Have you lost control of your work-life balance?

‘Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.’ (Hilary Clinton)

Do you agree with Hilary Clinton?

Are you constantly balancing work and life?   

It is unsurprising that I have never coached someone who doesn’t want to achieve a ‘work-life balance’.  It is a well-known fact that a good work-life balance prevents stress and burnout, reduces anxiety, and creates healthy and happy lifestyles.

However, I am sometimes challenged by people about whether a work-life balance is possible and this has occasionally made me wonder whether these individuals are right.  Perhaps it is unrealistic.  Perhaps this is a term that will fade in popularity when we move on to the next ‘in’ phrase. However, whatever name we associate with it, I do believe it is possible.  Over 10 years of coaching individuals who are unhappy in their career has taught me that ‘work-life balance’ does impact lives and I know that when I work with someone on improving their work-life balance, they always become happier and are able to give more thought to making their career more fulfilling.   

Unfortunately, Coronavirus and the ongoing changes to our lifestyle and work arrangements has made maintaining a work-life balance tricky for many people.  One minute we can see friends and relatives, the next minute we can’t.  Many are now facing redundancy or were about to come off furlough, only for it to be extended again.  Many went back to work, now to be told to work from home again.  Plans have been made and cancelled.  Keeping up with changes we have no control over can be mentally exhausting and can impact the control we have over maintaining a good work-life balance leading too stress, fatigue, and a decrease in work performance.

How is your work-life balance at the moment?

I know many people have been reassessing their lives and priorities over the last few months during the pandemic.  Discarding things that previously made them stressed and bringing new elements in that make them happier.  If you have managed to do this, fantastic!  However, if you haven’t please don’t worry, it is not easy.  I really mean that. It is not easy at the best of times, let alone when there is a pandemic and the rules keep changing.  When a client said to me last week that they feel like they have lost control of their work-life balance, I knew they wouldn’t be the only person who currently felt this way.

If you feel this way, why not spend a bit of time doing a little review of your life.  Simply follow these points to help you:

1. Consider the following five areas of your life and grade each area on a scale of 1 to 10 as they are for you now; 1 being poor or you are unhappy with what you are doing in this area and 10 being you are fully satisfied or you happy with this area.

  • Being active/health (e.g. Diet, physical activity, fitness)
  • Relationships (e.g. Family, partner, parents/siblings, friends)
  • Learning (e.g. Books, courses, hobbies)
  • Contribution (e.g. Giving time and energy to others)
  • Relaxation/being mindful (e.g. Ambitions, salary, relationships)

(If you would like to go into more detail, work out how many hours you spend on these categories in a typical week.  A typical week is approximately 98 hours, allowing for seven days each of fourteen hours.)

2. For scores below 9, spend time thinking about what you can do to improve your score in that category. Think about changes you can make to your life to increase the lowest scores. Remember, you do not need to make big changes.   Focus on one category at a time and take small steps towards improving your score.

Remember, once you have started the process of restoring the balance, you will start to feel happier and have more energy to eventually raise all the scores.

Whether or not it is the correct term to use, having a ‘work-life balance’ and keeping it at the forefront of our minds is really important for developing a happy and fulfilling life and career.

Preparing for changes in your career in a post-coronavirus world

preparing for change

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”

(Albert Einstein)

 

We are all now starting to look to the future in a post-coronavirus world.  Some of you may already be putting plans in place for your careers, others may still consider it too early to make any decisions or are unsure what to do next. How do you prepare to make changes in your career in a post-coronavirus world?

I am finding that career change, flexible working and wellbeing are some of the main areas of change being reviewed by individuals at the moment as they consider the future of their working lives.  These are the areas that are often considered when deciding on best-suited career paths.

Career Change

According to recent research by the Adecco Group UK and Ireland, 29% of the UK’s workforce is considering a significant career change. One of the reasons being that many individuals (nearly one in five) felt they were not being treated well by their employer during the pandemic.  There are also many people who, before the time of coronavirus were considering a career change, and still want to pursue this.

Flexible Working

Working patterns have changed over the last few months allowing for more flexibility and working from home arrangements.  This has prompted thoughts on how our working lives can benefit from this flexibility.  Is there more scope for portfolio careers?  Can our working lives work around our family and home life in a more beneficial manner?

Wellbeing

In recent months, we have also had lots of time to think about our wellbeing.  Spending more time at home has enabled us to spend time discovering what really makes us happy and feel good about ourselves. There will be changes many individuals will want to make to their lives now and in the future.

Since March, I have published a series of blogs, articles, and videos to assist you in navigating the impact coronavirus is having on the world of jobs and careers.  These are all summarised below – I hope they will be helpful for you as you start to make decisions about what the future holds for your career as we emerge from the affects coronavirus has had on our lives.

BLOGS

Looking after your career in the time of Coronavirus

This blog was written at the beginning of lockdown to help those worried about their future.

5 ways to get out of lockdown lethargy

To help you manage any uncertainty in your life and career.

Coronavirus and careers – what happens next?

Helping you to navigate the impact coronavirus has on your career.

Making career decisions in uncertain times

Some useful thoughts and ideas on how we start making decisions about our future careers when everything appears so uncertain.

How do we develop ways to get through the hard times in our careers?

Find out how to make career changes during tough times to enable you to move forward happily in your career.

CVs that stand out – this will make you smile!

Just for a bit of fun! Have you ever thought of presenting your CV in the form of a cereal box?  Discover some fun and creative examples of CV writing to make you stand out from the crowd.

ARTICLES

How to adapt to uncertain times to find the career you love

VIDEOS

Making career decisions in uncertain times

Building your confidence for a career change

MY BOOK

‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’

My book provides a structured process to help you move forward in your career. I had had over 700 downloads over lockdown so I’m hoping it is currently helping lots of individuals with their careers!

Whatever your circumstances, this may be the right time for change no matter how big or small.  If you need some assistance do have a look at my website where you can browse through lots of free career resources.

CVs that stand out – this will make you smile!

Have you ever thought of presenting your CV in the form of  a cereal box?  One person did, have a look here.

standing out

As we pass the 100th day of lockdown, I thought I would take a more light-hearted approach to my blog writing and provide you with some fun and creative examples of CV writing that made applicants stand out from the crowd.

CVs, on average, are looked at by recruiters for about 7 seconds.  With this in mind, have a look at these examples and see what you think.  What was your first impression? Would you give the applicant an interview? As you will see, it’s all about tailoring your job application to the potential employer.

  1. Social Media Executive, Wagamama – A fantastic lockdown example using social media to gain an interview having missed the deadline.

Just over a week ago, a final year university student wanted to apply for a role as a Social Media Executive at Wagamama. Having creatively prepared her CV, she went to upload it and was devastated to discover that applications were closed.  Instead, she posted it on LinkedIn for all to see – have a look at it here – she has created it in the style of a Wagamama menu.

Following her post on LinkedIn she was offered an interview despite missing the deadline.

  1. Google – The CV that got this man a job at Google

This man cleverly tailored his CV to replicate a Google search results page and was offered the job!  Have a look at it here.

  1. Facebook – The CV that replicates a Facebook profile

This lady didn’t get the job due to a hiring freeze but the director of the company shared her CV because of its brilliance.  Have a look at it here.

Although these might seem extreme, consider how well they tailored their CV to the employer.  It is so important to stand out from the crowd and link your job application to the job you are applying for.  For many jobs, flexibility and using the right tool is key when making applications. Sometimes moving away from the standard 2-page Word document might be just the answer to landing your ideal job.

 

 

How do we develop ways to get through the hard times in our careers?

Uncertain times

“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” (Joshua J. Marine)

We all go through tough times, don’t we?  These times may be due to work challenges or personal struggles.  Challenges are a part of life and learning to overcome these challenges and making decisions to enable us to move forward during these times can be hard.  We can be left feeling we have lost some control over our lives.

