Have you read part 1 of Gillian’s story yesterday about challenging her frustrations with her career and being brave enough to make a change? We’ve had quite a few comments about how so many of us can relate to one or more parts of her story, so we thank you Gillian for openly sharing your personal story with us.

Today here’s part two..what actually happened after Gillian left her job and what inspired her to take those next steps…

As you read have a think about:

  • What career, business or philanthropic path would you pursue if you could pick any one you wanted and why?

Enjoy part 2 and remember to check out the lessons at the end on being clear on what we want and constantly re-evaluating ourselves.

gillian watson

What Happened After I Handed in My Notice? – Gillian Watson

“So together, Shaun and I started working towards finding my vision and mission in life. We worked through practical exercises (something I strongly needed to have a tangible grasp on moving forward) as well as long discussions on where my head and heart were at. All of these talks kept affirming my resolve to look outside of the norm for happiness and fulfilment.

I think I have only surprised Shaun once since we started this journey – the day I told him I had resigned from my job to pursue something bigger!

For you to understand his surprise, it might help you to know something more about me. I had an unrealistic need to have security in a salary-based job with the unmatched work ethic of going above and beyond my job spec. So I worked extremely long hours that were not reflected in the recognition I received, in the lowered self-esteem and brow beaten acceptance of circumstances, nor in the compensation I had signed up for. This topic was discussed at length during our talks, so much so I’m sure he never thought I would actually make that leap.

I was so petrified that I would not go through with it, I didn’t even tell him I was going to do it, in case he said something that would imply I wasn’t ready. In essence I would have jumped at any excuse to not put myself through this horrible meeting. Anyone relate to that mountain-molehill moment?

But the moment I handed in my notice, I could feel a huge cloud and weight lifting off my shoulders. I think anyone who knows me, felt it immediately, in my attitude, my energy and my voice. Most people I have met since leaving have been very diplomatic in telling me how good I’m looking now and I keep thinking, ‘Did I really look so terrible back then?’ Mainly I think the smile on my face tells a lot of the story.

But ever the pragmatist, I kept thinking about the next step, “What am I going to do now?”

So I have slowly and methodically, with many discussions and sessions on what I stand for and want out of life, started working on building my own business. What I thought would be an easy process to get off the ground, has taken longer and is still taking time to get right. There are so many things I didn’t know I needed to put into place before just starting my business. I kept asking myself – “Isn’t it just about having a logo and website? Once I’m working things will sort themselves out.”

Time after time I would fall into that same trap of streaking ahead without doing the hard work. What I’ve come to understand is that I’ll never actually complete the process – not now that I know I should be re-evaluating myself often, looking at my personal and professional goals all the time and keeping an eye on the vision. But rather that by being conscious in every decision I make it will take me to the next step and I will continue growing every day.

What I’ve come to know most profoundly for my life is that; firstly, if I don’t know what I want, how can anyone help me get there? And secondly, that this thing called life is never static and I need to start moving with it, instead of resisting against where it wants to take me.

Without the voice of reason from Shaun and the Lighthouse group, I could never have contemplated making such bold and decisive actions in my life, I would still be just be surviving from one day to the next.

I still have a long way to go, but just being on this road has already changed me in a very positive way. I look forward to so much more and this buzzing anticipation of my life without limitation.”

freedom bird

What Can We Learn From Gillian’s Experience?

1.  Evaluating and then Re-evaluating Ourselves is Vital to Our Progress

There’s a lot in Gillian’s story that many of us can resonate with. If we’ve spent a long time in a particular situation then we may struggle to see how things could be different for us. The choice Gillian made to step away from the security of her career and into the uncertainty of building her own business took an enormous amount of strength and courage. However, it was by evaluating her life and the fact she was brave enough to question things, to look for answers and a new direction that helped her find a new and inspiring way forward. She highlights for all of us the absolutely crucial need to continually step back, re-assess and re-evaluate while seeking the right guidance to do so. Doing this as early as possible can often save a lot of frustration and pain down the line.

Have a look back at the sections you’ve covered so far in your assessment, how much do you think you could add to what you have done? How much more depth do you think you could add if you spent a bit more time reflecting on and re-evaluating your answers?


2.  Knowing What We Want in Our Career is Crucial 

As Gillian says; “If I don’t know what I want, how can anyone help me get there?” Developing her vision together with Shaun has made a powerful difference to her progress. Knowing clearly where we are heading gives us direction, meaning and purpose, so it’s crucial while going through this assessment process to challenge ourselves as to why we want something and to delve deeper into that.

As we do this we also become much more eager to discover what we need and what our gaps are, whereas before we might have been reluctant to learn where we are stuck in case we find something we don’t want to.

How passionate do you feel about what you want to achieve, how could it be clearer and more meaningful for you?


Do you yearn to change your own career or learn how to build a business while in the security of your job? If so just register to speak to a mentor on this page or get in touch with your Lighthouse Introducer.


Breakthrough image courtesy of Andrés Nieto Porras