Willingness to Change is a Strength

Be Mindful Of the Stories You Tell Yourself, Change Your Story, Change Your Work-Life

Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash 

Tara lost her job as a retail banker, when the branch she had worked at for thirty years merged with the only other bank in town, resulting in significant job losses. She knew she wouldn’t be able to find a new position within banking close to home. What she didn’t know was what else she could do, because she had never done any other kind of work. While the statutory redundancy payment she’d received bought her a little bit of breathing space to figure this out, she wanted and needed to get back into work as quickly as possible. Having recently been widowed, her work gave her a sense of belonging through social interaction, and she needed to support herself financially.

Then one day there was a notice about a cleaning job on the community-centre board. It was at the local Independent living retirement homes. While Tara really enjoyed cleaning, she wasn’t sure how she felt about cleaning other people’s houses; but she figured the only way she would find out, would be by actually doing it. She successfully applied, and discovered she enjoyed it. 

She really connected with the residents, and the work was flexible. She was required to work sixteen hours a week, and she could choose her hours. She chose to do two, eight-hour days, leaving the rest of the week free. 

Tara also loved to sing, leading her to volunteer to facilitate a sing-along at the homes’ centre once a week. These changes in her WorkLife gave her the social interaction and financial stability she wanted and needed.

It also gave her more free time; and wanting to keep busy on her days off, she joined her local gym, and started doing various classes – one of which was yoga, which she really enjoyed. 

Then one day there was a notice at the gym saying they were going to run yoga teacher-training courses. The idea appealed to Tara; but while she really enjoyed the classes, she wasn’t sure how she felt about becoming a teacher. She figured the only way she would find out, would be by actually doing it, so she signed up and enjoyed the process. During her training she managed to get teacher-training practice at the retirement home, and on qualifying she got a weekly gig there. Everything was going really well, and Tara was really enjoying her WorkLife. 

Then the pandemic hit. For the health and safety of the retirement-home residents, all external workers, other than health care professionals, weren’t allowed to enter the homes.

Tara found herself back at a familiar place: the maze of change. But it was different this time. The changes Tara had gone through had given her a sense of strength and a willingness to change. This time she did know what she wanted to do. She knew she wanted to serve her clients. She knew that the threat to the loss of social interaction would have a negative impact on their lives, in the same way it had for her, when she had lost her job so soon after losing her husband. 

This time it was Tara who put up a notice – well, actually two notices. First, a notice to say she was going to do yoga classes every morning on Zoom. But while she really enjoyed the in-person weekly classes, she wasn’t sure how she felt about Zoom daily classes. She figured the only way she would find out, would be by actually doing it, so she got started; and while initially it felt like a steep learning curve for everyone, adjusting to Zoom yoga, Tara would begin the class by saying: “We’ll just take it one breath at a time.”  And soon it became easy, enjoyable and beneficial for everyone. 

Second, a notice to say she was going to keep the weekly singalongs going via Zoom. Again, while she really enjoyed the in-person singalongs, she wasn’t sure how she felt about Zoom singalongs. Again, she figured the only way she would find out, would be by actually doing; and again, she discovered she really enjoyed it, and it became easy, enjoyable and beneficial for everyone.

Tara shares these:

Words of Wisdom

“When I worked in banking, I told myself it was too late to make a change. I told myself I should stick to what I know. Be mindful of the stories you tell yourself, change your story, change your WorkLife.” 

And this:

Sage Wisdom

“People have more than one passion, so it makes sense people will have more than one career. Think of them as chapters in a book: each one builds on the previous one. These will be the chapters of your WorkLife novel.” 

And this:

Book Wisdom

“In Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Dr Spencer Johnson, cheese is a metaphor for what you want in life, and the maze is where you look for what you want. I learnt that the biggest inhibitor to change was within myself, and that nothing gets better until I changed. I came to realise that there is always new cheese out there, whether I recognised it at the time or not. And I was rewarded with it when I got past my fear and enjoyed the adventure.”


When you find yourself at the maze of change, ask yourself: What do I need to change to move onto the next chapter of my work-life? 

Reflect on this question and allow the self-feedback you receive though the answer to develop a willingness to change, and from there the strength you need will come.

And remember movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese.

Today’s feature book is: Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Dr Spencer Johnson.

WorkLife Book Wisdom 

The intention of this blog is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride. 

Tara’s story is one of the stories featured in my book: How to Start Something New in Difficult Times from The School Of WorkLife Book series.

Willingness to Change is a Strength: Is part of a series of stories where people found themselves in situations where change was needed. Sometimes this need for change came from external influences – situations and conditions outside of their control. Sometimes this need for change came from within themselves – a sense of feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, unmotivated. Sometimes people were able to anticipate change and take time to plan to navigate it. Sometimes people had to adapt to change quickly. This series will feature stories of people who needed to be ready to change quickly, again and again. Stories of how people came to enjoy change. Stories of people who experienced more success in their WorkLife because of a willingness to change.

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 www.schoolofworklife.com 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.