I am talking about the ‘urgh ‘😖 as you roll over to turn off your alarm. The lack of motivation, something I like to call the ‘can’t evens’ 😞 and, perhaps worst of all, the ‘I hate my job’ is turning into ‘FMLs’ and ‘I hate my life’
… and, did I mention, it is Wednesday?
In fact, you have the MONDAY MORNING DREAD daily, Monday to Friday and then the Sunday BLUES!
The truth is, you spend most of your life working. So, don’t you deserve to be in a career that fulfils your values, abilities and aspirations? Have a mindset that propels you, instead of hinders you?
Now for some harsh truths – being unhappy, unfulfilled and underpaid in your career will over time manifest itself into something pretty ugly. It will start to impact other aspects of your life, from your relationships to your mental wellbeing to the ability to step up in other areas, such as travel and buying a house.
I get it. You bury your head in the sand and hope for the best. But where does that get you?
In this article I take you through the areas that you can explore to pull yourself out of the CAREER SLUMP, so you can propel yourself forward – turning the CAREER SLUMP into a CAREER SLAY! (Well it is December after all…)
Overcome the career slump
We’ve identified what a career slump is – it’s that lack of motivation, struggling to get up in the morning and having that constant nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. You feel down in the dumps and stuck in the mud.
So how can you overcome the slump?
Time to do some self-reflection
Start by thinking about your current situation – but first take yourself away to a neutral place with no distractions. I’m thinking a Coffee Shop, your bedroom or even your garden. Grab yourself a pen & paper and answer the following questions:
What aspects of my job do I enjoy?
What aspects of my role, do I just HATE? (Be honest)
What needs to change?
Who can help me?
How could I approach this with my manager?
Is there a specific individual that is causing me issues?
How do I actually feel about the job?
Am I happy with my benefit package?
Do I feel fulfilled?
How did you feel in other job roles?
It may take you a few days to answer the above, so don’t be put off. Similar to when you journal – let the first words that come to you, flow onto the page. And if you can, once you have gone through the questions, ask a friend or a relative to hear what you have to say – talking about your thoughts and feelings will help clarify the current situation.
Tip: Do you see any themes? Is there something missing? Is there something you can do?
What do you value?
Your values are the things that you believe are important. Both with your personal and professional life. They ideally should determine your priorities and they also act as a good measure to help understand where your life is going. As an insight, when the things that you do and the way you behave matches your values, life is usually great, meaning you’re satisfied and happy. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things just don’t feel right and you may feel dissatisfied and unhappy.
To find your values start by answering the below questions:
Think about a time when something bothered you. What was it exactly? And Why?
Think about a time when you have been fulfilled and happy. What was the situation? How did you feel?
Think about a time when you have been proud. When was it? What feedback did you receive?
Now start to pull out value words or find value words from answers. (Theses could be: compassion, community, family and independence, see the table below) You ideally should find around 8 to hit the sweet spot.
A little something extra to consider: How do your values match up with your managers? Or even organisation? Do they align?
What’s your personality type?
Something else I like to explore with clients, is looking at personality types. Now it is important to not get too hung up on the results however it can be interesting to explore and establish…
I like to use 16 PERSONALITIES The Myers Briggs test consists of 16 possible personality types, and even lists the career you’re suited for based on your type. It is free. It is informative. And results will give you options to do a little deep dive further, if you so wish to.
Fun fact: The 16 personality types were created by Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs, developers of the MBTI® assessment. Myers and Briggs created their personality typology to help people discover their own strengths and gain a better understanding of how people are different.
If you are manager of a team or even just work as part of a close collaborative workforce – this will be a great team exercise – as you will be able to understand all your different personality types, how you all like to work and what strengths are in the team.
So how will all this, help you to overcome the career slump?
Doing the exercises above, is a great place to establish who are, how you feel and what you value.
Perhaps you have uncovered that you actually really love your job, the company culture and actually you just need something more challenging. So the action here, well is simple – schedule a 1:1 with your manager and let them know. If this is the case, make sure you go to your boss with an idea of what you could do and how you would approach it.
Maybe you figured out, you are feeling undervalued. You work so hard but there is no recognition. My question to you is, WHAT DOES RECOGNITION MEAN TO YOU? It isn’t always money or time off – it could be a simple ‘well done.’ Once you have figured out the meaning to you, speak with your manager … Now, if you don’t get it from them – it is worth thinking where else you can get it from.
After completing the exercises, you have a ‘OMG’ moment. You realise, oh goodness, you are not in the right job/career/company…
If it is career/job – before you jump ship make sure you explore your options. Is there an opportunity for you to do a different role in your current organisation? Is there someone who can reach out to? How about someone in HR? A different team? A different manager?
If it is everything and the company… and you are not too sure on which direction to go or you might have an idea but not sure how to take it forward – then career coaching is a great option.
And you’re in luck! Because I am a Career & Mindset Coach.
The aim of Career Coaching is to help you understand what you want, the skills you need and how you can develop. As your career coach, I will support you in making these initial step as well as:
I will look and focus on the current situation and create action goals to help you move forward.
I will assess where you are and encourage and challenge you.
Together, we will define outcomes, results and accomplishments.
I will never tell you what to do, but will support you through decision making, and give you the time and space to talk about how you’re feelings and establishing your goals.
If you would like to find out more, you can visits the CAREER COACHING page and/or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
From SLUMP to SLAY. I hope you have gained some inspiration from this post and found your own way forward.
Imposter Syndrome, something we are all too familiar with.
Have you ever felt inadequate? Suffered from self-doubt? Feared a question in meeting? Felt like you shouldn’t be in the room? Questioned why you even stepped on the career path you are on?
Then you’re not alone.
Many women (and men) experience the constant, nagging feeling they’re going to be unmasked as a fraud at any minute. Despite overwhelming evidence saying otherwise. It’s a phenomenon that blights most people – and it’s called Imposter Syndrome.
Welcome to Imposter Syndrome – the data
The term Imposter Syndrome came into my vocabulary over the last few years. Perhaps unsurprisingly since I started to progress up the career ladder. I started seeing articles in magazines and recommended reads on Linkedin. Then this year at the Best You Expo, people offering coaching for Imposter Syndrome and most recently a podcast/instagram page called The Imposters Club (find them on insta @theimpostersclub).
Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes coined the “imposter syndrome” in 1978 when they were studying successful women who believed they were not worthy of their achievements. Their definition:
A feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” These people also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.”
The Independent study stated it found a third of millennials experience self-doubt at work, with 40% of women saying they felt intimidated by senior people, compared to 22% of men asked.
According to HR news ‘Imposter Syndrome has impacted a whopping 62% of people at work, according to a report by Access Commercial Finance. The survey of over 3000 adults in the UK shows over two-thirds of women (66%) have suffered from imposter syndrome compared to over half of men (56%) within the last 12 months’.
The Telegraph reported that research showed that 28% of working women feel like imposter syndrome has stopped them speaking in a meeting. It also found 21% have been prevented from suggesting a new or alternative idea at work, and 26% have failed to change career or role.
In a WITI article, it stated that research eventually showed a majority of people (70%) will experience imposter syndrome at some point in life, often during transitional times.
In 2011, a study published in Human Relations questioned 60,000 full-time workers on their attitudes toward male versus female bosses. 72% of those who expressed a bias towards gender, wanted a male manager. (That was back in 2011!).
In one of my most recent articles Please mind the (gender pay) gap I explored the well documented topic, of men being paid more than women. I refer to this, because I see a similar pattern. There does not seem to be an equal balance to the feelings towards Imposter Syndrome. With Women showing 10-20% higher results in feeling like a fraud then compared to men. Perhaps Human Relations has a point! Companies are very bias towards one gender, which could be impacting the behaviours and progression of women.
‘It is crucial to remember that women are not born feeling less-than. But if you are continually treated as though you are, you eventually internalise it. And this is not merely a synonym for low confidence – imposter syndrome is the logical outcome of a world that was never designed for women to be successful. It is time we stopped seeing the problem as being women’s refusal to believe in themselves and rather a world that actively refuses to believe in women’. *The Guardian Yomi Adegoke.
With the facts and figures of Imposter Syndrome explored, as a career coach I wanted to provide you with a some useful suggestions to help combat that feeling. That feeling of being a fraud.
6 Imposter Syndrome Hacks
Capture all your achievements and remember the positive results. A degree, a career change and/or running a 5K. Whether a photo around your house or on your desktop – make sure they are visible so you can see them.
Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to either. I like to ask for 360 feedback. It is a process where your manager, your peers and direct reports and sometimes even customers can evaluate you. Ask 3 simple questions – What should I start doing? (This will capture what you need to do) What should I stop doing? (This will give you something to work on) and What should I continue to do? (This is your positive feedback that you can save in your brag list).
Remember it is more than OK to ask questions, put your hand up and say ‘I don’t know’ – you are not expected to know everything.
Find ways to manage the Imposter Monster when it takes centre stage in your head. When you start hearing ‘You can’t’ find a way to turn that into a ‘CAN’.
Find allies both in work and in your friendship circles. When you start using self-doubting language ask your allies to use a code word like ‘pineapple’ 🍍 to bring you back in the room and capture the moment you started to doubt yourself? Perhaps at this point you may want to keep a diary so you can start to build any patterns and recognise any triggers.
Listen to podcasts, speak to friends, colleagues and family members about Imposter Syndrome. You will be surprised in how many people are willing to share their stories and you will truly realise you are not alone.
Do you have story of Imposter Syndrome? Have you been in combat with the fear of being found out? Or maybe you have suggestion on improving self doubt. Comment below your thoughts.
Would you like to explore more ways of beating the Imposter Syndrome dragon?
Working with me, as your career coach, we can build successful resilience methods to slay that dragon! I get it, I have encountered so many challenges within my career from lack of support or access to coaching, to bad company cultures with glass ceilings and, of course, the gender pay gap. All leading, to me, once experiencing and suffering imposter syndrome with self-doubt… Yet have found and grasped opportunities to slay, shine and progress.
Book your free 30 minute Discovery Call with me to find out more:
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.
“The IWD 2020 campaign theme is drawn from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism.’ We are all parts of a whole. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on our larger society. Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world. ”
The subject of equality isn’t something that was invented last week, there is a long line of history of women like the founder of the National Women’s Party, Alice Paul who first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment toCongress in 1923 and let’s look back to 1800’s where The London Society of Women’s Suffrage formed a campaign in 1867 – all fighting for a fair gender balance and women’s rights!
So you see, equality has been on the radar for quite a while now, so don’t you find it kind of disappointing that we still need to have a theme of equality now in 2020?
I read on an Accenture report: “We are at an inflection point. When it comes to workplace culture, there is a large gap between what leaders think is going on and what employees say is happening on the ground. Two thirds of leaders (68 percent) feel they create empowering environments—in which employees can be themselves, raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure—but just one third (36 percent) of employees agree.
In addition, employees care increasingly about workplace culture and believe it’s important to help them thrive in the workplace (reported by 77 percent of women and 67 percent of men). Their voices are rising, loud and clear, while a growing number of companies recognize the importance of equality.
Yet despite growing awareness, progress just isn’t fast enough. Why aren’t companies more diverse and inclusive, when the business case in favor of a culture of equality strengthens each year? And why is the share of women in leadership positions still so low?”
We can take the Gender Pay Gap as concrete evidence of the Accenture report. Women are paid 20% less than men in the IT field, 11% less in civil engineering roles and a shocking 25% less in executive roles.
The fact is, we already know why and how this happened – the question is now: what are going to do about it?
I think it is fair to say that equality is not an issue that just women encounter and have to manage. I think you would agree, that equality should be viewed as a business problem where strategies are need to drive sustainable solutions with the goal to abolish inequality.
As a business , the top three actions a corporation can take are:
(New Year’s) resolutions are the perfect opportunity for all those things that you have wanted to change and annoying failed to start like you said you would make tomorrow, next week, next month and even next year!
Well, now’s your chance to sit down and prepare a list of things you want to do, changes and succeed in your new year/new day/new week/new month.
This is my mini guide to creating and smashing your (New Year’s) Resolutions. It’s a well known fact that most people break their New Year’s resolutions within the first week of January and this is because the goals require too much immediate change.
It’s difficult to make a drastic change to your already embedded daily routine. However, that’s where the Kaizen method can help you succeed — by breaking down your larger goal into smaller, more manageable steps that you can implement over a longer time period until your goal is slowly achieved.
Resolution: Saving Money.
If you want to save more money, maybe it’s to buy a car, your first home or simply go on your dream holiday. Start by saving a small amount each month– something you don’t think you will really notice. If you can automate it too, that would be even better. If you put into a savings account £50 once a month without noticing the decrease in your pay, you can gradually increase the amount every few months until your saving pot has grown and you’re on your way to achieving that goal.
Think about a tiny change you can make to work your way toward that goal. Whether the goal is lose weight, be stronger or just to be able to keep up with the kids!
To keep yourself from turning to fast food on your lunch break (which is also spending money), begin by packing your lunch one day per week. After a month, you could increase to two days per week and add in a lunchtime walk. Remember, smaller changes are easier to swallow, this is a lifestyle change to be maintained.
Resolution: Enhance your career.
So you want to be earning double your salary, receive your full bonus and be qualified, like over qualified. Great aspirations, let’s break that down.
Is it time to invest in a career coach? Working with as your Career Coach, is like having your very own personal branding team. We can look at creating a clear and concise career goals as well as building your personal brand.
People evolve thus people can change. We have a personality foundation which starts to develop the day we are born. Our environments, education, childhood, peer groups as well as our hobbies, shape the human being that we are today.
The Psychology Today wrote: “Can we change people? It depends what we mean by change. First, can people change? Well, obviously. For example, we get older. Can we change in every respect? Obviously not. We change in some respects and not in others. “
I recognise in myself that I still have the core personality foundations that I had when I was in my teens. For example, I talk with my hands, I am fiercely independent and super ambitious… I also care a lot about people and wrongly, what they think about me.
However the way I now conduct myself has evolved. And the way I think, feel and listen is different. The way I approach an activity or situation is tailored from lessons learnt throughout my life where I have been successful and of course when I have also failed.
To understand more about changes in people, I did some research for this post and of course, that research means googling. I found that the results were more for answers for someone who is seeking some kind of clarity or explanation for behaviour that has caused them pain. Such as and mainly: cheating. It was surprising that with no clear answers. Using my platform, I wanted to start this post by addressing the leopard in the room.
Certain common phrases such as – “A leopard never changes its spots” and “Once a cheat, always a cheat” – might stick for a while, but if we decide that someone is set on their own path whether positive or negative, are we not doing so because, on some level, creating a barrier between their bad behaviour or success and the pain or jealousy they caused to protect ourselves?
Whilst it can be comforting to sometimes decide someone is bad, it can also be rewarding to perhaps ask why do they behaviour in such ways? Perhaps you are the one who is inflicting pain on others, have you ever stopped and wondered why you are doing this? Perhaps it is jealously? A childhood trauma that is unresolved? Or perhaps you are just so unhappy in yourself, you are making others around you unhappy?
Everyone has the ability to behave selfishly and be disruptive. We mess up and cause unbelievable pain to one another. Often repeat certain behaviours if the root cause isn’t addressed or time is spent on healing our previous wounds.
I am not saying if your partner has cheated on you to forgive them or even give an excuse, what I am merely suggesting is perhaps start by asking why. Ask why 5 times and see what could be rebuilt from opening up. Sadly, on the flip side of the coin, you will come across those who are content with inflicting pain on others. These people are not worthy of your time, efforts and loyalty. If you have recognised that change is needed, sometime that means leaving a person, environment and/or life to create a new path.
If we are seeking some kind of change in how we exist in relation to other people in this world the real question, is how much time, work and effort we will spend on ourselves?
This brings me onto my purpose of this post. I believe in change and that people can evolve, grow and transform.
The reason I believe this, is because I have changed. (Alex, I know you laughing if you are reading this line!). The people I have met have shaped me, CBT and Counselling healed me, Coaching is evolving me and networking as well as blogging is expanding my connections.
Changing is a choice. Choice is the art of possibilities. And Possibilities are endless.
Personal development is something most people associate with their jobs. Completing objectives and smashing targets to enable them to achieve their bonuses. But what if I told that personal development isn’t just something you do in your job, that actually this can aid an individual to change as well as enrich their potential?
There are so amazing tools, forums and people out there, right at your finger tips to get you started! Here are 5 areas to start your journey:
1: Of course, there is this blog
A Platform that is focused on female empowerment with the goal to enable women to be successful, strong and sassy. I write articles across a number of pillars: Personal Branding. Wellbeing. Female Empowerment. Life Style. Career Building. And… sometimes I might go off topic, like I did in this post, but roll with me.
The blog was created to connect others, provide empowerment, share knowledge, inspire the soul and give a sense of belonging.
Coaching is a process that aims to improve personal performance and focuses on the ‘here and now’ rather than on the distant past or future.
As a career coach, I specialise in: Helping you to cultivate and implement your personal brand. Building personal & career confidence. Overcoming limited beliefs and amplifying your voice. Moreover, I also work with you to shift your fixed mindset into a growth mindset. You will finish your career coaching programme with a clear, concise career plan that will enable you to level up. Whether that is asking for more responsibility or finally applying for a leadership role.
If you are looking for Life Coaching, I work with Bright Yellow Coaching – Since working with Tracy, I have learnt skills such as how to be more resilient and understanding my values. Working with Tracy has also enabled me to find and understand myself more, without really knowing it – the sessions gave me and continue to give me great strength and empowerment.
3: Asking for professional help – CBT, Counselling and Therapy.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking treatment which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do).
Counselling is the process by which a counsellor helps an individual understand and solve problems to help him or her cope with mental or emotional triggers. Where as Therapy usually involves talking about your situation in order to gain more understanding about issues such as mood, feelings, behaviour, and ways of thinking.
Ask your GP for advice on which treatment they would recommend.
4: Networking, attending industry related conferences/expos and connecting with others. I am part of the All Bright Academy that offer events throughout the year to attend. Women in Business Expo, Best You Expo and browsing through Meetup and Eventbrite to find local groups to attend.
5: Mentoring – Is there someone who you admire? Perhaps even aspire to follow in their footsteps! Never be afraid to reach out and offer to buy them a coffee. Mentoring is different to coaching. Mentoring is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but he or she must have a certain area of expertise.
Working on yourself can start today…. Let it be DAY ONE, not one day.
So the question is, what are you prepared to do to grow, evolve and change?
I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Margaret Dawson at the Women in Business Expo (2019). Her set was about women empowering women which I found bloody inspirational. And wanted to share some key points from what she had to say.
Women empowering women, Dawsons thoughts
Dawson started off with asking the audience if we knew our purpose? Knowing who you are and your purpose is a question that most people probably can’t answer and by the lack of hands shooting up in the air, answered my theory. I learnt that from around the age of 8 is when we start processing other people’s input, and their input can shape who we think we are.
Even at the age of 31, I still have ‘naysayers’ add comments to my actions such as: ‘don’t change your job, you will look unreliable’, ‘Can you actually do that?’ (THAT being anything from starting a business, running a events, writing a blog) and ‘you will never make the money you want, it isn’t realistic.’ From a girl to woman, input like this has always been there.
How are those comments helpful? How is that empowering me? What are you getting out of this and do have something constructive to add at that end of negative sentence?
Society Define who we are allowed to be.
Listening to this input, too much will only result in hiding who we are. This is evident in the business world, especially when it comes to a job application. It is common knowledge that Women will not apply for a job unless she 100% qualified, experienced and more. Where men, will apply for a job even if he only has 60% of job spec skills.
Dawson referred to our being as a pure light, which is humble and beautiful. Our light can be dulled when we have negativity and poor input when we are trying to shape our paths.
[A note to add to the readers: Before we input into someone else’s being, perhaps we should make sure the words we are saying are of some use and empowering not unhelpful and demoralising]
Dawson talked around a bullying in the workplace how it can come from women towards other women. She referred to a point where women start to progress up the ladder then there is almost like a high-heel pointing down keeping other women a safe distance from their ivory towers.
It is not always in business that you have this odd competitive nature of not supporting women. I have experienced women in my life who either friends or people I have met that have lacked empathy, encouragement and actually been a bully.
To conclude, Dawson gave 8 points on how we can women can empower women:
Intentional support other women
Hire more women in your organsiation
Mentor, coach, train – no matter the age
Encourage your daughters (and sons) to take that risk
Level the playing field, don’t put up blockers.
Be nice to that different girl
Be aware of the input you give
Celebrate everyones unique light and self.
To round this up 10, I would like to add 2 more:
Don’t be afraid to challenge. Whether the status quo or someone on their behaviour.
Encourage others to follow their dreams, support, give constructive advice and if you can help in any way – whether sharing their business page or writing an article for their own blog small acts of kindness can go a long way…
… And women who do not empower other women, rarely make it!