How To Use Turning Points To Start Something Different And Better

Life is Too Short Not To Be Living it Fully

Carmel’s story of how the loss of her brother led her to reevaluate her WorkLife, to think through what was important in her day-to-day living and the legacy she wanted to work towards leaving behind.

There have been a few turning points in my life that have caused me to stop and think about what’s important to me and to consider what I want from my WorkLife. Sadly, one of those occasions was when my brother Kieran died aged just 42. Kieran had lived very much in the present and enjoyed the simple things in life. I remember his wife Christina telling me how in the summer once their four girls were in bed, they’d sit in their garden and watch the sunset.

As well as bringing up four daughters they also gave their time generously to supporting the families who had been impacted by the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, and every summer they would welcome children from Chernobyl to stay with them. Their stay in Ireland allowed the children to relax and recuperate during the summer months.

It was important for Kieran and Christina to give back — or indeed give forward. Thinking about my brother caused me to realise that I needed to live in the present and make every day worthwhile. It also made me question what contribution I wanted to make, to give back, to give forward. It made me go deeper in my questions around what legacy I wanted to leave behind. Itook a step back to evaluate my most important values to consider what needed to change in my WorkLife to honour these. What I could do differently to make it better.

I’d worked in investment banking for several years. I enjoyed the work and worked with great people, and it also afforded me a great lifestyle. However, the hours were long and I wasn’t spend- ing as much time with my family as I would have liked.

I made the decision to leave banking and to set up in business myself. This took time, as first I needed to figure out what I wanted to do next; and once I did, I then needed to retrain. It was quite a juggling act initially: working to bring in much needed income while studying and subse- quently gaining practical experience to launch my new business and WorkLife. 

Although tough, it was extremely enjoyable, and from the outset I was carving a WorkLife in line with my needs and values. Now I both plan for tomorrow and live for today. At times it can be extremely challenging but it’s also extremely rewarding.

Along the way I discovered ways in which I could give back and give forward, along with the legacy I want to leave behind. From this I wrote My Mission Statement: “To spread the power of WorkLives lived with Passion, Purpose, and Pride by creating continuous WorkLife development programmes that are accessible for everyone.”

Develop Your WorkLife Story


In light of the reality that life can be short, take time to reflect on the following questions:

Your WorkLife Mission Statement Assignment

What is a defining moment in your life and how did it impact you?
 What is most important to you?
 What challenge do you want to overcome?
 What do you want to accomplish? contribute? complete? create or build? What legacy or reputation do you want to leave behind?

What is something you can start to make your WorkLife different and better?

Use this information to write your Mission Statement.

A reminder of mine: “To spread the power of WorkLives lived with Passion, Purpose, and Pride by creating continuous WorkLife development programmes that are accessible to everyone.”

This story is one of the stories featured in my book: How To Use Turning Points To Start Something Different and Better, from The School Of WorkLife Book Series.

Click on the above title for an inside view of the book, where you will see the stories and assignments. Tap the link below to see the other books in the series. 

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories I share my own experiences, and with permission stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.