Time For A Change

So now the adventure that I have been referring to over the last few months has been revealed (in my previous few social media posts) it’s about giving you all some background to how this all came about.  When I started parent blogging on IG nearly two years ago, I never would have said that it would have brought about a career change, but that’s exactly what has happened.   Early on I started to see a lot of posts about various mental health statistics, especially relating to men’s suicide.  I found when I was speaking to people in person; they were also talking about mental health-related topics, my IG timeline all of a sudden became a place where men especially, were opening up daily about their issues.  I remember thinking after reading one story in particular about an attempted suicide; I have to do something about this.

I started becoming interested in various related topics, and I would speak to people in the industry very openly about what they were doing and why they were passionate about it.  Having had the thought to do something I carried on in the same way for a while and I guess through day to day life it became suppressed, but it was still there inside me.  Unusually it surfaced when I went to Gurleen’s new school induction (Aug 18), parents were given several local leaflets about various services, and there was one for our local Mind for mental health so I thought I would contact them.  Having emailed I received a reply inviting me to visit their office, I turned up there, and they asked me if I would like to become a volunteer mentor?   Which they had a group training course for me there and then.  I had been told before that there were not many men in the industry, immediately that became evident as I was the only male present in training.

Once the mentor training was complete I had the chance to reflect on all the people I had met so far; they seemed so genuine and happy in what they were doing it was infectious.  I picked up on that positive energy straight away; I was around people who were passionate and content in doing what they loved.  I wanted to get involved immediately and was keen to showcase my skills, which led to fundraising and social media opportunities while I waited for my security clearance to go through.

Once my clearance had come through it was mid-December and there was little point starting until the New Year, so in Jan 2019 I was introduced to my first client on the mentoring programme.  Immediately it was something I knew I wanted to pursue, and I started talking to people that I had been inspired by; I felt that was a natural thing to do.  I had been saying to those people that all of a sudden something had overwhelmed me inside that I no longer wanted to work for just me and my family; I also wanted to work for others and make a difference in the world.   They were very supportive, and I felt encouraged to go out of my comfort zone and live the dream.  I was also told to do ardas (Sikh formal supplication), so I started including in my daily ardas (prayer) a small piece around wanting a job where I could make a difference in the world, it felt good as I had so much belief and felt the ambition, but I was relaxed enough not to expect anything.

I can’t quite remember how, but very soon after this, I had a call with Shuranjeet Singh from Taraki, I was asking him if one wanted to start a career in this industry what would you have to do?  I was thinking of long term study or courses, and we discussed a few career paths.  I felt quite good as a visual map was beginning to form.  Amazingly a few days later I found out about a job that had become available at the local mind where I had been volunteering.  It was for an Employment Adviser, coaching people with anxiety and depression back into work or to seek a new career.  The job looked perfect but initially I wasn’t sure if it was for me, that quickly changed when I spoke to close friends, they believed I had the qualities for the role, I was trying to talk myself out of it as I didn’t have any commercial experience, but I felt encouraged enough to go for it.  I believed I was in a win-win situation as I already had a good job, I was going to go for this job and knew that if I didn’t get it, I would go for another one later as I knew this was the industry for me.   Having completed the application form I was selected for the interview (Feb 2019), I prepared well and gave it my best; I had minimal regrets at how the interview had gone but was still unsure as I knew it was a big step for all concerned.  It turns out that they really took to me and believed in me enough to offer me the role.  I was delighted but it was very surreal as it had happened so much quicker than I would ever have imagined.

My decision to accept was an easy one, I had wanted to leave I.T. for a few years now (esp after my student loan was paid off), but I was comfortable, and even though there were some elements of my job that I did enjoy, it wasn’t something I really wanted to devote my time and future to in the long run.  I knew that I couldn’t just carry on earning wages to pay bills, there was so much more out there, and I had now experienced that, I thought I am in my mid-30s now is the perfect time to change my career.  I resigned from my job in the city of London a day later, never easy especially when you have been somewhere for eight years, I was a bit nervous but was overwhelmed by the reaction and encouragement I received from all staff and management once the shock had worn off.  Of course, the already arranged two months of paternity leave that was due to start in April was now void as I would be starting my new job by then.   I had known in the back of my mind that this could be a reality and I would have to sacrifice it, but the other benefits such as working 10 mins from home and not working late anymore would mean spending more time with my kids.

I started my new job last week, and it’s a lot more real for me now as opposed to just reading and researching about mental health, I am currently experiencing it daily.  So many people have asked me what happened to me and why I left an already comfortable and stable career for this new adventure.  In writing this, I hope you now have a bit more clarity and can understand why I have made the change.  The other factor for me writing this is that since I announced my decision I have spoken to many people who are not really happy in what they are doing either and they have felt that I am brave and courageous for following my heart and passion.  I merely told them, and I am telling you, that If I can do it, then so can you!  Inspiration is transferable; you can be inspired and then, in turn, inspire others, we all have that platform where we have an influence, we must use this for making a positive difference to our own lives and the lives of others.

Thanks to all of those that I have spoken to (you know who you are) I have seen you doing what you love, which made me think if you can, then why can’t I?  And if I can, then why can’t you??

It’s fitting that I leave you with an extract from my dear friend Jag Shoker’s book – You Will Thrive.  When I read this particular page it was like someone turned on the lights, it came just at the right time, and his words acted as a huge support to me.  Read the words for yourself…

You will know when the time has come for you to take that leap, for your heart will ask you to take a risk and step out into an unknown and uncertain future to do the Work that you love.

The Way always unfolds from right where you are.  Look for signs that point the Way to go.

Only the most courageous and passionate of people grasp this moment of destiny with both hands.  Only those who truly trust in their heat and intuition take this leap of faith.  Know that every leap of faith on the Way (and there will be many) is a decision you must make wholeheartedly.  Few of us are ever really prepared to do this.  As the author, Ordway Tead pointed out in his book The Art of Leadership (1929), “So many people are loath to make irrevocable decisions, are tepid in their enthusiams, timid in their faith in themselves and others, afraid of the burden of responsibility and undecided about their direction.”

If you are now facing your first big leap of faith, it is vital that you remain open to your intuition.  Something will nudge you forward and give you the belief that everything will work out if you have the courage to take this leap.  This nudge may come in many different guises.  As one esoteric saying hints at, “Angels often speak to us through the nearest available voice.”  It might be a book you read, a film you watch, or something that someone says to you that suddenly tips the balance in a positive direction and fills you full of hope that you will succeed in realising you dream if you commit to it with all your heart.

Pages 29 & 30 from “You Will Thrive” by Jag Shoker