Want to Change Your Life? Three good ways to get started from Sandy McMillan

If you are keen to find a flexible way to work, or want to start a new business but just can’t get going, here is some great business advice. It is the first contribution to Family Friendly Working from Sandy McMillan who helps people work out what to do. You’ll find him at www.careersolutions.co.uk. Watch out for a new article from Sandy at the end of each month.

Get a special book

You may already have noticed that it’s really difficult to sort something out in your head (and can be very depressing!).  Writing things down is magic, though, because:

  • ¨ Being able to see what you think makes it easier to understand (“How do I know what I think till I see what I say?” wrote E M Forster)
  • ¨ Things can get muddled in your head but can be separated on paper
  • ¨ Writing gives you a record so that you can see where you’ve been
  • ¨ Returning to something you’ve written often triggers new thoughts


The rest of your life is important, so it can help to have a special place for writing down your dreams, what you want to do and how you’ll do it – and what you’ve already done.  Think about getting a book for your future, one that looks good and will give you pleasure.  Many diaries become cheap early in the year, so you can go for a big A4 one with lots of space for each day.  Diaries are good for making plans and keeping yourself up to date.  Or you could invest in a big notebook (big really is best for this!).  The “Red & Black” series look good and aren’t too expensive.

And if you’d rather work on a computer and print things out, invest in a special folder that gives your ideas the importance and status that they deserve. 

Go for solutions

Imagine that your Good Fairy waves a magic wand over you tonight while you’re asleep.   You don’t know about this until the morning, but when you wake you realise that the things that have been bothering you have been magically solved.

What’s the first thing you see, hear or sense that tells you everything’s now fine?   It might be quite small or really big, in the world or inside you, just you or other people.   Whatever it is, write it down on a new piece of paper.  Now leave a space, and write down the next thing that’d tell you your world has changed for the better.  And another space and another thing, another space and another thing, another…  Sometimes it takes several goes before you tease out all the changes, so keep going, over several days if you can.

Now look at your list.  These are the ways that the world will change when you’ve solved the problems that are bothering you.  And you will.  Look at each one and think “What will I do that will make that more likely to happen?”  Each thing you think of will move you closer to where you want to be, perhaps by a tiny bit, perhaps in a great leap.

 “How do you eat an elephant?” asks the old joke.  “One bite at a time.”

Share and solve

Almost the worst thing you can do when you’re feeling stuck and frustrated is to keep it to yourself. It’s easy to persuade yourself that other people wouldn’t care, might disapprove, would think you were silly…  And it’s also easy to let that personal devil on your shoulder tell you that you’re pretty useless and who do you think you are, anyway…

 Luckily, you’ve also got a personal angel on the other shoulder.  She sometimes gets drowned out by the noisy devil but if you listen she’ll tell you

  • ¨ You’d help somebody if you could, so chances are others will
  • ¨ You know people who aren’t likely to disapprove or judge you
  • ¨ You’re a skilful, knowledgeable person who’s already done a lot
  • ¨ Sharing something with another can clarify it for both of you
  • ¨ Two heads are usually better than one

So think about the people you know and look for somebody who will be

  • ¨ On your side but not emotionally involved in the problem
  • ¨ Interested in helping you but won’t try to take over
  • ¨ A good listener, warm, calm, unjudgemental and positive
  • ¨ Able to help you work out your own answers
  • ¨ Honest, sincere and able to keep your secrets
  • ¨ Knowledgeable about things you need to know
  • ¨ Without a hidden agenda

A good way to get started with that person is to offer to share, “I’ll listen to you for half an hour if you’ll listen to me for the same time.”   Everybody has a story and many of us don’t ever get it listened to.

And if you don’t know that person – and I’m sorry if you don’t – then think about finding one.  Some of them contribute to this website.

This article is from Sandy McMillan who helps people work out what to do. You’ll find him at www.careersolutions.co.uk

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