How to Know You are Heading in the Right Direction: Ask for a sign

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How to Know You are Heading in the Right Direction: Ask for a sign

by Nancy Hurst PhD in counselling psychology, therapist in private practice

Sign sign everywhere a sign…

Do you ever agonise over decisions? Endlessly debate what is the “right” thing to do? Often there are signs guiding us to the next step. These signs can be used as guide posts and as anchors to remind us that we are on the right path. This is my story of how I was given signs while pursuing a dream.

A few years ago I was looking to buy a house I could use for my counselling business. I was tired of paying rent and our old space really needed some renovations. I was shocked to discover that  “We, the tenant” were responsible for paying for renovations for someone else’s building! A little naïve perhaps, but I have a PhD in counselling psychology not business. This irritation motivated me to pursue some ideas I had been harbouring about purchasing a rental property, and create a warm, welcoming counselling centre.

My husband and I looked at so many potential properties. With numerous home renos under his belt, he felt everything available would be too expensive to renovate and would be disappointing in the end. One day after looking at several places I sheepishly threw a thought out there. I said,  “Well there is this little plot of land. Let’s go look at that”. 

We drove over to the spot, empty but for a forest of weeds. In my head I know I’ve dragged my husband out here but I’m not considering this a viable option when he declares: “This is IT!”. So I let myself consider the possibilities and this led to those debilitating emotions Fear and Doubt. Even more reality hit when we involved our real estate agent. What do we know about building? How much interest will we have to pay on this land as we wait for the centre to be built? Should we buy this? A sign would be nice right about now!

I questioned, argued, and prayed for guidance. We considered the costs: It would cost us about $700 a month in interest payments to buy. We considered the time: a whole year to get a functional building on it. I didn’t know if I wanted to pay interest on a plot of weeds for that long. Hello…sign please?

One didn’t take long in coming, amazingly. The next morning the real estate agent called and said that a company was interested in renting the spot for a sales trailer for a year at $800 a month. “Are you kidding me?” How could I argue with this? I couldn’t. The rent would cover my interest payments. This was my sign.

And then it was smooth sailing from here, cue the soft music and the camera zooming onto the scene as the doors of my dream counselling centre opened. NO that’s not what happened! We encountered multiple problems. The next setback was a literal setback. The city requires buildings to be a certain distance away from the sidewalk–ironically called a “setback”. The city planner informed me that in order to meet the required setback our building would be ridiculously skinny! What? We waited a few more restless months anxiously awaiting city approval so we could have a reasonably sized building. 

To our great relief, a few weeks later it was granted. In retrospect I realised that the reason this little plot of land was available in this trendy neighbourhood was because the city planner had been scaring off prospective buyers by telling them about the setback problem. Ignorance is bliss for a while since I didn’t know any better at the time.  I hadn’t talked to the city planners until I had bought the land.

At any point did I conclude that the sign was misleading me, you wonder? Of course I did consider this but trusted the sign and followed. Oftentimes it’s not until you look back that you see more clearly. I believe that God, the universe, the powers that be had destined this spot to become the home of a healing centre with psychologists, social workers, art therapists and psychiatrist. 

And the challenges continued. I hired a prefabrication company who said they could adapt a house plan to suit nicely. But I wasn’t fully comfortable with the plans and mentioned this to a colleague. Fortunately her husband happens to be an architect and looked at the plans. He didn’t like them either! He suggested many changes including sound proofing and adding many windows. These improvements turned out to be a Godsend and a sign that we were heading in a more positive direction. There were moments of hope along the way, and these kept me going.

These changes, however, slowed down an already snail-paced process and brought us to yet another crisis. The prefabrication company was having to close down. They were being evicted from their warehouse to make room for a city development. Agh, what next!? When their business closed, I lost my $5000 deposit and was back to looking for a new builder. 

Did the dream die here, you wonder? Actually this story has a happy ending. Looking back, I see that the setbacks were for the best. The struggles led to what ended up being a better constructed, long awaited, highly anticipated dream counselling centre. 

It was a sweet moment when we moved into that beautiful new building. People describe it as warm and welcoming, just as I had imagined. Cue the music yet? Well, running a business is more challenging than I realised. But on the hard days I can always look back and remember that this was meant to be. 

The moral of this story is quite simple: trust the signs. It may not be painless, it may take longer than you expect, it may not look exactly like you thought it would, but in the end, the universe is designed to support you. 

Nancy Hurst, PhD in counselling psychologist works as therapist in private practice in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.  She works with adults who want to enhance their well-being. 

She has been trained in Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR. She is married with 2 adult children. She thrives when learning and connecting with others at a deep level.  She lives an active lifestyle and enjoys nature. 

