Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Career myths you need to bust!!!!

There are usually two times during the year when we re-evaluate our careers/jobs. It’s usually just after our summer holidays when we return to the routine of work and bosses we hate, coupled with the summer blues. And, in the New Year when for the umpteenth time we say we are going to take a risk and follow our passion. I know that I made some of my biggest career decisions during these two periods during the year. To this day I can remember clearly when I made the decision to move to Spain. It was after a fabulous holiday in Spain, I was on the plane home to the UK feeling so sad to be leaving beautiful blue skies, wonderful food, a relaxed and safe way of life, and the kind of lifestyle I was just getting used to. It was early September, and as we touched down at Heathrow ariport in the early afternoon, the sky was black. The pilot advised us there were storms on the way, the traffic out of the airport car-park was grid-locked, the car-parking fee was exorbitant and the journey home took 2.5 hours instead of the usual 1.5 hours (because of road-works everywhere despite it being a Sunday!) I just remember saying to my husband, “Why are we doing this? Who says we have to live in the UK?” And so began our first foray into chasing our happiness and not our pensions.

Over the next few weeks, I am going to give you some career beliefs that need to busted once and for all as a way of helping you “chase your passion and not your pension!”

Career Myth 1: It’s a tough job/economy at the moment, so now is not the time to make changes.

Despite the newspapers and TV news constantly telling us that unemployment is at it’s highest and job grwoth is at a standstill, or that we will experience a slow economic recovery, not to mention down-sizing and outsourcing, don’t believe it.
It’s a myth because it doesn’t reflect the whole story. The fact is it is a different job market today. How we transition from job to job is different. Hiring practises have changed but NOT stopped. What makes it tougher is that we’ve been slower to change. We’ve held on to old practises and old behaviours. For example methods of networking have changed considerably in the last few years. It’s nearly all done on-line. That’s not to say the old ways don’t work anymore. They are just not as effective anymore. Despite being told we are in a recession you just have to glance at some of the top job sites on-line and you will see there are new jobs, in every sector, for just about every country and for every salary range, listed every day. I have also worked with countless clients that have made the jump and changed careers, gone back to University or started new businesses (and are exceedingly well) all during the recession we are living in at the moment. The problem is news programmes and newspapers thrive on instilling fear. My first piece advice is go on a “news/media” diet for a week, and just see how differently you will feel. Once you stop absorbing all the negative news that we are bombarded with, then you will start to feel in a better place to start making decisions. Let me tell you, I have not watched the news for over 1.5 years. It is banned in my house, and my husband and I are always being asked how we are always so positive and happy. I put it down to our “news diet”.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Live and Love Life!!!

Many of you have been e.mailing me asking where I am.

I didn't realise it has been 2 months since I last posted; my sincere apologies to my followers.

What excuse can I give? I don't have one actually. I've just been enjoying the summer here in Spain. The heat does become unbearable at times, but I try and refrain from complaining, especially as I originate from rainy London! I have to be very careful when I speak to friends in the UK, as just mentioning how unbearably hot it is can be met with shouts of " you are so ungrateful", "you don't know how lucky you are", "it hasn't stopped raining here" (as my friend in Ireland said last night on the phone) ........etc etc

While thinking about what to write today, I suddenly noticed a wonderful poem/piece of writing that I have had stuck on my fridge for years. I don't know where I got it or even who wrote it, but I think it is a wonderful reminder of how life should be.

Here it is:

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person
that wasn’t supposed to ever let you down, probably will.

You will have your heart broken probably more than once,
and it’s harder every time.

You’ll break hearts too,
so remember how it felt when yours was broken.

You’ll fight with your best friend.

You’ll blame a new love for things an old one did.

You’ll cry because time is passing too fast,
and you’ll eventually lose someone you love.

So take too many pictures, laugh too much,
and love like you’ve never been hurt,
because every sixty seconds you spend upset
is a minute of happiness you will never get back.

Don’t be afraid that your life will end,
Be afraid that it will never begin!!!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

What I learnt from Lola

When I lived in the UK I had a beautiful little Shitsu called Lola.
Lola was an absolute “babe”. She could lift my spirits within minutes of being with her. She always could sense if I was sad or morose, and at times like this she would quietly come and park herself near me; it was her way of saying “I’m here for you”.

Lola and I would go for long walks, play, run around the garden, visit my Dad who lived up the road (she seemed to always sense when I was visiting him) and generally enjoyed our time together as only man and dog can. But one day Lola taught me a lesson that has come back to me many, many, times.

It happened one day when my husband and I had just returned from a business trip, and as always Lola made us feel so welcome with her wagging tail and little yelps and jumps (she only had little legs). She was so excited to see us she started running all over the place like a little demented thing. So her and I went for a walk in some open spaces. She carried on running around like a shitsu on acid ( just try and imagine this!)

After a while it was time for us to go back so I walked up to Lola to put her leash on her. The minute she saw me coming she bolted for it in the opposite direction. I ran after her, but the more I chased her the faster she went. And let me tell you those little legs have some power in them. I chased, and she continued to run faster. The more I chased the farther away she got. This kept on for about 10 minutes. All I kept thinking was how was I going to explain to my husband that I lost our baby; our baby who has tiny little legs and is no taller than a few inches high. Lola obviously thought this was a new game because every time I stopped running, she kept turning around and looking at me, as if to say “catch me if you can”.

Suddenly a new idea came to me. I turned around and started running away from Lola. Immediately she chased after ME, and came right up close so that I could put the leash on her.

So what did this teach me? Well, solutions to our problems are sometimes like Lola. The more we chase after solutions, the farther away they seem to be. The answers seem to run away from us. However, when we stop running and put the problem out of our minds, the answers start running toward us.

Don’t run after the answers to your problems. Just relax, become quiet and let the answers flow into your mind. The longest conversation we have is with ourselves from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep.

Because we are busy talking to ourselves, the internal noise crowds out the very answers we’re seeking. It is in becoming still that we start to hear the answers to our problems; we start to recognize the still small voice of the universe.

It doesn’t matter what the problems are. It could be a matter of money, relationships or health. The same force that solves one problem could solve any of the others. All we have to do is stop running, get quiet and create an environment in our being where the solutions can come to us.

As Lola proved, desperately running after the solutions to your problems causes more resistance, and the very solutions you need will run away from you (it’s one of the principle rules of the Law of Attraction). Stop running, quiet your mind, stop thinking about the problem (this is really important!) and the solutions will come and find you. This really works. Try it!

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Most Beautiful Words

Henry James said the most beautiful words in the English language were "summer afternoon".

Being British, and knowing that the reality of a summer afternoon are usually few and far between (that's why my least favourite word is "umbrella!"). When a summer afternoon does arrive, it really DOES feel like the most beautiful words in the English language.

What is your favourite word in the English language, and why?

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Last week some girlfriends and I were chatting together over a “liquid lunch” when one of my friends asked, “what animal would the people that know you say you are?”. Well at this point, I started to think about all the lovely creatures I “felt” I could be; a lovely butterfly, a peacock, a koala etc etc. After much ribbing and laughter between us, the friend that posed the initial question turned to me and said “Van, I think you are a rhino”! Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. I was absolutely gob-smacked. This was one of my closest friends saying I reminded her of a rhino. Well, I know I had a few pounds to lose, but she was really pushing it now! However, before I could retaliate, (I think my friend noticed the ghastly shade of green I had turned), she explained herself very quickly. She said, “Van, you remind me of the horn of a rhino because that part boldly sticks out and precedes the body. The horn goes first; it is strong, courageous and relentless. It explores the unknown and dangerous; it removes all obstacles in it’s path so it can move freely and travel safely with greater speed. The horn confronts the problems it has in it’s path; it helps the rhino change direction and protect it from harm. The horn is the teacher and the body the follower. The horn gets scarred so that the body can remain safe”.

Suddenly I felt really happy at being described as a rhino (for the first time in my life I might add!). I wanted to jump up and hug her. What a wonderful description. I didn’t have time to think about the details, and the fact that now, following reflection, I think she was being over-generous. I just felt so pleased that her perception of me had been so strong. Make no mistake I am a real “girlie-girl”, but her description made me feel very powerful and strong.

When I got home I looked up some facts about the rhino, and also found out (by chance!) that when it breaks off part of it’s horn, it grows back as good as new. This I felt really sums up most women; the ability to start over when we have failed. For me this is the best part of being a rhino horn. It’s the part of us that plunges ahead into change even though we may be terrified. The part that feels the way forward in the dark. It’s the part of us that represents courage; courage to question, to be willing to hear answers we may not want to hear, courage to look within, courage to learn more about ourselves.

Suddenly I was really happy being a rhino and not a cuddly koala as I had initially hoped for.

What animal would your friends describe you as, and why?

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Finding Joy (or cupcakes!)

I really love this picture.

As a Life Coach one of my principle aims is to help clients find their joy (again!). It is always there, but sometimes with the challenges we go through during our every day lives, we lose that connection; we forget how to feel joyous. It doesn't have to be big things, or huge goals that bring you joy. It can be very simple things.

Here are some things that brought me joy today:

i) waking up and finding a beautiful blue sky and only the sound of birdsong.
ii) laughing with, and loving my husband
iii) making the continued decision to only watch TV, or read books that make me feel good
iv)the bliss of silence (away from the madding crowd)
v) connecting with friends (worldwide) via telephone, letter writing and some of my favourite forums
vi)decadent cheesecake, and eating it without feeling guilty.

What brought you joy today?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Quote Best Sums You Up?

"Some women have a weakness for shoes................I can go barefoot if necessary. I have a weakness for books" Oprah

I really LOVE this quote. If you ask my friends and family they are likely to say this quote best sums me up (altho' best don't ask my husband about the weakness for shoes which he might add is also a problem!). Needless to say I will do anything to get hold of a book I want to read ( and I mean anything!)

What quote best sums you up?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I'm Back!!!!!

Dear friends
I can't believe I have been away from my blog for SOOOOOO long!

What happened? Despite the picture to the left, I have not been sunning myself on some deserted island. In fact I have been working my pretty little socks off! I am exhausted; sometimes finding myself in the surreal situation of coaching at 3am to accomodate clients the other side of the globe.

It's incredible to say but the recession has had an amazing effect on my coaching business, which in effect has left me little or no time to blog. Basically, the recession has proved to be a catalyst for people to re-assess their lives, and to think about what they really want to do. It's ironic really because it's also a time when most companies are looking to make cut-backs, and usually the first thing to go is training and coaching. However, in the world of personal coaching, this is not happening. I've had a whole heap of new clients who fall into distinct categories:

i) those who are completely stressed out at work and who are being pushed to the limits in their roles/positions.Consequently this has led them to realise just how much they hate what they are doing, and so have decided to invest in themselves now whilst they have the resources.

ii) those who have been made redundant and are using this time to really start following some of the ideas they used to doodle about when they were sitting at their desk on a cold, winter's Monday morning, contemplating yet another week in a job they absolutely detested (but which paid the bills).

iii) those that have suddenly realised that despite what their parents told them, there is no job for life, there is no such thing as a "safe" job, and that job security is not the be all and end all. Some of these clients quite like what they do, but have come to the realisation (through various events in their life) that life really is too short to keep counting the days to the next weekend or next holiday, and have decided to take the bull by the horns NOW and follow their bliss.

All I have been able to say to all my clients is "Bring it on!!!!" I am just thrilled to work with these clients who are really taking responsibility for their lives. It's really easy to sit back and say "It's impossible to make changes now as we are in a recession" (how many times have I heard that also?). But I say, now is perhaps one of the best times to take stock of what is working, and what is not working in your life, and start making those small changes that will not only recession-proof your life, but also get you through the tunnel into the light, quicker than most.

Do you fall into any of these categories.............I bet you do!