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It costs more to get the wrong solution

Cost of not getting the right solution

I had an interesting chat about the cost of services at business networking event. My contact was keen to share how he had met someone who offered him ‘a great deal on some social media marketing‘.  I responded by saying that the cost sounded good but also asking him what the service included and how it benefited his company marketing strategy and business goals?

The silence was deafening, followed by ‘what do you mean by strategy‘!  I was lost for words but quickly realised the reality of the situation i.e. he was totally blinded by ‘the deal‘ and hadn’t even established what he was getting for his money and whether this service was actually what he really needed for his business.

Why Cost Shouldn’t Be The First Question

This bizarre conversation got me thinking about similar situations, not just for business owners like me and him but when potential customers or clients are looking for a suitable company or provider and look to buy from you. How often is the first question ‘how much will it cost?’  Many times, I’m sure you will agree!

By solely focusing on cost often means looking for a quick fix to your problem e.g. we have a problem or need, so what is the cheapest and quickest way to fix it. This might work fine when you are looking for the supermarket who offers your typical weekly shop and you can compare like with like to get the best overall value for your money.

However, more often than not, when comparing  service providers, you are not comparing ‘apples with apples’. If you, as we do, provide a very flexible, bespoke offering, then how much your service costs will depend on a number of factors.   A good example…if my company is approached regarding providing Career Transition (outplacement) to support a programme of re-organisation and redundancies or Coaching services to improve individual or team performance, there are usually many flexible options to solve their problem and provide the best solution. Of course, cost will be a key consideration for most companies, organisations or individuals but just focusing on cost won’t necessarily provide the best solution, will it?

We like to work collaboratively with our clients, so feel it is important to develop the relationship first, by understanding your key requirements, before we start talking money.  There are a number of key questions to consider e.g.

  • What are you looking to achieve / key objectives/outcomes for your project?
  • How many people are involved?
  • Timescales to start and complete the project?
  • Finally …..How much budget do you have for the project?

It Ain’t What You Do, it’s the Way That You do it!

Why ask all these questions first? Because, the answers will determine whether the personal calling or emailing has really thought through how best they want the project or problem resolved, how much say they have in choosing the right provider or understands what they can achieve for their budget. Such questions also open up more meaningful discussions, rather than just focusing on cost, which is no different to my opening example!

Whether you are a company, organisation or individual client, what you get for your money, how and when the service is delivered and how this meets your desired objectives and outcome is surely of the utmost importance, is it not? If you need some building work done on your home, it is likely you will get a few different quotes. However…

As the song goes: “It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it” .

So, when making key decisions to determine the right company or provider to deliver the service you require, I’m sure you will want to know the answers to some or all of these questions first, wouldn’t you?

  • What is their pedigree?
  • Do they come recommended?
  • What is their approach?
  • How will they help take away any ‘pain’ or pressure from you?
  • Do they have the right expertise for your project?
  • Do they work collaboratively with you to provide you with the best solution/s for your money to achieve your objective/ outcome/s ?
  • How confident are you about the provider delivering your project in the way you want and when you want?

How much does it cost to get it wrong?  

The cost of not achieving your key objectives or outcomes or receiving bad PR by choosing the wrong company or provider will ultimately cost you much more than spending more time and effort and maybe investing some additional budget to get the outcome/s you want. This is no different to choosing your builder purely on cost and finding you have to get them back to make good the job or worse still, having to find another builder to sort out their mess!

Steve Preston is MD of independent Career & People Development Consultancy SMP Solutions (Career & People Development) Ltd

Outplacement or Career Transition?

Supporting Organisational Change with ‘Outplacement’

You might be working for an organisation that is looking at laying off staff due to the need to cut costs or because you want to become more efficient. If so, what are your thoughts about how you might support the staff who will be leaving as a result of such organisational change? For many people in HR and Operational management roles, aside of ensuring that correct policy and procedures are adopted, to comply with appropriate employment law, the word ‘outplacement’ is likely to spring to mind, when considering both the process for laying off staff and also the support required.

What’s in a name?

I have never liked the term ‘outplacement’. However, here’s the thing…as a company that provides such support, in order to be found on web searches and for marketing of our services, we are arguably obligated to still use this term, if we are to be found by organisations and especially HR managers looking to source providers. SMP Solutions takes great pride in our reputation and caring approach, so we sought the views of a number of our clients and key contacts and took the decision to change of our focus, preferring the term ‘Career Transition‘ instead. Not an easy decision, in view of the comments above. However, as a people focused company we felt this was a positive move.

Why? Because ‘outplacement‘ very definitely has negative overtones i.e. someone is being ‘outplaced’ of their organisation or the organisation is ‘outplacing’ a number of employees. In essence people are having something ‘being done to them’. ‘Career Transition’ by comparison suggests a journey or movement. Yes, it is a time of change but from something to something else, rather than one way enforcement ‘out’. ‘Transition‘, can also certainly be viewed as a positive experience and many people associate this with ‘transformation‘.

You may feel this is all semantics, as whichever way you look at it, the organisation will be laying off employees, so what difference does it make what you call the process or support involved.

But what if it really does make a difference?

Just think about the difference it could make to both the employees affected and the organisational psyche by starting such a difficult organisational change process in a more positive vein? I will be sharing more thoughts about this in future blogs.

Definitions of Outplacement

Knowing that ‘outplacement’ is a term mainly used in HR, operational circles and by people who have been on the receiving end of it, I decided to check out definitions via a Google search. They were easy to find and here is a sample. You can make up your own mind about what message you feel they send out:

  • “Counseling and assistance in finding a new job, provided by a company for an employee who has been or is about to be dismissed
  • “The process of assisting a terminated employee find a new job”
  • “The process of finding new jobs for people in your company who have been forced to leave because their job no longer exists”
  • “A service that offers counselling and careers advice, especially to redundant executives, which is paid for by their previous employer”
  • “Outplacement is the efforts made by a downsizing company to help former employees transition to new jobs and help them re-orient themselves in the job market”

Can you imagine an employee who wants to know more about outplacement and does a similar search as I did? The words above in italics, are some that will clearly rankle with an already distressed employee and could ‘add fuel to the fire’! Whilst some of the text in each comment has merits, the definitions are generally demeaning and inappropriate. Comments about being ‘dismissed’, also ‘former’ or ‘previous’ employer are written in the past context, so are inflammatory and inaccurate.

So, by focusing on offering ‘outplacement support’, although an employer may have the best of intentions, the result could be that the very people who it is aimed at and who will benefit from the support, could turn their back on the opportunity. Unfortunately, the reality is it that the only loser in such acts of defiance are the employees who choose not to  take up the support.

The benefits of a well planned and delivered ‘career transition‘ programme

Managed well, focused ‘career transition‘ support will provide your departing employees with the tools they need to have the best possible chance to find the right next job for them.

For an employer laying off staff, providing a well planned and delivered programme of ‘career transition‘ support, will do much more than help overcome the immediate needs of your departing employees, to find another job. Such an approach can also become be an invaluable source inspiration for those affected to re-evaluate their careers, open up a whole new world of opportunity and possibilities, so they can look forward to the future with confidence.

While cost is a key consideration for most organisations, a ‘one size fits all’ approach, although better than nothing, is unlikely to produce the best results for the affected employees.  Showing a caring attitude and having a programme of career transition support to reflect people’s differing needs, should ensure that employees leave on good terms, whilst also sending out positive signals to the rest of the workforce.

The result…..

A win, win for both the departing employees and for the employer by creating positive PR, which is likely to aid employee engagement, productivity and staff retention.

So, do you now, like me, also think that ‘outplacement’ is an outdated term that should be made redundant and consigned to ‘room 101’?

The jury is out! I would love to hear your views 🙂

Steve Preston is MD of independent Career & People Development Consultancy SMP Solutions (Career & People Development) Ltd and Author of the internationally acclaimed ‘Winning Through Redundancy- Six steps to navigate your way to a brighter future

Why everybody is in Sales, even you

Have you heard the saying that ‘everybody is in sales’? If not, you might be wondering how this can be and where this is going?

Sales Perception

For many people the very mention of ‘sales’ is a dirty word and sends shudders down them, conjuring up visions of pushy double glazing salesmen, estate agents (real estate) annoying spam phone callers or emails.  Does this sound like a familiar perception?

You might also be thinking that in your job or career you have nothing to sell, especially if you work in the public sector/services. However, the reality is that you don’t need to be in a ‘sales job’ or have a product or service to sell. Regardless of whether you are in HR, IT, Finance, Marketing, private, public or charity sector or running your own business, you will need to ‘sell yourself’ in numerous work situations e.g.

  • To win at an interview and get the job
  • Secure a contract or project
  • Gain promotion
  • Get approval for training or development you are aspiring to

Let’s face it, as professionals, we spend our lives ‘selling’ ideas or decisions you want your boss, staff or team to buy into e.g. a better way of doing things, the need for change, who you should hire, fire etc.

Selling Yourself at Events

When you attend conferences, seminars or networking events, depending on your job or situation, you are likely to be selling what you or your company/organisation has to offer and how this benefits others. I’m sure you do this almost as second nature, without thinking about this as selling? I experienced a wonderful example of this at a networking event which I will mention later.

Selling Yourself to Progress Your Career

You might be an aspiring executive or manager in which case you will need to sell yourself in many ways in order to achieve your desired goal by way of:

  • CV/resume
  • Job applications
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Interview/s
  • Networking meetings

Again, the reality is that people who are good at selling themselves, get on in life. I’m sure you know people like this who always seem to get promoted, move into better jobs or be successful in their careers and life. So what do I really mean by ‘sales’? After all ‘selling’, for many people, means forcing people to buy something they don’t really want doesn’t it?

A different take on ‘Sales’

What if I substituted ‘influencing‘ instead of sales’, how would this feel? Quite possibly this might put a different perspective on your views?

But what do all successful sales people have in common? Think about how they make you feel? They make you feel good, don’t they? Why……because of these:

  • Sincere – Great empathy, engaging and no bs!
  • Attitude – Enthusiastic, positive, encouraging, confident, passionate
  • Likeable – People ‘buy’ people or from people they like
  • Energy – Nothing is too much trouble, always going the extra mile
  • Solutions focused- Looking for a win, win e.g. right fit, right product, right answer to the problem or challenge

These are clearly all highly positive personal attributes. Therefore, use this SALES acronym to help you think differently and reframe how you feel about ‘sales’ and selling yourself, your company or organisation.  

What if you had a simple approach to selling yourself in any situation? 

That would be great, wouldn’t it? 

Well, here it is…….practice the ‘RUB’ approach, as a super simple way to influence people and achieve more of what you want and win, win solutions:

  • Rapport –  Learn how to build a bond naturally so you are quickly on the same wavelength to achieve a mutual ‘meeting of minds’
  • USP/s – Your unique selling proposition/s . Might be considered an old hat term but focus on selling what makes you different or better and stand out
  • Benefits – ‘Sell’ what value you can add/ how you can make a difference/ solve the problem or take away their ‘pain’. Get people or prospective clients to imagine how this would look or feel so they almost have to say YES!    

The RUB

Living Proof!

The wonderful example I mentioned earlier, was in fact a young intern who so clearly had all these ‘SALES’ attributes and was unwittingly using the‘RUB’approach to great effect.

Despite their young age, they absolutely stunned me with their rapport building skills, commitment and determination, travelling hours and miles each week for only travel expenses. They were going the extra mile literally! They had also gone to great lengths to research the opportunity, understand what was required and make sure they secured the internship.

They had a great energy about them and enthusiastically ‘told’ me all about the product they were helping to develop and why it was so useful. I was ready to buy it from them if it had been fully developed! Having learnt what I and my company does in the Career and People Development field, they then went onto share great maturity and wisdom about what they wanted to achieve in their future career. Also, why they felt it was important to follow your passions, doing work you love, rather than focusing on purely financial gainThis was clearly from the heart, without any bs as they gave me a brilliant example of how they were making ‘sacrifices’ to be able to save what little money they did have, to be able to create the working lifestyle they wanted. It was evident they hadn’t read my current book either!

