Confidence in what you really want

I remember walking to a sales meeting with a work friend of mine. This friend – I love. She was a dream to work with, really supportive, really smart and competent. A total love.

I was at a stage where I was really struggling with work – not feeling like I belonged or that I was any good at my job. And by the way, I wasn’t at the start of my career, I was probably a good 8 or 9 years into the role… Read more here.

Anyway, I was saying something about my dream being that I could work from home – to run my own schedule, to not have to go to meetings I didn’t want to go to, to do my own thing. And this friend was like, “why would you want to work on your own at home? I’d find that so isolating. Don’t you want to be around people? I’d hate it!”

And I remember feeling so depleted. Because I really valued her opinion. I’d shared my dream and she’d shot it down – not in a mean or aggressive way, she just clearly didn’t share that particular dream with me, and didn’t really understand it.

The thing is, she was just stating a preference. In the same way that perhaps she’d prefer white wine with dinner and I’d choose red, or for her next holiday she’d fancy a festival whereas I’d fancy a road trip in Italy; she didn’t like the idea of working from home, and I was pretty obsessed with it.

And I think for a time I pushed the dream out of my head, thinking, it’s not realistic, maybe it’s not a good idea, maybe it’s not all its cut out to be.

But just because I think something’s a good idea and someone else doesn’t, why would I value their opinion more? Why would I value their preferences over and above my own?

Lack of confidence.

Lack of confidence in my decisions, my choices, my dreams, my plans. What a fundamental, critical thing to lack confidence in. To have confidence in knowing what I want.

It’s so important to hold onto your dreams, to stay strong and not be swayed by others. To practise a little stubbornness, nurture a more rebellious side. Because no one knows what you want more than you.

Find other people who share your dream, read about people already doing it, living it. Seek inspiration.

Luckily, I did value that dream, and held onto it. I discovered that a different way of working was indeed possible.

These days I work from coworking space, and from home when it suits me. I love it. It suits my way of working perfectly. My friend still works in an office. It suits her.

Imagine if I hadn’t followed my dream. I’d still be feeling frustrated and trapped in an office environment I didn’t like. Change can be good.

Work with me

If you’d like to  have some coaching sessions with me, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com. I can help you focus, take action, and achieve your dreams.

Photo by William Bayreuther on Unsplash

The amazing feeling when you’ve made a big scary decision

I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I made the decision to quit my job. It was a feeling of MASSIVE relief and freedom. Like I could breathe deeply again. I remember feeling exhausted. But I had a real sense of – I can do anything.

I’d been at my parents crying my eyes out, talking through my situation and I came to the conclusion that I needed to leave my job.

Related: The Day I Decided To Leave My Job

The next morning, I caught a train back home, and started walking back from the station. I bought myself a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and really savoured them, strolling along in the gentle sun.

And it might not seem a big deal, but that was quite symbolic for me. Buying a packet of crisps at 11 o’clock in the morning and strolling along eating them! I never do that! This is real freedom!!

And I just remember that feeling. I’m free. I’m not trapped in this feeling of frustration and shame and discomfort any more. I’ve made my decision. After years of self-flagellating and dreaming and not moving on – finally, finally, I had made a big decision as a grown-up adult has the right to do, and I knew in my gut it was the right decision.

The right decision?

I tell you this in case you are struggling with a decision. If you are all twisted inside, feeling uncomfortable, sick, nervous. If you are terrified of making a mistake.

Ultimately, you probably know what you really want, you are just scared. Or you are torn between two equally decent sounding options. Or, maybe one is decent and sensible and a little boring, and the other is big and exciting and risky. Whatever.

Related: What happens after you reach ‘Breaking Point’?

The main thing I want you to know is that the absolute worst is the indecision. The wrangling and overthinking and swaying from one side to the other.

And the absolute best, is making that decision. Knowing that you are equipped to deal with whatever the outcome is. Perhaps it won’t work out quite as you hoped or expected. Maybe there are still tough times to come. It could be you’ll have to quickly make another big decision, then another.

Think new thoughts

But the sooner you move on, the sooner you can get stuck into the next phase. And feel that sense of freedom and excitement at having made your decision. You can concentrate on other stuff. Think new thoughts.

Sure there will be other dilemmas and issues and let downs. But you will be safe in the knowledge that you made that big decision! It’s yours. You did it. You had the guts to do it. And you can do it again. It’s given me a certain confidence that I’ll never forget.

From deciding to leave my job, a good year or so later I then made the decision to move to live in Spain. With a new job working remotely and a looming Brexit, this was the time. A little after, I made the decision to set up my coaching practice on the side.

