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What if you really did know your right career?

What if you really did know your right career?

Your right career may be for you the one that earns you the most personal satisfaction or the most money or contributes most to others. You need to decide on the balance between different pay-offs of the work that you do and that choice is completely yours. This piece focuses on the decision to do work that you are passionate about, whether in the end that becomes the whole of your life, or needs to be balanced by doing other work that meets other practical needs.

I spent a long time searching for the ‘right’ thing to do with my life and all the time what I really wanted to do was staring me in the face. I even read ‘do what you love’ type self-help books that told me it was probably staring me in the face and continued to completely ignore it.

It was just too obvious that I would become a life coach. The ego part of me also thought that life coaching sounded a bit cheesy, so I had to get over that as well so I could wind up doing this work I love.

I left teaching as I was constantly moving with my husband’s career and was looking to find what my new ‘perfect’ career would be. I studied for a second degree in Art History and Creative Writing and also did courses in photography, floristry and interior design. All of these were a lot of fun and I know I was really lucky to be able to invest the time and money in them. The bridge between hobby course and new career seemed huge and I had no idea how to bridge it.

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It took a long time to admit to myself that my right career was coaching. It took even longer to realise that the bridge to making that happen was not going to be something that would come easily. I was looking for a simple leap into making my passion my career and the leap wasn’t a simple one for me.

You know those water obstacle shows where someone always falls short of making the leap and plunges into the deep water below? That was me in the ‘finding your right career water obstacle show.’ (not sure it’s ratings are that high, maybe you haven’t heard of it?)

Sure, you will read loads of internet marketing about how certain people will make the leap to your new passion filled career easy and simple and if there really are people who are making this work quickly and easily then a whole load of good luck to them.

I’ve invested a lot more time and money into making this passion work and the more I learn the more I see that it is about consistently turning up as yourself in all this and claiming what you want, even when it isn’t an easy path. Making the leap to a career you are passionate about is deciding to climb the mountain, it isn’t climbing it. That comes after.

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The idea of this journey to your right career or a thriving coaching practice as being like climbing a mountain came from my own coach mentor, Sas Petherick.

So if you are brave and some might say fool-hardy enough to do, you know, what you really want to do with your life, here are six steps to help you get there. They won’t get you all of the way there, but they are a start. Look upon them as trail snacks on your forthcoming mountain journey.

1. Admitting what you really want in life.

Is there a passion you have been ignoring because it is just too obvious? Have you been blocking it because the ego part of you does not fully approve of your idea? What do you talk about that lights you up? What kind of books are you always reading? What magazines do you always pick up? Passion leads clues. Imagine that you have become a detective of your own life and you are looking for where your passion lies. Make notes, keep files, be onto yourself.

2. Owning your talents.

So you have the passion, but now that sneaky little voice inside you is saying ‘well sure that sounds great, but you’re not really as good at balloon modelling / diving / historical research of the Tudor period as you think you are’. Part of this is the ego that is trying to keep you safe. You are only in the exploratory phases of what your true life’s work is going to be. You don’t have to have the ‘right’ answer.

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3. Not expecting the complete picture of your future to form straight away.

This is where it gets messy. You try a new direction and you fail or you have to find a way of mixing your life passion with your day job and that gets messy. You think thoughts like ‘maybe I’m wasting my time,’ or ‘this is never going to work.’

4. Allowing the messiness of transition.

This is where allowing comes in. Allow yourself not to know, not to have it all together, not to know all the steps, not to have a brilliant answer to the cocktail party question ‘So what do you do?’

5. Finding support for your dreams.

On your mountain trail to your new passion filled career it’s great to have a mountain guide. Find one you resonate with and you trust. Ask for referrals. Talk to a variety of guides / mentors / coaches and find out who you click with. Clicking with a guide, mentor or coach is more important than being impressed by how fancy their website is or whether they guest post on Life Hack.

6. Tortoise steps, not hare leaps. (from coaching tool created by Dr Martha Beck)

If your next step seems to great, break it down. If the step after that one seems too great, break it down again. Find the step that does not bring up all the resistance that stops you from doing anything. You’ll never know for sure that you couldn’t find work in what you truly love unless you make the first step of truly listening to what you really want, by stopping to ignore what is obvious.

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Attribution: Some of the ideas in this piece have been influenced by and relate to my understanding of the book ‘Finding Your Own North Star,’ by Martha Beck. (Piatkus, 2003) This is a great book to have alongside you if you are trying to climb this particular mountain, the summit of which is having work that you are passionate about.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

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Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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