You just need to take the next small step.

Approach a career change like the gym - woman walking up steps on the side of a mountain covered with vegetation.

I have been to the gym for the second time and on my own.

I am clocking this up as a big achievement.

Let me set the scene.

When I delivered the mothership to Jeff for acupuncture and physio for her dodgy foot, he asked me what I was going to do for an hour, to which I replied I would walk around and did he know of any interesting bits nearby to meander through? He pointed me in the direction of an area of development which was very nice and also suggested I could have gone to the gym.


That hadn’t entered my head. 

The gym and I are still in the very early stages of our relationship.

So, when the time came again for the mothership’s foot to be treated, I gathered as much courage as I could and decided I would go to the gym.

It was touch and go whether I could hold this visit lightly and have fun as Jeff had advised.

Remember the list of worries I had the first time I went to the gym? They began to circle round, #2 in particular:

#1 the thought of sweaty bodies coming too close;

#2 the pressure of someone waiting for the machine I’m using;

#3 the worry an Olympic team has decided to train in this gym (I know, I know…);

#4 the mirrors EVERYWHERE so you can see how badly you’re grimacing when lifting weights;

#5 not being able to sing along to my playlist;

#6 the fear of finding out I’m a complete weakling and EVERYONE ELSE is much fitter and stronger than me;

#7 the inconvenience of having to leave the house to work out;

#8 and all the dodgy lycra.

Unperturbed, I went to the gym at 1pm and, although a little busier than the visit with Jeff, it was not so busy that I walked straight back out (#3).

Instead I tried to look cool (having walked into the wrong room already) and like I do this all the time. I carefully sized up the competition whilst telling myself it is not a competition and to just concentrate on me.

I am quite proud that I managed to pull forth enough courage to start with a warm up which entails squatting like a frog and pushing your elbows against the inside of your legs and pushing your legs into your elbows (probably best not to try this at home as my description isn’t great). I found a half decent spot in which to undertake this and decided looking straight ahead was the only way to feel in control and as though what I was doing was completely normal.

I followed this with the ‘farmer’s walk’ using kettle bells. I walked up and down, then again, lifting my leg high after each step. I chickened out of doing a final walk whilst going up on tip toe as my ankles are weak and I can wobble about (although this is exactly why I need to do this exercise). This was too much in the face of blokes obsessing over their muscles at the far end of where I was walking; #6 got the better of me.

I then moved to using machines, alternating between upper and lower body. I think I actually did a lot of work on my shoulders and upper back as this was sore for a few days afterwards, but not unbearable, so one of my goals of not pushing it but playing was met.

The final machine I tried was not one Jeff had showed me how to use and I’m not sure I got the hang of it, but fortunately it was for the inner and outer thighs so there were no limbs flailing about. I managed to try and look like I knew what I was doing whilst quietly deciding to call it a day.

I was in the gym for about 40 minutes in total and it didn’t feel too bad. In fact, I could see how I will get used to it, find my rhythm and begin to not worry about anyone else, the mirrors or the lycra. I had planned that my second visit to the gym would be with my friend, so I could ease myself into going it alone, so I was a little surprised at how well it went both physically and mentally. The opportunity presented itself and I was able to see the benefit of taking it – another step in my journey of acclimatisation.

This is where I link my second visit to the gym with encouragement for you on your career change journey.

I can work with you to figure out your new career possibilities and usually in a matter of months; it’s the implementation of the plan to realise the vision that can be long and bumpy. This can lead to discouragement and that list of fears rearing its head again.

When this happens, remember, all you need to do is take the next small step.

This may not pan out in quite the way you hoped, as with me not being able to go to the gym with my friend, but you need to go for the step that is presenting itself to you. However small the step may be (and however uncomfortable), it’s bringing your closer to your goal – it is worth it.

Keep on keeping on.