As a woman, you face certain “ordinary” difficulties that lots of other women have to deal with. Nosey neighbors. Cranky co-workers. Menstrual cramps.
But when you’re taking your first steps toward a new career, the intensity of the decisions you have to make and the actions you have to take will require more than a few deep breaths or a bottle of Midol.
You aren’t just starting something new. You’re also conquering the effects of former financial abuse. That requires courage . . . and a plan.
The Seven Steps to Gain Courage to Start Your Career
1. GET HONEST WITH YOURSELF
You need to get honest with yourself about the fears that threaten to hold you back. This first step could make or break you. You must shed light on each and every fear (and the various parts of every fear). If you leave any of those fears unaddressed—even the tiniest one—your fear will grow like a fungus in a dark, damp room.
Instead, just get honest. The way to really get honest with yourself about your fears is to write them down. Honesty that you write down is far harder to deny than the honest thoughts you only think. It’s also easier to confront your fears when they are in writing.
Believe me, I know. I wrote my memoir, Locusts Ate My Orgasms, and got honest (in print!) about the abuse I survived and the sins I committed along the way. Take it from me, you cannot lie to yourself nearly as easily when you put your fears in writing.
2. ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS
Once your fears are out of your mind and down on paper, examine them. Ask yourself the kinds of questions you would ask a friend if she were to share with you such a list of fears.
Then require that you give full and honest answers in reply to each question.
There’s that mention of honesty again. You’ll find that each of these steps builds on each other. First, honesty. Second, examination through questions.
3. OFFER YOURSELF SUGGESTIONS
This is where it may get a little weird for you. That’s ok. Recovery is weird. At least it feels weird, because staying stuck in sick habits seems more normal than taking the risks that are required for recovery. Choose to be weird.
This weirdness takes the shape of not only asking yourself questions and giving yourself honest answers, but also offering suggestions to yourself.
It’s like having an entire conversation between you and you. If it helps, you can even use bullet points.
4. TAKE ALL THAT YOU’VE WRITTEN AND COMPARE IT TO THE TRUTH
That means you’ll be comparing it to God.
Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” John 14:6, New English Translation
Based on what you know about God (what you’ve read about Him in His Word), how do your suggestions to yourself compare with the Truth?
This is crucial.
You can talk yourself into accepting unacceptable behavior from others. You can talk yourself into excusing your own bad behavior. You can also talk yourself into making really bad choices, after lying to yourself about the likely outcome.
To guard against this, you’ll have to go back to the Bible. Take to God your list of fears, questions, and suggestions to yourself. Doing so will help you make sure that what you are telling yourself lines up with the Truth.
5. WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER
Be sure to make it a real letter, too. Pick up pen and paper. Pull out your laptop. Grab a stone tablet and get ready to chisel. Whatever your favorite mode of writing is, use it to actually write yourself a letter.
If all of this emphasis on writing causes you not to want to do this, then that could be proof that you really need to do it. None of this is real until it’s really written down.
Start with Dear (You) and end with a closing that is appropriate and kind.
6. BE CAREFUL TO TREAT YOURSELF WITH KINDNESS
Kindness is a really important point.
You have got to be kind to yourself in this letter. What you’re facing is hard enough. If you write down any of the negative self-talk that sometimes takes over your thinking, this letter is going to pull you down really fast.
But it’s meant to lift you up!
That’s why you start out the letter talking to yourself like you would talk to a friend. You tend to be much more encouraging to your friends about their goals than you are with yourself about yours.
Of course, that needs to change. And it will change. You’ll continue to grow in recovery and learn to support yourself so wholeheartedly that you’ll become your own best friend.
For now, choose kindness and don’t get discouraged if you don’t quite believe every good thing you say about yourself. You will in time, as long as you keep on the road to recovery.
7. SET IT ASIDE FOR ONE DAY, THEN RE-READ IT
After you pour yourself into this letter, you’re bound to be exhausted. Let yourself rest. Let the letter rest, too.
Set the completed letter aside for 24 hours. Not any longer, though. You might make excuses about delaying the good, hard work that you’re ready for.
Once you pick it up again, you’ll have a fresh perspective, and you’ll see more clearly what you’ve written in your letter. You may even see a need to change a few things. Do what you need to do to make it more honest, more specific, and more practical.
I wrote myself a letter just like this before beginning my career as a professional writer. At the time that I wrote it, I was afraid that I might be in way over my head by launching a career.
I had written letters to Jesus about it, but I hadn’t had a good conversation with myself on the subject. While writing one of my letters to Christ, I felt moved to write one to myself. I had gotten honest with my Lord. It was time for me to get honest with myself.
And it can work for you, too.
You deserve this.
You need this.
You got this.
Find the courage you need to take your next steps to starting your new career!