Living the Life She Wants
The first time Nancy came to LWPC she was promoting her tax business and handing out business cards; she took the time to find out what our agency was all about and packed it away in her memory bank. A couple of years later she decided to make use of that information and enrolled as a participant. She had recently gone through a very difficult divorce that left her feeling betrayed and ungrounded. Her whole life had come undone during the divorce and trying to make the best decisions for her future, reached out for a little help. Her immediate question concerned her career.
As with many women, Nancy had gone about her career path with her family as a main consideration. Upon finishing high school she enrolled in a general business program at Jackson Vocational School and when that was completed she went to work for a bank. The purpose for the job was to help her future family and to provide health insurance; her own feelings toward the type of work weren’t considered.
She soon married and her husband thought that banking and taxes were a good job for her and so she stayed in that field. Years went by and she had three daughters, she enjoyed being a mother and her nurturing role.
Even though she didn’t enjoy banking, she tried to make it work by changing banks and getting involved with doing taxes but it remained a job that provided supplemental income and nothing more. Her sister suggested that she take a course in massage. She enrolled at Sister Rosalind’s in Mankato and absolutely loved it. It lit a spark and she remembers thinking “I just can’t learn enough.” She started doing massage work in the evening and kept working part time in banking or taxes during the day.
It was at this point where her life turned upside down. Her husband asked for a divorce and her whole life began to unravel. One of the issues would be her financial security. She was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to support herself through massage and was also afraid that it might be too strenuous. She wondered if she should go to school for nursing, thinking that would provide a livelihood.
Her income was always supplemental and to provide insurance, now she would have to carry the full weight of making a living. She weighed out the pros and cons of her jobs and decided to work through it at Life-Work Planning Center. The program at Life-Work Planning Center was more than career development, though; Nancy started by learning about transitions and building self-esteem.
One of the questions asked was, “What do you like to do for fun?” She had no idea because all she felt that she did was take care of other people. She made it a goal to do something that was fun. In order to develop one’s self-esteem there first has to be a “self.” She realized that she had always been very good at following someone else’s plan for her and had accepted what others told her. She felt “I’m just a nobody and my questions aren’t worth asking.”
Nancy began to learn to trust and respect herself. She realized that she had good ideas and needed to consider her own perspective. Through assertive communication she learned to ask questions, that it was OK not to know something and that it was OK to ask someone who might know. She had lived her life doing what others told her to do and now she was learning to act on her own and chart her own course; to recognize her accomplishments and to think things through instead of just reacting. In short, Nancy got in touch with what she wanted, and began to expand her dreams.
When she did that her business began to blossom and she is continuing to move it in the direction that she wants it to go. She supports herself through her massage business and thoroughly enjoys developing it further. With her new approach she is getting much more positive outcomes and that in turn makes her more capable of doing more positive things for others too.
Her words of wisdom: “Unbelievable bad changes can bring unbelievable good changes…or bad circumstances can lead to good things. I learned to open my mind. Outwardly it always appeared as though I was doing just fine, but inwardly there were a lot of doubts.” Through LWPC Nancy learned to trust and value herself and is living the life she wants.
– Jill Hahn, M.S., Peer Counselor