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

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

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.

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, together we’ll come up with a plan to get you where you want to be.

Photo by Frame Harirak 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 side gigs – some of 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 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 project 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 this 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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One thing I’ve learned this year so far (about fear)

Person high up on building, facing fear

Things you thought were really scary aren’t so scary once you’ve done them…

I thought that writing a blog post and putting it out there would be really scary. I thought that tweeting said blogpost would be even scarier.

I’m not a massive social media person.

The only tweets I’d previously sent had been for my work Twitter account, and they were few. But I realised that if I want to reach people, and if I want to help someone by writing something that might resonate with them, I have to get the writing out there into the world. Twitter seemed like a good way of doing that.

Once I’d written my first blogspost – I was pretty proud. I felt as though someone reading it might feel inspired. So that helped, I actually wanted to get it out there.

I spent a while looking at how people I admired structured their tweets when they were publishing blogposts, wrote several draft versions of my own tweet until I was happy, and pressed ‘Tweet’.

That was it. Easy. Done. Out there.

I soon realised that the scariest thing about sending out a tweet, especially one where you want people to click a link and read on, is the possibility that no one will see it, or take any notice. You’ve spent time rewriting and editing, finding a decent image for your post, drafting a tweet which will be captivating…and then you look at the stats and realise the tweet has passed the eyes of very few people. No one has clicked the link.

Oh.

So the fear of tweeting disappears. The fear of putting your work out there disappears. The fear of not being seen appears. Isn’t that interesting? How one big fear can disappear just like that, as soon as you do the scary thing?

And then the next big fear appears?

What’s the big scary thing you’re going to do today? Only to realise it’s not that scary after all?

You can share this post here.

If you’d like to contact me for a coaching session, do so here. I can help if you’re feeling stuck, scared, stressed, and you’re not taking action.

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Silver lining

Golden circles pattern

I’ve realised that every time a relationship has ended, I’ve been able to turn it around into a positive situation and somehow improve my life.

With a break-up, of course I always have moments of wretchedness. Everything is terrible, suddenly it seems to shine a light on everything that’s wrong with my life, my social life, my home, my job, my fitness, my looks, have I travelled enough, am I doing everything I want to do with my life? This always seems to happen. In terms of romantic relationships – is it ever going to happen, why does it always go wrong? These same questions – always.

But, after a while, this is always followed by a feeling of lifting. Suddenly I have a massive desire to do something to improve my life. Almost as an act of rebellion, this has happened, everything feels like crap, but I’m now going to make my life even better.

And this seems to happen consistently. I had an ex who had told me that he’d learned Spanish for free at a local community college. I was jealous. When the relationship ended I thought, “I’m going to learn Spanish, if he can, so can I!” And I did. I did a GCSE in Spanish and now here I am living in Spain speaking Spanish every day. He inspired me.

I’ve taken trips, I’ve moved house, I’ve started courses, all inspired by stopping and re-evaluating where I am in my life.

I reflect on different areas of my life, look at things slightly differently, and consider what I need to work on. And I feel inspired to make some changes.

It’s interesting how the end of a relationship can seem like the worst thing in the world, but actually it can shift you forward in other ways.

It was the same when I had my career ‘breakdown’ moment. It felt like the worst thing in the world – I was really stressed, I didn’t know what to do; but it ended up being the best possible thing for me. Because I got out of a career I wasn’t enjoying and hadn’t been for years, it forced me to really think about what kind of life I wanted, what kind of lifestyle.

Did I want the London lifestyle I had, which I found stressful, and busy, and expensive, or did I want to lead a simpler, more flexible life, doing work I valued more. I realised I wanted to be able to work where I want. I eventually made the decision to live in another country, something I’d held back on for a long time.

So this breakdown gave me a chance to re-evaluate everything. I had the freedom to make some decisions. And once I’d made the decision to quit my job, which felt huge at the time, it made making further brave decisions that much easier to do. I know I can focus on what I want, and do it.

When something bad happens, it’s not always quite so bad. It can be a silver lining, and can set you off on a path which is way better than you’ve even imagined. Something better could be round the corner.

Get in touch with me here if you’re ready to improve your life and you’d like me to help you with getting unstuck, or with a career transition.

Please share this post with someone who you think might enjoy reading it. Here’s the link.

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Imposter Syndrome

Person sat on a railing over water, imposter syndrome

I read an article about imposter syndrome the other day: This Is How You Get Rid of Imposter Syndrome.

“You’ve probably blamed luck or other factors for your success instead of embracing the fact that you were responsible. You, my friend, have experienced imposter syndrome.”

It got me thinking.

When I first applied for my job in advertising, over a decade ago, I felt really confident completing the application. My skills and experience matched the criteria; I had experience working in an international environment and spoke French. And I was enthusiastic about working in the magazine industry.

I really wanted the job.

Waiting to go in to the interview (or coming out, I can’t remember which), I saw a girl I knew, a friend of a friend, also going for an interview for the same role. We had a brief chat.

A couple of days later, they offered me the job. However, for some reason I decided that they had probably offered the job to this other girl first, thinking that she must have turned it down.

I said something along these lines to my Dad, who asked why on earth I would even think such a thing. Why wasn’t I confident enough in myself to assume I’d been offered the job because I was perfect for the job?

During the ten years I worked for that company, I still felt like an imposter, right up until the end. The first few years I enjoyed it, but I quite often felt on tenterhooks, expecting to be found for I don’t know what. Not being good enough at the job?

Where did this lack of confidence come from?

Is it a perfectionist thing, always trying to be perfect and never make any mistakes, and massively fearing making any? Possibly? (read here)

Later on, as a sales manager, I didn’t feel good enough. I didn’t feel chatty/salesy/showy enough. I’m quiet, reflective, I listen. I don’t have the gift of the gab. Quite often I prefer to listen than to talk. I felt that you needed to be the opposite in the industry I worked in. It became stressful.

I concentrated more on ‘I’m not the right person for the job’ rather than ‘this job’s not right for me’.

One quote that stuck in my mind when going through a tricky time in this company, was from Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement address:

‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

This for me was imposter syndrome. Feeling as though I was playing a role in someone else’s life. This wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

Is it you, or is it the job?

If you’re feeling like this, I think it’s really important to take stock. Is it that you need to build up your confidence, find a way to lose this feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.”

Carry on with the work you are doing, and realise that you are as capable, talented, intelligent, interesting, as everyone else?

Or, do you need to take a reality check, and realise that the work you’re doing or the company you work for, isn’t right for you? It doesn’t suit your personality, values or lifestyle? Is it time to for a change?

If you’d like my help in getting unstuck and changing your job or career, book in for a discovery session with me here. We can talk things through.

Please share this post with someone you think might enjoy reading it. Here’s the link.

Photo by Thomas Peham on Unsplash