Yes, things can change

 

I wanted to write a post to help anyone out there feeling as though nothing about their situation is ever going to change. You’re wondering if this is it, if this is the best you can do. You feel as though you’re stuck in a rut. You can’t imagine achieving all those things you want to, they feel too big, too far away.

I felt like that for a long time. For years everything was ok, pretty good even overall all things considered. But there were some areas of my life I was really quite unhappy with. And the feeling of being stuck, paralysed, scared, grew and grew.

I just found a post in my journal from three years ago. Here are some of my big 5 year goals from that year.

5 Year Goals
  • Publish a book about living in Spain, and do a talk/interview about it
  • Complete a life coaching qualification
  • Set up a coaching business
  • Meet a foreign boyfriend
  • Do art as a hobby, maybe illustration
  • Dance often – learn to salsa well
  • Live in a beautiful, sunny apartment
  • Be close to my nieces and family
  • Save money each month
  • Have a great social life – meals out, cinema, dancing
  • Blog about coaching related things
  • Blog about life in Spain
  • Move to Spain
  • Take a road trip in the US
And you know how many of those things I’ve achieved?

Well, I’ve yet to take the US road trip and it’s still very much on the list. I decided to concentrate on the coaching side of blogging rather than writing about life in Spain.  But everything else on that list, I achieved.

When I wrote this list, this was all a total dream. I was in a transition period, I’d recently left a decade long career and started a new job, and was still restless. This wasn’t where I wanted to be. Living in London, not content with my social life, my love life, my finances. I’d started wondering if living in Spain could be a reality.

Three years on I can’t believe how simple it seems, in retrospect, to get what you want. However, as you go through it it doesn’t feel simple at all. There are lots of ups and downs, lots of firsts, lots of getting out of your comfort zone and wondering what the hell you are doing.

But really, it’s a matter of writing down what you want, being honest with yourself, listening to your heart (or gut). Then doing everything you can to get there.

I had to inspire myself, motivate myself, and take action.

Once you clarify what you want – staying absolutely true to yourself and forgetting about what other people think or want for you – then it’s a matter of holding onto your dream, staying excited and taking one small step at a time.

I formulated a plan for moving to Spain – read here.

I built up to starting a coaching business – read here.

I focussed on what I really wanted – read here.

I put myself out of my comfort zone – read here.

All one step at a time, over a three year period. It takes time but it’s worth it.

If you’d like to speak to me about my life coaching sessions, email me here: joaopoku@gmail.com

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

 

 

Are you boring your friends?

 

It can be hard when you want to change career. You know you’re going to have to shake things up. Your routine, what you know, what lies ahead, is all going to change. And that can be a really scary thought. We all like safety, comfort, routine. It helps us feel safe and in control.

You’re on your own

So you’re dealing with all these thoughts and worries, all on your own, in your head. Maybe if you’re lucky you have friends and family who are good listeners. But still – you feel there’s only so often you can repeat the same worries, fears, dreams.

Should I leave my job? Can I really do that? What do you think about this? What would you do in my position?

Chances are your friends and family are lovely and patient and just want the best for you. But it can get to the point where you feel like a broken record and you’re starting to annoy yourself with your indecision and lack of direction.

It could also be that you don’t really want to talk to those close to you, you feel ashamed that you’re somehow failing if you don’t feel 100% happy and successful in your work. It’s embarrassing to admit that maybe you’re not on the right path. It could be there’s this thing you’d secretly much rather be doing, but it seems silly or unrealistic.

When you’re feeling like this, chances are you need some assurance. You need someone to talk things through with at length. Someone to listen to you without judgement and without getting irritated or bored. An opportunity to have someone listen to your fears and dreams and let you talk it out. You can get everything out there, out of your head.

Someone who can read between the lines, get to the crux of what’s holding you back.

Is it lack of confidence?

Difficulty in making decisions?

Suppressing a big dream due to fear?

Is it caring too much what your family and/or friends think?

Talking to someone who’s been there too, can help

Talking to a coach, especially someone who’s been there, who’s gone through something similar, can help.

They’ll listen and they’ll help you to focus on what needs to be done to make some changes.  You’ll have support and encouragement. You won’t need to worry about going on about yourself.

It’s all about you, and it’s all about moving your forwards towards what you want.

If you’d like to try coaching with me, we can talk things through and make an action plan together. Send me a message at: joaopoku@gmail.com.

 

Photo by Korney Violin on Unsplash

When one big decision leads to the next

 

I listened to a podcast the other day (Mary Portas’s ‘Work Like a Woman’, interviewing Elizabeth Day) where at one point they talked about how making a decision and taking a big risk can lead to realising your own strength, growing resilience and therefore being more willing to take more risks.

The conversation resonated with me. It’s so true.

It took a huge amount of nerve to leave my corporate job a few years back. I seemed to be going against common knowledge or advice, leaving a good, well paid job, with plenty of benefits like swanky lunches with clients and insider invites to fashion sales.

But I went with my gut, did what I knew was right for me, and left.

It was a big risk. I spent the next few months veering between terror and liberation. One minute nervous about money and what I’d do next. The next super excited at being able to choose the direction I wanted my life to move in.

I was consciously deciding to take control. That felt amazing, like a superpower. I realised I could actually make decisions for myself, about my life, rather than just go along some conveyor belt of ‘what you’re supposed to do’. It was a revelation.

And it was a feeling I didn’t forget. After a few months of taking on a new job which I loved and which allowed me to work remotely, I realised I still felt unsettled. There was a nagging feeling that something didn’t feel right.

That was when I acknowledged the secret desire I’d been keeping pushed down for years, that I wanted to live abroad again.

I saw my opportunity. I was working from wherever I wanted, home, my parents’ house, a cafe…surely I could do the same job from another country, as long as I had wifi and could travel back from time to time?

It was a really scary thought – leaving my flat, my family and friends, my city, my routine…for the unknown. But deep down I knew that I wanted it. And as I’d already recently made one big scary life changing decision, I just knew that I could do it again, and do it successfully.

Because I’d survived the unknown before. I’d prepared myself sufficiently and it had worked out really well. Again I prepared myself for the worst that could happen. The worst would be that it all went terribly wrong in Spain, and I’d come back to the UK and live with my parents until I sorted myself out again.

Way back when I was thinking about leaving my previous job, I’d started on a journey of designing the kind of life I wanted to live. I knew that sometimes you have to follow your heart, follow the excitement, be prepared for risks and discomfort. This was the next step. And I was flexing my big decision making muscle once again.

***

Got a big decision to make? What next small step can you take to help make that decision? Is it writing a list? Talking to someone? Doing some research?

If you need help in planning your next steps in making a big life changing decision (or in making less dramatic, more low-key changes) contact me for some coaching sessions. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com. I would love to help.

Photo by Lubo Minar on Unsplash

Not feeling motivated?

 

It’s really difficult when you want to leave your place of work, but you don’t feel motivated to search for something new.

You’re not happy there, you don’t enjoy it, it doesn’t feel like a good fit. Perhaps the company has different values to you, or you don’t like the atmosphere or energy there. It may be that the role isn’t what you expected,  it’s less interesting or varied than you thought it would be. You feel your skills aren’t being used, you feel the work isn’t of value. You’re not helping anyone.

You’re desperate to leave, to find something exciting and of value and better paid.

You just can’t seem to feel motivated enough to take action and move on.

You feel depleted. Lacking in energy, tired, stressed, overwhelmed, miserable. The last thing you want to do  in your free time is search through depressing job ads, work on your cv, write cover letters that won’t get a response.

All you really want to do is sit on your sofa in comfy clothes, with comfort food (preferably cheesy or chocolatey) and zone out.

You want to forget about your day, forget about the mundanity and the disappointment. You want relief, you want comfort, you want entertainment. And for a brief moment your attention is taken, you’ve forgotten.

But then you wake up the next day, and you repeat the cycle. You drag yourself to work feeling miserable, beating yourself up for being in this situation you don’t seem able to get out of. Why are you wasting your days like this? What are you doing with your life? Is this is it? Are you stuck forever? Why can’t you get out? Why are you sabotaging your progress?

Because it’s easy

I’ll tell you why, it’s because that’s the easy option. Not doing anything is easy. Wallowing in self pity is easy. Ignoring the problem is easy. Carrying on in the safety of your little bubble, miserable as it is, is easy. Meeting friends for a drink and moaning about your job or your boss or your team is easy. It’s comforting. It’s cathartic. But it’s not helping you.

1. So what can I do?

You have to get motivated. This means summoning up the energy take the next step. Finding a way to focus on what you want, and how great that’s going to feel when you get it.

It helps to visualise what you want, where you see yourself. You can dream. Try imagining how things could be better. You have to find a way to reframe your perspective so that you start seeing things in a positive light.

Because if you’re down in the dumps, miserable, seeing everything in your life as rubbish, you won’t be able to see opportunities and act on them. Everything will seem too much and pointless. Nothing will seem worth the effort. Everything will seem too hard.

If you can start to view things positively, your energy changes. No your situation isn’t perfect, yes you’re feeling crap. But, this CAN change. Change is on the horizon. There are opportunities. There is another way you could be feeling. You can and will get there.

2. And then the crucial part

You have to take action. Consistently. You have to break down this enormous, scary, hideous obstacle that is finding a new job.

You have to make it easy for yourself. By getting all options and possibilities down on a piece of paper. Really thinking hard about what you want.

  • Big or small company, or freelance or creating something yourself. What values will the company stand for? And what values will the employees hold dear?
  • What kind of people do you want to work with? How big would you want your team to be? Do you want to work on your own? What kind of work space, office, studio, outdoors? How close to home?
  • How much money do you want? What are the limits?
  • What do you actually want to be doing? At a computer or out at meetings? Out in the world meeting people? Presenting? Talking? Observing? Creating? Travelling? How would you like to spend the majority of your day?
  • Is it sat at your desk, with a peaceful environment, radio on, a few colleagues around, drinking tea as you work. Would you prefer running around town meeting people, forming relationships? Do you dream of getting your head down distraction free?
I think the key is to be as specific as you can about what you want, so you’ve got a clear idea, but then try to remain flexible about what’s actually out there.

It could be that you find something that has only a few of the key elements your looking for, and that’s enough. Something that you never might have imagined could actually fit the bill.

Once you’re clearer on what you want, and you can summon up some excitement about how your life could be, looking for something new becomes more manageable.

When I was in this position I found it really helpful to talk to friends, or friends of friends, who seemed to enjoy their jobs. What was it they enjoyed? What was it about their company or role that was great?  It opened up my eyes to the fact that there are so many jobs and companies out there. It is possible to like your job, you can switch and do something slightly different. There are opportunities out there.

It gave me hope. And hope is something you need right now. You have to believe you’ll move on. You never know what conversation you’ll have when someone will make a suggestion: speak to this person, check out this website, have you heard about x? And that sets you off on a different path. You realise there is interesting stuff going on out there. Stuff you could be involved with.

You really never know what’s round the corner. And the most important thing is getting yourself out of that helpless mindset, into a mindset that is open, curious, ready to take action.

What next step are you going to take? Pick something super small and achievable. Do it. Then plan the next step.

If you’d like to book a coaching session with me to help you in taking action, email me here: joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Is unlikeability a bad thing?

 

I’m trying to train myself to be a little more unlikeable. Or rather – I’m trying not to care so much about being ‘likeable’. I had a conversation with a friend today which reminded me that lots of women pay waaaay too much attention to how their actions are going to affect other people.

What about me?!

Rather than going by our own whims and desires, we make decisions based on what other people want. Someone invites me out because they want my company? I’d better go – I don’t really feel like it but they’re feeling a bit down and say they miss me. They need me.

Someone invites me for a coffee – I just want to go off on my own for a bit of a read – but how do I tell them this without offending them? Sorry, I’d rather be on my own…

There’s a big dinner, everyone’s going – why aren’t you going? You don’t feel like it? Why? don’t you like us? Don’t you like – people?

I read an article on likeability with this great quote:

“Think for a moment how much time you have spent in your life replaying conversations where maybe you said the wrong thing, or how you were maybe too curt with that person in the checkout line, or too forward with that dude you met on Tinder; how maybe you speak too much in meetings or make your views too known. How much time you have wasted fretting about whether other people like you? Just do a quick calculation: how much of your life, do you think, you have spent this way? An hour? A whole day? A week? Maybe entire years? What masterpieces could you have made by now if you directed your energy toward writing like a bad mother***ker instead?” Lacy M. Johnson

Even now as I write this, I’m worrying that I was a bit off with someone yesterday who wanted to chat just at the moment I received an important email and had to respond.

I know that I wasn’t actually off with him. I rarely (never?) am. I’ll have just been a bit flustered and apologetic. And here I am, 24 hours later, spending time worrying about whether he thinks I’m rude or will have changed his opinion of me.

Unapologetically herself

Along those lines, I saw a video from Stylist magazine this week about ‘what makes women strong’ – and one part bought tears to my eyes. It showed one young girl saying that a strong woman is unapologetically herself. ‘She wears what she wants, does what she wants, and says whatever the hell she wants’.

I actually had to rewind that section 3 times. Because I realised that sometimes I do feel apologetic for being myself. Apologetic when I want to be on my own. When I don’t feel like talking. If I want to leave a social event before everyone else. Apologetic that I choose to do my own thing.

I’ve written in the past about self-belief, confidence and imposter syndrome. It’s all linked. We’re doing ourselves a massive disservice fretting about being liked and being ‘the good girl’, rather than just getting on with it and doing what the hell we like.

I help people with career change and I also help people with their mindset. I particularly want to help with inspiring confidence in women – it’s an area we really seem to need help with. Knowing our own minds, being unapologetic.

Have a think about it, do you care too much about being likeable?

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

Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash