Is this really failure?

 

I listened to someone talking about career change yesterday and she mentioned that up until recently it was considered by some as failing.

In my own personal experience, there’s some truth there.

You got the job or started the career, it’s a good job, decent money, nice colleagues, a few benefits.

And then a few years down the line you realise it’s really not for you.

You believe you’re not good at the job. It feels as though you’re not doing well. You don’t have any passion or even any interest in it anymore. Of course that’s a failure. You’re failing. You’re no longer achieving.

I felt like that. I did feel an element of failure, wanting to leave my job of 10 years, the job I’d so loved at the start. If everyone else is happy getting on with it and doing well, why can’t I?

But the thing is of course, staying in a job you don’t like (were you do have the option of leaving) is the failing part. Failing to listen to yourself, failing to be bold enough to live the life you know you really want.

Which is most likely doing a job you enjoy, a job which means something to you.

Listening to others and sticking out a job you dislike for fear of what other people think is failing.

Letting yourself stay miserable and unfulfilled and desperate out of fear of making a change is failing.

The notion of a job for life is on its way out

Things are changing, the notion of staying in a job for life is quite rare now. Lots of people successfully change careers not just once, but two, three times or more. Some of us out there have a ‘multi-hyphenate’ career – combining a mixture of jobs/side projects/collaborations – whatever we need to do to stay fulfilled and bring in some money.

If you want to change career but you’re looking at it as a failure of some sort, I’d say rethink things. What’s the real failure. Can you imagine yourself doing your job in another 1, 5, 10 years? Would you like to do your manager’s job, or director’s job, or CEO’s job? Do you even want to stay in your industry in the future?

If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, maybe it’s time to be true to yourself, and start the process of moving on.

Start by figuring out a few areas of work that interest you, that make you come alive when you allow yourself to dream. Find out more – research, talk to people in that world.

Start making a plan to find a way to test out this new area, step-by-step. Set aside 20 minutes a week to write if you want to be a writer, to translate if you want to be a translator. Take a half-day of leave and job shadow someone. One Saturday morning a week work for free to test out another area.

Look at changing jobs as exploring, experimenting, leading an adventurous life

It doesn’t have to be drastic, it doesn’t have to put you in danger of losing your home and stability. Look at it as learning about yourself, and improving your life. About being brave and bold.

If you’d like to try life coaching with me, to help work out your next steps and start taking action to improve your life, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

 

 

Yes, things can change

I wanted to write a post to help anyone out there feeling as though nothing about their situation is ever going to change. You’re wondering if this is it, if this is the best you can do. You feel as though you’re stuck in a rut. You can’t imagine achieving all those things you want to, they feel too big, too far away.

I felt like that for a long time. For years everything was ok, pretty good even overall all things considered. But there were some areas of my life I was really quite unhappy with. And the feeling of being stuck, paralysed, scared, grew and grew.

I just found a post in my journal from three years ago. Here are some of my big 5-year goals from that year.

5 -Year Goals
  • Publish a book about living in Spain, and do a talk/interview about it
  • Complete a life coaching qualification
  • Set up a coaching business
  • Meet a foreign boyfriend
  • Do art as a hobby, maybe illustration
  • Dance often – learn to salsa well
  • Live in a beautiful, sunny apartment
  • Be close to my nieces and family
  • Save money each month
  • Have a great social life – meals out, cinema, dancing
  • Blog about coaching related things
  • Blog about life in Spain
  • Move to Spain
  • Take a road trip in the US
And you know how many of those things I’ve achieved?

Well, I’ve yet to take the US road trip and it’s still very much on the list. I decided to concentrate on the coaching side of blogging rather than writing about life in Spain. I haven’t yet published a book. But everything else on that list, I achieved. There’s been a lot of change.

When I wrote this list, this was all a total dream. I was in a transition period, I’d recently left a decade long career and started a new job, and was still restless. This wasn’t where I wanted to be. Living in London, not content with my social life, my love life, my finances. I’d started wondering if living in Spain could be a reality.

Three years on I can’t believe how simple it seems, in retrospect, to get what you want. However, as you go through it it doesn’t feel simple at all. There are lots of ups and downs, lots of firsts, lots of getting out of your comfort zone and wondering what the hell you are doing.

But really, it’s a matter of writing down what you want, being honest with yourself, listening to your heart (or gut). Then doing everything you can to get there.

I had to inspire myself, motivate myself, and take action.

Once you clarify what you want – staying absolutely true to yourself and forgetting about what other people think or want for you – then it’s a matter of holding onto your dream, staying excited and taking one small step at a time.

I formulated a plan for moving to Spain – read here.

I built up to starting a coaching business – read here.

I focussed on what I really wanted – read here.

Time and time again I put myself out of my comfort zone – read here.

