I was a bit apprehensive about starting the Time of Your Life programme but knew that I needed to do something to work out ‘what’s next’. Time rushes by and I knew that I needed to do it sooner rather than later.
I had recently re-organised the family textile business I shared with my sister. We had both reached an age where our priorities, ambitions and our enjoyment of the business was changing. I was beginning to realise that the family dynamics were holding back my creativity.
We brought in expert help to help smooth out splitting the business to go our separate ways. It was a long complex procedure and it was then that I began thinking about what it would mean for me.
This was really going to be a big change and an opportunity for me to go out and recreate myself.
When I met Judith I realised that maybe I needed a little extra guidance to shape my future path, just like when we hired a governance expert to help with our business plans. Some of the things she mentioned about working out which of the options were right for me, really touched a nerve.
I have friends around me who are in their early 60’s, just a bit older than me, most retired or semi-retired. I was intrigued about where they were now and how they got there. I asked myself ‘Was I supposed to be doing the same? Should I be retired? The concept of retirement or an exit strategy from work had never entered my head. I was still doing everything as if I was still in my 40s. I had lots of ideas for the future and I’m not one for following a set life formular.
What I gained most from the Time of Your Life programme was that it provided confirmation that some of the things I had been through and some of my ideas for the future were OK. Confirmation that it’s OK to move on, to be oneself.
Change for this next stage of life is OK. It’s nothing to be scared of. It’s just opening a door on a whole new world that is as exciting as the last 15 or 20 years.
The programme is not an easy option. I had not been in a corporate environment where there are sometimes mentors to help you. Judith’s approach was a new experience. Initially I maybe put up barriers and reacted against some of the self reflection but I trusted the process and Judith’s experience. She creates a conversational atmosphere where you think deeper into what’s going on for you.
For me it was the first time I had talked to anyone about life planning. In my head I knew there were questions and issues I should be addressing but I didn’t know how to get them out in the open. Talking to friends and family was not what I needed as they were far too close to me and biased in their views. Judith gave me time and tools to work things out for myself.
She helped me see the ‘wood from the trees’. There are lots of things you don’t realise until someone from the outside holds up a mirror for you to see things more clearly.
I now understand myself in ways I had not thought about before and it’s helped me move forward.
The ‘personal profile’ was a revelation. I now understand the way I like to do things and what I really love doing. I also know why I find some things difficult and that I need other people to help me. Most of all know that it is OK to be me!
I recognise and value my own skills much more. This is proving itself right now and helping me to make my business vision become a reality. I have moved from the textile design part of the business and plan to transform our premises into an innovative design centre for Doncaster. I have become more confident in my ability to present engaging visual ideas which could eventualy change the look and feel of places.
The difference is that I’m just being myself!
Previously I had been looking outside myself. Analysing what’s going on around me and thinking maybe I should be more like other people. Now I know it’s actually OK to be yourself.
It has helped my relationship with my partner. She has always had a passion to travel and we recently went away on a month’s trip. Something I would never have contemplated before but which I was able to enjoy and feel confident leaving work behind.
Time of Your Life has had a long lasting effect on me. The process has sunk in months later and stays with me as I create the next exciting stage of my life. Things are definitely moving on fast now and I’m leaving my old world behind.
I see the future as the last life chapter were I can enjoy myself doing something creative that’s worthwhile. Eventually I plan to spend less time at work but I will always be involved and get pleasure from seeing my original concept come alive with a new generation of creatives.
If you have any doubts about starting the Time of your life programme I would say ‘give it a go’, open yourself up to a different way of thinking and you will be surprised what you can learn and achieve.
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