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Talking about a Career Change



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Whitehaven Rd, Hazel Park, Germiston, 1401, South Africa

Ideal Careers happen by Design.We help high potentials and high performers amplify their career goals with courage and confidence so they can have a seat and a voice at the table.We are privileged to connect with thousands of clients,delivering tailor made career development packages to meet their individual career needs.We pride ourselves in being able to empower every aspect of our clients life.

On Core Spirit since August 2021

Powered Exoskeletones
Ideal Careers Coaching
May 27, 2024, 07:00
Strength + Passion = Purpose

What is my Purpose? Why am I Here? What can I do with my Life? Is this it,surely there must be more?

We have all had these questions pop into our brains at some point in our lives. These existential questions are not new or even particularly unique,and yet for each of us the answers are very different. Often times we step into this existential space when we have been triggered by an event in our lives. This event is often life changing and we find oursleves wondering whether our lives have meaning, and if there is more that we can do.

Some people know what their purpose is, and have known for all their lives. For others, this may take some time to discover. What we do know is that we all have a Purpose. This signature program will help you discover what your Purpose is.

Career Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
May 27, 2024, 07:00
Goal Setting and Achievement

We all know how to set SMART Goals.There are many techniques available that will tell us how to set Goals, very few, if any of these, tell us how to go about Achieveing the GOALS we have set. How many New Years resolutions have you not kept. After these have been set and life returns to its rythmn of daily activity and deadlines and list you placed on the firdge door slowly gets replaced by other priorities,do you find that another year has gone buy,and another set of resolutions remain upmet?

This program will take you through a comprehensive process of mapping our exactly HOW to go about ensuring that you never leave anothe resolution or goal unmet ever again. We achieve goals by putting into place small habits that help us build momentum and hlep us navigate those inevitable life crises that happen.

Career Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
May 27, 2024, 07:00
Identify your Transferable Skills

The world of work is changing and many organsisations are now starting to focus on Transferable Skills.Many of us however, do not know what a transferable skills is. We all have transferable skills though, so being able to identify these skills and package these into a meaningfull suite of skills in your resume may be something you need.Learning the difference between a "soft skill" and a "tranferable skill " is becomeing more necessary now than ever before. Don't get caught not knowing your Transferable Skills.

Life Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
May 27, 2024, 07:00
Determine your Values

Our Values guide our behaviours.Our Values inform the decisions we make and it influences what we invest our time in. Knowing what your highest Values are, gives you the advantage of never subordinating yourself to what others believe is imporant for you.

When we find oursleves feeling disengaged in our careers very often it is becuase our jobs no longer serve our highest values. As our circumstances change, things that were important to us ten years ago may not be as high on the priority list anymore.This gives us an opportuntity to re-evaluate what is important in our lives right now. We may find ourselves at a cross roads and needing to decide whether to go for that c-suite position or retire and do some travelling.

Career Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
Link KPI's to Career Development


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Emotional Stress Release
Ideal Careers Coaching
Beat Burnout for Good


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Career Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
Talking about a Career Change


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Career Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
Replace BAD Habits with GOOD ones



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Life Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
Tips to Change Careers Confidently

Changing careers takes confidence and courage. We know this! If you do not feel confident about your career change now, where is the confidence you need going to come from?Confidence is not fixed; it is something you can build and grow as you get better at the things you work on.In other words, being confident isn't something you are. Confidence is something you have. Which means if it is something you have, that means you have acquired it.

Life Coaching
Ideal Careers Coaching
Resilience Superglue of the Psyche

You know you are having one of those months when the crow’s feet have turned into vulture’s claws, when your sense of humour has completely failed you and you feel like you are stuck in some bizarre combination of the twilight zone and groundhog day.Change is one of life's inevitabilities and as much as we are digging the vintage vibe or doing the ostrich thing to the stuff we can't bear; change is the only constant. We are all having to dig deep these days. Not just profoundly into our pockets but into our psyches too, to help mend and make do and get through in these volatile and uncertain times.

So, the buzzword to hold on to is Resilience.

Powered Exoskeletones
Ideal Careers Coaching
How to Beat Burnout for Good

Beating Burnout is a multi-pronged approach. There is no quick fix. Since burnout comes from overwhelming workload, excessive demands and limited resources, most of the blame, and power to fix it comes from the organization.

Burnout is the result of prolonged work-related stress. It’s a mixture of exhaustion, cynicism, and ineffectiveness. Learning how to recognise the signs and symptoms of burnout can help you prevent it and even halt the progression of burnout.

