First week of January. It’s a tiring week for everyone even in normal times. Likely back to work after a bit of a break, suddenly having to get up to an alarm clock, remember passwords and what you actually do in your job. An onslaught of news, catching up, things that need to be done. Add in the fact that it’s January 2021 and there’s just so much to take in. Covid, sinister new strains, lockdowns, issues with the vaccine, Brexit, Trump, doom and gloom, cold, rain, darkness. So overwhelming.
Suddenly we have to deal with a million thoughts other than ‘what leftover bit of dessert am I going to eat next and what are we going to watch on Netflix tonight?’
It’s absolutely overwhelming, a total gear shift.
I know I’m finding things overwhelming when I can’t even bring myself to deal with Whatsapp messages from lovely friends – at the end of a busy day it feels like just another screen to look at, more thinking to be done, more energy to be expended.
All I can think to do is try and slow down again. So here are a few things I’m going to try to do these early weeks of January.
Get away from the computer when I need a break, instead of desperately searching for feel good articles or torturing myself with another news update, or simply ploughing on. Step away from the computer and read a book for 5 minutes.
Stick to checking the news once or twice a day, tops.
Get up and stretch or walk around. Rather than just thinking about the fact that I should get up every hour, do it instead of staying welded to my seat.
Walk – walk in the morning, at lunch, in the evening, any other time I can. It always makes me feel better.
Call a friend and have a chat – don’t hide away.
Listening to a short Headspace meditation can make all the difference, forcing me to slow down, breathe deeply, close my eyes, rest.
This is my own little checklist anyway, a few things to remind myself of during the day.
Reading the news doesn’t make me feel good, being at the computer all day doesn’t make me feel good, sitting all day doesn’t make me feel good.
Regular breaks to move and change my focus help.
One good thing about January is starting to work with new clients on their career change! 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 email@example.com.
Clients who are stuck in their careers will often be adamant that they don’t know what they want to do with their life.
They’re scared to voice their dreams. I have no idea. I’m lost. Nothing interests me. I’ve had such bad luck, such bad experiences. Nothing appeals. More times than not they do have a secret fantasy dream career, but it seems inaccessible to them.
They know for sure that they are not happy where they are, in their current situation. But they’re scared to delve much deeper than that.
And then, as I keep unpeeling the layers, there’s always a throwaway remark along the lines of, “well I’ve always been obsessed with fashion, but…”.
Or, “my absolute dream would be to work with children who’ve been kicked out of school but….”
Or, “ideally I’d love to go back to Australia and work on a retreat where people go to recuperate but…”.
An inaccessible dream
They tell themselves that their dream is unrealistic, that it will be a struggle to get there. It’s out of their reach.
They decide that for now they just need to find a job that’s ok…then if they work hard enough somehow they might get to the dream place. They feel that they’d need to earn it. To have more experience, more luck, better skills. In fact, to have a totally different life.
And they tend to think that such jobs are for other people, not them.
The fact that they see other people out there doing the job isn’t enough to encourage them to go for it. They see it as a deterrent – these people must be so skilled and so talented and must have a zillion skills that they don’t have.
Break it down to make it achievable
The reality is that this job probably isn’t perfect and probably won’t satisfy every desire they might have. But, if on the whole it fits in with their values, suits their way of working, and makes good use of their skills, then that’s pretty great.
If they can break it down in this way, they can start to see it as something which is achievable.
How can they gain any missing skills? Do they need to retrain, and accept that they may need to save up for it, and it may take time? How can they start to get a bit of experience in the area? Would trying out a similar role be possible? Job shadowing? Can they speak to a few people doing a similar role and find out a bit more about their reality?
Maybe they can pull it down a little from this pedestal in the sky, and build a more 3D picture. What’s actually stopping them? Is there something concrete they can work on, or do they need to face some invisible obstacles usually known as fear, lack of confidence, procrastination?
Making it a reality
I had a client who dreamed of living in Paris, working with underprivileged kids, of being able to work flexibly and sometimes from home. When we started talking she was working 9-5 in an office in London. Now, she’s living her dream. And it’s not perfect. But it’s way more in line with what she wanted from her life.
Another client dreamed of working as an entrepreneur, writing, consulting. He was working for a very traditional institution. Now, he has his own travel consultancy website and writes a blog on business innovation.
They both started off feeling that their dream career seemed inaccessible. Then by progressing along step-by-step they started to see that if you pinpoint what you want, and explore along the way – talking to this person, applying for that, discovering something else – gradually you can reach a place you’ve only dreamed of.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ever have those days when you want to make something happen – write something, start a creative project, start a job search, but you’re paralysed? You just can’t get started? You’re unsure, lacking confidence, you just don’t know where to start?
I heard something recently which helps put these feelings into perspective. It’s a reminder that anyone out there that’s ever created something you’ve admired, had to start somewhere. And most likely they felt as nervous and unsure and lacking in confidence as you do now.
Imagine the day when this creative person started that one thing you so admire. A film, a book, a painting, a tv show. That very first day when they sat down with a notebook or laptop. Imagine how they were feeling?
Bursting with energy, enthusiasm, confidence, bright ideas? Maybe. But perhaps they also felt unsure, nervous, unprepared, out of their depth. Maybe this was one attempt following many ‘failed’ attempts before. Perhaps this was totally new to them, a leap from their normal day-to-day work. It’s possible they felt as insecure and scared as you do.
It could be that there were a million other things they could be doing – leaving this idea for another day, when they felt more ‘ready’.
And if you had the opportunity to go back in time and speak to them, chances are you’d urge them to do the work.
If they hadn’t prioritised their work, it wouldn’t have got done. And you wouldn’t have had the chance to be moved, inspired, or delighted by it.
The point of this is – prioritise your creative stuff. That thing you have a real yearning to do, or really need to do, but you don’t feel ready? Just start. Make it important, make it a priority, dedicate time to it, even just a little bit every day. Everyone has doubts when they start. But it’s the only way stuff gets done.
If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at email@example.com.
I thought I’d write a little bit about my own career change and what the situation was before I made the leap into something new.
It feels strange trying to carry on as usual with the world in turmoil. People may still want to change career – but it probably feels as though it has to be put on hold, everyone’s panicking, no one is hiring. Even if this isn’t 100% the case.
People looking to change career, as always, and maybe more than ever, still need inspiration, advice, ideas, comfort; perhaps above all, comfort. To know that things will get better, and possibly even better than before.
Before the leap
So here’s a little insight into my own career change, what I was going through before deciding to take a leap. Maybe you’ll recognise some of what I’m saying, how I was feeling. Perhaps you can relate to it. Even just knowing someone else felt like you do right now, can help
When I started working for my previous company as an advertising assistant, I was happy. Unpacking magazines, writing letters to clients, emailing or calling our international teams around the world, being organised. Looking through our magazines to see if clients’ had been featured. Dealing with art copy that came in.
That was enough for me. I enjoyed it. Sorting out the magazine cupboard. Looking at magazines all day. I was part of a nice small team of 4, a small office space. It was fun.
But as time wore on, eventually I ‘had’ to move into sales (if I wanted to progress at all), and takeovers were agreed, redundancies made.
I moved into a big open-plan office, with a bigger team, a noisy boss. Part of a much bigger company. That wasn’t for me. That wasn’t what I’d signed up for.
Things changed, teams changed, I gained more responsibility. Bigger clients, bigger magazines brands, bigger budgets, bigger targets. And I developed less interest.
But you’re so lucky!
I’d tell myself I was lucky, this is great, you get to go out and meet fashion clients, take them to lunch in swanky restaurants, speak to international contacts, win a deal.
But behind all that was a feeling of being a fraud. I felt that I didn’t really know what I was talking about, I didn’t really know the industry that well. The talk always seemed superficial; I wasn’t speaking from the heart.
I’d be so nervous before meetings. ‘What will I say? How will they be, will they ask me about something and I won’t have the answer? Am I saying the right things? Am I actually trying to get the business?’
Day out in London
I once spent the day with a lovely French colleague, over to meet with clients and talk about the magazine she represented. We had a nice time, she did all the talking, we got to go to lovely hotels and restaurants to meet clients. We travelled all over London by taxi, she’d bought me a present from Paris.
As I closed the taxi door and waved her off in Kensington, I turned to walk to the tube and tears came pouring out. I felt exhausted. What was wrong with me? I’d had a good day with a lovely colleague, full of little luxuries, and I was upset?
But my nerves, feelings of inauthenticity, of stress, were all coming out. This was not how I wanted to spend my days. And what made it worse was that I knew I was totally spoiled and ungrateful. Work’s work right? And this would be a ridiculously luxurious day for so many people.
But feeling like a fake, meeting with and speaking to lots of new people, rushing around having meetings all day, being out and about in busy old London wasn’t for me. What suits me better is hiding behind a computer, with a couple of nice colleagues around.
Work out what’s right for you now
It took time, but I realised that I didn’t want to work for some big corporation, in a big open plan office. The world of media and advertising and fashion and magazines wasn’t for me anymore. I didn’t want to have to try to convince clients to advertise in our magazines. I didn’t care. It felt inauthentic because I truly didn’t care. I hated the briefs, which all felt the same, and valueless. I didn’t understand the language. It sounded like BS.
And, importantly, I realised that I didn’t have to. The job you’ve had for the past 2, 5, or 10 years doesn’t have to be your job for life, not anymore. It takes time, it takes work figuring out what you want.
So if any of this rings a bell or resonates with you, remember it’s ok to realise your career isn’t right for you. You’re not going to do your best work if it’s not in an environment that suits you, for a company that has different values to you. It’s ok to realise a few years in that things have changed and that you want out. It may on paper be a great job, for a great company. But it’s not great for you.
If you’d like to have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the moment there is a lot of fear and uncertainty around the coronavirus and how it will affect us all. Lots of people are worried about their jobs, paying mortgages and bills, home schooling, older parents and family.
If you’ve already started considering a career change, you might wonder if now is really the time. There’s too much uncertainty. Surely no one is hiring or interviewing, the economy is taking a big hit, isn’t this a pointless task?
I watched an interesting video on dealing with career change during a difficult time, with so much uncertainty. The host made a really important point that stood out to me – “now is the time to channel fearful energy into proactive energy”.
I talk a lot about a few different things that really helped me with my career change. Amongst them are reading inspiring and practical books, blogs, and interviews around career change. About interesting people and how they life their lives. And also listening to podcasts, around the same subjects.
But time is quite often an issue with career change. We feel as though we’re too busy to think about something so big. We don’t have the headspace to really explore by reading widely and looking for inspiration, and writing down our dreams and thoughts.
Well now, a lot of us are working from home and not commuting. Or staying in in the evenings and weekends rather than carrying on with our busy social lives. So it’s a great opportunity to make use of the extra time. And channel that fearful energy into proactive energy.
For once, we have time.
Career change requires a lot of thinking time, exploring what you really want from your career right now. Maybe your ideas or values have changed in the past few years. Maybe you’ve started on a trajectory that really isn’t right for you any more. It’s time to get clear on what your next move will be, whenever the time’s right.
Use books, online activities, talks, articles and blogposts to find some of your answers. Work out what inspires you, what kind of lifestyle you want to lead, how do you want to spend your time? Who is out there doing things that interest you, or is someone that you admire? How did they do it? What is their life philosophy? What can you learn?
It’s also a great opportunity to do online courses and learn something new. It could be something that could help you in your next job, new skills or a new awareness of an industry. It could simply be learning something that interests you and makes you happy. There are lots of free or inexpensive courses out there – many hosted by well-known, inspiring people.
Staying stuck is the worst – whatever is going on in the world. Taking action, in whatever small way, really helps. Channel that fearful energy into something productive.
And if you’d have a life coaching session with me, sign up here on LinkedIn. Or email me at email@example.com.