What helps you make scary decisions in your vocation when you feel like you don’t have enough information, qualifications or courage to take the step into the unknown?
In this Because She Dared interview, I chat with Ginette Armoogan about:
- steps she took to find a new job when she felt her first dream had died
- what perfectionism might have cost her
- what to consider when you’re too hesitant to move forward
For over a decade, Ginette has been actively involved in ministry and social justice work. She is a pastor, mentor, coach, freedom warrior and a lover of all things beautiful. Currently, Ginette is on staff with Fight4Freedom, a Christian non-profit, anti-sex trafficking organization where she is the Pastoral Care Director and Regional Rep for Peel and Halton in Ontario, Canada. Here’s our interview.
EMILY: We have a conversation for you about daring to change your career, daring to live unhindered, daring to be more than you are right now because there is so much inside of us. Ginette, tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
GINETTE: Well, I work for a Christian anti-sex trafficking organization, and I’m pastoral care director for that, and also a regional rep for where I live.
A little bit more about me besides titles, is that really it stems from — I believe everyone was made for purpose, on purpose. And so, I love being a cheerleader for people, especially those who felt sidelined in life. And I love being able to offer hope and help to those individuals and just helping them become free in their lives in whatever area that they’re needing that transformation in.
EMILY: I love that people who’ve been sidelined and hope. Such powerful words — how many of us have felt sidelined in life? I hear that so often I don’t feel like I fit in or, you know, no one notices me. I felt for me I felt invisible for so long, and it was partly my own doing, but, it was a revolving cycle and you start believing it after a while. We need people like you to see people who are on the sidelines and have a way to give them hope. That’s awesome.
So tell us about where did your career shift begin for you?
GINETTE: Well, a couple years ago I had resigned from my position at my church as a women’s pastor, and I just felt it was time for a change. But I still lamented over that decision — all my training, my experience, and even my desire, about being in ministry with my husband. It basically felt like my dream had died.
EMILY: How long were you in that role?
GINETTE: Twenty-four years — like a couple decades
EMILY: It was very much embedded into your way of life, your identity, your outlook.
GINETTE: Wow, everything. And so I honestly could not imagine myself doing anything else.
EMILY: So you were basically living your dream for the longest time. Why would you change living your dream? Why did it feel like your dream had died?
GINETTE: I just I knew it was time for a change, but I didn’t know what that would look like, and I couldn’t imagine what that would look like. And so I just kind of sat in that place.
I know the Lord was saying , “Cease striving and know that I’m God” (Psalm 46:10), and it’s really hard for me to just be still.
My husband at one point said to me, “You know, you have an interest in social justice issues. Would you ever consider doing something in that field?”
Until that point, there wasn’t anything that anybody said that could convince me to even consider anything else. But when he has said that, I decided that I would consider doing something like that.
EMILY: Wow. So you were considering this while you were in your other position, or were you out of that position before you started considering it?
GINETTE: I was already volunteering for the organization that I’m working for now. At the time, I was a team leader for one of the outreach teams, so I already had a connection to them. But it was something I did on the side. And so, when I decided to consider it, I was going online and looking for different opportunities, what that would look like. I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to go back to school and retrain, not something that I was super thrilled about. But I just figured okay well that’s, I’m going to need to do that.
I reached out to the only person on staff at Fight for Freedom, just to get her ideas of where I should I focus my attention in terms of education. Because some avenues would be just a short certificate and some would require a master’s and that’s a pretty big range! So I wanted to have an idea of what to do.
I had no intention of or no interest in, applying for the jobs I came across because I didn’t feel prepared. I didn’t feel like I qualified, necessarily, and just because everything would be so different right. And I didn’t have all the answers. That’s part of my personality where I feel like I have to know everything and know that I can do a good job as a perfectionist, to be able to even step into something new right so I just wanted information so that I would know how to, to be what I needed to be right.
And in asking her, she said, “Well, would you consider applying for the job?”
I didn’t even respond. I felt bad, but I didn’t even respond for like a day or so, because I was just like, Oh my goodness. I just I didn’t feel like I could say no, even though part of me was like, No, like you, this is too much too fast, too scary, too different. But in the end, I decided to apply. It was a scary decision.
Things just fell into place quickly, and next thing I know I’m on staff.
EMILY: Is there any is there a story of someone that you’ve met or a transformation of someone living unhindered? Anything you’ve been able to witness because you stepped into this role and dared to do something new and scary even before you were quite ready?
GINETTE: Well, I’ve been able to see the stories of different survivors. There’s been a number that have moved forward in their life. Getting jobs, going back to school just doing things differently, and moving forward. Some of them have reconnected with their faith and gotten baptized. Some of them started new businesses. So that’s been really exciting. Even making connections with people and hearing their stories, and being able to offer them hope things can be different, has just been such a highlight for me.
EMILY: I can imagine such a contrast to see, step by step, them fighting to live, live out their own freedom. So powerful!
