Career Changing Story – Helen Slater

guiltymotherhelenChange up your career / life4 Comments

In this guest blog we hear another wonderful example of how a career change can be done with a family, as well as lots of brilliant advice on mindset.

Q. Tell us your story, what prompted you to make a change?

Changing career at 43 was the best thing I ever did!

​I worked in the corporate world in marketing and communications for 18 years, but always felt that I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to do something different, but I didn’t really know what it was. I never felt satisfied, I was easily distracted, bored and was always looking for external opportunities for being more creative. Square peg and round hole spring to mind when I look back at my career.  I was trying to fit in, wedge myself into something that didn’t fit me or my personality….I felt totally disconnected from myself and the work I was trying to do well.

For many years I battled through the hustle and bustle of full-time work,dropping off at school breakfast clubs and collecting from after school clubs…don’t even get me started on the guilt of holiday clubs. I was rushing around at work watching the clock to ensure I left on time and feeling that I wasn’t achieving anything or doing a good job either at home or at work. I was exhausted and totally unfulfilled.

After having my son I suffered from post-natal depression, I worked hard with my health visitor, GP, friends and family to get myself back up and running…it was not easy though and trying to work during this period was not fun at all!  After recovering from that, my husband and I separated and we started divorce proceedings. As you can imagine life was not feeling good…I hated my job, I felt exhausted, my mental health was not in the best shape and after a particularly bad week I decided that enough was enough…I had to make the move towards being true to myself and my son and start healing myself from the inside out; I needed to create a life and career that was authentic to me, something that represented my values, find my true calling.

I love learning, I have a passion for connection and community, I love meeting creative like minded women, plus I have a real interest in self care and personal growth. After using a coach myself and reaping the benefits of their guidance and wisdom, I started coach training for further personal development and in that found my calling.  

Q. What are you doing now?

I help introverted women find joy & meaning in their life & work through coaching.  I focus on supporting these amazing women with wonderful ideas and brilliant minds to build their business gently, in a way that feels purposeful & soulful to them.

I help them to really understand their purpose, passion & power. We look at how they can slow down, give themselves space to create a business on their own terms…..not on the terms of what we are seeing constantly on social media…the shouty and FULL ON “ you have to do this, this, this, and this if you want a business to work” diatribe!

As part of this space, I run a series of brunch clubs, supper clubs and women’s wellness events in the Manchester and Cheshire area focused on the whole self.  We talk wellbeing and what that actually means in real actionable day to day living terms. We discuss spiritualty, nutrition, menopause, big life events such as grief, divorce, anxiety and poor mental health.  I fundamentally want to create a space where we can meet other like minded women, discover ourselves a little more and learn how to create space for growth.  I personally don’t think that just telling people to mediate or do a yoga class, or think good thoughts is very helpful, in my opinion I feel that connection is where it is at, and where we can find true strength and support.

As well as my coaching work I also deliver thought provoking employee wellness programmes and workshops for corporates and public sector organisations.  After working for many organisations that do not take the employee health, wellbeing and engagement agenda seriously, I feel very driven and passionate about redressing the balance wherever I can!  I genuinely believe If you want your team to be excited about and find purpose in their work and therefore retain your workforce, you must encourage them to be curious, experiment and take care of themselves both on the inside and out.

Q. What does your working week look like?

I work two days a week on my coaching business and two and half days as a freelancer for corporate organisations.  I drop my son off everyday at the school door which fills me with such joy and happiness…and I pick him up every day that he is with me and not his father.  I never had this flexibility before…it simply meant reducing my hours and losing salary if I wanted this level of balance.

Q. What have been your biggest learnings throughout the process?

That mindset is everything.  Strategy means nothing if you don’t have the right mindset in place. Initially I suffered terribly with Imposter Syndrome, who was I to be creating a business? Who would listen to me? Other people were doing it anyway and they had HUGE followings so why bother? It also played itself out in Perfectionism.  And we all know that perfectionism is a killer of business dreams.  Having high standards is a good thing. But perfectionism isn’t so much about having high standards as it is about keeping yourself hidden, finding excuses to not show up. Striving for the perfect words, perfect website, perfect logo etc.  All we are doing is allowing ourselves to stay hidden and protected from our work being judged. And if we can’t be judged we can’t be criticised, right?

Q. What advice would you give to other women wanting to make a change?

Get under the skin of what it is that makes your heart sing and use that passion to create a future that works for you!  Everyone has a gift to give to the world so go and find yours.

Also be Authentic. Do not try and wedge yourself in to something because you think you should.  Remember that personal growth is about learning to work WITH yourself NOT AGAINST yourself.

Do not be afraid….the only thing standing in-between you and what you really want…IS YOU, so go out and get it!   

Q. What do you wish the world would know about working mothers? 

Firstly that we are all DIFFERENT, we all have different needs, different stories, different home lives and different families…one size does not fit all when it comes to being an employee or running a business.  Employers are haemorrhaging years of knowledge, skills and experience by refusing to think differently about how they take care of mums.  Whether that be mums returning from maternity leave or mums simply trying to balance it all.  I have heard too many times that I care to remember now, of women who have had to leave their corporate job purely because they could not manage the childcare, the home life and a full on career.  As many employers are not willing to bend, women are far too often being left with very little choice….to either take a step back or leave their job!

You can follow Helen on Instagram here or find out more about how she supports women on her Facebook page.

4 Comments on “Career Changing Story – Helen Slater”

  1. Hello Helen
    I came across your ‘career change’ story last night on the Guitly Mothers website (as I was stealing a late night cuppa tea!). Your words resonated with me and were uplifting….and I applaud you for making change amidst a difficult time in your life. It takes courage. Although my children are now grown up , my world is still very much dictated to by external commitments and emotional ties, all wrapped up with the usual guilt of being a working woman.

    I was interested to read about your ‘cathartic’ workshops and would love hear a little more about them ref their locations and format etc

    with kindest regards

    Mandy Cooke

    1. Hi Amanda, Apologies for my hugely late reply. I was missing an update for my website and your comment only just showed up – argh. Most of my workshops are now delivered remotely and we are about to start a membership too which will be all about managing that relentless guilt and finding more balance. Are you on the mailing list? Would love to tell you more when we open up. Thanks for getting in touch, Helen

  2. Hi Helen,
    I have just found your article while searching for how to return to the world of work. I am currently homeschooling the kids, as schools are closed in Portugal. Our plans to return to the UK very much in the balance at the moment.
    Fear and panic set in every time I look at employment on LinkedIn. At 44, I have lost all confidence (5 years out of the work doesn’t help, I suspect) and feel underqualified to go back into the vastly different landscape of my previous working world.
    I know in my heart that I don’t and have never fit into the world that I fell into, but have no idea how to go about a change in an increasingly financially fraught situation.
    Your words were an inspiration, though, to know that it is possible is, in itself comfort, and gives me hope that I can make a change.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Oh Lulie, I totally empathise both with how you are feeling about work and also the awful situation we are all in. Im so glad you found Helen’s story helpful, there are many others on the blog too, you can filter by “career changing stories” and read them. You can absolutely do it. We also have a members club which hosts our Game Changers course, this is how we’ve helped many many women to go through a change. Thank you for your comment xx

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