When times are tough, keep going

What do you do when times are tough? Perhaps work is not going well, or it just feels like you are ‘wading through treacle’? Progress feels inordinately slow, and you wonder if you are moving backwards.

I know for me, there is a stubborn streak in my nature, (I do not always want to admit I might be on the wrong track).  There is a certain level of ‘grit’, in my makeup, which helps me when needed to get my head down, put the work in and keep going.

Sometimes the breakthroughs come at the moments you least expect them, the ‘darkest hour is just before the dawn’- Thomas Fuller. How many people, I wonder give up just at the point they are about to make their ‘breakthrough’?

So, my question for you today is what can; you do to encourage and support yourself when times are tough?

Well, it might help to look at my checklist:

Check your perspective, are you really making so little headway? How realistic are your plans and expectations? Are you hoping for too much too soon? Or are you playing too small? Sometimes it is easier to go for the ‘bigger’ dreams.

It may be that your vision or your dream is simply not big enough. Take a look at an earlier post here https://careerresilience.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/making-sure-your-dreams-are-big-enough/

Check-in with your values, is what you are trying to do in alignment with who you are and the things you stand for? A lack of progress might well be a big clue to this; you may well have propped your career ladder up against the wrong wall. It just might not be the right thing for you.

Check your timing, so much of life I think is about timing and luck. Perhaps there is some additional learning and training that you need to undertake first. You may well be stretching yourself too thinly and not giving your project the energy and focus it needs.

Check your pathway, is it time to adjust your approach? It might be better to, ‘stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach’ – Tony Robbins

Check your process, similar in some ways to the point above, but if you know you have the right elements in place then ‘let go of the outcome‘ and focus on the doing. Sometimes this is the only way to proceed, keep going and trust that the process you are following is right for you.

Check your destination, is it still where you want to go?

Check your self-talk, what are you saying to yourself about your seeming lack of progress? Would you allow anyone else to talk to you like that?

So, whether you are:

Making a change of career

On the hunt for a new job

In pursuit of your first role

Looking for that first break

Hustling for that first piece of work as a new business owner

Chasing your dream

It is worth remembering that for the moment and for the foreseeable future, life is a bit of a marathon, no quick fixes, no sprints to the finish.

Be kind to yourself and accept that you are most likely doing the best you can.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

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Twelve steps to a successful career

Be aware – know your environment. Know the terrain in which you operate. Who are the leaders, influencers, competitors, and innovators within your industry? In other words, know the major players in your field.

Careeresilience 1 Sept 2020

Build a reputation – be the person who is consistent, reliable and delivers. You want to be the person who others find is a joy to work with.

Embrace change – learn to embrace change, treat it as a friend, a welcome guest as it is going to show up anyway.

Build a network – then maintain it, like a garden. Nurture and sustain your relationships, do not just show up when you need something. Know the people who you can trust, the people who genuinely celebrate you.

Build a team – around you, of friends, colleagues, a mentor or two, specifically to help you on your career journey. Do not try and do everything by yourself. Find people that you can catch up with regularly to share experiences, news, celebrate career successes.

Try something new – take some risks, push yourself out of your comfort zone on occasion, you will not know until you try.

Update yourself – keep your skills and knowledge as up to date as you can. What tools and techniques should you have under your belt? Remember your interpersonal as well as technical and IT skills.

Careerresilence 3 Sept 2020

Learn how to learn – no one fully knows how work will look in the future, so those who can adapt, learn, and apply their learning are more likely to thrive.

Continue learning – become a life-long learner, be curious about what you can learn and where it might take you. Review your learning regularly.

Maintain balance – whatever it looks like for you, do what you need to, to recharge, refresh and renew.

Know yourself – understand your strengths, skills, any gaps you might need to fill. Understand your stressors, your limits. Understand what lights you up, energises you? Notice what makes your heart sing and what makes it sinks.

Take ownership – your career is ultimately your responsibility, plain and simple. No one else has a bigger stake in it.

There you have it, my reflections on what it might take to create a successful career. Please do let me know if I have missed anything?

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

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My charter for Inclusive Leadership….

“You can have courage, or you can have comfort, but you can’t have both” – Brene Brown

 One of my favourite quotes and the one I am choosing as the banner for today’s post on Inclusive Leadership.  And, as a leader, if you are going to move forward with this, I salute you, but I would also say, ‘buckle up you are in for a bumpy ride.’

