Career Management Challenges

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This is the first blog post I have written for a while as I wanted to take a break until I felt inspired to write another one!

The many clients I have been working with over that last few months have inspired this reflection on the area of career management and the many different challenges people face at any age and at any stage of their career.

These are some of the thoughts or questions people are having or asking themselves and indeed some I have asked myself over my career

  • Why am I not enjoying my job anymore?
  • I don’t get on with my boss very well is that a good reason to leave?
  • I have been in the same role/company for a few years should I stay or should I move?
  • I don’t feel appreciated anymore – am I valued?
  • I don’t get any feedback at all and other people seem to be getting more opportunities to progress than I am
  • I haven’t got a development plan or any real objectives
  • I need a change
  • What I really want to do is work for myself
  • I need to get back into the world of work after a career break where do I start?
  • When is a good time to retire and then what do I do?
  • I want to do something different but unsure if I should look for another job in the same company or look at different companies
  • Should I get more qualifications?
  • I am having a tough time at work at the moment but is this just temporary or should I start looking for something else?
  • If I eventually want to work for myself should I just be brave and make it happen or shall I set up a “side hussle” while I am still in work?
  • I like what I do but I am not inspired by the industry or the company I am working for
  • My work life balance is out of control can I improve my situation in my current role or do I need to change?

Just reading through the list above how many of these have gone through your mind over that last few years? Is there one particular one that resonates currently?

What I am going to do over the next few blog posts is look deeper into a few of the areas and from a coaches perspective illustrate the type of work and further questions you can ask yourself to determine the next steps or possible options you can consider taking to explore further the correct course of action for your personal career management.

Sandra works as an executive coach for businesses and also has a private coaching practice for career/life and business coaching. More information can be found at http://www.sandrawebbercoaching.com. She is also author of Own It – regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon Check book out here and a recently launched series of Own It Podcasts which gives inspiration and tips for professional and personal life Own It Podcasts

 

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Going It Alone

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Linking back to a previous blog post on scary goals and being brave one area that frequently comes up in my career coaching work is when an individual is trying to decide whether to leave paid employment and enter into the world of self employment.

I remember when I made this move leaving a very well paid corporate job in 2000 I walked out of the office door for the very first time “unemployed “ thinking what I have just done is either very brave or very stupid. There wasn’t a plan on what I was actually going to do I just knew that the job I had been in was making me miserable and had been doing this for about eighteen months. I had got to the point where I dreaded going back to work after a holiday and I had always vowed if that happened to make some changes.

Within the first couple of weeks had I heard a few of bits advice from mentors who had a similar path and were a few years down the line at that point. The advice I gained in these early weeks I still pass onto others as I believe them to be very true in my experience

  • It takes 3-4 years to get used to being self employed and if you last this long without returning to a regular salaried job them you are likely to be successful and also become fairly unemployable as you get used to the freedom of being your own boss and the feast and famine nature of this path.
  • It’s all about who you know and who you surround yourself by. There will be many doubts in these early years and pragmatic encouragement from authentic inspirational people who want to help you succeed is a critical success factor.

I certainly underestimated the length of time it takes to

  • Refine what you want to specialise in
  • To work out the correct pricing model
  • To set up the operational infrastructure working out what you want to do yourself and what you want to pay others to do for you
  • Work out the elevator pitch when people ask the classic “ what do you do?”
  • Polish off an authentic sales and engagement process
  • Develop a support network to encourage you when the going gets tough but also challenge you when something needs to be discontinued and you don’t see it yourself.

What you get in return however after persisting through these initial years is immense personal growth along with a sense of achievement and freedom along with the by product of meeting some great new people on route.

 

Sandra works as a coach with both businesses and private clients. She is also author of the book Own It – regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon click here http://bit.ly/1JhAkst

 

Wellbeing 2018

water-drink-detox-detox-water-122444.jpgSo, following on from my last post I had cause to review my own health and wellbeing at the end of 2017. During my enforced rest and relaxation period I couldn’t help but take stock and ask myself, in classic end of the year review mode, whether I need to make any additional changes to my own health and wellbeing practices this year.

 I have never been unhealthy in my lifestyle, but I am a great believer that as we age we do have to continually tweak our habits further to keep as vibrant as possible both mentally and physically.

 In recent years I have drastically reduced my reliance on sugary and processed food. I have replaced intense competitive exercise with equally physically challenging but kinder on the body and soul yoga. Each year I have challenged myself to “learn to like “certain nutritious foods that previously I had avoided e.g. eggs, yogurt and avocado as examples. Majority of time I eat sough dough bread and don’t enjoy normal bred now.

