What I’ve learnt about building a career and life I love
I’ve lost track of the number of times women have told me about their big dreams and the limiting behaviour they want to break free from. The vision is beautiful.
But months and years later they’re still in exactly the same place, or they couldn’t work through the obstacles that came up.
They didn’t move from a general feeling of “wanting something more” to developing a tangible goal to channel their energy towards.
They couldn’t bring themselves to ask their managers for more money to reflect what they’re already doing.
They haven’t applied for a promotion or a new job at all.
Or they didn’t get that one they applied for, so they stopped trying.
They couldn’t navigate that conversation with their partner about reducing their hours and income temporarily to get their own business off the ground.
A few people told them their prices were too high, so they lost confidence.
They’re still working exhausting hours because they couldn’t communicate or hold their boundaries or make the tough choice to walk away from an unhealthy work culture.
The list goes on.
I find this incredibly sad because the consequences are huge and it doesn’t need to be like this. It can be really scary, and really hard, but things can change.
The world really needs what you have to offer when you’re at your most inspired and energised.
You don’t need to be special to get what you want. No one emerges from the womb ready to take on the world with vision, courage, integrity, passion and skill. They learn it - even the ones who have had unimaginable obstacles to overcome.
You can learn it too and you have everything you need within you to make that happen. You are lacking in nothing.
It’s time to put on our Big Girl Pants and focus on getting tangible results: More joy, pleasure, growth and fulfillment in our work. Financial abundance from getting paid what we are really worth now and in the future.
And all the wonderful things that come from these - time and energy for our other interests and our loved ones. Memories. Our health. Rest. Adventure. Freedom. Choices.
It doesn’t matter if the action you take feels like a babystep or a breakthrough. The more you try out and experiment with new behaviours, the more you learn from what works and what doesn’t, and the more self-belief you build that you can make change happen. Rinse and repeat.
If you feel you need more support making major changes, why not book a free consultation?
The following isn’t an inexhaustible list, but it should demystify a process of gaining greater clarity and trying things out.
Which will you try out this week?
1. Get comfortable and confident with a couple of techniques for soothing your nervous system.
When you make changes your Inner Critic and People Pleaser might start freaking out, particularly when communicating with others.
And you could try shaking it out if its more intense
2. Know what Inner Critic and People Pleaser stories may be holding you back. Approach these firmly, but with love and understanding, so you can move them out of the driving seat.
Literally imagine dialing down the volume of their voices in your mind.
Explore your relationship with money again, again and again. I've added more reflection questions over on my Facebook Group, It will be a core part of the group coaching programme I'm launching in 2023.
3. Create good conditions for deeper reflection
Address any major life stressors that you can that are setting off your nervous system and stopping you from thinking longer-term with more freedom.
Carve out time for you to feel and think - whenever and wherever you can. You might need to stop doing all that overtime for free, for example....
Prioritise this above other things you might be doing due to People Pleasing - book in “me time” and stick to it. It’s not free time someone else can book.
Spend time on your own. Go for walks. Have a weekend break.
Go on retreat - I'm running one in January!
4. Try out practices that help you with some blue-sky thinking and visioning
Leave aside the practicalities and feasibility for now - just dream. Be aware of the Inner Critic and People Pleaser stories that might come up throughout this process - my Inner Critic likes to catastrophise.
Try an Inner Guide reflection practice or something similar to identify what matters most (there's one in the Guides section of the Facebook Group)
Reflecting on what you’ve loved and hated about your work and financial situation so far
Finding some role models. Who inspires you and why? I really got into YouTube videos about J-Lo, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian for a while, as they’re incredibly business women.
Researching the life stories and journey of leaders in your field or area of passion
Remember what you loved doing as a child. What advice would your six-year old self give you now?
Imagine what life would feel and look like if you earned at least £10k more a year
Have you always dreamed about doing something else? Go start researching it
Ask friends or colleagues to tell you what they think some of your strengths and passions are - another perspective can really help especially when we devalue ourselves
I recommend doing this visioning pretty intensively - immerse yourself in it. Then come back to it regularly - it’s a skill in its own right and it takes time to work through the layers to something very deep underneath that will sustain you through the highs and lows. This will become your touchstone.
5. Use this visioning to set some goals for the next 3-5 years based on your passions and deepest longings
These could be quite general if you’re just exploring and of course you will change and adapt. But shifting into a proactive and creative mindset instead of one that’s reactive, passive or stuck in a disempowered victim narrative is essential. Take ownership of your life.
Make these goals as ambitious as possible - and then dial it up a notch as you’re likely undervaluing your skills and potential to grow! This is part of freeing yourself from your Inner Critic and People Pleaser. Stretch yourself.
Do not skip this stage - you will do very different things if you are just trying to get by in your current role over the next year versus maximising the impact you can have in the world by honing your skills, harnessing your passion and ascending as a leader in your field.
Include how you want to be growing in the process - what skills do you want to be developing? What qualities and characteristics do you want to be strengthening? What core values do you want to infuse everything with?
Make sure you include some clear money goals that are based on a longer term financial plan that brings you ease and joy. Link these short and long-term goals to what the money will provide you - a home of your own, a fund for a sabbatical, supporting your family, investing in causes you care about. Notice if you’re very foggy about this.
Don’t just include your career - be clear on what other major priorities you have that need to fit with this (like spending time with family, creating space to explore other interests)
6. Create a roadmap for taking the shortest but most scenic route for reaching this destination.
How can you start making this happen in a way that fills you with joy and excitement throughout the journey? It's important to have Now Goals as much as Future Goals
Who do you want to learn from or train with that you find inspiring? And where are your peers or supportive community of cheerleaders?
Are you underestimating how quickly you could be ascending?
Who else could or needs to be onboard (e.g. a partner or manager)? Could you get some help from a colleague? Maybe there’s another way you could approach this that you haven’t thought of, perhaps because of your People Pleaser or Inner Critic?
7. Check this roadmap out with people you admire who are a bit further ahead
Is there a more efficient and powerful way of getting there sooner in a way that doesn't compromise your values and other priorities?
This is also a great way of establishing connections with those you want to learn from - who knows what opportunities might emerge!
8. Start on that journey
I have a Whatsapp group with two friends who are setting up their own businesses as well. It’s called JFDI - Just f*cking do it.
So just f*cking do it. I’m all for imperfect action.
When I set up The Liberated Heart Facebook Group and started my mailing list, I wasn’t sure which area I wanted to specialise in. I’ve got a broad range of experience and expertise, and the tools I use are applicable across all areas of your life. After a few months of writing and connecting with other women, I was able to narrow down to an area I’m most passionate about. I couldn’t have worked that out without actually starting.
9. Learn some life-changing perspectives and skills for navigating difficult conversations
If you’re making changes, it’s most likely going to impact other people.
It’s good to have included anyone you can in earlier stages to work out what might be challenging for them or what they have an opinion on that’s relevant to your growth. They also might surprise and help you in ways you wouldn’t have expected - particularly if you’re communicating your Yes behind your No and are genuinely interested in what they have to say too.
I’ll be covering this more in posts I’ll write soon on our External Critic.
10. Refine and repeat as you go along
I never imagined that I would set up my own business. I couldn’t have. So don’t hold yourself to that original goal and roadmap as you might discover something new and unexpected as you change and grow. New vistas may open up. Exciting opportunities may emerge. The universe has a funny way of responding.
I now actually enjoy setting big, bold goals that my Inner Critic never allowed me to even dream about.
So hold everything lightly.