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Was It a Waste of Time?

I spent a huge part of my life in school and went on to have a very successful career in my field. Until I didn't. Were all of those years a waste of my time?

A little background about me. After graduating from law school I worked as a litigator for a few years before staying home with my kids for five years. When my first husband and I got divorce, I needed to go back to work. I took a job that was close to home and happened upon an area of the law where I excelled.

Over the years that I worked in this niche industry within the legal field, I became the top expert for this type of law. I traveled the country speaking at conferences, training clients, creating and teaching courses, being interviewed... all of the things associated with being a sought-after expert.

But behind the scenes I was a mess.

The schedule and the work environment at my law firm were taking a toll. My physical health was declining, I cried every day, I gained weight, and my relationships were strained. After years of feeling stressed, sick and stuck it was time to close that chapter in my life.

Now that it's over, does it mean those ten years weren't worth it?

Because I'm no longer doing that work, I could choose to look at all of those years as a waste. I see my clients do this. When they're ready to make a career or life pivot, they want to dismiss everything they've already done as though it wasn't worth it or something they never should have done.

I could do that too. But I don't. Instead I think of the clients around the country that learned and improved because of my help. I think of the more than 1,000 people who took my certification course and became better at their jobs and more valuable to their employers. I think of the unique and fabulous places I traveled that I likely never would have been to otherwise- Port Aransas, TX is high on that list. I take pride in the fact that I was a valued resource for so many.

Just because that's not my life and career any longer doesn't make those experiences less valuable.

It led me to where I am today. And I have all of the skills, successes and setbacks from that time to lean on and learn from in this chapter of my life.

More importantly, I'm not spending time looking backwards and trying to rewrite the past. I'm not wishing I'd taken a different path back then. It's already happened and I can't change it. But if I was always looking back at it, I might miss opportunities that are in front of me. I'd be convincing myself that my chance at something good/different/better/perfect was back then instead of just ahead.

How much time are you spending looking at what's behind you? Are you telling yourself that you wasted your time on something simply because it's no longer part of your life? That could be keeping you stuck. You're in between what's behind you and what could be possible next because you're looking in the wrong direction.

Try reframing it instead. Ask yourself:

  1. What am I proud of from that part of my life?

  2. What pieces of it do I want to bring into this chapter?

  3. What don't I want to bring into this chapter?

  4. What are the three biggest lessons I can learn from it?

If you'd like to learn more about looking forward instead of back, I'm hosting a workshop next week - How to Find Opportunities Instead of Obstacles.


What do you get when you work with a life coach? ✨A judgment- free space devoted to you and your goals. ✨Strategies for creating and getting the life you want. ✨Honest, objective perspective on what's keeping you stuck. ✨The opportunity to make decisions based on possibility not discontent.

I’m a certified life coach helping women do the things they think they can't and see opportunities instead of obstacles. I have one on one coaching spots available.


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