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’.

5 Ways to Get Out of Lockdown Lethargy

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How many times have you heard, read, or been told that you should use this time of lockdown or social distancing to your advantage?  It is time to let your creative juices flow and create an amazing business idea or go full steam ahead with developing a career change idea that you have been mulling over for the last two years.  It would make sense, wouldn’t it?  Many of us suddenly have some spare time on our hands and should be using it to our advantage to create and finish projects.

So why are many of us struggling to do this?  Why do many people find the days drifting?  Why are all those projects you were going to get on with still waiting for completion?  We are finding ourselves doing the bare minimum required to get through the day.

I was talking to someone recently about this and they mentioned the Allostatic Load.  I had not heard of this so immediately researched it and, yes, it all made sense.  It is all about the wear and tear on our bodies over time caused by repeated exposure to stress and we are certainly experiencing a lot of exposure to stress at the moment.  The list is endless: illness, family concerns, demands of being a keyworker, home schooling, furlough, redundancy, working from home, closed businesses and financial concerns. The stress accumulates and we move into fight or flight mode.  No matter what your circumstances, every day you are being exposed to some stress caused by the uncertainty of life at the moment.

In uncertain times, it is important to be kind to yourself and do whatever is needed to make you feel a little better.  Your mind is having to cope with a lot of uncertainty and so it may not have the capacity to be coming up with amazing ideas for the future in your life and your career.

Instead, focus a little on the five areas of well-being.  Although, these can be a challenge to fulfil at the moment given social distancing measures, it may be worth having a think about them again when you feel able and finding small ways to fulfil them:

  1. Be active – going for walks will keep you active and give you some headspace.
  2. Mindfulness – can you allocate a part of the day either during a walk or otherwise to notice what is going on around you? It may be simply looking up at the clouds or the stars. You may prefer to listen to music.
  3. Learning – you may struggle to think about learning at the moment. However, learning can simply involve reading a short article, a book or talking to someone and finding out more about them.
  4. Contribution – Could you take 5 minutes to message someone and ask how they are?
  5. Connections – Social distancing has changed the way we currently connect with people. We are using videos which can be overwhelming.  If the visual is too much, simply write a letter or message to someone.  Perhaps get in touch with a friend who you haven’t spoken to for years.

It is all about little steps at the moment.  Manage your expectations and give your mind and body time to process what is going on in the world around us.

Looking after your career in the time of Coronavirus

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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!)

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

20 Pieces of Career Advice For You!

TessaIt’s that time of year when I do a round-up of all my articles and blogs for the year.  I do this so that when reflecting on your career (as many do over Christmas and New Year) you can quickly scan through this round-up and read what is relevant for you.  I hope it is helpful!

I try to cover a range of topics in my articles.  This year many of the topics covered are hinting towards what is covered in my newly published book (The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’.)

BLOGS

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  1. The key ingredient for making a career change (Jan)
  2. Making your dream career a reality (Feb)
  3. What do you do when your current job doesn’t suit you? (March)
  4. Finding the best career and job ideas when feeling stuck(April)
  5. The best kept secret to career success(May)
  6. Four rules you need to know for career success (June)
  7. Four reasons why celebration is so important for career happiness and fulfilment(July)
  8. Six reasons stopping you getting the job you will love (Sept)
  9. ‘Showing negative emotion is not the done thing’ (Oct)
  10. Publication of my new book: ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’ (Nov)

 

VIDEOS

  1. How to achieve the best work-life balance for you and enjoy your job
  2. Stop leaving your career to chance
  3. The best kept secret to career success
  4. Confidence Coaching for Children

ARTICLES

  1. How to stop procrastinating over career-changing decisions
  2. Don’t forget this important consideration when making a career change
  3. How to ‘just do it’ when perfectionism takes over
  4. How career coaching can help you create a career that suits you
  5. 6 benefits of coaching for career success
  6. 9 ways to progress your career when feeling lost

 

CAREER ADVICE BOOKS

….Did I mention MY NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK?!

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

Book Tessa Armstrong IAPC&M

 

Do get in touch now or in the New Year to tell me your career news (or dilemmas).  In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a fantastic new year! 

Best wishes

Tessa

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

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I am very excited to be able to announce the release of my first career coaching book,  ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’

When I first set up my business, one of my dreams was to write a coaching book to help individuals find the career they love.  The dream remained a dream while I spent time designing and developing my career coaching programme through coaching 100’s of individuals over the last 10 years.  In 2019 my dream to write a book became a goal, a goal which has now been achieved and I want to be able to give you a brief insight into my book in this article.

