully gifted people – who I hope to work with in the future!
I listened and learned. I became a sponge. I watched and replayed. I studied and reflected. By New Year my decision was made. I wasn’t going to find the right role, so I made the choice to go out of my own. I chose to back myself. I chose to fly…
“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, ‘What if I fall?’
Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” [Erin Hanson]
I designed my brand name, Whyology, and built my Coaching, Consultancy and creative Change business model. I wanted to build on the great work I had done so far in my career and add some new magic to it all!
I’m so proud of what I have achieved so far. Welcome to Whyology!
What were my fears of starting a business?
People don’t really understand when I explain my biggest worry was not being liked, especially when posting on social media! I’ve worked hard masking my lack of confidence over the years. I’ve managed this over the years by having great clarity about why I do what I do, what my core strengths are and being able to articulate the value I bring to those I work with. I am passionate about how I work with people to do the best they can…and then do it better! I just need to find this confidence on social media! I am a little quirky and not everyone will ‘get me’ but I will get there.
I’m now OK with that.
Only one real annoyance! I should have dedicated more time to my goal to regain my fitness – I started last year but not as much as I wanted to do. Then, a friend pointed out to me that the great thing about my new life is I can make this happen this year – I just need to book out time to do it!
I am absolutely loving this new life – and in fact I have launched a second business as well! I’ve never been one for doing things by halves! So, I have set up an Essential Oils Candles company!
Welcome to Evoqua!
Having opened both new doors only six weeks ago, I believe I can make this world work for me and my family. Two businesses that couldn’t be more different are inspiring me to balance my time so that I get a great combination of professional, creative and leisure time. It is the ‘work-life’ balance that we all talk about but rarely achieve in a corporate world.
I’m feeling blessed. Here’s to flying!
Five tips to see the trees through the ‘Redundancy Wood’!
- Be curious – talk, listen, watch, observe – everything and anything. You don’t have that corporate machine around you anymore with daily feeds about trends, training and new ways of doing things. You have to do this for yourself now!
- Tap in to your intuition – we all have it, we need to learn how to listen to it. I struggled over the decision to start the coaching business or the candle-making business. My intuition screamed to do both – so I did. We will see…!
- Create opportunities – do something different or do something differently! It would have been easy to list my past activities and virtually repeat them. Instead I am shaping a business that fits with the future…not the past. It feels amazing as I am choosing to live my own value set!
- Do it well, do it better – we must keep learning, improving and squeezing the most out of every opportunity that crosses our path
- Be authentic - to yourself, your family, your clients and your business – it’s liberating!
- It’s OK not to know all the answers (OK, this is six tips!) – I have learnt that it is OK to worry and doubt, this is normal. Reach out…there are so many genuine people waiting to reach back.
- When coaching, I often use a phrase ‘with change comes opportunity’ and by working through the challenges I have faced in the past few months, I believe it more than ever. However, I will now add that it’s our choice whether to accept it.