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Motivate me

Do you find yourself watching other people progress in their careers, set up their own businesses or change their careers?

Do you find yourself waiting for inspiration to strike?

Do you love hanging out on the sofa after work, tucking into your snack of choice, reassuring yourself that you’ll get some exercise/tidy the house/call your friend tomorrow when you feel more like it?

It gets tiring pretty quickly to wait for life to happen, and over time squashes you, the you who shines on your best day, until you’re barely recognisable. You need to start getting back into the drivers seat of your life. Cliche and cheesy and true.

Motivation is a lie. Motivation is simply the result of taking action.

Motivation. What a beast. Sometimes it feels like motivation is there in droves and other days it feels like it’s left the building. What if it isn’t motivation that’s holding you back? What if it’s as simple as you not taking action?

Mr Motivator is a slightly mad, Lycra-donning fitness ‘guru’ of sorts who shot to fame on a TV breakfast show in the U.K. back in the 1990s. The idea of a Mr Motivator is brilliant – somehow having someone there with the promise of being motivating you takes the pressure off you to be responsible for your own decisions and your own lack of action. Now all you have to do is wait for Mr Motivator to show up and you’ve got it sorted. And for personal fitness it can work amazingly well. It’s like having someone on your side to keep you accountable (dare I say it, like having a coach cheerleading you on).

Except of course two people can watch Mr Motivator and behave completely differently. The first person, let’s call her Sally, watches our Mr Motivator and enjoys laughing at him leaping around while tucking into her bowl of crisps/bag of chocolate buttons/popcorn (delete as appropriate). At no point does she choose to join in and experience the action. Person B, let’s call her Ellie, watches and immediately jumps up and joins in with the exercises.

The Oxford Learners Dictionaries defines motivation as: ‘the reason why somebody does something or behaves in a particular way.’ What if your reason for ‘doing something’ or behaving in a particular way was as simple as ‘because you chose to’? That’s all. You choose to say ‘yes’ or you choose to say ‘no’. That’s it. Wow, simple.

Action is simply a choice. Motivation is irrelevant.

What happens when you take choose to action, and you take it, is that you create momentum. Yes, it turns out my teachers were right and physics is useful after all. Any action you take towards a goal creates momentum. You choose whether to ride the momentum, like a ball rolling down the hill, and keep choosing action over inaction. One small step at a time. More action continues the momentum which makes you feel motivated. Inaction, and the choice you make not to take action, will eventually cause the momentum to stop and you’ll stop feeling motivated. Until you choose to take another step forward.

Don’t wait for motivation. Keep it small and start.

I get stuck in the inertia of inaction more times than I would like to admit. The truth is that I choose not to. I give myself reasons and excuses why ‘now is not the right time’, ‘I don’t feel like it’, ‘there are other things I should be doing’. None of those is wrong, and they are reasons I’m creating to support my lack of action.

Take my last blog post. It chose not to write that for a long time. There was always a reason. And often it was the excuse of not having enough time. Then I reminded myself of the idea that breaking big goals down into small steps can help you sneak past your brain’s fear centre (the dear old amygdala). So I set an alarm for ten minutes. When it went off I was already in the thick of writing so I reset it for another ten. It took me two lots of reset timers and I was done.

Action led to more action. It created its own momentum. Motivation was simply a choice.

Are you stuck and feeling unmotivated? Here are 3 things you can play with.

1. Choose. Choose to take one tiny action. Make it so small you actually want to laugh. If your goal is to go outside more, just open a window and stick your head out (safely, hold onto something and don’t lean too far). If you’d like to get a phone call out the way, get the phone number. Or just dial the number. It’s only a choice.

2. Get someone in your corner. Find someone to keep you accountable. Tell them of the choice you’ve made and the steps you’re going to take. Brainstorm the steps or the first step if you find yourself getting stuck in overthinking. Find someone who can support you, and challenge you. And start to notice what you tell yourself.

3. Do something. Doing anything differently will shake things up. Make the choice and do it. My favourite Yoda quote is ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’ Say ‘yes’ and do it. Lean on the support you’ve created for yourself in step 2 to get you over the line.

All great journeys begin with a choice and that one first step.

Have fun – consciously choose to act today in one very small way.

Louisa x

PS When you’re ready for transformation and change, let’s talk about the ways I can help you build your confidence, create your vision and increase your impact on the world.

career change

What To Do When You Want To Change Career But Don’t Know Where To Start

Image result for leaving work

It’s Friday evening. You grab your stuff and get out of your workplace as fast as your legs will carry you without actually running.  Your relief is palpable.  You can’t wait to get out of there so your real-life can start.  Sad, but true right? And the real truth is you’ve known for a long time you want out, you want to do something different.  But what?

This is exactly what stumps so many, many people right at the start of their career changes. I know I don’t want THIS, and I don’t know what I DO want. It’s easy to get lost in a diet of Google searches, career change books and personality profiles.  All good resources in their own way and none of them have the magic answers. Worse, no-one is going to turn up with your new career on a silver platter wrapped up with a bow on top. Yep, it’s really not going to happen – no matter how much you want it.

The problem with these approaches is not that they are inherently bad, it’s just that they keep you stuck in your head – stuck in overthinking and over-analysing.  If you’re prone to procrastination, you’ll recognise this trait and know how much it holds you back from making progress. Career change does not happen when you only sit and think about it. Career change happens when you stick your head out from underneath the blanket of analysis and start doing something that takes you out of your own head and into real-life experience.

If you want to change career, stop thinking about changing career. Stop searching ‘how to change career’. Instead, try some of these ideas to get you out of your head and into the world, meeting new people and exploring what ideas for your career change open up when you do.

Try these real world ideas:

  • Go to an event, workshop or one day course you would never normally go to (Meetup is a great place to find ideas);
  • Take a different route to work – notice what draws you to it with a sense of interest or excitement, or inspires you;
  • Ask a friend for a recommendation of a Podcast you haven’t listened to before;
  • Get in touch with someone who inspires you, or who you would love to have a conversation with about what they do, even if you don’t think you want to do what they do – you’ll never know what little nuggets of inspiration or ideas or contacts they can offer you until you do (tip: offer them something in return, it can be super simple and a little personal touch to help you stand-out from the crowd).

If you’re still stuck in over-thinking and would like more ideas, let’s have a conversation about how I could help you with your career change – I’m always open to talking.

Radical Fulfilment

Comparison Is A Killjoy

“I am not throwing away my shot!” exclaims Alexander Hamilton in the mega-hit Broadway and West End musical, Hamilton.  It’s an admirable sentiment.  How many times a day, a week, a month do you do just that by comparing your life, your career, your possessions, your body, your clothes or your successes (or lack) to someone else?

How do you feel when you do? If you’re prone to over-analysing or have a strong perfectionist or achiever streak (hello, yes that’s me too – nice to meet you) you probably start feeling pretty rubbish.  Social media is full of pinnacle moments – those moments where we show the world our happy highlights, not the gritty drudgery of daily life.  How many times have your friends shared pictures of the sink piled high with dishes, the overflowing washing basket or the Inbox with 3,000 unread emails?  Yes, I thought not.

Someone wise once said (it is probably not Teddy Roosevelt although some sources say it is) ‘Comparison is the thief of joy‘.  Why?  Because as soon as we start comparing ourselves to others we start to notice the ways we don’t measure up, the ways we are inferior and it sucks all the joy and happiness from us, like a Dementor sucking souls in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter stories.  This is YOUR journey through life, no-one else’s.  No-one else is even half as capable as you are of living your one and only life.  So stop comparing. Go out and do YOUR thing!

See the source image

How do you stop the comparison killjoy in its tracks?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Write down at least 5 things you’re grateful for – keep it simple;
  • Take a deep breath and get present to what’s going on for you in this one moment, and the next as it happens;
  • Have an image in your mind you can focus on.  Whatever we focus on grows, so shift your focus onto something else – a calm sea, a forest, a surfer on the waves, your favourite coffee;
  • Take action – comparison sometimes reminds us it’s time not to throw away our own shot at life, and when it does get into action and do something small to get you started along the path towards your big dreams;
  • Laugh – yes, I know – and laughter really is the best medicine.

How do you shake off your killjoy comparison monster?  Let me know below!

If you want clarity on your own journey through life, let’s speak.

(Image visionpt.com.au)
career change

15 Things You Can Do To Change Career

I remember exactly what it felt like to spend an entire working day in the growing hope that there must be something else out there I was better suited to than the work I was currently doing.  Every meeting I went to, where we all dressed as clones in our black suits and made polite small talk over lunch about the weather/sporting prowess, I kept thinking how much I wanted to wear bright colours, my scruffy blue jeans and orange converse and have more important in-depth conversations.

Unlike many career changers I didn’t actually hate my career or my current job.  I got a lot of satisfaction from everything I achieved in my role and I had the privilege of working with wonderfully supportive, good-humoured and hard-working people. I was just convinced I had a lot more to offer than I could give in my career in international tax. And so my career change journey began.

I’ve had a lot of personal experience, and experience from being part of the journeys of other career changers. So, here are 15 things you can do to change career…

  1. Decide you actually really want to change career.  Realise instantly you don’t actually have a clue what you DO want to do.
  2. Get onto Google and quickly type in “what to do to change career”.  Feel overwhelmed by the number of positive searches.  Take a deep breath and read at least twenty articles on all the things you need to do.  Make a list of all those things. Add to it over the following week.  Ponder how many times you’ve written the word ‘research’ or ‘analyse’. Notice how many times you’ve written down ‘update your CV’.
  3. Load up your CV and stare at it for three days wondering how you can make yourself look good to future employers. Update CV for your latest project and tweak the font type five times to make it look good. Feel proud of yourself for taking action.
  4. Google all the job titles you think sound interesting.  Get sucked into regret for not having looked at these when you started your career.  Whatever were you thinking of for not following a career in catering when you were 18 and obsessed with literature.  Feel sad and buy yourself a latte or a bottle of wine to console yourself.
  5. Tell your family and friends you want to change career and let them know in no uncertain terms you are very excited.  Admit after a few rounds of questions you don’t actually know what you want to do next. Add a mess of doubts, challenges and fears to your growing pot of career change emotional chaos. Decide to give up on career change… at least until the alarm goes off to drag you out of bed and into work the following morning.
  6. Spend three weeks reviewing and analysing options for degree and masters courses in ten different subjects you know you’ll need to change career and create a brand-new spreadsheet including the length, cost, modules covered, and any other interesting pieces of information.  Feel depressed that career change is going to cost you a fortune and you’ve no idea if you really want to do that ‘thing’ anyway.  Delete the spreadsheet.
  7. Go on a shopping spree to make yourself feel better. Return and decide you can’t afford a career change anyway.
  8. Do an online personality test (even though you’ve already had at least one done at work). Decide that it’s: 100% correct, a total load of rubbish, or you must have completed it wrong. Do at least one more.
  9. Write down a list of all your skills you could take into a new job under the heading ‘My transferable skills and talents’.  Review your list five times and each time cross one off as not really being a ‘skill’ or a ‘talent’, and become increasingly convinced your only hope is to stay exactly where you are.
  10. Get excited when a Google search in your lunch break brings up some amazingly inspirational quotes.  Create a new Instagram post and print it out to stick on your fridge at home. Read it the following morning and never notice it ever again.
  11. Buy yourself books on how to change career.  Pick one, underline at least 50% of the text and continue reading excitedly until 2am when it wakes you up when you drop it heavily onto your face.  Decide to use the stash of books as a makeshift bedside table.
  12. Sign up to updates from at least ten inspirational people including career change coaches and organisations.  Spend the following week constantly deleting the emails arriving on a daily basis, fail to have time to read the so-called inspiring articles and struggle to find the ‘unsubscribe’ button.
  13. Decide it’s time to hire your own career change coach.  Feel very proud of this powerful action. Google ‘career change coach’, become totally overwhelmed at the number of people and pick the third one on the list because they have a nice sounding name and a slick website. Have a couple of free introductory coaching calls and decide you can do this all by yourself without anyone else, thank you very much.  Feel incredibly confident and capable.
  14. Make an appointment with a recruitment consultant, or your HR team at work, and explain how much you want to make a career change.  Present your updated CV proudly, clearly set out the remaining two transferable skills you’ve identified and ask them to send you job opportunities in x, y or z new fields.  Never hear from them again, or receive twenty job opportunities the same afternoon in exactly the same line of work you’re already in. Resolve never to speak to them again. Have a similar conversation the following week with a different agency/HR person. Totally give up on changing career. It’s obviously not for you.  Feel thoroughly ineffective and incapable. Go to bed early.
  15. Have a bad day at work. Go home and drink a lot of wine. Have an amazing revelation. You’re going to change career… back you go to number 1…

Sounds like fun, eh?

If you’ve had enough of staying stuck in a cycle of inaction, over-analysis and frustration, and you’re ready to try something different, check out my Career Change Programme, and let’s talk.

I’m also the Lead Coach on Careershifters’ next Career Change Launch Pad starting on 5 October 2019. It’s the world’s longest-running group-based career change course, and a very different way of going about your career change.

Direction

How what you complain about might be costing you – and what to do about it

It’s Friday night and you’re down the pub with your mates, or you’re hanging round the coffee machine with your co-workers, and you’re in moaning mode. I’ve been there, you’ve been there. Glass or mug in hand, putting the world to rights and letting everyone know why something isn’t as it should be.

Let’s face its a pretty common scenario. Movies and TV shows replicate reality and repeat this phenomenon over and over again. It’s a part of life. Letting out our frustrations and complaints is helpful on many levels, and arguably better for your mental health than holding it all in. I’m not going into the pros or cons of complaining in this article. I’m more interested in the fact that you’re complaining at all, and what it might mean for you.

Your world is not the same as my world

A complaint is, according to the dictionary, a statement that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable. I’m going to add in a bit to this. A complaint is “a statement that something is unsatisfactory or unacceptable…according to you and your view of how the world should be.”

What’s unacceptable to you may be totally acceptable and reasonable to the person listening to you. Of course they won’t often admit that, and yet there it is. Your interpretation is not the only interpretation that exist. Remember that example of the dress that pops up all over social media from time-to-time? Do you see a black and blue dress or white and gold dress? It’s crystal clear to you that what you see is exactly what everyone else sees too. The idea that other people might be telling the truth when they say that they see a dress in a totally different colour seems bizarre at best, even wrong.

I reckon you don’t even notice how your complaints and your way of thinking about your situation and the world around you keep you stuck. I’ll go further and bet that those complaints you make give you a kind of payoff that means you keep reinforcing the same cycle of behaviour. Over and over, again and again the same pattern repeats itself. You moan about the same old stuff day in and day out. It might be connected to different situations or people and it’s the same creature with a different mask. Your payoff might be feelings of safety, or certainty or something very different. It doesn’t really matter what your payoff is, it’s real to you and it keeps you treading endlessly on the same wheel.

But what’s the cost?

Not recognising the pattern you repeat in how you behave, and what you complain about, costs you deeply through the loss of your vitality and energy, loss of open and honest connection with other people, loss of fulfilment or achievement, and the loss of being able to stand-up and express yourself as the person you really are when all the rubbish is stripped away.

In contrast, if you notice your patterns of behaviour, you can choose to interrupt the cycle. You can do something differently. Like not blame your bad mood on the traffic, and instead know that you’re very tired and need to get some sleep. Or rather than moaning about how your boss treated you, ask yourself (or your boss) what you could do differently next time that might make everyone’s life easier. Or decide not to moan about why your school failed you and thats why you’re in a job you hate, and instead start doing something about it.

The more you interrupt the cycle, the easier it will be to do it next time. Rather like pushing the pedals on a bike, the first few pushes from standing still are tough and it takes a lot of effort and focus to get moving, then when you’re off you build momentum and before you know it you’ve travelled a long way and arrived at a very different place.

Start noticing

What do you keep on complaining about, and what is it costing you? It’s not an easy task to unpack the cost of your old habits and behaviours, and it’s all the more valuable when you’re brave enough to show-up and notice it. Where else does that behaviour show up in your life? Give yourself permission to notice when and where it pops up.

When you do, you’ll know what it’s costing you, and knowledge is powerful. Once you know the cost, you can make a choice. You can choose to leave things as they are, in full knowledge of the cost – and that might be absolutely OK for you and where you are right now. It doesn’t have to be that way forever.

Or you can choose to interrupt the pattern, to make new choices and do something different when you notice the pattern repeating. Don’t make it a make or break moment. Habits are hard to kick, and if you jump onto your bike expecting to be able to conquer the race and change instantly you’ll have a hard fall. Be kind to yourself, and do it little tiny pushes at a time. Even kids don’t learn to pedal a bike on the first try. They try and fall, and get back on and fall again, and try again. And they celebrate when they hit tiny milestones, and you can too. Then one day they realise they are finally doing it all by themselves, and they are no longer stuck.

Get a partner

A supportive accountability partner or a coach can be an immense help in encouraging you to identify patterns of behaviour, and in taking action to break the patterns and create a new path through keeping you accountable to making change, and asking those big, challenging questions to break you out of your old mindsets.

Commit and pedal forwards

Once you’ve noticed your patterns and committed yourself to making a change, get on your bike and slowly start pedalling. Who knows what might happen when you do, and you’ll have one amazingly fascinating ride.