The importance of going with your gut instinct

I remember years ago saying to a friend, “I don’t really know what I want to do but I think I’d like to be working in a sort of studio space with cool interesting people, maybe in another country, maybe France.’’ It was all very vague, but that’s what my gut instinct was saying to me.

We were ambling alongside the Thames, talking about life and the future. She was someone I could confide in, and tell my hopes and dreams. But secretly, at that time I felt a bit silly not knowing what I really wanted to do, by then probably in my late twenties or early thirties.

Fair enough knowing what kind of environment I wanted to work in and with what kind of people. But how come I didn’t know what job I wanted to do? Surely it shouldn’t be that hard?

Fast forward 10, 15 years, and here I am working from a coworking space in Spain, with different spaces for people to work in, like the studio image I had in mind. It’s full of interesting entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers and remote workers from around the world.

Back then, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for work, or how to get there. But I had a vague image in my mind, and a feeling of what I wanted. I knew that my current work wasn’t for me, it wasn’t making me happy, and that somehow I had to find a way out. I had to rely on my gut, my intuition.

It took me a long time to get there. It’s funny looking back. I did know in my heart what I wanted – to live abroad, to have more freedom in my work, to do work that I felt was of value. I just wasn’t clear on the details.

It took a lot of reading, ruminating, talking to people, speaking to coaches.

And, ultimately, doing stuff which moved me forwards. I left my then job, travelled a bit, freelanced a bit. Took a course in teaching English abroad, applied for a new job and got it, moved to Spain. Started coaching other people in the same situation I’d previously been in.

Listening to your gut, and then doing something about it, is hard, but worth it.

Get in touch here if you’d like to speak to me about coaching, I can help you make your career change: joaopoku@gmail.com

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Hibernating (but how can I change career if I spend all my time hidden under my duvet?)

Hibernating. I love it. I think I’m actually a bit obsessed with the idea of hibernating in January. Partly I think my introvert side relishes the chance to do what comes naturally. Also, I just so enjoy the whole not doing much/watching films/eating chocolate/reading loads vibe I get to enjoy over the Christmas period, that I don’t want to let it go. 

I want to celebrate the joy of hibernating. Going along with nature, seeking out staying warm and cosy. Naturally using dark days and nights as a chance to take things slower, rest, recuperate from generally very busy lives.

However, on the surface this goes against my general advice when it comes to doing stuff like sorting out your life. Keep taking action, be productive, don’t spend too much time ruminating and not doing…

So how do the two tie together? Hibernate, spend as much of your spare time as you can watching films and eating chocolate. But at the same time focus on your goals and keep the momentum up? Well – I do think it’s possible. 

You might want 2020 to be the year you finally change career.  You’re kind of feeling pumped that you’ve made the decision to go for it. But also kind of overwhelmed about where to start, and generally a bit knackered from Christmas and feeling January meh-ness. 

Well, the main thing is to keep taking tiny steps forward. Plan out a series of small goals for the month. Things that are achievable but that are going to keep propelling your forward in your search. And consistently do them. 

So for example every morning or evening, set aside 10 minutes to focus on your career change goals. One email to enquire, get advice, ask a question. One 10-minute bit of research. 10 minutes completing a job application. A few minutes contacting people on LinkedIn who might be able to answer some questions about their industry. 

Try to make sure you are actually taking action during the 10 minutes, not just reading and day-dreaming. Make contact, create, or open opportunities for yourself.  

Once you’ve got into the habit of taking action every day (that’s the aim, anyway), you won’t feel bad about the whole ‘taking it easy’/pretending it’s still the Christmas holidays vibe I like to eke out. 

You’re still taking action, but you’re not adding to what can already be a slightly depressing, difficult month, by putting loads of pressure on yourself and berating yourself for not dedicating all your time to figuring things out.

Be nice to yourself, set some goals and make them happen, and enjoy hibernating with the best of us.

If you need some help with the whole goal setting thing, or in taking first steps to change your career or life, get in touch for some coaching sessions. You can also sign-up for a one-off 1-hour Get Unstuck! coaching call – designed to get you taking action straight away. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com. It’s what I do for fun.

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

January blues: Why I love January and how you can make it the best month

I’ll let you into a little secret… I kind of love January. I know that January in Valencia, where I live, is a little different to January in the UK where I’m from. The sun here means that January is a month where you still actually want to leave the house and do stuff. Whereas in the UK January is sort of the month that doesn’t exist. You put your head down and survive it. It’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s miserable, you’ve eaten too much, you have no money, you’re off alcohol, there’s no Christmas to look forward to…You stay indoors and you endure.

But a few years back, still living in London, I had a revelation. Thinking about it, January is basically the same as December. So why do we love December and despise January? The weather’s the same. Why does the mood go from twinkly and pretty and full of expectation and high spirits to awfulness and despair? Is Christmas Day that big a deal? Is it all about that?

I realised that what I love about the Christmas season is resting: ideally a week of no work, spending time with people I love, getting cosy, brisk freezing walks in the countryside then the relief of getting home and flopping on the sofa. Eating loads of delicious food and chocolate, and dessert every day. Films, reading. Playing games. Doing less. Lazing around. Chilling. Especially the days after Christmas Day, which have lower expectations, so you can go into full on relax.

Enjoy all the good stuff

Why should January be any different? Can’t I still make delicious, warming dishes? Eat apple crumble? Go for brisk walks? Watch films? Read? Enjoy twinkly lights? Appreciate being inside when it’s tipping it down outside? Yes! Ok so there’s the small matter of trudging to work every day in the freezing cold and dark. It can be really hard. But – the mornings, evenings and weekends are still ours. 

Here’s to January being the best month! The month to nourish and hibernate. To relish in watching a film every night. Continue eating massive delicious healthy meals. Get out and about and love coming home again. Take time to be quiet and reflect. To dream and make plans.

I’m lucky. I don’t really have anything to complain about. So for those of us that can, let’s appreciate what we’ve got.

What if we chose to love January rather than dread it. How would that change things?

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If you’re up for taking some time to reflect and plan for the year, check out my post on this: The perfect time for writing, reflecting & planning.

And, if your big plan this year is to change career but you’re feeling stuck and lost, I’ve started running 1-hour Get Unstuck! coaching calls. Designed to get you taking action straight away, after a 1-hour call with me. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com to arrange.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash