The best kept secret to career success

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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!)

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

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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

Tessa’s 2017 career blog round-up – something for everyone!

career clipartWill you be pondering over your future career during the Christmas break?  If so, perhaps one of my blogs from 2017 will help to guide your thoughts.  I have provided all the links below (please excuse any inaccuracies with the publishing date– these became slightly muddled when I launched my new website in June!).

There is something for everyone –  whether you need help with your current job or would like to search for something new. Have a look…..

Stop waiting, take action! (Jan)

How to cope if you are put at risk of redundancy (Jan)

How to get a new job now – The three Ps! (Feb)

Four ways to feel happier at work (March)

Are you tired of being available 24/7? (April)

3 steps to turn your fear of rejection into career success (May)

How to make the first step towards finding a job that suits you (June)

How to stop stress preventing you from pursuing changes in your career (July)

Four focus points to help you make a good impression when starting a new job (July)

Who is the best person to tell you what job you should do (and it’s not me!)? (Sept)

Three steps to overcome your fear of being judged (Sept)

The importance of learning to say ‘no’ (Oct)   

Does looking at past events help you change career? (Nov)

Are you fed up of worrying about your career? (Dec)

Five ways to overcome setbacks (Oct – Life Coach Directory)

Is it time to stop feeling so stressed at work? (Dec – Life Coach Directory)

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

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Does looking at past events help you change career?

motivation-clipart-cliparti1_motivation-clipart_05“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” (Wayne Dyer)

An increased understanding of your response to past events, enables you to think more positively and develop greater self-confidence to act on the best career decisions for you.

When I first meet an individual for career coaching, I am often greeted with a look of surprise when I ask them to rate everything they have done from school to date by their motivation. I can understand their surprise, for they have come to me for help with their future career path and not their past. However, it is an invaluable exercise in identifying attitudes and beliefs which can hinder or help the career change process.

Our attitudes and beliefs are shaped through our response to experiences and events and dictate how we feel and behave. When our response to an experience forms a negative belief, we can feel miserable and our motivation for exploring new and exciting career possibilities is low. In contrast, when we have positive thoughts, our motivation is high, and we become far more willing to try new things.

In reviewing our motivation from past experiences, we can start to identify our positive and negative beliefs, and this can help us make future decisions. I will show you how through two examples:

1: Negative beliefs

I work with many solicitors who initially give their motivation at work a low rating. One common reason for this is the frequency of having to deal with telephone calls from unhappy clients. Dealing with these calls can make individuals feel anxious about speaking on the phone as they begin to mistakenly believe they are not good at dealing with people. Consequentially, they decide that their next career move must avoid this. When thinking of a career change, it is important to deal with negative beliefs such as this and learn to change them to avoid closing the door on possible opportunities too early in the career change process.

2: Positive Attitudes

In reviewing past events, we can also identify experiences that made us respond with a positive attitude and feel really motivated. Perhaps you did some volunteering for a charity which made you feel good about yourself and wanting to do more. In reviewing these positive experiences, it is important to look at what specifically you were doing during the experience that made you respond in this way – these activities and skills will be relevant when deciding on a best fit career.

Evaluating past events helps you to understand your thoughts and beliefs. How you think will affect how you feel about your next career choice and the subsequent action you take. Positive thoughts and beliefs will enable you to make the best decision regarding your career.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

The importance of learning to say ‘no’

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Learning to say no is about making a choice to focus on what is important to you, enabling you to reduce feelings of stress and freeing up time to focus on your personal goals and values.

How often do you check your emails each day? They are really distracting, aren’t they? I find that I must physically close my inbox to stop me looking at my emails, otherwise I am too easily distracted by those unread new arrivals in bold that are shouting at me to respond ‘NOW’.

Responding to emails is a great example of a daily task that prevents you from being effective and is often the cause of time management issues. Let me explain its true impact by relating it to Stephen Covey’s 3rd habit, ‘Put First Things First’.

In his book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Covey describes a time management matrix dividing how we spend time in to one of four ways, defined by the importance of the task (does it provide results?) and the urgency (visible tasks):

  1. Urgent and Important tasks – immediate and important deadlines (often a crisis or problem) Focusing on this area can cause a lot of stress.
  2. Not urgent and important – to develop effective personal management – activities that will move you forward in your career.
  3. Urgent and not important – Time pressured distractions such as email. These are not really important but someone wants it now.
  4. Not urgent and not important – Activities that have little value but can be relief from other work.    

Checking emails most frequently falls within category 3. However, we often mistakenly think they are category 1 tasks which explains the distractive nature of emails. This misunderstanding usually arises from the expectations of others rather than the email itself being THAT important.

The problem of being consumed by category 3 means that little time is left for the not urgent and important jobs in category 2. Category 2 tasks help personal development, the discovery of new opportunities and provide solutions to resolving problems in category 1. Failing to spend time on this category can lead to neglecting important areas of your life and career.

One way to resolve the heavy focus on category 3, is to learn to say no. Identify your priorities and manage the expectations of others by identifying those emails that can wait. This can relate to any category 3 task.   Even if you are asked to do something good, if it keeps you from what you really want to be doing then learn to say no in a respectful and pleasant manner. Keeping a focus on category 2 can make a huge positive difference to the effectiveness of your working and non-working life.

Remember: Every time you say yes to someone else’s priorities, you are saying no to your own priorities.  

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Three steps to overcome your fear of being judged

Good-bye-Comfort-Zone

Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone. (Robert Allen, author/speaker)

I have recently been busy updating my social media accounts, an activity many would find easy as it simply involves updating profiles and sharing useful messages and articles. However, for me, it is not so easy. It takes me right out of my comfort zone and, when I wonder why, I think this is because part of me fears being judged through social media’s power to amplify public opinion.

What will other people think of me? What happens if a negative comment is posted on my LinkedIn or Facebook page for all to see? What happens if someone disagrees with me?

In the end I sometimes find myself procrastinating over the perfect wording to avoid judgments being made. Perhaps that is the lawyer in me requiring 100% accuracy and perfection! However, is perfection possible? Can I really control other people’s reactions in this way? No, of course I can’t, and the immediate and public nature of social media does not allow for this. To be noticed you need to step out of the norm (despite the risk of attracting diverse attention). There is also no time for procrastination when you have a business to run!

As well as procrastination being a risk factor, the fear of being judged can be really debilitating for some people. It can quickly lead to a loss of self-esteem as it causes individuals to become anxious or easily embarrassed. Not many people want to look silly and this can lead to individuals keeping quiet rather than doing what they want to do.

Does this fear sound like something that is affecting you from confidently moving forward with your ideas?  If so, use these three steps to help you to challenge your fear.

  1. Be decisive – do you want your fear of being judged to hold you back?  Your fear affects your feelings and these feelings affect your behaviour, preventing you from achieving what you want to achieve. Don’t let the opinions of others become more valuable than your own individuality, allowing others to hold you back. You may miss the career opportunity you have always hoped for.
  2. Be curious – think of something more useful to believe.  It is your thought patterns around fear which need to change first to enable you to change your behaviour. Instead of holding a fear of judgement, replace your thoughts with curiosity. You may learn new things that help you move forward with your plans and strive towards your goals.
  3. Take action….    

…..I am now going to be bold and take action by inviting you to follow me on LinkedIn or to Like my Facebook page. Please also share anything that you believe would be useful to others. I share lots of information to help those wishing to change career, develop their career or improve performance.

I am also thinking about making and sharing short video clips with helpful career tips…watch this space!

Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone. (Robert Allen, author/speaker)

http://www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk