( I asked a past client, who had successfully transformed her life into something very special, to share the steps she took to accomplish this huge and on-going venture. Often there is anxiety, panic attacks or depression in our life because what we do with our energies is not our passion, is not fulfilling. Many “avoid change” for fear of failure, or what other people might say. Shelley was so enjoyable to assist in this process, and I thank her so much for sharing !!!}
Steps to Reinventing/Recreating My Life
1. Acceptance that it needed reinventing — this may be the toughest step of all. I had to get to the point (back to the wall) where I accepted the fact that both my fiancé and my teaching job were increasingly toxic, and they were causing panic attacks, depression — and literally making me sick. I had to accept the fact that there was no other path except starting over.
2. Researching options — I read books about “sabbaticals” and articles about people who take a year off to do something new. I decided that taking a year off from teaching to explore different opportunities and ideas was the best option for me rather than jumping right into something new.
3. Preparing for A Year Off — I began to downsize, sell possessions, cash in retirement plans, and save all the money I could for my year off. At the same time, I put together my goals for the year: to write a novel, do part-time tutoring, try freelance writing/storytelling, and look around for other jobs. For my own sense of security, I secured an agreement with my school district that they would hold a job for me, if I returned (I didn’t).
4. Walking Away and Taking Responsibility for the decision to change — this was also a really tough step because this was the point when the decision became real, and I had to take public responsibility for it. I gave up my 38K a year teaching position. A few months later, I broke up with my fiancé (who had become more emotionally-abusive and hadn’t supported my plans). At the age of 30-something, I moved back into my parents’ house. Some of my family members and coworkers were shocked by these choices. I had to fight the feeling that I was “a failure” and get to the point of being able to say: it’s my life, my choice…I don’t owe an explanation to anyone.
5. Getting Used to New Reality: 1st month of “year off” was unsettling until I got used to new pace of life, new goals, new opportunities — a lot of dreams/nightmares about being late for things, missing things, etc.
6. The Best Part: Once I settled in, I was able to write the first half of my first novel (which later went on to be published). I attended new classes and conferences, tutored, and eventually found a job in a different field. During my year-long sabbatical, I realized that I LOVED having the freedom to live my own life, be my own boss, and use my creativity. The move to find a new path and start over completely transformed me and my life — haven’t looked back since.