The Power of Personal Growth

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” -Sensca

I never thought I would ever write, let alone write a title of a Blog “Starting over in your 40’s”….This is what I have done.

A year  in half ago I would have told you that I would be getting up daily, hitting the gym,dpt getting ready for work and heading to my beloved classroom for a day of 6th grade Social Studies .  It was comfort, stability, a good paycheck and my identity.  I knew myself as nothing other than a teacher…..I also never thought I would be one of many victims of workplace bullying and harassment.  The desire to get up in the morning and drive into work became a chore.  Crying and Panic attacks became the norm for me.  I never knew what threat or bashing words would be said to me by my own boss each day.

I felt myself going through a detachment process of letting go. I started to see things from a different perspective.  My fears and emotions were paralyzing me,  and I no longer had the same motivation.  I started to see things the way they really were and not the way I wished them to be.  Reality was setting in and it hurt like hell.  As a single mom of two boys, how was I going to start over?  I invested 18 years and a ton of education into my teaching career.  I dreamed of this as a child, helped my mom decorate her own classroom and I am a 3rd generation teacher in my family.  That is what we do, we teach.

My career felt like a death in the family.  It was much more than just the way I made a living. It was my influence on how I saw myself, as well as the way others saw me. It gave me structure, purpose, and meaning.  This was by far one of the most stressful events I have ever faced in my life.

Beyond the loss of my income,  I have also felt other major losses, some of which I have struggled with this past year:

  • Loss of professional identity
  • Loss of self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Loss of  daily routine
  • Loss of purposeful activity
  • Loss of  work-based social network
  • Loss of  sense of security

I have felt this in an up and down roller coaster ride for the past year.  I have learned through my own life coach and counseling that grief is a natural response to loss.  I resigned from my job due to workplace harassment.  Everyone said, that took courage and guts.  You chose your health over being treated badly.  However, all these rapid changes left me feeling upset, depressed and out of balance.

I am human, and although my life mission is to help others on their path in life, I have a life as well.  I find that being able to be authentic and admitting that I too face my own battles helps my clients realize that I have been there as well.

In this past year, I have battled depression and loss of identity, but I have kept walking forward. Starting my own business “Live in Confidence”, choosing that name because I knew my decisions  in life had to be based on confidence. (

I worked hard to earn my Life Coaching certification, and working with numerous clients on so many different circumstances they face in life, has been eye-opening and rewarding. These are things I would have never done if I continued to put up with the bullying and harassment in my school district.

Now having the opportunity to work as a life coach and part-time teacher in Columbus City Schools has giving me my sense of purpose again.

I still struggle with the aftermath of hurtful words and what happened.  I struggle with the fact that I am not the only teacher that endured abuse from this principal and I struggle that he is still in his role harassing and bullying teachers to this day.

The struggle is real, and realizing that I am human, this is a process.  A process that I will continue to walk through and heal from.

The quote below is so true.  I am following my passion today and although things don’t happen as fast as one would like, I know I am on my way to my purpose through my passion.

There is a light at the end of every tunnel, and it is starting to get brighter.

As Martha Beck says: we go through periods of intense disturbance prior to deep and lasting personal growth.  My personal growth has been with God.  I feel when I start to realize my personal growth, God is right there talking to me, or showing me things I would have never recognized prior to this experience.

I have realized in this process, that everyday is a personal growth, and many of us are too blind or too caught up in the victim mode to realize it.  Take time today and each day following to see one thing you have in your life that has given you meaning.  Even at your lowest point, or your darkest hole, there is something.  Today, I woke up.  I am grateful for that.  Today, I will impact adolescents, I am grateful for that.  What are you grateful for?

I will end with this quote that I find so much meaning from:  “If you can’t figure out your purpose, find your passion.  For your passion, will lead you right into your purpose.”-T.D. Jakes

If you are struggling with a situation similar to this, then let’s talk.  I can share my story and together we can get you on a path to move forward.

Becky Shaffer–Adolescent/Adult Life Coach, Author, Educator


Published by beckyshafferliveinconfidence

I did the crazy and left my career teaching job after 19 years to work on and build my coaching business. I took a year off to follow my dream of being a life coach and using my skills, life lessons and training to help others find meaning in their life. While I do this, I am always growing, learning and finding more purpose and meaning in my life as well. Currently, I am life coaching and fitness coaching part-time , I continue to blog, meet with clients and I am back to teaching full time in Columbus City Schools, working with gifted students, teaching. U.S. History.

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