Ideal Careers Coaching
How to Stand up for yourself at work

Knowing how to stand/speak up for yourself at work is a critical career building skill.

We would all like to believe that our workplaces provide healthy, respectful and collaborative environments for us to work in. Afterall, when you took the job that was one of the selling points that attracted you to accept the offer in the first place.

The reality however, is that this is easier said than done. If you are too bold you might find yourself standing up in the unemployment queue. On the other hand, if you remain timid and silent you will perpetuate the abusive and destructive cycle and stay miserable or quit.

Tactfully standing up for yourself requires some foresight and a strategy. Things happen at work. It’s high pressure, and different people deal with stress differently. Knowing how to be professionally assertive without being insubordinate or disrespectful will help you manage frustration, burnout and workplace overwhelm.

Here are 4 ways to be professionally assertive

Teach people how to treat you

When people do not know how you prefer to be treated, they will assume that you will accept the same treatment they will accept. This may not necessarily be true.

You know HOW you want to be treated. You also know How you define respect. So, teach those who you engage with. This means colleagues and managers.

Often times leading by example is sufficient and people around you get the message. However, there will always be that one person who needs some additional help in learning how to treat you. This may be a fellow colleague or a manager, either way bully mentality should not be tolerated.

Simple steps like not responding to messages and mails after hours is a good first step in teaching people that you are not accessible 24/7.

Being clear about what your job is and what someone elses job is and not fuzzing these two things, is another way to ensure you don’t become the packhorse in the office.

Understanding and Empathy does not mean Acceptance

We all come from different cultural backgrounds. This makes cultural diversity in the workplace a huge issue when people are not aware and tolerant of each other’s culture. That said, that does not mean you need to simply accept someone else’s bad behaviour. Understanding someone else’s culture around personal space, eye contact and communication styles will go a long way to help you understand how to adapt your own responses.

This does not mean that you need to accept bad behaviour though. This does mean that you need to learn how to set personal and professional boundaries sooner rather than later.

If someone stands too close when they speak to you simply take a step back and casually say something like “excuse me but I just need some space” OR “lets give each other some space” OR “can you stop hovering please, it makes me feel awkward”. If you keep this casual and simply say it as part of the conversation, then it doesn’t become an issue but merely sets a tone for future behaviour.

Be Clear and Be Confident

Sometimes leading by example and practicing compassion is not enough with some people. This means you may need a different approach, which can be tough if you are not comfortable with standing up for yourself in the first place. Therefore, being clear and being confident about what you are willing to accept is important. Remember the more you allow things to carry on in the hope that the behaviour will miraculously change, the more you consent to the behaviour you are uncomfortable with.

If a colleague or manager speaks disrespectfully to you or piles on work that is not yours to do or dismisses your contributions to getting the job done and you remain silent; then you are to blame. Silence is consent… and as long as you remain silent, the message they receive is, there nothing is wrong.

Complaining to colleagues about this or expecting someone else to stand up for you is not always going to solve the problem. While you may have the odd occasion when someone else sees this behaviour and says something about it, the majority of the time this will not happen.

Address problems immediately

The easiest way to deal with bad behaviour is to nip-it-in-the-bud. Deal with it as it arises, don’t wait for a meeting or separate occasion to address things that can be addressed instantly.

For example, if someone calls you “Honey” or similar in a meeting, immediately respond with, “Please use my name to address me.” OR “My name is [your name], please don’t refer to me as “Honey.”

If a coworker tries to take credit for your work in a project meeting, let them finish speaking. Then, politely note your own contributions. For example, “Bill did a great job organizing the reports. With his help, I was able to analyze and file them a lot faster than usual.”

If you don’t feel comfortable calling them out in public and sometimes a public confrontation is simply inappropriate, then address the matter immediately after the meeting has concluded.

For example, if a coworker talks over you in a meeting and they have never done that before, give them the benefit of the doubt! Wait until the meeting is over and talk to them about it privately. You might say take them aside and say, "I realize you probably didn't mean to do this, but when you interrupted me at the meeting earlier, I felt belittled and a bit embarrassed. Can you be more careful about that in the future?"

Questions feel less confrontational. If you need to have a tough conversation with a colleague/manager, try to avoid opening with aggressive statements like “I don’t like the way you’re doing this” or “I think your approach is wrong.” Start the conversation with a question. For example

"Can you help me understand why I now have most of Derrick’s assignments this week? Is he not available to do these? Is there something I should know about?"

