Trust your gut, do your sums and make a plan







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This week’s career change guest blog is from Ciara Bruton who is a Holistic Life & Business Coach. Ciara spent 7 years working as a Primary School teacher and has fully transitioned into her dream role as a coach. Ciara helps new, holistic practitioners in Ireland to get their business and website up and running without the overwhelm. She tells us her incredible journey about trusting her gut and making the leap towards a new career path. Here is her story.

The Transition

In 2017, I quit my “permanent and pensionable job” as a primary school teacher in rural Roscommon. When I loved teaching - I truly loved it. I loved junior infants in particular because of the fun and play-based learning.  I gave my heart and soul to teaching. I was always to be found creating new resources, art ideas, Aistear role-play area set ups

Growth

While teaching is a very all-consuming profession, at some point I realised I wasn't growing anymore. I wasn’t doing new things or feeling inspired and creative like I used to when I’d first started. While the kids were always good fun and kept my mind active, the other aspects of the job weren't keeping me feeling engaged. 

The Turning Point

I had never planned to be a primary school teacher forever. I was always interested in spirituality and personal development but hadn’t quite found my “thing” yet.  In 2016, I did my first 10-day silent meditation retreat. I had huge realisation that I needed to leave teaching and step into the unknown. I think I had known that for about two years, but I was ignoring it. Within the silence of the meditation retreat, my inner knowing was very loud and clear that it was time to leave teaching.

This epiphany happened in August and I had already got my classroom ready and met my kids for September, I decided to teach for the year while I figured my exit plan.

Taking Time and Space

I wish I could say that things became clear about my next steps during this time, but they didn't. All I knew what's that I needed space and time to figure it out. I decided to go to Bali, then ended up in Australia volunteering at meditation and yoga centres for 10 months. I wish I could say I came home knowing what my next steps were, but I didn't!

I came home, I sat on the floor with A3 pages and markers and I brainstormed. I wrote down all the things that I might like to work at, the training requirements, and the lifestyle associated with each job. Somehow, I came across life coaching and attended a free introductory workshop in Dublin at which I realised this is it.

Substitute Work

While studying the life coaching course and even after I qualified, I subbed. I think as teachers we are so lucky to have the option to sub. I knew how much money I needed a month to cover my needs, and I work I subbed that number of days a month.  On the other days, I was working on my business. 

Starting a business has been the most growth-inducing experience of my life. There have been highs and lows, courage and fear, delight and terror.  As someone who is a thinker, a planner, a perfectionist, I have had to take action without feeling ready and get used to coping with the unknown, a lack of structure, a lack of certainty. On the other hand, I’ve had such freedom and connection with myself in how I choose to spend my time and energy, the impact I want to have, the possibilities that are open to me: I feel very alive and inspired again.

Lessons I learned Along the Way

1.  Recognising my Skills

I used to think that none of my skills were very remarkable. I think this is because I was in a homogeneous group of teachers who all had similar skills. It wasn't until I was volunteering at a meditation centre with people from all walks of life that I realised what skills I had in abundance and what skills I was less strong in. The skills from the classroom that stood out for me where my ability to communicate, to organise, to take care of people and to be a leader.

2.  Skill Development

As a coach now, I realise that my skills in emotional intelligence, empathy, communication and organisation are all skills that I honed and developed during my years of teaching.  I share this as inspiration for the teachers reading this to know that they have really valuable skills which are transferrable and impactful in many different settings.

3. Find a Tribe

Another lesson I have learned is to surround myself with inspiring people. What I mean by inspiring is people who inspire me that what I’m moving towards is possible. For example: you may seek out people who’ve made the transition you want to make, people working in the job you want, people who are lit up by the same things as you. This will give you “proof” that what you want is actually possible for you- it’s not so different/ weird/ risky after all.  Maybe you’ll watch some YouTube channels with people doing your thing, maybe you’ll join some Facebook groups, maybe you’ll attend some group workshops etc.

4. Seek Support

I’ve also personally learned the value of getting support from a coach and mentor. Being coached has enabled me to know myself more, to trust myself and to sort out inner resistance, fear and obstacles I have as I move forward. I didn’t know about coaching when I really needed it a few years ago. I know it would have saved me a lot of tears and a lot of time. None-the-less, I am now coached twice a month and it’s definitely responsible for me continuing to move forward, feeling the fear and doing it anyway.  My coach is also a mentor (someone who has walked the path before me in holistic business) and this has definitely been a short-cut for my progress with my business.

Advice for Teachers on the Same Journey

My mantra journey has been to “Trust my intuition, no matter what. It will never lead me in the wrong direction”. I fully trust the strong inner nudges we get are trying to lead us towards what’s right for us. It is not always logical, does not always feel safe, but in my experience, it’s always been for my good. In summary teachers: Trust your gut, do your sums and make a plan.

Find Your Own Path

People who care about you may be worried at your decision to leave teaching. I felt like a complete alien doing what I did until I arrived in Bali where I met loads of people who have chosen to pivot in their life direction and then my decision felt “normal”.   Listen to loved ones, but be aware that everyone values different things. Some people value security, safety and routine more highly and others value learning, growth and variety more highly. Know what you value and make your decisions based on that.

Thank you Ciara for taking the time to share your inspiring story. It is wonderful to see teachers follow their dreams and move forward with courage, grace and enthusiasm and to share their much needed skills with others. You can contact Ciara via her website  www.ciarabruton.com

Go n-éirí an bóthar leat!

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