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.