Since I started this incredible new adventure, I have had a lot of people confide in me and say they have been thinking about changing their careers and their lives “for ages” and how brave I must be. I feel almost guilty when I share that my decision wasn’t long thought out … in fact, it was made in about four hours!
It’s quite amazing looking back. I thought I was happy, although I knew I was tired and stressed. I had been in a terrific job for five years … I believed every day in what I was doing (what a privilege that is!) and I worked very, very hard to create a department and team of people who were highly regarded and respected as much as for how they did things as for what they did.
But, as I said, I was tired as the journey had been long and, to be honest, a few negative people had also taken their toll.
I woke up the day after overseeing the organisation of a major gala fundraising dinner in early November last year and found myself crying. I realised I didn’t have the energy to even contemplate organising next year’s gala and that’s when I knew I had to leave — to be fair to me and to the organisation.
But to what and to where, I didn’t know. It was quite scary for someone who had dreamed of being a journalist since her early teens and always knew exactly what she wanted.
Four hours later, though, it became incredibly clear as it occured to me what I wanted most was a complete change from journalism, public relations and fundraising (which had been my career for a very happy 23 years) and I remembered what I always joked about doing whenever I couldn’t find shoes to fit my size 12 foot — open my own shoe shop specialising in longer sizes.
So I got on with it. Nine days later, I resigned and gave 11 weeks’ notice. I put my house on the market so I could invest my own money into the new business and not have the angst of a business loan. I sold my townhouse to an investor so I could rent it back. I found the perfect premises in the same suburb where I live and, very quickly, The Shoe Garden started to take shape.
I was lucky that I found it easy to make the decision and to act on it .. perhaps because it was so right!
Ciao for now,