Delight

I’ve started reading a book called Delight, by J. B. Priestley. And what a delight it is. Short chapters each focussing on something which brings the author delight. Fountains. Detective novels. Finishing a piece of work.

I love it because not only is it beautifully written and lovely insight into what makes another person tick, it makes me reflect on what brings me delight. And I think it’s one of the most important things we can try to do every day.

Delighting in the small things which can easily go unnoticed. The way the sunlight was reflecting off a building, giving a beautiful orangey glow. The sweet smile the street cleaner gave to me as I walked past this morning, as if we knew each other. My morning cup of tea in my favourite mug (at the moment, cream coloured with a fern leaf on it). Ever faithful, ever delicious, ever calming. The anticipation of family coming to visit me, and knowing that soon I can try to squeeze the life out of nieces with hugs.

When going through hard times, or just a particularly crappy day – trying to think of even one small good thing or delight in our lives can remind us that ‘this too shall pass’. Things won’t stay like this forever. Maybe the whole day wasn’t awful, for a brief moment there was also a spark of delight. And that counts for so much.

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If you’d like to try a life coaching session with me,  you can contact me here for a chat.

Photo by David Monje on Unsplash

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

Things pass – a bit of perspective

Some days you just wake up feeling a bit anxious, a bit unexcited for the day. Nervous. Apprehensive. You know that chances are it’ll all be fine, it’ll be a nice day, normal. But there’s something you’ve got to do that makes you uncomfortable. That you’d rather not do. But you have to. And that paints a big cloud over your whole day. When, in actual fact, we’re probably talking about a 10 minute phone conversation. Or a 2 minute email exchange.

Then it’s dealt with – you know where you stand. And you probably feel better. Even if initially you’re disappointed or upset, before too long that emotion is in the past and you’re moving on. So to let it cloud over your whole day is a bit silly.

But, it’s not easy to see things like this. To rationalise. When we’re talking about feelings, well, an uncomfortable feeling can be hard to shift. And the thought nags at you, chipping away, ever present in your thoughts. You keep circling back to it. Going over the potential conversation or your potential response, editing it, adding to it, mulling over it. Obsessing over it.

It makes it so much bigger than it probably is. It doesn’t have to be this big of a deal. It’s a minuscule part of your life, let alone your day. It’s 10 minutes out of 24 hours. It’s 10 minutes out of 60 minutes. Before you know it, it’s done with, and you’re nearing the end of the day. Did  you waste it worrying? Or did you get on with enjoying it?

Did you seek out the good? The moments of peace, the moments of comfort, the moments of safety and security. The moments of knowing who you are and where you are in the world. The small pleasures. The sip of coffee. The first mouthful of dinner. The glimpse of sun. The freshness in the air. The smile from a stranger. The entertaining dog. The words of encouragement. Knowing someone is thinking about you.

Knowing that things pass. Problems, issues, emotions, time…it all passes. Nothing is forever. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Opportunities arise. Solutions present themselves. New ideas form. Perspectives shift. Feelings evolve. Memories form, and fade.

If you’d like to set up a coaching session with me, click here.

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

Overwhelm

I sometimes feel overwhelmed.

By the news and content I want to consume. By the news and content I don’t want to consume but somehow seem to be consuming.

By the podcasts I want to listen to.

By the books I want to read.

By the things I want to learn.

By obligations.

By the list of places in the world I want to visit.

By the desire to be a good friend. By wanting to be there for friends in need.

By feelings of tiredness.

By feelings of helplessness.

By feelings of loneliness.

By feelings of sadness.

By feelings of gratitude.

By a sense of too much to do and not enough time to do it.

By choices.

By the number of emails coming in on a daily basis.

By feeling as though I need to answer each email immediately in order to be doing a good job and ‘on top of things’.

By the amount of time I spend looking at a screen throughout a day.

By WhatsApp messages.

By the  conflict between the need to make social plans but also the desire to have time to do nothing or see how I feel on the day.

Here are some things I do when I start to feel overwhelmed:

I limit the number of times I check my WhatsApp messages (I don’t have the notifications on because it stresses me out). I put my phone in another room or in my bag so that it’s not within reaching distance. When I watch tv or a film at home – I move my phone out of reach. I limited myself to checking once an hour. Or once every half hour. Or once I’ve completed an email. Or once I’ve had breakfast and gone on a walk. Or not at all after 9pm.