First of all I want to ask you three questions….

Are you struggling to achieve a good work-life balance as you attempt to navigate the increasing demands and complexity of the world of work?

Are you struggling with that Monday morning feeling?

Are you wondering whether a career change is right for you, or wishing to return to work after a break, and searching endlessly on the internet for the answer?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions then my book will help and guide you to create a career that suits you and makes you happy.

I know that navigating the fast-paced world of careers is becoming increasingly complex and deciding on the best-suited career path can be challenging. You may be mid-career and struggling to decide on your next steps.  You may be feeling really stressed at work and confused about what the future holds. You may have been made redundant or are returning to work after a break and unsure of the options available to you. Your struggles and challenges will be unique to you, and it is important that you get the right help and guidance that supports your needs as well as helps you to create a career that you will not only enjoy but also fits comfortably with all aspects of your life.

The Tea Model provides this help through a simple 3 stage process.

  1. Time to Think
  2. Time to Explore
  3. Time to Act

It helps you to navigate the fast-paced and complex world of careers and reduce feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction and stress by enabling you to reassess what you want to be by focusing on who you are, rather than on what you think you should be, and creating the career you desire.

In Stage 1 you will focus on the most important person in this process (you!). This stage will help you to overcome any negativity that you may be feeling, develop a positive approach to your job search and establish a thorough understanding of your skills, aspirations, values and motivations to ensure you find the best career for you. Stage 2 will take you through the process of pursuing a detailed exploration of career opportunities and realistic options so that in Stage 3 you can ultimately make the best decision regarding your future career and create a detailed action plan to develop your chosen path.  There are activities for you to complete and guidance to follow within each stage to enable you to maintain motivation and get the most from your career search.

Whether you are wanting to make a career change, review the suitability of your current job or find a new job, I have used this approach for many years within my career coaching programmes and it works.

My programme has enabled many individuals to pursue satisfying and fulfilling careers leaving them feeling happy, motivated and fulfilled and it is now time for me to share it with you too.

The book is available as an eBook or in paperback on amazonClick here to order your copy now!

‘Showing negative emotion is not the done thing.’

The danger for your career of accepting the views and opinions of others without question.

emotions

Recap…

In my blog ‘Six reasons stopping you getting the job you’ll love’, I discussed how the way we deal with our emotions and feelings can stop us getting a job we will love due to the vicious cycle we can find ourselves caught up in.

When something happens to us (a trigger) in the environment around us, we automatically think something in reaction to this trigger which will make us feel in a certain way and subsequently act in a certain way.  Our thoughts, feelings and actions are all linked together and form a cycle.

The vicious cycle develops when we do not handle our feelings during the cycle in a constructive manner.  Often individuals respond to challenging events by ignoring the negative feeling triggered to provide them with short-term relief from the situation.  However, negative emotions do not simply disappear. The more they are ignored, the more they continue to grow under the surface until things get so bad they burst out in an unhealthy or unhelpful manner.

In my blog, I refer to six ways individuals can hide or ignore negative emotions and today I am going to focus on number 1,

Acceptance of the views and opinions of others without question.

Imagine you have been brought up being told that ‘Showing negative emotion is not the done thing’. 

You are now in the working world and have been having a really tough time at work over the past couple of years and are considering a career change.  You have just about been able to keep your head above water at work, but you have little confidence or motivation to enable you to think about pursuing the career change you wish for.

The main problem you have been experiencing is being able to keep up with expectations.  You live in fear of not being good enough and this makes you feel worried and anxious. However, you have always been told that showing negative emotion is not the done thing and so ignore these feelings and pretend everything is fine.  You keep going but end up working longer hours with sleepless nights and don’t seem to be achieving anything.   The vicious cycle has been entered.

As stated above, we know that ignoring negative emotion provides us with short term relief, but the emotion remains growing under the surface.  The more it is ignored the more it grows until you can’t cope, and it bursts out in an unhelpful manner negatively affecting your confidence and motivation.

Will believing ‘showing negative emotion is not the done thing’ help you pursue a career change and achieve what you want to achieve?

Probably not.  It must be exhausting pretending everything is fine.

Can we really believe that we should never cry, show frustration or let on that we are feeling anxious or worried about something?

