Archive for February 2012

Slaying the Fear Dragon – how to stop fear dead in its tracks!

Slaying the Fear DragonFEAR – it’s the #1 blocker that stops us from creating change and achieving our potential. The mere mention of it strikes dread in our heartsand has us running in the opposite direction of our dreams and goals. Common fear feeders such as public speaking, risk taking, festering work conflict, phobias, worries and change we feel is being imposed on us can create terror in the most courageous of us all.

Yesterday I had a call from Jane, a smart, goal-oriented professional and mother of two. She has a high powered, fulfilling yet all-consuming job and is the main bread winner for her family. At 42 Jane wants to start her own home-based business. She’d love be more involved in the daily lives of her children and reduce the stress of constantly juggling work, family and life. She’s dreamt of starting her business for over 5 years and has great ideas about what it could do. With great business experience, commercial acumen, vision and drive there’s really nothing to stop her. Or is there…?

What’s really getting in her way is fear. Fear of failure (not an option for an otherwise successful high achiever), fear of it creating even more stress, fear of the unknown and fear that it wouldn’t bring in enough money quickly enough. I know what it’s like. When I left my safe, secure job with its regular pay cheque to set up my own business, I felt like I’d jumped out of a plane without a parachute! Without the familiar routine, support of work colleagues and no guarantee it would work, I was terrified. For the first few months I was free falling. Yet once my well laid plans kicked in and the business took off, I discovered how to pull the rip-chord which had been there all along.

If fear is the only thing standing between you and embracing a workplace change or pursuing a long-held dream (life redesign), relax and read on.

5 simple steps to slay the fear dragon, live your dream and sleep well at night.

#1. Name your fear

Fear is your body’s alert system that tells you something’s not right. However, it’s not fear itself that’s the problem. Identify what it is you’re scared of or worried about and give it a name. Better still, create a funny picture in your mind that represents your fear. You can even give it a silly voice (eg Donald Duck)! This helps you acknowledge the fear without engaging it.

#2. Cut your fear down to size

Pull out your sword and put it into perspective. In the same way that nightmares seem more scary in the dead of night, repressed fears have a tendency to multiply and expand to disastrous and catastrophic proportions. What’s the worst thing that will happen if this fear were to come true? Maybe it’s not as bad as you’ve been dreading.

#3. Plan B – your secret weapon

What would you do if the ‘worse’ thing were to happen? Committing to the action you would take is like taking out an insurance policy or applying a 5 star safety rating. It won’t make it happen but will ensure you’re well prepared if it did. Chapter 13 of The Great Life Redesign shares simple ways to create a Plan B.

#4 Outsmart the fear

Ask yourself a better question – if this fear wasn’t there what would be possible? What if it does work out just fine? The grass is always greener on the optimistic side. Shifting your focus to fearless possibilities will set you up divert your focus, thoughts, energy and action into making them real instead of indulging in fear.

#5 Be vigilant

You may have slayed the fear dragon this time but it can and will come back! Recognise it early and take action quickly. Ask yourself, ‘what’s this fear trying to tell me and what can I do to tame it right now?’ Remember you are always bigger than your fears and slaying them is within your power. Keep these Fear Dragon Slaying Steps in your Thrival Kit, call on your inner resources (courage, perspective, calm and foresight) to help out and you’ll never face a fear you can’t overcome. What fears have you overcome and how did you do it?

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

How to Make Redundancy the Best Thing Ever!

how to turn redundancy into your best opportunity yet

How to make redundancy the best thing that ever happened to you

“You’re kidding,” I hear you say. You’d seen it coming for months, it was only a matter of time. When you’re sitting in front of your boss hearing the words, “I’m sorry, we have to let you go,” the reality is you’ve been sacked and lost your job.

Everything familiar has just evaporated – security, certainty, self confidence, your work, your work friends and the regular pay packet have all evaporated.

Before you sink into the depths of despair, fear and self-doubt, press pause….

As you move past the shock and potential anger, you’re actually at a crossroads with two choices:

  • Be a Victim – allow your self-confidence to nose-dive; hang onto anger and fear and wait for your next job to find you. Often at the mercy of outplacement or recruitment agencies, you wait for the phone to ring and eventually can’t even be bothered getting out of bed in the morning.

or ….

  • Reinvent Yourself!  What if this was the best thing that ever happened to you? Rather than being the end of the world, maybe this is the start of your real life, where you are the master of your own destiny.  How about standing out from the crowd and using it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be who you really are and do what you’ve always dreamt of doing?

Redundancy provides space to take stock of what’s important, identify how you want to live and work and go for it! Even if your redundancy package was less than generous, there are many ways to redesign your life,  do what you want, where you want and love it.

Still not sure?  Before you put a tentative toe in the life redesign water, consider the realities:

Redundancy Realities

1. You are now competing for a shrinking number of jobs against many others who have also been made redundant.

2. Even if you are lucky enough to get another job quickly, there are no guarantees of job security in the current economic climate – you could be made redundant again.

3. To get more work quickly, many fear driven people take the first job that comes along, without considering it carefully.  While it may provide a regular pay packet, the new job could be worse than the one you’ve just left and you’re trapped. Better to have a lousy job than no job at all, right? Wrong!

