Being the good girl vs. risk taking

I’ve always been the good girl. At school I was the perfect student, never getting into any trouble. I think I got told off for talking just the once, and that was because a friend had asked me something. That’s it. That’s as bad as it gets. No acting up, no risk taking.

I didn’t have a rebellious streak. As a typical moody adolescent the worst that happened was me coming home later than expected – from my best friend’s house down the road. All very innocent. I think that happened just the once. Really. 

School, university, early jobs, I always did what was expected, completed things on time, got on with everyone. I was reliable, studious, I did what I was told. 

Choose yourself

As I’ve gotten older I’ve developed more of a rebellious streak. I think it started with leaving a job I’d had for 10 years. After years of doing my best, complying to the job, fitting myself in, I’d had enough. Of being the perfect employee, moving up the ranks, playing the game, working in an environment that didn’t suit me. 

I know how it feels to feel trapped, like an imposter, frustrated with yourself and with your life. Doing a job you once loved, and that now just doesn’t feel good.    

I now know what it takes to choose yourself, to let out your rebellious side. To take risks. To go with your heart.

Take a risk

At one point during my years of moaning about wanting to leave that job, my cousin said to me,  “just leave”. What?! Impossible. You can’t just leave a job like that. And I don’t know what I really want to do! Where would I go? 

But she was right. It’s a choice to stay stuck in a job you hate. It’s a choice. You can stay or you can go. The easy option is to stay, as much as you dislike it, because it’s what you know. It’s familiar. Those feelings of frustration and powerlessness become normal. Despairing at your life – happens every day.

However, to make that choice, and choose yourself and what you really want to do? Now that’s an amazing feeling. To decide what’s best for you, and you only. To finally bring out your rebellious side, and go against the norm. 

Yes have a back up. Make sure you have savings. Have a plan B. Maybe don’t quit your job without having another lined up like I did. But do realise that you can take a risk.

It’s exciting – life – it’s a game. You don’t have to do what’s expected of you.

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If you’d like to have a coaching session with me, I’ve recently launched 1-hour Get Unstuck! calls. Designed to get you taking action straight away. And breaking through whatever’s stopping you from getting where you want to be. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com to arrange.

Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash

Add joy to your life

For a few years now I’ve been deliberating whether or not to buy fairy lights to brighten up my flat in the winter time, to bring joy and make it a little festive. I’ve never bought a Christmas tree, I’ve never been that fussed about having my own one. Christmas is always with my parents or sister and I’m happy to enjoy other peoples’ decorations.

But until recently I had a little strip of starry fairy lights I’d got free from a Scandinavian magazine. Each year come November I’d set them along one length of the sitting room. They’d bring a beautiful cosy glow to the room. One day they stopped working, and I never replaced them.

Each following year I’d deliberate, is it worth it, is it an environmentally friendly choice, do I really need them…(ever played this fun game?!). And each year I’d decide: no. Then this year, in a new flat in Spain, I suddenly realised it seemed so sad without a little pep to the long dark evenings. I LOVE feeling cosy (who doesn’t?), especially at this time of year when I just want to hibernate. Surely I can treat myself to a little joy in a very simple way?

So I did it.

I bought one set of lights with little stars, and one classic. I’ve draped them over a high cabinet on one side of my flat, and my bookshelf on the other. And they’ve bought a little bit of magic to my home. Suddenly it’s cosy and sparkly, and festive. I actually woke up this morning EXCITED to turn them on. And I know that when I get home tonight it will be with a thrill that I turn them on. Then I’ll settle down to some TV, lighting candles for extra hygge good measure. 

My message to you is: what simple thing can you treat yourself to, to add a little bit of joy to your life? It doesn’t have to be expensive or cost anything.

Is it a week of trying out delicious warming recipes from a beautiful cookbook? (Jamie Oliver Veg and Anna Jones A Modern Way to Eat are my current faves).

Is it changing your morning routine slightly so that you have time to read in bed first thing with a cup of tea or coffee? I think one of the joys of dark rainy mornings and evenings is the excuse to sit in bed for a bit and read. (Click here to download my free morning routine guide). 

Whatever it is, do something that feels like a little present to yourself, to light up your days and the dark nights.

You might also like this post I wrote: Delight.

If you’d like to have a coaching session with me, I’ve recently launched 1-hour Get Unstuck! strategy calls. Designed to get you taking action from the off. And gently breaking through whatever’s stopping you from getting where you want to be. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com to arrange.

Photo by Evelin Horvath on Unsplash

Need to write something and not feeling inspired? Read this.

