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.

Coronavirus and careers – what happens next?

butterfly release

2020 has brought an unexpected change to all our lives, a change that will be with us for the foreseeable future and remember forever.  The cause was the rapid spread of the coronavirus outbreak which, on 11th March, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Stress, confusion, and uncertainty started to fill our lives as we faced an uncertain time of illness, loss of income, job insecurity, isolation and change to all aspects of our daily lives.

Schools, shops, restaurants and many businesses closed and working from home systems and methods of online learning were quickly put in place. Parents became teachers, individuals were furloughed, the risk of future redundancy increased for many, some experienced big pay cuts and others were categorised in the newly evolving definition of the ‘Keyworker’.

Home took on a different meaning in our lives becoming our place of work, our children’s school and our place of relaxation.  We couldn’t see friends or family and relied on video calls for contact with the outside world.  We couldn’t go on outings and had to create our own home entertainment.

Whatever your circumstances, we have all been affected by Covid-19 in some shape or form and are all reacting to the unpredictable disruption to our lives in our own way.

Will life go back to the normal we used to know, or have we now got to get used to the inevitable ‘new normal’ that will lead us into 2021 and beyond?

The questions now facing us are profound:

  • How do we develop ways to get through the hard times?
  • When can we start making decisions again about our future?
  • How will the way we spend our time and energy change?
  • Will there be an escalation in working from home?
  • What will our commutes to work look like in the future and will we reconsider long distance travel for meetings?
  • Is this the time to be reinventing our lives and our careers considering options such as a career change?
  • Will people consider portfolio careers as a safer option against aligning themselves to a single employer?

Over the next few months, I will be publishing a series of blogs to help you start piecing together the answers to these questions.  I admit I do not know all the answers, if only I did!  However, what I can provide is help based on my many years of experience in career, confidence and performance coaching combined with what I am currently witnessing in the world of careers.  As we continue to face disruption in our personal and working lives, I hope I will be able to provide you with some consistency, calmness, and support to help reduce anxiety and stress, raise positivity and encourage aspirations, enabling you to discover ways to move forward happily and confidently into your ‘new normal’.

In the meantime, think about the best next step for you to take that will help you adapt to any concerns you currently face, focusing on the things that are in your control now as you start to gradually see and experience the world outside your home again. Start reintroducing feasible aspects of your life that you enjoyed before and can enjoy again, no matter how small.  It may be a walk with a friend or trip beyond your home and surrounding area.  Think of new ways to look after yourself.

Lockdown can be an opportunity for us all to reset, rethink and re-establish our lives as we emerge into the new world of careers.

5 Ways to Get Out of Lockdown Lethargy

career-coaching

How many times have you heard, read, or been told that you should use this time of lockdown or social distancing to your advantage?  It is time to let your creative juices flow and create an amazing business idea or go full steam ahead with developing a career change idea that you have been mulling over for the last two years.  It would make sense, wouldn’t it?  Many of us suddenly have some spare time on our hands and should be using it to our advantage to create and finish projects.

So why are many of us struggling to do this?  Why do many people find the days drifting?  Why are all those projects you were going to get on with still waiting for completion?  We are finding ourselves doing the bare minimum required to get through the day.

I was talking to someone recently about this and they mentioned the Allostatic Load.  I had not heard of this so immediately researched it and, yes, it all made sense.  It is all about the wear and tear on our bodies over time caused by repeated exposure to stress and we are certainly experiencing a lot of exposure to stress at the moment.  The list is endless: illness, family concerns, demands of being a keyworker, home schooling, furlough, redundancy, working from home, closed businesses and financial concerns. The stress accumulates and we move into fight or flight mode.  No matter what your circumstances, every day you are being exposed to some stress caused by the uncertainty of life at the moment.

In uncertain times, it is important to be kind to yourself and do whatever is needed to make you feel a little better.  Your mind is having to cope with a lot of uncertainty and so it may not have the capacity to be coming up with amazing ideas for the future in your life and your career.

Instead, focus a little on the five areas of well-being.  Although, these can be a challenge to fulfil at the moment given social distancing measures, it may be worth having a think about them again when you feel able and finding small ways to fulfil them:

  1. Be active – going for walks will keep you active and give you some headspace.
  2. Mindfulness – can you allocate a part of the day either during a walk or otherwise to notice what is going on around you? It may be simply looking up at the clouds or the stars. You may prefer to listen to music.
  3. Learning – you may struggle to think about learning at the moment. However, learning can simply involve reading a short article, a book or talking to someone and finding out more about them.
  4. Contribution – Could you take 5 minutes to message someone and ask how they are?
  5. Connections – Social distancing has changed the way we currently connect with people. We are using videos which can be overwhelming.  If the visual is too much, simply write a letter or message to someone.  Perhaps get in touch with a friend who you haven’t spoken to for years.

It is all about little steps at the moment.  Manage your expectations and give your mind and body time to process what is going on in the world around us.

Looking after your career in the time of Coronavirus

MAApr20026 - Tessa Armstrong Associates Winners Logo

We have recently entered a really uncertain time in our lives.  It has been a really worrying and emotional time for many, all for many different reasons but with the same underlying cause – Coronavirus.  We have our inspirational NHS workers, carers and other key workers working around the clock to help provide and care for those affected.  There are also those who are quietly at home not knowing what to do and wondering what’s going to happen.

Many of these individuals are wondering what’s going to happen in their working lives.  They may be on furlough, facing possible redundancy when we come out the other side, reassessing their values in life or thinking it is now time to follow their dreams and do something different but unsure how to go about such career changes.

For five days at the beginning of lock down, I gave away my eBook, ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’ for free and had over 700 downloads.  This tells me there are many people worried and anxious about their future careers.

If you are feeling worried or anxious, that’s okay.  You are allowed to feel this way.  Things are tricky at the moment.  All I want to say is once you feel ready, I really hope you can use my career resources and coaching experience to help you move forward:

  1. My website has lots of free career resources and videos for you to browse through at your leisure.
  2. I have written lots of articles on my blog. Make yourself a cup of tea and have a read.
  3. Read some of the Inspirational Career Change Interviews on my website.  These are true stories from individuals who made successful steps towards building satisfying and fulfilling careers.  They have kindly shared their stories to inspire you if you are struggling with your career.  They want to reassure you that you can find a career you love.
  4. If you haven’t already done so, grab a copy of my book ‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’.  My book provides a structured process for planning your career.  It includes career coaching exercises to help you discover and pursue a satisfying and fulfilling career.
  5. Contact me for a free career coaching consultation.  We can have an informal chat about how career coaching can help you.

I have 10 years experience of coaching and have won awards for my services, including most recently ‘Recognised Leader in Career Coaching Services UK, 2020’ by CV Magazine.  If you want to hear more, have a read below about what one of my fantastic clients said about career coaching.

‘My career was not moving in a positive direction, and I had been feeling unhappy after two redundancies I experienced in less than one year. And whilst the redundancies were out of my control, they were a further negative impact on advancing my career, so thought that career coaching would help me see things more clearly.

Working with Tessa was far more than I thought it would be. I am still a work in progress, but she helped me see some underlying patterns of thinking that were having a negative impact on my moving forward. She also provided me with a systematic process of looking at career options and how to move forward to achieve them.  I have found a new role with a great company and I am studying in order to bring about the change I want to see in my career. I also feel more confident that I can better handle any bumps in the road…and there are always bumps in the road!

Kate G, April 2019

It’s okay to feel stuck, it’s okay to feel anxious, it’s okay to feel uncertain.  If you have no idea what to do, that’s okay too…..I have been there too (read about my career change journey here).  A little bit of guidance (or a lot of guidance!) may be just the thing you need to help you move forward and start making positive changes as we navigate these uncertain times together.

 

 

 

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

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!)