At the core

When have I seen the most impact and the best results with clients?

When they’ve worked with me for more than three coaching sessions. One isn’t really enough. We need to go deep. To the core. We need to find out what you really want help with.

Often after two or three sessions we uncover what is really at the core of your feeling of being stuck. On the surface it’s that you’ve been made redundant, or want to change to another industry. But deep down what’s holding you back and making you feel bad is often lack of confidence or self-belief in your abilities. And it takes time to work on these things, taking small steps to build yourself up. 

My coaching isn’t really about helping you with career change. Not really. Deep down, at the core, it always comes down to working on confidence, self-belief, and motivation. 

Confidence

If I look at my past three new clients, their issues have been based around: feeling they are not good enough, sabotaging themselves, lacking confidence, knowing what they want but not going for it. 

It’s interesting isn’t it? It’s as though everyone’s out there putting on a brave face; we all feel insecure inside but put on a front of everything being ok.

If you are struggling with feeling stuck, have a good think about what you’re feeling and why. Try some journaling, get stuff out of your head. Try to see your experience and current situation with a different perspective. What would you say to a friend in your situation? You’d try to get them to see things differently, as you see them.

Look at the obstacles you’ve overcome and what you’ve achieved, really think about this, in all areas of your life. Think about the positives in your current situation, even if you are struggling. Consider your options. Write out as many as you can, even if they seem silly or outrageous. The more you write the more you’ll see you DO have options.

If you’d like to have some coaching sessions with me, contact me via LinkedIn or email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

You need to value yourself

I had a coaching session with a client the other day. She felt stuck – ready for a big change but lacking in confidence and lacking in direction. As we spoke, I realised she doesn’t place much value on who she is, on her uniqueness, or on her varied experiences. I gave her an exercise to work on to help her see her true value – I’ll explain what it is later.

This client was was toying between starting up her own business and finding any half-decent job that she might quite enjoy and that would pay the bills. As we chatted, she mentioned a conversation with some friends and the feeling that she had to talk differently to them. She felt that they were so much more successful, more knowledgeable than her, that she wasn’t quite on their level. 

It became quite clear to me that she can’t see her own talent or attributes – at all. 

She has a sporadic work history, doing lots of different jobs in lots of different places; she worked in a school, in a cafe, in an office. As she’s never really had a ‘career’ – she feels that her experience is trivial, or of no consequence.

Not only that, but listening to her, and knowing her a little, I know that she has so many personal attributes that make her incredibly special. So many things come to her naturally, that others don’t possess.  She’s just not aware of them.

Her listening and empathising skills are incredible. She makes people feel comfortable, warm and invited. She is an amazing host; setting a beautiful scene, cooking delicious food, being an entertaining and welcoming host.

She’s organised, a planner, and efficient. She notices details. She’s the kind of person that if something needs doing, she’ll get it done. 

Passion

She also worried that she isn’t passionate about anything. She felt that she was lacking some sort of strong feeling towards anything. But as we spoke I realised that she was linking ‘doing’ and ‘not doing’ with what she felt was the right to feel or not feel. She mentioned someone playing a game or creating something and getting really stuck in as evidence of how passionate they are. But she felt that for example, the way live music makes her feel, invigorated, moved, alive; is irrelevant as it’s not her making the music or creating the vibe. I reminded her that passion is all about feeling, whether or not you’re directly creating or doing ‘the thing’.

Doing good work and spending your time well doesn’t have to mean working hard on something you are passionate about. I think this is quite rare and you’re incredibly lucky if you find it. Most of us are replying to emails, making calls, going to meetings. Not necessarily stuff to be passionate about. But – if you are passionate about what this work is aiming to achieve and the effect it will have on the world, that’s something. And if you are passionate about the people you work with, or the environment in which you work, or the lifestyle it lets you lead – that’s important too. 

In fact, I think we have to be careful tying in ‘passion’ and ‘work.’ I think it’s perfectly acceptable and normal to do work that’s fine or pretty good, and to find your passions out of work. And that doesn’t have to mean a having particular hobby that you are obsessed with and passionate about. It can just mean having a pretty nice time, enjoying cooking, chatting to friends, walking in nature.

Write a chronology

Back to my client. She doesn’t realise how important her skills, experiences and attributes are and that not everyone has them. She is totally devaluing herself. 

As a task I told her to write a chronology of all the things she has achieved since leaving uni up until now. Where has she been, what has she learned, what courses has she done? What interesting experiences has she had, what opportunities has she found or created. Which languages has she learned and spoken, what jobs has she completed. Where has she volunteered. What brave choices has she made. 

I want her to go through this process to try and give her an outsider’s view on all that she’s achieved. Writing a cv can seem a little limited and dull, you have to condense things into soundbites. But in writing out a chronology of life events, I wondered if she’ll be able to see a thread running through. Where did she follow her heart? What drew her to volunteer, or move to another country? Is there anything she has been consistently interested in over this time? What did she think she’d enjoy, but found it wasn’t for her? 

