New career directions?

I offer a two hour session on career direction and start off with what seems a simple question; “What do you really enjoy doing?    So much so, that you would do it for nothing”     The answers that come back are interesting.      We often think that the things that come easily to us and that we do well are easy for everyone.   Because they are easy to us, we place small value on them.  “Anyone can do that”    Hmmm!

Deborah Burdett

Body language at work

We are all very good at reading body language.     Is that a true statement?

People that own a pet will testify that animals communicate very well with their owners without words; this is a rapport that is built up over  time and regular contact.     Animals are very clever at telling their owners when it’s tea-time or time for walkies.   Should a stranger look after the same animal for some time, the animal will set about educating them in the niceties of cat or dog speak.

People that know each other very well can often read each other accurately.    This explains how our mothers always know when we are up to no good!

These are my thoughts on body language, which are based on my own experiences.     I think we are very good at noticing body language,  but not always so good at reading the signs correctly.    The reasons for this are often due to past experiences.

We each have our own highly individualistic set of experiences that have created values and beliefs that are unique;  the values and beliefs filter any evidence that is set before us and form the basis of our conclusions.     The beliefs,  in particular, may not be true or accurate, or at the very least may not be useful in every circumstance.

In many ways these filters are useful.    Life would be very difficult if we had to make every simple decision afresh; we use past experiences to make decisions effectively and often it is a good strategy.

The filters are not so great when they lead us to an incorrect conclusion.     How annoying is it when others misread our body language and intentions, based on their own prejudices?      Think how annoying it must be for others when we do the same thing.

Mind reading can be a dangerous sport!

Deborah Burdett

Time to be yourself

I heard a speaker last week talking about shining as the person that you are.   It made me wonder how many of us actually do that?    She also spoke about sharing your story, that others can learn from you.
It made me think of a Goethe quote that is probably my favourite.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now”.
We all have a story and life experiences that are unique to us.   What have you learnt that is useful to others?     Probably more than you realise; time to flaunt it!
Deborah Burdett

Congruency and values in business

A factor that is often overlooked in working life is whether we share, or at least understand, values with our colleagues and clients.

What do I mean by values?    We all have around five core values that structure the way we think and act.  These values have a hierarchy, so that while you may have very similar values to another person, the value that is most important to you may not be so important to them.

Common examples of values are freedom, love and the less easy to define description of ‘being’.    ‘Being’ means different things to different people, although most describe it as being accepted as themselves and being able to show their true nature.     The word congruency means ‘in agreement’ and we are good at recognising when something feels right and we feel at peace and congruent with a situation.

So how does this fit into working life?   Most of us at some point have worked on something that is not right for us.     The excuses for continuing in an inappropriate situation may be multiple; we are very good at kidding ourselves that something is right when it fits another purpose.    The excuse may be that it is very lucrative, I would never find another job/client, it fits in with the rest of my life, I don’t want to lose out on a generous pension.

What should I do about all of this?     The answer is that it is up to you to work out what is most important to you and act on it as you choose.

Deborah Burdett

Portfolio working

I am currently writing an e-book on portfolio working and would be very grateful for any contributions or opinions on the subject.

The e-book covers what portfolio working is, how to get started, why you might want to do it, plus the advantages and disadvantages.

Any contributors will get a free copy of the completed article, naturally!

Deborah Burdett

Employed or self employed?

I’ve had a number of conversations with various people over the last few weeks about whether it is better to be employed or self employed.    Most of the self employed talked of their pride in creating a business and that they wouldn’t want to work for anyone again.

Being self employed has many disadvantages; lack of security being one that caused most concern.   I would ask the question; are there any truly secure jobs left in the UK?     There are a few professions, excluding doctors and social workers, that are considered to be guaranteed to have employment, but for most of the rest of us it does not apply.

I heard a saying recently that wealth is judged what you have left when you have no money.     In other words, what marketable skills and talents could you immediately put to work for you if you lost your job.

Isn’t employment these days just like self employment – but with only one client?

Deborah Burdett

Redundant, thinking of a new career or setting up a business?

Yesterday I spoke to a group of young(ish) people attending a week long course as a first step to setting up their own businesses.    I’m frequently asked to speak about setting up a business, particularly in terms of sales and marketing of new ideas; I invariably find that I get as much from the audience as (hopefully) they do from me.

A number of things struck me about the group yesterday;  they were all setting up businesses in areas that were inspirational to them, they had looked at their skills, worked out what they could do and what they couldn’t do, were very realistic with themselves and proactive in continuing to develop as an entrepreneur.

Each  agreed that whilst they had a business idea, it was likely that their businesses would grow in ways they hadn’t expected and that they would have to continuously monitor new trends and changes that could affect their future profitability.

These attitudes serve most of us well in this day and age.  We are all faced with rapid changes and lack of security; whether it be redundancy, reduced hours, pay freezes or cuts, company takeovers, vanishing budgets, new technology…. the list goes on.

The group yesterday was aware of all of this, but if anything it made the opportunities of the future more exciting and interesting.   They were challenged and motivated at the prospect of thinking on their feet;  the concept of constant change and new ideas made them even more enthusiastic.     Needless to say, I left feeling energised and buzzing………………..

Deborah Burdett

A New Colour