‘Aiming for perfection is not realistic’


Is 100% perfection ever possible?

Not according to Winston Churchill,

“The maxim ‘nothing but perfection’ may be spelled ‘paralysis.’” (Winston Churchill)

….and I think my course tutor agreed when she wrote on my feedback form:

‘There is obviously more you could do but aiming for perfection is not realistic (although it is expected of lawyers.)’

This was 10 years ago, yet I will never forget her comments.  I have been guilty of perfectionism and have had to learn to lower my high and unrealistic expectations of myself to allow myself a chance to try new things and learn from mistakes I make along the way to improve.

I am, of course, not the only one. Perfectionism is extremely common and continues to trouble individuals as they enter the workplace, as confirmed in a recent article about the rise in perfectionism in young people.  This article sets out the characteristics and beliefs of a perfectionist as:

  • Holding excessive standards and punishing yourself for failing to achieve these standards.
  • Validating your worth by perfection.
  • Experiencing guilt and anxiety about unworthiness.

Does this sound familiar? I am sure those of you who are perfectionists will agree that always believing nothing is ever good enough is an exhausting state of mind.  It can lead to stress, anxiety and poor concentration as well as other mental health issues.

If you consider yourself to be a perfectionist, there are steps you can take to alleviate the pressure you put upon yourself.  Use the following tips to start the process:

  • Failure is not a weakness – start to believe there is a learning process through which you can gain knowledge and succeed.
  • Set yourself high achievable standards and realistic goals that do not require perfection.
  • Get the job done. Do not procrastinate for fear of failure.  Take manageable steps instead, taking each decision at a time.  Enjoy the process, not just the outcome, and this will open new opportunities you didn’t know existed.

Don’t let perfectionism hold you back.  Motivation comes from striving to be excellent, not perfect.

“Strive for excellence, not perfection, because we don’t live in a perfect world.” (Joyce Meyer)



How do you choose the right coach for you?


As an accredited coach with the International Authority for Professional Coaching and Mentors (IAPC&M), I was recently invited to take part in a round table discussion to discuss the important matter of accreditation and why my accreditation with the IAPC&M is important to me, my business and my clients.   Given the absence of a regulatory body in the profession, this is a hot topic amongst coaches as it raises questions about whether coaching is always taking place to the highest standard in the industry.

Given my background as a solicitor, it took me a while to get used to the idea that any individual can practice as a coach without accountability.  It was therefore an obvious step for me to become accredited with the IAPC&M to ensure that I was doing all I could to provide the best service for my clients.  Being accredited gives my clients the assurance that I have the professional ability to provide the best service for them and provides me with a professional accountable framework in which I work to ensure I maintain these high standards in coaching.  I have continual access to support, guidance and professional development and can continue to invest in developing my professional skills.

How is this relevant to me?

Individuals – When choosing the right coach for you, firstly ensure they are accredited.  You want to be able to trust that they are investing time, money and energy in developing their professional ability and providing you with a good service.

Coaches – If you are considering training to be a coach, become accredited by an organisation which is striving to ensure coaching is to the highest standard in the industry.

To find out more, please have a listen to the discussion which can be found here or click on the link below.  (You will hear my input at 11 minutes and 33 minutes!)


If you want to find out more, you could also have a read of the IAPC&M’s  Guide to choosing your coach.Screen-Shochoose-a-coach


Hidden careers you never knew existed


The more time you spend investigating different sectors, the better suited your career choice will be.

I was unsurprised by a recent headline that popped up in my newsfeed last month.

Children in poorer countries have higher career aspirations than UK

On the face of it, you would perhaps question the accuracy of this headline when there are hundreds of amazing careers available to us in the UK within countless sectors.  However, this article was prompted by the results of a survey of 20,000 children so there must be some truth behind it!

The finding from the survey that took my interest was the evident need for children to be introduced to different types of careers at an early age.  As children are heavily influenced by their social surroundings and who they know, their career expectations did not always match the opportunities available to them, limiting their chances of finding a career that gives them happiness and fulfilment.

However, it is not just children who lack knowledge of different sectors.  Adults, through no fault of their own, are guilty of this too!

How many different career sectors are you aware of?

At school, we were typically taught to think about careers in fixed categories with no overlap, common examples being law, medicine, veterinary science, engineering and teaching.  This is fine until you have spent five years in your chosen sector and realise it doesn’t quite feel right for you (perhaps it didn’t ever feel right).  Your job role may contradict your true values or differ from your interests.  However, you feel your career choices are limited and have little knowledge of what else you can do.

The reality is, there are thousands of sectors to choose from.  There is something for everyone, to fit with all personalities, skills and interests.  If you were not introduced to these at an early age, perhaps it is time now to seek them out.  Identify your passions and start making links between them by stretching your imagination.  Pretend you are back at school again and revisiting your choice!    For example, if you are interested in young people, education and creative writing, expand your thinking beyond teaching.  You could investigate writing short stories or educational materials or working for a charity that promotes creativity in young people. There will be so many different and exciting strands to explore.  Just remember, your investigations may take a few steps rather than one big jump!

Expanding your sector choices will increase the opportunities available to you and enable you to find a career that best suits you.


Unpacking an inspiring career in 2018


Can we all find an inspiring career which makes us feel happy and fulfilled?

We all want a career we love but often lack the ability to find the job that inspires us the most.  In fact, many people I speak to say they would change career tomorrow if they could but have no idea what motivates them or what they could do.  I then wonder, where has their positivity gone?  Where has their childlike curiosity disappeared to?  Do they really have no idea about what motivates them?

The reality is that our positivity and curiosity does not disappear but instead becomes buried deeply under a sea of everyday thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, the world and the future.  These have formed through past experiences, knowledge and predictions for what might happen. 

‘I am not good enough’

‘If it goes wrong it will be my fault’

‘They will think I’m crazy’

It is these negative thoughts that are pushing your positive thoughts under the surface and preventing you from being open to opportunity and fulfilment.

So, how do we allow our positive and curious thoughts to resurface?   Well, if you bear with me for a moment and use your imagination to work through the following instructions, I will attempt to help you…

First, pack the interfering everyday thoughts into an old suitcase and secure the case (you can unpack them later if they mean that much to you!). 

Your positive and creative thoughts now have room to resurface, retrieve these and pack them into a new suitcase.  Use these questions to help your thinking:

What jobs would you like to try for a week?

If all jobs were paid the same, what would you do?

What are the three things you feel most passionate about?

Great!  You now have two suitcases, one with new inspired thoughts, the other with old everyday thoughts. 

Now imagine both these cases are on an airport conveyor belt. They will pass you once and you must choose just one of them to take home and continue filling, the other will be left behind.  Which case are you going to keep, the case of positive ideas and thoughts or the case of old everyday thoughts? 

Quick, they are passing you…this is your chance…GRAB ONE NOW!

I am sure you are now getting the point! 

Remember, you know yourself better than anyone else.  If you actively seek out the thoughts and ideas that will give you the best chance of finding an inspiring career, you will find happiness and fulfilment.



Tessa’s 2017 career blog round-up – something for everyone!

career clipartWill you be pondering over your future career during the Christmas break?  If so, perhaps one of my blogs from 2017 will help to guide your thoughts.  I have provided all the links below (please excuse any inaccuracies with the publishing date– these became slightly muddled when I launched my new website in June!).

There is something for everyone –  whether you need help with your current job or would like to search for something new. Have a look…..

Stop waiting, take action! (Jan)

How to cope if you are put at risk of redundancy (Jan)

How to get a new job now – The three Ps! (Feb)

Four ways to feel happier at work (March)

Are you tired of being available 24/7? (April)

3 steps to turn your fear of rejection into career success (May)

How to make the first step towards finding a job that suits you (June)

How to stop stress preventing you from pursuing changes in your career (July)

Four focus points to help you make a good impression when starting a new job (July)

Who is the best person to tell you what job you should do (and it’s not me!)? (Sept)

Three steps to overcome your fear of being judged (Sept)

The importance of learning to say ‘no’ (Oct)   

Does looking at past events help you change career? (Nov)

Are you fed up of worrying about your career? (Dec)

Five ways to overcome setbacks (Oct – Life Coach Directory)

Is it time to stop feeling so stressed at work? (Dec – Life Coach Directory)

I look forward to being in touch again with more blogs in the New Year!  In the meantime, I wish you a very merry Christmas!


Are you fed up of worrying about your career?


When looking back at 2017, were there things you were worried about in your job or career which you now realise were not worth the worry?

Perhaps you were worried about not being good enough for your new job.

Were you anxious about a work appraisal?

Perhaps your family and friends were telling you not to change career making you worried about it all going wrong if you went against their advice.

Were these things worth the worry? Did worrying make you feel happy and positive, driving you towards a fulfilling career, or did it make you feel stressed and tired?

Worrying can make you feel miserable.  It stems from negative attitudes and beliefs and can delay decision making and progression.  A common belief which causes worry is thinking you are not good enough.  This belief frequently stops people achieving what they want to achieve.

If you found 2017 to be a year of worry and would rather make 2018 a year of self-control and planning, then first have a think about your current beliefs about yourself and ensure you adopt an ‘I can’ attitude.

With this new positive attitude, you can then move forward with your career planning, using these questions to help focus your ideas:

  1. Do you still want to be in your current job in 2019? What can you do over the next year to develop within your current role?
  2. Do you want to progress within your organisation? What is your next role and what can you take on to enable you to progress?
  3. Do you want a career change? If so, what is your overall goal and what steps do you need to take to get there in 2018?

Leaving behind the worry and taking control of your thoughts will enable you to decide what you want in your career and have the confidence to achieve it!


Does looking at past events help you change career?

motivation-clipart-cliparti1_motivation-clipart_05“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” (Wayne Dyer)

An increased understanding of your response to past events, enables you to think more positively and develop greater self-confidence to act on the best career decisions for you.

When I first meet an individual for career coaching, I am often greeted with a look of surprise when I ask them to rate everything they have done from school to date by their motivation. I can understand their surprise, for they have come to me for help with their future career path and not their past. However, it is an invaluable exercise in identifying attitudes and beliefs which can hinder or help the career change process.

Our attitudes and beliefs are shaped through our response to experiences and events and dictate how we feel and behave. When our response to an experience forms a negative belief, we can feel miserable and our motivation for exploring new and exciting career possibilities is low. In contrast, when we have positive thoughts, our motivation is high, and we become far more willing to try new things.

In reviewing our motivation from past experiences, we can start to identify our positive and negative beliefs, and this can help us make future decisions. I will show you how through two examples:

1: Negative beliefs

I work with many solicitors who initially give their motivation at work a low rating. One common reason for this is the frequency of having to deal with telephone calls from unhappy clients. Dealing with these calls can make individuals feel anxious about speaking on the phone as they begin to mistakenly believe they are not good at dealing with people. Consequentially, they decide that their next career move must avoid this. When thinking of a career change, it is important to deal with negative beliefs such as this and learn to change them to avoid closing the door on possible opportunities too early in the career change process.

2: Positive Attitudes

In reviewing past events, we can also identify experiences that made us respond with a positive attitude and feel really motivated. Perhaps you did some volunteering for a charity which made you feel good about yourself and wanting to do more. In reviewing these positive experiences, it is important to look at what specifically you were doing during the experience that made you respond in this way – these activities and skills will be relevant when deciding on a best fit career.

Evaluating past events helps you to understand your thoughts and beliefs. How you think will affect how you feel about your next career choice and the subsequent action you take. Positive thoughts and beliefs will enable you to make the best decision regarding your career.