It’s Your Life So Take Control of It: Joanna Young Interview

Joanna Young’s website is Confident Writing and that pretty much sums Joanna up. When you read her posts, or the comments she leaves on other people’s blogs, the confidence comes through as does the super-support she offers people. She’s also one of my favourite people to read on Twitter.

Who: Joanna Young of Confident Writing
Joanna Young is a writing coach who lives on the west coast of Scotland but works online with people all over the world.

What variety of Someday Syndrome affected you the most? In what way?
I’d say it was I’ll Get Around To It Someday.  I knew that I was going to make some big changes ‘someday’ but I hadn’t got specific about when, where or how they were going to happen.  Looking back I’d say that cast something of a backward shadow over what I was doing.  I wasn’t entirely living in the moment, because I had this nagging feeling that I needed to change something… or rather, change some big things.  Plus I had this constant nagging feeling…

How did it affect the rest of your life?
I stayed too long in a job that wasn’t the right job for me – despite good security, pay, prospects etc.  That had a whole series of knock-on effects, mainly for my health.

How would you describe your happiness level at that time?
At the lowest points, very low.  But mainly it was that nagging feeling that something needed to change (someday).

Did the other varieties of Someday Syndrome appear in your life as well?
Not really.  I think I always knew I had to take responsibility for changing things – though that made it harder because I was goading myself to find the courage to jump.

What changed? Was it gradual or did it come as an epiphany? Perhaps a mix the two?
I came up to a milestone birthday, and all I can say is: thank goodness for milestone birthdays.  Coming up to 40 I thought a) I don’t want to spend the next 20 years of my life working in this job (for the UK civil service) b) if I don’t leave soon it’ll get harder and harder to make it happen – momentum will carry me along and the next thing I know I’ll be drawing my pension! c) I want to plan my escape before my birthday.  So I did.  Someday became a particular day and I worked on my plans so I could hand in my notice just a few days before I turned 40.

Since then I’ve been travelling, done some voluntary work, trained as a life coach, worked for the Open University and done a lot of blogging… I’m focusing now on helping people to write with confidence.  That bit wasn’t in the plan at all when I left my ‘proper’ job… but it feels like the right place to have ended up, for now at least.

What dream are you in the process of realizing?
I’ve recently moved from the city to the country, from the east to the west of Scotland, from the dry to the wet, from the flat to the wildly beautiful… It was another ‘stop waiting for someday’ story… but I’ll save that for another day.  So I’m in the process of settling into the new place.

How would you describe your happiness level now?
I feel a lot more contented, grounded, and in control of my life.  I enjoy a lot more moments of pure happiness, but the most important thing for me (now) is that I feel I’ve taken back the reins of my life.

What advice would you give someone in the position you were in before?
Jumping from security to insecurity is not easy, and I don’t think it would suit everyone.  Plus it was a decision I could only make because my family were up and away – I don’t know if I’d have done it or wanted to do it at an earlier point in my life.

That being said, if that nagging feeling doesn’t go away and it’s just courage you’re missing… Set a date.  Find a friend.  Get a mentor.  Work with a coach.  Do whatever you can to shape the dreams and make them feel real, tangible enough that the desire to follow that dream, to make it a reality, becomes stronger than the version of reality you’re currently living in.

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10 thoughts on “It’s Your Life So Take Control of It: Joanna Young Interview

  1. Al at 7P says:

    “I’ll Get Around To It Someday.” I can really relate to Joanna’s reply for how the Someday Syndrome affects her. Probably my #1 reason too.

    Al at 7P´s last blog post..533,000 Is Too Much

  2. I love the way Joanna used a birthday as a motivator for her life change. I’m doing the same thing right now, and having that hard date looming is a huge help in my planning and actions.

    Maria | Never the Same River Twice´s last blog post..How to Bootstrap Your Life

  3. Joanna Young says:

    Alex, thanks very much for running this interview. It was interesting to reflect back on this period of my life and work out what had influenced my decision making.

    Al, that nagging feeling can be a real irritant… but it’s normally trying to tell us something important. Maybe when we’re ready to hear it.

    Maria: good luck as you approach your birthday!

    Joanna Young´s last blog post..Quotes on Simplicity and Writing

  4. Hi Joanna

    What a great and inspiring story. To overcome fear is a great achievement.

    Juliet

    LifeMadeGreat | Juliet´s last blog post..What To Do When Someone Is Unpleasant Towards You

  5. Joanna Young says:

    Juliet, thank you. It is an achievement – and a continual challenge. But worth it.

    Joanna Young´s last blog post..How Do You Know When The Words Need to Go?

  6. It’s interesting that the milestone birthday played a role. Many people would look at 40 and think “half my life is over,” while I guess you were thinking “I’m just getting started!”

  7. Karen Swim says:

    Alex, another inspiring interview by one of my favorite people. Like others have commented,I completely relate to the milestone birthday. Two years before my 40th I began making big health and lifestyle changes in absolute fear! lol! I also love that Joanna was open to the journey. She noted that where she is was not in the original plan but by having the courage to leap she seems to have also opened herself up to the journey itself.

    Karen Swim´s last blog post..Help! – Not Just a Beatles Song

  8. Joanna Young says:

    Hunter, yes indeed, and with each month that passes that feeling gets stronger and stronger!

    Karen, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there – the biggest change for me has been that act of ‘opening myself up to the journey’ (although I hadn’t thought of it that way till I read your words, thank you).

    Blogging has been a big part of that continuing journey of exploration, discovery and adventure, and I’m very grateful to people like all of you for the continuing inspiration and motivation to keep on travelling.

    Joanna Young´s last blog post..How Do You Know When The Words Need to Go?

  9. Alex Fayle says:

    @Al
    Ooh, sounds like you might be a good candidate for a Someday Interview then… 😉

    @Maria
    One of my motivators for moving from Canada to France (then Spain) was my looming 40th birthday. When I was 36, I realized I was nowhere near where I wanted to be by the time I was 40 and it looked less and less likely that I was going to get there. Now at 39 I’m exactly where I want to be (which wasn’t where I thought I wanted to be).

    @Juliet
    Fear is a huge challenge – and Thursday’s post will address it. I look forward to reading your comments!

    @Hunter
    It’s like the pessimist/optimist piece you wrote recently… 🙂

    @Karen
    You describe me complete as well. And it was two years ago (well, two and a half now) that I started this particular journey.

  10. Karen Putz says:

    Great interview from a lovely gal!

    Karen Putz´s last blog post..I Survived a Drive-By Shooting

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