On the more cosmetic side I have broken my reliance on hair straighteners that were ruining my hair and acrylic nails that were ruining my nails (the nail addiction was only broken in 2017) which as well as being healthier choices have freed up an incredible amount of time.

 So, what next in 2018, what other changes could I make?

  •  I love my morning coffee, but I would benefit from reducing my daily caffeine intake via reducing the number of cups of tea and replace this with herbal teas from midday.
  •  I have no desire to go vegetarian at all however I could ensure more of my meals are fish or poultry based with more vegetables and less carbohydrates.
  •  I need to ensure when out on the road at business clients I don’t eat processed rubbish, this means planning and taking healthy food with me.
  •  I am going to keep learning Spanish as intellectually this is good for me and very challenging.

 My daily Ashtanga Yoga practice is a well-established habit however I have lost my way with my regular meditation habit which used to be good. 10 mins a day would be a fab discipline to get back into.

So you see there are always things that can be improved. No matter where you are starting from what few shifts can you make to take things up to a new level to aid your health and wellbeing in 2018?

 

New Challenges Mean New Frustrations

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Anyone who knows me or has read my book Own It will know that I always like to be working on a new challenge however sometimes I do wonder why I do this as it is not always easy.

 I love the initial phase when a new idea bubbles up or just comes completely out of the blue in what I call a moment of clarity! It’s happened to me many a time e.g. Deciding to qualify as an accountant in the 1980’s, setting up the business in 2000, doing my first triathlon and then an Ironman! Well the challenge that came up from nowhere this April while on holiday in Lanzarote was I want to learn Spanish and be above average.

 So, the familiar pattern starts, and I secured a Spanish teacher before the return flight landed at Bristol airport and I was telling everyone this was my new “non-work” project. I discovered a brilliant app Duolingo thanks to a client who recommended it and initially everything was great.

 Now nearly eight months later reality has hit learning Spanish is hard and requires a lot of time and effort. I keep meeting an amazing amount of people who I didn’t realise can speak Spanish well some who did A levels or degrees in it. I have also met a lot more people who have embarked on a similar project, maybe with a different language, who have given up when they got to the stage I am currently at. It’s not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I am myself at that decision point, how much do I want this? Is my reason for doing this strong enough?

 Well at the time of writing yes, I am still fully committed to learning this language even though it’s not going to be as easy as I originally thought. I am going to have to put more effort and time into this if I want to achieve my goal however you will notice I didn’t put a timeline on this challenge and this was for a reason I wanted it to be a fun, non-work-related pastime. I certainly know an awful lot more Spanish than I did in April of this year and I need to remember this. My understanding and recognition of words is much better however there is still a lot more work to be done in pronunciation and understanding what is been said by the natives rather than a slower paced Spanish lesson.

 So, it’s a challenge you bet it is and it’s tougher than I thought but that is ok it just might take a bit longer than I originally thought and I have now got great respect for those people who can fluently speak a second language.

 

 

 Sandra works as a coach or Businesses and Private Clients. She is also author of the book Own It regain control and live life on your terms available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl

 

 

What Inspires You to Live Life to the Max?

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When was the last time you sat back and asked yourself “what inspires me?” I did this twice during my recent Spanish holiday. As I drank a coffee in a Spanish Cafe having witnessed one of the many Ironman swim starts that I have been privileged to watch over the past 13 years. Having trained for and completed one of these races myself (1.9-mile open water swim, 112 miles on a bike followed by a full marathon distance run) I know the sacrifices and discipline that it has taken for each one of those people who stood on that start line to get there. On race day anything can happen good and bad it’s an achievement to get to the start line.

 Every one of those competitors this morning inspired me along with the friends and family that stood on the beach and gave up a whole day to cheer and encourage each athlete over the many hours as the race unfolds.

 The Ironman Machine who organise these races with military provision across the whole world they also inspire me as they explain to nervous athletes what to do at every stage of the event and the many unpaid marshals that give up their time for many hours along the entire route.

 At breakfast this morning everyone forced themselves to fuel for the challenge ahead and there were many reflections on the different reasons why each person was taking on this awesome challenge. Some were raising money for charity, some were pushing themselves to physical limits never experienced before some were first timers and one person was competing in this 200th Ironman event.

 All shapes and sizes finished the swim and headed out onto bike course for many hours… each one of those people inspired me living life to the full.

 The second time the theme of inspiration came up during my holiday was during an Ashtanga workshop I attended in Palma a week after the Ironman event. The teacher who took our workshop was truly inspirational from the moment she started to teach to the moment she left 4 days later. She was authentic, interested, personable, knowledgeable, passionate, realistic, and left an extremely positive impression on everyone she interacted with.

