We’ve all had a life changing moment; one of those transcendental decisions that changes the course of your future. You might define your life as before kids and after kids, or before and after your last job change, or even before and after investing in a home cleaner.
I define my life as: before international volunteering and after international volunteering.
Before I volunteered internationally I led a double life. I had a successful (but stressful) corporate consulting career marching from one high-end client to the next; working long hours, wearing dark city suits. For my 9 years in the corporate world, I also volunteered for a children’s charity.
I am still thankful for all of my corporate career opportunities, but I had a nagging desire to do something more. I just wasn’t sure what that was. I knew I wanted to do something more meaningful and more fulfilling. I knew I wanted a more balanced lifestyle. But instead, I progressed up another rung on the corporate ladder and put off making a career decision once more.
Finally, I realised that my mind kept drawing back to volunteering overseas. I decided to just do it, however, it was surprisingly challenging to find and organise. The experience was eye opening. After I volunteered internationally, I quit my successful senior management position to find opportunities that were more fulfilling and were for a greater good.
The volunteer experience didn’t necessarily ‘change’ me and certainly wasn’t the reason for my seemingly rapid and dramatic career switch – that would have happened eventually. What volunteering did was give me a huge dose of perspective and the courage to step beyond my everyday comfort zones and to take a chance on pursuing my dreams. Wherever they would take me.
Now, I’m excited and proud to make it easier for Australian women, families and corporate teams to get involved in the one thing that was a catalyst for positive change in m y own life. Volunteer travel – with peace of mind that their contribution will be positive and lasting.
Transitioning careers is a challenging journey, but my dramatic switch was most definitely worth it. I’ve learnt many important lessons since taking the plunge. I’ve learnt that breaking free of the excuses we tell ourselves brings a lot of happiness, not only to you, but also the people in your life. Time is too precious to put your true passions and dreams on hold indefinitely. That finding great mentors and seeking support will lift you higher and get you there faster. Clarity comes from taking consistent action in the direction of your big picture goal. It’s ideal to have bit of a plan before switching careers, but that it’s also possible to figure it out along the way. In many ways I still am figuring things out and expect I always will be. That’s life. You evolve, you grow, you learn, you change.
What do you believe? What matters to you?
WORDS BY KRISTY MOORE who helps leaders in nonprofits and social enterprises to make an even bigger difference (www.nowbethechange.com). Kristy also proudly connects Australian business leaders, their teams and families to international volunteer adventures with Hand Up Australia (www.handupaustralia.com), and after visiting 60+ countries, she is currently writing her second book.
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