Get out of your own way

Talking to a new client this week I realised that she has clearly spent time thinking about her career change. She has all sorts of ideas about what she really wants to do. But she’s procrastinating.

We uncovered that she had a list of possible roles that interest her and that she’d like to explore.

There’s even a course that interests her – although she’s twice skipped getting started. 

She’s quite clear on what she doesn’t want, 1) to stay working for her company, and 2) a role where she spends the majority of her time writing. 

A company where personal growth and learning is encouraged, and important, is much more appealing. She’s clearly curious and keen to learn and at the moment that is being ignored. So a company where learning is one of the values seems like a good fit. 

She’d also like to earn more money and feels quite undervalued in what she does.

So why hasn’t she yet made the next step – when she pretty much knows what she wants?

Mainly fear. 

What’s stopping her from finding and applying for new roles? Perhaps a sense that her current role is so specific that other companies won’t be able to see her other skills and attributes. 

Maybe she sees the specifications and tells herself she’s not qualified/experienced/able enough. Although – recruitment experts suggest applying for a role if you can meet only 70% of the requirements. If you’re a good fit you can learn the rest. 

Why hasn’t she gone ahead with the course? She admitted that she didn’t feel creative enough. So she’s put a barrier in her way, perhaps feeling inadequate or worried she won’t enjoy the course.

Luckily we came up with a couple of solutions to this – speaking to acquaintances who work in the industry and getting their take on her fears around creativity. And speaking to the course provider and learning a bit more about the reality of what the course entails.  

This is quite common with clients. Although they feel stuck at work and frustrated and despairing – in fact they have a pretty clear idea of alternatives that would make them happier. But they are procrastinating, based on fear, which is totally understandable. Change and putting yourself out there can be scary – you can’t predict the outcome.

You might be setting yourself up for rejection, feeling uncomfortable, failure. 

But the thing is  – staying stuck is not a good feeling. Feelings of frustration. Getting angry at yourself for letting yourself stay in the current situation. That negative voice in our heads can be so harsh. 

The thing about going through rejection, feeling uncomfortable, potential failure – is that you always come out the other side, and you always learn something. Even if you learn that you should trust your instincts more. That no, that company doesn’t hold the same values as you. Or that yes, you should have swotted up more on the company’s vision. Yes, that role definitely isn’t for you. 

With all this you’re moving forward, learning, gaining momentum, getting closer to what you want. You’re narrowing it down, practising for when it really matters. 

Only you can change your situation, really. You have to find a way to take action and stop procrastinating. Whether it’s getting a friend to be your ally and spur you on, speaking to a coach, getting help from a mentor. Find a way to feel supported – and do what you have to do. You already know what you have to do – you just have to get past yourself and start, step by step.

I offer career change coaching. You can book a session here: Or get in touch if you’d like to learn more. Find me on LinkedIn or email at

Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

Start small, start slowly, but start

I saw a quote yesterday from a rapper called Willie D – no idea of the context, but it struck me. He was basically saying that whatever happens in his life, illness, disaster, whatever, every single day he has to spend 5 minutes working towards whatever it is he wants to achieve.

5 minutes is small, but it’s something. And you can do a surprising amount in 5 minutes

I’m currently doing a writing course, and we’re starting off with 10 minute writing exercises each morning. It always surprises me how long 10 minutes seems. I splurge on the page for a minute and then it’s a matter of keeping going, keeping going, think think, what more can you write? 10 minutes does not necessarily fly by.

5 minutes is also enough time to do something. To look something up, find something out. Start and maybe finish an email. Start and maybe finish a post.  Tweak and finalise a document. Read an article. Listen to something that inspires you.

Dedicating 5 minutes means that you can spend the rest of the day safe in the knowledge that you have done something for yourself, to improve your situation, to take control. 

The worst is not doing ANYTHING. This is when the self-doubt and self-recrimination comes in, and the super negative thoughts. This is where you procrastinate and feel bad. You tell yourself the situation will never change, this is it forever, you’re going to feel bad forever more.

But doing 5 minutes of something changes everything. Suddenly you’re a person who is moving forwards, who is dedicating time to something important. You’re taking action, you’re proactive, you have energy. You’re focussed. You will change your situation.

Start with 5 minutes, doing whatever it is you need to do. Start small, start slowly, but start.

If you’d like some career coaching with me, you can find out more about me on LinkedIn and send me a message. Or email me at

Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

Testing things out

Yesterday I was listening to someone talk about her experience of underwater diving. When she tried it for the first time, she was gobsmacked. She couldn’t believe what a wonderful world existed beneath the water. Then and there she decided that she wanted to return. She wanted to somehow work in this underwater world. She was willing to change her life for it. But she needed to test it out, and see if it was really for her. 

So she had an opportunity when she had a three week gap in between the tv production projects she was working on. She decided to go back to Thailand where she’d had that underwater experience, and see if she felt the same. Maybe this time she’d just think it was pretty and not have the same amazing life changing reaction. And that would be her guide. If she felt the same, she’d act on it. 

The rest is history. She went on to have a career spending years at sea, exploring the deep sea, which resulted in working on the production of the tv series Blue Planet II. 

It’s hard to test things out right now. We might not be planning a trip to Thailand to work out what we want from life, but being out and about can be key to career change, if your situation allows it. Meeting people, networking, exploring. Going to a workshop, doing an in-person course, visiting someone’s place of work or doing work experience or job shadowing. We don’t currently have the same freedom to be out and about or travelling around. 

But we can still go with our instincts. If some area of work is calling to you it’s easy to dismiss it as too hard to get into, too competitive, too expensive to retrain. But, there are different ways of going about things. 