I was so impressed I have asked to interview them for my next book project on Portfolio Careers, as they are a great example of a young person with great entrepreneurial skills who is likely to earn a living from multiple talents and multiple income strands. I am sure they will be a great success because they clearly know how to sell themselves and what they believe in, which is great!         

Reframing the sales process

Many sales organisations, courses and business gurus spend much time focusing on ‘closing the sale’. What if you turn this around so your focus becomes that people choose to buy from you instead? How much pressure would this take off you when you are selling yourself at interviews, business meetings etc? There are clearly some key techniques and skills involved such as NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which can all be learnt and like most things in life practice and persistence pays!

So, you might not have thought about it before but do you now see that you are ‘in sales’? Why is this so important? Because ….The more you develop and hone your influencing skills the better results you will achieve in your career and life!

 

Are you in the right job?

Are you in the right job?

Most people fall into their careers purely by accident.  Suddenly they get to a stage in their lives when they think “how did I get here? And “how did I end up doing this?”  More often than not, it isn’t what they really wanted to do in the first place and it seems almost impossible to think about doing something else now.  So they continue along the path they were on at the risk of becoming more and more dissatisfied with their own career choice. Could this be you?

What is important to remember, is YOU choose your career direction – it is not made for you it is created by you. Everything you have done until this very moment, whether it has been a conscious or unconscious decision, has been your decision. The biggest and bravest decision to make now is whether to continue on this path or take a different direction.

How to find out if you are in the right job

Ask yourself these 3 simple questions:

  1. If all jobs paid the same, what job would I do?
  2. If I knew I couldn’t fail, what job would I do?
  3. If I was given a magic wand and could create the job of my dreams, what would it be?

What do your answers say to you?

If you are doing a job that really interests, motivates and inspires you, not only will you enjoy it and feel happier than you ever have, but you will ultimately become a success!  Studies show that success does not necessarily translate in to financial reward (thought it’s always nice!) but is about doing something you enjoy, that gives you a sense of satisfaction and personal reward.

If your answers are indicating you are not doing something you want to do and you would like to do something different, well, why not start exploring what that might look like and think about how you can achieve it? So, are you in the right job?

Career Coaching is about helping people to explore their transferable skills and identify what motivates them.  It’s about exploring all the options and eliminating many of the barriers preventing them from realizing their career potential.

Here’s another little exercise you can try for yourself. Draw a line on a piece of paper with your date of birth at the start and your estimated year of death (without getting morbid!) at the end. You have now created your ‘personal life line’.

Now mark an “X” to show where you are now.  How far along the line is the “X”? Consider, what you have achieved until now and think about how much time has passed? What jobs have you done?  What did you enjoy and what were your successes?

Next, look at what remains on the right of the “X”.  Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve?  How much time do you have to achieve that?  If your earlier answers to the 3 questions indicated you’re not doing a job that really makes you happy, then perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what you would like to do and how you might be able to achieve it.

Career Coaching is not an overnight fix, and magic wands are in short supply.  However, if you really want to change, so you are in the right job – you can.  You are in control of your own career and ultimately you can always change direction.

“If you do not change the direction in which you are going, you will end up where you are headed” – Confucius

Thank you to Karen Munro, Career Coach in the SMP Solutions team for providing this blog.

SELF EMPLOYMENT – STARTING OVER AGAIN

Self-Starting Again

According to Barclays Bank 81% of entrepreneurs said they are happier now in self employment than when they were employed.  The same survey reveals that 71% were more optimistic, 63% were busier, 54% were more relaxed but that only 30% were better off than when employed.  The remaining 70% were obviously feeling the effects of losing their corporate packages or their businesses are still getting established and maybe in the process of building a business base.

When asked why they wanted to start their own businesses 44% said they wanted to build a big successful business, while 47% wanted to continue earning a living.  The final 9% wanted to either supplement their existing income or wanted to create a secondary income. The source for these figures is from the Barclays Bank website dated of 25 September 2014. 100% chose to start again.  They chose self employment to take control of their own career and life, be in the driving seat and put themselves and their families first. Look again at that impressive 81% who said they are happier now.  Could that be because they have re-modelled their work/life balance themselves?