All one step at a time, over a three year period. It takes time but it’s worth it.

If you’d like to speak to me about my life coaching sessions, email me here: joaopoku@gmail.com

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

When one big decision leads to the next

 

I listened to a podcast the other day (Mary Portas’s ‘Work Like a Woman’, interviewing Elizabeth Day) where at one point they talked about how making a decision and taking a big risk can lead to realising your own strength, growing resilience and therefore being more willing to take more risks.

The conversation resonated with me. It’s so true.

It took a huge amount of nerve to leave my corporate job a few years back. I seemed to be going against common knowledge or advice, leaving a good, well paid job, with plenty of benefits like swanky lunches with clients and insider invites to fashion sales.

But I went with my gut, did what I knew was right for me, and left.

It was a big risk. I spent the next few months veering between terror and liberation. One minute nervous about money and what I’d do next. The next super excited at being able to choose the direction I wanted my life to move in.

I was consciously deciding to take control. That felt amazing, like a superpower. I realised I could actually make decisions for myself, about my life, rather than just go along some conveyor belt of ‘what you’re supposed to do’. It was a revelation.

And it was a feeling I didn’t forget. After a few months of taking on a new job which I loved and which allowed me to work remotely, I realised I still felt unsettled. There was a nagging feeling that something didn’t feel right.

That was when I acknowledged the secret desire I’d been keeping pushed down for years, that I wanted to live abroad again.

I saw my opportunity. I was working from wherever I wanted, home, my parents’ house, a cafe…surely I could do the same job from another country, as long as I had wifi and could travel back from time to time?

It was a really scary thought – leaving my flat, my family and friends, my city, my routine…for the unknown. But deep down I knew that I wanted it. And as I’d already recently made one big scary life changing decision, I just knew that I could do it again, and do it successfully.

Because I’d survived the unknown before. I’d prepared myself sufficiently and it had worked out really well. Again I prepared myself for the worst that could happen. The worst would be that it all went terribly wrong in Spain, and I’d come back to the UK and live with my parents until I sorted myself out again.

Way back when I was thinking about leaving my previous job, I’d started on a journey of designing the kind of life I wanted to live. I knew that sometimes you have to follow your heart, follow the excitement, be prepared for risks and discomfort. This was the next step. And I was flexing my big decision making muscle once again.

***

Got a big decision to make? What next small step can you take to help make that decision? Is it writing a list? Talking to someone? Doing some research?

If you need help in planning your next steps in making a big life changing decision (or in making less dramatic, more low-key changes) contact me for some coaching sessions. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com. I would love to help.

Photo by Lubo Minar on Unsplash

Not feeling motivated?

 

It’s really difficult when you want to leave your place of work, but you don’t feel motivated to search for something new.

You’re not happy there, you don’t enjoy it, it doesn’t feel like a good fit. Perhaps the company has different values to you, or you don’t like the atmosphere or energy there. It may be that the role isn’t what you expected,  it’s less interesting or varied than you thought it would be. You feel your skills aren’t being used, you feel the work isn’t of value. You’re not helping anyone.

You’re desperate to leave, to find something exciting and of value and better paid.

You just can’t seem to feel motivated enough to take action and move on.

You feel depleted. Lacking in energy, tired, stressed, overwhelmed, miserable. The last thing you want to do  in your free time is search through depressing job ads, work on your cv, write cover letters that won’t get a response.

All you really want to do is sit on your sofa in comfy clothes, with comfort food (preferably cheesy or chocolatey) and zone out.

You want to forget about your day, forget about the mundanity and the disappointment. You want relief, you want comfort, you want entertainment. And for a brief moment your attention is taken, you’ve forgotten.

But then you wake up the next day, and you repeat the cycle. You drag yourself to work feeling miserable, beating yourself up for being in this situation you don’t seem able to get out of. Why are you wasting your days like this? What are you doing with your life? Is this is it? Are you stuck forever? Why can’t you get out? Why are you sabotaging your progress?

Because it’s easy

I’ll tell you why, it’s because that’s the easy option. Not doing anything is easy. Wallowing in self pity is easy. Ignoring the problem is easy. Carrying on in the safety of your little bubble, miserable as it is, is easy. Meeting friends for a drink and moaning about your job or your boss or your team is easy. It’s comforting. It’s cathartic. But it’s not helping you.

1. So what can I do?

You have to get motivated. This means summoning up the energy take the next step. Finding a way to focus on what you want, and how great that’s going to feel when you get it.

It helps to visualise what you want, where you see yourself. You can dream. Try imagining how things could be better. You have to find a way to reframe your perspective so that you start seeing things in a positive light.

Because if you’re down in the dumps, miserable, seeing everything in your life as rubbish, you won’t be able to see opportunities and act on them. Everything will seem too much and pointless. Nothing will seem worth the effort. Everything will seem too hard.

