You've been at home for months on furlough, or maybe even years since having your kids. Or you badly need a change and have literally no idea where to start job hunting. You are approaching your 40s and wonder if it's too late to make a total change.
But you need a challenge and you are bored.
You want to find something that feels like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow right? Something that is interesting and varied, but without long hours and unreasonable deadlines. You don't want it to take time away from your family but you also don't think a new employer would give you flexibility straight off the bat. And as for self-employment... where do you even begin?
How do you know what the right thing to do is, without knowing?
I know how hard it is to make a decision, any decision.
It's 3am, your partner is snoring and you are lying there wide awake feeling so mad at yourself. You've still not decided on that bathroom paint colour, so is it any wonder you can't make that bloody decision about you next step?
You feel like the only one in the world who is this incapable of making simple decisions and constantly worrying about what happens if it all goes tits up.
And so, you spiral.
Because what if you take that new job or launch your business and it all fails and then you can't go on nice holidays and buy the kids bits and bobs and then what if your husband loses his job too and you all end up living in a box outside Sainsburys Local?
Or you make the move to the countryside and then you can't find a new job and the kids hate school and you have to drive to get anywhere and it all feels too much?
You believe everyone will think you are stupid. That everyone will laugh at you because they've seen what you've known all along. That you aren’t good enough. You should be grateful to have a goodish job. You shouldn't rock the boat, you should stay put.
Treading water is fine right?
No, treading water is bloody exhausting and you are tired. You are so tired of feeling like there's something more for you but being held back by your own need for certainty.
My friend. No-one can tell you this is right. Or that there is no risk. There are some parts of this that will remain unknowable.
But there are some things you can do to get you started on what do next. Try these three tips that will help you make that first move.
Don't ask everyone and their dog to make the decision for you; polling for opinion is confusing and time-consuming. Trust yourself, sense check it with those most important to you and then hold firm to what you know.
Notice when you start to spiral and give yourself a time out; those thoughts are like an unwanted caller knocking on your door in when you are watching Netflix and eating ice cream. You don't have to open to door and spoil your evening.
One small step. You don't have to go the whole hog. You can go baby piglet to start. That's a weird analogy but I'm sticking with it. Think Babe in the City, not Hog in the Woods...