Changing course to a new life

pablo (2)It’s amazing what happens when you ask questions…

A couple of weeks ago I had to be in Dublin city centre early for a communications training programme I was delivering at the National College of Ireland. The buses were on strike so I decided to book a taxi – thank you @HailoIreland.

The driver was a nice man but seemed kind of quiet and preoccupied – it was early enough in the morning so I wasn’t terribly chatty myself.

As we neared our destination, we got into a backlog of traffic and he gave a sigh. I couldn’t help myself – I asked if he’d been working all night.

“No I’ve just started”, he replied, “- but I’m starting college today”

“Well done – that’s great.  Good for you. Studying what ?”

“Psychology and addiction counselling”

“Wow, amazing that’s impressive.”

“I’m a bit nervous cos I haven’t been to school since 1987.”

“Ah sure when you meet like minded people you’ll be grand.”…

After a pause, he continued “I was addicted to prescription drugs about ten years ago but I have sorted myself out and since have sponsored twenty or so young people to help them through the same thing. So I thought I’d get qualified and get out of this game (taxi driver) and really help people.”

I said I thought it was a brave thing to do; to step out of the life he had led until now. I explained that I had worked with clients as a coach to help them make changes in their life and career and he said… “Oh my god, did I call you last year? – because I did speak to someone based near you.”

Wouldn’t that have been a coincidence? As it happens it wasn’t me but whoever did, it certainly had an impact on him and helped him to find his way forward, and new purpose in life.

By coincidence, later the same day, a professor addressing the group I was training shared a similar story. He talked about a middle-aged woman who had not finished secondary school, but had recently returned to education completing a degree in IT. She found employment as a software developer in a Dublin company and on her first day in the new job, told her colleagues that she used to work as a cleaner in the same building. So it’s never too late to make the change you want.

And Colm, the taxi driver, if you read this, just know how inspiring your story is, and for the rest of us – we should know that we can always choose to emerge from a dead end and drive forward on the journey to something richer and more rewarding.

It doesn’t have to be radical career change, sometimes its just about choosing a different way to handle what life’s throwing at you, and all the possibilities that can bring.

What change do you want to make?


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