A few weeks ago, in a regular client meeting one of the directors made a comment that has stuck in my mind since…. she said, “it’s good to mix things up a bit every so often”. We were talking about business changes that were happening, changes in personnel and a potential merger that looked likely to happen in 2020. Her reaction to all the changes that were happening impressed me because it wasn’t one of fear despite the uncertainty that was ahead regarding her own role. Some other people could have had an opposite response to the same set of circumstances. They could have been fearful and negative about all the changes and if they were vocal about their personal reaction then this could have rubbed off on other people involved who were perhaps themselves feeling uncertain about what the impact would be on them.
I think we can all get comfortable, myself included especially when things are working relatively well, and life is ticking along. When this happens to me personally I do enjoy the stability for a while and there is the reassurance that you can work or live with relatively little pressure when you know what to expect and you are doing things well within your ability levels and capacity. Don’t get me wrong having periods in our life when we operate in this way are great and in fact needed as we don’t want to always be living in a pressurised, unpredictability way as this can be very stressful.
The tricky thing I think is recognising when the time is right to “mix things up” or start doing something different or consider changing something that is working ok. They word OK is I think the key and is what I have been thinking about since hearing that phrase made by one of our clients a few weeks ago. A lot of the changes we have made to our business in the last year haven’t been triggered by things breaking or circumstances demanding we change. The changes we have made have been to things that were working OK, things that could have gone on in that way for many months or years and could have been still satisfactory. We decided to make the changes we did for a couple of reasons firstly we weren’t enjoying some projects anymore; the comfortable feeling was starting to tip into a feeling of dissatisfaction as we knew OK could have been great. The second reason was that we weren’t growing personally or professionally and when you are in the business of encouraging personal development role modelling the right behaviors is important.
In finishing this, first post of 2020 at the turn of the year and decade, one question I will leave you with is this “Is there anything that would be good to mix up a bit in your life in 2020?” Go for it, take things from OK to great.
When someone initially approaches me to explore coaching the phrase I often hear is “I don’t like my job anymore or a version of this such as “I think I am in the wrong job can you help?”
This isn’t a good place to be, wondering whether you are on the right path or worse dreading going into work every Monday morning. I always vowed from early on in my career that if I ever got into this position I would take action to change it as life is too short to be unhappy in our work especially as we spend so many hours of our week doing this.
So if this is you thinking any of these thoughts then it’s time to set time aside to explore what is going on ,either through your own self reflection process or with the help of a mentor or coach who has no vested interest in your final decision. This is why your line manager or a relative may not be the best person to work with on this.
It is not always the case that you need to leave your job ,so the setting aside the reflection and evaluation time doesn’t necessarily mean you will end up job hunting.
Once you have found some dedicated time ask yourself the following questions and note your responses
- How long have you felt unhappy… sometimes there is a specific date, event or person that it can be traced back too. If you are a feelings person (see some of my posts or listen to podcasts regarding Myers Briggs personality types ) then there may be an underlying resentment that needs to be processed through so you can move forwards. This might mean your acceptance of what happened or you being assertive enough to have a follow up discussion with those involved to understand what could have been done differently and to make others aware of the impact their actions may have had on you.
- What is your ultimate career goal short and long term? Is being in your current role helping you achieve this or have you got enough from the role and need to find the next step on your journey.
- Does the current role match your motivational mix ( again you may need to work out what this is) if it doesn’t there may be other projects or responsibilities you could take on to make it more enjoyable or you may indeed need the challenge of a change in role or organisation or type of employment.
- Are you working for an organisation or leader that “ fits” with your value set? Do you like what they stand for and can you get behind the overall direction and what you are being asked to do in your role?
The bottom line is to find out what would need to change to make you happy in your role and is this something in your control or not?
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
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
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.
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…
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
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
2) Be Active
3) Keep Learning
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?
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%