Once the first 6 weeks of a new job have passed, you’re often left with that sinking feeling that you’ve jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Now you’re really stuck doing something you simply don’t enjoy.

4. Redundancy no longer has a negative stigma.  It happens to the best people in many professions and is often outside your control.  If it isn’t a problem for you, it won’t be for potential future employers.  In fact many of my clients have successfully negotiated a redundancy to create the financial means and time required for a complete career change.

How to Get Back on Track and Find a Job You Love

Before you join the ever-increasing queue frantically updating your CV, shooting off hundreds of futile emails to recruiters, networking old contacts or surfing Seek and CareerOne, take a few moments to ask yourself:

1. What am I passionate about – what’s important and what do I truly care about?

2. If money wasn’t an issue and I had no fear, what would I really love to do?

3. What would that give me that I don’t have today?

4. What skills, talents and knowledge do I have that I could use and develop?

5. What skills, experience and knowledge would I need for my ideal career?

6. Given the choice of where and how would I like to live, what would I choose?

7. What would it take to turn the possibility into a reality?

The prospect of redesigning your career and life may feel concurrently exciting and daunting.  If so, feel the fear, take a deep breath and grab that pink slip!

Life’s too short to be stuck in a rut and there’s never been a better time to take the plunge into doing something you’ll love.

If you’ve been made redundant and converted it into the best thing that ever happened to you, I’d love to hear your experience.  Please share your story and tips in a comment below.

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

 

What do You Want to BE When You Grow Up?

a question for all adults and how to make the answer easy

What do you want to BE when you grow up?

If you ask any child under 10 what they want to be when they grow up, chances are you’ll get a quick, enthusiastic and certain answer.

When you put the same question to grown-ups, the answers are often vague and vexed.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our ability to connect with what we really want to do. Fulfilment seems hader to find. Fear replaces courage and indecision leads us on a never-ending quest to find the ‘right’ job.

When I became a management consultant many years ago, I thought it would be the perfect way to find my dream job. Working with many different organisations would give me a ‘sneak peak’ into a wide variety of careers. I fully expected to walk into a company, see someone doing something I’d love and ‘bingo’ – there’s my answer!

The reality was very different. While I did get to check out many different jobs, industries and organisations, I mostly saw people who were struggling to find their ‘perfect’ job, just like me. Many had fallen into roles opportunistically, being in the right place at the right time, rather than consciously deciding that this was what they really wanted to do.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m now being paid to do something I love but it didn’t happen until I worked out how to find my dream job. If this sounds like you, take heart!

How to find work that feeds your soul and puts a roof over your head

1. Go back to your childhood!

Mining your past for vital clues is a great way to spark your imagination. What did you love doing as a child when anything was possible? Recapture your childhood dreams and notice what it was about each one that excited you.

When you were a kid (before reality set in), limitations were few which created the freedom to be whatever you dreamt.  Notice how you focused on what you wanted to ‘be‘ rather than ‘do’.  Hmmm, there’s another clue.

2. Stock take your career and life so far

Looking back over everything you’ve done, list the achievements and tasks you’ve really enjoyed. Even the less fulfilling experiences will provide clues about what you could and should be doing. Now write down everything you haven’t necessarily enjoyed and quite frankly, never want to do again. What was it about the positive experiences that ticked all your boxes and the negatives that left you cold?

3. What are you good at?

Inevitably, what you’re good at is probably what you enjoy most. Over the years you’ll have gained skills and knowledge that have led you to become an accomplished expert in one field or another. Even if this type of work has past its expiry date, the strengths you’ve gained in this area can be converted into transferable skills.

4. Know what difference you want to make

There’s a reason we’ve all been put on this earth and now’s the time to reveal your overall purpose. Far bigger than a single job or career, this shapes who you are in all the life roles you play. What problems do you like to solve and what really matters most to you?

Often this is more closely related to what you care about, than what you do for work. Knowing it consciously will give you far greater choice and help you make clear decisions about where to from here.

5. Get curious and explore all the options

Many of today’s jobs weren’t even invented 5 years ago and the path to fulfilling work starts with curiosity. Your answers to the previous questions will have revealed some key themes.

  • What do your childhood dreams, career and life so far, strengths and your purpose all have in common?
  • What do they reveal about you?

Once you’ve identified these themes, start researching what’s possible.

Now you’re consciously aware of what you want to be and therefore do, career magnets (ie those roles, industries and organisations that tick your boxes) will jump out at you. Keep and open mind, imagine and explore what a ‘day in the life of…’ would be like?

The key to finding fulfilling work is to ask the right questions. Rather than saying, “I couldn’t do that because…”, ask yourself, “If this were possible, how could I make it happen?”

6.Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Once you’ve decided which direction you’ll take, develop a plan to bridge the gap and commit to one small step at a time. The transition to your new career will take as long as it needs to and gaining the support of family, friends and mentors will help convert your possibility into a reality.

What would a day in your perfect job look like?  Life’s too short to not be doing what you love. Blow away the excuses and discover what you should be doing, now you’re ‘grown up’!

Carpe diem

Caroline