Become a Free Agent

Maybe you are reading this because you have had enough of the corporate world, working for a large institution, working for other people’s visions and dreams or you might be facing or recently experienced redundancy? Either way, you have decided to take a long hard look at your working life and are keen to make changes. If so, you could become a free agent! With self employment you can be your own boss, take control, and have choice and the final say in what you do for a living, when you do it and how you do it.

Not everyone is an entrepreneur in the Dragons Den sense of the word. Not everyone wants to invent the next generation of vacuum cleaner or start their own airline.  However, self employment allows you to direct your talents to fulfil your life plans.  In the 21st century digital age, many skilled professionals opt for the simplest and most cost effective option of self employment i.e. to sell their expertise to individuals and / or organisations online or develop a service based business from home with a desk, computer and mobile technology. Having minimal overheads and maximum flexibility, rather than expensive office premises when you are starting out, is an attractive proposition. This means you keep the majority of the income you make, so it becomes much easier to start making a profit and a reasonable living.

Self Employment – Success Before You Start Up

Success Before You Start Up Book Cover

Despite all the positive statistics from Barclays, most businesses fail in their first two years of trading. Why is this? Because the business owner hasn’t done their homework. ‘Self employment seemed like a good idea at the time’ doesn’t wash if you haven’t thought things through properly, does it?  It is remarkable how often we come across people who haven’t done the basics such as:

  • Considered why you want to start a business i.e. what is the purpose and what are your goals?
  • Researched the market and the competition
  • Established whether there is a need or demand for your product, service or business idea
  • Developed any sort of business plan
  • Thought about how best to get your product or message across to make sales or earn income
  • Evaluated whether the business can make money

Passion is great but don’t overlook the essentials

It is great to have passion for what you do, as people buy people and your passion can become infectious. However, all too often, new business owners get carried away by the excitement of setting up their business and the passion for their products or services and overlook the reality that passion alone is not enough to create a successful business. Self employment means there is much hard graft to be done to ‘get out there’, network and sell and market yourself and your business like crazy both online and offline! There are many other considerations e.g.

  • Do you want to work alone?
  • In collaboration with others?
  • Employ a small team? If so where will you be based and how much can you afford in salaries, rent, rates and other overheads
  • Have you worked through how much you need to sell or income you need to generate to achieve your desired business and life goals?
  • Who will do the key administration and financial tasks?
  • Should you be vat registered?

Depending on what you do in your business and who you work with, you also have different options for setting up your business as a Sole Trader, Limited Company or Partnership. The first steps in any of these approaches are the same and it is very easy, once you know how to go about this but it makes sense to get good advice before you start trading.

Self Employment – Making it happen

Self-employment or starting up your own company can be hugely rewarding as the Barclays statistics highlight. It has never been easier than now to set up and start a business. If you would like practical help to set you on the right path to becoming self-employed then please contact us as wouldn’t it be great to start off on the right footing, so you really can enjoy the fruits of your labour and become one of the 81% who are happier now than when they were employed?

www.smp-solutions.co.uk

Photo – Everest at dawn courtesy of David Smith

Career over 40 – feeling washed up or thriving?

Do you feel washed up in your career over 40? Many people will have us believe that once you reach the ripe old age of forty that the best of your career is over. You might get passed over for promotion by younger blood, so your career either goes sideways or it is all downhill from now on. Of course much depends on the type of  job you do, industry and sector. Is this really fact or fiction? Isn’t it both interesting and heartwarming that such a myth of your career over 40 was blown away by none other than a mother of two young children, British athlete Jo Pavey. After a long and checkered athletic career, often plagued by injury and near misses and having had her second child at the start of the year, in the space of a few short weeks,  Jo won a bronze medal in the 5,000 meters at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, with a gutsy performance, stopping the Kenyans achieving a clean sweep of the medals. Only a couple of weeks later, Jo won the first gold medal of her international career, winning the 10,000 meters at the European championships in Zurich.

You are what you think and feel

Mindset, is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? If you believe that your career over 40 will be in a downward spiral, then that is probably the way things will turn out. So, what can we learn from Jo Pavey? Aside of being an inspiration to us all, this has been the most successful year of her entire career and she now has her sights on the next big challenge: her fifth Olympics, in Rio in 2016 and competing for a couple more years after that. Jo, by her own admission is feeling good about herself, relaxed and happy in her ‘work’ and her life. She also knows herself and her body better than ever, which means that she is better prepared for the big events, she can set her goals more clearly and is feeling excited and ready, rather than fearful, which may well have been the case at many previous major championships.

Jo Pavey Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

The Importance of doing what you love

Why push her body through all the daily hours of many miles of training for the next two years and beyond? Quite simply because she loves what she does. She also takes great pride in representing her country at major championships and certainly doesn’t consider all her hard graft as a chore or that she should be slowing down because of perceptions of her career over 40. Research consistently shows that around 1 in 2 people are unhappy and unfulfilled in their jobs. This may apply to you but if not, almost certainly someone you know. Another lesson for us all, in that life is too short, so why be unhappy? You do have choice.

Taking positive action

So, why does your career over 40 need to be washed up and negative? Jo Pavey has proven emphatically, in a grueling sport that it doesn’t have to be.  But what are your options, when you reach this stage of your career at life? Whether you still have ambitions to move up the career ladder, change career, develop a portfolio career or become your own boss and set up that business you have been thinking about, nothing will happen unless you take positive action. Too many people moan and groan about their lot and how they hate their job or how they would like to do this or that. Well the reality is that only you can make it happen. You must take responsibility for your career, as nobody else is likely to are they? Taking positive action is Step 6 of the highly acclaimed SMP Career Navigation Cycle process. SMP-Career-Navigation-Cycle

If you follow these 6 steps then you will ensure your career over 40 will not just survive but thrive, like Jo Pavey!

Winning Through – Your Route to a Brighter Future!

Winning is a powerful word whether you see, read or hear it. Winning conjures up a vision of success, of victory, of accomplishment. Winning is a word on a pedestal of its own, linked to feelings and emotions associated with the highest levels of personal achievement.

Winning delivers an end result.

You run in a race and you win. You experience a winning feeling. You achieve your desired result. However, in your endeavour to reach this pinnacle moment, what did you have to win through to actually achieve it?

Winning through is an altogether different concept.

To successfully win through anything in life, it is vital that you have a process or series of steps to follow or be guided by. Consider something you have achieved for yourself in your life, career or business. How did you achieve your successful end result? How did you get started? What happened along the way? What ‘mountains’ did you climb? How and when did you realise you had ‘arrived’?

Did you ‘see’ the process?

Regardless of whether you are an individual who believes that instinct and luck is all you need to win, these two beliefs inadvertently present you with a process you must follow before you can ‘win through’ any experience. Guided by instinct you will take a series of steps which lead toward your end goal, won’t you? The same goes for luck. Each ‘lucky’ achievement becomes another footprint and step to take toward you being luckier.

Much like a ‘navigation cycle’ leading to your success, don’t you think?

Picture the captain of a ship, on the bridge, his focus completely on a wild, stormy sea. As captain, it is his responsibility to navigate a safe route, to ‘win through’ the chaos. Using a process involving skills, technology and experience, the captain works out the best way to reach the destination; safely. In essence, he is guided by a process. Without it his ship may sink, all hands on deck lost. Not a winning through outcome.

So, will you arrive at your destination safe and sound or will you remain lost at sea?

In my experience, many people who face life or career changes such as redundancy and the fallout from restructuring, or separation and divorce, all too often remain ‘lost at sea’. Why? Because they feel the need to tread water, hoping that dry land will appear. Amid this time of uncertainty, the notion of winning through their current situation is usually so removed from their thinking. Have you experienced these feelings? Are you treading water?

Winning through can pave the way for clarity, focus, purpose and fulfilment.

Stop yourself from drowning by reaching out and taking hold of the life-ring. This will return you to dry land. Once you’re on the beach your task is to make a new set of footprints as you take one step at a time toward your new life or career journey. Make best use of a navigation cycle to enable yourself to clear your thoughts and gain a new perspective.

Now go forward with your newly discovered ‘winning through’ attitude!

 

 

Why Retire from Work? Simply Re-Tire your Life & Work Instead!

‘Does retirement make you ill?’ was the topic of conversation on a recent Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2. During the lunchtime discussion, listeners were asked to share their thoughts about the impact retirement can have on your life.

Mark Littlewood from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) commented on one of their latest studies, which suggests that ‘almost 1 million people in Britain are now working beyond the retirement age of 65’. There are several factors relating to the reasons why this is the case, one in particular being the changing world of work.

Will you choose to retire at 65 or before? If so, how harmful is retirement for your health?

From the study carried out by the IEA, Mr Littlewood explained that even though the act of retiring can deliver a short-term boost, in the long-term it may trigger a decline in health, with cases of clinical depression and a need for medication becoming more apparent. Expressing his thoughts Mark suggested that ‘people can overlook the benefits of work, such as travelling to and from, the routine of working, and the social network of friends, together with the fact that being in work will allow you to be more affluent, which can impact on your level of happiness. If working longer keeps you happier, can a shift in thinking about retirement, become the tool to defuse the pension time bomb?’

Here’s a thought: what if you decide to re-tire your working lifestyle instead of retiring from work?

As mentioned by Mr Littlewood, when you work you maintain a level of physical and mental activity. Your work creates a routine for your mind to think, to move, to communicate, to interact and to solve problems etc. To help you reframe the way you think about retirement, you can develop a plan including your choice of structure, to replicate your working environment. Or you can simply reframe your mindset completely and re-tire the thinking around what work means to you.

‘My life is magic. To me it’s all about having a positive mindset’, remarked one 82 year old listener.

This dear gentleman, who continues to work with his grandson, said he does not wish to retire as his work gives him such great happiness and it keeps him healthy. What incredible sentiments. His mindset and knowing why his work is one of the greatest benefits for him personally are proof of how you can successfully reframe your thinking

Ignoring the US spelling of the word ‘tire’, how can you re-tire rather than retire?

Consider how often you need to replace tyres on your car. After 20,000 miles or so. Now think about why you change the tyres. To overcome wear and tear, for safety reasons, or for improved driving control.

Imagine you are facing the prospect of retiring from your work. Change your mindset to see your new ‘re-tired’ working lifestyle. Hold that picture in your mind as you discover why you’ve decided to work for longer, doing what you enjoy doing, together with the added benefits of happiness, fulfilment and good health.

When you re-tire your life you can:

  • Achieve Better Grip on the Road – you control what you do.
  • Drive Efficiently – economise your lifestyle, be flexible, stay healthy & happy.
  • Enable Smoother Cornering – enjoy the curves of your new road ahead, it’s your new journey.
  • Explore your New Tread –  this is your New Life Path, where you can ‘drive’ (work) for longer on your new road of choice, the one less travelled, your open road…

‘Re-tire’ your ‘wheels’ and inject your life with a new sense of purpose, perspective and well-being!

Discover more about how you can ‘re-tire’ your career, work or lifestyle by visiting our Career and People Development website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover your Favourite Blend of Portfolio Work and Lifestyle

How many times have you heard this cliché -‘work/life balance’? It seems that all manner of professionals use this term to describe what you can aspire to achieve in your life. However, in today’s fast-paced world, do you actually reach your goal, as you attempt to balance your work and lifestyle?

Do you struggle with the vision of what balance actually means?

When you picture a set of scales what do you see – balance or imbalance? As soon as you add the slightest weight to one side of the scales you upset the balance. One side will weigh down the other. In your mind, as you strive to bring about balance in your work and life, do your scales almost immediately become outweighed on one side?

Does the term ‘balance’ set the highest benchmark as being a state of perfection?

We all know that even with the best will and intention, achieving a perfect work/life balance is unlikely. Life happens. Work happens. Challenges, diversions and situations take place. That’s the real world. Are you expecting too much of yourself as you aim for the perfect balance, in other words, are you setting yourself an unrealistic and unattainable goal?

Wouldn’t you prefer to bring about a better sense of unity in your work and life? 

Or rather blend what you do. Consider the word blend. To blend evokes a new meaning; one where you can mix your work and lifestyle together. In one way, blending softens the idea of having to achieve a perfect balance, don’t you think? Blending negates the need for a defined edge or boundary. Instead it says to merge or combine.

Does blending encourage you to change your perspective about how your work and lifestyle can complement one another?

Together with living in a fast-paced world, the changing world of work is moving at a rapid pace as well. With growing numbers of people embracing portfolio careers and lifestyles, the concept of blending is becoming more and more apparent. A portfolio approach allows you to create a working lifestyle which clearly resonates with the term ‘blending’. A working portfolio lifestyle is a blend of work and living, where you can combine what you do with how you choose to live your life. Blend says together, combination, and where two separates become one.

Throw away the scales in your work and life. Change your perspective from balance to blendSet yourself a new challenge – to discover your favourite blend of portfolio work and lifestyle!

For more ways to develop your portfolio career and lifestyle please take a look at our Career and People Development website

 

 

The 100k Mindset

Changing the 100k Mindset

No, I don’t mean, you should change the way you think about earning 100k, if that is a goal you wish to aspire to. There is nothing wrong with this if it is right for you for all the right reasons. What I do mean is to change your thinking around the work you do to ensure you lead a happy and fulfilling life.

Why? Because 100k hours is the average time people spend working, commuting and involved with work related activities, including thinking about work, during their life. This suddenly becomes a seriously scary number, don’t you think? How many more waking hours does that means that mean you will be at work, doing your job, day in, day out…

Now ask yourself: Am I happy doing the job I’m doing? Is my job the best reason why I get out of bed everyday? Do I love what I am doing?

Most research shows around fifty percent of working adults in the UK and US are unhappy in their jobs and are looking for a more rewarding career. Many cite boredom, bullying, lack of career prospects, lack of training and development and not being valued as some of the key reasons why they are unhappy.

Are you one of the unhappy 50%?

If you are unhappy in your career consider the prospect of continuing to work for 100K hours in your current role. How does that make you feel? Chances are that you will experience these symptoms on a regular basis:

  • Panic on a Sunday evening about having to go to work on Monday morning
  • Dread on a Monday morning because you don’t want to go to work
  • Worry and restlessness at work from Monday to Friday because you simply don’t want to be there
  • Ignoring the little voice inside your head saying “It’s time to change”

Recognise yourself?

Lebanese philosopher, Kahlil Gibran quotes: “If you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work”. When we look at the high level of unhappiness among working adults in the UK and US, this quote rings so true. Instead of getting paid to be unhappy, why not listen to that little voice inside your head and bring about change in your work and life?

Take control of your career, by changing what you do, and get paid to be happy!

That’s all good and well you say, especially at a time in the economy where household budgets are strained due to the rising cost of living. Is now the ideal time to change your career? Why not grin and bear it, remain unhappy, and receive your salary at the end of each month?

Reflect on the 100k hours of work statistic. Do you honestly want to spend that length of time in a constant state of unhappiness? Life is too short and there are so many amazing alternatives. Scared to take a leap of faith? The only way you will change how you feel about your work or career is to have the courage to follow your heart. Perhaps it’s a change of scenery, people or time for you to embrace something in your life you are truly passionate about. This can be your opportune moment to realise a lifetime ambition, and to give yourself a chance to love what you do.

Walk away from your unhappiness.

It’s up to you to create an escape plan and to break free of the tedium. You have the choice to do this. But what about your financial situation when you give up your well paid salary? Many people who are dissatisfied, disillusioned and unproductive at work are those who earn the most money. In contrast for many of the individuals I have worked with, who have taken a leap of faith and discovered happiness in their work and career, it’s not about the money. Happiness, purpose and fulfilment far outweigh the big pay cheque at the end of the month. Why? Because these people are now doing what they love.

So how can you move from unhappiness to happiness in your career? Take a high dose of self belief, say to yourself ‘Now is my time to do what I love’, and just do it!

Just think what you can do with the gift of 86400 seconds (one day) to get started on your road to happiness.  How do you feel about 100k now? Is 100k suddenly less appealing? Are you ready to change your mindset and take the leap of faith to doing work you love, as if not now when?

If this all sounds like a bridge too far, then you don’t have to make your change alone. Working with a career coach can help keep you focused, motivated and on track to achieve your ultimate goal. Maybe now 100k could take on a new meaning for you, don’t you think?

If you need help to change your career mindset check out our website for more information.