"I'm not sure I understand why you cc'd the entire team on that email. My understand was that we were talking privately. Can you tell me why you did that?"

"Would you mind explaining the new schedule? I know you must have a good reason for making changes but based on this schedule you have put together we are going to run out of time."

When all else fails

Some issues require a stronger response than others.

If you are being bullied and or mistreated at work, it is in your own best interest to stand up for yourself. If you are unable to deal with bad behaviour on you own, remember every company has an escalation policy.

The typical process is to first take thing to your direct line manager. If this proves to be ineffective then follow the process to your HR office. The HR team is there to provide this kind of assistance so don’t feel embarrassed or concerned about going this route. Abusive and toxic work environments are not conducive to productivity or healthy workspaces. HR cannot help if you don’t tell them that help is needed.

Please understand there will always be exceptions based on conditions of employment and workload priorities. Those are typically extra-ordinary circumstances and adjustments can be made. However bad behaviour in any form is never acceptable.

Ideal Careers Coaching
How to manage your Notice Period with grace and dignity

We have all resigned from a job at some stage during our career.

Your notice period can sometimes be a very uncomfortable period as you begin to prepare for your exist. Some organisations will allow you to leave once you have handed in your resignation and will then pay you out in lieu of your notice. Others insist on you, working your notice period.

Either way this can be a very emotionally unsettling period of transition as you prepare to leave behind friends, colleagues’ good memories and bad.

Here are a few Things to Remember in that last month before you exit the building for the last time.

Remain productive

Irrespective of the reason for you leaving the company, understand that you will be left out of meetings and decision-making protocols during your resignations period, and rightly so. Remember this is not personal. You will not be there to see any decisions through or make any plans so being excluded from these meetings is completely appropriate. Use this time to complete what you currently working on.

Let clients and colleagues in other departments know that you will be leaving so that they too can make alternative arrangements to get things done, that you would ordinarily have done.

If your successor has been appointed, start the hand over process and introduce them to those who s/he will need to liaise with.

Maintain professional Behaviour

While it is easy to check out during your notice period DON’T. Maintain early professional standard your colleagues have come to know and expect of you. Your reputation during this period depends on your behaviour. Stay focused and committed and manage workload expectations with your managers and team members. Affirming your commitments during this time will ensure that your departure does not devolve into a villainous tale of deceit.

Avoid the temptation to mail yourself company documents you think may help you in your next job. While this may seem obvious, it can be tempting. SO JUST DON’T. After all it is theft even if it is something your designed and put together.

Hand Over and Knowledge transfer

You may be expected to do this, so do it with grace and dignity. Avoid the temptation to let the other person “figure it out” because that is what you had to do. Again, remember your conduct during your notice period will speak volumes about your character and professionalism. This is the legacy you want to leave. People are going to talk about you once you are gone, so make sure that what they say is worthy of who you are as a person, a colleague and a professional.

You may find that you have some free capacity especially if your replacement has come on board. This is not your cue to take extended lunch or tea breaks or leave early. Use this time to help others or get your replacement up to speed.

Remain diplomatic

Remember you are leaving but your colleagues are not, so keep your opinions about other colleagues and managers to yourself. You are on your way out so take the moral high ground and keep it professional. If you are required to do an exit interview and provide feedback about the company, balance this with honesty, tact and diplomacy. Your feedback is more likely to be taken seriously if it is presented constructively and provides opportunity for improvement rather than if it comes across as unsubstantiated salacious sneers or vindictive digs to make a point.

Thank you’s and Goodbyes

Use your notice period to strengthen your professional network. Take the time to personally thank those who supported you, taught you and helped you during your tenure there. The friends you may have made will remain and you can pick up these relationships outside of the working environment. Your colleagues will move on as you are doing. Don’t be afraid to mark the end of your journey together with a farewell lunch or drinks. This little ritual will allow you all to close the chapter and perhaps take away a few well learned lessons and good memories.

Share any more gracious and dignified tips for getting through a notice period in the comments. Would love to hear from you.

Ideal Careers Coaching
5 Effective Tips to effectively manage Work Overload and save your Sanity

Many years ago, I had a manager who said “if you cannot get through your days’ work in a day, then something is wrong. Either your load is too heavy or the processes you are using are ineffective.”

Now we all accept there will be times when the workload is more than we can get through in a day. This is typical when we are working on a special project, or we have come to a particular time in the month/year when additional work is required. Typical examples are financial year ends, stock-take periods, audits for relicensing to operate etc. These are exceptions though and not the typical workload.

Are you plagued with a heavy workload that is causing you stress, anxiety and overwhelm? Here are a few proven workload management tips to help you take control.

Workload Management: Is Your Job at Stake?

In our fast-paced world of work, heavy workloads are becoming a common scenario. Employees are needing to take on more work than they can cope with. Some of these reasons include companies downsizing, job security, and an uncertain economy. In addition, many companies are trying to meet their goals and increase their profits and claw back some of the losses they have incurred because of a global pandemic and shrinking economies.

Many staff feel the need to accept more tasks and spend longer hours at work. This, to perhaps create the impression that they are productive, and there is work that needs to be done. For some though, it is because they cannot refuse to their bosses for fear of reprisals.

The pressure of taking on a heavy work load only serves to add to stress levels. Managing this is key when taking on the additional load is not an option.

Workload management is crucial for overall project performance and business success. We all know what it’s like to have to take on more than we have the capacity to manage. Cost saving initiatives by companies often require staff to do more with less. In fact, a recent study by Gallup found that as many as two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout at work. Therefore, developing a solid workload management plan is something everyone could benefit from.

Tips for effective workload management

Managing workload is no walk in the park. There is nothing more challenging than balancing projects, tasks, deadlines, and skills. It can become overwhelming in no time at all, so you need some guidance on how to do it effectively. Use the 5 tips below to accomplish goals, is one of the best ways to go about workload management.

  1. Take time for planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Take the time to think about the purpose of the project, the deadline, the desired results, KPIs, and possible challenges. Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables, and the results you want, can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus on and concentrate on your heavy workload.

  1. Focus on Priorities

Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel that it is in the moment when everything seems so time-sensitive. Clear priorities will help you and your team see what you need to focus on first. Mastering the craft of prioritizing time, tasks, finances, and resources, the more agile your project management style can get. A useful tool for this is the Eisenhower Matrix which helps you take action on the things that matter and delegate the things that can be delegated.

  1. Discourage long hours

We are often tempted to put in more hours when workloads increase and deadlines feel unrealistic. Our initial reaction is to want to get in front of things, in an attempt to head off any potential fallout. The reality though is that quality and output are more important than overtime. Working longer hours does not necessarily result in higher productivity rates. There is sufficient research to suggest that it has the opposite effect. To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate, as a heavy workload can lead to feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When your energy levels are high and your mind and body are refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload. Take time to go for a walk, spend time with people who give you a lot of energy, get a good night’s sleep and eat healthy. These will all keep your mind sharp and your body energise to cope with the demands of a heavy workload.

4.Stop Multitasking

Multitasking is a myth. The human brain is not wired to do several things well at the same time. Learn to list your priorities; do the most important things first, and then move to the next item and work down your list. Allocate and block time for specific activities and commitments. Create firm boundaries and recognise when you have reached your full capacity so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

  1. Manage Stress and Burnout

Becoming overwhelmed is counterproductive. Breaking each project into chunks helps to crystalize the project plan. The more detailed you get on timing, budgeting, and tasks, the easier it will be to predict what can go wrong with the project and how you can make it work better. When you split your tasks into subtasks it will be easier to manage your workflow in case you need to reschedule something or have some part of task execution start earlier or later.

To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks. I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients. Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack, or just having a conversation with someone. Then, I continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes, followed by another 10-minute break.

Finally, I take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading, or having a walk.

By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves, and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out. You are also more likely to get through your list of priorities because you have the energy and stamina to do so without feeling mentally fatigued.

What are the strategies you use to manage work overload. Would love to here from you so drop a comment and lets share some valuable insights.

Ideal Careers Coaching
Do YOUR homework before you change Careers

Is your job making you feel miserable and bored? You don’t have any motivation to keep working at the same place? Does it feel like you have outgrown your position?

If yes is the answer to all these questions, you may need a career change.

Switching professions can bring a lot of benefits, however, Do your homework before you make any decisions.

If you feel like you are stuck in your current job and want something new, consider this first:

Think About It: What is the Actual Problem?

Are you completely sure you cannot stand your current job?

Keep in mind that the thing that affects your motivation and performance could be completely unrelated to your job.

Knowing the real reason, you are not happy with your current job, will allow you to determine whether you need to change your entire career path or just switch companies.

If you are experiencing things like a lack of growth opportunities, no recognition, tenuous working conditions or a poor relationship with your manager, there is a good chance you only need a new workplace.

On the other hand, if you have a burning desire to learn something different, your circumstance have changed drastically or your values no longer align with the organisation, it is probably time to switch professions.

Assess Yourself

Having your sights set on a different profession does not mean that the profession in question is the right choice. Remember the grass often looks greener on the other side so, every other career looks better when you are having trouble with your own.

Before you make any decision, assess yourself.

Assess your professional strengths and weaknesses, in relation to the market. Determine your personality fit for the career you are looking to move into. There are a host of free and paid assessments that can give you a pretty good idea of personality type and suitability for certain career options.

When you know yourself very well, it is easy to see if a profession switch is the right move. Career assessments are equally important. If there is a potential career path that interests you, research it thoroughly. Learn about the industry by reading related articles, talking to people working in it, and by visiting industry events.

Question Your Skills

When questioning your own skills, you need to be brutally honest with yourself and completely objective. Do you have what it takes to succeed on a new career path?

We all know, the job market is unforgiving. Sometimes, having both the experience and the necessary skills is not enough. Do your homework and determine what you need to land a job in the desired field.

In case the position requires skills you do not have, acquire them. There are a range of options for this too, from applying for internships, taking online courses, going back to school, etc.

Maybe you already have some skills that you can transfer into your new sector. These days, some transferable skills are highly valued in a lot of jobs. To avoid disappointment later, remember to stay objective and honest when self-assessing your skills.

Know What You are Getting Into

You are considering a career change so know which profession really interests you. Ask yourself the following question – do I know what I’m getting into? Keep in mind that things can change drastically even with the smallest career change.

One of the first things to think about is whether you can or can’t afford a career change. The transition can be costly, particularly if you need to take some time off to acquire the necessary skills. Determine whether you will be able to finance the change? If you have a partner who will be affected by this, it’s best to have these conversations up front.

It is essential to have a financial plan to support yourself during the transition period. Moreover, make sure to research industry reports and find out if your desired position comes with a salary that is realistic for your lifestyle. Check out job boards to see what potential jobs in the sector you are looking at, are being advertised at i.t.o salary ranges.

Develop a Plan

Some people who want to change careers simply do not have funds to get it done. If this is your case, keep in mind that your plan B could be that you keep your current job while working on your career change goals.

Even if the financial aspect of a profession switch demotivates you, keep pushing and do not give up on your goal. If you can, consider cutting any unnecessary costs you can think of. Downsize if you need to and if it is practical to do so. Whatever you do or don’t do, keep your eye on the end goal

There is no easy answer to the question of whether you should or should not make a career change. Only you can make this decision however, if you do decide to go for it, keep in mind that the transition can go a lot smoother if you do your homework. Remember that making informed decisions may take a little longer however, it will save you time, money and energy once you know exactly what you are getting into.

Renat has been working in career development for over a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made her knowledgeable on many different subjects. She has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit.

If you have made a successful career transition share your pearls of wisdom in the comment section.

Ideal Careers Coaching
How to deal with this New Feeling called Languishing

I don't know I Feel...

This neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021.Adapted from the original article by Adam Grant.

At first, I did not recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines available, they were not excited or even particularly optimistic about what lies ahead.

I was, like many others I suppose, binge watching, binge eating, and trying hard to stay motivated while working from home. Managing the myriad of contending priorities of on-again-off-again school rotation and remote working. Adapting to the physical restrictions of remember -the- mask shopping, restricted visits for friends, and extended family especially grandparents, the morbidity of the never-ending news cycles of increased infection rates and deaths and the realisation that my family is not untouched by this.

I was not bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, scanning the news of the day, skimming social media, knowing that I needed to get up but for some reason feeling like a few more minutes in bed would give me the motivation to do so. It never did though.

It was not burnout; I still had energy. Once I was up, I was rearing to go. It was not depression, I did not feel hopeless, because despite the restrictions I found opportunities to learn new skills and experiment with new interests and hobbies.

I just felt joyless, neither particularly happy nor particularly sad and aimless. I felt like I was stuck in a holding pattern, a nebulous place where I was not moving forward, nor was I moving backwards. In fact, I was not moving, just kind of hovering in place. Waiting; waiting for something to happen, good or bad it did not really matter, it just needed to happen, whatever IT was that I felt I was waiting for. It turns out there is a name for that: It is called LANGUISHING.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness and waiting. It feels as if you are muddling through your days. There is a sense of uncertainty as to when it will end. Your life feels as though you are stumbling around through a fogginess that just will not dissipate. This might be the dominant emotion of 2021.

