Does your dream feel impossible?

The problem

A former client from my advertising days wrote to me recently, wondering how I’d made the leap from advertising to what I do now. She explained that she’s unhappy with the situation she’s in at the moment, still working in advertising. She’d moved to Madrid 3 years ago with a sparkly new job. But it isn’t working out the way she wanted. What she really wants now is to return to her native Italy, to Rome, with a good job.

But as far as she’s concerned, that’s an impossible dream. 

I found it interesting that she describes her dream as impossible. From my point of view it’s a relatively straightforward wish. Find a new job, hand in your notice, book flights, find somewhere new to live…

If we look into it a bit more closely: there’s no visa issue or reason she can’t physically return to her country. Flights aren’t expensive and it’s not a great distance to have to travel. So nothing is stopping her from giving notice on her flat and job, packing up her stuff, and getting on a flight. Finding a new place to rent (or buy) can be a faff but there’s always a solution, even if it’s temporary until you’re more settled.

So what else needs to be seriously considered? Work.

Is it likely she’ll find a job in Rome, or a way of working from there? I’m not too sure what the job market’s like but with her intelligence and experience, getting a job is surely possible. Will it be exactly what she wants, right from the start? Not necessarily, it may be a case of finding something to pay the bills and then making a switch when a new opportunity arises.

She’ll have a big network of contacts by now who could be invaluable in helping her find something. Even if the job market in Rome is limited, could getting a job with a company based in Milan and working remotely be a possibility, being close enough to visit when necessary? Could she do her current job remotely from Rome, or side step into a role that would allow it? All within the realm of possibility.

The reality

There’s a saying by Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t-you’re right.”

If you believe that something is impossible, it probably will be impossible, because you won’t even try to do it. 

You’ll spend your time torturing yourself, wishing for something with all your heart but take absolutely no action to try and do it. Because you believe it won’t happen.

Many people feel as though their dream is impossible. The reality is probably that it would take time, effort, logistics, mindset, guts, focus, determination and maybe a bit of luck.

However, if you can accept this, and start working towards your goal nonetheless, it should be possible. It might take more time than you’d like. It might require a lot of effort and persistence. But if it’s really want you want, more than anything, surely it’s worth it?

The solution

The number one stumbling block is going to be your mindset, and that needs to be dealt with. Working hard to rid yourself of the belief that your dream can’t happen. And doing everything to persuade yourself it’s possible.

You need to find other people who have done the same or similar (erm – hello?). Search online, ask your network of contacts. Surely someone out there has moved from one big city to another, maybe even from Madrid to Rome, and found a decent job in the process. If they’ve done it, so can you. You might have different circumstances, but it’s possible. 

Sometimes you have to let go of expectations, and be willing to be open and put in the work. It sounds cheesy, but I think you have to work to make your dream happen. It can be done.

Got a big dream that seems impossible? What’s the first small step you can take to make it seem more real?

If you’d like to chat with me about coaching (and maybe make a plan to get out of that job you’re really not loving), get in touch at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Victor on Unsplash

Need some focus?

I do. I sometimes wonder if I’m losing my concentration skills. I’m finding it takes more and more effort to focus.

I seem to have a lot of half-started things around me, or things I want to look at/do/read/try but haven’t quite gotten round to. For example:

Half-read books.

Looking around my flat, I currently have 12 books where I’ve either read a chapter or two or am half-way through. A couple I’ll probably never read. But others I’ve enjoyed so far – I’ve just got side-tracked and tempted by something else.

Half-watched Netflix tv series.

Currently around 5.

Podcast episodes clogging up my phone’s flimsy storage capacity.

There are so many that I’m half-way through. On top of that, every day new episodes are appearing from podcasts I’ve subscribed to.

The choice is endless. There are podcasts offering something up whatever mood I’m in (entrepreneurial, comedy, entertainment, comfort, current affairs).

And some are for walking along to, some are for washing my hair to, some are for cooking to…

Too many emails in my inbox.

Offering free training or free webinars or free guides to things I want to learn about. There are a lot of voices out there, all ready to teach me something new. And there’s SO MUCH to learn!

35 articles.

