Forging your own path

This article was first published in August 2018.

Whether we realise it or not, we are surrounded by expectations and unspoken rules.

Some of them are linked to gender stereotypes (“That’s not a job for men!”), some are linked to where you come from (“Someone from your estate becoming a lawyer? Never!”). Families and communities can sometimes have very strong views on what we should be, and what’s ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’.

Add this to the stress you might be feeling ahead of a big decision, and it can create quite a powerful mix. We’ve asked our coaches how they found what worked for them.

In this short film, our coaches talk about how they forged their own path.

Finding what works for you

  • Figuring out what you want to do can seem daunting, but you can start with baby steps: is there something you definitely don’t want to do? Is there an area you’re interested in that you could explore more?
  • Do you think your choice might have been influenced by external factors, for example things your parents or teachers said to you from an early age? If so, can you challenge those thoughts?

More advice on making decisions and changing pathways

  • Ultimately, you’re the one who has to take the course, do the exams and turn up at work every day. If you’re doing it because someone else wants you to, you’ll probably suffer!
  • If you’ve decided to go against all advice and recommendations, that conversation might be difficult, so think of the impact it will have on your family. Showing them that you’ve thought your options through and have a plan is a good way to help them understand and accept your decision.
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