We have inevitably lost a bit more of this control over recent months as the impact of coronavirus has been extremely tough for many people.   There is increased uncertainty in our environment and the world around us which, for many, has made decision-making a complex, overwhelming and stressful experience.

Decision-making…

During uncertain and complex times, the way we make decisions changes.  To avoid stress, we tend to try and simplify the complexity around us by making decisions based on our habits and what others are doing in similar circumstances.  Points 1 and 2 below explain how :

  1. Habits

In uncertain times, we turn to our comfort zone and become reliant on our habits that sit within this.  The implications being that we can avoid the stress of the current uncertainty and delay making any decisions that bring about a change to our lives. Unfortunately, this can increase the development and establishment of unhealthy habits.  These are habits that don’t make us happy and are hard to change.

  1. What others are doing

‘I can’t change career because a friend has told me it is too risky.  Other people are not changing career now so I must wait too.’

In uncertain times, we tend to make decisions by searching for information that confirms our existing thoughts and beliefs about the world. We also base our decisions on what other people are doing in the same situation. Unfortunately, accepting the views and opinions of others without question will pull us in the direction of making decisions based on what others are doing or saying rather than based on who we are, our values and what we genuinely want.  The danger is we miss the stories that show what we really want is possible.

Unfortunately, focusing on comfortable habits and what others are doing can cause you to draw the wrong conclusions and subsequently make decisions that are not right for you.  Although, by focusing on these areas, we are trying to gain control and reduce the uncertainty we are facing, we can instead cause ourselves further stress in doing so.

The next step…..

You, of course, want to make the right decisions.  You want to make decisions that move you forward and make you happy in your career and the way to do this is to become really aware of how the situation is affecting your decisions.  Self-awareness is key. Let me show you how through the following four steps:

  1. Be aware of thoughts

‘I can’t change career.’

Be aware of how the current situation is making you think and feel. What is going through your mind? Negative beliefs can make you feel miserable and stop you achieving what you want to achieve. Keep monitoring your thoughts – make a note of them to enhance your awareness.

(Have a watch of my video, ‘Building your confidence for a career change’, if you would like to find out more about the impact of thoughts and feelings on our careers.)

  1. Be aware of habits 

‘I must wait until things become certain before I make decisions regarding my career.’

Become aware of any habits you have developed or become reliant on that keep you within your comfort zone.  What are they? How to they make you behave?  What will be the consequences of these habits?

  1. Challenge your beliefs 

‘I don’t have to wait to change career. (I may be waiting a long time if I wait for certainty.)’

You are likely to have already built up the evidence to support your existing thoughts and beliefs through what others are doing.  Now find the evidence that disproves these thoughts.  Who do you know who has changed career?  What information can you find about careers post coronavirus? Who is advertising job vacancies?

  1. Develop new habits

‘I can change career!’

It’s time to develop new habits that help you move forward and ultimately be happy. It can take 20-30 days of introducing a new habit, to break the old one but the important point here is that it is possible to change them, it may just take a little time to do so.  Be patient and take one step at a time, breaking any activity you want to achieve into small steps and start building change into your routine that will help you make the changes you want to make in your career.

A lot of our happiness is determined by our actions, attitudes and what we do on a daily basis and the four steps I have described are steps you can take that will help you to make decisions regarding you career that make you happy and increase your chances of being successful.

Changes to our existing habits will help us to adapt to hard times, be happy and help us move forward in our careers.

To read more about finding happiness in your career, have a read of my blog ‘The secret to finding happiness in your career’.

Making career decisions in uncertain times

`Tracks

“It’s a whole new track.  It’s not going back.  It’s just all different and it’s different forever…It’s creating my next track…I’m figuring out what I want to do.  What do I care about?  It takes time to process your life and figure out what it all means…”(Michelle Obama)

This was Michelle Obama’s response when asked how she felt about getting back on track to the life she had before she became First Lady of the United States.   A response that is extremely relevant to all of us today as we attempt to look beyond coronavirus and make decisions about our future. We are all starting to create our next track.  The question is, how do we do this?  How do we start taking control and making decisions about our future careers when everything appears so uncertain?

The track of uncertainty

Before the time of Covid-19, we were all moving along our own track, considering, and making decisions and creating a life for ourselves.  There were often bumps and cracks on the track and sometimes we were faced with difficult decisions about our careers, the kind of decisions that can only be made with certainty if we could successfully predict the future, a luxury none of us have!

Covid-19 then happened, and this uncertainty was reinforced as we were all sent on a lockdown diversion from our existing track.  This wasn’t any old diversion; this was a life changing diversion and nothing like anything we had experienced before. The diversion took us in a completely different direction which required us to live our lives differently.  We had little control over this track and its destination, filling our lives with what felt like a new level of uncertainty as we experienced feelings of insecurity, anxiety and stress over a number of weeks as the country tried to control the virus.

As things slowly improve, we are gradually being given back some control.  Undoubtedly this has its benefits, but it also means the time is fast approaching for us to face making decisions again about our daily lives and careers.  It is time to create our new track by navigating the impact coronavirus has already had on our lives and will continue to do so in the future.

The challenges of creating a new track in an uncertain world

Making decisions and creating a new track is easier said than done, isn’t it?  I know many people are reluctant to make decisions at the moment, waiting for when life becomes more certain.   However, we know that even before the time of coronavirus, we could not accurately predict the future.  We could not have predicted in March 2019 that we would be subjected to a lockdown in March 2020.  If we wait for a time when things become certain, we will be waiting a long time.

To help stop the waiting game, we first need to tackle one of the initial challenges which can stop us from making decisions and that is lack of confidence.  A lack of confidence can have a huge impact on our ability to make decisions.  How do you now overcome this to enable you to forward and create your new track?

The creation of your new track

There are two areas to focus on here: mindset and imagination.

  1. Mindset

Lockdown has triggered negative thoughts for everyone.  These thoughts will impact how we feel and how we behave.  If you are experiencing negative thoughts at the moment, it is okay.  You may still be feeling anxious which is totally understandable given what our minds have been exposed to and had to process during the pandemic.  You may have been experiencing a lack of confidence prior to lockdown and this has not gone away.  You may have been wanting to pursue a career change prior to lockdown and now feel it’s not possible.

There will always be things, some of greater impact than others, that happen in our lives that make us feel this way. What is important is that you notice how you are thinking, feeling, and reacting and consider whether your reaction will help you move forward constructively.  Remember, negative thoughts have the power to stop you achieving what you want to achieve.  When you are ready, start believing you can make decisions and move on to point 2 to help you to start working out what you want to achieve in your career.

(For further reading on mindset, have a read of these previous blogs, ‘Four rules you need to know for career success’, ‘5 ways to get unstuck to make a career change’,  ‘Showing negative emotion is not the done thing’, ‘Six reasons stopping you getting the job you will love’ and ‘Does looking at past events help you change career?’.)

  1. Imagination

Using our imagination can helpfully guide us with our decision making.  Imagining our ideal future forms a positive basis for our decisions, opening ourselves up to opportunities.  Yes, we can’t account for future obstacles that fall in our way, but these obstacles will continue to shape our future.  A vision provides a starting point for your future plans and enables you to build in flexibility where required to allow for unforeseen events.

(For further reading have a read of these blogs,Making your dream career a reality’ and ‘The best kept secret to career success’. Imagination is always an important focus at the beginning of my career coaching programmes and there is a section on this in my book, ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’.)

How do I know this can work?

I can speak from personal experience with my own career change journey.  I left my job as a solicitor in 2008, having decided to take a career break.  I had been wondering what else the world of work had to offer me but knew if I carried on working as a solicitor I wouldn’t discover other possible opportunities. I didn’t know exactly what the next part of my career path was going to be, and I could not accurately predict my future. However, I had saved enough money to get me through a set period of time and if nothing happened in that time, I would return to law. As it happened, opportunities started to open up to me when I left and to cut a long story short, I have now been running my career coaching business for 10 years.  You can find out more about this in my blog ‘Tessa’s Career Change Journey’.