As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of the long-haul of Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional effects of this extended period of the pandemic. It has hit some of us to a greater extent than others. Very few, if any, have been left untouched by this pandemic and we were [and still are] unprepared for the intense fear and grief that seems only to intensify as we continue to navigate and manage this virus and its many variants.

In the early, uncertain days of the pandemic, we were all on high alert for fight-or-flight. Learning to discern fake news from facts. Determining who to listen to and which truth resonates with you. We learned to adapt to wearing a mask and to sanitise our hands as we entered every store. We developed routines that eased our sense of dread, as we adapted to remote working and home schooling and disconnecting from friends and family and other social engagements.

Initially we anticipated a swift end to this pandemic, we held the hope that the medical fraternity would provide definitive solutions, unrefuted practices, and rapid results that would allow us to resume our lives as we knew it.

The pandemic has dragged on though. The practical guidelines provided, refuted, and contested, and the rapid results questioned. The truth convoluted and muddied. We have been left to face this demon and decide for ourselves what we believe the best course of action is for ourselves and our families.

This extended and acute state of anguish has given way to this chronic condition of languishing.

We tend to think about mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing. Flourishing is the peak of well-being. A space where you have a strong sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others. Depression on the other end of the spectrum is the valley of ill-being where you feel despondent, drained, and worthless.

Languishing is that space somewhere in the middle. It is the void between depression and flourishing That space where you do not feel depressed, but you do not feel like you are flourishing either.

You are not functioning at full capacity, but you are not on empty either. Languishing dulls your motivation, disrupts your ability to focus, and triples the odds that you will cut back on work. It appears to be more common than major depression and, it may be a bigger risk factor for mental illness.

Sociologist Corey Keyes, realised through his research that there were many people who were not depressed BUT were also not thriving. His research suggests that the people most likely to experience major depression and anxiety disorders in the next decade do not have those symptoms today. However, the people who are languishing right now are more likely to experience major depression later.

Part of the danger of languishing, is that you might not notice the dulling of delight or the dwindling of drive. You do not catch yourself slipping slowly into solitude. You do not realise that you are indifferent to your indifference. When you cannot see your own suffering, you do not seek help or even do much to help yourself.

Even if you are not languishing, you probably know someone who is.

Understanding it better can help you help them.

Psychologists find that one of the best strategies for managing emotions is to name them. During the acute anguish of this pandemic, describing our collective discomfort as grief, along with the loss of loved ones, we are mourning the loss of normalcy.

“Grief.” It gave us a familiar vocabulary to understand this unfamiliar experience. Although we (our generation) have not faced a pandemic before, most of us have faced loss. It helps us crystallize lessons from our own past resilience and gain confidence in our ability to face present adversity.

While there is still a lot to learn about what causes languishing and how to cure it, naming it might be a first step. Naming a condition helps to defog our vision. It reminds us that we are not alone. It shines a light on the proverbial monster under the bed. Languishing is common and shared. It gives us a socially acceptable response to “How are you?”

It gives us permission to not be ok and say so out loud, instead of saying “Great!” or “Fine,” in mildly sarcastic tones. We can answer honestly, by saying “I’m languishing.” It would be refreshing to be able to honestly answer this question and avoid the toxic positivity.

When you add languishing to your lexicon, you start to notice it all around you. It shows up when you feel let down by your short afternoon walk. It is in your kids’ voices when you ask how online school went. It’s in your friends and families’ responses to that “how is it going” question. It’s better than responding with “Meh!”

An antidote to languishing

So, what can we do about it? A concept called “flow” may be an antidote to languishing. Flow is that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful activity, where your sense of time, place and self, melts away. Some people call this a hobby or a passion but really it is a head space where you can escape into and occupy yourself with activities that energise you, give you a sense of peace and joy and happiness. It is that space where you feel the world is back in sync and despite what is happening around you Everything will be OK.

During the early days of the pandemic, the best predictor of well-being was not optimism or mindfulness it was flow. People who immersed themselves in projects or activities that provided meaningful mental distraction and allowed for the development of a new skill, managed to avoid languishing and maintained their pre-pandemic happiness.

While finding new challenges, enjoyable experiences and meaningful work are all possible remedies to languishing, it is hard to do so when you cannot focus. This was a problem long before the pandemic. People were, and still are habitually checking emails 90x a day and switching tasks every 10 minutes.

In the past year, many of us have also been struggling with interruptions from kids around the house, colleagues around the world, and bosses around the clock.

Fragmented attention is an enemy of engagement and excellence.

Give yourself some uninterrupted time

That means we need to set boundaries.

We know that the most important factor in daily joy and motivation is a sense of progress. Treat uninterrupted blocks of time as treasures to guard. It clears out constant distractions and gives us the freedom to focus. We can find solace in experiences that capture our full attention.

Focus on a small goal

The pandemic created a big loss. So, appreciate and relish the small wins, like the tiny triumph of figuring out a whodunit or the rush of solving a soduko without using the hints or discovering a love for herb gardening.

One of the clearest paths to flow is a just-manageable difficulty. A challenge that stretches your skills and heightens your resolve. That means carving out daily time to focus on a challenge that matters to you. An interesting project, a worthwhile goal, a meaningful conversation. Sometimes it’s a small step towards rediscovering some of the energy and enthusiasm that you have missed during all these months.

Languishing is not merely in our heads; it is in our circumstances. You can’t heal a sick culture with personal bandages. We still live in a world that normalizes physical health challenges but stigmatizes mental health challenges. As we continue to navigate the effects of a global pandemic and the associated global grief, perhaps it’s time to rethink our understanding of mental health and well-being.

“Not depressed” doesn’t mean you are not struggling. “Not burned out” does not mean you are all fired up. Simply acknowledging that so many of us are languishing, we can start giving a voice to the quiet despair and start lighting a path out of the void.

How are you managing languishing? Drop your ideas in the comment section. Would love to hear from you.

Ideal Careers Coaching
Change Careers with Confidence and Courage

Changing careers takes confidence and courage. We know this! It is often the reason we have not made the changes we want to make yet. We do not have the confidence or the courage to take those next steps, or that leap of faith.

If you do not feel confident about your career change now, where is the confidence you need going to come from?

Confidence is not fixed; it is something you can build and grow as you get better at the things you work on. Think about the first time you got behind the wheel of a car. You felt awkward, scared, uncoordinated and fearful. You had no confidence in your ability to drive or to navigate any of the roads in your neighborhood. You would not even contemplate going onto a main road or national road. The thought of doing so was just too overwhelming. Fast forward ten years later and you now navigate roads, highways even long-distance road trips with ease and confidence. You have no fear about travelling with family & friends in the vehicle because you know you have mastered the skill and have the confidence of a seasoned road user.

When we use the phrase
"I'm not confident about this." or "I'm not a confident person." What are we saying?

For some reason we tend to take a very selective view on this thing called confidence. For some things we tend to think of confidence as a personality trait. Something we cannot navigate or change because it is hard wired into who we are. On other things like learning to drive we tend to think of confidence as an emotional response. Something we can navigate and overcome.

In my experience, confidence is not as passive or reactive as that. Real confidence is a capability, a skill if you will. Once you know how to develop that capability for yourself, you can have it in endless supply.In other words, being confident isn't something you are.Confidence is something you have. Which means if it is something you have, that means you have acquired it.

You can build your 'confidence' through four steps. These apply to any areas of your life you need; your career is therefore no different.

  1. Commitment
    Everything starts with Commitment. This is where you decide whether you are ultimately successful or unsuccessful in any shift.
    The decision you make that "Whatever happens, I'm going to find and start doing work I love. It won't necessarily be easy, but I'm going to do it" is ultimately what shifts us form merely thinking about making a change and putting plans into action to actually make the change.
    Commitment is what will keep you going during the moments when the people around you tell you how crazy you are. It is what will keep you going when you don't even know what you really want to do and wonder if you ever will. It is what will keep you going when you come home from work with barely enough energy to do the things you need to do, let alone work on a plan to change your career change.
    Building your Commitment starts with knowing your WHY.
    Knowing WHY making a change is necessary or important. Knowing WHY you can no longer stay where you are? Accepting that there will be hurdles and obstacles that you will need to navigate along the way, and knowing that; you still choose to make the change.

  2. Courage
    When you are committed, it gives you the resolve to be courageous. Einstein said you cannot solve a problem at the same level it was created. In other words, you must change your thinking if you want to solve a problem.
    The answers to what you really want to do don't lie in your current world. If they did, you would have found them by now. To find them, you need to venture out of your version of what is 'normal and comfortable' and this takes courage. It takes courage to consider leaving a 'good' job if you hate it. It takes courage to tell your parents or partner that you want to do something else, but you have no idea what that 'something else' is. It takes courage to approach inspiring people and organisations you don't know in order to explore other options.
    Building your Courage starts with knowing your primary Fear.
    What scares you most about making this change? Take a moment to really answer this question. Very often there is more than one single answer – for many of us answering this question requires more than a single sentence or even a single page. There are usually a range of dynamics that add to the complexity of this question. All of which are valid and legitimate for you. HOWEVER, not all of these are in your control to change. How your boss, or in-laws or best friend responds is out of your control. How the economy and markets fluctuate is out of your control. This simply means that you need to be making informed decisions based on research and data. Making decisions that allow you to mitigate fallout and manage fluctuations based on sound knowledge and reliable information is how you start offsetting fear with facts.

  3. Capability
    When you are courageous, you develop new competencies and abilities.
    Remember what it was like to sit behind the wheel of a car for the very first time. Remember the fear and the anxiety of wanting to do it but being so scared to mess up. Remember the feeling of nervousness each time you got behind that wheel and yet each time you did. Eventually you stopped feeling the anxiety, and the fear dissipated, and you developed the skill and the competency. As you developed this skill with daily practice you eventually got to the point where you no longer felt the fear and the anxiety. After a while it became just another daily thing you did.
    Your ability and competence are like muscles. You can grow it, but you need to stretch yourself to do so. This doesn't mean you have to take huge gambles or make uninformed decisions. It does mean you need to be continually taking small steps that stretch you out of your comfort zone. We learn best when we are out of our comfort zone and sitting at the edge of discomfort.

  4. Confidence
    Finally, as you develop your capabilities, you also build your confidence.
    Notice the order of these steps.
    It's not about "Needing to be confident to take action," but rather "Needing to take action to be confident." Self-confidence is simply the memory of success. It is a learned skill.
    This means that irrespective of how much you may feel you lack confidence right now; you can develop more of it by following the steps above.
    Once you have developed your confidence you can start working on your next steps in working on Changing your Career with Confidence and Courage.
    Next Steps
    Stop Telling Yourself These Lies
    When it comes to moving forward in your career, it is important to have a clear understanding of your where you currently are. Once you know where you are you can determine where you need to go to.
    Professionals sometimes have a warped sense of reality that keeps them hostage in a career they despise. The truth is, if you want to be successful in your career, you have got to stop telling yourself these lies: ⠀⠀⠀⠀

“I don’t know how to do anything else.”
FACT: If you have been working for more than five years you have developed lots of transferable skills through your previous experiences. All jobs require certain core skills and certain people skills(aka soft skills).
MAYBE: What you may not know is how to package these skills into a meaningful suite. You may also not know exactly how many transferable skills you actually have, because you have not done a skills inventory.
ACTION: Completing a skills assessment (inventory) will allow you to analyze just how much you CAN do.⠀⠀⠀⠀

“My company needs me too much for me to leave.”
FACT: If you were to leave tomorrow, the company would find a replacement by the next month. It’s nothing personal – just business. When you hold a key role on a team, and they value your contributions, it is going to sting when it is time to part ways. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
MAYBE: the real issue is not leaving the job but rather leaving behind the relationships you have spent so much time investing in. Good friends are tough to replace.
ACTION: Do you really want to live a life of regret just to avoid a moment of hard goodbyes? Valuable relationships stand the test of time. If you want to maintain those relationships after you part ways WHAT is stopping, you?

“I have to do this because I went to college for this.” ⠀
FACT: You cannot allow a decision you made in your late teens/early twenties to determine the rest of your life. Would you marry your toxic college boyfriend/girlfriend just because you chose to date him/her then? I pray your answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!
MAYBE: You just keep telling yourself this because it is easier to face the real truth. You are either too scared to make a change or more realistically you have no idea what the next is for you.
ACTION: Circumstances change, markets change, and interests change. This is life. Give yourself permission to change your mind and adapt to your new circumstance or the new markets. This is how you stay relevant and sustain a lifestyle you want.

“I don’t have any other options.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
FACT: You have as many options as you believe you have. The possibilities are endless, limited only by your own mind. YES, it will take work. Nothing you have learnt will go to waste. You will always be able to extract skills from every learning opportunity you have had.
MAYBE: You just have not given yourself permission to change your mind because you are worried about wasting all the time and money already spent on what you may already have.
ACTION: Determine your transferable skills. Do a skills assessment and establish what else you may need to embark on any new career endeavours you may have. How much work are you willing to do to get to where you want to be?

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