I’ll check in with her next week and find out what, if anything, she’s discovered. The aim of the exercise is to change your perspective, to start to view things slightly differently. What if she can see that she’s a brave, adventurous person, an explorer? Someone who’s not willing to settle for ‘normal’, or safe, or do what everyone else does?

Can she change her narrative from seeing herself as a drifter with no direction to someone who’s experimenting, exploring, working to find her way to what really makes her tick?

If you’d like coaching session with me, find me on LinkedIn or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

What are you looking for?

You can get quite stuck when going through a career transition. Perhaps you were already feeling stuck in you current role. You knew you wanted to move on, but you didn’t know where you wanted to go. So you stayed. And felt miserable.

So now you’re stuck in this halfway point, you’re SURE you want to leave your current job. You’re halfway out the door. You’re dreaming of a better life, new challenges, a jolt of energy. But – you’re feeling paralysed. What on earth are you going to move on to do?

There are a few different things that appeal, but you’re not 100% about any of them. It’s all a bit daunting and unknown. What if the job’s great on paper but the people are terrible? And if my new boss is toxic? What if it turns out I really don’t enjoy doing x all day?

Something that can be helpful when going through a career transition is to get clear on your values. What are you looking for fundamentally, forget job titles and status. If you can get your core values clear, you use that as a sort of compass to help guide you when looking for your next role.

I listened to a podcast the other day where the host was talking about whether or not a job allowed you to you ‘learn, develop and have a positive impact’. These were her base values. If she’s hitting these three then things are looking good, this is what’s most important to her.

If she were to consider a new role she could check if it meets these three criteria. Will she be learning, will she be developing herself, will her work have a positive impact?

Some of my core values are learning, freedom, sincerity. What are yours?

If you need help with your career transition, you can contact me for some sessions at joaopoku@gmail.com or LinkedIn.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Transitions

I feel as though there’s a lot of transition going on at the moment. Both for me and around me. 

People are changing careers, moving houses, moving to another country, or from city to countryside. Couples are breaking up, breaking down, having babies. I know this sort of transition happens all the time – but there seems to be a lot of motion all at once. Perhaps after a year of stillness – any movement seems dramatic. But perhaps there’s also something in the air.

We’re coming out of a terrible time with slightly new identities. We’ve probably all developed new routines and are realising what works for us and what doesn’t. Perhaps a commute just doesn’t seem feasible any more, nor does a diary jam-packed with seeing friends. Or maybe we’ve discovered that working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, isn’t for us, and we’re desperate to return to an office environment around people and banter and distractions. 

Shedding a skin

I myself returned to the UK for a 3-week visit after over a year away. Alongside quarantining, then gingerly meeting up with family and friends and visiting a few different places, I had a massive urge to declutter and clear things out. 

For the first time in 4 years, I opened up the boxes stacked in my parents’ garage, full of things from my London flat that didn’t make it over to Spain with me. Some brought back memories, some I realised were actually quite useful, some I’d totally forgotten about. Some things were no longer relevant. 

I had clothes to sort too, clothes that no longer suited me, or fit, or that I viewed with fresh eyes and realised I really didn’t like. There was paperwork that I’d been holding onto and didn’t need. 

I found piles of notebooks, containing diary entries and plans, and saw the same old worries and insecurities staring back at me from the pages. In some ways it was comforting to see – I’ll always worry and overthink things, but things do evolve over time and you find your way eventually.

This big clear out felt like the shedding of a skin. And it felt good. I wasn’t too nostalgic, or scared by the amount of time that had passed. I was pragmatic. What can I use now, what might I use one day, what have I grown out of? How can I simplify things? I realised I was more focused on moving forwards than on looking back.

If you’re going through a transition and you’d like some coaching sessions with me, connect on LinkedIn or email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

The book of regrets

I’ve started reading a book by Matt Haig called The Midnight Library. It’s about regret. The main character Nora has access to The Book of Regrets. Here she can see all the regrets she’s had over the years. She has the opportunity to test out different versions of her life as it could have been if she’d made different decisions. There are infinite possibilities. Maybe she’d kept up her swimming, maybe she’d treated her brother differently, maybe she’d pursued a music career.

Although I’ve only read the first few chapters, I’m already discovering that the life you thought might been better, having made different or better decisions, isn’t necessarily the case. Things might not have actually worked out better another way.

“It can drive you insane, thinking of all the other lives we don’t live.”

I’ll find out what the overriding moral of the story is when I get to the end. But for now what I’m taking from it is that there’s not too much point regretting the past – without doing something about it now. Day dreaming about time travel and doing things differently won’t change anything. But, we can start doing what we’ve always dreamed of, now. Maybe in a smaller, simpler way.

Or, remind ourselves that we’ve kept ourselves small. Or listened to others instead of to ourselves in the past. And that from now on we’ll be listening more closely to ourselves.

If you’d like my support with your career change, you can book a package of 3 x 1-hour coaching sessions with me. I’ll help you make a plan to move forwards. Find me on LinkedIn or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash