The best kept secret to career success

secret-1

Would you believe me if I said the best career idea for you may be your best kept secret?!

We often reach a crossroads in our career when we have to decide on the best possible career path.  To help you decide, you research lots of different ideas and apply for lots of different jobs. You get to the point when you have a list of career and job ideas and need to decide which to pursue.  These ideas will be similar to the jobs you have done in the past or may complement these jobs, but I can guarantee there will be one idea missing from your list and that is…

YOUR BEST KEPT SECRET

This is the one wacky idea that you have had in the back of your mind for years.  The idea that is your fantasy dream career.  The one that excites you the most. The one you dream about on a sunny day.  The big idea that you can only dream of because in reality it is completely impossible to achieve and unrealistic.  This is why you have kept it a secret.  It is your own crazy idea that no one needs to know about as it will never happen, will it?  There is no point telling anyone about something that will never happen, is there?  However, you do want it to happen.  You would like to explore it…..is that so crazy?

Keeping a secret like this is stressful.  It takes up a lot of your thinking time and stops you from actually achieving it.   You would love this career idea of yours to be real, but you are actively hiding it from people.  Even worse, you are putting a lot of energy in to not achieving your ideal career, something that could be the best career decision you ever made.  Your best kept secret eventually leads to frustration, unhappiness and poor wellbeing because you are not being true to yourself.

IT’S TIME TO TELL PEOPLE YOUR SECRET

Imagine if J K Rowling kept her book ideas a secret or Monet hid his paintings.  Aren’t we glad all those who have wanted to research and discover vaccinations actually did it? We are certainly thankful to Marie Curie for her contribution to cancer treatments.  Her humble beginnings didn’t stop her following her passions.  Her passions were clear, they were not a secret.

Go back to your list of career and job ideas now and add your secret idea to the list.  (Until you have done this your list will remain incomplete.)

Once your list is complete, you are ready for the next step which is to evaluate your ideas and that is ALL OF THEM, not just those that seem the easiest, the most obvious and the most accepting of others, evaluate them all.   Ask yourself:

What do you really want?  

What more do you need to do to clarify this further for you?

These questions will help to guide you as you evaluate each option:

  1. How much will this cost me? Pursuing a career change can have an impact on your finances.  Prepare a budget so that you are aware of any financial limitations.
  2. Will this be a hobby or career? What does work-life balance mean to you?  When considering your motivations and interests, distinguish between those you want to include in a job and those you would prefer to keep as a hobby.
  3. What experience do I need? Many people worry about lacking experience.  Focus on what you can do and on your transferable skills.  If you lack specific advisable experience, consider doing some work experience or voluntary work.
  4. Who can I network with? Carry on networking and asking people for their advice and opinion.  This is the best way to increase opportunities that will come your way. Use Social media networking tools to help.

There are going to be lots of questions going through your mind as you evaluate the options and start making decisions about your best fit career.   It is therefore really important at this stage to make time to plan and investigate and…

…Remember…

The get out of this rut quickly career idea isn’t always the best one.  The best career idea for you is often your best kept secret.

Please do browse through my free career resources for further help.

Evaluate all your career ideas to discover the ideal career path for you (even the secret ones!)

Making your dream career a reality

Dream Job on Green Highway Signpost.

Today I am going to take you on a journey to experience your dream career and discover how to make it a reality…

Many of you will be familiar with the mad hatter’s tea party in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Alice falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world where she meets lots of weird and wonderful creatures and one of her adventures includes becoming a guest at a ‘mad’ tea-party.

Like Alice, imagine for a moment falling down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world.  This world is a fantasy world of careers, within which you are only allowed positive thoughts.  Everyone behaves positively, thinks positively and feels good about themselves.  Furthermore, everyone loves their job and you do too!  In fact, you have just started a new job.  This is your ideal job and is a dream come true.  It is what you have always wanted to do, combining your skills, interests and values within an environment where you will thrive.  Life is pretty good right now. You are feeling confident, enjoying life and achieving in what you do.

After your first day at work in your new job, you have been invited to a tea-party.  This tea party has some very special guests attending who are really interested in what you are now doing and where your career path has taken you.  Before you arrive, they wonder what you have achieved.  Have you had a career change?  Have you returned to work?  Have you progressed successfully in your current role?

It’s time for the guests to find out about your dream job…

During the tea party you are served your favourite cup of tea and given a comfortable arm chair to sit on.  You feel relaxed, yet still full of excitement about your new job.  The guests are keen to hear every detail about your first day and so you proceed to tell them.  Remember, you are only allowed to be positive and you must give your guests every detail!

Take the time now to write down what you told your guests about your first day.  Include detail about your day such as what you were wearing, how you got to work, what the surroundings at work are like, who was there, what you did in the morning and in the afternoon. Where did you go and who did you see?  The guests are also keen to hear about what you hope to achieve in your job so write this down too. Remember, this is your ideal job and is a dream come true.

What you need to do after the tea party to make your dream a reality…

When returning to the real world, you feel excited having imagined being in your dream job and would love to start making steps towards making it a reality.  However, there is a risk your dreams will be shattered, preventing you from trying careers that suit you.  The main risk factor to look out for is negative thoughts.

Conquer your negative thoughts

As you step out of the rabbit hole, you are immediately knocked sideways by a voice shouting:

‘I WILL NEVER GET MY DREAM JOB’

You realise it is your own voice.  It didn’t take long for the protection of your negative thoughts to kick in, did it?  The thoughts that protect you from trying new things and risking failing.  The voice that might as well be saying:

‘I CAN’T DO IT’

The first thing you need to do to minimise the negative impact of this thinking on your chances of achieving your dream job, is to replace your ‘I can’t do it’ phrase with ‘I can do it’

‘I CAN DO IT’

The more you say, ‘I can do it’, the weaker your negative thoughts will become, and you will increase your chances of success and be free to start taking steps towards your ideal job.

(To find out more about tackling your negative thoughts, do have a read of my article ‘Four simple words that can transform your career’ where you will find four steps to help you transform your career.)

Keep fantasizing

The next thing you need to do is keep your end vision in sight.  Keep reminding yourself of what you wrote down about your dream career and keep taking small steps towards it.

Your vision combined with an ‘I CAN DO IT’ attitude will help to give you the best chance of achieving the best career path for you.

‘I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success – the earliest spark in the dreaming youth – is this: dream a great dream.’   (John A. Appleman, lawyer)

 

(If you are finding the fantasy exercise tricky, have a read of my blog ‘How to redesign your career now!’, to help you discover suitable career options that best suit your personality.)

 

 

Tessa’s 2018 career blog round-up – something to help everyone’s career!

CareerIt doesn’t seem that long ago when I was writing my 2017 round up and already we are looking forward to our next Christmas break.  I wonder what lies ahead for your career in 2019.  Will it be a career change?  Will you be returning to work?  Are you facing any uncertainty at work, perhaps through redundancy? Perhaps you are contemplating having a break from work?  Is there a promotion you have your eyes on?

Whatever your situation at work, I hope my 2018 blogs and articles will provide you will some helpful and insightful information to help you. There is something for everyone…

BLOGS

Unpacking an inspiring career in 2018 (Jan)uk_career_development_1000px

Hidden careers you never knew existed (Feb)

How do you choose the right career coach for you? (Feb)

Aiming for perfection is not realistic (Mar)

How to explain a career break (April)

Stop procrastinating and just do it! (May)

Find career inspiration now from our new spotlight interviews (May)

How to tackle the changing job market (Jul)

The easiest way to find a job you actually enjoy (Oct)    

How to redesign your career now? (Nov)

 

GUEST BLOG

CV Pitfalls/setbacks and how to get over them by CV-Library

 

SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

Fundraiser follows passion and sets up successful travel company

Discover how Radha made an inspirational career change from charity fundraiser to setting up her own company.

Engineer and Mum makes successful career change following career break

Find out how Suzanne made an exciting career change and successfully returned to work after a two-year break to start her own business.

Creating your dream career through a portfolio career

Discover how Toni Sharp has created a portfolio career, combining work as an employment solicitor and her love for travel.

