Lessons from a year running my own business as a career coach

Hi Fabulous!!

Today marks a year since I began my business as a career coach to women in IT, Science and Engineering.

Its been an awesome experience so far and I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.  The learnings have been huge.  The sense of satisfaction with my life have been even huger.

If you’re wondering about whether you should go for it – I say GO FOR IT!!!

Just start now.  

There have been big learnings and even bigger growth.  Developing the communications skills necessary to just be with, sit with and be 100% present with a client is a constant work in progress.  To do this means also being able to 100% present with myself.  Its led to some big personal revelations that led me back to counselling and to create a close-out letter for my divorce.  This was a frustrating time because the divorce is 4 years ago and I thought I was ‘over it’.  Found out I wasn’t.   The old me would have denied the pain and got busy suppressing it (busy working, shopping, going out, going to yoga, travelling) but the new me welcomed the gift of truth.  It was scary to confront that I wasn’t ‘over it’, its an ego thing.  Instead I went back to counselling, creating a close-out letter to myself and read it out loud to my counsellor.  It was a very long letter – it was epic.  It was liberating.

The sense of release and energy was invigorating.  Pursuing your truth, your purpose and going for it doesn’t just open the doors you think you want it also helps you move forward with your life in ways you never knew you needed.  Living a whole year in my truth has given me this gift and it is what I hope to help my clients discover too.

The remainder of this blog post is dedicated to some of the bigger learnings I’ve had with clients. Learnings about working in IT, the pressure we place on ourselves and how ambition can drive and control us.  I’m sharing them today to help you with your own self-reflection.  If you like these learnings, please join the Facebook page  where I share prompts 2-3 days per week (mostly) on career, ambition, purpose and faith.

 

Lesson #1 

Smart, intelligent, driven people still need a cheer leader! 

It is easy to overlook the quiet achiever, the loud ambitious performer thinking they need little in the way of support and encouragement. They may even push back on receiving it.  Lessons from coaching is that working with strong, independent women is that we all still need that motivational support, an encouraging word and a review of achievements.  I know for myself I keep moving the goal posts and when I achieve something I already have a schedule of next achievements to focus on.  For some clients just repeating their achievements, booking in a celebration or breaking down how much has shifted through the coaching series can be their biggest take-away. No one is an island and we all need a hi-5 to know that we are on track and most importantly valued.

 

 

Lesson #2

Being heard is powerful

Some people need to speak at length through their ideas and goals, thinking through needs/wants and desires isn’t a quick 5-minute bullet list creation exercise.  Sometimes there are a lot of mindset and energy blocks that get in the way.  There are reasons why a determined ambitious person hasn’t shifted/changed or broken into something new.  These often appear in themes of commitment, loyalty, old stories, beliefs and judgement.  Financial commitments, not wanting to disappoint someone,  getting comfortable with their ambition, focusing on being a provider for their family, not wanting to let themselves down.  These themes can constrain thinking and switching into ‘what do you most want?’ mode isn’t always so easy.  There are a lot of BUTs that get in the way.  Sometimes I will ask: I give you permission to have everything you want – what does that look like?  Another approach is to shift into a a focus on the ‘WHY’ for change.   Both of these approaches allows a client to watch and observe their wants with less or no judgement, so they can safely begin an exploration that isn’t about blowing up their life and family and more of a shift into achieving their needs while maintaining their need to meet existing commitments.

 

 

Lesson #3

Emotions are hard work.

Actions are easy but sitting in an emotion and seeing/feeling can be really confronting. When these emotions overwhelm you remember:

You are blessed, you are important, your needs are valuable, be open to receive, be present and be kind to yourself.

 

Lesson #4

Understanding what we truly want is a skill.

Goals and actions can be set but the client may not truly get to understand  what they most want until session 3-4 – their need/want sometimes needs extra exploration and sometimes their first goal is masking a much deeper goal.  Letting goals evolve and refine through the series has enabled clients to achieve big wins and big shifts in mindset and career.

 

Lessons #5

Perfectionism can make us afraid. 

Perfectionism can be a big challenge amongst those of us who are senior, technical and scientific – fear of failure, letting ourselves down, not exploring our worth, not making a difference, not being valued. Together with my clients we explore what value is, what a true expression of their talent really means to them… this often leads to openness in finding satisfaction in different job roles and looking for opportunities not dependent on a single employer or role.  Often we explore their need for connection to their industry and hunger for knowledge and expertise (this can transmute into a variety of expressions from community work, finding the right meet up and experts to share stories with, to starting an MBA, to reading more broadly.)

 

I love to work with women who are wanting to get their next career move right.  Maybe you’ve got a boss that’s wearing your down, maybe you’ve reached the seniority you wanted to and  want to work out what’s next?

Would you love to work with me?   Find out more here

 

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Goal Setting Secret #2 How to Get What You Want

1. Ask for advice  

Emulate, look around you at work and in your life, and look to find people that are just getting stuff done. 

Take inspiration and copy how they’re going about getting what they want done.

Ask for their advice.

Apply that advice to how you go about getting goals and actions done.  

2.  Test

Test out lots of different approaches until you find something that works for you. 

If you want to start studying again, test out studying on a small course and work out what kind of schedule you need if you’re going to combine full-time work with part-time study. 

This is something I have done – I found ways to use lunch times really efficiently. Even 20 minutes can be used effectively if you plan it out well.  (I also sometimes do work at 4:00am in the morning because for me that’s when inspiration strikes – scarily!).

Start off with something small and then work to level up as your skills and confidence grows. 

Try not to overwhelming yourself with a full-time course straight off.  

3. Experts

Find experts in what you want and get their advice. 

Listen to some really good podcasts to get inspiration (I’m a podcast junkie and can recommend Marie Forleo, The Good Life Project, Melissa Ambrosini, Tony Robbins, Becoming Fearless, For the Love of Money, The Amber Lilyestom Show, The Priestess Podcast.)

It could be going to workshops (like my goal setting workshop in May – hint!) or it could be going to meetups, networking events or organising your own. 

Find people that you value what they have to say and who have the wisdom and experience to share and learn from.

4. Plan it

Make the time to plan out what you want and create space and time to practice getting it. I guess this is an expectation-setting thing as well. If you’re someone that has got out of practice of getting what you want done, then you’ve got to practice. And it’s going to be a bit crap for a while, because you’re not going to be very good at it. So it’s really about understanding that you’re in that practice/learning phase and not to be too focused on doing things perfectly.

You don’t need to be awesome and an expert at this stage because you can grow into that, right? 

5. Create a Learning Log

The other thing is, what I really like doing is when I’m really struggling with something I keep my own kind of learnings log. I did this particularly when I started doing a lot more networking which I found a little bit challenging at times, because it was a very full-on extroverted thing to do. Although I love people after a full day of work I actually just found big networking events a bit overwhelming (sooo manny people!!).  

I created a roster of events, and then I’d take down notes on which ones I really enjoyed and got a lot of energy from, events that I didn’t, events that really helped me from a career perspective, and one’s where I met people that I loved being with. Then, I could really focus my time and energy on the networking events that I knew I really enjoyed. 

I kept those notes because those events could become a bit of a blur.  You don’t have to making some big life decision or change to take deliverable and careful action like keeping a log. 

You can use this for something where you want to tweak or change something. 

By taking notes and taking deliberate action and practicing, you’ll embed these changes more quickly and easily.  

Final bit of advice

If I chose only one of these things to do it is  to get advice from the people around you. There’s nothing like saying to people, “Hey, I’m trying to do this, what do you think?.” 

I did this a lot last year. I was like, “I’m going to write a book, help!.” And so the people around me really supported me in writing that book. They gave me advice. They lined up interviews, they let me take extra time off work. It felt like my people were on the journey with me. So don’t think that you just have to present yourself as some perfectly done, formed, “Hey I’m an author now.”  Let the people around you go on the journey with you and let them help you.  Be open to receiving that help and remember to say YES even if its not ‘perfect’ help. 

I have a goal-setting workshop coming up in May, so would love you to be there. It’s a live event, and it’s for up to five women (there are 4 spots left). It’s being held at St. Martin’s Café in Brighton. I really encourage you to join in if you’re in the area as it would be so lovely to meet you and hear your story.  

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