The Courage to Step Forward

Taken in Nepal 2017

Even though it was back in 2015, I still remember the morning clearly. I woke up, walked outside to my car packed full of my life possessions and just stood there in a moment of indecisiveness.

I was at the halfway point of my journey. In one direction was Brisbane. Where I’d spent the past 26 years; it was the life I knew. In the other was my destination: Sydney. A stranger, calling for my trust as it promised the life I wanted.

All I had in Sydney was the job I had been offered – but it was in the mental health sector. This was “it” I thought: my dream job that is definitely worth starting a new life for. But now there was a tangible feeling in my body, a thought rattling in my head: should I turn around? Do I really want to do this?

I didn’t head back. I kept going. And what spurred me on was the mantra of “choose must” which I had picked up from Ella Luna’s book, The Crossroads of Should and Must.

The book outlined the difference between jobs, careers and callings. With one’s “calling” being what they were put on this earth to do. Where what one does and who they are, are in alignment. Of course, this is no easy feat to achieve. It can be a lifelong quest. But my naive optimism ultimately worked in my favour. Believing I was close compelled me to keep going.

Skipping ahead now: Sydney didn’t work out as I planned. It didn’t find my calling, but I found a few crumbs. And I followed them one year later onto another city, Melbourne – where I continued my work in the mental health sector for an even bigger organisation.

Along this journey, I also learned more about who I am: what my strengths are and where my motivations lie. Following an unexpected diagnosis with ADHD, a few missing pieces were found. Many ah-ha moments were had. And another year later, somewhere in the heart of the Australian outback during a road trip, a decision was made to leave the office work and start studying counselling so I could work directly with people.

That chapter began in 2019. It’s now 2021 and I’m due to graduate. Sure, this isn’t what I had envisioned on that morning in 2015. But I learned a long time ago that life doesn’t start with a table of contents. Each chapter has the potential to be a completely new book.

At the same time, there’s also a familiar feeling of uncertainty. As I stand here between the life I know (working in marketing and content) and the life I want, I’m questioning if going into counselling is the right move. While learning the material and doing my placement was enjoyable, there’s something slightly terrifying about applying for actual jobs. This is because, regardless if it’s going on a date, travelling to a new country, or trying a dance class for the first time – whatever shape the unknown takes – it’s always going to stir something deep within us.

I’m reconciling this by reminding myself that this isn’t a question of which career I choose; rather will I recognise my gifts and who I am. Will I step into my truth; my true self? Again, as Ella Luna asserted: when it comes to callings, who one is and what one does are one of the same. And as I’ve known since my first full-time work week, I just don’t belong behind a computer (at least for 40hrs).

I spoke about finding crumbs in Sydney and Melbourne. However, it’s evident they have been scattered throughout my life. From my highschool friends calling me Dr Phil in compliment of my wisdom, working through my own dark night of the soul at age 22, supporting other people on internet message boards, starting this blog in 2013, writing my book in 2014, developing a presence on social media, being recognised in the media, and just deeply connecting with, supporting and uplifting many people along the way, I’m undeniably a natural counsellor. As I proclaimed in a previous post, it is my way of being. I just need to own it.

I’m also human. So doubt and imposter syndrome will have a presence in my life too. But I’ll own them too; dealing with them the same way I always have: by stepping forward, showing up, taking a shot. Oh, and adjusting my course if necessary. As my story shows, even if the next thing isn’t “it” – what you ultimately want (like Sydney) – it’s likely nevertheless a required step along the way. And I’m ready to take my next one.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. – Rumi.




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