I was talking to a client about productivity and she asked me how I manage to write a blogpost each week. How do I come up with the ideas for it? Our discussion led to this post. The steps I take can be applied to any sort of task or writing or creative activity – it’s basically about finding inspiration and motivating yourself. Not always easy things to do…

It can be really hard when you need to write something, and you want to make it good. A blogpost, a tricky email response, a job application, even a work report. You don’t quite know what to say, it’s got to be just so, and you want to make it interesting.

To do this successfully it comes down to a few things: find inspiration and get ideas, and get in the right frame of mind to do the work.

Look for inspiration

My first piece of advice is – stay alert and look out for the stuff you’re interested in. I’m forever saving and reading interesting articles – which I’ve found via Twitter, LinkedIn, or emails or newsletters I receive. I obsessively listen to podcasts, and if I hear of a new one that sounds good I’ll immediately download an episode or make a note of the name. 

I regularly come up with new ideas this way – what’s my take on the topic?

Even if what you read or listen to isn’t directly related to your problem, hearing about someone else being productive, finding a solution, or making things happen – can get you out of a slump and inspire you into action.

If I particularly need a creativity boost, I’ll read a book on creativity like Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. A few pages in I’ll have an idea or at least feel inspired to give it a go.

Search it out

Of course you can also specifically search for what you need – ideas for subject matter, email templates, tips on how to write better. Get on Google and there will be an article or video out there to provide an answer or give you ideas. 

The important thing here, is find someone who writes in a way that inspires you. There are so many voices out there. Anything that makes you roll your eyes or cringe is a no go – but keep going until you find something that speaks to you. 

Move

When I’m staring at the computer screen and feel paralysed/bored/tired/uninspired, sometimes the only solution is to go for a walk. Either nice and quiet, strolling along and looking around me, or, more typically, listening to a podcast or music. Without fail this gets me in a better mood, gets me thinking, and gets my energy up.

I come back refreshed and with renewed energy. And maybe even with a little idea.

Just write

Final tip – if I’m not feeling particularly inspired but I’ve got some sort of an idea, I’ll just start writing. Even if it seems rubbish – it’s a base. It’s always easier to come back to something and edit it – it’s less pressure than starting with a blank page.

I hope this helps if you’ve been struggling with some sort of creative project or piece of writing. You have to search out inspiration sometimes, it doesn’t always just come to you. Good luck!

To book in a life coaching session with me, email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Cris DiNoto on Unsplash

This Year Will Be Different

This year will be different‘. How many times have you told yourself this? On New Year’s Day? Your birthday? On your work anniversary? On a random rainy Tuesday morning as you’re bleakly staring out the bus window on your way to work (the last place you want to be heading towards)? 

This is the year where I work out what on earth it is I want to do. The year I finally get a job I’m great at and that I enjoy. This is the year I stop doing what everyone else thinks I should be doing, and I go for what I’ve secretly been yearning to do.

This week I read an email sent by someone I’ve admired for a long time now, called Monika. She’s the author of a book called This Year Will Be Different. It’s a book I read at a time when I was desperate for change.

She’d written an email to thank the people who’d helped her when she got started as a freelancer. A few key people had taken a chance on her, given her advice, or seen something in her. These people had changed the way she thought and they supported her way of working. 

I wanted things to change

I got a bit misty-eyed reading it. Because her books have had a big, positive influence on me and inspired me so much. When I read This Year Will Be Different it was exactly what I needed at the time. I wanted things to change and I didn’t want a repeat of the previous year, and the years before that.

In This Year Will Be Different Monika interviewed women who were doing interesting work, living unconventional lifestyles. Freelancers, women with portfolio careers (doing a few different jobs), designers, travelling translators. They talked about personal branding, finances, working for themselves, their life philosophy. 

You can’t be what you can’t see

That was far from my reality, working for a big corporation, shlepping into an office every day, doing work I didn’t care about. I’d vaguely dreamed of having this kind of lifestyle, feeling freedom, having a portfolio career, travelling, working for myself. Not going to an office.

Reading this book was a massive dose of inspiration. Hearing these women’s stories lifted me. I saw that you can choose to work and live in a way that really suits you. They had worked out what they enjoyed doing and were being paid to do it. They all had lifestyles that suited them. If they could do it, why couldn’t I? Why can’t you?

There’s a saying – you can’t be what you can’t see. It’s important to find your own inspiration. Examples of people who are working and living in a way that excites you and inspires you and makes you feel happy.

I hope you find something that touches you in the same way, and inspires you to make the changes you want.

If you liked this post, I’ve written more about surrounding yourself with inspiration here: The One Habit.

If you’d like to find out about life coaching sessions with me, email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash