Finding Your Passion

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Wouldn’t it be great if every Monday morning you woke up at the start of the working week and you were excited about your diary schedule. When each day. although you were going about your work, it didn’t actually feel like work at all. When you find out what your passion is in life and then find a way to earn money via utilising this passion this is what it feels like.

When working with people as a coach and they are unhappy with their current career it is useful to talk about what they are passionate about in life, to see if there is a way of leveraging from this in future job roles. Some people find it very difficult to answer the question ” so what are you passionate about?”  If people have never had this question asked of them before sometimes they struggle. If someone is going through a tough time the answer often comes back “nothing”

In Robin Sharmas book “The Greatness Guide” he suggests you list your 10 Greatest Passions, 10 activities that fill your heart with joy and remind you of how life can be”

What would your list of 10 be ? Have a go how many have you got on your list?

My top two would definitely be Personal development and Ashthanga Yoga.

If you were unhappy with your job this could be vital information to start exploring. Even if you are happy with your work the Robin suggests in the same book that over a 10 week period you schedule on of those passionate pursuits into your diary so that you get back to doing the things that lift your spirit.

What if you still can’t think of anything you are passionate about. Maybe these 3 guidelines might  help. To be passionate about something

  • We need to perceive we are free to do it therefore we shouldn’t feel obliged to do it.
  • It should have infinite potential for growth e g never ending
  • It should give us a sense of contribution which means we feel we are doing it for some reason bigger than ourselves.

So take some time out this week to see how your list of 10 shapes up and are you spending enough of your time on things you are passionate about.

 

Which Career Are You On?

 

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Someone many years ago told me “there are three careers in each one of us….”. Talking to people a lot, as I do as a career coach I am now thinking this needs to be changed to “there are 5 careers in everyone” People are definitely getting more comfortable with the idea of changing roles if they are not happy and consider changing sometimes to completely different professions or ways of working.

 The world of work is definitely becoming more fluid my parents were of a generation where they were encouraged to stay in a job, especially if it paid ok and had good prospects with a generous pension scheme. I remember they were horrified when I resigned from a “job for life” role in the civil service because I was bored and everyone there spent many hours a week complaining about their roles and cutting out adverts from the local paper to apply for different jobs but never did.

 Depending on how you define career I am definitely on my third one if not my fourth and each one of these has been good serving me well for eighty percent of the time. Getting used to making changes and having the confidence to take sometimes a leap of faith into the unknown is hard. The easy option is to carry on doing what is comfortable and if the individual is truly happy with their work and the environment they work in then that is fantastic. If not however and your working life has become mundane, if you are not feeling passionate about what you do each day then maybe there are still some more careers out there for you?

 Look at what you enjoy doing, ask yourself the question if money was not important what would you love to do? What are you passionate about? What are your best days and what is it about those days that make them good… The answers to all of these questions may lead you to your next career…

 

It’s not what you know it’s who you know

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We are all familiar with this saying but today I did I get a practical reminder of this fact.

Just catching the train to London on a busy platform  three different people came up to say hello within a matter of minutes. All business people or connected to business people and all have access to a lot more people in their networks. It was a very brief conversation as the train approached however it got me thinking.

As we are in the second month of 2016 I have been reviewing goals that individuals set at the start of the year to see how things are going. As a coach I also have my own goals and to achieve the ones that I set both personally and in regards of the business they all require reaching out and connecting with the right people who can help me achieve my goals. When reviewing some of my clients goals the same question emerges who have you connected with since the beginning of the year, who have you asked for help?

Most high performing individuals realise the benefit of building a supportive and useful network and in order to achieve this are normally also keen to put others in touch with people they know who they think could help you. I love realising that two people I know would benefit from having a conversation and over the years one of the most rewarding aspects of my role has been seeing how some of these initial connections that I have initiated have grown into powerful relationships and sometimes powerful business opportunities and solutions.

The step that a lot of people don’t take is making time to strategically review their network in the light of the goals they want to achieve and deliberately take action to make the powerful connections they need to make.

So my action on the train as I type this is to think… Following my chance three conversations on the platform an hour ago are any of those people connected to anyone in organisations that I am trying to reach out too and can I ask for an introduction to another person who may be able to help me.

Anyone who you come into contact with over the next few days have a think whether they might just happen to know someone who can help you with your goals. If in doubt ask, do this frequently so it becomes a habit and a natural skill to add to your personal toolkit. Also when people ask you for similar try and help out it is very rewarding to see some of the results.

 

 

New Year is like Marmite

marmiteLove it or hate it New Year’s Eve will divide most groups of friends or colleagues a bit like marmite. I love it as it provides a perfect time to take stock formally on how the current year has been from a holistic work/life balance perspective.

 Some people will argue why wait until the end of the year to review progress and they would be right, in an ideal world a high performer will be having regular checkpoints throughout the twelve months to ensure everything is on track. A more thorough review exercise is still however really valuable on an annual basis similar to the performance appraisals we come across in business life.

So how did you do in 2015? How are you going to review the year do you have a structured approach? The method isn’t that important it’s the discipline of the exercise which I find powerful and encourages continual personal growth and development.

 I have kept a few personal development journals over the years and these little books are great for reviewing at this time of year. In these journals are rough goal setting exercises, reviews of prior years in narrative and tabular formats. I haven’t really had a consistent structure as the process has gradually been streamlined in recent years.

 On previous New Year’s eves I have listed various elements of my life such as work,family,relationship,friends,health,spiritual,financial,social etc. and given them a score out of 10. Looking back on these tables now the categories show very different scores with some significant areas of improvement which is good to see a reward for some key decisions taken and action put into place in prior years.

 A few years ago I changed the format into a more narrative account of what had happened in the year and I did this every 6 months. For certain areas of my life I did specify some particular goals I wanted to achieve or events I wanted to attend.

 For the past two years as well as writing an account of the year I also set myself the challenge of identifying just one single goal to focus on for each year and this approach has worked well.

So today on my to-do list is to journal my review of 2015 and tomorrow I will write down my area of focus for 2016.

Wellbeing

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There seems to be a new buzz word around the business community currently, everyone is talking about – Wellbeing.

There isn’t anything new about this term and the NHS were researching it again last year

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/improve-mental-wellbeing.aspx#Evidence

However having attending a number of workshops and talks on this subject recently they have got me thinking about this subject.

The NHS identified 5 steps to mental wellbeing

1) Connect

2) Be Active

3) Keep Learning

4) Give

5) Be mindful – in the present moment

This proves to be a really good simple checklist which can be used to assess how you are spending your time.

On a recent Yoga workshop I was able to tick 4 of the 5 boxes (Connecting with other new people, being active – see picture above, learning and being in the present moment) It was an enjoyable but tough workshop which yielded learning both physically and mentally. It takes time out of our non working time to tick all of these 5 boxes but having tried to keep the 5 elements alive for a few months it it feels much better than just sitting in front of the television for hours so I think I agree they are good steps to mental wellbeing.

Assess yourself – how are you doing?

Do you need to make improvements in any areas?

What specific action are you going to take this weekend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rest, Recharge and Reflect

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A recent week in the sun allowed for a period of rest and reflection and it was very much needed to recharge the batteries. Work has been very hectic and I hadn’t planned my holidays last year that well meaning that there had been no break from work for along time. It made me realise the importance of such breaks in relation to productivity and energy levels at work.

I have met a few people recently who haven’t been taking their allotted leave entitlements because of workload and I have had to actively encourage them to devise a plan where this situation can be rectified. If people continue to work long hours for an extended period of time it can cause inefficiency to creep in, leaders can become less effective and teamwork becomes strained.

If you have a customer facing role it is expected that every day you will face the public with enthusiasm and energy. In order to keep these attributes high, regular breaks with a chance to restore your energy levels, are vital.

With technology and ease of availability to work e.g emails , voicemail, in order to take a complete break and recharge you need to be extremely disciplined not to check email and get involved in work related issues while on holiday. Ask someone to read your emails while you are away so that they can edit all the rubbish and only leave those you need to action or actually read. Consciously make an effort to change the daily routine while on holiday. For a week there was no alarm on our recent break…. complete heaven allowing us to wake naturally. There was no schedule of activities we just decided on the day what to do, again a completely different routine. As a consequence of deliberate changes in routine it was a chance to rest, recharge and reflect and energy levels were restored.

A Different Approach

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Over the Christmas and New Year Period the annual discussions always include the topic of New Years Resolutions and goals. This sparked a debate in our circle about the difference between setting a goal and making a resolution. Does it matter that if you set a goal there is an end point so what happens when you get there or if you don’t achieve it. There is an interesting argument that we should set resolutions to embed new habits at New Year (or indeed this can be done at any time in the year) instead of a more goal setting approach. This was inspired by having also recently read a book “The Happiness Project ” http://www.gretchenrubin.com/

Having reflected on this idea we are trying a new concept this year. Each month identify some new habits that you want to embed and an overall theme for the month. E.G January could be “Clean out “month with four new habits for the month 1) Eat healthy clean food 2) Drink 4 large glasses of hot or cold water or herbal tea each day 3) Clear out a bit of clutter each day either a drawer, a closet, a part of the office 4) Attempt 10 mins meditation. So looking across these 4 initial habits each day both the physical body, the environment and the mind is hopefully being de-cluttered. A daily checklist is in the diary to record progress each day by either a tick or cross.

The same approach will be used for each of the remaining 12 months with the hope that some of the new habits will prove more beneficial than others and as a result will be embedded into lifestyle permanentl

Watch this space for future themes and process evaluation comments.

Current status on day 5 of 2015 is estimated at 50%