A few years ago, too many to mention, I decided to leave my job and go round the world. I was 30, I had no children, a boyfriend and a great job.
The advice came forward in its droves. “It’s careeer suicide. Future employers will question your commitment. You will never meet your life partner. You will never have kids.” To “It’s brilliant. You will never forget it. It will look great on your CV. You will have the time of your life. You’ll never regret the decision.”
I was always going to go and I thanked everyone for their wisdom but it was the “you will never regret it” piece of advice that confirmed my resolve. And it turned out to be the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given.
I have never regretted it. I had the most incredible twelve months of freedom, from penguins in Antarctica to sunrise over Ayers Rock, I saw a huge slice of the world and I learnt about friendship, tenacity and how to manage my strengths and weaknesses.
It was not always easy, there were hiccups along the way, but I got my dream job on my return, met my husband and had two beautiful children AND almost every day since, a memory of that journey plays a role in my day.
To me it was not a risky decision to go, it was the right one for me and looking back I now see how it enabled me to move my life forward when I got back.
But it’s not always easy to make these “right” decisions especially in the face of conflicting advice. Who do you listen to? Who is right?
Whether it’s decisions about your personal life or your working life, shall I set up a small business, shall I go freelance – there is always a myriad of different options.
The key however, I now realise, is that there is no “right” answer – it’s what feels right at the time and what you feel is right for you. Listen to the counsel but ultimately you make the decision. And whatever happens it will always be worth taking because it felt “right”.
All advice has its merit – it’s learning where it fits in to your decision-making process that is harder to work out. Good luck.