If you can start to view things positively, your energy changes. No your situation isn’t perfect, yes you’re feeling crap. But, this CAN change. Change is on the horizon. There are opportunities. There is another way you could be feeling. You can and will get there.

2. And then the crucial part

You have to take action. Consistently. You have to break down this enormous, scary, hideous obstacle that is finding a new job.

You have to make it easy for yourself. By getting all options and possibilities down on a piece of paper. Really thinking hard about what you want.

  • Big or small company, or freelance or creating something yourself. What values will the company stand for? And what values will the employees hold dear?
  • What kind of people do you want to work with? How big would you want your team to be? Do you want to work on your own? What kind of work space, office, studio, outdoors? How close to home?
  • How much money do you want? What are the limits?
  • What do you actually want to be doing? At a computer or out at meetings? Out in the world meeting people? Presenting? Talking? Observing? Creating? Travelling? How would you like to spend the majority of your day?
  • Is it sat at your desk, with a peaceful environment, radio on, a few colleagues around, drinking tea as you work. Would you prefer running around town meeting people, forming relationships? Do you dream of getting your head down distraction free?
I think the key is to be as specific as you can about what you want, so you’ve got a clear idea, but then try to remain flexible about what’s actually out there.

It could be that you find something that has only a few of the key elements your looking for, and that’s enough. Something that you never might have imagined could actually fit the bill.

Once you’re clearer on what you want, and you can summon up some excitement about how your life could be, looking for something new becomes more manageable.

When I was in this position I found it really helpful to talk to friends, or friends of friends, who seemed to enjoy their jobs. What was it they enjoyed? What was it about their company or role that was great?  It opened up my eyes to the fact that there are so many jobs and companies out there. It is possible to like your job, you can switch and do something slightly different. There are opportunities out there.

It gave me hope. And hope is something you need right now. You have to believe you’ll move on. You never know what conversation you’ll have when someone will make a suggestion: speak to this person, check out this website, have you heard about x? And that sets you off on a different path. You realise there is interesting stuff going on out there. Stuff you could be involved with.

You really never know what’s round the corner. And the most important thing is getting yourself out of that helpless mindset, into a mindset that is open, curious, ready to take action.

What next step are you going to take? Pick something super small and achievable. Do it. Then plan the next step.

If you’d like to book a coaching session with me to help you in taking action, email me here: joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

Slowing Down with Hurry Slowly

I discovered a new podcast this week which has made me very happy. Called Hurry Slowly, it’s all about ‘how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient through the simple act of slowing down.’

There’s often such a pressure to have this aggressive, ‘always on’ attitude – to be ‘killing it’, hustling. Along with all the distraction we live with – notifications, too much choice, the lure of the internet, news, Game of Thrones theories and funny videos – it’s no wonder there’s a lot of anxiety and stress around.

Just thinking about it makes me crave simplicity and calm. Cutting back on everything, slowing down. Breathing.

Back to Hurry slowly. The first episode I listened to – futurist Alex Pang on ‘Prioritizing Rest and Reflection‘ – totally backed up my philosophy of working with focus for a certain amount of time, then having a good break, rather than ploughing through for hours on end.

He also suggests walking and taking time to digest, letting your mind flow, seeing which ideas or solutions appear. Sleeping on a problem and finding that it’s magically resolved in your mind the next day. Basically – being aware of how you use your focus and energy, and figuring out what actually works for you.

“Real relaxation doesn’t come from doing nothing at all if you’re a busy person but from doing something different — an alternative outlook, a change of atmosphere, a diversion of effort is essential.” Alex Pang

Another guest, author and designer Debbie Millman, talks about how anything worthwhile takes time. There’s such pressure to succeed and to achieve things quickly. With all the social media and other content outlets it’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Seeing what other people have achieved by your age and feeling inferior. I love that the message here is to take your time and experiment.

 “Most of the things that I’ve done have taken me quite a long time to realize any sense of real visibility in doing them. That’s just always been the arc of my life in anything that I was doing. I didn’t really get any traction with my career for about the first decade. I now look back and call that first decade experiments in rejection and failure.” Debbie Millman

The last episode I’ll mention is dedicated to something I’m as obsessed with as the host – walking. Sounds simple, maybe even boring to some. But I’ll never stop banging on about the virtues of walking. It really is like therapy. It’s meditative, it gets the blood and circulation flowing, it takes you out of slump or crappy mood. A good walk cheers me up no end.

So there we go, if you’re inspired to discover more there are plenty of episodes to uncover here.

Enjoy the reminder that slowing down is a good thing.

If there’s something in your life you need help with changing, feel free to contact me for a coaching session. Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com and we’ll find a time to speak.

 

Photo by Les Anderson on Unsplash