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The biggest thing I learned in therapy
(and you can apply to your career and business goals, too)
Therapy is brilliant. That’s the short version of this substack. Therapy, while also hard, challenging, frustrating and sometimes even laced with an element of shame, is BRILLIANT.
Well, I think so, anyway. And I was amazed to hear Simon Cowell speaking recently about his experience of therapy on a podcast for the charity MIND.
It reminded me of my own experience, and how it shaped who I am today.
I decided to see a talking therapist in 2016, when I was very down and unhappy, mainly focused on my single status.
I had a great job at Metro newspaper, and even a book deal! But inside I was angry, confused and so so lonely.
(As an aside to those asking how I afforded to pay for a therapist, I used quite a large chunk of the advance for the book. People say ‘what did you spend it on?’ I say ‘Therapy and handbags’ - I also had an Aspinal discount card at the time. Told you it was a great job.)
Anyway, I went to see a therapist to talk about that and being single, how I could change things. Of course if you’ve been to therapy, or had coaching, you’ll know that you plan to talk about one thing and a whole load of other things come out!!
One week, my therapist suggested I imagine what my life would be like if I never met anyone. Never had a real boyfriend. Never married. Never cohabited.
If it was just me, forever. If the romantic dream never came true for me.
It was HARD. Hard as hell. But I went with it, tearful and scared.
The clouds did part. I began to realise that life was good even without this goal I had no true control over.
If Mr Right was never coming, what then? Well, I’d get the kitchen done, which I’d put off because ‘what if I meet someone?’
I found myself caring less about the future and more about the now. Caring less about what a man thought of me, and more of what I thought of myself.
And now I’m approaching my first wedding anniversary. I believe therapy allowed me to focus inwards so that when I met my now husband I wasn’t looking to him to complete, or emotionally support me in place of myself, as I had done with so many men before.
I feel this can be transferred to work, too. The dream job, the dream goals, the big company or business plan. If you’re losing sight of yourself and your happiness because of a big ‘must do it’ goal, ask yourself today, what would life be like if it never happened?
If that big business deal never came through? If you never wrote or got the book you’ve written, published? If you didn’t get the promotion, or go self-employed. What if you let go of the ‘dream’ career, and focused on you instead, and let the rest of it all unfold around you, and surprise you?
p.s. Coaching isn’t therapy, but if you feel like you need some career clarity and coaching might help, get in touch to chat more about working with me.