“Wouldn’t it be fantastic to get up every morning and do something you really enjoy?”

I think anybody who has been doing the same thing and they’re in their 40s and upwards must be thinking what I was thinking: I’m in a rut and I’m not enjoying my job but I’m in a comfort zone. I wanted to do something else, but I had doubts as to whether I could—or even if it would be worthwhile pursuing. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to get up every morning and do something you really enjoy? I’ve been told we all probably need to keep working until we’re 70, but it would be better to do it and actually have fun.

I have been in the real estate industry for 20-odd years. I’ve been married for 20 years too and we have two children. I’d been grumpy in my job. My wife knew Joanna and said to me, “Why don’t you just go and have a chat to her”? We met initially for coffee and Joanna said, “This is what I do, do you think I can help you?” and I said, “Yes, sign me up!”

I went along to Joanna with a blank canvas and said, simply, “These are the things I enjoy” and Joanna and I went from there. We had six sessions. She looked at what I was thinking and then helped me put the pieces of the puzzle together: she uncovered that I like motorcycles, I like touring with motorcycles and I like looking after people, so we targeted that I might create a motorcycle-touring-group business.

I still have a leg in my old world, but I have a plan now. Joanna has given me the confidence to pursue my plan and to see if I can do it. You know, I’m a lot more relaxed about my existing job because I know that at any time—when the timing is right—I can do what I really want to do.

I’m on a fact-finding mission. Joanna suggested I investigate businesses, what’s available and prices. I’m preparing myself to make the jump. I’ve joined a motorcycle group and we ride together. I’m looking at insurances, weighing up business viability, looking at what competitors are doing and checking out websites. In my current job, I run a group of people and look after budgets, so that’s the easy part. It would be great to have someone assisting me; and I’m looking at the amount of riding and the type of motorcycles.

The course started off calmly: Joanna asked lots of questions and I did some homework to find out what I enjoy doing and—more importantly—what I don’t. Our six sessions were spaced a few weeks apart. It was important to me that I did not jump out of what I do because, unfortunately, I’ve still got to pay the bills! I’m now 48, and I had the idea that you become unmarketable at 50. Joanna helped me to arm myself with the things I needed to do to make a decision—and she counselled me to either do it slowly, or not at all.

It was interesting: I had to talk about myself (which I hate doing) but she cunningly helped me do it through some exercises. I gained confidence, after the second or third lesson, to let her know what I was thinking. Joanna is very good at what she does. Her technique and tools are quite playful, so I thought I wasn’t doing anything major and then all of a sudden I was getting insights. After the first lesson I was really excited about it as I could see what was happening and what we were trying to do, and then each lesson just became more and more interesting. So I went in there with absolutely zero expectations and come out extremely happy with the end result.

The main thing I took out of Joanna and Work in Colour was confidence. I found I could speak up for what I do and don’t enjoy; and I found out that in my late 40s, we are still marketable—we’re not dead and buried yet!

I have never experienced getting up and being happy to go to work before. That’s going to be great. Well, it won’t be work then, will it?

Joanna Maxwell


Signup to have my occasional newsletters delivered to your inbox