 In the light of George Floyd, the global protests around Black Lives Matter and the inequalities thrown up by our current pandemic, it seems now more than ever we need leaders prepared to dig deep and act. Now is not the time for tick boxes, empty gestures, policies that mean nothing and fruitless studies.

Careerresilience Values 1

We need leaders prepared to walk the floor, listen to people, come out from behind the small group of courtiers, and take a long hard look at what the numbers are already telling them.

We define Inclusive Leadership as leaders who are aware of their biases and preferences, actively seek out and consider different views and perspectives to inform better decision-making. They see diverse talent as s source of competitive advantage and inspire diverse people to drive organisational and individual performance towards a shared vision.”

Source: – ENEI, Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion

 It took me all of two minutes to locate this definition online, and I am sure there are others we could refer to, but how many of you as leaders have looked?

  • What does Inclusive Leadership look like to you?
  • What does it mean?
  • What are your stats telling you?
  • How hard are you looking?
  • Who are you listening to?

With this definition, I like the dual focus on awareness and activity—the need to act on mitigating your bias.  I also like that diversity is seen as a source of competitive advantage. However, you could argue that it should happen regardless, still, perhaps it is better not to get tied up in that philosophical debate.

From my own experience, two leaders come to mind when I think about accessibility and visibility:

The first, walked in as I was being interviewed for my first full-time job – on hearing that I spoke German, he immediately switched to that language to ask how I was. He seemed reasonably satisfied with my answer, and that was the first of many encounters during the four years I worked with that organisation. He was regularly on the shop floor, wandering around the offices and it was not unusual for him to stop and chat with whoever he came across, including yours truly.

The second, who even after five years I barely spoke to – was hidden mainly away either in his office or behind the same small group of people. When I queried this with my boss, I was told ‘he’s a bit shy.’ Not good enough. I was not impressed then, and it would not impress me now.

If you are a leader, it is your job to be accessible, visible to all, to be seen and to bloody listen.

I also think it is time to talk numbers and to be forensic in how you examine them. It is time to look beneath the surface, and determine at a granular level, what the figures are telling you. What is the story behind your stats?  What is missing? Or more to the point, who is missing?

  •  Who are the people working for you?
  • Where are they working for you?
  • What do your pipelines look like?
  • How often are you recruiting, promoting, mentoring in your own image?

Medium June 2, 2020

Now, I would like to share another definition with you:

“Psychological Safety is being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status, or career. It can be defined as a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking. In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.”

 Source: – Wikipedia    

How safe and inclusive are your teams? How would you know? Are you tapping into the potential of all team members? Because one thing that is glaringly obvious to me is the monumental waste of potential and talent that is caused by discrimination, racial or otherwise. There may well be people within your organisation who simply feel they cannot bring their whole selves to work, their ideas, their perspectives, their innovations, their insights. Can you afford to continue running a toxic organisation? I would suggest not.

Okay, just a couple more definitions around acceptance, and respect:

“Acceptance of a person is the act of agreeing to that person’s becoming a member of an organisation or group, or to that person’s belonging to your group as an equal.”

 Source: – Cambridge Dictionary

Do your people feel they belong at all levels within your organisation? Is everyone accepted and valued as equals?

Respect: –

 “A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.”

 “Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.”

Source: – Online Dictionary

I would hope at the very least you can put your hand up to the second line, having due regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others.

Because if you cannot, you have no business calling yourself a leader.

So, there you have it until next time.

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

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Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom…

My tongue in cheek homage to Baldrick’s war poem, ‘The German Guns’ from Black Adder Goes Forth. It starts and ends with Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom.

Careerresilence May 2020

So, without further ado, I give you:

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom…

Some pointers –

  • For the love of God, mute yourself. No need for the rest of us to hear every sniffle, cough, crunch, and rustle emitted from wherever.
  • Look at your screen, to see who is talking so you can wait your turn. We cannot all talk at the same time, but then please, please do not take all day to make your point.
  • Plan and prepare ahead of time. Make your tea, coffees, go to the loo, switch off your oven, hang out your washing, do all this before the call. Do not be the one person continually popping in and out of view.

If you need a break, here is a tiny clip of Baldrick, doing his thing, enjoy:

  • Sort your internet connection and pay heed when someone messages to say you have frozen. Or when you can no longer see or hear anyone.
  • All pets are a welcome distraction, except screeching parrots.
  • Unmute yourself when you finally have something exciting or useful to say.
  • Arrange your face, or to put it another way, set it to neutral. No one needs to see your eye rolls.
  • Say your goodbye once, maybe twice and then get out quick. Do not get caught up in prolonged and protracted goodbyes.

So, there you have it, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.

Glad to get that off my chest 🤪.

Until next time.

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

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SWOT Analysis – In challenging times

This month, and for the foreseeable future, I will be sharing some of the tools, techniques, models that I’ve used with my coaching clients, which they have found to be helpful. I’m hoping you will find the same.

Careerresilience SWOT March 2020

The purpose of the SWOT technique is to help you focus on a decision or goal, in a way that allows you to systematically list all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with a specific course of action or situation.

It can, in my opinion, allow you to take a breath, step back and evaluate a course of action or a specific situation in terms of the opportunities and threats it presents. And then look at how your strengths and weaknesses match against them.

Mindfully, describing the situation in some detail, perhaps as though you are talking to someone else might also help. In fact, talking it through with someone is likely to help.

SWOT Dos

  • Try and be as open-minded as possible as you work through each of the sections.
  • Be as analytical and specific as you can
  • Record all thoughts and ideas
  • Take a wide-ranging view of external influences and trends

SWOT Don’ts

  • Don’t try to disguise weaknesses
  • Don’t just merely list errors and mistakes
  • Don’t ignore the outcomes at later stages of your planning

Strengths – positive internal aspects that are under your control, things you can exercise and things that are particularly useful within the situation you find yourself. Something that you can capitalize on and use to exploit the opportunities that you have identified.

Weaknesses – negative internal aspects that are under your control, and that you can plan to improve or minimize. Something that you can mitigate in pursuit of the opportunities.

What weaknesses are most likely to cause problems?

What opportunities does this situation present, what might you be missing?

What specific threats does this situation hold for you?

Example

 Situation/Course of action

To grow existing coaching business within a Lockdown environment. No face to face, for the foreseeable future, no workshops.

 Strengths

  •  Adaptable and flexible
  • Prepared to take a risk
  • Will persevere in the face of adversity
  • Strong networker, with a good list of contacts
  • Comfortable using online platforms
  • Strong Social media/online presence
  • Existing blogs can be repurposed and made relevant

 

 Weaknesses

  •  A tendency to jump in without doing all the research
  • Not enough experience in direct marketing
  • Reluctance at times to put head above the parapet
  • Not a strong enough proposition -what am I offering?
  • A tendency to low energy
  • No market research
 Opportunities

  •  Freelance writing
  • Online courses, webinars – grit and resilience
  • Contacts, networks from past courses
  • Past clients
  • LinkedIn collaborations?
  • To gain additional skills
  • Hone online presentation skills
  • Speaking/presenting online

 

 Threats

  •  Current economic climate
  • Low energy
  • No market research
  • Lack of strategic purpose/focus
  • Lack of planning
  • No financial planning in place
  • Fear mine and others

 

 

 

Questions to consider with your SWOT.

  •  What can I do with what I currently have?
  • What resources do I have, do I need?
  • Who can help?
  • Who could I collaborate with?
  • Which of my strengths might play a prominent role in developing, exploiting an opportunity?
  • Have I missed anything? Is there an opportunity hidden, buried in this situation?
  • Correlations between opportunities and threats?
  • What patterns am I noticing?
  • Correlations between threats and weaknesses?
  • What strengths do I have that will be specifically helpful in this situation, that will move you forward?
  • What can you bring to the table that will help with this situation?

 

  • Which weaknesses are likely to have the greatest impact?
  • Are all weaknesses equal?
  • What would happen if I did nothing?
  • How can I mitigate my weaknesses?
  • Where do I need to prioritize?
  • Are there any correlations between my weaknesses and Strengths?

 

  • Can I quantify, scale the opportunities?
  • Which is the most attractive to me?
  • Which am I drawn to?
  • How can I prioritize them?

The value of a SWOT analysis is in how you interrogate the situation in which you find yourself and the action it inspires in you.

I also think there is value in getting the stuff out of your head and onto paper so you can see more clearly what you are dealing with. It’s also worth reminding yourself that strengths/weaknesses are considered to be internal to you and within your control.

Please feel free to share

With best wishes until next time

Janice Taylor

https://www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk/

PS I probably could have been a little more specific with my SWOT analysis, but I think you get the idea

 

 

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The tussle between my ‘Tortoise’ and my ‘Hare’…………Part Two

Being random might be my superpower.

I am a quirky, random black woman, who like a butterfly can flit between projects and interests, in an instant. And then, ponder overlong and drag my feet, when speed and decisiveness are needed.

Careerresilience 1 Feb 2020

I first wrote about the tussle between my tortoise and my hare, four years ago and today I find I’m at yet another place in my working life. My work is in flux, evolving as I seek to mix things up a bit and create the space where my coaching, writing and work in the charity sector can coexist. A small part of me would like someone to come along and sprinkle a little fairy dust over my endeavours😉.

There are now three significant parts to my working life, coaching, writing, and working in the Charity sector. After twenty or so years of being solely self-employed, I realised that I was tired of working predominantly on my own. I wanted to be part of a team, doing something meaningful, and that is what I was lucky enough to find, a role supporting vulnerable young women. Absorbing and flexible work that gives me real satisfaction.

Of the three activities, my writing pays the least, but I am determined to plug on with it because despite this if I don’t try, I’ll never know what I might have accomplished with it.  And two because I just might, get lucky and end up with a story or two on NetFlix.  A bit more fairy dust here would be excellent. Writing is the activity I love and enjoy the most. It is the one question that I don’t want to leave unanswered.

Coaching is no longer; the only thing I want to pursue. It’s time to accept the inevitable; most people calling themselves coaches have different income streams. If I want to write, my coaching practice will have to evolve, as it is it will not deliver what I need.

So, why a tortoise and hare? Well, most of you are probably familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare and how in the end, the hare loses the race through pride. This metaphor beautifully demonstrates the two ways in which I have approached some of my career choices. At times I have been strongly led by my ‘hare’ at others very much by my ‘tortoise’, which has resulted in some seemingly random, seemingly unrelated, seemingly illogical choices.

So before going much further, I’d better introduce these two characters:

My ‘Hare’- let’s call her Gloria, leaps enthusiastically from project to project. She’s gung-ho, makes her decisions, quickly and doesn’t hang around. Gloria’s the reason I ended up on a couple of Stand-Up comedy courses and a two-year life-writing course. Both decisions to attend made within minutes of discovering their existence.

Careerresilence May - June 3 2016

Gloria doesn’t always take the time needed to consider the consequences of each move.  Or indeed to recognise repeating patterns of behaviour. She hates feeling stuck and given a choice will almost always choose action and motion over anything else.

Gloria is also a bit of a collector, gathering ideas from lots of different places, but not always sifting through the details. In the age of Google, it is too easy to collect information, which is not necessarily accurate, truthful, or fully evidenced.

Gloria is full of ideas and wants lots of action, energy and fresh perspectives.

On the other hand, Wilma, my tortoise, is generally more focused and deliberate.

careerresilience 2 Feb 2020

She wants to keep me safe, comfortable and secure. Not always a bad thing. Wilma has I’m sure kept me out of trouble as much as she’s prevented me from ‘grabbing’ at some great opportunities.

Wilma wants to explore all options carefully, while Gloria is ‘chomping’ at the bit to get things sorted.

In writing this, I recognise I am more naturally predisposed towards Gloria and so need to consciously balance her with my Wilma when faced with critical decisions, career or otherwise.  I sometimes need to deliberately ‘slow myself down.’ Others might need to ‘speed themselves up.’

The trick is to recognise which one you are naturally predisposed towards and keep it in balance.

Balancing the two sides allows you to utilise the strengths from each so that whatever decision or choice you make, it is both considered and timely.

So, there you have it until next time.

Please feel free to share or comment.

Janice Taylor

Blue Sky Career Consulting

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

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A moment of ‘Career Pique’…………

Despite this happening over twenty years ago, I will still drop my head in my hands every time I think about it. An incident where I allowed my irritation and pique to get in the way of my usual good sense.

I first wrote about this incident as part of Jeff Goin’s thirty-one, day writing challenge, a few years ago. The day twenty topic, ‘describe a time when you messed up’, took me straight back. To the time when I was managing a Learning Shop on the High Street.

LinkedIn Career Pique

The Learning Shop was part of my employer’s strategy to make the college more accessible to the public and bring in a broader and more diverse group of people into Further Education.

I thought this was a great idea, which did and still fits with my values and beliefs about life in general, so I was pleased to be asked to manage this project and move it forward.

However, as with all things that are new, innovative and not quite in the mainstream, we had our teething problems. Our main one being with security. We were physically separated from the main site by a couple of miles so had no onsite security at night. All we could do is lock up and hope that we did not get a ‘call-out’ during the night as for various reasons, the security staff on our main site were not going to come down and investigate any alarms, issues calls etc.

On this occasion, I was on ‘call-out’ duty and did indeed get a call in the middle of the night from the police. As I lived South and the college was North of the River Thames, being called out at that time was a real pain in the backside. A situation not helped by the fact that the police had left, and I would be entering an empty building, not knowing quite what to expect.

I was also due that same morning to make a presentation to the Senior Management team about the shop and what we were hoping to achieve on the High Street.

It is a source of sincere regret that because of my anger and resentment at being called out yet again to answer yet another call when we had security staff two miles up the road. I refused to attend the meeting. Even today, as I read this, I still can’t quite believe my refusal.

It was not a good move, and I think forever ‘soured‘ my relationship with my manager. Things were never quite the same again between us.

In hindsight, I could have achieved so much more for the shop, and my staff had I attended looking tired, feeling tired but able to articulate from first-hand experience some of the problems we faced in running this project.

I allowed my feelings which were, to some extent, justified to cloud my judgement and my usual good sense.

But, what a missed opportunity, just from a moment of ‘career pique’. What a missed opportunity for me, my staff and the shop. Attending might not have brought about the changes I wanted, but because I didn’t go, I will never know.

So, at those times when you are right in the middle of an ‘emotional storm’.

Remember

Your feelings won’t always tell you the truth; they won’t always steer you in the right direction.

Your feelings won’t always align with your needs, though they may align more with your wants.

Your feelings are probably at their most unreliable when you are tired and dead on your feet.

‘I don’t feel like it’ is often not a good enough reason.

Instead, take a breath and ask yourself, ‘what is the ‘bigger picture’ here? Is it better to still show up, despite how you feel?’

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

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How not to build and treat a team……….

This month’s post is based on a short story I wrote and first shared in August 2016, and for reasons not entirely clear to me it’s popped into my head more recently. So, I’ve decided to give it another airing.

A ‘Houseful of Clones‘, is about a busy professional, Juliette and her attempts to make her life a little easier……..

LinkedIn Sept 2016

It was originally written as a ‘tongue firmly in cheek’, story, reflecting my interest in ‘futuristic’ technology, and ‘fairy tales’, what I now understand as magical realism. It demonstrates, still, I think what can happen, if you take your team for granted. Because unfortunately, Juliette, does make a few assumptions about her ‘team’, which contribute to things going so badly wrong:

  • She assumes she can dump all her tedious tasks onto her ‘team’ and they will just get on with it indefinitely.
  • She assumes her team members have no dreams, aspirations or goals of their own.
  • She assumes that her team won’t observe and in turn ‘model’ what she does.
  • She assumes, that they will just listen and do what she says.
  • She assumes that because everything looks ‘okay’ on the surface, there is no need for her to ‘check in’ and dig a bit deeper.
  • She assumes that her team need no further input or guidance from her.

One final thing, Juliette also refuses to really see and acknowledge what is going on, right under her own nose.

So, without further ado I give you:

‘A Houseful of Clones

“It is with great excitement and anticipation that Juliette, opens up the box that contains a rather special package. It has taken some months, but now it has finally arrived and all she needs to do is follow the instructions and she will be forever free of all household related chores.

This will provide her with all the help she needs to keep on top of running a home and a demanding full- time business.

All things considered, this, if it works will solve all her problems.

What else could you possibly need, if you are able to grow your own team of ‘specially cloned’ helpers all with the focus and desire to make your life easier?

Juliette has invested in a Beta version of ‘Grow You’, – a cloning system especially designed for ‘busy’ people. She had painstakingly reviewed the brochure, completed the online questionnaire and sent off payment and hair samples to the ‘Grow You’ Corporation.” –

Now with the arrival of the package she is all set to move to stage two, ‘growing’ her clones to full size and inducting them into her life so they will know what is required of them.

And because finances are a ‘little tight’, Juliette had opted for the three ‘Clone’ package: – reasoning that she can always enlarge her team later if things work out.

So, with infinite care, Juliette, follows the instructions and carefully stores her pots in her spare room. It’s the warmest in the house and will keep them out of the way and safe whilst they come to full size over the two- week growth period.

Careerresilience Sept 2 2019

Two weeks later, Juliette has her three full sized clones and as part of their induction she names them, J1, J2, and J3 and allots each its own set of tasks.

J1, is responsible for all food preparation, buying, cooking and tidying up the kitchen

J2, is responsible for the garden and maintaining the outdoor space

J3, is responsible for cleaning and tidying up the house and Juliette’s pet hate, ironing.

All, starts well as each clone, diligently and methodically sets about their tasks leaving Juliette free to pursue her work and her interests. She finds that she can get so much more done, without the daily hassle as she sees it of cooking, cleaning, gardening all the stuff she has absolutely no interest in.

And, things continue, for three months……………….

However, during this time, J1, 2 and 3 become a bit more ‘self-aware’ and realise that they too are ‘bored’ by their tasks. So, unknown to Juliette, they decide to ‘outsource’ them. They reason that it won’t matter too much, as long as the tasks get done. Juliette will still get her meals prepared and house and garden tidied. Just not by them.

Strictly speaking this should not have been possible, but as the original kit was at Beta stage only, there was one small flaw. The clones are in fact able to clone themselves, which is exactly what J1, J2 and J3 do and conceal the presence of  the three additional clones (K1, 2 and 3) and things continue in much the same way, but with K1, 2 and 3 doing all the work.

Juliette remains blissfully unaware of anything being amiss, she had taken the time to carefully induct J1, 2 and 3 into her routines, unfortunately they are not quite so careful in inducting the 3Ks.

For this and other reasons it isn’t too long before the 3Ks decided to create their own clones, they had observed the 3Js and felt that they too could also use their time to ‘follow their interests and passions’.

Careerresilience July 2013

So, as you can probably guess by now, the 3Ks go ahead and create their own clones, following the example from the 3Js and name their clones L1, 2 and 3 and barely bother to induct them into Juliette’s routine at all. The three Ls do the same after only a matter of weeks.

Juliette remains largely unaware until one day she finally notices that her garden is looking particularly, unkempt and venturing into her garage to remonstrate with J2 she finds it is crammed with clones. All busy arguing and trying to conceal themselves in various ‘nooks and crannies’ as they become aware of Juliette’s presence.

In nine months, the original group of three has ‘grown’ to 18, and seeing this Juliette immediately contacts the ‘Grow You Corporation and arranges to have her garage ‘cleared’. She is assured that they will be well looked after and able to lead full and productive lives, but just not with her.

The ‘Corporation’ had as a gesture of good-will offered her the Alpha kit, but after a lot of thought, Juliette declines and decides that she will find another way of making her life a bit easier. She’d seen something about robots, maybe that is worth pursuing?

So, there you have it, until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

The original story had first published her, as Shortstoriesblogger 

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Making sure your dreams are big enough, updated

I am a dreamer, always have been, always will be, from girl to woman. Don’t think I would have the life I have today, without them. So, if you are one of life’s dreamers, you might as well make your dreams as big as you possibly can; to include your aspirations, your values, your beliefs, what lies at your core and anything else you might want to chuck in there.

Careerresilience 1 June

‘Make it so big that it crowds out all doubt and uncertainty.’ – Dave O’Connor

But, and this is a big but, choose wisely who you share them with. Don’t scatter your dreams and aspirations to the wind, hoping that that whoever catches them will immediately be rooting for you. Don’t just give them away, it’s not the doubters, or nay-sayers that worry me so much, more the people who can kill of dreams with their kindness and concern. They mean well, I’m sure but somehow…..

Six years ago, I wrote a piece on values and how they might be related to a process called ‘Core Process’, designed and developed by Chris Bull, Robin Coates and Calvin Germain, to help individuals identify and articulate their personal mission. Their ideas were in turn based on, Clark and Krone’s Open Systems Approach to organisations and their purpose, (1).

So, whatever your ‘Process’ is and each of us have one, it is described simply as a two-word phrase, the first word being a verb, the second a noun. Examples of individual Core Process include; Creating Harmony, Promoting Peace, Creating Order and Lighting Fires.

The whole point of ‘Core Process’, is to identify that ‘something‘ that excites, engages and energises you, but also that ‘something’ that runs through you like writing through a stick of rock. Doesn’t matter how chewed the rock gets, the writing remains.

It’s likely that’s it’s related to your core values and something that shows up in most areas of your life, both consciously and unconsciously. A trainer colleague of mine used to relate the story of one delegate on their course, who seemed to be always tidying and straightening up the training room. It then turned out their core process was ‘Creating Order’.

Mine was identified over seven years ago but then it felt ‘too out there’ for me to pursue or share.  So, much so that in my original post, I chose to reword it, so it was in the same ‘ballpark’ but sounded more sensible, more corporate and not quite so ‘Woo Woo’.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve come to realise and accept that it is a very big part of who I am, it’s not going anywhere despite my attempts to ignore it. It is determined to play a ‘big part’ in my dreams and aspirations and any attempts to ‘ignore’ it, or ‘down- play’ it, just will not work. So, what is it?

Releasing Freedom ………

Freedom has always been a big value of mine, freedom to study, freedom to choose, freedom to learn, freedom to live, freedom to dream but now I am taking full ownership of my ‘Process’ and recognising that for me at least it needs to be released.

2005-03-03 01.15.59

And I think it…….

  • Explains why I have become increasingly impatient and frustrated with the ‘world of work’ as I see it. I would genuinely love to see more people moving across from earning money for their time to building wealth for their futures.
  • Explains why I was so excited to stumble across the idea of universal Basic Income and the scope I see in it to release human talent and potential. Our current way of working, expecting everyone to exchange time for money is in my view unsustainable. At some point work as we know it will stop working. Don’t even get me started on Artificial Intelligence.
  • There is also an environmental argument to be made, it will no longer make sense to continue paying people to make stuff, a large percentage of which is likely to end up in Landfill.
  • Explains why I have become more concerned and focused on finding ways to actively thrive.  Asking people to merely survive is not an acceptable option.
  • Explains why I am thinking more in terms of how people can prepare for their long-term futures and not just their careers.
  • Explains why I feel compelled to spend time by the beach, reading, writing, social media-ing and dreaming.
  • Explains my fascination with all thing’s social media, I see so much potential and opportunity here for individuals and communities to create, build and share.
  • Explains why I have always been more interested in resilience and people being able to take full ownership and control of their careers.
  • Explains why I am probably largely unemployable (in the traditional sense), at this stage of my life and career.
  • Explains why I was initially so intrigued and attracted to network marketing and the potential I thought I saw here. Not quite so convinced today, but maybe we haven’t found the right model yet.
  • Explains why I may not be the right coach for you if you are focused on a more ‘traditional’ career path, however I may well be right for you, if you want to ‘bust out’.
  • Explains why I am more interested in ideas and creativity, less interested in stuff and that is saying something from an ex-engineer.
  • Explains, largely why I am me.

So, what is my vision, my dream?

To be honest, it’s not fully in focus but once it is, I do know it’s going to be as big as I can possibly make it. Notice how I’m following my own advice I will say this though writing will be slap bang in the middle and I’ll make sure there’s plenty of room for it.

Not unlike Mr Magorium in response to his doctor’s query, in the film Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, ‘making sure I have enough space to sleep’ while the Eric Applebaum character creates a ‘real’ night sky for him in hospital.

Make sure you have enough space to dream.

Until next time.

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Adapted from an original post in Careerresilience, June 2016.

References:

  • Core Process article by Nick Heap
  • Guy Standing, Basic Income: And How We Can Make It Happen
  • Rutger Bregman, Utopia for Realists

 

Posted in Basic Income, compassion, network marketing, Uncategorized, writing | Leave a comment

My Random Creativity and Dyslexia……..

In early May of this year, I attended a presentation on positive Psychology, one of the monthly meetings organised by the Brighton and Hove Psychology Networking group. During this interactive and highly engaging session we were asked to turn to our neighbour and discuss, ‘identify and talk about one of your strengths.’

Without hesitation, repetition or deviation, I turned to my neighbour and said, ‘random creativity.’ A phrase that has been rattling around in my head for a few months now. Something that I believe is a direct result of my Dyslexia and something that I am only just starting to take ownership of. It’s the way I can creatively put seemingly random ideas and approaches together. My best ideas emerge when I am daydreaming and allowing my mind to wander.

Careerresilience June 2019

I haven’t yet had myself formally assessed, but it seems highly probable that I’m Dyslexic, given my history at school and some of the things I continue to struggle with. It’s taken a surprisingly long time for the penny to drop 😉, given that our daughter was assessed as being Dyslexic three years ago. In my relief at having a definite diagnosis for our daughter and the report we could present to her school; I didn’t stop to think about the how and the why. I didn’t stop to think that Dyslexia is generally inherited, rather than acquired.

The realisation only fully hit when I joined a writing group in 2017 and noticed in our discussions that I’d simply not read as widely as most of the others in the group. My suspicions were further aroused by the feedback I was getting about my written work. After gaining three degrees, it’s the first time I’ve had my writing reviewed in this way.

So as an interim measure I paid a visit to the British Dyslexia Association website and took a few   online assessments, the results of which seem to indicate that I may well be Dyslexic. I won’t know for certain until I have myself fully assessed by a trained specialist. To access their site, please click here: https://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/

But now as I look back I think I can see some of the ways Dyslexia has impacted my life over the years:

  • I know I had trouble with reading at junior school and was pulled out of all my other classes, so I could be taught individually by Miss Shaw. I don’t remember how long it took, but this approach worked for me.  I learnt to read and moved on.
  • I never fully learnt my times table at junior school, despite being made to stand up and recite them with the rest of the class. I could learn the rhythm and move my lips along in time with everyone else, so unless the teacher came up really close she would never have known.
  • Without a pen and paper in my hand, I can struggle with spelling and as for mental arithmetic, forget it.
  • I kind of know my alphabet.
  • Over the years I developed techniques for building in the extra time and space I needed to prepare and process information. Really needed this in the final year of my engineering degree, when it seemed we were being hit by a tsunami of assignments.
  • At the start of my working life, I’m sure it affected my performance on graduate assessment/screening programmes.  I generally did well at interview but could never quite get through the timed written tests.
  • It took me seven attempts to pass my driving test, each time getting a little better, but I needed that extra time.
  • I love writing, but I’m not a writer who can produce long flowing prose that fits seamlessly together. I write in chunks I write the scenes as I see and hear them in my head.
  • My creativity, what I would now refer to as ‘my random creativity’, my quirky way of putting things together, I’m sure stems from my Dyslexia. I may not always spot or notice what’s obvious to everyone else but pick up on the ridiculous and the oddly out of place.
  • I am easily distracted and put off by long, complex, over descriptive prose. Often I need to read over a piece of text more than once to get to the meaning. There are times when words just don’t make sense. Might well be why I often re-read books, once only doesn’t tend to work for me.
  • Today I can honestly say that reading is still not my favourite pastime, I find it tiring and a bit of a strain. Particularly when I’m having to read and make sense of things in a hurry. Large chunks of densely packed text are a real turn off and I can find myself skipping over it if it’s not grabbing my attention. In short, reading is and always will be quite hard work, luckily for me I love learning, and this is the payoff.
  • I can never compose an email in one take, though this is probably a blessing.
  • If I don’t make the effort to concentrate I can find myself ‘zoning out’ in busy and noisy environments. This can be problematic especially when I’m supposed to be networking and when linked with my ability to daydream at the drop of a hat.
  • Will, on occasion stumble over my words when speaking or having to read aloud.

My Dyslexia has been in the background all my life, quietly driving me on. I successfully studied for three degrees because I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t stupid. Every time I embarked on any form of major study I followed the same pattern, started out ‘sh*t and got better’. Almost as though my brain needed a bit of time to warm up.

So, almost two years on, as I embrace my Dyslexia, I’m looking for the opportunities and the strengths I can draw from it. And the big one for me is most definitely my random creativity, though quite what I’ll do with it, remains to be seen.

My random creativity shows up I think more in my writing and perhaps in my coaching. If you want to find out more, look at:

Stories directly related to my work as a career coach:- careerresilience
Stories directly related to life and my random, take on it:- pittabread
Short stories directly related to whatever pops into my head:-shortstoriesblogger

So, there you have it, until next time.

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Word count: 1078

Posted in creativity, Dyslexia, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, writing | Leave a comment