Why you should step out of your comfort zone to find a career you love

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

Dr Suess

It is time for a challenge! I am going to be doing a sponsored skydive for a charity I co-founded, Voices for Life.  Unfortunately, it has now been postponed four times due to low cloud which is extremely frustrating but it will happen!

Why am I doing this? Voices for Life is a charity I am hugely passionate about and its programmes take children on missions into space to enable them to aim high and believe in themselves.  It seemed only right that I should do the same and take on a mission that really challenged me and took me out of my comfort zone.

As I recently imagined what it is going to be like flying through the air, I started to think about the importance of recognising when our comfort zones hold us back from achieving what we want to achieve.  We remain sat in our comfortable armchairs which protect us and keep us safe, stopping us from making risky decisions and saving us from any potential embarrassment of telling people that something you tried did not work.

We know our armchairs will gradually grow old and worn if we sit there comfortably for too long. It then becomes harder to find a comfortable position and we start to become restless desperately trying to find the comfort we once had.  The springs weaken and the support gives way as it becomes increasingly difficult to lift ourselves out of the chair and search for a new one that provides what we need. The only problem is, sitting there comfortably for too long can stop you from finding a career you love. A career that makes you happy, giving you the opportunity to raise your confidence, create new memories and experiences you love. At this point, we know it is time for action but how do we do something about it?

Stepping out of your comfort zone, requires a change of mindset and courage. Finding enough confidence to enable you to take a step away from your old and comfortable chair and gradually move towards different opportunities, perhaps some you didn’t even know existed. It does not have to be jumping out of a plane but it may be something you catch sight of on the ground that you can start steering your parachute towards.  As you start taking little steps, you start discovering life beyond your comfortable armchair to help realize your aspirations.   

As I wait in suspense to experience freefalling through the air for 30 seconds, I wait to discover something new, something I have been told will be one of the most exhilarating things I will ever do. I will have to give up some control to do it and take a risk but it will be worth it, especially having raised so much sponsorship for the charity from amazingly generous supporters. I am sure it will open my eyes to new things about me and about the world as I look down at earth and create new memories that will steer me on my way.

As I coach many adults to step out of their comfort zones to help them steer towards a career that suits them in line with their passions and skills, I know these individuals will say that it has been worth getting out of their armchair and landing somewhere a bit different. It is all about aiming for your hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Why this is the best time to review your career

As we approach the milestone of it being a year since we first went into lockdown, I reflect in this video on my thoughts about how a shift in thinking this year has prompted many to review what makes them happy and how the re-evaluation of career choices is becoming a large part of this review.

On the day we, in the UK, are ranked as the 18th happiest country, this video and blog seems highly appropriate! This video is all about what success and happiness means to you and what will make you smile at the end of the day and say ‘yes, that was a good day’.

Helping clients thrive in 2021

This is the transcript of a podcast Tessa recorded for the International Authority of Coaching and Mentoring with one of her clients about how she works and how coaching benefitted her client, helping her client to feel excited about her career in 2021. Do have a listen to the podcast using the link above or, if easier, have a read of the transcript below.

Tessa, tell me about yourself

As you said I am an accredited career and performance coach, I specialise in all aspects of careers so redundancy, career change, confidence building, and I often help people return to work after a break.  I also have personal experience of a career change. I used to be a family law solicitor.  I then took a short break and pursued a career change into the charity sector where I worked as a Major Gifts Officer. I then set up my career coaching business which I have been running for over 10 years and still absolutely love doing the work that I do.

In the last year, who has your typical client been?

My clients come to me from all different backgrounds and for lots of different reasons, but I would say the underlying theme at the moment is really searching for fulfilment in their careers.  I think over the last year, the pandemic has thrown lots of questions for people and this has made them question their career.  Many are coming to me quite unhappy or dissatisfied in their career or current job and considering a career change or seeking help within their current role because of challenges they are experiencing. Obviously, many are coming to me who have also been on furlough for quite a few months and then are being made redundant. There are lots of things going on at the moment for individuals and it’s really my turn to start helping them find that fulfilment again and find those opportunities that will best suit them.

Where do you start?

This year the focus in my coaching has slightly changed.  As you know, Covid-19 has not been easy for anyone and there is certainly a much stronger focus in my programmes on wellbeing and helping people overcome many more negative beliefs that have arisen over the last year.

Prior to lock down, my  focus initially in a career coaching programme would always be on wellbeing to help increase confidence, productivity, and ability to overcome challenges which then forms a good foundation for leading me to a more detailed focus on careers.  I get clients to score the five recognised areas of wellbeing (being active and health, contribution, relationships, learning and relaxation) out of 10 for how satisfied they are with each area.  With low scores, we would work together to put some goals in place to help raise these scores.

Since lock down, I have noticed that these scores have become exceptionally low and there have been many more negative beliefs due to the continued restrictions we are all experiencing.   A client referred to this as ‘mental overload’ and I think she is right.  Many are suffering and so a stronger focus on wellbeing has been needed to maintain a steady rise in those wellbeing scores to ease this mental overload and ensure motivation and good health are maintained. 

When people have scored themselves, as a coach where do you take them next?

When they score themselves, we then prioritise the areas that have the lowest scores, work out what is going on for them now in terms of those scores and start putting in place small changes to help raise those scores.  For example, someone I am working with at the moment is working such long hours at home and doesn’t even go outside and so a very small change to put in place is a 10-minute walk. These little changes will then make more significant changes later and help these individuals to think about what career they could do in the future because they are feeling better about themselves.

How to you bridge the gap between what’s needed now and what’s needed in the future?  Do you set a vision for them to achieve or do you start very much in the moment and see where that takes them?

It’s actually a bit of both. The initial focus is on the present.  As I said before about the wellbeing areas, what’s going on for then now and encouraging them to make those small positive changes so that they feel more positive. Alongside that it will also be a matter of helping them with changing any negative beliefs, discussing the triggers for those and going through a belief change process and encouraging a more positive way of thinking.  Once I know that is underway and being established and, from the language of my client, they are becoming more positive, we build in the future.  Their mind will be in a better place to visualise their future and work out what will be the best for them.

As coaches working with clients, in 2021, what other tips have got to help people thrive this year?

Again I think it’s about the present, then looking to the future.  Firstly, it’s being really aware of the impact the pandemic may have had on your clients and be ready to help them address negative thoughts arising from this and genuine concerns about health and family members which are ongoing.  I have particularly noticed the affects of remote working and isolation on work relationships. This will have an ongoing impact on individuals. Building rapport has been tricky this year or even getting hold of colleagues or managers to ask a quick question to clarify an issue – that reassurance is not so readily available anymore.  This can lead to a questioning of abilities for many individuals. It’s really being aware of all these different things that clients are going through and ensuring you address those.

It is then about looking to the future. It is really important at this stage to free up their imagination. I always carry out a fantasy exercise with my clients where they have to imagine their typical day in their dream job.  We cover all details including what they are wearing for this job!  This exercise is so important because the inability to imagine an ideal scenario can be a real block to working out the future.  I was taking a client through this exercise a couple of weeks ago and we were halfway through it and she said, ‘This is where my imagination is going to fail me’.  I paused the exercise, and we discussed this statement and there were underlying thought patterns ‘I can’t do it’ or ‘I won’t be able to do another job’ or ‘I don’t have the skills’.  Through a belief change exercise, she developed a positive way of thinking which in turn freed up her imagination. This was such a breakthrough for her that she cried.  The freedom to imagine enabled her to admit for the first time that she did know what she really wanted to do but was too afraid to admit it. Again, it’s the combination of now and the future and giving clients the space to work through any issues and then freeing up their imagination to visualise what 2021 could be like for them.

When you are working with a client and have a set amount of sessions and then they go off to fulfil their dreams,  how do you make sure that they spend time looking back and reviewing their progress to make sure they keep on track and keep flourishing?

During the coaching programme, I provide a number of exercises and templates and in the last session, for example, we revisit the wellbeing scores to ensure that they have all been raised slightly or a lot and then they can use that process to enable them to revisit it again in the future and keep track of that. We also, in line with the career side of things, develop a career vision which is set out on an A4 sheet of paper setting out their ambitions, the skills they are going to be using and an action plan so again they have something else to refer to when perhaps they are thinking things aren’t going quite right again.  I also make sure clients go away with a thorough action plan to enable them to meet their goal and the career aspiration we have come up with. This is also something they are able to revisit and adapt if necessary.

Is there anything else you would like to add at the moment?

At the moment, it is about being focused on short-term and long-term planning. There are two issues going on at the moment for many people who have been on furlough for many months and have perhaps now been made redundant.  There is therefore an element of short-term planning to recover that loss of income and to start earning again as well as the long-term planning of meeting their career aspirations.  There is definitely more of a focus on the two and trying to get the two in line with each other.

Tell me about working with Jenny

It’s been a pleasure working with Jenny.  She has a fantastic sense of humour and great determination.  As you mentioned earlier, she was made redundant due to the pandemic following 7 months of furlough. Together, we recognised current barriers and broke them down to help her overcome them. We worked on building structure and positivity back into her days focusing on the 5 areas of wellbeing to inspire and motivate her.  It was very simple and very effective. Her determination enabled her to explore career options for the future.  Her willingness to change and work with me helped her in just 4 sessions to develop a concise and inspirational career vision and plan for 2021.  She has already started progressing with this and it is very exciting!

Let’s flip over the coin now and speak to Jenny. Tell us more about yourself. 

Up until November I was a regional fundraising manager for Help for Heroes and worked for them for a couple of years, although 7 months of that was on furlough so I was not doing anything.  Before that I worked in hospitality and events.  I was head of events for the British museum and that was my last events role and I was looking to change direction and get a better work-life balance which was why I moved to Help for Heroes.  As Tessa said, the sessions I have had with her have really helped me to come up with a vision with what I want to do now given fundraising and events aren’t really in demand in the middle of a pandemic so it is a really good time for me to change direction and think about what else I might want to do.

Please can you give some insight into what tools and techniques she used with you that you found helpful for you at this time in your life.

From the first conversation we had I was at a low point and I don’t think I had realised that was the case.  When she took me through the five areas and looking at my wellbeing, I scored quite low in quite a few of the areas.  Because I had been stuck in the limbo of furlough, I hadn’t realised that was the case.  I am usually quite a positive and determined person and I ended up in a slump without realising I had got there. Finding that was the case was really helpful and spurred me on to try and take in everything I could from the coaching and make some changes. We got to the third session which was a breakthrough.  I was fixed on what I had always done and not opening myself to thinking about other possibilities. We went through an exercise where I came up with what careers I could possibly want to do if there were no restrictions. We scored these against the areas of interest and things I enjoyed doing.  We came up with a career that fitted every one of my goals, my skills and my interests that I really hadn’t ever considered as an option. That is the plan I am working on at the moment.  Without Tessa I would never have found that.

How are you going to keep yourself moving forward and motivated?

As Tessa said, I like structure and I like planning, so we did a lot of work around how I structure my days given I am not working at the moment.  I essentially do I what do at work.  I write myself a to do list and structure in around my day when I am going to do it. I make sure I am hitting every goal  on the action plan I have been working on so I have an action plan, that will take me through to this time next year, of things I want to do to start my own business and where I need to get to. That’s what will keep me on track. 

How do you feel about 2021 now compared to how you felt about it six months ago?

Six months ago was dread for the next year of my life. I was not going anywhere or doing anything, like most of us. I really didn’t have any idea of where I wanted to get to. Working with Tessa has really helped me to structure what I want to do next.  As I said, the activity around making an action plan, goal setting and a vision has really helped me understand where it is I want to get to and the path to get there. That is what I am working on at the moment.  I feel really positive about 2021.  I am excited about what’s in store for me, what’s ahead and what I am able to do.

Have you lost control of your work-life balance?

‘Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.’ (Hilary Clinton)

Do you agree with Hilary Clinton?

Are you constantly balancing work and life?   

It is unsurprising that I have never coached someone who doesn’t want to achieve a ‘work-life balance’.  It is a well-known fact that a good work-life balance prevents stress and burnout, reduces anxiety, and creates healthy and happy lifestyles.

However, I am sometimes challenged by people about whether a work-life balance is possible and this has occasionally made me wonder whether these individuals are right.  Perhaps it is unrealistic.  Perhaps this is a term that will fade in popularity when we move on to the next ‘in’ phrase. However, whatever name we associate with it, I do believe it is possible.  Over 10 years of coaching individuals who are unhappy in their career has taught me that ‘work-life balance’ does impact lives and I know that when I work with someone on improving their work-life balance, they always become happier and are able to give more thought to making their career more fulfilling.   

Unfortunately, Coronavirus and the ongoing changes to our lifestyle and work arrangements has made maintaining a work-life balance tricky for many people.  One minute we can see friends and relatives, the next minute we can’t.  Many are now facing redundancy or were about to come off furlough, only for it to be extended again.  Many went back to work, now to be told to work from home again.  Plans have been made and cancelled.  Keeping up with changes we have no control over can be mentally exhausting and can impact the control we have over maintaining a good work-life balance leading too stress, fatigue, and a decrease in work performance.

How is your work-life balance at the moment?

I know many people have been reassessing their lives and priorities over the last few months during the pandemic.  Discarding things that previously made them stressed and bringing new elements in that make them happier.  If you have managed to do this, fantastic!  However, if you haven’t please don’t worry, it is not easy.  I really mean that. It is not easy at the best of times, let alone when there is a pandemic and the rules keep changing.  When a client said to me last week that they feel like they have lost control of their work-life balance, I knew they wouldn’t be the only person who currently felt this way.

If you feel this way, why not spend a bit of time doing a little review of your life.  Simply follow these points to help you:

1. Consider the following five areas of your life and grade each area on a scale of 1 to 10 as they are for you now; 1 being poor or you are unhappy with what you are doing in this area and 10 being you are fully satisfied or you happy with this area.

  • Being active/health (e.g. Diet, physical activity, fitness)
  • Relationships (e.g. Family, partner, parents/siblings, friends)
  • Learning (e.g. Books, courses, hobbies)
  • Contribution (e.g. Giving time and energy to others)
  • Relaxation/being mindful (e.g. Ambitions, salary, relationships)

(If you would like to go into more detail, work out how many hours you spend on these categories in a typical week.  A typical week is approximately 98 hours, allowing for seven days each of fourteen hours.)

2. For scores below 9, spend time thinking about what you can do to improve your score in that category. Think about changes you can make to your life to increase the lowest scores. Remember, you do not need to make big changes.   Focus on one category at a time and take small steps towards improving your score.

Remember, once you have started the process of restoring the balance, you will start to feel happier and have more energy to eventually raise all the scores.

Whether or not it is the correct term to use, having a ‘work-life balance’ and keeping it at the forefront of our minds is really important for developing a happy and fulfilling life and career.

Preparing for changes in your career in a post-coronavirus world

preparing for change

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”

(Albert Einstein)


We are all now starting to look to the future in a post-coronavirus world.  Some of you may already be putting plans in place for your careers, others may still consider it too early to make any decisions or are unsure what to do next. How do you prepare to make changes in your career in a post-coronavirus world?

I am finding that career change, flexible working and wellbeing are some of the main areas of change being reviewed by individuals at the moment as they consider the future of their working lives.  These are the areas that are often considered when deciding on best-suited career paths.

Career Change

According to recent research by the Adecco Group UK and Ireland, 29% of the UK’s workforce is considering a significant career change. One of the reasons being that many individuals (nearly one in five) felt they were not being treated well by their employer during the pandemic.  There are also many people who, before the time of coronavirus were considering a career change, and still want to pursue this.

Flexible Working

Working patterns have changed over the last few months allowing for more flexibility and working from home arrangements.  This has prompted thoughts on how our working lives can benefit from this flexibility.  Is there more scope for portfolio careers?  Can our working lives work around our family and home life in a more beneficial manner?


In recent months, we have also had lots of time to think about our wellbeing.  Spending more time at home has enabled us to spend time discovering what really makes us happy and feel good about ourselves. There will be changes many individuals will want to make to their lives now and in the future.

Since March, I have published a series of blogs, articles, and videos to assist you in navigating the impact coronavirus is having on the world of jobs and careers.  These are all summarised below – I hope they will be helpful for you as you start to make decisions about what the future holds for your career as we emerge from the affects coronavirus has had on our lives.


Looking after your career in the time of Coronavirus

This blog was written at the beginning of lockdown to help those worried about their future.

5 ways to get out of lockdown lethargy

To help you manage any uncertainty in your life and career.

Coronavirus and careers – what happens next?

Helping you to navigate the impact coronavirus has on your career.