I know I was not experiencing a world pandemic during this time, but the key principles are the same.  It wasn’t the perfect journey and many of the decisions I made were based on uncertainty.  However, the initial steps were all about mindset (believing I could do it) and using my imagination. I created a long-term vision of what I would love my career to look like and I am still enjoying slotting all the pieces together.

The uncertainty of today is inescapable, we can never say for certain what will happen in the future.   We don’t know the answers to all the questions and we don’t know what the future world of careers is going to look like.  What is important is how we deal with this uncertainty so that we continue to move forward and be open to opportunities. It doesn’t matter if you have to change or adapt your plans along the way.  What is important is that you are creating a track and starting to move forward with the flexibility to adapt and change if necessary.

Coronavirus and careers – what happens next?

butterfly release

2020 has brought an unexpected change to all our lives, a change that will be with us for the foreseeable future and remember forever.  The cause was the rapid spread of the coronavirus outbreak which, on 11th March, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Stress, confusion, and uncertainty started to fill our lives as we faced an uncertain time of illness, loss of income, job insecurity, isolation and change to all aspects of our daily lives.

Schools, shops, restaurants and many businesses closed and working from home systems and methods of online learning were quickly put in place. Parents became teachers, individuals were furloughed, the risk of future redundancy increased for many, some experienced big pay cuts and others were categorised in the newly evolving definition of the ‘Keyworker’.

Home took on a different meaning in our lives becoming our place of work, our children’s school and our place of relaxation.  We couldn’t see friends or family and relied on video calls for contact with the outside world.  We couldn’t go on outings and had to create our own home entertainment.

Whatever your circumstances, we have all been affected by Covid-19 in some shape or form and are all reacting to the unpredictable disruption to our lives in our own way.

Will life go back to the normal we used to know, or have we now got to get used to the inevitable ‘new normal’ that will lead us into 2021 and beyond?

The questions now facing us are profound:

  • How do we develop ways to get through the hard times?
  • When can we start making decisions again about our future?
  • How will the way we spend our time and energy change?
  • Will there be an escalation in working from home?
  • What will our commutes to work look like in the future and will we reconsider long distance travel for meetings?
  • Is this the time to be reinventing our lives and our careers considering options such as a career change?
  • Will people consider portfolio careers as a safer option against aligning themselves to a single employer?

Over the next few months, I will be publishing a series of blogs to help you start piecing together the answers to these questions.  I admit I do not know all the answers, if only I did!  However, what I can provide is help based on my many years of experience in career, confidence and performance coaching combined with what I am currently witnessing in the world of careers.  As we continue to face disruption in our personal and working lives, I hope I will be able to provide you with some consistency, calmness, and support to help reduce anxiety and stress, raise positivity and encourage aspirations, enabling you to discover ways to move forward happily and confidently into your ‘new normal’.

In the meantime, think about the best next step for you to take that will help you adapt to any concerns you currently face, focusing on the things that are in your control now as you start to gradually see and experience the world outside your home again. Start reintroducing feasible aspects of your life that you enjoyed before and can enjoy again, no matter how small.  It may be a walk with a friend or trip beyond your home and surrounding area.  Think of new ways to look after yourself.

Lockdown can be an opportunity for us all to reset, rethink and re-establish our lives as we emerge into the new world of careers.

Looking after your career in the time of Coronavirus

MAApr20026 - Tessa Armstrong Associates Winners Logo

We have recently entered a really uncertain time in our lives.  It has been a really worrying and emotional time for many, all for many different reasons but with the same underlying cause – Coronavirus.  We have our inspirational NHS workers, carers and other key workers working around the clock to help provide and care for those affected.  There are also those who are quietly at home not knowing what to do and wondering what’s going to happen.

Many of these individuals are wondering what’s going to happen in their working lives.  They may be on furlough, facing possible redundancy when we come out the other side, reassessing their values in life or thinking it is now time to follow their dreams and do something different but unsure how to go about such career changes.

For five days at the beginning of lock down, I gave away my eBook, ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’ for free and had over 700 downloads.  This tells me there are many people worried and anxious about their future careers.

