You need to value yourself

I had a coaching session with a client the other day. She felt stuck – ready for a big change but lacking in confidence and lacking in direction. As we spoke, I realised she doesn’t place much value on who she is, on her uniqueness, or on her varied experiences. I gave her an exercise to work on to help her see her true value – I’ll explain what it is later.

This client was was toying between starting up her own business and finding any half-decent job that she might quite enjoy and that would pay the bills. As we chatted, she mentioned a conversation with some friends and the feeling that she had to talk differently to them. She felt that they were so much more successful, more knowledgeable than her, that she wasn’t quite on their level. 

It became quite clear to me that she can’t see her own talent or attributes – at all. 

She has a sporadic work history, doing lots of different jobs in lots of different places; she worked in a school, in a cafe, in an office. As she’s never really had a ‘career’ – she feels that her experience is trivial, or of no consequence.

Not only that, but listening to her, and knowing her a little, I know that she has so many personal attributes that make her incredibly special. So many things come to her naturally, that others don’t possess.  She’s just not aware of them.

Her listening and empathising skills are incredible. She makes people feel comfortable, warm and invited. She is an amazing host; setting a beautiful scene, cooking delicious food, being an entertaining and welcoming host.

She’s organised, a planner, and efficient. She notices details. She’s the kind of person that if something needs doing, she’ll get it done. 


She also worried that she isn’t passionate about anything. She felt that she was lacking some sort of strong feeling towards anything. But as we spoke I realised that she was linking ‘doing’ and ‘not doing’ with what she felt was the right to feel or not feel. She mentioned someone playing a game or creating something and getting really stuck in as evidence of how passionate they are. But she felt that for example, the way live music makes her feel, invigorated, moved, alive; is irrelevant as it’s not her making the music or creating the vibe. I reminded her that passion is all about feeling, whether or not you’re directly creating or doing ‘the thing’.

Doing good work and spending your time well doesn’t have to mean working hard on something you are passionate about. I think this is quite rare and you’re incredibly lucky if you find it. Most of us are replying to emails, making calls, going to meetings. Not necessarily stuff to be passionate about. But – if you are passionate about what this work is aiming to achieve and the effect it will have on the world, that’s something. And if you are passionate about the people you work with, or the environment in which you work, or the lifestyle it lets you lead – that’s important too. 

In fact, I think we have to be careful tying in ‘passion’ and ‘work.’ I think it’s perfectly acceptable and normal to do work that’s fine or pretty good, and to find your passions out of work. And that doesn’t have to mean a having particular hobby that you are obsessed with and passionate about. It can just mean having a pretty nice time, enjoying cooking, chatting to friends, walking in nature.

Write a chronology

Back to my client. She doesn’t realise how important her skills, experiences and attributes are and that not everyone has them. She is totally devaluing herself. 

As a task I told her to write a chronology of all the things she has achieved since leaving uni up until now. Where has she been, what has she learned, what courses has she done? What interesting experiences has she had, what opportunities has she found or created. Which languages has she learned and spoken, what jobs has she completed. Where has she volunteered. What brave choices has she made. 

I want her to go through this process to try and give her an outsider’s view on all that she’s achieved. Writing a cv can seem a little limited and dull, you have to condense things into soundbites. But in writing out a chronology of life events, I wondered if she’ll be able to see a thread running through. Where did she follow her heart? What drew her to volunteer, or move to another country? Is there anything she has been consistently interested in over this time? What did she think she’d enjoy, but found it wasn’t for her? 

I’ll check in with her next week and find out what, if anything, she’s discovered. The aim of the exercise is to change your perspective, to start to view things slightly differently. What if she can see that she’s a brave, adventurous person, an explorer? Someone who’s not willing to settle for ‘normal’, or safe, or do what everyone else does?

Can she change her narrative from seeing herself as a drifter with no direction to someone who’s experimenting, exploring, working to find her way to what really makes her tick?

If you’d like coaching session with me, find me on LinkedIn or email me at


I feel as though there’s a lot of transition going on at the moment. Both for me and around me. 

People are changing careers, moving houses, moving to another country, or from city to countryside. Couples are breaking up, breaking down, having babies. I know this sort of transition happens all the time – but there seems to be a lot of motion all at once. Perhaps after a year of stillness – any movement seems dramatic. But perhaps there’s also something in the air.

We’re coming out of a terrible time with slightly new identities. We’ve probably all developed new routines and are realising what works for us and what doesn’t. Perhaps a commute just doesn’t seem feasible any more, nor does a diary jam-packed with seeing friends. Or maybe we’ve discovered that working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, isn’t for us, and we’re desperate to return to an office environment around people and banter and distractions. 

Shedding a skin

I myself returned to the UK for a 3-week visit after over a year away. Alongside quarantining, then gingerly meeting up with family and friends and visiting a few different places, I had a massive urge to declutter and clear things out. 

For the first time in 4 years, I opened up the boxes stacked in my parents’ garage, full of things from my London flat that didn’t make it over to Spain with me. Some brought back memories, some I realised were actually quite useful, some I’d totally forgotten about. Some things were no longer relevant. 

I had clothes to sort too, clothes that no longer suited me, or fit, or that I viewed with fresh eyes and realised I really didn’t like. There was paperwork that I’d been holding onto and didn’t need. 

I found piles of notebooks, containing diary entries and plans, and saw the same old worries and insecurities staring back at me from the pages. In some ways it was comforting to see – I’ll always worry and overthink things, but things do evolve over time and you find your way eventually.

