I’m not a risk taker. Nope. No, sir-ee!

Perhaps I’m too logical with my thinking to allow myself to do something that I know might put me in imminent danger. You’ll never catch me jumping out of a plane, stepping off a rock-cliff or strapping some elastic to my ankles and jumping off a bridge, just to test that it doesn’t break. There is absolutely no logic in allowing yourself to risk anything like that. I know that plenty of people do it, but plenty of people aren’t me.

Right now you’re wondering what the wonderful world of Career Change Happens is all about. You’re wondering if you should take a risk and try something that you know nothing about. You’re questioning what you can really get out of sitting and listening to a bunch of people talk to you. You’re thinking all the things I thought.

You see, I have been getting Career Change Happens updates on Facebook for a while. My cousin’s wife works for Career Change Happens and I noticed a complete change in her. She’s so amazingly positive. She seems to have her ‘ducks in a row’. I noticed all of this while my world was crumbling.

In February this year, I was diagnosed with depression. It’s taken a really long time for me to be able to say the “D” word without bursting into tears. Even though they’re completely different, hearing your doctor tell you that you have depression feels like a life sentence. Telling you that I suffer with depression is one of the biggest risks I could ever take. I don’t know what you’re going to think, or react; and it’s completely none of my business.

That’s what the CCH Focus Group has given me.

I watched posts on Facebook from Career Change Happens. I saw them asking for people to sign up and trial a program that would help them to realise what their true calling is. Immediately I dismissed it. I was too far into the thick fog of depression to believe that anything good could possibly come my way. Risking the rejection just wasn’t an option for me so I moved on. I ignored it.

I hadn’t told many people about my depression. I was ashamed. I’d been off work for two months and was beginning a return to work plan when I saw my cousin’s wife at the doctor’s surgery. I tried to pretend that I didn’t see her. I didn’t want to have to talk to her. See, that’s one of the horrible things about depression. You think that everyone can tell that you have it so you try to hide behind a smile. But I was too tired to hide and she saw through my feeble attempts anyway. Unknowingly, I asked her to help me navigate my way through the fog. I saw her posts on Facebook and I wanted to be her. I wanted to live my life. Asking her for help was one of the biggest risks I have ever taken.

She suggested to me that I put my name down to try CCH. There was no guarantee that I would get in (queue the red light that went off in my head; risk = rejection = a chocolate binge). Was I really ready to take that chance?

I went home and signed up. Part of me hoped it was too late; a small part of me really wanted to get in. But I couldn’t hope because I literally couldn’t handle the rejection. But the rejection never came. I received a Facebook message saying I had been accepted. I was shocked.

Shocked and scared out of my mind!

This was too much. It was too much too soon. There was no goodness inside of me. Only darkness; only sadness. I was wallowing deep in my own self-pity. I had distanced myself from many people. If they hadn’t shown me support, they weren’t my supporters; I all but wiped them. I was angry, sad, confused, sad, mad, and sad. What on earth was I going to contribute to this group? What could I possibly give? There was nothing inside of me to give.

So, I did what any self-respecting coward would do. I sat and practiced how I was going to get out of doing the Focus Group. It was too much. It was too scary. It was too big a risk for someone in my position. But every time I went to send an email to say I couldn’t do the program, I chickened out. Or, maybe my subconscious knew I needed to change; to take a risk.

The first night of the Focus Group I got there early. I don’t know why because I sat in my car and contemplated the different stories I could give as to why I couldn’t attend. I wasn’t ready to lay myself bare in front of a group of virtual strangers. I just couldn’t. I wouldn’t. But, I did.

I got out of the car, walked through the door and sat at a table that I now consider home. In a room that feels like my safe space. With a group of women who are my champions. They’re my kindred spirits. My safe place.

Within the first five minutes, Maria had me convinced that I she was about to change my life. I just needed to be open to it. And there inlaid the biggest risk I have ever taken. I had to trust this stranger. I had to put my heart in her hands and trust that she knew what she was doing.

I did so whole-heartedly.

After that first session, I was a convert. Not in the extremist way. There’s no tattoo or piercing you have to get to be part of this club. Just complete honesty. You need to allow yourself to believe in you. To see that within you is the person you want to be; you’ve just been exposed to the elements. You’ve had to provide for your family, you’ve had to be everything to someone and you’ve gotten lost in the process. You’ve lost sight of what you wanted from work. It shouldn’t just be about the pay cheque at the end of the week, fortnight, or month. It needs to be something that makes your heart sing.

So, if I can give you any advice at all, embrace your fear; embrace the risk. Give CCH everything you have to give. You won’t be sorry. There will be moments that you’ll reflect on difficult situations, you’ll have to accept a lot of responsibility for how your life is; there may even be tears. None of that is weakness. This program isn’t designed to kick you while you’re down. It will empower you in the best way possible.

This program will re-introduce you to you. Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry. Take the risk, and give it everything you have. I promise you won’t regret it!

by Kate

KATE KENNEDY

SINGLE MUM

A single mum who devotes her life to her son. Kate is an inspiration to everyone who has been through tough times. Her insightful writing explores her own deep inner struggles that many women can relate to. She is courageous and hopes that her writing can help other women break through the barriers that hold us back, through her personal life stories.

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