God has created
your wings not to be dormant
as long as you are alive
you must try more and more
to use your wings to show you’re alive

Rumi

Just as the finish line approaches, the legs start to give way and the muscles feel like they are on fire. Your mind tells you you can’t make it, but that’s when the power within really plays its part.

Something like this happened to me during my year of struggle. It was in 2010, the same year I was accepted onto my counselling diploma course, that things started to really happen and my life wanted to ‘test’ me. It was a time which I look back and tell myself if I can make it through that then I can make it through anything. I was so passionate about starting my diploma, this was something which after such a long time I had a real hunger for. This was a fire which was burning in my belly and I wanted it to be the only thing I wanted to do. My passion overtook my logical brain and I resigned from my full-time employment. I was thinking, ‘I’m so good, I can get another job like that’, little did I know those very words and thoughts were going to come back to haunt me later on.

I started my diploma in September 2010 with the usual zest and energy of any traveller on a new journey. I went along to the class, enjoyed the teaching, and at the end of the class I knew it was what I wanted to do. On the other hand, I had also started to seek out employment because I wanted to also be financially independent. I wanted to be seen as the all-dancing, all-singing woman. I started applying for jobs and I was invited for interviews. At the start of every interview, I had this feeling, ‘Yes, this is the job. Yes, this is the job’. My hopes were short-lived as the phone calls came and told me I had not been successful; I had come second to the successful candidate; I had not been good enough; I wasn’t willing to work full-time. It seemed like for each interview the feedback was as unique. Every rejection hit me like a spike through my heart; and my financial situation got so bad, at times my debit card got rejected at the supermarket, I couldn’t withdraw cash at the machine, or I had to wait till my husband’s pay day to go grocery shopping. The kids were told over and over again tomorrow; we’ll get it tomorrow.

The financial impact of my unemployment not only affected my home life, it affected my studies also. I was due to pay the fee and guess what? I had no money. I remember the day clearly: I was in the finance officer’s office and I just broke down. I couldn’t keep it in any longer; the weight of everything just made me crumble. I was £500 away from my name being struck off! How could this have happened? How was I so close to being dropped by the wayside? This was the turning point; I wasn’t going to give up!

I went to my sister and begged her for the money. It didn’t matter to me at this moment that she was younger than me; it didn’t matter to me that I was killing my ego. All that mattered was I wasn’t going to give up on something that made me feel alive! I wasn’t going to go under without fighting. I paid the £500 for my course fees and felt as if I had just conquered Mount Everest. It was the most elating feeling in the world. I still remember it as I am writing about it and I can feel the goose bumps on my body. Of course, I finished my diploma and as it turned out as soon as I started in 2012, I was offered a job!
What I learnt from this experience was that I had so much more than I had thought I had and I was willing to give it my all and to make any sacrifice I could. On another note, I feel in my core that a higher being was testing me as to whether I would give up. I can’t describe this understanding, but all I can say is I know I was being tested. I say to the people around me, ‘When you decide to change your life and really, really go for what you are made to do on this earth, you will be challenged. My dear, you will be challenged. When you feel your lungs are running out of air and your muscles are burning, and the finish line is within reach, go for the power inside you. It’s waiting for you to reach out, and believe me, it will answer your call.

Please share what you have overcome when things were not looking good. Give me your power stories. What did you do when you felt like you were drowning and you came up for that life-enhancing breath of air? What made you fight with the last ounce of power within you?