This big clear out felt like the shedding of a skin. And it felt good. I wasn’t too nostalgic, or scared by the amount of time that had passed. I was pragmatic. What can I use now, what might I use one day, what have I grown out of? How can I simplify things? I realised I was more focused on moving forwards than on looking back.

If you’re going through a transition and you’d like some coaching sessions with me, connect on LinkedIn or email at

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Shake things up

This week I’ve been thinking about my morning routine. In a time where we have so little freedom and so little control due to covid, I’m thinking about the things I can do to look after myself.

Things that I know are going to help me feel better every day.

My routine has shifted during the past year. Pretty much all our routines have changed in at least some way due to covid – and for many it’s been a seismic shift.

For a long time I’ve enjoyed doing a bit of yoga and having a walk first thing in the morning. Recently I’ve also added some dance into the mix.

And it’s rapidly become an important part of my day.

I do 10 minutes of yoga first thing on waking up. Followed by breakfast, getting ready for the day, doing a little bit of writing if there’s time. Then I join a group over zoom and dance to three songs along with around 10 other people.

Whatever my mood at the start – I relax into it. I’m learning to give myself the freedom to move as I want, even if that means randomly waving my arms in the air or doing some strange shuffling moves. More often than not a song makes me smile or laugh as I see others in the group jumping up and down or rocking out. It’s impossible not to grin dancing to The Proclaimers or Tom Jones. I get a little breathless, feel my heart rate going, I feel it in my legs.

I finish feeling energised – ready to bound out the door for a walk. And with a smile on my face. It’s a daily moment of connection.

A year on, we’re still restricted in so many ways. This is a chance to socialise and to try something new and different, which just cannot be underestimated at the moment.

How’s your routine looking? What can you add in that you know will always make you feel good?

As well as enjoying a daily dance around my living room, 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 Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Taking initiative

I read an interesting interview with a marketing specialist about feelings of failure around quitting your job. She commented ‘it’s taking initiative and knowing what you want from life, not failing.’

It’s such a good reminder. 

So often when you feel unfulfilled, bored or frustrated in your job, you feel like you’re failing. Why is my life so rubbish? Why did I take this job? Why can’t I just get on with it and enjoy it?

If your work makes you feel miserable, you can feel as though you’re failing at life. Work is such an important part of your every day, it’s how you spend the bulk of your time. And if your working hours are spent feeling negative, it can feed into the rest of your life.

I love her comment because it’s about turning things around. It’s about not feeling like a victim or that you’re powerless in your own life. Instead it’s about being brave, seeing that something needs to change, and doing something about it. 

Quitting a job or anything else means that you are deciding what’s right for you. Never mind what other people (colleagues, friends, family) who’ve never been in the same position may think. Decide and go for it.

Taking the initiative, making a bold decision and working out a plan to support yourself is confidence boosting. Career change is always possible, it just takes time and action.

It’s about moving on to something better, something more suited to you.

If you’d like help with a career change, I run coaching sessions to help you plan and take the first small steps. Contact me on LinkedIn or at

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

How to be sure your next step in career change is the right decision?

I have a client who is stuck. Let’s call her Maria. Maria needs help. She wants to ensure she’s making the right decision about her future.

Maria returned to the UK after living in Australia for a year or so, working as a personal PA. She spent the past few years doing jobs that haven’t challenged her or helped her learn or grow. As she puts it, she’s ready to do something which is going to force her to use her brain.

Maria thinks she knows what her next step will be, to do a four year part-time course in nutrition. But she’s questioning herself, wondering if this is just a whim. Is this the right decision? Is she interested enough? Will it be a viable career? Can she make money as a nutritionist? Does she want to spend the next few years studying, what about money?

Break it down and build a realistic picture

When you are in a situation like this, it’s good to break down all your questions and worries and do as much research as possible. It’s the same process whether it’s a course, a job offer, starting up a business on your own. The aim is to build a more realistic picture of what this will look and feel like, and then make the right decision based on what you discover. 

For example you might be worried about the future, wondering how easy it would be to get a job with your new qualification. Nothing is certain, but you can get a clearer idea. See if the course leader can put you in touch with past students and find out what they are up to now. 

This way you can find out what’s realistic. Research jobs that appeal and are a viable next step; working as a nutritionist, working in the food production industry, perhaps writing articles for a food and wellness magazine. Get as full a picture as possible on what different opportunities there may be, and what appeals to you.

The best way to deal with a difficult decision is to be as informed as possible.

So if the course content is a worry, again, arrange to talk to the course leader and find out more detail. What exactly will you be studying each week, each term? Will it cover everything you want to know? Will there be content on setting up your own business – if that’s a route you’re interested in? How many hours of study will you do per week? How much extra reading will you need to do?  

Does what you find out seem interesting and exciting, or dull and off-putting?

And if money is worrying you – what can you do about it? Could you do a part-time job alongside studying, how would that fit in? Would that support you? Would you have the time? Do you need to save up first?

You’ll be better equipped to make a decision once you’ve carefully considered all of the above, and you’ve written notes and ideas and plans. And it’s important to listen to yourself. Are you drawn towards this course, this imagined life? Are you full of energy thinking about it, are you excited? Or are you withdrawing, feeling uneasy, feeling trapped? 

There is no certainty, but once you’ve put as much research into your decision as possible it will help.

If you’d like to work with me on some coaching sessions, find me on LinkedIn and send me a message, or email me at

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

Photo by Han Lahandoe on Unsplash