Saved in a folder on my browser bookmarked ‘to read’. Throughout the day, as something catches my eye, I dump it there. And it adds up, and adds up…

There’s just too much stuff.

Knowing this stuff is all there clogging up leaves me with a feeling of dissatisfaction. I don’t like having things lingering like that. Nothing is completed.

Are my concentration skills failing? Or is it because there’s such a proliferation of stuff out there for us, it’s a real mental battle to just focus on one thing at a time, and see it through to the end.

Distractions.

It’s become normal to flit from one thing to another. Opening up multiple internet tabs where one article leads on to another. 

Looking up something on your phone, only to be distracted by a notification and taken off on a different rabbit hole. When you manage to come out of it you’ve forgotten what you were originally looking for. 

There are so many distractions out there, and when you’re curious and interested in lots of things, and like to learn, it’s even worse.

It takes a lot to pull back and work out what’s important, and then focus.

Solution.

So the only solution I have is to regularly reassess. 

  • What do I need to focus on today or this week? What are my top 3 priorities?
  • Can I break down my ‘to-dos’ into smaller, achievable actions steps?
  • Can I cull any emails/subscriptions/podcast episodes?
  • Are there any apps I can delete?
  • Can I streamline my diary, think hard before agreeing to something?
  • What if I make a promise to myself that I will see each new book, podcast episode, tv episode through to the end (unless it’s rubbish and therefore I’ll scrap it)?

It always comes down to simplifying when I feel overwhelmed. Cut through the noise, limit my options.

What are you doing to stop the overwhelm and unnecessary distractions?

***

You might like my guide to creating a morning routine: 3 easy steps to a morning routine you love!

Contact me if you’d like to try a life coaching session. I can help with overwhelm, productivity, feeling stuck… Email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Using the 80/20 rule

I recently wrote about how your hormones can affect your productivity. I’ve since learned from a podcast that week 4 of your cycle, the week before you are due your period, is the perfect time to evaluate and reflect on life, work, everything you’ve got going on.

So the other morning I decided to take some time to do just that – and specifically reflect on my coaching business.

I’ll share what I’ve learned, and how you can apply this to any area of your life, including career change.

The 80/20 principle

The podcast talks about the 80/20 rule (the Pareto principle) – which basically states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your effort.

For example if you have a business, it’s likely that 80% of your sales come from only 20% of your clients. A few key clients generate most of the income.

Therefore you should concentrate more on nurturing relationships with these 20% key clients. And on finding new clients who are similar.

This principle can be applied to practically anything, 20% of your effort will result in 80% of your results.

How can I use 80/20?

I wanted to look into the 80/20 principle and what it means for me. Based on an activity suggested in the podcast, I took a look at the marketing I do for my coaching business. I wrote a list with two columns. The left hand column shows how I spend my time on marketing each day or week. The right hand column shows how my clients find me.

I​ worked out that I spend 120 – 180 minutes writing and publishing a blogpost each week. 

10 – 30 minutes goes on writing a post to put on LinkedIn – ideally daily but this isn’t always the case. So let’s say 50 minutes on this.

Then I spend around 10 minutes every Monday posting to a couple of relevant Facebook groups. I share useful articles and promote my coaching.

I also spend some time reading relevant articles and following marketing tutorials. Maybe another 50 minutes a week.

So that’s 290 minutes a week on marketing.

Does 80/20 apply to me?

That’s how I spend my time. Now, how do clients find me?

When I look at where my clients actually come from, it’s LinkedIn and Facebook. They’ve organically searched for coaches and found me.

Or they’ve seen one of my posts or comments and checked out my profile or website.

My very first client found me from a post linking to an interview I did for the Careershifters website and contacted me for advice.

So the 60 minutes a week I spend on creating LinkedIn and Facebook posts directly result in new clients finding me. That is indeed 20% of the time I spend on marketing. The 80/20 principle does seem to apply.

So what have I learned?

I’ve learned that I need to focus more on LinkedIn and Facebook posts, perhaps increasing frequency and making sure the content is great. They directly influence the success of my coaching business, allowing me to reach new clients. Bingo.