Stuck at home, you can still build a clearer picture of what that work is all about. You can read about people currently doing that work. Articles, blogposts, social media posts, books. Also: podcasts. You can find people doing interesting work, and find out how they got there. Seek out how they spend their time. You can read about them, you can try contacting them and asking them more. Most people are quite flattered if you tell them you’re interested in their work and how they got there, and are happy to give a few pointers.

You can work out what you might need to do to get there. Maybe you do have the required transferable skills. Perhaps you can sign up to a free course which will give you some insight into that area of work, and new skills. You can work out how much money you would need to retrain, what do you need to start saving? 

The main thing is getting started, and not staying stuck. Research, and then start taking some kind of action.

Photo by Kris Mikael Krister on Unsplash

It’s a plan! Why planning is so important in career change.

I’m a planner. I’m always thinking ahead, working out what needs to be done, how things will fit in, what steps are needed.

I was going to write that I love planning, but I’m not 100% sure that’s correct. Sometimes I find it quite stressful: planning trips, meals for other people, weekend plans – when it involves other people it’s not always so easy. 

But MY plans, just for me, I love. Planning something I want to do, enjoy or achieve. I love writing a big old list of all the things I need to do, then ticking them off, one by one. 


Being a planner comes into my coaching – I love encouraging other people to make a plan too. 

I’m aware that when we try to hold too much stuff in our heads we rarely get anything done, we just end up thinking and procrastinating and finding excuses.

But getting things down on paper, ordered, with timings – that’s when things fall into place. Because now you’ve got a plan. 

When coaching clients work with me we create a solid plan for their career change. We go through an initial brainstorm and uncover what the client really wants (quite often hidden behind fears). Then it all comes down to planning, and then taking action. 


By the end of their time working with me my clients have clearly mapped out what they need to do. They’ll have already started taking steps towards change too. 

New job, new home, new life

Take my client Sarah, who was based in London. She planned to:

  • Contact her current work and ask to cut down her hours and work remotely.
  • Apply for jobs teaching English part-time in Paris.
  • Find somewhere to live in Paris.
  • Sort out the admin involved in moving to France.

This might all sound massive and overwhelming. But Sarah was 100% sure this was what she wanted, and that it was feasible. 

She was desperate to live in Paris, it was a massive life goal. In her heart she wanted to work with young people and education. If she could work remotely in her current job, she could take it to Paris and carry on enjoying the stable income, whilst exploring other avenues.

Super focused

We broke down each big step into even smaller steps. It would take some work and effort – but it was doable. 

Suddenly, rather than dreaming and procrastinating and hating her current situation, Sarah was clear on what she had to do. She became highly focused and proactive. It was easier to bat away the feelings of resistance, because her goal felt real and achievable.

Things started to ‘fall into place’, because she was making it happen. She had her plan, and she was acting on it.

She’s now doing exactly what she’d dreamed of, in Paris. She made it all happen.

If you need helping making a plan, and you’d like to try coaching with me, send me a message for more details. Connect with me on LinkedIn to find out more, or email me at

Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

How do I deal with to-do list procrastination when I want to change career?

You’ve made the decision that you want to change career. You’ve got your to-do list.

You’re feeling motivated to get researching and networking and go for it.

There are loads of things you could do, researching, contacting people, searching, applying for jobs, looking at courses…

…but where do you start?

There’s a way I deal with my to-do list which works really well (whether for career change or anything else for that matter).

1. Highlight 1-3 of your top priority tasks on your to-do list. 

Take a few moments to pick the things that will actually have an impact and move your forwards. Such as contacting someone who could give you practical advice or an opportunity, or sending off an application. Don’t get bogged down in the easy stuff like general ‘research’.

2. List each teeny tiny easy step you need to do to complete each task. 

Really easy – such as ‘find phone number’, ‘have a quick read of their LinkedIn profile’, ‘write small summary of what I want to say’, ‘make the call’.

Or, ‘open up job application document (or download and print)’, ‘open up copy of CV to refer to’, ‘set aside x minutes to complete’, ‘work on first section’, ‘work on second section’, ’review’, ‘hit send’.

3. Pick one of these top priority tasks and get to work, step by step, crossing each off as you go along. 

4. Ignore all else until you complete it. This is important. Focus and get it done. Then pick the next one and carry on.

So now I know how to break down the tasks on my to-do list. But how do I actually get started?

Now, as a client pointed out to me, you might get wrapped up in the art of to-do list-making. You spend all your time adding to and reordering your list (ehm, procrastinating) rather than actually ticking off the steps. How do you get yourself motivated to actually take action?

A few more tips:

  • You need to focus on the result you want. Are loads of the tasks things you could do but aren’t essential? What is it that you really need to do that will make you progress? What will have the biggest impact if you do it? 
  • A fresh short list for that morning can help, forget about everything else for now, what’s the one thing you need to do today or this morning? What are the priorities? 
  • I’m a fan of setting a timer, 10-15 minutes to really focus and make progress, then I can have a break and make a tea or whatever. That really helps me, doing what I can in a short burst. If I’m then on a roll I’ll extend the timer! 
  • Finally, when you’ve had something on your list for a long time, a week, a month, it’s worth reassessing if it’s something you really want or need to do? Can it be scrapped? Or does it need to be broken down into something more doable?

Keep things as simple as you can to avoid overwhelm, and just super methodically work through the important tasks, breaking them down.

If you’d like to work with me on some coaching sessions, email me at or find a slot and sign-up here:

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash