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.

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.

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

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

uk_career_development_1000px

  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

‘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

Four rules you need to know for career success

rocket

If Neil Armstrong can land on the moon, you can do it too!

Imagine if, on 16th July 1969, Neil Armstrong sat in his spaceship and refused to launch on completion of the countdown.  Doubts had crept into his mind; he had lost his confidence and he could not bring himself to press the final launch button.

‘I can’t do it.   The moon is approximately 239,000 miles from the earth, and we have to travel safely – there and back.  This is the farthest anyone has ever travelled.  Is our equipment good enough?  How can this ever be possible? I feel so worried.  Let’s leave the launch for another day. ‘

What would have happened if Neil Armstrong had refused to launch into space that day?

Someone else would have been the first person to land on the moon.  Neil would have been the person who sat in his spaceship on the ground at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A and went nowhere.

What may have stopped Neil Armstrong from launching into space?

Neil and his team had completed all the learning, preparation and training they needed to do to complete the mission, but Neil had forgotten one thing.  He had not worked out how he was going to overcome the doubts in his mind.  He was unaware of the power his negative thoughts would have over the achievement of his dream.

Great news!

Fortunately, this didn’t happen and on 20th July 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon.  Despite not having smartphones, the Internet or GPS and landing on the moon with only 25 seconds worth of fuel left, Neil and his team did it.  They faced challenges, overcame these challenges and achieved their mission and their dream.

OVERCOMING DOUBTS IN YOUR CAREER

Astronauts are just like us and will have times of doubt, questioning their ability to succeed.   They are also just like us and have a choice.  They can choose to let these thoughts and feelings prevent them from achieving amazing things and sit stationary in their spaceship or they can choose to press the launch button.

Wouldn’t you just love to press the launch button in your career now?   You may want to launch a career change, apply for a promotion or move towards self-employment.

Follow these rules to keep you on track and help you move forward.  After all, no one wants to sit in their spaceship on the launchpad for ever.

  1. Recognise that it is OK to experience times of worry and doubt. Sometimes things happen in our career that make us feel this way.
  2. Notice how you react in times of worry and doubt. Perhaps you ignore it, become irritable and distracted or withdraw from the situation.  Does your reaction help you move forward constructively?
  3. Understand that when you are thinking and feeling negatively, these thoughts and feelings are likely to eventually stop you from doing the things you want to do in your career.
  4. Trust that you can take action. Do something about your negative thoughts to make you feel better and enable you to achieve what you want to achieve in your career. You can practise changing your negative thoughts into positive thoughts, you can ask for help, you can try new and different ways of achieving things. Just remember, you can do it!

You have everything within you to achieve, you simply need to press the launch button and do it.  Learn to overcome the challenges you face and keep going until you have achieved your mission.