Not sure Cilla Black or Paul McCartney had the same issues around parking spaces, or bought a cat to make them feel more at home when they moved 'down souf'. In this blog post Stephanie shares her experience of managing change in her business and personal life, and how cats and your very own personal 'no parking' sign can help.
In 2012 - like Cilla and Macca before me, I moved from Liverpool down South. I left the friends and family I had in the North West and moved my business too. I had toyed with the idea of living in London for many years so it was no rash decision my partner also lived in Surrey so personally and professionally it was the right time.
I was doing more work in and around London and as Laughology is an international business it didn't really matter where we were based. Although I had thought about and planned the move for some time, it was still a huge change for me and one that I struggled with on many levels and for many reasons, both personally and professionally.
The support network of friends and family I had in the North weren't around, my surroundings were unfamiliar, I was living in a house that wasn't my home and there were no friendly shopkeepers on the high street who knew me. Plus it was the South, so no one spoke to each other on public transport and everyone jealously guarded the parking spaces in front of their houses. It was a huge culture shock.
I had lived in Liverpool for nearly 15 years, knew everyone and was part of the community. I knew my local MP, I engaged in the politics of the town and took notice of its issues. In the town I moved to it felt like there was no community. I felt disconnected in my new surroundings and questioned many times whether I'd done the right thing.
Often in life we face unknowns and have to make a leap of faith or take a calculated risk. I was at a point where I wanted to move my life forward, I knew I wanted to live with my partner and, given the economy at the time, my business would be better served if I was based near London. But Liverpool was my home and I was very fond of it – I still am. I took a leap into the unknown. It could have all gone horribly wrong and it was hard work. But, after a shaky year in which I struggled to find my feet change happened. My business doubled in size. My partner and I bought our own house together in a village which feels like home to both of us and I feel very settled.
Last year there were local elections in the borough and this May there is the General Election. Elections for me have always been a no-brainer. I'm a northerner from Liverpool, I vote Labour. But it isn't as easy as that now I've moved. Things had changed. Our local MP is a Conservative cabinet member and issues affecting life where I live are different.
So do I do the same as I've always done? Voting is a very personal thing so I won't share who or what I voted for, though it did make me stop and think a lot. Changes is inevitable and as life changes we have to adapt. If you don't adapt sometimes you get left behind. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it the world we live in progresses and with that progress some things get left behind and some things are taken forward.
Humans change, we have families, partners, commitments and that means our priorities change. Elections also bring change. A change of government inevitably means a raft of policy changes and a change of direction. Teachers know this more than most. The education system shifts each time there is a change of administration. Is change an opportunity or a problem? Can we plan for possibilities or will we sit there and let things happen to us? Do we moan about what is happening or actively sit up and make a difference.
Creating a community and a support network that works for you can make a huge difference and buffer you when change happens. Three years ago I made big changes in my life, many of which I was uncertain about. But I was sure that I could make things work if I wanted them to.
So when I was feeling unsettled and down, I would flip the situation on its head and look at what I could control and what I wanted to control and they were the things I used to move me forward to where I am now. Happy in my small village, with a great community and with a lovely home, partner and cat. I even bought a 'No Parking' sign to nail up outside my house. I fit right in. Who will I vote for in the general election? As yet I'm undecided, but I will expect change and I'll take that as an opportunity in whatever direction it comes.
We would love to hear your life changing stories. How did you cope, did you find it easy to adapt, or was it harder than you thought? You can share your thoughts in the comments box below.