She can be found at www.nancyhurst.ca, edmontoncounselling.com`,

 www.facebook.com/edmontoncounselling/?, and Instagram change8834.

Sign sign everywhere a sign…

Do you ever agonise over decisions? Endlessly debate what is the “right” thing to do? Often there are signs guiding us to the next step. These signs can be used as guide posts and as anchors to remind us that we are on the right path. This is my story of how I was given signs while pursuing a dream.

A few years ago I was looking to buy a house I could use for my counselling business. I was tired of paying rent and our old space really needed some renovations. I was shocked to discover that  “We, the tenant” were responsible for paying for renovations for someone else’s building! A little naïve perhaps, but I have a PhD is in counselling psychology not business. This irritation motivated me to pursue some ideas I had been harbouring about purchasing a rental property, and create a warm, welcoming counselling centre.

My husband and I looked at so many potential properties. With numerous home renos under his belt, he felt everything available would be too expensive to renovate and would be disappointing in the end. One day after looking at several places I sheepishly threw a thought out there. I said,  “Well there is this little plot of land. Let’s go look at that”. 

We drove over to the spot, empty but for a forest of weeds. In my head I know I’ve dragged my husband out here but I’m not considering this a viable option when he declares: “This is IT!”. So I let myself consider the possibilities and this led to those debilitating emotions Fear and Doubt. Even more reality hit when we involved our real estate agent. What do we know about building? How much interest will we have to pay on this land as we wait for the centre to be built? Should we buy this? A sign would be nice right about now!

I questioned, argued, and prayed for guidance. We considered the costs: It would cost us about $700 a month in interest payments to buy. We considered the time: a whole year to get a functional building on it. I didn’t know if I wanted to pay interest on a plot of weeds for that long. Hello…sign please?

One didn’t take long in coming, amazingly. The next morning the real estate agent called and said that a company was interested in renting the spot for a sales trailer for a year at $800 a month. “Are you kidding me?” How could I argue with this? I couldn’t. The rent would cover my interest payments. This was my sign.

And then it was smooth sailing from here, cue the soft music and the camera zooming onto the scene as the doors of my dream counselling centre opened. NO that’s not what happened! We encountered multiple problems. The next setback was a literal setback. The city requires buildings to be a certain distance away from the sidewalk–ironically called a “setback”. The city planner informed me that in order to meet the required setback our building would be ridiculously skinny! What? We waited a few more restless months anxiously awaiting city approval so we could have a reasonably sized building. 

To our great relief, a few weeks later it was granted. In retrospect I realised that the reason this little plot of land was available in this trendy neighbourhood was because the city planner had been scaring off prospective buyers by telling them about the setback problem. Ignorance is bliss for a while since I didn’t know any better at the time.  I hadn’t talked to the city planners until I had bought the land.

At any point did I conclude that the sign was misleading me, you wonder? Of course I did consider this but trusted the sign and followed. Oftentimes it’s not until you look back that you see more clearly. I believe that God, the universe, the powers that be had destined this spot to become the home of a healing centre with psychologists, social workers, art therapists and psychiatrist. 

And the challenges continued. I hired a prefabrication company who said they could adapt a house plan to suit nicely. But I wasn’t fully comfortable with the plans and mentioned this to a colleague. Fortunately her husband happens to be an architect and looked at the plans. He didn’t like them either! He suggested many changes including sound proofing and adding many windows. These improvements turned out to be a Godsend and a sign that we were heading in a more positive direction. There were moments of hope along the way, and these kept me going.

These changes, however, slowed down an already snail-paced process and brought us to yet another crisis. The prefabrication company was having to close down. They were being evicted from their warehouse to make room for a city development. Agh, what next!? When their business closed, I lost my $5000 deposit and was back to looking for a new builder. 

Did the dream die here, you wonder? Actually this story has a happy ending. Looking back, I see that the setbacks were for the best. The struggles led to what ended up being a better constructed, long awaited, highly anticipated dream counselling centre. 

It was a sweet moment when we moved into that beautiful new building. People describe it as warm and welcoming, just as I had imagined. Cue the music yet? Well, running a business is more challenging than I realised. But on the hard days I can always look back and remember that this was meant to be. 

The moral of this story is quite simple: trust the signs. It may not be painless, it may take longer than you expect, it may not look exactly like you thought it would, but in the end, the universe is designed to support you. 

Nancy Hurst, PhD in counselling psychologist works as therapist in private practice in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.  She works with adults who want to enhance their well-being. 

She has been trained in Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing and EMDR. She is married with 2 adult children. She thrives when learning and connecting with others at a deep level.  She lives an active lifestyle and enjoys nature. 

She can be found at www.nancyhurst.ca, edmontoncounselling.com`,

 www.facebook.com/edmontoncounselling/?, and Instagram nancyhurst_psychologist

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