Common barriers to career change

I recently spoke to a friend of a friend, M, about her work. She finds her current job stressful and she can’t see herself carrying on all the way through to retirement. We got talking about what she’d always dreamed of doing – working in interiors and decoration. And seeing the way she lit up talking about it…I asked her if she’d ever consider trying to move into it. But as we talked it was obvious there were a few barriers stopping her from thinking it could ever be possible.

The barriers M put in her way are really common. I don’t have the time. Other people are already doing the work. I’d need a qualification. The courses I’ve seen are far away and too expensive.

What’s it worth?

M was interested in taking a course to learn more and had looked into a couple. But the fact that they were pricey and bit of a distance away was an obstacle. I asked if the prospect of learning more, of enjoying exploring the world of design, of meeting like minded people, could be worth it. M admitted she’d love to give it a try.

So is it worth saving up or cutting back to afford it? Is it a potentially worthy investment? Could she find a way of prioritising the time she’d need to travel there and back?

The qualification issue

Another of the most common barriers, M felt she would need a qualification in order to set up and be taken seriously. I asked her – if someone could teach you how to do something, or could do it for you (with amazing results), would you care if they had a qualification or not?

I know some careers do require rigorous training and it may be the case that a certain level of education is required to be an interior designer. But in so many careers knowledge and experience count for a lot. And there’s always the possibility of studying for a qualification alongside getting work experience or during the very early stages of starting a business. I started coaching while studying for my coaching qualification. This doesn’t have to be a barrier.

For example, say I want to decorate my house. Imagine I have a bit of a budget, but zero interest in actually doing the research and searching for items or considering aesthetics. I would totally want to pay for the services of someone with amazing taste, whose own house is beautifully decorated, and who can make the transformation easy for me.

And get this – M mentioned that a few friends had commented on her style, or hinted that they’d love her to makeover their houses. I got excited hearing this! Proof there’s a market for her and proof she doesn’t necessarily need a qualification to get started. She could get started working with friends, and see what happens with word-of-mouth.

Timing

In her free time M’s pinning decoration images on Pinterest and obsessively scanning Instagram. We agreed that dedicating even 30 minutes a week would be time well spent on exploring this potential new career. She can put that research to good use! And use the time to set up working for a friend for free, or calling to find out more about the course and enrolling, or working out what niche she’d focus on. Maybe seeing if she can interview or shadow someone local working as a interior designer. Step-by-step.

What if

So often we put pressure on ourselves when it comes to trying something new, putting immediate barriers in place. What if I don’t enjoy it, what if I change my mind and am no longer interested? What if it’s not for me?

Well on the other hand, what if it’s amazing – and changes everything?

The worst could be that you start taking small steps into that world, and realise you don’t enjoy it. This will help you decide that its not the path for you. You’re still a step ahead. You’re getting closer to what you want. It’s not a step back. You’ve set the gears in motion for change. You’ve shaken things up and you’re showing yourself that you’re taking yourself seriously. You can build on this.

Side Hustle

For instance M could offer her services for free and then use the results as a portfolio/case study. Go through the process with a friend/’client’ and learn from the experience. See if she actually enjoys it and if the client is pleased with the outcome (maybe following up with a questionnaire or asking for a testimonial). Was anything tricky? What could be improved? Did anything go well? Did she feel under qualified?

This could all be done on the side of carrying on with her full time employment. I’m not suggesting quitting and starting from scratch. M can slowly build up her experience, and be sure it’s a career path that appeals.

Lightbulb moment

Finally, with I visited M’s home, I was struck by the fact that she’s probably got the most stylish house I’ve seen for a couple with young kids. Her young daughters’ bedroom had simple, lovely colours, kid appropriate but not garish. In one corner of the room there was a massive leafy plant in front of a big shuttered window, with light filtering through. There was excellent storage so there weren’t toys all over the place. Somehow this all changed the room from any old kids bedroom to ‘dream’ kids bedroom.

Their home was sleek, stylish and not overrun with kids stuff. It struck me – that could be her niche. How to have a beautiful home when you’ve got kids. How to achieve the stylish, zen-like look even if your day-to-day is as chaotic as everyone else’s.

Her dream is so big and exciting, and seems so far away that she can hardly contemplate it one day being a reality. But once M can get over her mindset blocks and start believing it could one day be possible, all she needs to do is start taking small steps to make it happen. It might take a while, but it’s possible.

Want some help with your mindset?

Let me know if you’d like to speak to me about moving forwards with your big dreams, and dealing with your mindset. Removing barriers. I can help! I love doing this. I’ll help you to see the possibilities, and we’ll work out a plan together. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com to make a booking.

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Got a good job but you’re bored? Try this.

I have a friend who has been feeling quite bummed out. Her work had been her lifeline while going through a difficult break-up. It was the one constant that she could throw herself into when everything else had been turned upside down.

Now, she’s out the other side of the break-up and feeling much more content in her personal life. But she realises something is lacking from her work life.

She’s coasting along, doing ok. But she feels the pressure, the endless more, more, more. Bigger goals, higher forecasts, always needing to beat her last figures. It doesn’t feel fresh and exciting anymore, just mundane, pointless.