So what would you say has surprised you?
GINETTE: The thing that surprised me was just how it unfolded, so much better than I would have imagined.
EMILY: What were some of the messy scary things you figured it out along the way
GINETTE: Some of the things I had to work out were just my fears and my anxiety from doing something that was completely different from what I’d been used to for decades. Stepping into that, knowing that I didn’t have all the answers and that there was going to be such a learning curve for me.
Why I initially didn’t want to consider the position at all, was because all the staff are on 100% support-raised salaries, and so the thought of fundraising for my salary was terrifying. I hated the idea. And right there I was like, “Nope, not gonna consider it at all, I’m out. “
But I’ve got to be honest. If I hadn’t had just made that decision to just do that regardless of my fears, I would not have experienced the fulfilling job that I have now. I have so much job satisfaction that I’ve never had to this extent. Two years ago, to imagine what it is like for me now, I couldn’t have imagined how wonderful.
My life feels so much more enriched with the people experiences, and even the responsibilities that I have. So, it’s, it’s been such an amazing journey, and it has exceeded my imagination — which is pretty good! I have good imagination.
EMILY: It’s amazing! So you read my book Dare to Decide recently — after you made this career leap. How it did it impact you? And what were some takeaways?
GINETTE: It was really a nudge to move forward in some of the other things that I had been toying with, but I just hadn’t made a leap to do anything about.
There was a few things that I really appreciated from the chapter of just dare to decide:
The first one was LEAN IN.
That’s just picturing yourself, how you would feel in that situation. One thing that I thought about doing before was just starting a website, as a way of kind of holding myself accountable for, for writing. And so, I had just entered myself, okay, what would that feel like if I actually did it, right?
So I sat with that for a bit and I liked it.
Next, it’s just DECIDING TO DO SOMETHING about it. And so I did it. Also, I told some people, so that way there was an accountability built in there as well, right,
EMILY: That was one of the other steps in there, wasn’t it?
GINETTE: Yes, to tell somebody to put that accountability in there. I even had a deadline, in a sense, because one of the people said, “Okay, you need to have it done by this specific time because then I’m going to let other people know that it’s out there.” So I was working fast and furiously.
One of the things too that I took from the book and my experience, is just MOVING FORWARD. You don’t have to have everything figured out. And so I adopted the mantra. “Done is better than perfect.” Even though I didn’t have it all figured out, of how I wanted to look or even the direction I want to take it, I started somewhere. I just needed to take a step and do something.
The third thing was just RELEASING. Releasing the way life was before, or how you were before. Embracing the fact that you’re going to be learning and growing.
So it’s been exciting!
It’s been fun just being able to have some sort of creative outlet to try to figure things out, try my hand at different writing things, even putting up some pictures that I like, making it unique and different.
It’s a work in progress, but there is progress, so I’m thankful for that.
And the thing that really encouraged me was near the end of your book was 1 Peter 1:3: “Everything we could ever need for life and godliness, has already been deposited in us by His Divine Power.”
That was such an encouraging story you referenced in your book, and that verse itself helped me to realize this:
So often I don’t do things because I feel inadequate. I feel like I don’t have it all together, and I don’t feel like I have all the information that I need. But that verse is telling us that everything that we really do need, God’s given that to us already. That was really comforting for me to just take a leap a leap of faith and decide to do things. I may not have all this other knowledge or skills that I think I need, but what I really need, I already have. And so to just go from there.
EMILY: So good. Yep, that’s exactly what inspired me time and time again. We’re so easily compelled to compare what don’t have. That verse always brings me back to say, “What do I have already? Oh yeah, I have all of these things.”
Once in a while I am prompted to start making lists of what I have within me to give: what experiences, what skills, what passions, what empathy. What connections do I have? And just start listing them. I find I have more than I thought. Then I ask, what can I do with what I have?
So if someone is listening and they are thinking it’s time for a change. Time for a new career. Time to start that dream. Time to just realize it’s time to step into something new. What’s one takeaway you would want them to walk away with today?
GINETTE: Just decide to take a step forward, and realize that, on the other side of that YES could be their dream job.
It could be their new best friend, it could be longings fulfilled.
It could be a new pastime.
It could be a good unknown waiting to be discovered, a new adventure, so just take that initial step.
Don’t worry about having to have everything figured out, and what its gonna look like all in the end, just concentrate on that first step. Then, keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.
Don’t worry about having to have everything figured out, and what it’s going to look like in the end, just concentrate on that first step. Then, keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.Ginette Armoogan, recovering perfectionist
Connect with Ginette Armoogan
Her new website: lifeunhindered.ca Fight for Freedom: fight4freedom.ca
Read more about the 3 Phases of DecisionDare to Decide: Discovering Peace, Clarity and Courage at Life’s Crossroads by Emily Grabatin (Ginette referenced Chapter 26).