I can try to cut down a little on the other stuff, if it’s time I could be spending on the posts mentioned above. I could repurpose my blog content for more posts. Doing more interviews like the Careershifters one would be a good idea.

How does 80/20 apply to career change?

This principle can be applied to career change (and any other area of your life, it’s all about how you’re choosing to spend your time).

You might be doing all sorts of things to try and change career and find a new job.

Scanning online job boards, using LinkedIn, getting job alerts. Speaking to friends and family. Researching further training. Scanning company websites for openings or sending cover letters. It can be overwhelming.

Take time to reflect.

Perhaps it’s time to sit back and reflect. Get a piece of paper, on the right hand side write down all the ‘successes’ you’ve had.

Connections you’ve made on Linkedin that seem promising, a phone conversation with someone who could help or advise. A coffee with an acquaintance that led to an introduction, a job application you’re excited about.

Now on the left hand side write down all the tasks that you’ve been doing to help with your career change.

Contacting people on LinkedIn who look interesting. Setting up a call with a friend of a friend who works for a company you’re interested in. Spending 20 minutes scanning job boards. Reading through your daily job alerts. Going to a talk which gave you some great ideas.

Match up your successes to your tasks. What directly led to these successes? Which tasks are actually getting you somewhere, and which are just keeping you busy?

The former are the tasks you should be concentrating more on.

This activity helps with focus when there’s a lot you could be doing and you don’t know how to prioritise.

It can help with endless searching and procrastinating.

If you are more targeted in your approach, a bit more strategic, chances are you’ll make good progress and feel more in control.

I hope trying the 80/20 rule works for you – and helps you streamline your efforts!

If you’d like to try a life coaching session with me, email me at joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

My to-do list is out of control! Dealing with procrastination and productivity – 5 easy steps

I spoke to a client the other day who is struggling with overwhelm and productivity. Life is busy and stressful, and she has big plans for herself.

As well as wanting to transform her career, she wants to transform the way in which she lives her life.

She wants more autonomy in how she spends her time, more opportunity to focus on her areas of expertise, and time to pursue new hobbies or things she wants to learn.

Productivity, focus, procrastination

After talking to her it got me thinking of productivity, focus and procrastination. These are the key areas which affect getting things done aren’t they?

You want to be really focused on what you want to achieve, really productive in how you spend your time getting there. And then our friend procrastination comes along, getting in the way.

Indecision

I started to look at my own situation and realised that I too feel pulled in all sorts of directions. I have all these great ideas, I put them on a list of ‘things to do’, and then before I know it I’m crippled by indecision. Where to start? Is this idea really worth the time? Should I be focusing on something else?

The teeny tiny first step

I’ve recently discovered the idea of breaking down a big old ‘thing to do’ into the very smallest possible steps, in order to actually get started and make progress.

For example, take a potentially awkward phone call I’ve been putting off. I’ll write down these three steps on my to-do list.

1. Literally just finding and noting down the phone number to call as the first task (ie a Google search).

2. Next, planning what I’m going to say, or noting down what I need to find out. Writing down a few lines to fall back on.

3. Finally, picking up the phone and making the call.

You tick each item off the list as you accomplish it. It sounds so obvious but physiologically it helps me just do stuff. What might have been pushed back and pushed back becomes doable.

Too much at once

However I’ve realised that I often start one thing on my list, just to get started. I then look at a completely different ‘to-do’  and take the first small step there. I’ll swiftly move on to another – to feel as though I’m covering all bases, making progress all round. The result is I end up with lots of half-done unsatisfactory unfinished things.

I looked to a book for inspiration. One that’s always at the back of my mind but that I’ve never fully read (what’s going on there?) is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I read the first chapter and loved his ethos. As his website says:

“The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done.”

Essentialism

It’s all about prioritising. Only focusing on the essentials – not the fluffy extras that are time wasting opportunities. Your productivity will surely improve.

So I decided to pick my top priority from my to-do list – what’s the one thing that’s going to push me forwards the most? Then I’d break that task down into tiny bite-sized pieces, and work on these tasks only, until it is complete.

It works

And do you know what? So far it is working. I highlighted the two most urgent important tasks on my to-do list,  and listed all the little steps to get each done. Then I picked one, ignored the other, and solidly worked my way through the steps.

It helped that I picked something I was excited to learn about: I wanted to share a blogpost on Pinterest, where people can download my free vision board ebook.

I was so buoyed by my success that I felt full of energy and ready to start my second top priority task.

Chances are if I hadn’t applied this tactic I’d still be procrastinating, searching and reading articles about both tasks and not actually getting on with making them happen.

What you can do

So there we have it. My productivity tips:

  1. Read Essentialism before me.
  2. Highlight 1-3 of your top priority tasks on your to-do list.
  3. List each teeny tiny easy step you need to complete for each one (I’m talking mind numbingly easy like 1. watch Youtube video on creating a Pinterest account, 2. sign up to create a Pinterest account, 3. watch Youtube video on creating a board on Pinterest…).
  4. Pick one top priority task and get to work, step by step. Ignore all else until it is completed.
  5. Feel smug.

I hope this helps if you are feeling overwhelmed and your to-do list is out of control! Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

If you’d like to try a life coaching session with me, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com. You can sign-up for a free 30 minute Skype call with me.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

The Ultimate Lifestyle Edit – 3 tips

Will I ever tire of reading stuff to do with decluttering and simplifying your life? Probably not.

A few years back when I was feeling pretty lost in my career, I spent a whole Christmas holiday on my parent’s sofa, obsessively reading the Becoming Minimalist blog. Reading about paring down, simplifying, and getting rid of clutter, made me feel better. It was soothing. It did something to my mind, relaxed me, maybe released some of the mental tension I’d been holding.

The thought of shedding things I didn’t really want or need, things that were weighing me down, and paring down to the things I truly loved, felt like I’d be freeing myself somehow.

When you’re feeling a little out of control – with me it was in regards to my career – decluttering can be a sort of antidote. It’s one area of your life you can control. You can declutter and then limit what physical items come into your life. It’s the ultimate lifestyle edit. It helps calm the mind.

Since then whenever I feel a little bit out of control, overwhelmed, with too much going on in my head, I turn to thoughts of simplifying and decluttering.

1. Physical decluttering

Physically decluttering, having a good old sort out, then keeping things organised, makes your day-to-day life better. You know where to find things, and it’s pleasing to the eye.

I’m calmer if my home is clean and tidy and not a disorganised mess, with things to catch my eye and annoy me, and take my concentration.

2. Digital decluttering

It’s not only physical items. Now digital decluttering is more important than ever. There’s so much being thrown at us all the time, not only what’s going on in our own monkey minds but also the relentless influx of digital content; different platforms on which to view content, interesting articles, things to look into, to follow up on, to download, to read, to try out, to buy, to consider…

It’s amazing because there’s so much inspiration out there and there’s so much to do. But there’s no stop button.

So the only way is to streamline. Strip back to the basics and focus. Decluttering and reassessing processes is one way to do that.

I try to be aware of getting lost in the jumble of information overload.

There’s something really liberating about going through your phone and deleting unused apps and contacts. Closing down open webpages and deleting bookmarked items. All those things that take up space and time and attention, and really don’t need to be there. Maybe they’re out of date, or you just don’t use them.

Unfollowing people that add nothing to your life. Unsubscribing.

Just today a friend looked at my laptop for me as it wasn’t working properly. When he handed it back he’d tidied all the out of control shortcuts and screenshots into a neat little file for me to review and (ideally) delete. My homepage looks so appealing now – and I feel a little wash of calm when I look at it. Simple.

3. Mental decluttering

I constantly remind myself to keep things simple. My home, packing for a trip, social plans, a work project, my desktop – everything.  It helps me to manage the barrage of things to do and think about.

I love writing lists and also splurging whatever’s going on in my head onto paper. Mentally decluttering, getting it out there rather than letting things whirl around in my head, or trying to remember too much.

What can you simplify in your life? What can you get rid of?

If you need help with making a change in your life, contact me for a coaching session. Send me an email at: joaopoku@gmail.com and I’ll get in touch.

 

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash