2 Ways to Build Confidence for Career Change

 

It’s been said that the three major things to hinder career change are time, money and confidence.

Today I’m going to focus on confidence. A big one.

My story

Prior to my own career change, my confidence levels were not high.

I’d lost confidence in my abilities at work. I would see other people in the office on the phone, or in client meetings, chatting so confidently and seemingly at ease. Whilst I was a bundle of nerves.

It affected my mindset. I didn’t enjoy the work, I was intimidated by it, and I had no real desire to do it. There was this mixture of apathy and fear. Not a good combination.

So as much as I wanted to make a change and find work that really spoke to me, I couldn’t see clearly what I had to offer. I’d been at that job for so long that it was hard to recognise my abilities out of that context.

As I associated my abilities with that specific role, I didn’t really want to think about them. Sales, negotiating – I’d had enough and it was like I’d hit a brick wall.

But I spoke to a coach who helped me to see things objectively, not an easy task when you are feeling so emotional. However she helped me distinguish between whether or not I enjoyed using those skills in that context, and whether or not I was actually in possession of those skills and could apply them elsewhere.

Tip 1 – rethink what you’re good at

If you’re struggling with your confidence,  I’d recommend doing this with a coach, a good friend or someone in your family. Sit together and come up with a list of all the skills you use in your work. Do you have to communicate clearly, negotiate, give presentations, write concisely?

Also add a list of the things you feel you are good at, whether in or out of work. Are you super organised, brilliant at coming up with ideas, able to connect with other people easily?

Then objectively, together, evaluate these skills. Score yourself out of 10. Particularly pinpoint those you don’t feel confident about, or that you’re sick of. Take out the emotion. As much as you may not enjoy it – you probably actually use this skill really effectively, and have a huge amount of experience in using it. Try to back your score up with examples. Maybe imagine how you’d view the situation if it were a colleague in your place.

You might surprise yourself.

The main aim here is to realise that you have many skills and talents that can be put to excellent use elsewhere.

Tip 2 – read about inspiring people

Prior to, during, and after my career change, I also read a lot of books that I picked directly to help me with my confidence levels, such as Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway. Over time, these books reinforced the message that I could do whatever it was that I wanted. I just had to get started.

I read so many books and articles from impressive women who had done brilliant things. They said that the only difference between them and anyone else was that they chose to go ahead and get on with things. These women weren’t necessarily more talented, creative or intelligent. They all had the distinguishing feature of just getting their heads down and step-by-step working towards accomplishing what they wanted.

Find inspiration

I found articles and blogposts about other women who had gone through a career change. There were stories similar to my own. Seeing that these women had moved on and were now doing work that they enjoyed or even loved, inspired me.

Gradually it helped change my mindset. I realised that I do have loads to offer, and actually more opportunities than most; I was just getting in the way of moving myself on, by giving in to fear.

Bit by bit I developed a more positive, brave, explorative mindset. I learned about putting yourself out of your comfort zone, how it can be excruciating but the more you do it, the more you develop resilience. So often I felt uncomfortable, unsure and awkward. I accepted that part of the process to moving on is to feel this way.

Bonus – read these books
Here are some of the books that helped with developing confidence and made me excited to find my own path. Maybe they will inspire you too:
  • Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
  • You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers
  • Be Your Own Life Coach by Fiona Harrold
  • Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas
  • Are We There Yet? by Sarah Alderson
  • This Year Will Be Different – Monika Kanokova

I hope you find these tips useful if you’re letting confidence hold you back. You can build it back up.

If you’d like to try a coaching session with me, working on building your confidence, send me an email at: joaopoku@gmail.com.

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

 

Are you boring your friends?

 

It can be hard when you want to change career. You know you’re going to have to shake things up. Your routine, what you know, what lies ahead, is all going to change. And that can be a really scary thought. We all like safety, comfort, routine. It helps us feel safe and in control.

You’re on your own

So you’re dealing with all these thoughts and worries, all on your own, in your head. Maybe if you’re lucky you have friends and family who are good listeners. But still – you feel there’s only so often you can repeat the same worries, fears, dreams.

Should I leave my job? Can I really do that? What do you think about this? What would you do in my position?

Chances are your friends and family are lovely and patient and just want the best for you. But it can get to the point where you feel like a broken record and you’re starting to annoy yourself with your indecision and lack of direction.

It could also be that you don’t really want to talk to those close to you, you feel ashamed that you’re somehow failing if you don’t feel 100% happy and successful in your work. It’s embarrassing to admit that maybe you’re not on the right path. It could be there’s this thing you’d secretly much rather be doing, but it seems silly or unrealistic.

When you’re feeling like this, chances are you need some assurance. You need someone to talk things through with at length. Someone to listen to you without judgement and without getting irritated or bored. An opportunity to have someone listen to your fears and dreams and let you talk it out. You can get everything out there, out of your head.

Someone who can read between the lines, get to the crux of what’s holding you back.

Is it lack of confidence?

Difficulty in making decisions?

Suppressing a big dream due to fear?

Is it caring too much what your family and/or friends think?

Talking to someone who’s been there too, can help

Talking to a coach, especially someone who’s been there, who’s gone through something similar, can help.

They’ll listen and they’ll help you to focus on what needs to be done to make some changes.  You’ll have support and encouragement. You won’t need to worry about going on about yourself.

It’s all about you, and it’s all about moving your forwards towards what you want.

If you’d like to try coaching with me, we can talk things through and make an action plan together. Send me a message at: joaopoku@gmail.com.

 

Photo by Korney Violin 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

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

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