When you make a decision and you feel so strongly that it is the right decision and you swear that you have considered every option as to why that decision is the best one, sometimes God can come along and blow down the house of carefully stacked cards you thought were glued together. It is then that we need to give ourselves permission to change our own minds.
Big, seemingly scary, life-changing decisions should never be made lightly. Whether it is about choosing the right degree, university/college, getting engaged, taking a new job or moving interstate/intercontinental these decisions can and will affect the rest or your life. Sometimes because these decisions are so huge it can be hard to change your mind once it has been agreed upon and announced to your social circle.
A few years back I was working at a number of niche craft publications (Homespun, Quilters Companion, Scrapbooking) and unfortunately although I loved working in magazines and the team and people I dealt with in the editorial role, I wasn’t happy. It was in no way challenging enough for my skill level at the time as I picked it up all too quickly and somehow you can only write about “delicious fabric” and describe stores as “Aladdin’s caves of treasures” before your creative mind gets bored. I was in need for a new opportunity and instead of waiting for one to present itself to me I decided to apply for retail management positions. I had worked for four years in retail before getting into magazines and was pretty savvy with selling and merchandising and thought it may be a stepping stone into more fashion-orientated magazine roles later down the track.
I got an interview with one of my most favourite shoe stores and a few days later I was told that I didn’t get the job I wanted but that they wanted me for one of their other stores!!! We had luck!!!
So here I was in my early twenties taking my career into my own hands. My eyes sparkled with shoe discounts and wardrobe ideas. I imagined the awesome team I would manage and how we would be the best store team in the history of shoe retail.
I had made the life changing decision. I had set the ball in motion. I was due to start in four weeks and had told the other editorial girl who worked on the same magazines as me. All I had to do was tell my boss and actually hand in my resignation letter.
Somewhat reluctantly I typed up the letter, swallowed the fear that had gathered in my throat and then hit send on the email (he worked in the building next to ours). That afternoon I stared at my email and the phone with fear waiting for the god awful reply accepting my resignation. It wasn’t so much that I was scared of what they would say to me but more that I knew I would have to explain my reasons for wanting to leave and being that honest was kind of frightening. I mean I had made my decision, explained it to my parents, and accepted the job offer. I should have been confident in my reasons. I was confident in my decision but it still had a big risk factor involved.
Then my boss called.
And requested a meeting at his office to discuss.
And then I preceded to have my early twenties mind slapped with career advice from a senior executive media publisher.
And yes I changed my mind.
In the end my mind was changed and I was offered another opportunity with the Home & Lifestyle magazines, which I stayed working with for almost two years before making my sea change to Kiama. The call I had to make back to the shoe store company was difficult but all in all they were pretty good about it.
The point is I made a decision that I was adamantly all for and then seemingly unmade the decision based on one conversation. This did not mean I was indecisive or unable to commit. When presented with my situation from a different perspective that I hadn’t considered I could see that I was possibly making the wrong choice. My circumstances still changed so that I got out of my unhappy rut but it was still in the area I had studied at university for, it was what came naturally to me and I had more room to move creatively.
When you make a decision it can take some guts to unmake it once you have told everyone what you have decided to do. Most importantly you need to trust that the decision is the best thing for you based on you and you alone. While there may be other things to consider – partners, kids, family, finance – but ultimately if it is right for you, you will know. Sometimes it can be the most irrational thing that makes us change our mind but it is better than continuing into a new job/move/partnership/etc. that you have come to believe isn’t quite right. Forget about what other people will think of you – that is none of your business anyway. Think only of what is best for you and the path you feel you should be on.
And remember life is never set in stone (yes even if you put it on Facebook) and there is always time to change something. If you do follow through with a decision you made and you are as unhappy as the naysayers said you would be – don’t feel you need to hang your head in shame on the way back undoing what you had done. Life is an adventure and designed to be explored.