What should I do with my life?

3 Tips for dealing with a crossroads and transitions in life and some help deciding if becoming a doula might suit you.

We have to get used to the idea that at the most important crossroads in our life there are no signs.

It was Earnest Hemingway who said this and it always strikes me as immensely wise. How much easier would it be if our life crossroads had convenient signposts, telling us clearly where this path will lead! Sadly, when we feel stuck in indecision, life rarely provides an instruction manual.

I talk to so many people standing at the crossroads, wondering what to do with their lives. They seem to fall into two catagories – those stuck at a crossroads and those in the throes of transition. Type 1 – the crossroads-standers – are often feeling trapped. They are often caught in the indecision of sticking with the status quo and making the leap down another path. Sometimes they seem to feel that if they ring me up and ask a thousand questions, I will give them the answer. Sadly, it’s impossible to tell someone what that path will look like for them, should they choose to travel that way.

Type 2 are in transition. They have decided their life must change. Or change has been thrust upon them. They are already walking a new path. Like any transition, the feelings that come with it can be intense and overwhelming. I know, and recognise this from supporting parents in the birth room – transition can be scary and super-intense. It can make us feel like we can’t do it and shiver and shake with the power of the sensations running through us. But it can also bring excitement, anticipation and feelings of pride and self-worth – I’m doing it, I’m really doing it!

So if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, here are a doula’s three tips:

  1. Gather your information. Facts and knowledge help us make decisions. Collect the pros and cons of all your choices. Write them down. Make lists. Ask questions and find people who are well travelled on the paths you are looking down – they will be able to give you a peek down the road. But remember, no one can tell you how that path will turn out for you.
  2. Which brings us to tip two: accept the unknown and believe that in life, there are no mistakes, just opportunities for learning. Nothing you can do will be wrong if you truly follow your heart.
  3. Look at your feet, not the horizon. It can be overwhelming looking all the way over there at where you’re going. Take things one step at a time and find someone you trust, who has walked this way before, to accompany you on the journey.

So if you’re standing at the crossroads, peering down the doula path, wondering if it might be for you, how might you make a decision to take that first step? There are no definitive answers to that, but here are some thoughts, in no particular order, that might be helpful:

  1. Are you good at working alone? The doula community is awesome and provides great support and mentoring, and we do sometimes work in pairs or even teams, but essentially, you will be a sole trader, responsible for your whole business.
  2. Do you welcome unpredictability and knowing every week could potentially be different? Do you need a regular salary or can you tolerate fluctuations in your income?
  3. Do you feel drawn to supporting new parents because deep down, you just know this stuff is important?
  4. Do friends and family confide in you? Do they come to you with problems? Do people tell you what a good listener you are? Do you enjoy being a practical help and generally feel quite calm and capable in a crisis?
  5. Do you find the whole subject of pregnancy, childbirth and babies miraculous and endlessly fascinating? Do you find yourself watching baby-related things on TV or reading birthy stuff on the internet?
  6. Are you yearning to spend more time with your children and to be your own boss so you can decide when you work?
  7. Are you just ‘feeling it’? Is your heart telling you this work is important and you want to try to make a difference in the world?

If you’re saying yes to some, or all, of these things and you are craving a more nourishing, community orientated lifestyle, being a doula might just be the path for you.

We offer 2 ways of taking that first step.

If you’re frozen at the crossroads, one of our introductory taster sessions might help. See the dates of upcoming sessions and book your place here. The zoom sessions are just a couple of hours, cost just £25 and if you book a course afterwards, you’ll get the fee back in the form of a discount on your course fees.

If you’re in transition and just have some last questions, need to talk about a payment plan or a bursary place or feel ready to book your course, diary date a chat with Maddie. This is a free, no strings consultation so that you can ask questions and get a feel for the course. Book a chat here.

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