20 ways starting a business is like starting a family

  1. You’ve never done it before
  2. You have no idea what you’re doing
  3. You work it out as you go along
  4. Well-meaning ‘experts’ tell you the ‘best’ way to do it
  5. You have to trust your intuition
  6. You spend hours on google looking for ‘the answer’
  7. You often feel like you’re talking to yourself
  8. It’ll drive you crazy
  9. It’ll keep you up at night
  10. You’ll make a shit ton of mistakes
  11. You’ll learn a lot about yourself
  12. The lows are soul-destroying
  13. The highs are out of this world
  14. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do
  15. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have
  16. There is no ‘best’ way
  17. The best way is ‘your way’
  18. There’s never a perfect time time to start one.
  19. You’ll never feel ready!
  20. Erm…

Why I’m no longer offering (traditional) career coaching

I want to share some important news about my business and I hope my story will put this decision in context for you…

How it all started

 

I thought it would be good to share a little about my motivations for starting my business back in 2016. I make no bones about the fact that redundancy was actually the catalyst for my own leap into self-employment. It wasn’t particularly from a place of courage, inspiration or a deep desire for change that I made the decision!

Honestly, I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my second little girl, Tabby, and I felt I had very little choice in the matter. In fact, I remember thinking. “Who will employ a pregnant mother of one, on a part-time basis for just a few months before she is due to give birth?”😔

Time was of the essence. I had less than 8 months to save a nest egg that would see me through my maternity leave..(and beyond?). I missed out on maternity pay from my then employer by a matter of days. 🤦‍♀️

Panic stations

Never being one to rest on my laurels, I secured a freelance employee engagement consultancy contract shortly after I was made redundant which took me up to the month before I gave birth in November of 2016.

I tried to switch off and not worry too much about what I was going to do with my career once my mat leave was over, but this was easier said than done! My redundancy process had been difficult for various reasons, aside from the obvious, and my confidence and self-belief were in tatters.

What next?

The one thing I was certain of was that going back to my corporate 9-5 (or even another contract role – lovely as my experience had been) was simply never going to cut it. I wanted more.

More meaning. More freedom. More time to spend with my young family. More time in nature. More time to create and learn. More autonomy. More happiness. More of what lit me up.

I wanted to do work that made a dent in the world. I also wanted less pressure, less conflict, less responsibility, less capitalist, alpha-male, corporate BS and far less political game-playing.

My wake-up call

Becoming a mum the first time round in 2014 – like for so many of the women I work with – gave me a huge dose of perspective about what was really important to me; and what was actually important in life generally.

Of course, motherhood isn’t the only life event that forces people to take stock. COVID, for example, has rocked the world to its core and there’s a palpable shift in people’s definition of work happiness. Check out any of the numerous articles on The Great Resignation to see the stats for yourself.

All I knew was that pursuing a career that looked ‘good on paper’, that quite often made me unhappy, took me away from my young family and lined someone else’s pockets was most definitely not my definition of ‘work happiness.’

I did it my way

So doing ‘my own thing’ felt like the obvious next step for me. This way I could do things my way, on my terms. I could choose who I worked with, the kind of work I did, when I worked and with whom I did that work. For someone like me with very clear values around autonomy and freedom, the prospect of working this way blew my mind.

So I proceeded to offer corporate culture consultancy and leadership coaching, along side my first love, coaching; working with individuals to shape happier more impactful work lives.

My business evolution

The first incarnation of my coaching business in 2018, was as a career and confidence coach for mums who were returning from or on maternity leave. Perhaps you even followed me as @shinebrightermums on social media?

Over the next couple of years, my business evolved and I started to work with a few founders who had lost their way and female leaders who wanted to change sectors or leave the corporate world to do their own thing. It became about helping people define their own Work Happiness Blueprint so they could then take aligned action to shape either their corporate careers or businesses.

It’s time to speak my truth

Over the last few months, there has been yet another evolution of my professional and business purpose, as my own interests and passions have evolved and my own why has become clearer. And I feel it’s finally time to speak my truth!

N.B It may not be your truth though so, if what I’m about to say does not resonate with you, I won’t be at all offended if you decide this is where we part company because my new direction doesn’t align with your own work happiness vision.

Here goes…

I honestly believe that the only way to find true work happiness and to create a work life on your terms; completely aligned with your core values, innate talents, work and life experiences, personality and purpose is to design your own YOU-shaped business.

Are we still a good fit?

There I said it. Eek. And as a career coach, who has historically helped a wide range of people with all sorts of career-change conundrums, this is a big deal for me to say out loud.

I also appreciate that this news may not make me ‘the career coach for you’ after all. And I completely respect that. I can’t be, and would never expect to be, for everyone.

I still wholeheartedly believe that you can definitely find more ‘work happiness’ by changing industry sectors, tweaking your role, playing to your strengths, adjusting your work patterns and working on your mindset. And for many people that is more than enough.

But this would never have been enough for me. I wanted more. I wanted to work on my terms, just as I described above. Call me selfish, call me idealistic, call me demanding.

Ain’t no going back!

But now I’ve tasted ‘true work happiness’, I’m not sure I could ever go back to the full time corporate 9-5. (Never say never though, right!?) All I know is that since I started my business, work (and life, for I feel they are one) just keep getting better and better. (She says, touching wood furiously!)

I totally get that the path to entrepreneurship is not for everyone and it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. But if you want it enough, I promise you it will be the best career move you ever make. I speak from personal experience!

The upshot

From January 2022, alongside my corporate culture consultancy and leadership coaching, where I help organisations and leaders shape purpose-driven and people-centric businesses and teams – I’ll be focusing on serving anyone keen to explore starting (or growing) their own service-based business.

I’ll continue to apply my work happiness philosophy, blueprint, science plus intuition-backed approach and signature SHINE coaching framework but with a view to helping brilliant women like you design and grow a YOU-shaped business, not just a corporate career.

I will, however, continue to support the wonderful women in my affordable career coaching membership, The Shine Collective, but this will be the only way to access pure career coaching support with me moving forward.

Because I honestly believe that entrepreneurship and self-employment is the path to true work happiness – at least until the world of work has been through a massive transformation! (which I’m working hard on in the consultancy side of my business!)

I have over 15 years’ experience of helping shape purpose-led businesses and cultures and nearly 5 years of growing my own successful coaching business, so I’m really excited to be able to share this expertise (and learnings!) with other (aspiring) female founders in 2022.

Is this goodbye?

If you know categorically that working for yourself in some capacity will never feature in your own work happiness vision, then feel free to join my Shine Collective affordable career coaching membership or please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and I’ll refer you to some brilliant career coaches who can help you grow a happier corporate career. If this is you, goodbye and I wish you all the work happiness in the world!

But if you’re still here – and made it to the end of this mammoth article! – and want to stick around to see what I have in store for you in 2022, hurray! and I’m truly honoured to have you in my world. 

Drop me a line if you’d like to be first to hear about my new future founder coaching programmes, launching early next year. Or you can book a free no strings call here to see if we’d be a good fit. You can follow me on instagram and facebook as @theworkhappinesscoach. Thanks for your patience as I update my website and social media to reflect this new direction!

How to get unstuck & reset.

It’s very common to get stuck in your work life from time to time. Sometimes it’s a life event such as motherhood, bereavement, illness, redundancy, divorce, a global pandemic (?) that causes you to stop and take stock of the direction your life (and work) is taking. There’s nothing like a dose of perspective to make you think differently about what you want and what would make you happy. 

Sometimes, the sensation of ‘feeling stuck’ can slowly creep up on you. And what started out as a dull nagging feeling at the bottom of your stomach becomes a general sense of apathy or discontent months – or even years  – down the line. Before you know it, you’ve been working on ‘autopilot’ for a good chunk of your career. “How do I ‘get unstuck?” is the million dollar question so many of my amazing clients come to me with.

And because I have been incredibly stuck in my own work life, I can empathise completely. It’s a rubbish place to be. But perhaps more importantly, I have the tools and techniques to help you get unstuck and working happy again. This is my own story of how I got unstuck and reset my own work life back in 2016.

My own reset story

You can’t go back & change the beginning, but you can start where you are & change the ending.

-C.S Lewis

Once upon a time…

…I suffered horribly from a nasty case of ‘shiny-object syndrome’. I was lured into a sparkly new role with a fancy job title and a pretty decent pay cheque – a ‘dream job’, on paper. But even as I signed my contract, my stomach lurched. Not long after, when things started to get really bad, my intuition piped up, “I told you so.”

