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

The importance of learning to say ‘no’

email-cartoon.jpg

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

Overcoming Fear of Failure – Making a Career Change Possible

career-coaching

Have you ever thought about changing career but have been so afraid of failing that you decided not to?

In the UK, we are surrounded by opportunities and choices yet so many of us do not take advantage of what is available. We have the option to find a career best suited to our personalities yet choose to remain in a disheartening career because we believe a career change is simply not possible.

Fear of failure is one of the most common beliefs preventing career change.   You may be a perfectionist, a procrastinator or feel you are not good enough. These all come from a fear of failure and can cause you to miss out on career opportunities, leading to unnecessary stress, worry and unhappiness.

PURSUING A CAREER THAT BEST SUITS YOU

A fear of failure can be overcome through changing your thought pattern. Be willing to change and this will be possible. Here are a few steps to help you:

  1. Be aware of your belief, ‘fear of failure’, and the reasons you have for supporting this belief (perhaps you made a mistake in the past or did badly in an exam at school).
  2. Ask yourself if it is useful for you to continue clinging on to these past experiences/beliefs or whether it is now time to update your beliefs.
  3. If it is time for an update, decide what would be more useful for you to believe instead by turning your fear of failure into a positive statement. For example, ‘I am scared of failing’ becomes ‘I am successful’.
  4. Keep repeating your new positive belief; each time your fear of failure belief resurfaces, stop it and replace it with your new belief.
  5. Now take action to support your new belief. Fake it ‘til you make it! Use this new positive belief to empower you to take action.

You may now be thinking this is easier said than done or you are unsure of what to do next. Making the decision to change and knowing where to begin can be difficult and takes courage and perseverance.

I have had many clients who were desperate to change careers but believed it was not possible. One client believed that a job was not to be enjoyed. He had been told this by others in the past. He subsequently developed a fear of failure and remained in a job he disliked. This client then made the decision not to waste any more time and worked towards changing his belief. This allowed him to explore career opportunities available to him.  He is now pursuing a career that he is passionate about.

IT IS YOUR CHOICE

You have the choice to either allow fear of failure to control your life or to overcome this belief and pursue a career that fulfils you and brings a smile to your face.

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Does perfectionism hold you back?

maze

I have coached many people who define themselves as perfectionists. They approach me because they are struggling to move forward with their career for fear of making the wrong decision.

Perfectionists do not want to ‘fail’. They often want to ensure that any decision they make is absolutely perfect before proceeding with it. However, the only way they will know if their decision is right is by giving it a go and taking a risk. This turns into a catch-22 situation and the decision making process becomes extremely difficult and stressful.

It is really important to be aware of when perfectionism is helping you move forward and when it is hindering you. It can be a great characteristic for doing work brilliantly (although it can be unrealistically expected of individuals) but it can also hold you back from making decisions and attempting new things. For example, delaying a career change for fear of failing or choosing not to apply for a job because you believe other people will be better than you.

If you feel perfectionism is holding you back, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the worst that can happen?
  • How can you make it better?
  • What small step can you take now to bring you one step closer?

Also, have a think about the standards you are setting yourself. Are they too high?

Always set standards that are high, but achievable. Setting standards that are too high can be like setting yourself up to fail. How about lowering the bar, making your goals something you know you can and will do rather than something that is always beyond your reach.

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk

Five ways to achieve as a perfectionist

Handshake

‘A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.’ (Albert Einstein)

Are you a perfectionist?

Do you set yourself standards so high that they are almost impossible to reach? Do you frequently feel disappointed with yourself for not being able to meet the standards you set? Do you worry about what other people would say? Do you view mistakes as failure?

If you answer yes to these questions, you may be a perfectionist.

Being a perfectionist, does not lead to perfection….

A perfectionist sets themselves extremely high standards which are usually unattainable. Furthermore, when they don’t achieve perfection, they can spend a large amount of time criticising their efforts leading to feelings of frustration, anxiety and exhaustion. Their unattainable high standards rarely lead to perfection but instead lead to feelings of not being good enough and a fear of failure which can ultimately stop them from achieving what they want to achieve.

Does this sound familiar? If so, I am sure you would admit that these experiences can be very stressful and leave you feeling really disappointed with yourself.

Now let’s turn to the good news which is that anyone can be successful without being perfect. Let me tell you how…

Being successful without perfection.

If you find that being a perfectionist is stopping you from moving forward with your career or any other part of your life, please believe me when I say that there are ways to achieve without being perfect.

Have a think about something you would like to achieve but have not pursued for fear of failure. Perhaps it’s a career change, a promotion or a new hobby. Now have a think about how you can overcome your fear of failure. Read the following five ways which will enable you to move forward and achieve what you want to achieve:

  1. Stop thinking ‘I am not good enough’ and start thinking ‘I am good enough’. Nobody is perfect!
  2. Be constructive and don’t worry too much about the detail. Instead ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen? Accept that we all make mistakes and use these to help you move forward (rather than feeling rubbish about yourself). How can you do it better next time?
  3. Be kind to yourself and lower your standards. You can still set high standards but make them achievable.
  4. What small step can you now take? Allow for some imperfection!
  5. Celebrate your achievements! Enjoy it!

Remember, you can be excellent without being perfect!

 

www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk