Reality check: this week I have met 4 people and it happens that all four think that a windsurfing coach is someone who is in their boardshorts relaxing on a sunbed all season, plus they have the option of going windsurfing whenever they want. Nope Sorry to break it to you guys but it isn’t like that! I have come across people who think like this several times since my career change – and even before that – so I thought I need to address this.
Yes, windsurfing seems out of the ordinary for most people. And it is. I understand it’s quite odd to see people with surfboards on the roof of their car driving in the opposite direction than you are on a windy morning, heading to the beach. If you haven’t read my previous post about the windsurfing stoke, by all means do! But what do you know about these people, really?
It is so easy to categorise people: “surfers”, “doctors”, architects”, “athletes”, “marketers”, “swimmers”, “journalists”, “triathletes”, “bloggers”, “coaches”, “trainers”, “CEOs”, “engineers, “people who work in an office”, “men”, “women”, “greeks”, whatever. And then, judging by people we know who are in a “category” we have made up, we put new people we meet “in that box”, assigning to them traits they don’t have. I am guilty of having thought this way too in the past. Yes, people who work in an office have things in common. So do athletes, men, women and greeks. But there is no point imagining what their life looks like or who they are as a person, unless you ask them and they want to tell you. Putting them in some group and figuring it out yourself is a form of racism. What does a woman who is a mother, doctor and tennis player (among other things) have in common with a woman who is a mother, journalist and yoga instructor? The answer: I have no idea unless I know them really well. My point: it’s such a pity meeting people and viewing them as a role they are playing. When you do that, you fail to see them as a person and actually get to know them. You only see “a role”, if at all.
“Evi, you are so lucky to be working at the beach. You must be windsurfing all day for yourself, drinking espresso freddo and enjoying the sunshine!”. “I am so jealous, I want your life”. “You are doing what you want and it’s so easy for you. I have a boss who really pisses me off and always tells me what to do. I wish I could be you”. Wow, wait a minute. Whenever I get comments like this, I get sad. It’s ok to be looked like that -for a while- from new trainees, people inquiring about windsurfing/personal training and people who don’t know me at all. But getting these kind of comments from people in social situations makes me worry sometimes. People making these comments aren’t really opening up a conversation to find out what my life looks like or how I feel. They have it all figured out for themselves, based on their projections of what my role as a coach involves, some job description they read or someone they know who is windsurfing. And having checked my Facebook and Instagram they think I’m always positive, always riding a wave, always supporting others and cheering them up. In reality, I often get overwhelmed, tired and fed up, especially during the season. Since I’ve made a career change, I’ve had to work at the beach and the gym, alongside studying for my personal trainer diploma. Now I am into Sports Science University and I really have no idea how I will make everything work. There are times when I have issues with being able to relax, make “me” time, see my friends or a movie in a theater. Oh and my Sundays off in a year are 3 or 4, unless it’s raining hard! How’s that?
Don’t get me wrong, I totally love what I am doing and I wouldn’t change it for the world! What I am saying is, if you are not happy with certain parts of your life or if you are considering a career change, don’t just look at the positive aspects of someones’ career. Take a 360 degree look at it. Get to know that person. Many people wouldn’t want to do what I am doing, if they got to know the effort it actually involves and the insecurity that a freelance profession entails 😉 I know people who are skeptic of whether they like their life as they built it, and they go on social media to only see “the good side” of other peoples lives and professions. But that’s all they see. They don’t see the effort behind what the other person is doing. And by not seeing it, they can’t evaluate whether or not they would be able to do it themselves or if they are better off doing what they are actually doing! Yes, I made a career change aged 33, but it’s not all roses! Plus, not all people are build alike. Some people got into the right profession when they were 18 and still enjoy doing it, some people did choose right but then they changed, some people don’t have the courage to see they don’t like what they are doing and others know it but just aren’t ready to take the unusual path.
If you are into “categorising people” and viewing others through their roles, do yourself a favor. Stop doing it Most importantly, if you are considering a career change or any kind of change, don’t blindly fall in love with what you think you see about someone you know. Try to open your eyes to see the whole picture and get to know these people you are so fond of. After all, humans want what they don’t have, failing to appreciate what they do have and why they chose to have it! Is the grass greener on the other side, or maybe not?
I know many of you want to read about my career change and how it came about. It’s coming up in one of my next posts.
See you soon! Evi