If you are feeling worried or anxious, that’s okay.  You are allowed to feel this way.  Things are tricky at the moment.  All I want to say is once you feel ready, I really hope you can use my career resources and coaching experience to help you move forward:

  1. My website has lots of free career resources and videos for you to browse through at your leisure.
  2. I have written lots of articles on my blog. Make yourself a cup of tea and have a read.
  3. Read some of the Inspirational Career Change Interviews on my website.  These are true stories from individuals who made successful steps towards building satisfying and fulfilling careers.  They have kindly shared their stories to inspire you if you are struggling with your career.  They want to reassure you that you can find a career you love.
  4. If you haven’t already done so, grab a copy of my book ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’.  My book provides a structured process for planning your career.  It includes career coaching exercises to help you discover and pursue a satisfying and fulfilling career.
  5. Contact me for a free career coaching consultation.  We can have an informal chat about how career coaching can help you.

I have 10 years experience of coaching and have won awards for my services, including most recently ‘Recognised Leader in Career Coaching Services UK, 2020’ by CV Magazine.  If you want to hear more, have a read below about what one of my fantastic clients said about career coaching.

‘My career was not moving in a positive direction, and I had been feeling unhappy after two redundancies I experienced in less than one year. And whilst the redundancies were out of my control, they were a further negative impact on advancing my career, so thought that career coaching would help me see things more clearly.

Working with Tessa was far more than I thought it would be. I am still a work in progress, but she helped me see some underlying patterns of thinking that were having a negative impact on my moving forward. She also provided me with a systematic process of looking at career options and how to move forward to achieve them.  I have found a new role with a great company and I am studying in order to bring about the change I want to see in my career. I also feel more confident that I can better handle any bumps in the road…and there are always bumps in the road!

Kate G, April 2019

It’s okay to feel stuck, it’s okay to feel anxious, it’s okay to feel uncertain.  If you have no idea what to do, that’s okay too…..I have been there too (read about my career change journey here).  A little bit of guidance (or a lot of guidance!) may be just the thing you need to help you move forward and start making positive changes as we navigate these uncertain times together.

 

 

 

5 ways to get unstuck to make a career change

careerpathIn my blog last month, I wrote about how 40% of happiness is determined by our actions, attitude and what we do on a daily basis.  A whole 40% you are free to use to make changes to your life, changes that will make you happy and increase your chances of being successful in finding a job you love.

BUT…

What happens if you are struggling to make these changes?

Have you found yourself wanting to make a change that you think will make you happy, but it just never seems to happen?

You promise yourself that you will do something to improve your well-being or introduce a positive change into your life, but struggle to keep the promises you make to yourself.  You want to change a habit but find it impossible to do so and end up postponing the change.

“I will go for a run tomorrow.”  “I will sort my career in the New Year.”  “I will make time for daily mindfulness when I am less busy.”

These promises to ourselves are really hard to keep, aren’t they?  It is much easier to find a reason not to do it.

“Work is too busy”, “the weather was bad”, “I didn’t feel like it”, “I didn’t think I would be able to do it.”

However, all these reasons become our negative habits, the habits that don’t make us happy. They are hard to change because they have become an established part of our life.

It actually takes 20-30 days of introducing a new habit, to break the old one but it is possible to change them, it may just take a little bit of time to do so.

How can you make the changes you want to make?

  1. Believe you can do it – saying ‘I can’t do it’ will make you feel miserable and you will end up not doing it. Believe in yourself and believe you can do it. This will make you feel happier and give you the motivation to achieve it.
  1. Smile – I want you to frown right now for 10 seconds. Now smile for 10 seconds. Which facial expression made you feel better? Smiling will always help you feel happy and achieve.
  1. One step at a time – break the activity you want to achieve into small steps. If you want to start running each week, don’t start with a 5k run.  Shorter runs will give you a sense of achievement and motivate you to increase the distance slightly each time you go out.
  1. Proximity – If you want to go running after work today, lay out your running clothes on your bed and put your trainers by the door. Make achieving your new habit easy for yourself.  If you have to search for your trainers, you may find excuses not to find them!
  1. Tell someone – commit to your new habit by telling someone. You will have to do it now, otherwise you will have to own up to them!

How can this apply to my career change?

If you want to make a career change, the 5 steps mentioned above will help you so you now have a choice…

You can either:

  1. Keep believing you can’t do it, frown about it, try and discover that one amazing career for yourself in one big enormous leap, leave my book ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’on the bookshelf (!) and not tell anyone you are going to do anything about it.

OR, YOU CAN:

  1. Believe you can do it, smile about it, start taking small steps towards making that change, place ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’ on the coffee table in front of where you sit (!) and tell someone what you are doing about making a change in your career.

I would suggest choosing number 2 – start making small steps towards your career change (or any change you wish to make) now and you will surprise yourself!  Oh yes, and remember to smile!

(Perhaps my Career Change and Career Advancement programme will help you too!)

The secret to finding happiness in your career

Success does not make you happy, happiness makes you successful.

i love my job

 

Success does not make you happy

How happy are you on a scale of 1 – 10?  

If your score isn’t 9 or 10, I wonder what is happening in your life right now. You may not be enjoying your job, you may have no idea about your future career path, you may be questioning whether you have the right skills for a career change, or you may be fed up with working long hours.

What would make your score a 10?  

We often hear people say,

“I will be happy when I have a job I love.”  “I will be happy when I get a good grade in my exams.” “I will be happy when I can afford a new house.”

It is so often the case that we postpone our happiness until a successful event has happened in the future.   Once this event has happened, you have a new job or new house, it is mission accomplished and you shoot to the top of the happiness scale.  Your success has made you happy…or has it?

It is indeed very common for people to think that their happiness is dependent on a successful event happening in the future.  However, the problem with this dependency is that these individuals postpone their improved happiness and become focused on what is currently making them unhappy, rather than what can make them happy now.  They focus on the jobs they don’t want.  They talk about the skills they don’t have. They complain about the long hours they are working.    There are so many things in our lives that can make us unhappy and it can be so easy to focus on them while we wait for a future success.  However, this is what can make us feel miserable and we may be waiting a very long time to be happy.

…but if the future success actually happens, I will then be happy so that’s okay, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, the happiness we get from success will only provide us with short-term increased happiness.  Think about it.   When you passed your driving test, you were really happy but are you still feeling the same level of happiness now from that event?   You will probably find that once you passed your test, the happiness from this success gradually wore off.  You got used to being able to drive independently and it became normal for you.  What now is going to make you happy? Do you wait for your next success?  When will this be? How long will you be waiting for?  You enter the happiness waiting game again.

Happiness makes you successful

The good news is that happiness is not dependent on the end result, it is not dependent on success.  In fact, it is the other way around.  Happiness makes you successful and so if you are happy during the journey to the success you increase your chances of being successful – a win-win situation!

What can you do now to make yourself happy and increase your chances of finding the job you love? 

Based on research carried out by Positive Psychologist, Prof Sonia Lyubomirsky,

50% of happiness is determined by your genes.

10% of happiness is determined by the circumstances in which you live.

40% of happiness is determined by your actions, your attitude and what we do on a daily basis.

This is great news!  You have a whole 40% to play around with to make you happy and increase your chances of being successful in finding a job you love. Use this 40% to start considering the following steps and make changes in your life to make you happy right now.

  1. Focus on what is right, building on the skills and positive attributes you already have.
  2. Discover what gives you meaning and pleasure in life. What are your passions?
  3. Take part in activities that fully engage you.

These steps will raise your score on the happiness scale and increase your chances of being successful in finding an amazing job.

The Tea Model

Steps 1 – 3 above forms the basis to Stage 1, ‘Time To Think’, of my Tea Model Career Coaching Programme.  Stage 1 ultimately helps you to be happy and motivated as you work towards finding a job you love by considering enjoyable activities you can do now to improve your well-being as well as enhancing your appreciation of your skills, interests, knowledge and values.