She’s debating leaving, maybe finding a start-up which will renew her energy. Or, she could ride it out. See if it’s just a low patch and things might improve in the future. Or a new opportunity may arise in her current workplace.

Going through the motions

One thing she’s realised has been lacking is that she’s not learning any more. She’s just going through the motions. She’s missing the challenge, the feeling of discovering something new. Feeling that she’s growing. And this friend is a curious person. She actually has an amazing amount of energy and is naturally inquisitive and interested in the world around her.

Free online courses

So she’s set herself the challenge of doing a load of online courses. Her company provides free courses in all sorts of areas. So she’s picked any that appeal, whether or not directly related to her work. Anything that she’s curious to learn about.

She’s choosing to invest in herself, in her own self-development. Whether or not she decides to move on in a few months time, within these next months she will learn a lot. And hopefully she will be inspired. She will lift her own energy, which in turn may make her more productive in her day-to-day work.

Keep learning

If you too are feeling bored, stuck or lost in your current job, or if you’re between jobs, feeling uninspired and procrastinating, maybe you can follow her lead. Find a free online course, on any topic that takes your fancy, and go for it. If you’re super busy – even just 10 minutes a day on your commute or in bed before sleeping.

There are loads of free or affordable online courses out there. With Skillshare for example, you can sign up for a month or two for free. There are lots of inspiring people to learn from. I’ve done a social media strategy course with entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. I did a coaching course which introduced me to new techniques. I used a tutorial on Canva to help me with creating images for Pinterest. Emma Gannon who wrote Ctrl Alt Delete and The Multi-Hyphen Method has a good course on finding your passion.

Udemy have cheap courses. And I’m looking into LinkedIn Learning. They have a massive range of courses and it looks as though you can do a one month free trial.

Invest in yourself

If you are struggling with where you are at, doing online courses and learning is a great way to gain some control of where you’re heading and how you’re spending your time.

You’ll learn new skills you’ll be able to directly apply to your work, your new job, your side hustle. Your social media. Your general knowledge. It’s investing in yourself, which can only ever be a good thing.

If you’d like to try a life coaching session with me, contact me for a free 30 minute Skype call so that I can answer any questions you might have. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Other people’s routines

I’m the sort of person that loves routine. I enjoy my morning routine, it sets me up for the day, leaving me feeling awake and ready to get to work. And I like my daily work routine, my coffee break mid-morning, and my lunchtime stroll in the park.

If for some reason I can’t follow my normal routine, everything feels in disarray. For a day or two, it’s fine, it’s a novelty and I’m having fun travelling or staying with a friend. But after two or three days out of my routine, I miss it.

I crave walking on my own, long walks listening to podcasts. My body misses the stretches of morning yoga. I long for 10 spare minutes to listen to a meditation. My writing goes off kilter, and I realise on Friday morning that I have no blogpost to publish.

More than anything, I need a bit of time on my own, no chatting, no listening, no voices. Just me getting on with my stuff.

The pressure of being productive

This week I was reminded how in the media and online there’s an intense pressure to be the most efficient you can be, the most productive, the most calm and unflappable. All around there are examples of morning routines, productivity hacks, other people telling us what works for them. Things you must do to get x result.

I’ve written before about information overload and how I’m always trying to strip things back to the bare essentials in terms of consuming information. Ironically, having recently written a few posts about productivity and efficiency, I realise I could be adding to the noise.

If hearing about other people’s lives leaves you feeling bad, or that you’re not doing enough, it’s probably healthier to dial down the noise and concentrate on doing your thing.

No routine

The thing is, I love hearing about how other people work, how they spend their days and what their morning or day time routines consist of (for example here). I find it fascinating what works for one person and doesn’t for another. Or rather, what appeals to me and what doesn’t.

Other people’s routines can seem pretty dull and strict. Chanting for 30 minutes upon waking then drinking hot water with lemon doesn’t appeal to me. Nor does waking at 5am to walk on a treadmill whilst checking emails and catching the news headlines. It sounds like a punishment rather than a great way to start the day.

What I really like is reading about people whose routines are totally different to mine, and which sound fun. Perhaps they don’t have any fixed routine. Maybe they wake up and write for 2 hours straight, only drinking coffee. Or they roll out of bed as late as possible, grab a croissant and coffee to go and put their makeup on in the tube.

Get inspired

And learning about how other people go about their lives can be helpful. You might uncover something that hits a nerve, and makes you see things differently, do things differently.

I remember reading about someone working in publishing who would snatch any moment throughout the day they could to read – getting through a staggering amount of books a month – and that made me prioritise reading more.

Sometimes it’s good to refresh the routine you’ve settled into and consciously aim to make your day more enjoyable, or relaxed, or easy.

What works for you

I think the most important point is – find out what works for you.

If you love a bit of unpredictability, no set routine and going with how you feel in the moment, brilliant. Perhaps a bit of chaos gets the adrenaline going. If like me you feel overwhelmed by lack of routine, and like things to feel a bit ordered, that’s fine too. But it probably does me good to mix it up every once in a while and not be too set in my ways.

The main thing is to find what suits you – and go with it.

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If you’d like to book a life coaching session with me, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Kenny Luo on Unsplash