When I first heard about this new program ‘Career Change Happens’ that Maria was working on, the first thought that entered my mind was, ‘this is exactly what I need right now, this is perfect timing.’ I couldn’t wait to get started. Then the doubts crept in, I started to question how is this going to work? How will this help me get my dream job? It just sounded too good to be true!

The night of our first focus group meeting came around, I remember feeling very nervous and a bit sceptical, I had no idea what was going to happen or what I was going to have to do, which for me (a control freak) was very unnerving. I knew I was going to have to put myself out there; I was going to have to say all the things that had been going on inside my head for months. Not only was I going to have to say these things out loud, I was going to have to say them to almost complete strangers. The thought of this literally terrified me.

As the night went on all of my fears slowly passed, we had talked and listened to each other for 3 hours. I felt amazing, emotional and enlightened all at the same time.

From that night I realised that when you are dealing with issues of your own self worth and finding your place in the world, you really think it is just ‘you’ going through this. You look around and think that everyone else has it all worked out and they are really happy with the way their lives are going, but this is definitely not true. People are great at hiding things to keep up appearances, this is what I was doing and as I soon found out, I wasn’t alone.

All of the ladies in the CCH focus group have very different reasons for wanting to do the program, but ultimately we were all after the same outcome ‘to be happier.’ My reason is probably extremely common and I‘m sure that in some point in their lives most women can relate to my situation. If I look back now it had probably been building up for several months, maybe even years, but I just pushed it to the back of my mind. Early in 2014 I found myself becoming more and more unhappy, there was nothing wrong with my family life, it was ‘my’ life that was making me depressed. I realised that in less than a year I was going to be ‘40’ and what had I done?

Yes, I have 3 beautiful children and yes, I had travelled and lived overseas, but I had NO career, I wasn’t even close to anything that resembled one. I panicked, I was running out of time, I knew I didn’t want to be an 80 year old woman looking back on my life and feeling disappointed. I want a job that makes me happy and fulfilled and that can also give me the means to make the other dreams in my life come true.

For the past 17 years I have been a mother and I have loved every minute of it, but now with all the kids going off to school, I need to be more than a mother and housewife, I need an identity outside of the house, I need a challenge, I need to be selfish and put myself first and do what I want to do for me, I need to find ‘me’. NOW is my time.

As the weeks passed and we had more CCH meetings I began to learn things about myself that I never knew or hadn’t really thought about before. I suppose no one had really asked me to question myself in that way. Some of the content in the program I did find quite confronting, but in a very good way and a positive way. I knew I was unhappy, but I just didn’t realise how unhappy I actually was.

After every session, I would go home either extremely positive or quite emotional. I would read my notes, take more notes and try to search my brain for every word Maria had said, I didn’t sleep well on those nights.

After the initial dread of being in a group of people and having to talk about myself, I began to look forward to ‘our’ Monday nights and listening to everyone’s stories of success and sadness and of self discovery, we would laugh and cry together, we would be proud of each other for going out of our comfort zones and facing our fears, basically for just being brave. Advice was welcomed when needed, it was a safe and trusting environment with amazing women, much, much, more than I ever expected it would be.

The ‘Find Your Calling’ program is so much more than just helping you on a new career path. If you let it, it can actually change your whole outlook on life and how you see yourself. It’s not just about sitting and listening, you have to really look inside yourself, you have to answer the questions that you haven’t asked yourself before no matter how confronting they are and most of all you have to be honest with yourself. It’s not a miracle fix for being in a bad job and you won’t get a new career overnight. You will however get the tools to help you achieve these things, you will learn so much about how you are perceived in the world, what is really important to you and ultimately, what you want from your life.

I am still on my journey. I don’t know how long it is going to take me, but I do know that I am going to get there, I am positive about that. A few months ago I was in a very different and not so good place, I had everyone worried. I was even worried. I know I didn’t want to go down the doctor path, I really wanted to avoid that and now, I can tell you with complete honesty that without this program I would be on that path now. I now have a vision for my future, I know what I value in life and in work, I am a much more positive person with a positive belief system in place.

I am so thankful everyday that I was chosen to take part in the focus group for Career Change Happens, it is changing my life and will continue to do so for a very long time.

They say people and things come into your life for a reason and at just the right time.

This could not be truer!

CANDY MCNAUGHT

WORKING MOTHER

A mother of 3, Candy works part-time and juggles all the day to day commitments of life like all women. She has a love for shopping and writing and this can be seen in her talent for storytelling. Candy shares her life experiences with candor and flair.

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