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.

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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.

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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

What do you do when your current job doesn’t suit you?

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In November 2019, I wrote about designing a personal work mug that reflects everything about you to help you to discover suitable career options that best suit your personality. (Do spend time to read this blog as it will help your understanding of this month’s topic.) This month I am going to write about what to do when cracks start to form in your personal work mug, and you are beginning to dislike your life at work as it no longer suits you.

Jobs that do not suit your personality

Cracks will start to form in your mug when you are in a job that does not match your work mug design and therefore does not suit your personality.  As written in my November blog, you want to find a job that uses your most enjoyable skills in a field based on your favourite subjects.  The design of your personal work mug is crucial as it reflects these things about you.

When cracks start to form, it can be miserable.  No one wants to drink from a cracked work mug but, unfortunately, these cracks will not mend themselves and can keep on forming if you don’t do anything about it, making work extremely stressful.

Reality check – does your current role suit you?

Take some time now to review the design of your personal work mug.  Compare your personality (the skills, interests and knowledge you wish to use and environments that suit you) to your current role.  What is missing from your current role that is included on your personal mug design?  Does your current role match your skills?  Does it include your interests?  Is the working environment one where you can be at your best?

From this information, you can establish whether your current role suits your personality or whether there are any discrepancies. If there are discrepancies, work out whether it is the content of your current job or the working environment that is not suiting you? It may be a mixture of both.

Working environment

If it is the working environment that you are struggling with, first decide whether the issues you face can be resolved.  Perhaps you find you are happy with your day to day role but are struggling with team management.  Does anyone at work know what you are having difficulties with and can anyone help you?  Would a different role within the same company suit you?  Alternatively, is it an option for you to look for a similar job within a different company or industry?

Job Content

If it is the content of the job that is not suiting you, you will want to consider alternative jobs or career options.  Perhaps you already have some ideas.  Perhaps you want to concentrate on your interests more.  Perhaps you want a complete career change.

These are all areas to consider as you work out what is your best next step in your job search as you identify what is missing from your current job and explore different ideas that will best suit your personality.  Make sure you review all these areas to prevent future cracks appearing in your work mug.

If you are considering a career change, do read my career change help sheet for further guidance.

The key ingredient for making a career change

i love my jobDo you enjoy a relaxing cup of herbal tea to ease the worries of the day? Which combination of ingredients would be your perfect choice of tea?  Perhaps your favourite is green tea with strawberry and vanilla or perhaps it’s apple and ginger.   There are so many types to choose from, all with a unique flavour made from a combination of different ingredients.

What would happen if you made yourself your favourite green tea with strawberry and vanilla, but there had been an error and the vanilla ingredient was missing?  It would be a different flavour, wouldn’t it? The tea would have a slightly different taste.   Each ingredient of your favourite tea has an important part to play in balancing the flavours to make it unique.  When an ingredient is missing, the balance of flavours is disrupted, and it will no longer taste like your favourite tea.  You may not enjoy it as much and feel slightly disappointed when you take your first sip.  It has done very little to ease your worries.

You are also made up of a combination of ingredients which make you unique.   These ingredients are your values, the fundamental principles you live by and are of absolute importance to you. They make up who you are (your unique flavour) and motivate you to achieve what you want to achieve.

Ensuring you are living your life in accordance with your values is an important consideration when considering a career change.  This is because when a value is not being fulfilled or an ingredient is missing from your life, the balance in your life is disrupted and you will become less motivated to achieve your goals.   You become stuck, feel stressed and lose some enjoyment of life.

If you have lost motivation, now is the perfect opportunity for you to consider your values.  Take some time to think about what is important to you right now.  You may wish to use headings such as wealth, health, family, work, relationships and fun and recreation to help you.  When thinking about each area, consider what positive values you get from this area and start identifying repeated values. Examples of values include love, wisdom, purpose and fulfilment.  Remember, each value will mean something different to different people.  What is important is what it means to you.

Once you have your list of values, you can identify any that are absent from your life right now and identify ways to incorporate them into your goals, including your career ambitions.  Any frustration you have felt in the past may have been due to a conflict with one of your values.  You will be more motivated at work if the content of your job and the environment you work in are aligned to your values.