 Both very different sources of inspiration but each one inspired me in the fact as far as we know we only get one life so live it to the maximum always.

 

Get Crystal Clear

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If you have read the last two articles then you will have realised that a sensation of feeling stuck and not happy with your current situation or being faced with a crossroads position in either your professional and or personal life are just two triggers that can cause us to take stock and change things for the better.

So, let’s assume that in some way you have decided you need to make some changes what next? This step is vital for your success and it is often skimmed over. Having decided in what areas you want to make some changes this step ensures you get crystal clear in your own mind what you are aiming for and what good looks like. If there is a measurable outcome or way of confirming you have reached your ideal place then write this down, take a photograph, share with someone close anything that commits this goal in your mind. If we get this clarity early in the change process then any future decision making becomes a lot easier when we reference our final clear destination.

Here is an example of how clear this needs to be:

Current situation is a freelance language teacher is currently feeling burnt out with juggling working part time at a school, private clients, motherhood and looking after herself. When working on getting a crystal-clear picture of what she wants her future week to look like it looked like this

Monday – work at school 9.30-1pm

Tuesday – private clients 10-12 and 1-3

Wed – day off for exercise/social catchups

Thursday – work at school 9.30-1pm Evening private clients 6-8

Friday – morning lesson prep afternoon exercise/ social

Saturday – family time

Sunday – morning exercise / afternoon family time

When looking at this picture the client agreed this would tick all the boxes and meet the financial requirements of her life and get her back feeling good again with time for her own wellbeing.

It also helped when asked by private clients when she gave lessons the answer was clear either Tuesday daytime or Thursday evenings and if full would keep a wait list.

Having done the work of getting crystal clear on what she wanted the next challenge is having the personal discipline to keep to the plan.

So are you crystal clear in what you want the future to look like whether it be work, leisure, wellbeing the process is the same.

 

 

Sandra Webber works as a coach to both business and private clients who want to achieve more. To find out more visit www.sandrawebbercoaching.com  

At A Crossroads? – don’t wait too long

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My last article discussed how we can often find ourselves “stuck” either in our professional or personal life or indeed both and how sometimes just the realisation that we need to take some action to get “unstuck” is the first step to making positive changes in our life.

Another situation we can find ourselves in is facing a crossroads where there are many alternative routes that can be taken and a decision needs to be made as to which path to take. When we are driving a car, or walking and we reach a crossroads we MUST decide a direction of travel at that point unless we want to annoy other cars or pedestrians by just standing in the middle of the road. When reaching a life crossroads however it is a lot easier to hover and procrastinate.

So, what is your personal approach when faced with a life crossroads situation? This can happen at any age. I work with graduates who have just finished university and have several options available e.g. graduate entry level job in big company, go and work for a smaller SME, apply for jobs in total alignment with their degree subject matter or make a complete change as they no longer have interest in that subject three or four years later.

In later life, another crossroads situation can appear in mid-career e.g. Having worked for a smaller company for many years, knowing everyone and having built up a good reputation for the work you do, do you stay put and build on that reputation, enjoy being part of the team or do you apply for jobs in a larger organisation where there may be more career progression and salary scope, alternatively you could go freelance or self-employed and as a fourth option a hybrid model of part time work and other work or personal activity is also an option.

Further on in life many of the people I work with are approaching the last phase of their working life and the crossroads they face can present itself as stay in current role until lucrative pension package kicks in, move jobs into their ideal role before it’s too late, be brave and launch the business they have always dreamt of, reduce hours and enjoy more leisure time, or retire early.

These are just some of the many choices we can face and on one hand it’s great to see how many different routes there are but on another front, having too many options paralyses some people to the point where they just stay put and always wonder in a “what if” way what would have happened if they had taken another route in another direction.

Over the years I have read many inspiring self-development books and added any useful learnings to my own personal toolkit from this reading. One tip I took many years ago that I still use today was from the classic Susan Jeffers book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway… in here she states there is no such thing as a bad decision. I use this when faced with the crossroads situation, take time to consider the options, do a pros and cons list and talk to others but then go ahead and be brave, make the decision and don’t look back. Make the decision on what route you want to take and then set off down in that direction with 100 percent commitment to make it work. Don’t look back or torture yourself with ‘what if I had taken the other route’. If it turns out you took one that doesn’t work out make a different decision at the next crossroads you meet and I have met many successful people who have had to make an occasional U-turn in their lives and its worked out ok in the end.