Star Trek - what does it mean "Exact Change"?On occasions, I have been known to watch Star Trek. I quite like the fact that, while boldly going where no man had gone before, their mission was always peaceful, and they generally “set phasers to stun” rather than blasting the living daylights out of anyone they encountered.

I remember a scene in one of the films, where they had travelled back in time, to the 1980s, to bring two hump-back whales into the future to save the world (as one does).

Captain Kirk and Spock caught a bus, to take them to the oceanarium. A few yards down the road, they were thrown off the bus, and Spock asked:

“What does it mean: ‘Exact Change’?”

I love the fact that the English language is so flexible, and I’ve chosen this confusing phrase as the inspiration for this post.

Judging by the trend for TV make-over shows in recent years…

encouraging us to re-design our home or move to the country, or to change the way we look through cosmetic surgery or a new wardrobe – it’s clear that a lot of people aren’t happy with their current lifestyle and want a change. The TV programmes make it all look so easy. All you have to do is throw large amounts of cash at the problem, and it goes away – or does it? And what if you don’t have large amounts of cash to splash about?

I once had to deliver a presentation on the topic: “Information Technology is a cost, not an investment”. It was an interesting challenge, because IT often does cost a mountain of money, and many people see it as a drain on the organisation’s resources, rather than an investment in the future well-being of the business.

There are products on the market which promise to help you change your life in a week, build a business in a day or learn a foreign language in an afternoon. They sell well, because they appeal to our desire for a quick-fix solution. But in life, as in business, you need to invest time – and often money – before you can reap the rewards.

When I was in my late twenties, I felt like a failure. I had a degree which employers weren’t interested in, and a job I loathed. I didn’t know many people in London, and I was living in a freezing cold bedsit with no phone, and with neighbours I didn’t see from one month to the next. Confined to bed with a bout of ’flu, I remember thinking one day: “I could die here, and nobody would notice.”

I was struggling to make ends meet, and I had no idea what I wanted to be. Then I noticed an advert for a training course which struck a chord with me. I applied, left my job and started on the course a couple of weeks later. For the next three months I struggled to keep body and soul together, but I kept going because I could see the potential benefits.

I just knew I needed to do something to change my life. There was no guarantee of a job at the end of the course, and when I did find a job, the salary was less than I’d earned before. But I had prospects, which wouldn’t have been the case if I’d stayed where I was, and I felt a greater satisfaction from the work I was doing. It was around that time that I also met my husband…

That’s often the way it goes – if you make a positive change in one area of your life, it has a knock-on effect in other areas. A previous client wrote to me, recently, to say: “I met someone… after being on my own for so long… I said to you in our coaching sessions that to meet someone now after finding a job I enjoy would be the icing on the cake. You gave me so much confidence in myself.”

We may feel resistant to change, especially when it’s forced on us – for example through redundancy, ill health, or family commitments. If we can understand that change is a natural part of life, and start to see these situations as opportunities, rather than threats, we can make more positive decisions about what to do with our new life.

Even when we actively seek change, it can be difficult to know where to start. We know we’re not happy with the way things are, and yet we don’t know how to change them for the better. We don’t know what we want, and we’re afraid we may end up worse off than when we started. We need help!

After an eighteen year career in IT, I’ve changed direction again. It’s meant another huge investment, both financially and in time, and it’s definitely been worth it. I feel happier and more motivated than ever before, and I’m constantly learning and growing. I’m in my element – for now…

Are you ready to invest in your well-being, development and future happiness, and to exact change in your life?

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