Making career decisions in uncertain times

Some useful thoughts and ideas on how we start making decisions about our future careers when everything appears so uncertain.

How do we develop ways to get through the hard times in our careers?

Find out how to make career changes during tough times to enable you to move forward happily in your career.

CVs that stand out – this will make you smile!

Just for a bit of fun! Have you ever thought of presenting your CV in the form of a cereal box?  Discover some fun and creative examples of CV writing to make you stand out from the crowd.


How to adapt to uncertain times to find the career you love


Making career decisions in uncertain times

Building your confidence for a career change


‘The Tea Model: Slowing down in a fast-paced world to find the career you love’

My book provides a structured process to help you move forward in your career. I had had over 700 downloads over lockdown so I’m hoping it is currently helping lots of individuals with their careers!

Whatever your circumstances, this may be the right time for change no matter how big or small.  If you need some assistance do have a look at my website where you can browse through lots of free career resources.

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.


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’.

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


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.




The secret to finding happiness in your career

Success does not make you happy, happiness makes you successful.

i love my job


Success does not make you happy

How happy are you on a scale of 1 – 10?  

If your score isn’t 9 or 10, I wonder what is happening in your life right now. You may not be enjoying your job, you may have no idea about your future career path, you may be questioning whether you have the right skills for a career change, or you may be fed up with working long hours.

What would make your score a 10?  

We often hear people say,

“I will be happy when I have a job I love.”  “I will be happy when I get a good grade in my exams.” “I will be happy when I can afford a new house.”

It is so often the case that we postpone our happiness until a successful event has happened in the future.   Once this event has happened, you have a new job or new house, it is mission accomplished and you shoot to the top of the happiness scale.  Your success has made you happy…or has it?

It is indeed very common for people to think that their happiness is dependent on a successful event happening in the future.  However, the problem with this dependency is that these individuals postpone their improved happiness and become focused on what is currently making them unhappy, rather than what can make them happy now.  They focus on the jobs they don’t want.  They talk about the skills they don’t have. They complain about the long hours they are working.    There are so many things in our lives that can make us unhappy and it can be so easy to focus on them while we wait for a future success.  However, this is what can make us feel miserable and we may be waiting a very long time to be happy.

…but if the future success actually happens, I will then be happy so that’s okay, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, the happiness we get from success will only provide us with short-term increased happiness.  Think about it.   When you passed your driving test, you were really happy but are you still feeling the same level of happiness now from that event?   You will probably find that once you passed your test, the happiness from this success gradually wore off.  You got used to being able to drive independently and it became normal for you.  What now is going to make you happy? Do you wait for your next success?  When will this be? How long will you be waiting for?  You enter the happiness waiting game again.

Happiness makes you successful

The good news is that happiness is not dependent on the end result, it is not dependent on success.  In fact, it is the other way around.  Happiness makes you successful and so if you are happy during the journey to the success you increase your chances of being successful – a win-win situation!

What can you do now to make yourself happy and increase your chances of finding the job you love? 

Based on research carried out by Positive Psychologist, Prof Sonia Lyubomirsky,

50% of happiness is determined by your genes.

10% of happiness is determined by the circumstances in which you live.

40% of happiness is determined by your actions, your attitude and what we do on a daily basis.

This is great news!  You have a whole 40% to play around with to make you happy and increase your chances of being successful in finding a job you love. Use this 40% to start considering the following steps and make changes in your life to make you happy right now.

  1. Focus on what is right, building on the skills and positive attributes you already have.
  2. Discover what gives you meaning and pleasure in life. What are your passions?
  3. Take part in activities that fully engage you.

These steps will raise your score on the happiness scale and increase your chances of being successful in finding an amazing job.

The Tea Model

Steps 1 – 3 above forms the basis to Stage 1, ‘Time To Think’, of my Tea Model Career Coaching Programme.  Stage 1 ultimately helps you to be happy and motivated as you work towards finding a job you love by considering enjoyable activities you can do now to improve your well-being as well as enhancing your appreciation of your skills, interests, knowledge and values.

This is not about waiting to be happy, it is about focusing on the positive and taking part in activities you enjoy to enable you to overcome current challenges, raise your happiness score and give you the best chance of success in finding a job you love.

Don’t wait for happiness to happen to you…Do things now that will make you happy.

Happy people are successful