Think about the impact of all this pent-up negative emotion building up inside everyone!

Will believing ‘showing negative emotion IS the done thing’ help you pursue a career change and achieve what you want to achieve?

Yes!

Showing negative emotion is OK when it is expressed in a healthy and constructive manner.

Being able to express negative emotion in a healthy and constructive manner will make you feel better and able to move on.  You just need to be aware of when you are feeling negatively and do something about it.

Talk to someone you trust, write it down, go for a run and process your feelings in every step….do something to allow yourself to feel. Don’t ignore it and pretend everything is fine as this can lead to greater problems in the future which will have an effect on your ability to handle situations such as a career change.  Instead, you will become someone who is able to manage their emotions and achieve what they want to achieve.

When the attitudes and beliefs of others are forming who you are and affecting what you can achieve, consider these attitudes and beliefs by distinguishing between the helpful and the unhelpful ones.   Leave the unhelpful ones behind and take the helpful attitudes and beliefs  to enable you to move forward confidently and achieve in your career.

 

SIX REASONS STOPPING YOU GETTING THE JOB YOU WILL LOVE

i love my job

‘Showing negative emotion is not the done thing. I pretend everything is fine’

‘It’s never my fault when things go wrong.’

‘I find it hard to make decisions. I just want to please everyone.’

‘I sometimes get headaches when things go wrong.’

‘I find it best to distract myself when times are hard.’

‘I just keep going as I can handle it.’

Do any of these quotes resonate with you? I am sure you have found yourself saying or thinking some of them in response to challenging situations and this is, of course, okay. Handling challenging circumstances can be really hard. However, problems arise when these responses become the norm and they start to impact your career progression, desire for a career change or search for a new job. It is at this point when it may be necessary to think of ways to overcome these responses to help you move forward.

Consider this scenario spoken by an employee:

“One day I was walking down the street and my boss passed me on the other side of the road. I called out to say hello, but she ignored me. I wondered why she was ignoring me and what I had done wrong. I come to the quick conclusion that I must have done something to make her unhappy with me. I am not doing so well at work at the moment and I think I am just not good enough. I returned to work and had to stay late as my work took double the time it should. I didn’t want to get anything wrong again, so I kept rechecking it. When I got home I didn’t talk to anyone and pretended everything was fine. I find it is best to distract myself, although I often arrive home with a headache. All I want is to enjoy my work, but I can’t see how this is going to happen. I was thinking of a career change but what’s the point? I don’t enjoy this job, and if I pursue a career change I might not enjoy the new job either. I have always been told that it is best just to keep going as the grass isn’t always greener.’

Now consider the psychology:

The way we see ourselves, the world and other people affects our thoughts which have an impact on our feelings and subsequently on our behaviour.

When something happens to us (a trigger) in the environment around us, we automatically think something in reaction to this trigger which will make us feel in a certain way and subsequently act in a certain way. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are all linked together.

How does this have an impact on me and getting a job I love?

Let’s link the psychology with the scenario above. The main thoughts triggered by the events on the street all stemmed from ‘I am not good enough’.   These quick concluding thoughts (‘she’s ignoring me’, ‘what have I done wrong?’, ‘I am not doing well at work’) would have made this employee feel in a certain way. As a consequence of these thoughts and (currently unnamed) feelings their work took double the time. This negatively affected their enjoyment at work and behaviour at home as well as their ambitions for the future such as the option of a career change.

As an objective observer we can of course rationalise these events and simply conclude that the boss didn’t hear their employee say hello. However, for the employee, the lack of response from their boss supported their existing negative thought of not being a good enough which would have triggered negative feelings which then spiralled into negative behaviours/consequences at work and at home.

As this employee continues to react to similar scenarios in the same way, this vicious cycle continues, potentially stopping them experiencing or finding a job they will love.

The problem

One of the reasons these vicious cycles continue is because of our handling of our feelings during the cycle, often individuals respond to challenging events by ignoring the negative feeling triggered to provide them with short-term relief from the situation. In the above scenario, the employee used distraction as a means of coping and suppressed their feelings. However, negative emotions do not simply disappear. The more they are ignored, the more they continue to grow under the surface until things get so bad they burst out in an unhealthy or unhelpful manner.

These are six ways individuals can hide or ignore negative emotions:

  1. Acceptance of the views and opinions of others without question. For example, believing what you have always been told (‘showing negative emotion is not the done thing’).
  1. Blaming everything and everyone around you for things that happen to you (‘It’s never my fault when things go wrong’).
  1. Wanting to please everyone and meet everyone else’s expectations apart from your own (‘I find it hard to make decisions. I just want to please everyone’).
  1. Thinking your own emotions are not valid and so the emotion displays itself through a physical symptom (‘I sometimes get headaches when things go wrong’).
  1. Avoiding people or the situation (‘I find it best to distract myself when times are hard’).
  1. Wanting to control everything around you so that nothing goes wrong (‘I just keep going as I can handle it’).

These six ways can stop you from looking after yourself when you are feeling down and finding a job you will love.

In our scenario above, the employee used distraction as a coping mechanism and accepted the view that they must keep going as the grass isn’t always greener. There was no mention of what they were feeling, but they must have been feeling something. What will be the outcome for this employee? We already know that they were experiencing headaches and have given up on the idea of a career change.

Don’t let your negative emotions fester. Give yourself permission to feel negative emotions so that you can express them in a healthy and constructive manner in accordance with events happening around you. This will enable you to act on a career change or job search as well as find a job you will love.

Over the next few months I am going to cover each of these six areas in more detail, providing you with some guidance to help you move forward in your career and enjoy your job.

FOUR REASONS WHY CELEBRATION IS SO IMPORTANT FOR CAREER HAPPINESS AND FULFILMENT

Celebrating success provides the motivation and confidence required to face the next challenge or opportunity in your career.

celebrate
When I work with career coaching clients, I always ask them how they are going to celebrate when they have achieved their career goal.  This is a simple question but is often met with silence, followed by, ‘I don’t know, I don’t usually do anything’.

How often do you celebrate your career successes and achievements?

Weekly? Monthly?  Annually?  Never?

It is extremely common for celebrating career success to be a rarity or not to feature at all in our lives.  This is really sad, isn’t it?  We just move on to the next thing and miss out on the party!

What stops us from celebrating our achievements?   

Some believe that their successes aren’t worth celebrating in comparison with what others have achieved in their careers.  ‘Only high impact achievements and successes are worth celebrating, not the successes of little old me.’

If this is true, can I ask what is a high impact success?  Landing on the moon? Developing a vaccine that will save millions of lives?  Is this what we need to achieve to justify a celebration?  Well, that leaves most of us out of the celebration circle so let’s just plough on then and keep working and working and working.

BUT, ploughing on is hard work

The danger of ploughing on is that when we keep moving on to the next step, then the next, then the next, the cracks start to appear in our lives. We complete one goal and move straight on to the next.  We fear failing and so have to keep going.  ‘I’ve been lucky to succeed this time, but I am worried if I take a break I won’t succeed again’.  There is no pause, no pat on the back and no recognition of what you have achieved so far. Ploughing on makes us feel exhausted and miserable as our mind and body cannot keep up.

By not recognising and acknowledging our achievements, we start to believe that what we are doing is not quite good enough and work harder, increasing the risk of burn out.

The four reasons to celebrate

Here are four reasons why spending time acknowledging and rewarding yourself for your efforts and achievements will make you feel happier and more fulfilled in your career.

1. CONFIDENCE

Celebration is a positive action which reinforces that you are good enough and can achieve.  Each celebration reminds you how brilliant you are, and this positive mindset will give you the confidence to move forward in your career and enable you to face challenges in a constructive manner.

2. MOTIVATION

Celebrating makes us feel good.  Feeling good will enable you to maintain your motivation to succeed as you face your next goal.

3. OPPORTUNITIES

Celebrating with others strengthens relationships (work and personal).  These relationships can provide you with future support, inspiration and career opportunities.

4. ENJOYMENT

A celebration is a time for you to enjoy yourself.  Enjoyment makes us feel better and when combined with achievement our wellbeing and happiness is greatly increased.

When we celebrate our achievements, we feel great, believe we are great and go on to achieve greater things as our positive thoughts, feelings and actions give us the power to drive us forward to the next opportunity.

Celebrate now!

Take the time now to think about what you have achieved in the last month and write down how and when you are going to celebrate.  It doesn’t matter how big or small the success, what matters is that you celebrate.  You will feel so much better for it.

CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES NOW AND GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST CHANCE OF BEING HAPPY AND FULFILLED IN YOUR CAREER