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  • Laura Haywood

Starting Again and Finding Your New Path



​Life can throw challenges at us all, and can leave us feeling lost or stuck and not knowing who we are or where we are going. Discovering who we are and forging a new path forward can be tough. These challenges can come in many areas of life, from changing health circumstances to relationship breakups to changing career to bereavement to relocating to a new area or country. We can often feel isolated, angry, and uncertain of the future, leaving us with a sense of grief for what was before.

My journey of starting again began when I developed a serious, life changing illness. I was a nurse at the time and, due to the length and severity of my illness, I felt I had to give this career up. I separated from my partner and felt very lost and isolated with so much uncertainty for the future. Would I survive? Would I ever be fully independent? What would I do for work? Would I ever feel better? Who would ever want a relationship with someone with the health issues that I had? Fast forward and I reconnected, and fell in love with, someone I had met in my late teens. We dated, cohabited and eventually got married. My health improved and I began volunteering for the Samaritans which is predominantly a suicide hotline in the UK. With my confidence at rock bottom, this was a huge deal. The boost I gained from engaging in something positive for me, and providing support to those in need, was what I needed. I volunteered for them for a number of years and I was recognized by others in the organization. I became a deputy director in two branches. I was valued again. My health was less and less of an issue and, with the support of my husband, I embarked on training to be a therapist. I was starting again.



After four years of an emotional roller coaster of training at Cambridge University, UK, I qualified as a therapist. I had indeed started again. My confidence increased and my health was not an issue anymore. I was well. My diagnosis was not who I was, it was something I had learned to accept and adapt to. As a therapist, I worked in different areas from not for profits, to working with the Police, to having my own private practice business. I loved being a therapist. I had found my new path. Challenging as it can be at times, it truly is a fulfilling career.

Fast forward a number of years later and I found myself completely lost again. We had taken the decision to move to the US through my husband’s work. We sold everything. I closed my practice. We said difficult goodbyes to family and friends and moved us and our dogs to the US. The sense of isolation and lostness was overwhelming for a while. I had no family, friends, career or direction again. Although we both entered into this willingly, it was a tough transition. We relocated knowing I would need to retrain as a therapist in the US. I was reluctant to begin this process and put obstacles in the way for a while. I was stuck in grieving for my old life and not knowing how to move forward. We love living here – the weather is definitely better. It was a challenge, non the less.

Eventually, I began my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and found myself slipping deeper into a sense of ‘having’ to start again; feeling more isolated and my confidence began sliding again. Not long into the program, I realized that being a therapist in the US wasn’t for me. With this new-found sense of relief and freedom began a cycle of not knowing what I wanted to do, yet being aware that I had so many possibilities. I told myself there were many things I could do, but wasn’t feeling any excitement about them. I went round and round in circles, not knowing who I was in this strange land or where I wanted to go. I didn’t even know which direction to begin to head in.


Eventually, I began some freelance work, whilst trying to figure life out, again. I stumbled across life coaching when trawling through endless jobs I may be able to do. My spark fired up. I researched this some more. I was truly excited about the possibility of finding a new career and a new passion. I trained at Raleigh Coaching Academy (shameless shout out) and started again. I had found my home here.

I have come through the other side of health challenges, moving house numerous times and changing careers. I have learned to find myself through these times. It wasn’t easy. What I do wish is that I had known about life coaching sooner, and invested in myself by getting some help in finding my path and my true authentic self. I wish I had learned my own value earlier, rather than my confidence taking a battering every time I had to start again.

I have thrived in starting again, after going down a challenging and weaving road. If you are struggling with starting again and feeling lost or stuck, and don’t know which way to turn or who you are, then my suggestion is to invest in yourself. Find a life coach to help you create your new journey. You can get through the challenges quicker, and with more positivity and hope, than on your own. You truly can transform and be your authentic self. Imagine what it would be like to not feel stuck, lost and alone. My final question is what will it cost you if you don’t value yourself enough to invest and work through your challenges?


Laura Haywood is an authentic life coach working in the Triangle area in North Carolina, supporting clients on their journey to personal growth and understanding, to thrive and not just survive.

Posted by Laura Haywood September 21st 2018

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