In 2000 I was living in London, in a rundown flat in Kilburn with my boyfriend and his best friend.
For me London was not your typical working holiday experience. Because of my age (I was over the eligible visa limit) and the fact that I had no special skills, I was unable to apply for a work visa.
As much as I loved London, not working and having to ask my partner for money (something I had never done before and consequently never want to do again!) resulted in a fairly miserable experience.
Since I had always been interested in writing, I saw this as an opportunity to sign up for a writing course with the Writers Bureau based in Manchester. Not long after receiving the course notes, my partner and I broke up and I found myself on an unexpected flight back to Australia.
Thankfully I had signed up for an online course and not one I had to attend in person!
What followed on my return home was by far the worst twelve months of my life. I was heartbroken, unemployed, broke and homeless (thankfully my brother let me sleep on his lounge room floor).
Not long after I returned to Australia, my Father was diagnosed with lung cancer and told to ‘get his affairs’ in order. In case you’re not sure what this means, it meant that he as dying.
During Dad’s illness which lasted seven horrendous months, not a lot of writing got done other than the occasional personal journal entry expressing my thoughts and fears (and I had plenty of those).
My writing course was put on hold.
Between working full time and daily hospital visits, getting through each day seemed all I could manage.
The course notes continued to collect dust.
What followed was a wave of better things to come at which time I immersed myself in my writing assignments.
As it turns out another wave of personal upheaval wasn’t far behind. Another relationship break up and being made redundant found me packing my belongings into storage, taking my redundancy money and travelling through South East Asia and Europe for a glorious eight months.
Definitely no regrets on this one, if you get the chance to do a big trip – you should take it!
Again my writing course was put on hold.
Eventually I came home, settled into Brisbane and continued with my assignments.
I decided to start working with a personal coach.
To this day, I think this was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was the turning point where I started truly believing in myself and questioning what I could accomplish if I set my mind to it. Coaching help me understand the importance of finishing what you start.
Coaching also helped me learn how to better motivate myself and to not be so hard on myself – without letting myself off the hook for bad behavior. Finding the right balance between these two can definitely be tricky!
The more assignments I handed in the more I started to enjoy the course and revel in my creativity. The more assignments I emailed off the more I was driven to keep going.
It took me roughly six years to complete the course from start to finish.
In case you were wondering, I realize I could have probably done a university degree in that time and walked away with a diploma. Life however seemed to have other plans.
The point is that I did finish.
After all the challenges, setbacks and changes to my grand plans I was determined to finish.
Prior to this I had a bad habit of not always finishing things that I started, a character trait that had never sat well with me. It felt great to finally finish. I felt a surge of pride in myself.
Completing the course set me on a new path.
It taught me the importance of finishing what you start and pointed me in the direction I needed to go.
Now when I start something important, I follow through until the task is complete, no matter what life throws in my way.
What important task do you have on the back burner waiting to be finished?
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You might also enjoy reading – The Power of Finishing What You Start which walks you through the steps to finishing.