I was privileged to share my story of how having RoRo has empowered me to shift careers, at the Women in Business’ Club event on Saturday 17th November.
This is my story.
2 and a half years ago my husband and I received news that shook us to our core.
Instead of expecting the perfect second child, our child had a serious heart condition and Down’s Syndrome.
Not the news any parent we wanted to hear.
Instead of being filled with excitement and hope, I was filled with anxiety and worries.
- how we would make life work,
- impact on our family
- Would it stop us living life to the full.
It felt as though the path we were walking had gone off on a tangent, and had narrowed.
That our future had been restricted.
Rosie came early, full of fight and spirit. From that very first moment I saw her, her strength showed.
And from that moment, Rosie has been a huge blessing – and a catalyst for change!
So how did having Rosie initiate a change in career?
It turns out we were living life in the slow lane.
Only making safe moves.
Rosie showed me what I was capable of, she has brought out the best in me.
She has pushed me to be my best, just as she is constantly working on being her best.
First of all, Rosie has given me strength
Rosie had two bouts of bronchiolitis within her 5 weeks, and then went into heart failure at 6 weeks old. She had heart surgery at 12 weeks old, weighing just 4kg.
I watched RoRo fight for her life every second of her day, with all her tiny body had. She’s just incredible, there were times we thought we would lose her.
I found a new role – as her advocate.
I stood up to doctors who suggested she could go back to our local hospital for ‘fattening up’. I told them she didn’t have the time for that – I was right and she had her heart surgery just in time, at 12 weeks old.
When Rosie is fighting with all she has, it inspires me to fight on her behalf. To stand up for what she needs.
And what does this mean for my web design business?
I do it afraid! I pitch, I learn, I move out of my comfort zone.
And just as I’m not advocating for my benefit, I’m not just doing web design for me.
I love creating beautiful websites for clients, solving the technical problems so they can run their businesses.
Next, I’ve learned to work with my emotions.
Hands up who has been taught that emotions need to be controlled at work.
Indeed, I’ve been told that emotions straight up are not appropriate in the workplace.
This is crap!
If you strip away emotions, you strip away motivation, fun, laughter as well as the tears.
And since people buy based on feelings, that’s what your website needs to invoke. And those feelings are driven by emotions. So I learned to embrace and work with those emotions.
Going through the last few years I’ve definitely grown emotional resilience! On Monday of this week I cried tears of frustration and worry, I used the strength these emotions gave me when asking the doctors for what Rosie needed. On Wednesday I felt on top of the world as RoRo took her first steps unaided, in the hospital playroom!
So I’ve also learned to embrace my emotions and work with them.
For me, working with emotions means recognising and responding to them.
Not just in me, but in others as well.
Finally, RoRo has unleashed my inner drive
When caring for RoRo, I didn’t miss my work at all!
I had put so much energy into my career, and my own identity. I’ve been a civil servant for almost two decades. I’ve led negotiations on behalf of the UK government, led on multi-million pound funding schemes.
Whilst I have loved elements of my civil service career, it has never been the perfect fit for me.
I’ve always known that I would own my own business, but I didn’t have enough of a push to go for my dream.
My love for web design grew organically:
- I loved it, and found I had a natural ability – plus my love of maths and patterns made learning coding quite easy.
I’m still early in this new career, it’s been hard work. There isn’t an easy or quick path, it takes time, it takes grit, it takes determination.
The reality is I need a job that I can work flexibly. I’ve spent the last three weeks in hospital with RoRo.
A routine operation resulted in not one, but two serious complications.
This is the reality of life with a disabled daughter.
I work pretty much every evening, and I never fully switch off in the daytime.
I might be in hospital waiting for my daughter to come out of theatre, and I’ll be working.
You might be thinking that this sucks, but no, it’s quite the opposite!
I can work and earn money whilst being at my daughter’s bedside.
Designing websites and solving website problems are an excellent and fun distraction.
I’m standing here today, at the start of this career change.
For me, it’s been about taking a life changing event and turning it into as many positives as possible.
And there’s always time if you want something enough.
Having RoRo has shown me that it’s not about the time, it’s finding the energy and the confidence.