I stop making  so many plans. I stop arranging things with friends or acquaintances. I start saying no thanks.

I read more. I go to bed an hour earlier than usual and just read – everything and anything I feel like reading and for as long as I like. I don’t check the time.

I take myself off for walks as much as possible. Long, short, ideally both within a day.

I resist making certain decisions – mainly when I feel a sense of obligation to see someone or reply to a message – giving myself time to process.

I write a sort of journal/diary in the evening before I sleep – everything and anything on my mind. Lists, ideas, plans, goals, feelings, stream of consciousness.

These things help – they give my mind a break. I start to feel less overwhelmed, less stressed, less pulled in various different directions.

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I wrote this because I like reading things were the person seems to be feeling exactly the way I feel. Or where I recognise the feeling they are describing. It reminds me that we’re all the same, we’re not alone in our thoughts, we all have to find ways to accept or deal with certain feelings.

I hope reading this has helped in some way.

If you’d like to set up a coaching session with me, click here.

Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

Career Change & Money

Tip jar with notes and coins in it

I think sorting out your finances is one of the best ways to mentally prepare yourself for a career change. One of the biggest fears around career change is money; we probably all have the same fear that we’ll end up out of work, with no money coming in, and a mortgage or rent to pay and perhaps a family to support.

A few habits I started way before my period of career transition, and others I started in the months leading to it, helped me deal with this fear and made it easier for me to go for it and change career.

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Let’s start with the basics. Around 15 years ago I lived in Paris, and with my first job there I realised I needed to start getting a handle on my finances. Renting a flat with a friend, paying bills, it was time to get responsible. I started a simple excel spreadsheet where I noted how much money I received in my bank account each month – deducted all regular expenses such as rent, bills, food, and then any ad hoc expenses I expected such as new trainers or nights out with friends. This allowed me to budget, to see in which months I’d need to be a bit careful and those where I could save a little. I loved feeling in control of my finances. I’ve stuck to this method ever since.

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Some time ago I’d had instilled in me the idea that you should have 3 months’ living costs in savings – I suppose I read about it in context of losing your job or quitting your job. So I always had that at the back of my mind. It might be an extremely hard slog starting from scratch, but knowing that it could help cushion a transition period makes it a positive goal to aim for. Also, it’s not only saving that can help you achieve this goal, a money-making project on the side can massively help with this, we’ll come to it in a bit.

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At some point I developed an obsession with a more minimalist way of living. This may well have been inspired by Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Work Week (read the chapter called Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle).

I’m pretty sure I was subconsciously trying to rid myself of extra ‘things’ so that if I ever wanted to take off and travel it wouldn’t be too difficult. I also think my mind was so cluttered with worries and doubts that physically decluttering helped me try to find some peace. If my surroundings were simple and uncluttered then maybe my mind could be also…

The bonus is that when you really get into decluttering and start seeing some of your belongings for what they are (we hold onto so many things just because we ‘own’ them, not necessarily because we like them anymore or they are doing anything for us) there is often a lot of stuff to chuck out – be it recycling, donating or selling. I made a fair bit of cash selling decent odds and ends that I no longer wanted or needed on ebay.

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Here are some of the websites that satisfied my minimalist urges:

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ Particularly the ‘Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads’ posts, where the author collates interesting articles about minimalism and living simply.

https://www.theminimalists.com/archives/#popular

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/category/mmm-classics/

https://zenhabits.net/archives/

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Speaking of money making side-projects, Airbnb gave me amazing freedom. Again, I got the idea from a blogpost, this time from Live Your Legend where the author talks about making your first $1000 dollars on the side. Read it here. If renting out a room or your whole home is an option, it’s definitely something to seriously consider.

I did a few other things to make some money on the side, I’ll cover these in another post!

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Hopefully this post will inspire you to start taking control of your finances if you’re not already doing so. It is so easy to worry and procrastinate and dwell on the worst case scenario…starting to deal with the fear is the only way to get past it. If worrying about money is stopping you from progressing in your career change – it’s something to face. The more you do, the more in control you will feel.

Maybe find one thing to sell on ebay and start from there!

If you’d like to contact me to do some life coaching sessions together, send me a message here.

You can read the full interview I did with Careershifters.com on financing my career change here: https://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/how-to-finance-your-career-change

 

 

Photo by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash