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Practical advice

4 Reasons Why You Should Focus On Purpose Not…

Are you struggling to find your passion? Trust me, you’re not alone. I spent years tried to figure out what the one thing that I loved doing was. And guess what? I still don’t know what it is!

Yet, I’ve got a super clear direction in life, I feel like I’m reaching my potential and making the most out of my days. I’m doing all that and I don’t know what my passion is!

What I’ve come to realise is that you don’t need to know what your ONE passion in life is, because you might be like me and not even have just one.

I love doing lots of things like hiking, wildlife watching, Netflix binging, travelling, reading crime fiction, trying street food etc, etc. But I couldn’t choose just one of those things, and I don’t think I’d like to earn a living from any of them. I quite like keeping them sacred and special, just for chilling out.

Instead, I recommend you focusing on purpose –  who do you want to help and how do you want to help them?

Here are 4 big reasons why I reckon that’s the way to go:

1. It’s easier

Now I don’t know about you, but I am totally about making things easier for myself. And focusing on purpose instead of passion makes it way easier for you to decide what your next career step is going to be. Why? Because it flips the decision. Instead of it being about your and your ever-changing feelings, it makes it about giving and sharing your skills and talents with other people.

2. Passions = getting, whereas purpose = giving

I got this one from a cool life coach called Kain Ramsey in his life coach certification course.
His very wise words say that if you pursue happiness you’re focusing on getting, but if you pursue fulfillment, you’re focusing on giving. Which, if you think about it, is totally true! And in my eyes, following your passions is pursuing happiness, whereas following your purpose is pursuing fulfillment.

Now there’s nothing wrong with getting but the thing is if this is what you’re focusing all your efforts on, you can see why you’re struggling to find direction. Happiness is fickle, it comes and it goes just like any other emotion. But fulfillment, fulfillment is more of a way of being than an emotion. It goes right to your core. Your emotions can change, you can be happy, sad, angry, excited and still be fulfilled.

3. What do you do in your free time?

No matter how much you love your work, at the end of the day, it’s still work! You still need be able to switch off once your work for the day is done, de-stress and relax. It’s so important for your well-being. If you spend all of your free time on your passion now, how will you fill it if your passion becomes your work? Whereas if you focus on doing work that fulfills you, you’ll still have your passion to look forward to after a challenging day (because no matter how much you love your job, challenging days will still happen!)

4. You might lose your passion

If you’re spending your days working on your passion, how long will it be until the added pressure that inevitably comes with making a living out of something starts making your passion lose some of its magic?

So if you are really serious about getting some clear direction in your life, I recommend switching your focus from following your passion and pursuing happiness, to focusing on discovering your purpose and finding fulfillment. It will take some of the pressure off, make it easier to get clear on what you what to do and protect the things that you really love doing for your sacred free time.

That’s not to say that you’re not going to enjoy doing work that brings you fulfillment! You will! It will just be in a more sustainable, deeper and more meaningful way.

Here’s a question to take away and ponder…

Who are you going to help with your work?

Get inspired

13 Inspiring Women Reveal Their Best Tips For Finding…

“Choose a job you’ll love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

This quote has inspired thousands of people to find work that they love to do. But it has also caused many more people confusion, frustration, and anxiety. What are you meant to do if you want to find a job that you love, but have no idea how to choose one that’s right for you?

To get some answers, I reached out to 13 inspiring women who have found success in diverse fields from tech to activism, and asked them this question:

“Based on your own experience, what’s one practical tip you’d give to a twenty-something woman trying to decide on her career direction?”

Here’s what they had to say:

KENDRA WRIGHT

Kendra builds online businesses and teaches people how to embrace fear, uncertainty, and risk so they can live a life they love. You’ve got to check out her out at  HeyKendra.com

“Even those who look like they “have it all figured out” still feel lost.

Feeling a few steps behind on your dream, purpose or career never fades as you age.

Even when you land your dream job, you will still have your eyes pointed toward the next “big thing.” A promotion. A raise. Relocation.

Had I understood at a younger age that feeling lost when chasing “your purpose” never ends, I would have avoided a lot of stress and heartache.

The only people who don’t appear to be “lost” are people you don’t know very well. We are all lost. And when you realize that, you learn to settle in and ride the waves of doubt with grace and curiosity.”

Rima Amin

In Rima’s own words she is an aspiring warrior princess! She works at social change platform Change.org, is a freelance journalist writing about issues such as women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and volunteers as a Partnerships Manager at the International Press Foundation.  Follow her on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rima246

“The “twenties” part of this journey can be tough (and super exciting)! Reach out and stay in touch with those who inspire you. If you trust them and they inspire goodness in you – each interaction will be memorable and will help guide you through difficult decisions. I personally feel I could have done more of this.

Lastly, weigh-up the pro and cons for the actions you take, but trust your instinct – it is more powerful than you may think.”

Anne-Marie Imafidon OBE

Anne-Marie is the co-founder of Stemettes, an award-winning UK social enterprise that works to inspire and support young women into STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths.)  stemettes.org

 

Rosie Bell

Rosie is a Virtual Digital Content Creator & Travel Writer at www.thebeachbell.com. She grew up in four countries on two continents, and is a self-styled authority on all things beach. Follow her postcards from paradise @TheBeachBell on Instagram.

“The best advice I could give anyone starting out or searching for direction in their career is not to benchmark themselves against other people or rigid ideas. Input from others can indeed be productive, but at the end of the day, you need only adhere to your own agenda and desires, no matter how risky or frivolous they may sound. In my early twenties I landed my “dream job” in a leading ad agency. The one I studied for four years to familiarise myself with. The one I had accepted several laborious unpaid internships to train for. The one I burst into elated tears about when I found out I had been selected. The one thousands had applied for and I got. The one that looked good on paper. The one where my boss’ full-time job was the full-time bully. The one where my stress and exhaustion lead to heart palpitations. The one that eroded my passion. The one I mustered up the strength to leave with no other job to go to.

“You can’t quit your amazing job”, people told me. “You’d be crazy to leave without a better offer first”, said others. “No one else will hire you”, lamented one supposed well-wisher. As it turned out, I didn’t need anyone to hire me. Today, I work for myself as a freelance writer and social media manager and feel sensational passion in every word I write. I quit my job without a new one to go to because I decided that my health and individual happiness were far more important than what other people thought I “should be” doing or in fact, what I had always told myself I would do. If you tried something which didn’t pan out, follow the yellow brick road elsewhere. Opinions make the world go round, but sometimes you have to take people’s views with a pinch of salt. Don’t allow there to be so many cooks in your kitchen cooking your food, when only you know how you want your meal prepared.”

Meghan Hartman

Meghan Hartman is the web designer and strategist behind Crafting Creative. She works with freedom-seeking female creatives to craft websites that convert through her goal-driven design process. https://craftingcreative.com 

“Don’t feel confined by the traditional career options. Even if you do want to be a doctor or a lawyer, the internet has given us all so much freedom in the way that we can form our ideal life and career. Also, remember that the only job that is safe is the one you create for yourself. Startups lose steam and layoffs happen to the best of us. Be your own best insurance policy by cultivating something on the side. Even though entrepreneurship isn’t really taught in schools, it IS a viable career path. Live what you love. Work hard but find balance.”

Joy Langley

Joy is an Emotional Re-Set Coach and CBT Therapist. She came to this career after working as a PA, followed by working independently for 10 years as editor & PR manager for a music company. Learn more about Joy at www.catchathought.co.uk

“It was hard to work out what my passion was. I loved fashion and being creative but got sucked up into sciences due to teachers. I feel I started off in the wrong tree! So if this is you, never knew what you wanted, thought you’d stumble across the things you love, don’t get down (like I did).

Try new things, keep learning and stop being afraid of failure. Go to evening classes, read self-help books to boost your confidence, self esteem and positivity.

Never lose faith that where you are is ‘where you are meant to be’ (be patient). Never compare your ‘beginning’ to someone’s middle or end. Believe that everything you learn will come together like baking an amazing cake called ‘YOU’.

Life is not a straight line, where you start is not where you end up because life is an adventure …think of it as a bowl of spaghetti!”

CERRUCHA

CERRUCHA is a Mexican ARTivist that lives in Mexico City. Her socially engaged practice is based on the exploration of human behavior and the construction of social and personal identity. Browse some of her incredible art projects at www.cerrucha.com

“Learn to listen to your intuition, practice listening and NEVER EVER let anybody else´s voice be stronger than yours when it comes to directing your life. Do not think about which jobs are better paid or what´s trending. Focus on what you want to do for this world, on how whatever YOU do is going to make it a better place. Take into consideration all the privileges you might have (class, gender, race, etc) and put them to the service of society. We need people who understand that WE ALL need to contribute to make this world better through whatever we choose to do. I believe we all have something that makes us tick, it´s just that society makes it hard to listen to that because “there´s not enough jobs in that area,” or “that path might be too difficult.”

When you are passionate about something you will find a way. Passion will make it bearable when it´s hard. We live in a world where it´s difficult to find a job per se, so just go for whatever makes you tick and don´t care if “there´s no jobs for that”….you´ll create one for yourself. Yes it can be done, yes it´s hard, but it´s worth it. Last but not least…BE PERSISTENT. Don´t stop because “you don´t know enough about the subject”, “you don´t have that much money”, or “everybody tells you that it´s not the right path”. Be resilient and know beforehand that IT WILL be hard, but just hang in there until it comes out the way you want it to…because in the end…it will. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF even when nobody does.

Very important: Pick a couple of things you can be good at, diversify yourself. So even if your true calling cannot sustain you financially right now, have something on the side that can pay the bills until your passion job can. For instance, I´m a visual artist that works Human Rights issues. I do make money out of it but I also do commercial photography (that goes according to my values) as I have a specialization on that field. Help others in achieving their dreams, as it is only another way to getting closer to yours. You are not alone, build networks and never ever stop. Love – CERRUCHA”

Kortney Gruenwald

Kortney is a writer, journalist and the founder of The Modern Jetsetter – a travel and style blog dedicated to inspiring the millennial women to travel through the world and their city in style. Check it out here: www.themodernjetsetter.com

“You can build an empire from absolutely anything as long as your vision is true, so don’t distract yourself with options that fall outside your deepest passions (no matter how lucrative they are on the short term).”

Liz Bonnin

Liz started her career as a TV presenter for popular UK shows like Top of The Pops. She then changed paths to study for a Masters in Wild Animal Biology. She is now a Biochemist, Wild Animal Biologist and a Presenter for amazing BBC documentaries such as Galapagos. www.lizbonnin.com

 

Rebecca Garcia

Rebecca Garcia is a passionate advocate for STEM education for youth and minorities especially women. Currently, she is a Program Manager at Microsoft within Civic Tech & Innovation for Tech Jobs Academy. http://www.geekgirlweb.com

“The only definition of success you should follow is your own–based on your happiness.”

Bre Fowler

Bre’s mission is to help digital nomads change their eating and lifestyle habits. As a digital nomad herself, she wants to help others live a healthier and more active travel life. thepositivechangeco.com

“Make 3 lists to figure out “what” you love doing, “how” you can turn your passion into a career, and “why” it’s important to you. First, write down the things you enjoy (What are you hobbies? What are you passionate about? What are you doing when you’re experiencing the most joy?) Second, write down the things you’re good at (What do people compliment you on? What do people ask for your help with? What skills or tasks come naturally to you?) Third, write down what’s most important to you (What makes you feel fulfilled and proud? What gives you a sense of purpose and meaning? What do you want to be known for and remembered by?) And then research and brainstorm possible job opportunities that already exist, products you can create, or services you can offer that combine these lists and give you an idea of what other people are already doing and have found success in pursuing. Most importantly, listen to your gut when weighing possibilities, if you don’t feel a jolt of excitement then cross it off the list.”

Kelly Anderson

Kelly is a space and lifestyle design coach. She offers coaching, resources, and courses to help her clients design the life they want by strategically creating spaces that support them and help them thrive. Learn more about Kelly at www.refresheddesigns.com

“Don’t stress about choosing one career that will last your whole life. We evolve and change over time, and so can our careers and passions! Pursue something you’re curious about right now, without the pressure that it has to be something that will last your lifetime. Then be open to flowing where life takes you.”

Katie Bell

Katie lives an unconventional life as a world traveller. Originally from New Zealand, she has been living abroad and travelling the world for over 13 years. Follow her adventures at theworldonmynecklace.com

“Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t expect that you will know what you want to do in your twenties. Remember that you can always change direction with your career later on.”

Reading these generous pieces of advice shows us that even though everybody’s experience is unique, there are some key points that we can take away:  

  • Don’t look for your one purpose or a career that you expect to last for the rest of your life. Things will change and that’s okay. Do what you can to stay curious, remind yourself that where you are is where you’re meant to be and settle in to enjoy the ride.
  • Take time to reflect, really get to know yourself and explore the unique contribution that you can make to the world.
  • The people you choose to surround yourself with are important. Reach out to those who inspire you, but take the opinions of those who might not get what you’re doing with a pinch of salt.

I hope these incredible women have helped you to get a little bit clearer about your next career step. And I hope that they’ve inspired you to get curious about yourself, your dreams and all the possibilities that are open to you.  

What next?

  1. Take the time to explore the awesome projects that these women are working on. Trust me, it’ll inspire you!
  2. Choose your favourite tip and put it into action this week. Whether it’s doing some self-reflection, appreciating your life as it is now or reaching out to someone who inspires you. Go do it!

Read the rest of the Discover Your Purpose Series:

  1. How to Escape a Job you Hate and Find Purpose
  2. How I Discovered my Biggest Passions: My 5 Step Formula
  3. The Complete Guide to Reconnecting With Your Dreams
  4. 13 Inspiring Women Reveal Their Best Tips For Finding Career Direction In Your Twenties
Practical advice

The Complete Guide to Reconnecting With Your Dreams

Do you remember graduating school and feeling that excitement in your belly as you looked ahead at your life, and all of the incredible possibilities ahead of you? For me, it was like a mixture of Christmas morning and getting up early to go on a family holiday as a kid. 

When was the last time you felt like that about your future?

Maybe it’s been so long that you can’t remember that feeling. Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve felt anything truly positive about your future at all. If that’s the case, remember, it can only get better. And it will.

To be honest, there was a time when I had forgotten about that feeling too. 

I keep my head down, just focusing on the here and now, getting through each workday, looking forward to the weekend or my next holiday. I’m so immersed in my day to day life, I can’t imagine anything else. 

It’s only been two years since I graduated uni, with all the possibilities that seemed to bring. But any excitement about my future has long worn off. I hate working. A lot of the time it’s the actual work, but sometimes it’s just the arbitrariness of it all. Having to stay somewhere for a certain length of time, because that’s what the rulebook says even when it’s completely unnecessary. I’ve never had a problem following rules, but I have to see the point to them. And in a big company, sometimes that’s really hard to do.

Me back then!
Me back then!

I know I need to make a change in my life, but it’s so hard to decide what to do next. I don’t feel like I’m particularly excited about any of the options in front of me. I feel more like I need to escape from where I am rather than being pulled towards somewhere I want to go. I apply for jobs that seem to be a little bit easier, and a little bit more suited to me. But it’s no surprise when I don’t get them. I didn’t really want them anyway. 

It was only when I started reconnecting with myself and my dreams, after burying them deep down for so long, that things started changing for me. I remember doing one of the exercises that I’ve included in this article, and feeling inspired about my future for the first time in a long time. I began allowing myself to dream again. 

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Often deep down we know what we would really love to do with our lives. But just like our ability to dream big about our futures, we bury this knowledge away as we cope with the monotony of day-to-day life in a job we don’t enjoy. 

Reconnecting with your dreams is about reconnecting with who you really are, and what you really want to do. It’s about rediscovering the true you that’s untainted by the influences of those around you, and the behaviours that you’ve developed to get through each day. It’s about remembering what you loved to do as a kid, what job you dreamed of doing when you grew up and why.

It’s time to uncover your dreams again, and with them a clearer idea of what you want to do with your life.

As you start along this path you might make some mistakes, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s the only way to learn.  But I’m here to help you out as much as I can. So here are some of the mistakes that I made, and how you can take steps to avoid making them too:

Mistake One: Dreaming too small because you’re worried about whether your dreams are actually possible.

Or otherwise known as listening to your head instead of your heart! Now don’t get me wrong, of course, there’s a time for being practical and looking at the realities of a situation. But this needs to be removed from when you dream! Do the dreaming at a different time (and preferably space) to any critical, practical thinking. Even better have a space for dreaming, a space for criticising those dreams, and a space for being practical and bringing the two together. 

Mistake Two: Trying to dream while feeling fearful or sad.

I’ve included some exercises to help you reconnect with your dreams in this article. They will not be fun to do if you’re feeling sad or anxious! Try and perk yourself up a little bit before doing them (though I know that when you’re feeling down this is much easier said than done). Maybe watch a funny video or listen to your favourite songs (I’ve got a whole singalong playlist on Spotify!) Meditate for ten minutes or call a friend who always leaves you in a great mood. If none of these work, simply leave the exercises until you’re having a better day.

Mistake Three: Putting pressure on yourself to turn your dreams into goals straight away.

Yikes, this is definitely me! I’ve had to learn to let new dreams percolate for a little while before acting on them. It’s just like making a good cup of tea! You don’t want to get all enthusiastic and drink it as soon as you’ve put the tea bag in, or you’ll just end up drinking hot water and will probably burn your mouth! Instead, you’ve got to let the tea bag infuse the water with its flavour. It’s just the same with your dreams. Left alone for a while, a new dream will infuse YOU with all its possibilities! 

Remember, just because you’ve thought of an idea for your next move, doesn’t mean you actually have to do it. This is something I have to constantly remind myself. Otherwise I find myself subconsciously ignoring certain ideas I’ve had because I’m feeling too scared to do them! Have you ever done that?

Anyway, now you know why reconnecting with your dreams is so important and the mistakes to avoid, here are three of my favourite exercises for dreaming big:

You can download the Dream Big Workbook in the Escape Kit for loads more here:
 

What would you do with $150 million?

Imagine you’ve won $150 million on the lottery. Once you’ve sorted out all the practical aspects
of your win, what are the first 5 things you do? You are free from the restrictions of time and money. You could literally go anywhere and do anything! What’s on your wishlist?

Pin It Up 

Create a new board on your Pinterest account and name it, ‘5 years’ time,’ ‘My vision board’ or ‘Things I’d love to do.’ Set yourself a time limit (or you could get seriously carried away) and pin images that you find inspiring and would one day want in your life. 

Just Imagine 

Right. Close your eyes. I want you to imagine it is five years from now. Go on, write the date down. You’ve just got to the end of another amazing day, and you are writing in your diary a little snapshot of your life which is just how you’ve always dreamt it would be. I want you to stretch the realms of possibility here. I don’t care what you think is realistic. Write down a description of the incredible day you’ve just had including, where are you living? Who with? How do you spend your day? How do you make money? Dream big!

There you have it! I hope you are feeling more inspired about your future, and feel more in touch with what you really want in your life.

For more ways to reconnect with your dreams, don’t forget to download your free Escape Kit. In it you’ll find the Dream Big Workbook. You’ll be able to go crazy with tons of exercises for getting back in touch with your dreams 😊

Read the rest of the Discover Your Purpose Series:

  1. How to Escape a Job you Hate and Find Purpose
  2. How I Discovered My Biggest Passions: My 5 Step Formula
  3. The Complete Guide to Reconnecting With Your Dreams
  4. 13 Inspiring Women Reveal Their Best Tips For Finding Career Direction In Your Twenties
Practical advice

How I Discovered My Biggest Passions: My 5 Step…

Picture this: It’s the end of 2014 and I’ve just got back from an amazing trip around Central America. I have no job and no plans. The rest of my life stretches out ahead of me like a blank canvas.

I keep hearing I need to follow my passion. I’ve got loads of ideas of what that might be, but I have no idea which one to actually choose. What if make the wrong decision? What if I pick something and end up regretting it further down the line? I’d only just about managed to pluck up the courage to leave my last job, I don’t want to be in that position again anytime soon.

In my reading, I come across the idea of a Play Project by John Williams. It’s where you test out a business idea in a short space of time to see if it works. I have a lightbulb moment. I could apply this strategy to finding my passion!

So I write down a list of all of my ideas and give myself a month to test each of them out. I end up writing a novella, learning how to draw, practicing Italian, passing an indoor climbing test and taking a yoga course!

But most importantly, I learn more about myself and what brings me joy. I learn that choosing a career you love isn’t all about following your passion, but knowing what you love to do sure makes it easier.

Over the last two years, I’ve refined this process and now I’m sharing it with you. It’s not about finding your one passion (if that even exists!) It’s about following your curiosity and exploring what you enjoy doing. This is the first step on my Escape Plan! Read all about that here. [link]

Let’s get started with this easy-to-follow 5 step formula.

Don’t forget to get your Escape Kit which includes The Passion Finder (an easy-to-use tool to guide you through this formula) here:

 

 

One. Write your Curiosity List

Carve out a bit of you-time for this one! I like to make a chai tea, get out my posh hardback notebook (lol) and snuggle up with a blanket on the sofa. Try and get yourself in a relaxed and inspired mood before you get started. Why not listen to your favourite song? Or watch an inspiring video first?

Once you’re feeling ready to go, write down a list of everything you’ve ever been curious about learning or trying. Try not to censor yourself. Get excited and let it all come out!

One thing I’m quite bad at is not writing things down because I’m scared of actually having to do them! I’ve found reminding yourself that this isn’t a to do list works for me. It’s just a place to gather your ideas, you don’t have to go out and do them right away.

My challenge for you now is to write down at least 20 items on your list.

 

Two. Tiny test

Got your 20 items? Woohoo! Add a splash of something stronger into that chai tea to celebrate haha!

Now the fun part begins… we take action and try stuff out!

But first, choose an item from your list. Make it the one that you feel really excited about (and maybe a little bit nervous!) I recommend going for that is quite easy to do just to get the ball rolling.

Got one? Great. Now I want you to choose a tiny way to find out more about it. This is about testing it out to see if it’s really for you. Here are some ideas:

Record this step in The Passion Finder. Get it (and the rest of the Escape Kit) here:

Three. Bigger test

How was that? Did you enjoy learning a little more about the topic?

Yes?

Great! It’s time to move on to the third part of this formula.

(By the way, if you found that you really aren’t as interested in this topic as you thought you would be, it’s totally fine to forget about it and go back to your curiousity list. Choose another item then repeat the second step of the formula with that. Ruling stuff out is cool!)

In this part of the formula you are going to test out your potential passion in a slightly bigger way. It’s all about making a bit more of a commitment and getting more immersed in the activity.

Choose one of these ways:

 

Fill out The Passion Finder and get going 🙂

Get it with the rest of the Escape Kit here:

Four. Create

Let’s get creative baby!

(Remember you don’t have to continue with a topic if you’ve already found out that it’s not for you. Choose a different item from your curiosity list and repeat the formula with that. You’re narrowing your passions down like a boss!)

This is the next step. Rather than testing out the potential passion in a passive way, like learning about it or talking to others about it. It’s time to actually get out there and do it your way!

Choose from one of these creative ideas:

 

Sports can be a little bit different. If you can’t find a way to be creative with them, use this time to have a go at practising what you’ve learnt so far on your own:

Set aside some time and let your creativity flow. I’d love to see what you create! Send it to me at claudia[at]peacenpurpose[dot]com

 

Five. Reflect and review

You’ve completed the three tests, so now what?

This step is about reflecting on your experiences and reviewing how much you enjoyed trying the activity out. Is it one of your passions?

The Passion Finder shows you how to do this. Get your copy here (it’s free.)

Once you’ve completed The Passion Finder for this potential passion: 

  1.  Choose another item off your Curiosity List.
  2. Repeat the formula with that.
  3. Review the experience using The Passion Finder.
  4. Keep going until you’ve tested out the items that make you feel most excited. Try and do between 3-5. 

You’ll end up with a new range of passions you’re confident you enjoy! Keep pursuing them and ALWAYS follow your curiosity. I’ve learnt that following your curiosity is way more important that finding your one passion when it comes to discovering your purpose. You never know where it might lead …

“Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.” Steve Jobs

Read the rest of the Discover Your Purpose Series:

  1. How to Escape a Job you Hate and Find Purpose
  2. How I Discovered my Biggest Passions: My 5 Step Formula
  3. The Complete Guide to Reconnecting With Your Dreams
  4. 13 Inspiring Women Reveal Their Best Tips For Finding Career Direction In Your Twenties
Practical advice

How To Escape A Job You Hate & Find…

I was working as a waitress at a cocktail bar 🎶

Well actually I wasn’t, I just wanted to get that song in your head haha!

Actually, I was working in a management job that I had landed straight after uni. It was a great opportunity. I had the chance to develop my leadership skills, meet lots of people and earn lots of money (hey!) Not bad right? 

That’s what I thought until I started the role. Almost immediately I knew it wasn’t for me, but I kept going. I thought that was what was expected of me. I really wanted to have made the right decision so I kept going. One year passed, then two. And even though each New Year I’d promise myself that this would be the year I quit and found a job that was more suited to me, I just kept on going!

Why was I so stuck?

  • I worked with some amazing people who are still my friends.

  • I had a really comfortable life out of work which I enjoyed.

  • I knew what I was doing and what I didn’t like. Better the devil you know right?

  • I was scared of failing at whatever I pursued instead.

  • And the biggie… I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do instead!

What about you? Take a minute just to note the reasons why you are still stuck in a job that you don’t enjoy. What are the payoffs that are keeping you there?

If one of them is,  “I’m not sure what I want to do instead” then read on because I’m sharing all of my secrets with you today! (Okay, not all of them) Just the one about how I managed to FINALLY get unstuck from that job I pretty much hated and start my journey towards work I love.

Don’t miss this! I’ve put together a cool Escape Kit to go along with this Discover Your Purpose series. It contains 3 awesome resources that will help you start your journey towards discovering your purpose today. Grab your kit here:

These are the 6 steps that will lead you from a job you don’t enjoy to being clear on the work that’s meaningful for you. (They are the exact steps that I took on this journey!)

Step 1: Explore your passions

First things first, get clear on what you love to do.

If you keep hearing all this advice telling you to follow your passion but have no idea what that is, you’re not alone! You are human right? (Good, just checking) So there isn’t going to be just ONE thing that’s your passion. There are going to be many things, these will change over time and that’s okay!

Breath of fresh air: You don’t have to choose. You don’t have to stick to one passion for the rest of your life. So if you love snowboarding and street food, or working with kids and writing (hello me!) do both!

But you do need is to know what your passions are. The journey towards work you love is a journey of discovery and it starts with you.

But hey, you’re only young. How are you meant to know what your passions are when there’s still so much out there that you haven’t tried? I mean, what if those things are your passions?

 Well, start with what you know first. Take a few minutes now to write down your favourite activities, you know, the ones that make you feel pure joy when you do them.

(If you’d like to know, mine are hiking, writing, reading, wildlife spotting, going to the cinema and eating/trying food from around the world)

Right. So now you know your existing passions, it’s time to try out those things-that-you-think-you-might-love-but-don’t-know for-sure-because-you-haven’t-tried-them aka your Curiosity List. I’ll be showing you a step-by-step process for doing this in the next post in this Discover Your Purpose series. Until then click here to grab your FREE Escape Kit to get started with The Passion Finder tool (which takes you through this):

Step 2: Reconnect with your dreams

Nine times out of ten you know, deep down, what you want to do with your life.

“Whaaat?” I hear you cry (If you’re even still here and haven’t clicked off the page in anger.) “I’m here because I don’t know what I want to do, I thought you got that!”

I do get it. Trust. And remember, this is just my experience okay? But when I look back on that horrible period of my life when I felt totally confused about my direction and future, I can see that actually I knew deep, down what I wanted to do. I had just buried those dreams so far down that I had lost touch with them.

The problem is to get through the uninspiring day-to-day work you face in a job you kinda hate, you’ve had no choice but to bury your dreams deep down. It’s like a survival mechanism for getting through each day.

That’s why once you reconnect with your dreams, this whole process will speed up. You’ll stop feeling so stuck. You’ll be more excited for the future and will have more awareness of how wrong for you your present job is.

So how do you reconnect with your biggest dreams?

A big part of this is to stop worrying about being “realistic.” Because really, what is realistic?

Do you think that 50 years ago people thought it was realistic to be able to see and speak your family member on the other side of the world in less than a second?

Do you think that 150 years ago it seemed realistic that one day millions of ordinary people would fly around the world in a metal box, thousands of metres up in the sky?

What about everyone having chocolate bar sized devices in their pockets that answer any question you ask in their own humanoid voice?!

Yeah, no one would have believed you if you had told them any of those things were going to happen. And if the inventors of any of the above had worried about being realistic well, we would be in a very different world today.

So please don’t let fears that you’re being unrealistic hold you back as you reconnect with your dreams. Let your imagination go wild and really get excited about your future again.

I’ll be showing you exactly how to do this in the third post in Discover Your Purpose series. Until then click here to grab your FREE Escape Kit to get started with the Dream Big Workbook.

 

Step 3: What’s so special about you?

Answer: Everything.

Seriously. This isn’t some millennial fantasy. Every one of us is completely unique. I mean, how many other people on the planet have the exact same experience, strengths, personality, skills and passions as you?

Yeah. NONE!

Even if you have an identical twin, your experiences of the world will be slightly different. And I’m sure other aspects of your personality would be too. You are 110% unique!

Why does this matter?

Well, personal branding is a hot topic these days. If you run with that idea you could think of yourself as having a USP (Unique Selling Point.) As I said, there is no one else on earth who has the exact combination of skills, strengths and experience as you. That is your USP.

The key to successfully finding work you love is to work out what your USP is, and how you can use it. 

Why? It all comes down to strengths. If you can identify your natural superpowers and then find work that uses them, you’ll:

  1. Be extremely successful in that role. You’ll be able to focus on develop your strengths and making them extraordinary assets.

  2. You’ll love working in that role because doing what you’re good at is inherently fun. Right? 

Step 4: What brings you meaning?

True fulfillment doesn’t come from doing what you enjoy each day or living a life filled with everything you want. It comes from turning the focus away from yourself and on to answering the essential question, who can you help?

There’s a reason why  reflecting on meaning is step 4 and not step 1. Now you know what’s special about you, you can focus on the ways you can use your USP to make your own unique difference in the world.

But first, let’s take a look at the impact you want to make. We want to make sure that you’re working on something that you really care about so when things get tough you’ve still got the motivation to carry on. First off, take some time to really think about the answer to this question – who do you want to help?

Step 5: What lifestyle do you want?

Create a lifestyle that you’ll thrive in.

It’s all too easy to get so caught up with finding purposeful work that you completely forget about the quality of the rest of your life.

Me? I’ve been there, done that. I absolutely was in love with my last job, inspiring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve. BUT it involved a daily commute of three hours to get there and back. Error!

I didn’t realise how much this daily journey would affect my entire life (and not in a good way) until I started doing it. It left me with little energy, little time to share with family and friends and an underlying resentment for the job.

I still would never, ever regret taking that job, but I learnt a valuable lesson – consider how you will create a lifestyle that will enable you to thrive! No matter who you decide to help, you’ll only be letting them down if you don’t look after yourself. It’s like that old oxygen mask analogy. When you’re listening to that safety briefing on a plane, they always say to put your oxygen mask on first before helping anyone else. Because if you’re struggling to survive, you’re not going to have much to give to others right?

The best way to get started with this (and most fun way!) is to create a  vision board. Think about:

What would you love to have your day to day life?

What environment would you best suit living in?

How would you ideally recharge in your free time?

Step 6: Bring it all together

Create a clear vision for the work you want to do.

I’m not going to lie, this final step can often be the trickiest.  But just by reading this article you’re at an advantage. Most people just jump into the process at this step and expect to be able to just know what they want to do next. (Don’t worry if this was you, it was me too! But we live and we learn!)

The great thing is that once you complete the first 5 steps, you’ll already have a much clearer idea about what you want to do next. Then it’s then just about clarifying and testing out your ideas.

There you have it! That was the 6 Step Escape Plan that I used to discover my purpose and leave a job that I really didn’t enjoy. I’ll be teaching you how to follow each step in depth in my upcoming course, Discover Your Purpose Retreat. It’s going to be awesome! Right now, don’t forget to grab your FREE Escape Kit here:

 

You’ll get:

The Passion Finder – A practical discovery tool to help you get clear on your passions.

Dream Big Workbook- Packed with fun and inspiring exercises to reconnect you with your dreams.

The Escape Plan- A printable PDF Escape Plan that shows you your route out of the job you hate and into work with purpose.

Read the rest of the Discover Your Purpose Series:

  1. How to Escape a Job you Hate and Find Purpose
  2. How I Discovered my Biggest Passions: My 5 Step Formula
  3. The Complete Guide to Reconnecting With Your Dreams
  4. 13 Inspiring Women Reveal Their Best Tips For Finding Career Direction In Your Twenties
Practical advice

9 Mindset Shifts You Need to Make Before Choosing…

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right” Henry Ford

It’s easy to think that choosing your next career step is all about taking career aptitude tests, searching for job vacancies and filling out ever-growing application forms.

Yes, that does come into it, but not until way further down the line.

Before you even put pen to paper to explain why you’re great at teamwork, you need to do some work to shift your mindset (if you really want to choose a career that you’ll love.)

Why is this?

Because if choosing a career that’s right for you was easy, everyone would be in one. It takes self-reflection, self belief and focus.

If you’re currently in a job that you hate and are feeling stuck and frustrated, don’t start by looking at job vacancies, start with yourself.

Because to get a different life, you need to do things differently.

“ If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Unknown

Your mindset is a great place to start this change. It’s something that you can control and has far reaching consequences.

This quote summarises it perfectly:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.” Gandhi

Here are 9 mindset shifts to make before you choose your path:

1. Believe in yourself

This is number one for me. If you don’t believe that you can be successful at making a career change, you won’t have any incentive to make any of the other mindset shifts on this list.

To start with, you don’t need to be fully convinced about your capabilities. You just need that small, hopeful part of you to believe that it’s possible.

But as time goes on and the challenges ahead of you get greater, you need to start really believing in yourself.

If you don’t, you’ll start holding yourself back and will weaken your chances of making a successful career change happen.

“There is a difference between WISHING for a thing and being READY to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be BELIEF, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief.” Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

So how do you start to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve something?

Here are is a technique that has worked for me. It’s from the Pacific Institute’s Investment in Excellence programme:

1. Create a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Start small so you get used to this process and start believing in yourself.

For me, my first goal was to be able to walk into a room filled with new people and feel excited instead of scared.

2. Close your eyes and visualise it happening the way you want.

Use your 5 senses in the vision. What do you see, smell, hear and taste? Then also, how do you feel?

Visualisation really works. Pro athletes use it everyday to increase their performance. So why can’t you?

3. Write down a sentence that describes what you visualised. Make sure it’s in the present tense, first person and include words that describe how you feel. This is your affirmation.

For example, mine was – “I feel excited about who I’m going to meet as I walk into the room. I calmly approach someone and feel curious about them.”

2. Change how you view failure

I’m starting believe that a person can’t fail completely. You might not hit certain goals or have everything go your way, but just by taking the risk to pursue them you’ve grown as a person and learnt new things – that isn’t failure to me.

This attitude to failure comes with a shift in mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

A fixed mindset is when you believe that you’re unable to develop any further. You think that you’re always going to be good at the things you’re good at now and rubbish at the things that you’re currently bad at!

A growth mindset is approaching life knowing that you can learn and improve your performance in all areas. You know practice and persistence can help you to move forward. If you have a growth mindset you see that with each “failure” you are learning and so getting closer to your goals.

Last year at work, we took some students to a business accelerator so they could have a look around.

On the wall I noticed a handwritten poster that change my thinking on failure. It said, “How many times have you failed this week?” And people had written all of their failures below it, like some sort of strange competition! I loved it!

I loved the idea that the more you fail, the closer you are to success. I’ve since found a pretty cool quote that explains this:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison

3. See yourself as someone who makes things happen

If you’ve fallen into the common trap of saying you’ll do things and then not following through on them, it’s easy to think that that’s the way things are always going to be for you.

It can really affect your self esteem as you stop believing yourself when you say you’re going to do something.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can start seeing yourself as someone who keeps their commitments to themselves again.

The key is to start small.

1. Make a small commitment to yourself. It could be running once a week, meditating for 5 mins a day or calling your parents on a Sunday.

2. Set a time limit for it that’s realistic for you. Are you going to do it for 30 days? 6 weeks? Or 3 months?

It doesn’t matter the length of time, what’s important is that you stick to it. Once you do, you’ll feel so much better about yourself!

Then repeat the process with something else and your perception of yourself will soon change.

Don’t take on too much at once though. That’s only going to lead to you not enjoying your commitments and make you more likely to struggle to keep them.

Also remember:

“Act on commitments not feelings” Brian Moran and Michael Lennington (The 12 Week Year)

When I read this quote for the first time it shifted my thinking!

I make a lot of decisions based on feelings (and change commitments because of them too.)

This quote made me realise that if I’m really going to believe in my capabilities and achieve what I want to achieve, I need to stick to the commitments that I’ve made (no matter how I feel!)

4. Get clear on WHY you’re doing things (or not)

Make sure you know why you want to make something happen. It’s so easy to get carried away based on what everyone else is doing or what you feel you “should be” doing.

Often you won’t feel great about a goal that you’re working on because deep down, it’s not what you want.

Pay attention to those feelings and try to work out why you’re feeling them.

Is working on the goal you feel you should be doing, stopping you from doing something else that you really want to do instead?

For example, last year it seemed like ALL of my friends were buying houses (because they all were!). They were encouraging me to do the same but the thought just really depressed me. And at first, I couldn’t understand why.

After thinking about it for a while, I realised that it was because buying a house would make me feel stuck and unable to do all of things that I REALLY wanted to do (like starting a business and living abroad.)

I then realised that not doing those two things, I was keeping myself stuck. So I needed to get on and make them happen!

From now on, when you really want to do something (or don’t want to do something), get to the bottom of why you’re feeling that way. You’ll start to learn a lot more about yourself so you can confidently decide on the direction you want to go in.

5. Get comfortable with creating your own vision

If you really want to choose a path that you love and create a life that’s perfect for you, it’s time to start creating your own vision. Traditional career paths and stale ideas aren’t going to get you where you want to be.

How do you go about this?

If you’re used to doing things the way you’re expected to (graduate college, get a job for life), then creating your own vision for the life you want to live can be tricky. You might catch yourself thinking small. Your big dreams might be shortening the distance of your commute or getting more days of holiday.

It’s time to start using your imagination and (even if starting a business is the last thing on your mind,) thinking entrepreneurially.

  • Ask yourself, if I took a little more risk how would my vision look different?
  • Imagine money wasn’t a limit, what would your vision you like then?
  • What if you had all of the time in the world? What would you like to do?
  • Try not to worry about other people’s opinions when you come up with your vision (though I know this is easier said than done).

“Put your foot upon the neck of the fear of criticism by reaching a decision not to worry about what other people think, do, or say.” Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

6. Separate the process of coming up with an idea, to the process of evaluating it

I recently went on a weekend NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) course and learnt this brilliant technique that I couldn’t wait to share with you.

When you’ve come up with an idea for your next career step (or any big idea) follow this 3 step process.

  1. The first thing to do is stay where you are and dream big about it! Do not think about any problems that might come up. Instead stay positive and allow yourself to be unrealistic for once!
  2. Next change positions, move to a different part of the room. Now you become the critic. Write down all of the things that could go wrong (if you’re anything like me this is going to be the easiest part!
  3. Finally change where you are sitting in the room again, to a new, different spot. Now you are the realist. Look at what you wrote down as a dreamer and as a critic and put the two together. Taking into account the critics points, could your dream work? How could you rectify the two and make it work?

GIve it a go and have fun with it!

7. Be compassionate with yourself

This is something that I’ve learnt recently: how you treat yourself makes a huge difference to your success and happiness!

I’ve never been one to say mean things to myself, but I never say kind things either!

I’ve come to see what a huge difference a “you can do this Claudia, you’re doing really well” can make to my mood and my attitude towards challenges.

The language you use with yourself is really important too. It can either empower you or make you feel like a victim. Here are some great examples from “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers:

Change:

  • I can’t to I won’t
  • I should to I could
  • Its a problem to it’s an opportunity
  • I hope to I know
  • What will I do to I can handle it
  • Can I? to I will

And see the difference in how you feel!

8. Change how you see fear – it’s never going to go away.

This mindset shift is one that I’ve had for a few years so I’d forgotten about it! That was until one of you lovely readers pointed it out to me again (thank you!)

Fear holds us back and that’s a fact. It’s so tempting to put our dreams on hold until we have overcome all of the fears that stand in our way.

However, one of the “fear truths” that Susan Jeffers wrote about in one of my favourite books, “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, is this:

“The fear will never go away, as long as you continue to grow”.

You can overcome certain fears but once you do you will then come up against new, bigger fears.

So instead of waiting for the fear to completely go away (because it won’t), get started before you feel completely ready.

Take on the smaller challenges that you feel you can achieve (even though they scare you!) As you do this, you’ll soon have the confidence to face the bigger challenges that come your way.

9. Focus your energy on what you can control

Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a brilliant book. I’ve read it once but feel like I need to go back to it about 100 more times to soak up all of the nuggets of wisdom out of it!

One of the seriously simple but effective principles he teaches is to focus your time and energy on your “circle of influence” (the things that you can control). Don’t waste time worrying about things in your “circle of concern” (the things that are out of you control). Doing this will make you lot more proactive and less likely to see yourself as a victim of circumstance.

These circles can apply to things as small as day to day annoyances and as big as world-changing problems!

For example, I get annoyed about my boyfriend not putting the lid back on the toothpaste once he’s brushed his teeth (true story it goes all dry and gross – so not cool).

Getting annoyed at him would be putting my energy in the circle of concern (because I really can’t control what he does, as much as I try to!).

Instead to focus on my circle of influence, I can simply put the lid back on the toothpaste when I see he’s left it off. Or I could get two toothpaste tubes, one for him to ruin and one for me to keep nice!

On a bigger scale, I could be getting really worried about climate change now a certain world leader isn’t sure it exists.

I could spend my energy worrying about the next ridiculous decision he’ll make OR I could focus my energy on what I can control. I can take fewer flights, carbon offset my travel or change to a sustainable energy provider.

See how it works? It feels great and gets rid of a lot my negative thoughts and energy too!

Now it’s over to you!

Choose one of these mindset shifts and give it a go today!

Get inspired

7 Life Changing Reasons Why You Should Do Work…

Choosing a path that you love can be a fun adventure. You embark on a journey where you get to meet cool new people and try exciting things. You also get to learn a lot about yourself.

Of course, there are also challenges along the way. Whether it’s overcoming your fears, juggling responsibilities or feeling unmotivated,  it is an adventure that takes a lot of determination to complete.

 However, I really believe that it’s worth finding that determination within yourself. Why? Doing so will change your life for the better!

Before I expand on 7 of the reasons why it will change your life, let me first define what I mean by “choosing a path you love.”

To be really clear, let’s start with what I don’t mean. For me, choosing a path that you love is not:

  • Choosing the one career path that you’ll take for the rest of your life
  • Suddenly going to bring you happiness
  • Just about finding what you love to do and making a career out of that

So what do I mean then?

I see choosing a path that you love as being about:

  • Taking into account what you enjoy doing, the impact that you want to make on the world, what you’re good at and the lifestyle you want to live. Then making a career out of that!
  • Making it easier for you to feel happy (but not being the cause of it)
  • Deciding what you’re going to focus on for the next couple of years. As you grow the path that you choose to take is going to become easier. When this happens you’ll probably start craving a new challenge. This is totally natural. All it means is that it’s time to adjust the path that you’re on. Luckily, having chosen a path before, you’ll find adjusting your path after a couple of years a lot less difficult.

Using that definition, here are 7 reasons why taking the leap and making the effort to choose your path is TOTALLY worth it. It will change your life! (This is from my own, personal experience of choosing my path and leveling it up along the way!)

1. You’ll gain a strong sense of purpose

By putting in the work to choose your path,  you’ll develop a strong sense of what matters to you. This will help you to make decisions more easily as you’ll know where your priorities lie. You’ll also find your day-to-day life more rewarding (when you align it with what matters to you).

I’d even argue that you don’t need to work on your path full time at first. You’ll still get a strong sense of purpose by spending time during the evenings and weekends working on it. I’d 100% encourage this!

2. You’ll experience more moments of pure joy

From reading touching thank you messages from young people to having fun with my colleagues after a hard but rewarding day,  I’ve experienced SO many moments of joy in the work that I’ve done since choosing my path. It hasn’t been all perfect though! There have also been some seriously challenging moments (and commuting for hours on dark winter mornings has definitely not been a moment of joy!)

It’s important to remember that choosing your path doesn’t mean doing work that you love ALL of the time. However, if you put in the time to carefully choose your path, I guarantee that you’ll have hundreds more memorable moments of pure joy at work. And, overall, they’ll outweigh the challenges.  

3. You’ll believe in yourself so much more!

Choosing your path is all about using your strengths. Trust me, this is going to make a HUGE difference to your life! By using your strengths you’ll do better work and get more recognition for it. In turn, your self-confidence will grow and you’ll start believing in yourself more. Your goals and dreams will expand. Your everyday life will also be made a little easier by this increased belief in your own capabilities.

4. You’ll stop stressing about making the most of your life

If you do this, you’ll know what I’m talking about! I do love this quote from Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford commencement speech:

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Steve Jobs

However,  I’ve found that the stress comes from this when you know that you need to change something, but don’t know what to change it to. Thankfully, this goes when you learn how to choose your path. Having done it before, you’ll know exactly how to go about making a change when the time comes.

5. You’ll be more excited about your future

Why? Your increased confidence will make it easier to dream big and take action on those awesome dreams! As you do work that suits you, you’ll have more to look forward to on a day to day basis. You might even find yourself feeling excited about going to work (yep that does happen!)

6. You’ll learn more about things that you care about (and get paid to do it)

I find learning really fun (don’t judge!) So one of the things that I’ve really loved about choosing my path has been being able to learn about things that I care about everyday! Since choosing my path I’ve found myself getting paid to master skills that I used to use my precious evenings and weekends to learn! For me, it doesn’t get better than that.

7. You’ll raise the bar

What surprised me most about choosing my path and taking it?

The places that your path can lead you to! It will lift you up and act as a stepping stone to things that right now, you can’t imagine.

Practical advice

5 Reasons Why You Haven’t Chosen Your Path Yet

If you’re feeling like you’ve lost your way and you’re stuck in a job that doesn’t inspire you there’s a reason why. Something is holding you back from choosing a path, setting yourself a brilliant goal and working towards it.

For me, there was one big thing that that really held me back. It was something that kept me stuck where I was for years AND made me SO frustrated with myself.

It was fear.

For some reason, I couldn’t just take a deep breath and get on with things like most people around me seemed to be able to do. Instead I worried too much, kept chickening out of things and began to believe that I wasn’t capable of doing anything different with my life. Changing career and finding something I loved to do seemed like a BIG deal.

There was just too much risk and too many things that could go wrong!
What if I failed and it made me depressed?
What if everyone thought I was making the wrong decision and talked about me behind my back?
What if I did make the wrong decision and I left my job for one that was way worse and regretted the whole thing?

With thoughts like those, you can imagine, I was going nowhere fast. I kept having ideas of things I might enjoy but got too scared to try any of them out. I would book myself onto workshop and arrange appointments only to cancel them at the last minute. The more I did this, the more I lost confidence in myself and the more I lost confidence in myself, the more stuck I felt.

Having to actually take action to move forward became a big mental block. It wasn’t until I actually identified that is was a fear of failure and worry about making the wrong decision that were keeping me stuck that I was able to finally move forward.  

So that was my experience. What about you? Do you know what’s holding you back?

Here are 5 reasons why you haven’t chosen your path yet (if you’re feeling stuck I guarantee it’s one of these 5 reasons that are keeping your there):

1. You’re worried that you won’t succeed

This is such a common reasons for staying where you are. Unfortunately as women, we are more likely to be held back by this fear of failure.

If you’re worried you won’t succeed or that things won’t work out the way you imagine,  then fear of failure is the reason why you haven’t chosen your path yet.

The question I want to ask you is, what would you do even if you were going to fail? Is there something that you want to do so much that you would do it for the enjoyment and for the journey even if it didn’t work out?

Also when it comes to a failure,it’s how you see it that matters. Something not working out right can be an indication that you need to change your path slightly or it could just be a test of your perseverance and resilience!

The key thing to remember is that the only way you can be 100% sure that you’re not going to fail is to stay exactly where you are and not try anything new. Is that how you want to live your life?

Take a moment to think about the absolute worse case scenario that could happen if you failed. What could you put into place to be prepared for that?

2. You’re concerned about making the wrong choice

This is holding you back if you’re:

  • Worried about making the wrong decision and wasting time and money
  • Choosing incorrectly
  • Don’t know how you can limit it to one choice
  • Worried about regretting your decision later on

This was me all over! The best thing to do is to write down those options and choices. I bet there’s not as many on paper as there are in  your head. Then go through the list and  try each of them out – make it into a fun project!

Also remember, this decision is not for the  rest of your life. Think of it as a stepping stone that lasts a couple of years. A lifelong job just doesn’t exist anymore. There is always room to change.

3. You’re worried about money

In a recent survey I ran, 23% of readers said that financial concerns were holding them back from choosing their paths. So if you’re worried about having money to pay the bills while you get the ball rolling or choosing a career that enables you to earn a comfortable income, you’re not alone!

Money is a funny thing and it’s only recently that I realised how many weird hangups I have about it. How much is really enough? How much is too little? Often I let my emotions guide me with money when I should be dealing with the cold hard facts and I bet you’re doing the same.
So work out how much money you really need to live the lifestyle you want. Here’s a great article by Chris Guillebeau to help you out.

Money is also linked to confidence and self-worth. We might not need that much money to live a life we love but it’s SO easy to judge our worth by the amount we earn and then compare it with those around us.

If you’re worried about money while you get the ball rolling, start while you’re in the job you’re currently in. Use your free time, learn time management strategies and get going whilst you’ve got the income coming in. I’ve done this and it also helps you save money! You end up spending your free time working on your path instead of going out and spending! (Just make sure you keep time for yourself and relaxation- so important!)

4. You don’t feel like you have the confidence

Self-confidence is totally linked to the all of the three reasons above. If you’re doubting yourself and not believing in your abilities then your confidence is holding you back. This is also really related to what those around you are saying. If your family or friends aren’t supportive or understanding about your need to choose a different path, it can really make you feel unconfident about making it happen.

If this is you, I found that taking small steps and action really helps. Just do little things out of your comfort zone that are related to any career ideas that you have. By taking these little steps you’ll feel a sense of achievement and as the steps get bigger your confidence in your abilities will grow.

5. You have no idea what to do

Feeling confused with no idea where to start is so frustrating. You feel so stuck because you have no idea what to do or which direction to go in. Maybe you have no idea what you’re good at, what your passion is or your purpose.

When I was trying to choose my path I remember constantly thinking” If I knew what I wanted to do I would just do it!” I thought that I had to think up the perfect career and decide it in my head BEFORE taking any action. The thing is, I had it the wrong way round. I only started to get a sense of direction once I started taking action. If you have no idea what to do, try something new – anything!

In hindsight I can also see that I did know exactly  what I wanted to do but I was scared about making it happen. This stopped me from admitting my goal to myself! If you suspect this might be you, work on building up your confidence and self-belief by starting small and taking action on things that interest you.

So what’s stopping you from choosing your path? You might find that only one or two of these reasons apply to you, or you might find that all of them do.

Whatever your situation, don’t worry. Now you know what’s holding you back, you can do things differently:

  • Start noticing when those feelings come up
  • Realise why you’re not making the decisions or taking the action you need to.
  • Try and work on solutions and overcoming the barrier(s) that are holding you back If you didn’t get it from above, the best way to do this is to

TAKE SOME ACTION!

Start small, make a little commitment and see it through. Then repeat 🙂

Practical advice

The Ultimate Guide to your Comfort Zone (& Why…

 

Do you want to change your life?

If so, why haven’t you already?

Chances are you feel really stuck where you are.

You want to change your life but don’t know where to start. 

Maybe fear is holding you back. Perhaps you don’t believe you can do it, you’re worried about failing or you’re scared about what other people think.

Out of 187 women I’ve surveyed, 43% said that fear was holding them back from choosing their career path. For some it was fear of failure, others fear of making the wrong decision.

This was exactly how I felt a few years ago when I wanted to quit my job. It took me years to make any progress forwards because I felt too comfortable where I was. But comfortable didn’t equal happy!

I was 100% in my little comfort zone and REALLY didn’t like to step out of it!

It was probably because a) I wasn’t used to getting out of it and b) I was expecting too much of myself. I wanted to jump straight to the things that terrified me instead of taking way smaller steps.

YEARS?! I can’t hear you saying, I don’t want to be stuck here for years!

Don’t worry, it doesn’t need to take you that long to move forward. In fact, if you’re willing to feel a little bit nervous you can start getting unstuck almost right away.

It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone but not trying to leap out too far! So here’s your in depth guide to your comfort zone and how to use it to stop feeling stuck and start moving forward! Enjoy!

What is your comfort zone?

If you haven’t heard much about comfort zones before here’s a nice pic to help you out:

This middle bit (1) is your comfort zone. It’s a pretty cosy, safe place and it’s so easy to get stuck in here! You have all your basic comforts and necessities but no growth, excitement or adventure! Here’s a place you can live but not really feel alive.

The problem also is that the more time you stay in here, the harder it is to get out! Seriously, I think the reason people live long but uninspiring lives is because they’re just too comfortable where they are. They’re too scared to make any changes in case they end up losing all their comforts.

This may well happen….but because you’re reading this I’m going to assume you’re a girl who’d prefer some adventure and excitement in her life!

I’m that case I’d like to introduce you to (2), the stretch zone! This is the second band in the diagram and I love it! Seriously, my perspective on fear changed when I learnt about this bit!

Your stretch zone is basically things that are a little bit outside your comfort zone, but with some courage and motivation you can do them without totally freaking out!

They are things that you feel nervous about but are also really excited to do. You might just need a little bit of determination in the moment to actually do them. Can you think of anything that’s in your stretch zone right now? It’s going to be different for everyone.

3. The final part is your panic zone. This is the outer ring of the diagram. In this zone are things that you probably couldn’t make yourself do right now even if you kind of wanted to (unless you got really drunk first!) For me it would be things like base jumping or swimming on a beach where there’s been a shark attack (ahhhhhh)!

Before, I was going wrong with trying to face my panic zone fears straight off. This led to a lot of, well, panicking!

The key thing I learnt is to remember that you will be able to do the things in your panic zone (if you actually want to), just not right now. This is because the more you do the things that scare you, the more your comfort zone will grow. So one day, the things that are in your panic zone now will be in your stretch zone or even in your comfort zone then.

I learnt this from one of my favourite books ever – “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by the late Susan Jeffers. She introduced me to the idea that you can grow your comfort zone by doing the things that scare you.

I’d love to add a bit onto that. You can grow your comfort zone by doing the things in your stretch zone that scare you!

By doing things in your stretch zone, they’ll move into your comfort zone and your comfort zone will grow. As your comfort zone grows, so will your stretch zone and the things in your panic zone will move into it.

So you can grow your comfort zone, but why else should you bother doing the things that scares you

1. Grow your self esteem

Challenging yourself and doing things that scare you make you believe in yourself and what you’re capable of. Plus, according to Nathaniel Branden doing the things that you say to yourself you’re going to do increases your self esteem. You’ll feel happier and will trust yourself more. (From “Six Pillar of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden)

2. Find your purpose

Only by actually taking action and trying new things will you work out what it you want to do with your life. Stepping out of your comfort zone is essential to learning what you love and what isn’t quite right for you.

3. Feel proud of yourself

For some reason I really struggle to acknowledge when I’m proud of myself. I try to make myself write down one thing I’m proud of everyday and it’s so hard! But when you know that you’ve faced a fear and stepped out of your comfort zone you can’t help but feel the pride.

4. Live your life

You’re never going to feel alive and like you’re making the most of your life stuck in your comfort zone. Step out of it and really experience the world.

5. Meet new people

Again, staying in your comfort zone means being around the same old people. This can be nice but by stepping out you’ll meet new people, make new friends and come across new ideas.

6. Achieve your dreams

Everyone’s dreams lie outside of their comfort zone. Once you’re clear on what yours are, turn them into goals and break them down into tiny steps. Then get started by doing the steps that are in your stretch zone (rather than in your panic zone)

7. Overcome fears

For me, it was the fear of water. I used to even feel panicked swimming in the deep end of the pool or putting my head under water. By breaking my fear down into small steps and pushing myself a little further each time, I completed my PADI open water course last October! Fear of water- overcome!

What can you do right now to start stepping out of your comfort zone?

Here are 3 steps you can take:

Step One: Be aware of what’s in your different zones when you go about your day to day life. Notice when you feel panicked about doing something or just a bit nervous. How often do you actually get out of your comfort zone? The next steps will help you step out a lot more!
 

Step Two: Write a list of some things you’ve always wanted to try. These things need to feel scary but also exciting! They shouldn’t just feel dull or like a chore or you’ll never get the motivation to do them.
 

Step Three: Break down one of the things you just wrote down into baby steps. You should feel that with some courage (and time!) you could do each one today. The steps shouldn’t make you feel sick with fear! If they do, you need to break them down further. Next, schedule them in!

As you complete each step your comfort zone will grow. Things that seemed impossibly scary will seem achievable and you’ll build up to conquering your fears whilst reaching your biggest goals.  How incredible is that?

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

Practical advice

Why You Need To Start Following Your Curiosity (Especially…

“I have no special talents I’m just passionately curious” Albert Einstein

How do you feel about the start of a new year?

3 years ago, I celebrated the start of 2014 with excitement-tinged frustration. Yeah I was happy about having a fresh start but I just didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to do with it!

I was desperate to make a big change in my life, particularly my career. I had so much energy ready and I remember how insanely frustrating it was to not to have anywhere to put it. I felt emotionally stuck.

If I could go back and give the 2014 me some advice, it would be to unabashedly follow my curiosity. I’d tell myself not to get caught up in always having to have a purpose and be productive but to relax, have fun and play around with what I’m interested in.

So if you’re feeling like you want 2017 to be a year of big change for you but don’t know where to start; simply follow your curiosity.

To convince you a little more, here are 5 reasons why it’s worth doing!

1. You’ll increase your knowledge

“The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” Dr Seuss

2. It’ll open new doors

Who knows where following your curiosity will lead? By starting down a different path you’ll come across new ideas and new people. Any of these might lead to a life that you can’t even imagine right now.

3. You’ll get excited about life again

You don’t realise how used you are to a boring, unfulfilling life until you feel excited about something for the first time in a very long time. Once you feel that tingle in your belly you just won’t understand how you went without it for so long.

4. It’ll grow your confidence

Following your curiosity is all about trying new things. Even if “trying” for you is simply watching a different sort of documentary, you’ll still build your confidence.

Trying something new, no matter how small, expands your comfort zone. You’ll realise that you’re capable of doing something even just slightly differently and start seeing yourself as someone who can change your life.

5. You’ll learn more about yourself

By actually giving the things that you are interested in a go, you’ll learn more about what you do and don’t enjoy and what your strengths are. This quote explains it better than I ever could:

“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue these.” Michael Nolan

Only by finding out more about those things that catch your eye will you find out if they also catch your heart.

To put all of this into action, here are 5 simple steps you can take.

Write down a list of topics that you’re curious about. It could be starting a business, learning Russian, dance or refurbishing furniture. Include all those little itches that you’ve never scratched.

  1. Choose one item from your list and take one tiny action to learn about it. You could read a book, watch a movie or follow a relevant blog. Do something really simple.
  2. Once you’ve found out a little more, ask yourself, “Am I still curious about this topic?” If the answer’s no, that it’s actually not what you thought it would be, that’s fine, move on to the next item! Remember you only want to pursue things that catch your heart! It might be too early to tell but if you’re not interested now, it’s probably not for you!
  3. But you are still interested, keep following your curiosity and take it up a level. Next, do something more practical that exposes you to someone or somewhere new. Take a class, visit somewhere related to the topic like a museum or go to a Meetup linked to it.
  4. Then ask yourself again, “Am I still curious about this?” Like last time, if your answer’s no, move on to something new.
  5. However, if you’re still curious, keep following it! This time create a project linked to the topic.  Get stuck into your business, write an article, make a film, start drawing or speaking or cooking. Just get creating!  By doing this you’ll learn new things as you go, figure out your mistakes and work out the knowledge gaps you need to fill.

There’s a lot to do there so if you just do one thing after reading this article, make sure it’s this:

ACTION: List everything and anything that sparks your curiosity. See if you can list 10 topics.

Here are some questions to get you started:  

  • What were your favourite subjects at school?
  • What topics did you really enjoy learning about?
  • What type of books do normally read? What interests you about them?
  • What type of TV shows or movies do you go for? What interests you about them?
  • What sports or activities have you always wanted to try?
  • What new ways would you like to be able to express yourself creatively?

When you’re done tweet your favourite 3 and tag me- @ClaudiaFRoberts  I’d love to know!

“Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known” Carl Sagan