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

 

 

Is unlikeability a bad thing?

 

I’m trying to train myself to be a little more unlikeable. Or rather – I’m trying not to care so much about being ‘likeable’. I had a conversation with a friend today which reminded me that lots of women pay waaaay too much attention to how their actions are going to affect other people.

What about me?!

Rather than going by our own whims and desires, we make decisions based on what other people want. Someone invites me out because they want my company? I’d better go – I don’t really feel like it but they’re feeling a bit down and say they miss me. They need me.

Someone invites me for a coffee – I just want to go off on my own for a bit of a read – but how do I tell them this without offending them? Sorry, I’d rather be on my own…

There’s a big dinner, everyone’s going – why aren’t you going? You don’t feel like it? Why? don’t you like us? Don’t you like – people?

I read an article on likeability with this great quote:

“Think for a moment how much time you have spent in your life replaying conversations where maybe you said the wrong thing, or how you were maybe too curt with that person in the checkout line, or too forward with that dude you met on Tinder; how maybe you speak too much in meetings or make your views too known. How much time you have wasted fretting about whether other people like you? Just do a quick calculation: how much of your life, do you think, you have spent this way? An hour? A whole day? A week? Maybe entire years? What masterpieces could you have made by now if you directed your energy toward writing like a bad mother***ker instead?” Lacy M. Johnson

Even now as I write this, I’m worrying that I was a bit off with someone yesterday who wanted to chat just at the moment I received an important email and had to respond.

I know that I wasn’t actually off with him. I rarely (never?) am. I’ll have just been a bit flustered and apologetic. And here I am, 24 hours later, spending time worrying about whether he thinks I’m rude or will have changed his opinion of me.

Unapologetically herself

Along those lines, I saw a video from Stylist magazine this week about ‘what makes women strong’ – and one part bought tears to my eyes. It showed one young girl saying that a strong woman is unapologetically herself. ‘She wears what she wants, does what she wants, and says whatever the hell she wants’.

I actually had to rewind that section 3 times. Because I realised that sometimes I do feel apologetic for being myself. Apologetic when I want to be on my own. When I don’t feel like talking. If I want to leave a social event before everyone else. Apologetic that I choose to do my own thing.

I’ve written in the past about self-belief, confidence and imposter syndrome. It’s all linked. We’re doing ourselves a massive disservice fretting about being liked and being ‘the good girl’, rather than just getting on with it and doing what the hell we like.

I help people with career change and I also help people with their mindset. I particularly want to help with inspiring confidence in women – it’s an area we really seem to need help with. Knowing our own minds, being unapologetic.

Have a think about it, do you care too much about being likeable?

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

Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

Tips on how to say no as an introvert

I used to struggle working in an office environment. I found the noise, the constant distractions and ringing phones hard to deal with. The impression that I was expected to sit at my desk all day, day in and day out, felt like I was trapped.

It’s only fairly recently, having taken myself out of that environment, that I’ve realised being a bit of an introvert was probably part of the reason I wasn’t 100% comfortable.

Being an introvert (my understanding) basically means that spending time around other people can drain you. It’s not shyness, it’s not that you’re not sociable. It’s that being around other people​ (even those you love) uses up your energy. ​You need frequent breaks to just be in your own company. And think.

On the other hand if you’re an extrovert – being around other people actually energises you.

Really, my ideal work environment most of the time is to be around max. one or two other people. Preferably not all day. Or, on my own with a book!

Anyway today, after a couple of awkward interactions, I had to remind myself that:

  1. It’s ok to say no to doing things you don’t want to do. How many of us wrestle with the people pleasing ‘I must be sociable’ thing, going against what we really want?
  2. Also, I’m probably feeling tired because I spent all weekend with ​various ​big groups of people. It’s no surprise that I need a bit of time to myself.
  3. Thirdly, there’s a podcast​ out there that reminds me it’s ok to be an introvert. There are other people out there that feel the same, who maybe have a few tricks up their sleeves.

The podcast’s called ​’​The League of Extra​o​rdinary Introverts​’​. I particularly like an interview with a writer I admire called Alexandra Franzen S2E6 Subtracting More To Get More With Alexandra Franzen

Amongst other things she talks about how to deal with overwhelm by subtracting more from your life. And most noteworthy, how to say no to things you don’t really want to do, or that will take up your time. My kind of topic, and a comfort to listen to.​ Enjoy.

Bonus Article

Also, bonus resources, here’s an article from Alex on how to say no to everything ever

Bonus workbook

To round things up, a free workbook she’s created with templates on how to turn down invitations nicely: how to say no

If you’d like to book in a coaching session with me, email me at: joaopoku@gmail.com and I’ll get in touch for a chat.

