Me (aged about 12) and my pony Bobby, before heading to the village show where we won a big red ribbon!

Me (aged about 12) and my pony Bobby, before heading to the village show where we won a big red ribbon!

Were you ever told that as a child? ‘Oh look, you’ve fallen off your bike / horse (I grew up in the country – shovelling shit at 6:30am on a freezing Saturday morning is NOT privileged) / got your heart-broken – what you need to do is get right back up on that horse and keep going.’

To which, in your head, whilst your tears are still streaming down your now blotchy face you reply, ‘F*&k off! That hurt – there’s no way I’m doing it again. Are you crazy?!’ Depending on your age at the time you might not swear. I personally didn’t swear until I was sixteen. No, seriously. But that’s another story.

Anyway, there is this unwritten rule that the people not hurting seem to know better than the people hurting how to fix the hurt, normally because they’ve supposedly gone through exactly the same thing before and come out the other side.

I am all for passing on the knowledge, don’t get me wrong; and I have taken plenty of advice from my elders, friends and even managers in the past, but there is a lot to be said for figuring stuff out on your own as well.

As you may know (if not where have you been – obviously not reading my blog *huffs her shoulders and makes mock sad face at you, before getting really excited you’re choosing to read it now*?) I recently dithered and teetered and nearly quit my current bill-paying job to do this little gigantuous gig full-time, spend time with my family and generally live the simple life.

I say nearly, because, when I actually did gather the balls to tell my boss I wanted to quit and move back to Wales (which involved going to India to summon the courage from obviously far wiser people than myself who spend their days in relaxed contemplation in nature), she offered me a different deal. A compromise was offered and, in the end, I took it.

The 48 hours this process took left me feeling like I really really needed another holiday. I was so confused and tired and cried out because I didn’t know what to do for the best.

On the one hand, I had been working up to this for some time. I was about to start on my advanced diploma in counselling, having qualified the previous year with my diploma and was missing home.

On the other hand, I finally had friends in London and I enjoyed the independence from my parents and the new way they looked at me since I’d made myself financially secure and successful on my own.

Now, during these tortuous 48hrs (and no, I don’t care that I got offered a great deal to stay and I should be grateful for that – I went to INDIA to summon the courage to quit and then got completely thrown emotionally when my Director countered so YES, it was tortuous) I sought counsel in a few close people – my best friends and my parents. Some told me I should stay – it was too good an offer to pass up and I got Fridays back to myself to grow this business. Others told me (basically) that I’d be selling out if I took the deal. I’d worked so hard, come so far, it would only be a stop-gap, it wouldn’t change the fact my ‘job’ wasn’t actually what I wanted to do with my life.

Urgh! That didn’t help at all.

In the end, I dug deep inside and followed my gut. I don’t know if it’s the right decision, but I can always change things up again if it’s not.

How does this relate to being told to get back on the horse?

You don’t always have to do what people tell you to. They may have experience. You may think they know better than you. BUT no-one knows you like you. Don’t let anyone tell you they do.

[tweet “Don’t let anyone tell you they know what’s best for you. That is for you to decide and you alone.”]

If you don’t feel like getting back on the horse right now, don’t. Give it some time. Heal. Take stock. Come up with a new plan. Do what feels right for you. Just don’t ignore or bury your feelings. Experience them, feel them and embrace them as a way to get to know you better.

When have you done something others told you not to (I don’t want stories of children sticking their hands in fires please!)? How did it work out? Let me know in the comments below!