 

ARTICLES

Three action points to help you change career (Jan – Life Coach Directory)

Taking a career break from work (Jan – Jobsite)

What to do when work gets you down (March – Life Coach Directory)

How to find hidden career opportunities (May – Life Coach Directory)

Top 10 UK Career Development Blog (June)

The secret to finding the best career path for you (Aug – Life Coach Directory)

Getting the most from your career search when times are tough (Oct – Life Coach Directory)

Four simple words that can transform your career (Dec – Life Coach Directory)

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

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

FIND CAREER INSPIRATION NOW FROM OUR NEW SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEWS

How do you make the first step towards building a fulfilling and rewarding career?

Over the next few months I am inviting others to tell you about their careers in a series of spotlight career interviews.   I hope these interviews will provide interesting and inspiring reading to those of you who are feeling unfulfilled by your careers.

I decided to launch this series of interviews because many people I speak to lack the confidence to change career or are finding it hard to work out what they want to do for a job, frequently asking me for true examples of career changes to help them progress with their ideas.

I hope this series of interviews will encourage you to make the first step towards building a fulfilling and rewarding career as well as providing you with new job ideas.

The first spotlight career interview

Radha_profile pic

I am launching the series with an interview that will show you how taking control of your decisions can lead to amazing career opportunities.

By making the first step and trying out ideas, Radha made a successful and inspirational career change from fundraiser to setting up her own adventure travel company, Flash Pack. Do have a read of her interview below.  She gives some great advice for those wanting to change career and you may also be inspired to take a holiday!

FUNDRAISER FOLLOWS PASSION AND SET UP SUCCESSFUL TRAVEL COMPANY

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Stop procrastinating and just do it!

career-coaching

Do you procrastinate over making decisions about your career, leaving your success to chance? 

A few years ago, I did a seminar for the Coventry and Warwickshire Young Professionals titled ‘A great way to get ahead in your career and it’s much better than leaving it to chance’.  It was about developing the ability to step out of your comfort zone and take control to enable you to achieve a fulfilled and successful career, full of opportunities and enjoyment.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  All you need to do is take control and you will be successful and happy.

If only it was that simple.  If it was, I would certainly be out of a job!  This is certainly a case of ‘easier said than done’, but why?  Why is it so hard to take control of our own lives?   Why do people need my help?

Procrastination, procrastination, procrastination…

Yes, we procrastinate.

I am sure you have been guilty of procrastinating, finding it creeping into your decision-making process and casting doubt on your great ideas.

Think about it.  What was the last big thing you wanted to achieve in your career?

  • A promotion at work?
  • A better work life balance? (Given we spend 70% of our waking energy on work, unsurprisingly I hear this one a lot.)
  • A career change?

What happened next?  Did you achieve it?

We all want things from our working lives, but often it stops there.   Procrastination takes control and we do nothing about it.  We leave success to chance.

However, it doesn’t have to end there.  You don’t have to leave your career progression to chance.  If you want to get ahead, there is a more beneficial and reliable way….

 Just do it….

  • Do something about it: Become aware of the challenges you face at work and the resources available to overcome them– don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do (it may never happen).
  • Do try different things: if what you are doing is not working, try something else. For example, if you are constantly running out of time to complete work – research different time management techniques and adapt the way you work. It could be as simple as turning off your emails for parts of the day as emails are a big distraction. 
  • Do think long term – Think to the future. What are you aiming for? Make an action plan to help you to move forward in the most efficient way.  

Needing more inspiration? Have a look at this:

Art Williams: Just do it speech

As Art says, just do it!  Take control and do it – this is much better than leaving your career to chance.

If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view (Harvey Mackay)

‘Aiming for perfection is not realistic’

perfectionism

Is 100% perfection ever possible?

Not according to Winston Churchill,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Unpacking an inspiring career in 2018

suitcase

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

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

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

‘I am not good enough’

‘If it goes wrong it will be my fault’

‘They will think I’m crazy’

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

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

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

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

What jobs would you like to try for a week?

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

What are the three things you feel most passionate about?

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

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

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

I am sure you are now getting the point! 

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

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND INSPIRED NEW YEAR!

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk