Fortem Transition Engagement Officer, Colleen Lansdell, enjoyed a successful career in emergency services for 20 years. A series of life-changing events took her away from the job she believed she would stay in forever – and the idea of moving into a new career was overwhelming.
“Over the years I had watched in dismay the challenges of first responders and unsworn staff as they left their long-term careers feeling overwhelmed with uncertainty, and here I was experiencing exactly that,” Colleen says. “While I wanted more in my career and life, I believed that my skillset and qualifications meant that I couldn’t work anywhere else other than emergency services. I felt stuck in the confines of the environment in which I worked.
“What I could not see at the time was the opportunities before me; the potential I held, and the wealth of knowledge and experience that could translate into helping people in a way that was different but still meaningful.”
Through her transition into a new career, and then into Fortem where she assists first responders find their next step, Colleen has learnt a lot. She shares some of these learnings with us:
Our identity is not defined by the title we hold. It is defined by how we show up in the world being authentic with ourselves, and others.
We each have far more potential than we give ourselves credit for. There are multiple ways that career and life background skills and qualifications are transferrable.
Trust in the process. Everything happens for a reason. Look for the learning in your experience, and trust the process.
Listen to the wisdom of your heart. Sometimes it’s wiser than your mind.
Being present is more of a presence. When we separate from an environment that negatively preoccupies our being, we lower our defences and raise our emotional intelligence, allowing us to be more present and connect with what matters.
Both our mental and physical health are priorities. The adage of ‘put your own mask on first’ rings true here. Counter-intuitively, when we allow the space and time to invest in our own health and wellbeing regimens and do less, we create more opportunities, time and productivity, and achieve more of what we want.
Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Always.