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Burnout and turning it around

I read something in Emma Gannon’s the Multi-Hyphen Method yesterday (which I’m loving) about ‘How to Spot Burnout’. Five main points were:

  • Noticing that you’re being cynical about everyone and everything
  • Becoming apathetic, not caring that much about the outcome of a project
  • Tasks that were once easy become difficult or overwhelming
  • Physical symptoms such as illness, aches and pains, immune issues
  • Isolating yourself and feeling a huge loss of energy

It hit a nerve. I’d always considered that I might have suffered burnout at one stage in my life but it sounded quite a grand way of describing what I’d seen as ‘a bit of a murky period’.

But the truth is, those five points describe how I was feeling. The thought of calling a potentially intimidating client bought me to tears – and I actually felt I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t pick up the phone to him.

I had no interest in work.

I’d go straight home and cry every day.

I developed a tick in my left eye that stayed with me for MONTHS.

And I didn’t want to socialise. I lost all sense of reality in terms of confidence and how good I was at my job. Everything felt too much, work, social life, everything.

So I left my job. Which I’d previously thought was something you just don’t do. But it reached the point where it felt like my only option.

I’m glad I did it. I turned things around. I took myself out of an environment that wasn’t doing me any good and I gave myself breathing space. It took time but I’m now in a much, much happier situation.

Sometimes you have to be brave, sometimes you have to take a risk. Sometimes you have to listen to your gut and do what you know deep down will be best for you.

Even if it seems crazy and risky and a massive mistake. Who knows? No one can predict the future.

But the worst is not taking action, and settling. Letting yourself get dragged deeper and deeper into despair or worse – indifference. Losing any zest you once had for your wonderful beautiful life.

***

I’ve you’d like to try a life coaching session with me, contact me here.

 

Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash

The amazing feeling when you’ve made a big scary decision

I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I made the decision to quit my job. It was a feeling of MASSIVE relief and freedom. Like I could breathe deeply again. I remember feeling exhausted. But I had a real sense of – I can do anything.

I’d been at my parents crying my eyes out, talking through my situation and I came to the conclusion that I needed to leave my job.

Related: The Day I Decided To Leave My Job

The next morning, I caught a train back home, and started walking back from the station. I bought myself a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and really savoured them, strolling along in the gentle sun.

And it might not seem a big deal, but that was quite symbolic for me. Buying a packet of crisps at 11 o’clock in the morning and strolling along eating them! I never do that! This is real freedom!!

And I just remember that feeling. I’m free. I’m not trapped in this feeling of frustration and shame and discomfort any more. I’ve made my decision. After years of self-flagellating and dreaming and not moving on – finally, finally, I had made a big decision as a grown-up adult has the right to do, and I knew in my gut it was the right decision.

The right decision?

I tell you this in case you are struggling with a decision. If you are all twisted inside, feeling uncomfortable, sick, nervous. If you are terrified of making a mistake.

Ultimately, you probably know what you really want, you are just scared. Or you are torn between two equally decent sounding options. Or, maybe one is decent and sensible and a little boring, and the other is big and exciting and risky. Whatever.

Related: What happens after you reach ‘Breaking Point’?

The main thing I want you to know is that the absolute worst is the indecision. The wrangling and overthinking and swaying from one side to the other.

And the absolute best, is making that decision. Knowing that you are equipped to deal with whatever the outcome is. Perhaps it won’t work out quite as you hoped or expected. Maybe there are still tough times to come. It could be you’ll have to quickly make another big decision, then another.

Think new thoughts

But the sooner you move on, the sooner you can get stuck into the next phase. And feel that sense of freedom and excitement at having made your decision. You can concentrate on other stuff. Think new thoughts.

Sure there will be other dilemmas and issues and let downs. But you will be safe in the knowledge that you made that big decision! It’s yours. You did it. You had the guts to do it. And you can do it again. It’s given me a certain confidence that I’ll never forget.

From deciding to leave my job, a good year or so later I then made the decision to move to live in Spain. With a new job working remotely and a looming Brexit, this was the time. A little after, I made the decision to set up my coaching practice on the side.

I’m certain my decision to leave my job allowed me to make these other big decisions with a  lot more ease and confidence. (With moving to Spain, I still stressed, and worried, and sometimes wondered what the hell I was doing…but I got on with it. Because deep down I knew exactly what I was doing). I’d stuck my neck out once, I could do it again, take a risk, follow my heart. Survive and deal with the consequences.

What decision are you hesitating on? Do you have your answer deep down? Can you take a step forward?

If you’d like my help through some coaching, get in touch here.

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash