Smash your glass ceilings and let go of decisions
When I first started out as a self-employed therapist it was a very scary time. Prior to then I had been successfully employed as an editor on a national education leadership magazine. The money had been very good, the work was predicable, if a little stressful, and there were colleagues and friends to engage with. I was doing therapy for a handful of clients in my spare time, mainly to build my skills. Often just favours for friends.
Becoming a full-time therapist meant a huge change. Seeing friends was much more tricky, the amount of work, particularly at the beginning, was patchy and unpredictable, and the money went down through the floor.
I was prepared for that.
What I wasn’t prepared for is the subtle way in which little things hold you back. And I’ve noticed it isn’t just when you’re self-employed. I turns out that whatever you do, the world is full of sneaky glass ceilings. These are thresholds and rules in life that make it difficult to move forward because of the ‘risk’ factor.
For instance it’s well known that many people who are unemployed and receiving benefits are afraid of the impact of getting a job. Their thinking is ‘I have a steady income now. It’s not much but it’s reliable. If I get a job I’ll be on more money but I’ll have to pay my rent and things like prescriptions. It’s less secure.
When I ran a business and employed lots of young staff fresh out of school I remember that for them the issue was tax. On a low income, they paid very little tax, but if I asked them to do overtime, despite the fact that they would earn more money they often argued that it wouldn’t be worth their while because the ‘tax would be more than I earn’. I found it quite difficult to convince them that their tax is always just a percentage of their earnings.
Even those earning reasonably high salaries are prone to this glass ceiling effect, fearing that a pay rise might take them into the high income bracket and cause them to pay income tax at the higher rate.
In each of these cases, the perceived risk seems to overshadow the much higher potential advantages.
It’s not just financial situations that have these false barriers to progress. Any decision point in life is prone to this phenonemon.
Do we have a baby? Well it may not be a good idea right now – I’d have to give up my job and survive on my husband’s income.
Do I get that new exciting job across town? Well it’s an extra 10 minutes on the train so I might be too tired.
Weighing up the pros and cons of a life change or a new direction is a sensible thing to do, but it is important to remember that decisions and choices are just pathways.
1. What are the pros and cons of x and y?
2. If I choose x, will I ultimately be ok? If I choose y, will I ultimately be ok?
3. What do I really want?
4. Make your choice. Start on the new path and then trust the universe, or your God and let go of the old path completely. There is nothing to regret. It’s just life.