I’m certain my decision to leave my job allowed me to make these other big decisions with a  lot more ease and confidence. (With moving to Spain, I still stressed, and worried, and sometimes wondered what the hell I was doing…but I got on with it. Because deep down I knew exactly what I was doing). I’d stuck my neck out once, I could do it again, take a risk, follow my heart. Survive and deal with the consequences.

What decision are you hesitating on? Do you have your answer deep down? Can you take a step forward?

If you’d like my help through some coaching, get in touch here.

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

4 tips to manage your energy when working remotely

I’ve been working remotely for nearly 3 years now. Over that period of time I’ve done a mixture of working from home, setting up in a co-working space, and tapping away in cafes. Now that I’ve found a lovely new co-working space I mainly work from there.

If you are considering working remotely, or just getting started, here are 4 tips I rely on to make sure I feel at my best throughout the day.

1. Set up a routine (and get moving)

Some people are happy rolling out of bed in their pyjamas, turning on their laptop, sitting on the sofa and off they go. I am not that person. I need structure, routine, and I really need to move my body and get some fresh air before starting work.

So, I have a morning routine that includes meditation, yoga, then either a gym class or a walk in my local park. For the meditation, I use the Headspace app – I normally manage 10-15 mins. I use Youtube for the yoga – YogawithAdriene and SarahBethYoga, also 10-15 mins.

I love this routine. It allows me to wake up slowly, without rushing, and then get moving. At the gym there’s music, a few friendly faces to say hi to, the rush of endorphins. Especially when working from home, it feels good to be around other people first thing.

Then sat at my desk to start work, I feel energised and happy, ready to go. It’s the same if I walk in the park; I always listen to a podcast or music as I walk, which inspires me and puts me in a good mood.

2. Have a change of scene

I’ve also found that I’m best suited to a few different work locations in a day. Back when l started working from home all day, it got too much for me and by the afternoon I’d start to feel cut off from the world. I discovered that going to sit in a café for an hour or so was like a massive injection of energy; suddenly I was part of the world again, and I’d become super productive.

In the current coworking space, I work at a desk where I can stand or sit, and I’ll sometimes switch to a quiet meeting room, or the in-house café, depending on what I need. I really appreciate being able to change my position and my surroundings, depending on what I’m working on and my mood.

3. Take a proper lunch break

If you’re not in a traditional office set-up it can be easy to just keep on working… But it’s good to get away from your computer – ideally away from any screen, even better if you can take a walk outside… and drink lots of water!

4. Break between work and evening

I think it’s important to make a distinction between your working day and the evening.  My number one favourite thing to do after work is to go for a walk. As was the case when I worked in an office, it feels so good to get outside, move and leave work behind. Going for a walk does wonders for your energy levels and can help you to relax.

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I hope some of these tips help or inspire you if you are new to working remotely or looking to change your routine.

If you are considering a change of direction in your career or life in general, feeling stuck, and struggling to work out what to do next, I can help you. Send me a message here and we can set up a chat about life coaching.

Photo by Emmanuel Kontokalos on Unsplash

Start Your Side Gig

I wrote in a previous post about a few ways in which I started to manage my money, save money and make a little extra money in preparation for a career change.

Here I’ll talk more about having a side gig or two – some of the things I did to make some extra money on the side of my full time job.

This is important for two main reasons. One, as I learned from a post on the Life Your Legend blog  Earn an extra 1000 dollars a month, earning money on the side gives you a certain confidence. Knowing that you can earn money outside of your day job through a side gig helps with the fear and uncertainty of what to do next. It’s proof that there are other options out there beyond your current role.

Even if you start small with something on the side, this can be a massive breakthrough when you feel stuck in your job and certain there’s nothing else out there for you, with your skills and experience. It’s the start of something new. And perhaps your side gig will lead to something bigger.

The second reason is that there can be a huge amount of fear around money when it comes to career change. The fear of losing that monthly pay, of everything going wrong, of having to take a pay cut if you want to retrain or study.

Starting to earn money on the side gives you an element of control, you can start a pot of savings. Psychologically having a side gig can be really impactful.

Here’s what I did. A while before I decided to leave my job, I met up with a good friend of mine from uni. She was working for a translating company as a freelance translator, checking final translations from Spanish to English. She could work anytime, anywhere, and was earning enough to survive.

I was so impressed – she had freedom! She told me that with my qualifications (I have a language degree and a 1-year translation course under my belt) and experience (I’ve lived in France and worked for French companies) I’d be able to work for them too.

I applied, did some tests, passed and was taken on. I didn’t get started immediately but it was amazing knowing that I had a back-up plan should I need it. The job requests were coming in. If I worked enough hours, this could be a viable source of income for as long as I needed it.

Even just going through the motions, making the application and passing the tests, gave me a confidence boost.

Another thing I turned to in order to earn money on the side was private tuition. A friend of my Mum’s has her own tutoring company and didn’t have space to teach a child touch-typing. She asked if I wanted to give it a go.

I’d been taught to touch-type as a child, and I’d tutored English as a foreign language whilst living in France and working as a language assistant. I decided to give it a go! And it was so gratifying.

From then I found new clients either by word of mouth, or from a tutoring website, Tutorhunt.com.  I really enjoyed working one to one with students, seeing their confidence grow as they learned and improved. And tutoring can be well paid, from around £20-35 per hour, or more.

I ended up having a 6-month break between jobs where I did all sorts of things (read here) including working, studying and travelling. Having these two side gigs, amongst other temporary jobs, helped me through. It meant that I could keep busy, keep learning and earn some money, whilst exploring options for a new career.

Your turn

I hope this post inspires you to start your first side gig to earn extra income. Whether it’s signing up and creating a profile for a freelancing website, applying for part-time work locally, or offering a paid service to friends and family (dog sitting, helping with taxes, teaching an instrument, whatever). There’s no doubt you will have some expertise that you think everyone else has, but in fact, other people would pay you for.

If you’d like to work with me and receive some coaching in moving forward in changing your life, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

You can read my interview with Careershifters on financing your career change here: How to finance your career change

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Career Change & Money

Tip jar with notes and coins in it

I think sorting out your finances is one of the best ways to mentally prepare yourself for a career change. One of the biggest fears around career change is money; we probably all have the same fear that we’ll end up out of work, with no money coming in, and a mortgage or rent to pay and perhaps a family to support.

A few habits I started way before my period of career transition, and others I started in the months leading to it, helped me deal with this fear and made it easier for me to go for it and change career.

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Let’s start with the basics. Around 15 years ago I lived in Paris, and with my first job there I realised I needed to start getting a handle on my finances. Renting a flat with a friend, paying bills, it was time to get responsible. I started a simple excel spreadsheet where I noted how much money I received in my bank account each month – deducted all regular expenses such as rent, bills, food, and then any ad hoc expenses I expected such as new trainers or nights out with friends. This allowed me to budget, to see in which months I’d need to be a bit careful and those where I could save a little. I loved feeling in control of my finances. I’ve stuck to this method ever since.

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Some time ago I’d had instilled in me the idea that you should have 3 months’ living costs in savings – I suppose I read about it in context of losing your job or quitting your job. So I always had that at the back of my mind. It might be an extremely hard slog starting from scratch, but knowing that it could help cushion a transition period makes it a positive goal to aim for. Also, it’s not only saving that can help you achieve this goal, a money-making project on the side can massively help with this, we’ll come to it in a bit.

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At some point I developed an obsession with a more minimalist way of living. This may well have been inspired by Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Work Week (read the chapter called Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle).

I’m pretty sure I was subconsciously trying to rid myself of extra ‘things’ so that if I ever wanted to take off and travel it wouldn’t be too difficult. I also think my mind was so cluttered with worries and doubts that physically decluttering helped me try to find some peace. If my surroundings were simple and uncluttered then maybe my mind could be also…

The bonus is that when you really get into decluttering and start seeing some of your belongings for what they are (we hold onto so many things just because we ‘own’ them, not necessarily because we like them anymore or they are doing anything for us) there is often a lot of stuff to chuck out – be it recycling, donating or selling. I made a fair bit of cash selling decent odds and ends that I no longer wanted or needed on ebay.

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Here are some of the websites that satisfied my minimalist urges:

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ Particularly the ‘Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads’ posts, where the author collates interesting articles about minimalism and living simply.

https://www.theminimalists.com/archives/#popular

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/category/mmm-classics/

https://zenhabits.net/archives/

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Speaking of money making side-projects, Airbnb gave me amazing freedom. Again, I got the idea from a blogpost, this time from Live Your Legend where the author talks about making your first $1000 dollars on the side. Read it here. If renting out a room or your whole home is an option, it’s definitely something to seriously consider.

I did a few other things to make some money on the side, I’ll cover these in another post!

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Hopefully this post will inspire you to start taking control of your finances if you’re not already doing so. It is so easy to worry and procrastinate and dwell on the worst case scenario…starting to deal with the fear is the only way to get past it. If worrying about money is stopping you from progressing in your career change – it’s something to face. The more you do, the more in control you will feel.

Maybe find one thing to sell on ebay and start from there!

If you’d like to contact me to do some life coaching sessions together, send me a message here.

You can read the full interview I did with Careershifters.com on financing my career change here: https://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/how-to-finance-your-career-change

 

 

Photo by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash