The Revelation

 

I was listening to a podcast this morning on the way to work; there was a beautiful bright blue sky and I was feeling inspired. As sometimes happens when I listen to podcasts, I lost focus and my mind started drifting…

I’m not sure why, but started thinking about a coaching session I had a few years ago, when my life coach asked me something which changed everything.

I felt my life unravelling

It was a hectic, chilly December evening right before Christmas – I remember a frantic dash to a department store after the session, probably for a Secret Santa present. I rushed through the after-work crowd to the session after a tiring, busy day at work.

It was at a time when I felt my life was somewhat unravelling. I was frustrated, worried, scared. I wanted to leave my job, but I didn’t know what I wanted to move into. I’d started seeing a life coach, desperate for guidance.

We were brainstorming potential new roles, and I still had a mindset  of – what could there be out there for me? I don’t want to continue in sales. Therefore there’s nothing for me! I have no skills – what can I do? Everything’s boring! Nothing appeals!

We’d talked about the kinds of areas that interested me, which pretty much came down to: reading, film, languages, communicating, helping people in some way… I thought that working for a charity or NGO might be up my street.

Based on what we’d discussed my coach then she asked me if, for example, I could you see myself in a role where I’d travel to other countries, working for a charity whose aim was to help children with their literacy; my job would be to visit and report on how it’s going.

Revelation

Wow. It was the first kind of role I’d considered in a long time that lit me up. It sounded brilliant! Exactly the kind of thing I’d like to move on to do. And, with that mindset, it was something I never would have  imagined might exist as a role.

Suddenly I was inspired, I could see that there was life beyond my current role and current situation. Life might get exciting again! Maybe I could actually find a job where I felt that I was doing good, having impact, helping people. Using my skills and knowledge to help people. Amazing.

It planted a seed

Seven months later in the summer, I left my job. The following February, over a year since that breakthrough coaching session, I started my new job. I was now working for a company who help children who are struggling with their reading.

It’s not a charity, and I don’t travel the world (at the moment it’s between the UK and Spain, which is pretty good going). I visit schools, training teachers and helping them implement a reading programme. I check on progress.

But it’s amazing to realise that I’m doing a role which is very similar to the one suggested by my coach.

That conversation really helped me on my way; it planted a seed.

Visualisation and focus

Visualisation is so important. If you can imagine and see what you want, if you can imagine yourself doing that thing you want to do, you can then work towards it. You can focus. Opportunities (almost magically) start to present themselves. You see them because you’re now open to them – they’re on your radar. I don’t know the science but your brain is looking out for connections.

But with no goal or visual – where do you go? Nowhere, you stay put, stuck, wallowing.

Here’s something that might help you if you’re feeling stuck and not moving forward on something you want to change. Download my guide to creating vision boards as a PDF here: How to Create a Vision board ebook

Start visualising, start taking action.

If you’d like to book a coaching session with me, contact me at: joaopoku@gmail.com

 

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

Burnout and turning it around

I read something in Emma Gannon’s the Multi-Hyphen Method yesterday (which I’m loving) about ‘How to Spot Burnout’. Five main points were:

  • Noticing that you’re being cynical about everyone and everything
  • Becoming apathetic, not caring that much about the outcome of a project
  • Tasks that were once easy become difficult or overwhelming
  • Physical symptoms such as illness, aches and pains, immune issues
  • Isolating yourself and feeling a huge loss of energy

It hit a nerve. I’d always considered that I might have suffered burnout at one stage in my life but it sounded quite a grand way of describing what I’d seen as ‘a bit of a murky period’.

But the truth is, those five points describe how I was feeling. The thought of calling a potentially intimidating client bought me to tears – and I actually felt I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t pick up the phone to him.

I had no interest in work.

I’d go straight home and cry every day.

I developed a tick in my left eye that stayed with me for MONTHS.

And I didn’t want to socialise. I lost all sense of reality in terms of confidence and how good I was at my job. Everything felt too much, work, social life, everything.

So I left my job. Which I’d previously thought was something you just don’t do. But it reached the point where it felt like my only option.

I’m glad I did it. I turned things around. I took myself out of an environment that wasn’t doing me any good and I gave myself breathing space. It took time but I’m now in a much, much happier situation.

Sometimes you have to be brave, sometimes you have to take a risk. Sometimes you have to listen to your gut and do what you know deep down will be best for you.

Even if it seems crazy and risky and a massive mistake. Who knows? No one can predict the future.

But the worst is not taking action, and settling. Letting yourself get dragged deeper and deeper into despair or worse – indifference. Losing any zest you once had for your wonderful beautiful life.

***

I’ve you’d like to try a life coaching session with me, contact me here.

 

Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Olesya Yemets 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

Your future self – more than self-care

The term self-care is being bandied about all over the place, and I sometimes wonder if I need to read yet another top 10 self-care list, although they seem impossible to avoid at the moment.

Having said that, there is something in it. It is really important to remember to be kind to yourself. To be as lovely to yourself as you are to your friends or family or partner. To rank your needs as highly as anyone else’s.

And we’ve all got a horrible little voice in our heads trying to tell us how rubbish/unattractive/stupid/idiotic we are. It takes a fair bit of effort to quash it. Sometimes it’s easier to give in, agree, and feel yourself fall into a cycle of nasty thoughts and self-loathing.

On top of that, with all the general busyness in our lives, it’s hard to listen to what we really need or want i.e. a rest, a break, a snack, water, a laugh, a hug, a break from the screen…

This results in feelings of stress, anxiety, not having enough time – and all seem to be pretty much the norm.

Maybe we’re not caring for ourselves as much as we could be.

Future me

Here’s something you can try. I think of it as being nice to ‘future me’. It consists of doing something small today that I know will make me happy tomorrow.

I remember when I lived with a teacher and his wife in the south of France for a few weeks at the start of my year abroad. Each morning when I got up they would have left for me some recently toasted bits of baguette, alongside some butter and a pot of marmalade for my breakfast. It was so simple and so sweet. An act of thoughtfulness.

So now I do the same for myself when I need a bit of love and care.

Before going to bed, I’ll lay out my breakfast things. First I’ll place my small wooden chopping board and a sharp knife ready to chop up my apple. Then I’ll add a favourite mug and a teaspoon for my tea. Finally, I’ll lay out a nice big bowl and a spoon for my porridge.

A simple act

Just laying out the simple implements is enough. It’s telling me that I care for myself. I guess it’s like the thought behind making breakfast in bed for someone else. I’ll wake up in the morning and smile to see that someone has thoughtfully left out these things for me – to make the morning that little bit easier.

It’s like a little reminder to myself. That I care.

It could also be laying out my outfit for the day, the night before. No more stressing and time wasted deliberating between these trousers or that jumper. One less thing to think about.

Or it’s tidying away the post and leaflets and scraps of paper and general junk on the kitchen table – knowing that your morning will feel a lot more calm when everything seems in order.

It’s thinking ahead – to one small thing you can accomplish now – which will act as a little hug to yourself tomorrow.

What can you do?

Maybe that’s the answer to bringing some joy into your life, being thoughtful to yourself. Doing something small that you know future you will appreciate, to show that you care. For you now, and for ‘future you’. What are you going to do?

You can contact me here if you are interested in life coaching sessions.

Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash