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

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

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