This is not about waiting to be happy, it is about focusing on the positive and taking part in activities you enjoy to enable you to overcome current challenges, raise your happiness score and give you the best chance of success in finding a job you love.

Don’t wait for happiness to happen to you…Do things now that will make you happy.

Happy people are successful

Tessa Armstrong’s Career Change Journey

Tessa

I want to let you all know that I have been there too!

Many people ask me about my career and what led me to running my career coaching business and so my blog this month is all about my own career change journey.

I want to let you know that I have been there too!  I have spent time wondering about and imagining a career I would really enjoy and I have spent time planning and developing this career.  It is these experiences that have enabled me to build a career coaching programme with a lot of understanding behind it of what people go through in their careers and how they can create a fulfilling career.

From the beginning…

Many of you may not know this, but I actually did a music degree at Birmingham University.  I chose music because it is a subject I am very passionate about.  Whilst studying music, I started to think about my next steps and made the decision for music to become more of a hobby than to provide me with an income. At this point, I started looking into law.  I was particularly interested in family law as I wanted to be able to help people resolve issues in their personal lives.

A few years later I did indeed qualify as a solicitor in family law.  It was an amazing experience, representing individuals from a range of backgrounds.  It was also hard work and you had to learn fast.  I will never forget walking into the office one day as a newly qualified and being told I was going to have to go and do a court hearing (alone!).

However, something still wasn’t quite right.  After a few years, I was still really wondering what else was out there in the world of work. It fascinated me and I knew I had other passions I wanted to explore.  I decided to take a career break to allow me time to make these explorations.  My plan was to do some voluntary work within the charity sector as well as build more experience of working with children (two areas I am really passionate about). As it happened, within a few weeks of leaving my job, I was offered a job as a teaching assistant for a very good teacher friend of mine which I did at the same time as doing the Place2Be Certificate in Counselling Skills for Working with children. When these came to an end, I managed to secure a major gift fundraising role at Macmillan Cancer Support.  I had carried out a lot of research through networking in the charity sector and had previously done some voluntary work abroad and so I already knew a lot about the roles available.

My time at Macmillan was extremely inspiring, working for an organisation which delivers such a fantastic service and with people who are so passionate about the cause.  It was also fascinating to work in a place where there are lots of different jobs available within one organisation.  Although I missed parts of my role as a family law solicitor, at this point I knew my career was going to take a slightly different direction.

What led me to career coaching?

TAA_Stationery_Logo_Panel_qxd_Page_1 - blog

After making the move from law into a different sector, lots of people started to ask me for career advice and I realised I was really enjoying the process of speaking to them about their own careers.   Deep down I’d always wanted to work for myself and so looked into how I could make a career out of giving careers support helping those who are struggling going into work each day.  I discovered career coaching and you all know what happened next!

I have now been running my business for 10 years.  I coach many solicitors as well as many individuals from other backgrounds and professions.

 

What about my passions for children and charities?

…and I haven’t forgotten about my other passions…children and the charity sector…

logoTMjpgMy passion for helping children has continued in a voluntary capacity leading me over the last couple of years to designing my primary school confidence coaching programme (My space 4 me) as well as a secondary school careers programme.

As you will no doubt realise, none of this happened overnight.  It took time, thinking, experimenting, talking, getting things right and getting things wrong!

My Book

Book Tessa Armstrong IAPC&MEverything you read in my book (The Tea Model), I have done personally as well as used this programme to coach 100’s of individuals. I have made goals, assessed my skills. I have developed a career vision, overcome that tricky negative mindset. I have explored different options through paid and voluntary work, networked to help me find the answers as well as battled with that work-life balance (which is always a work in progress for everyone!).

I want you to know that carving your own way through the world of careers may take time, but it is possible, and it will be worth it as I can honestly say I love what I do.   If you are not enjoying your job, please do use the people around you who have been on a similar journey like me.  There are always times in our lives when we need a bit of extra support and that is okay!

It is possible to find a fulfilling and satisfying job for you.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk