What to write?

I’ve really struggled with posting about my coaching work on social media these past few weeks. It’s something I need to do – it’s how new clients find me. They read my posts, something resonates, they find out a bit about me and how I’ve helped my clients, and then get in touch. Seems quite straightforward. 

But – it’s not. I’m not a natural social media sharer. Sharing interesting stuff with friends and family, privately, – easy. I do that a lot, when I’m enthused about something I want to share it with people who I think will also love it. 

But writing about myself and my work, publicly? That’s different. It’s putting the focus on me.

Career change – what, now?

I work with people who want to change career. Typically they’ve wanted to change for a while but feel stuck and scared. They know they’re not happy with what they are doing, but they’re not sure what they really want to be doing. Or – they’re too scared to go for it. 

Right now this somehow seems a tricky thing to write about and put out there. So many people are losing jobs, or scared of losing their job, or are being furloughed, or struggling to find work. It’s a really difficult time for all of us really. 

It seems insensitive or inappropriate to talk about having the choice to leave a job and find a new one. What luxury, what freedom to even be able to consider it. 

The thing is, I know people are still changing jobs, changing career, getting promoted. One of my clients did just that last week, she had an interview and got the job. It is going on, of course it is, things haven’t completely ground to a halt. 

There’s been a shift

But, I have to acknowledge that things aren’t the same as before, and be sensitive to that.

So although I’m struggling with what to say, I suppose the main thing is to share positive stories. That’s what I’m looking out for myself. Remind people that good stuff happens. People go through a difficult time, and they get through it.  Things change, often for the better. Right now what people most need to hear, in my opinion, is stories of hope and happiness. 

So that’s what I’ll focus on. 

If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Start already

Ever have those days when you want to make something happen – write something, start a creative project, start a job search, but you’re paralysed? You just can’t get started? You’re unsure, lacking confidence, you just don’t know where to start?

I heard something recently which helps put these feelings into perspective. It’s a reminder that anyone out there that’s ever created something you’ve admired, had to start somewhere. And most likely they felt as nervous and unsure and lacking in confidence as you do now.

Imagine the day when this creative person started that one thing you so admire. A film, a book, a painting, a tv show. That very first day when they sat down with a notebook or laptop. Imagine how they were feeling? 

Bursting with energy, enthusiasm, confidence, bright ideas? Maybe. But perhaps they also felt unsure, nervous, unprepared, out of their depth. Maybe this was one attempt following many ‘failed’ attempts before. Perhaps this was totally new to them, a leap from their normal day-to-day work. It’s possible they felt as insecure and scared as you do.

It could be that there were a million other things they could be doing – leaving this idea for another day, when they felt more ‘ready’.

And if you had the opportunity to go back in time and speak to them, chances are you’d urge them to do the work. 

If they hadn’t prioritised their work, it wouldn’t have got done. And you wouldn’t have had the chance to be moved, inspired, or delighted by it.

The point of this is – prioritise your creative stuff. That thing you have a real yearning to do, or really need to do, but you don’t feel ready? Just start. Make it important, make it a priority, dedicate time to it, even just a little bit every day. Everyone has doubts when they start. But it’s the only way stuff gets done.

If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one

Photo by serjan midili on Unsplash

Letter from my 80 year old self (she told me not to worry).

I recently took part in an online writing workshop. One of the prompts given was: write yourself a letter from your 80 year-old self. What would they want to say to you? Would there be a general message? What would they plead with you to stop doing?

This is how my letter started:

“Stop worrying. Stop. Worrying.

You can’t control everything. Everything passes. Some things will turn out as you want them to, some won’t. 

What’s going on now, will pass. It will last a day, weeks, months, a year or so perhaps. But not forever. You’ll look back and it will be this blip that you overcame.

Think about the things that worried you when you were 6, 16, 29, 35. Last year, last month. Do they still bother you now? Can you even remember what they are? Did they seem gigantic at the time, but feel insignificant now?”

I guess it shows what’s top of my mind right now – worry! Worrying about so many different things.

Quite rightly all of us are concerned about the coronavirus right now, it’s a scary thing. But perhaps for me it’s highlighting all the other ‘little’ things I don’t really need to spend time worrying about. It’s giving me perspective.

I know there’s not much point worrying. I know that the things I worry about either don’t happen, and I’ll chastise myself for wasting time worrying. Or, they do happen, and then they pass. And I recover.

It’s hard, when going through something difficult, to see the bigger picture. That it will pass. But, this exercise was a good reminder. In the future I’ll look back at it as ‘that time when…’ It won’t last forever.

If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one

Photo by Bundo Kim on Unsplash

Freedom

Isn’t it funny the smallest things we are all missing right now – quarantined in our homes due to the coronavirus. Now that most of our freedom has been whisked away from us.

I’m sure a lot of people are thinking of what amazing trip they are going to take when things are back to normal (or as close to normal is it’s going to get). 

But so many people are simply dreaming of having a great coffee in a cosy cafe. A beer in the sun. A trip to the hairdresser. Meandering in the supermarket buying whatever they want, browsing in a bookshop, a walk with loved ones. 

It’s helping us to focus on the small delights we all usually have in our day to day lives, that sometimes we appreciate, and sometimes we don’t, and take for granted. 

I’ve never before realised just how much freedom I have in my normal life.

Small delights

There’s nothing like having to stay inside my flat for going on 3 weeks (with only trips to the supermarket allowed), to marvel at the fact that in normal life I live 5 minutes from the most incredible park, and that I can go there WHENEVER I WANT TO. To walk, to run, to picnic, to people-watch, to play, to think, to slow down.

I’m free to get up and go anywhere I want – to the park, to a cafe, to the shops, to another city, to another country. 

My body is healthy and able – I can literally do any movement I want. Any sport, any dance, any walk, whenever, wherever.

I have so many friends nearby who would be delighted to meet me for a coffee, a chat, a walk, to do nothing, to try something new. Friends who know and love me, and who I love spending time with.

I have so many friends back in the UK and around the world, who care for me, who think of me, who cheer me up, who I know so so well. Before, I had the freedom to go and visit them whenever I wanted. 

My family may live in another country, but in normal life I can go and visit them ANY TIME. Just book a flight and go. I’ll always be welcomed, there will also be a bed for me and one of my Dad’s meals. Hugs and laughter and love.

Normal life

In my normal life I’m free to go to the beach. To get in a car and whizz off to visit a new town or do a hike. Free to see a beautiful exhibition. To go to the cinema. Free to eat out anywhere in town. Browse in a bookshop and treat myself to something new. Free to invite friends over for dinner.

As the ability to do such humdrum things as going to the supermarket or going for a long walk have become limited or prohibited, now in retrospect they seem so carefree, such a treat.

My life is made up of so many small and big delights. Reading back over this, I have an immense appreciation for my normal life. I have such freedom. 

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

Career change – what happened before the leap?

I thought I’d write a little bit about my own career change and what the situation was before I made the leap into something new.

It feels strange trying to carry on as usual with the world in turmoil. People may still want to change career – but it probably feels as though it has to be put on hold, everyone’s panicking, no one is hiring. Even if this isn’t 100% the case.

People looking to change career, as always, and maybe more than ever, still need inspiration, advice, ideas, comfort; perhaps above all, comfort. To know that things will get better, and possibly even better than before.

Before the leap

So here’s a little insight into my own career change, what I was going through before deciding to take a leap. Maybe you’ll recognise some of what I’m saying, how I was feeling. Perhaps you can relate to it. Even just knowing someone else felt like you do right now, can help

Beginnings

When I started working for my previous company as an advertising assistant, I was happy. Unpacking magazines, writing letters to clients, emailing or calling our international teams around the world, being organised. Looking through our magazines to see if clients’ had been featured. Dealing with art copy that came in. 

That was enough for me. I enjoyed it. Sorting out the magazine cupboard. Looking at magazines all day. I was part of a nice small team of 4, a small office space. It was fun.

But as time wore on, eventually I ‘had’ to move into sales (if I wanted to progress at all), and takeovers were agreed, redundancies made.

I moved into a big open-plan office, with a bigger team, a noisy boss. Part of a much bigger company. That wasn’t for me. That wasn’t what I’d signed up for.

Things changed, teams changed, I gained more responsibility. Bigger clients, bigger magazines brands, bigger budgets, bigger targets. And I developed less interest.

But you’re so lucky!

I’d tell myself I was lucky, this is great, you get to go out and meet fashion clients, take them to lunch in swanky restaurants, speak to international contacts, win a deal.

But behind all that was a feeling of being a fraud. I felt that I didn’t really know what I was talking about, I didn’t really know the industry that well. The talk always seemed superficial; I wasn’t speaking from the heart. 

I’d be so nervous before meetings. ‘What will I say? How will they be, will they ask me about something and I won’t have the answer? Am I saying the right things? Am I actually trying to get the business?’

Day out in London

I once spent the day with a lovely French colleague, over to meet with clients and talk about the magazine she represented. We had a nice time, she did all the talking, we got to go to lovely hotels and restaurants to meet clients. We travelled all over London by taxi, she’d bought me a present from Paris.

As I closed the taxi door and waved her off in Kensington, I turned to walk to the tube and tears came pouring out. I felt exhausted. What was wrong with me? I’d had a good day with a lovely colleague, full of little luxuries, and I was upset?

But my nerves, feelings of inauthenticity, of stress, were all coming out. This was not how I wanted to spend my days. And what made it worse was that I knew I was totally spoiled and ungrateful. Work’s work right? And this would be a ridiculously luxurious day for so many people.

But feeling like a fake, meeting with and speaking to lots of new people, rushing around having meetings all day, being out and about in busy old London wasn’t for me. What suits me better is hiding behind a computer, with a couple of nice colleagues around.

Work out what’s right for you now

It took time, but I realised that I didn’t want to work for some big corporation, in a big open plan office. The world of media and advertising and fashion and magazines wasn’t for me anymore. I didn’t want to have to try to convince clients to advertise in our magazines. I didn’t care. It felt inauthentic because I truly didn’t care. I hated the briefs, which all felt the same, and valueless. I didn’t understand the language. It sounded like BS.

And, importantly, I realised that I didn’t have to. The job you’ve had for the past 2, 5, or 10 years doesn’t have to be your job for life, not anymore. It takes time, it takes work figuring out what you want.

So if any of this rings a bell or resonates with you, remember it’s ok to realise your career isn’t right for you. You’re not going to do your best work if it’s not in an environment that suits you, for a company that has different values to you. It’s ok to realise a few years in that things have changed and that you want out. It may on paper be a great job, for a great company. But it’s not great for you.

If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash