Some changes require a whole lot of courage. Just like the change Marina Condic initiated in her life in 2017, a change that at the same time became the highlight of the year that lies behind her.

You could argue that maybe it was easier for Marina to take her courage in both hands in 2017, since it was not the first time for her to do it. “After finishing my apprenticeship as a Forwarding Agent, I needed a new start and at the age of 21 migrated to Sydney. Australia was a new and unknown country for me and the first years weren’t a walk in the park. But I was free and could write my own history – something I felt for the first time and treasured immensely,” recalls German born Marina.

However, two decades later it was that feeling of freedom that she began to miss. “I felt like I was trapped in my comfort zone. As a manager of a subsidiary in Victoria I was grateful for all the opportunities that I had been offered. I had achieved a lot and could look back on interesting challenges and success. However I started to realise, that the business values and priorities differed from mine – or maybe I had changed,” she began asking herself.

Conquering fear of failure and self doubts

After a turbulent 2016 Marina decided to make yet another fresh start. In 2017 she decided to change careers and become a real estate agent. “I was familiar with the Australian Real Estate Market due to private investments. But a drastic career change like that after 20 years meant to start new from scratch and came with risks and doubts. Less challenging work in the beginning and just a fraction of the money I had earned before were the main reasons for self doubts and fear of failure,” admits the 42-year old.

What if I cannot make it? What if I have worked so hard all these years for nothing? Questions that Marina asked herself again and again. “Luckily I have a very understanding partner who supported me in all my decisions – even if my doubts were too much sometimes. I also knew that I could draw on my professional experience in the service sector,” she recalls.

In January 2017 she enrolled in a real estate course and contacted a real estate agency close to where she lived with a philosophy that she could identify with. The result: “As soon as the first successful campaigns for clients were finished, I knew that I had made the right decision. All of a sudden everything made sense: My previous career and financial success made it possible for me to take this step into unknown terrain. In the end my hard work had paid off indeed.”

“Today I am enormously glad that I can help my clients with one of their most important decisions. What life style will they choose? Where will their kids go to school? How much money will they have left? I consider the responsibility that I have as a privilege which I find very rewarding. Again, I enjoy my freedom, to write my own history, however even more, there is a kind of satisfaction on a daily base, that I can help others to achieve their goals.”

Petra Wohl: “I had to change something”

Just like Marina Condic, Petra Wohl had the courage for a career change. However hers took place eight years ago. After having worked in a call centre for nine years, Petra decided to become a Personal Care Assistant and studied for her Certificate in Aged Care. She enjoyed working with the elderly or patients with disability so much, that she never accepted offers to work in a managerial role. “I did not want to work in administration,” Petra recalls.

In 2017 however she noticed a shift in her thinking. “I had to change something,” Petra observed. When the 55-year old came across a job advertisement as a Service Manager for 16 people, it was out of question that the time for a new position had arrived. She applied for the job. “Yes, I was excited,” Petra smiles. “I knew the new role involved much more responsibility. But I had learned a lot from my previous manager. In fact she encouraged me to apply and reassured me: You can do it!”

“Seize the chance & continue to learn”

When Petra received the invitation for her job interview, her nervousness grew as did the voice of self doubt that became louder: Will I find the right answers to the questions? What if the job does not work out? But nothing could hold her back. She knew, regardless of the outcome it was just the right time to apply. “I told myself, if it does not work out, I could always go back into my old job. In any case, I wanted to seize the chance.”

And luckily she did, since in December she got notified that she got the job. “I am going to start on the 15th of January,” Petra says happily and highly recommends to others to give a new role a go it they feel like it. Age does not matter, she says. What would count is being open, seizing chances and always continue to learn. Plus: “If one door closes, another one will open.”

Laura Soros: Committed to change lives

Laura Soros personal highlight of 2017 is not as much related as Petra’s and Marina’s is, but rather with her personal life and desire to do something good for the community. “Looking back on the year 2017, I would consider my commitment for Eating Disorder Victoria as a highlight,” the 29 year old says.

“When I was younger, I suffered from an eating disorder that I have since conquered. Because of my own personal history I really wanted to give something back and get involved in that area.” Laura’s eating disorder started approximately a decade ago. It took her five years to re-establish a healthy relationship with food and amongst others organisations like Eating Disorder Victora (EDV) helped her to do that.

So when Laura’s husband became aware of the fact that EDV was looking for someone who was in a leadership role in a school and had experienced an eating disorder, Laura – who is the Head of Languages at a renowned Melbourne private school – contacted the non-for-profit organisation.

Board member of Eating Disorder Victoria

EDV happily accepted her application: “Since last year I am a board member of Eating Disorder Victoria, Australia, and I am very much looking forward to my work,” says Laura. One of her tasks will be to develop strategy how to prevent and help students with eating disorders that will then be implemented in schools. “Thinking of 2018 I hope that I will have many opportunities to help people with eating disorders to conquer their disease,” Laura says.

More information about Eating Disorder Victoria can be found on the website.