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.

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Fear of Being Seen

I have a massive fear of being seen and being heard. Of being ‘caught out’. Of being mocked – what’s she doing? Fear of not being good enough. Scared of doing something wrong.

Related: Imposter Syndrome

Where on earth does the fear of being seen come from?

Some childhood experience that taught me that I’m not good enough? Early ridicule? Did I make a massive mistake that I’ve never recovered from? No.

Is it a collective female thing? Something we’re born with? Something society has thrust upon us? Maybe.

Does it help in any way? Perhaps it makes me careful, conscientious, thoughtful…but mainly – NO it doesn’t help. Rather, it holds me back. It stops me from going for opportunities and cripples my proactivity. It gives me a worry in the pit of my stomach that bothers me.

So what can I do about this?

Fight it. Push it down. Know that I can be seen and heard. People want to see and hear from me. My friends and family do – some strangers do. People aren’t going to openly mock me. When has that actually ever happened? When have I actually done something wrong? Like – really wrong? More than a small mistake or oversight?

Er – never.

Am I ever going to move on in my life if I’m holding myself back from self-created negative outcomes, imaginings, worries? No.

Do I need to kick ass from now on, stop caring what other people think, relish in the fact that some people might not ‘get me’ or like me or appreciate me and my work, and that it doesn’t matter? Yes!

Do I need to be ‘seen’ as every other female in the world needs to be? Yes! Do I have an interesting point of view, thoughts, feelings, offerings? Yes.

Well then. From now on. No more BS. Excuses. Fear.

Do you agree? What are you going to do?

And, if you’d like to book a coaching session with me, do so here.

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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.

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How do you listen to your own voice, when others speak so loud?

It’s really difficult. You’re unsure what to do. There’s a decision you have to make and you’re not clear on which direction to take. There are several options.

Naturally, you want to talk to the people you are close to about this. You want to hear other people’s opinions, get their advice. Maybe they have more experience than you and therefore can offer you words of wisdom. It helps to talk things through, clarify your own thoughts by talking to others.

But, fundamentally, your own thoughts and opinion are what really matter.

You know yourself best. Deep down you know what feels wrong or right, good or bad. You have a gut instinct, that perhaps you’ve been ignoring. You have intuition to guide you.

I remember reading a quote which is along the lines of “listen to the advice that helps you, ignore the advice that doesn’t.” You have to get good at not letting someone’s flippant comment niggle away at you. What do they know?

I sent a message telling some friends that I was quitting my job. One replied with a message saying “well done, if that’s what you really want.” I was mortified. Reading between the lines, she didn’t appear to agree with what I was doing. That stayed with me. Why – I don’t know. It’s not her life. It’s not what she’d choose to do.

So what? It doesn’t mean it’s wrong or a bad decision.

Some time later, I sent her an interview which had been published about my career transition, and she was very supportive, saying she’d shown it to others to inspire them. Had she changed her mind? Or had I misunderstood her first message? It really doesn’t matter. What someone else thinks has no reflection on what I choose to do.

So if you’ve got something on your mind, and you’ve shared your issue with those close to you, perhaps try adopting the “take only the advice that helps you” attitude. Anything that makes you feel bad, and is unfounded, let go of. However if there’s an inkling of truth in someone’s advice, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, is it something you need to address? Is there something you’re not facing up to? This can really be helpful in pushing you forwards, in making positive changes.

To book a coaching session with me, click here. We’ll talk things through, I’ll listen, then together we’ll come up with a plan to get you where you want to be.

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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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