The role was completely out of alignment with who I was, what I was great at and the dent I really wanted to make in the world.

I berated myself for not having trusted my gut, as I ignored those red flags my intuition had been furiously waving at me from the very beginning. (I hadn’t really ever been taught how to tune into those rumblings of my inner voice.) I longed to go back and do things differently, stand up for what I believed in. Stand up for who I was and what I wanted. But the truth is, I don’t think I really even knew who I was or what I wanted out of my work life back then.

Of course I knew I couldn’t go back and change the choices I’d made, but I made damn sure that I changed my ending and I embarked upon a total work-life reset. Oh, and I haven’t ignored my intuition since!

Self-knowledge brings confidence & clarity

The only way to change your ending and perform a total work-life reset, is to get super-clear on your truest, most authentic self.

Your best professional (and personal) identity.

In other words, you’ll need to explore the following:

⭐️ Who are you?
⭐️ What are you really great at?
⭐️ What are you known for?
⭐️ How do you add value, professionally?
⭐️ What makes you tick?
⭐️ What drives and motivates you?
⭐️ What’s important to you about the work you do & the people you do it with?
⭐️ What makes you feel happy and fulfilled?
⭐️ What do you actually want out of your work (and personal) life?

After all, knowledge is power.⚡️ And self-knowledge is self-power.

Significant life events – hello Covid, motherhood, redundancy, burnout, illness, divorce, loss etc – can cause a shift in your identity. And all of the above therefore have to be re-calibrated and redefined.

As things around you change, so you change.

Working through the answers to all these questions, without societal noise and pressures throwing you off track is really bloody hard. But, I promise you, getting clarity on this stuff is the absolute pre-requisite to finding happiness at work.

Which is why 90% of the work I do with my 1:1 clients is about self-discovery.
Discovery of your best authentic self.

And then we design and align your work life around this precise version of you.

You don't have to do it alone

Of course, you absolutely CAN work out what would make you happier and more successful in your work life on your own…(there’s always google, YouTube, free downloads, self-help books, journaling, trial and error, well-meaning friends and family, the cat…?)

But all I’m saying is that you don’t have to, if you don’t want to.

So if you’re looking for some gentle accountability, friendly support, a little bit of neuroscience,  positive psychology and personality profiling ‘magic’ blended with some down-to-earth and serious self-reflection to help you work out your best next steps, I’d love to help.

I have a tried and tested coaching programme that has now helped 100’s of brilliant women (and a few men!) over the last 4 years. And it works.

S.H.I.N.E is my signature coaching framework for career clarity, confidence and contentment, and if you’d like to experience its power for yourself, you can find out more about my 1:1 career coaching programmes here.

Go it alone or get wings & fly?

So if you want:

  • To find more meaning, purpose and fulfilment
  • Crystal clarity on your next steps
  • A self-belief and confidence-boost
  • To reignite your motivation levels
  • To unlock your professional potential
  • To get ‘unstuck’ & make a plan
  • Take action to create a work life you love
  • To reconnect with what you’re great at
  • To take back control of your career
  • To sense-check a new business idea you’ve had
  • To do something for YOU for a change…

…or you’re just intrigued to find that elusive ‘sweet spot’ where your passions, talents and experience collide with a need in the world; all whilst allowing you to enjoy life…then my 1:1 coaching programmes will help. 

Or you can sign up for my affordable career and personal development membership –The Shine Collective today if you prefer some self-directed coaching and  you’re happy ‘DIY’ your work happiness journey.

You can book a free ‘no strings’ call using the button below if you’d like to see how I can help you create more happiness in your work life. Or drop me a line on sarah@shinebrighterconsulting.co.uk and let’s chat.

 

How to feel more confident in your work life

This article is on the ubiquitous topic of ‘confidence’. Because, well, who couldn’t do with learning how to feel even a little bit more confident in their work life?  And yes, confidence is a skill you can learn. People aren’t born confident.

But it is a skill we all need to learn if we’re to find more happiness and success in our work lives. After all, without confidence, your thoughts, ideas, aspirations and dreams won’t ever come to fruition.

Read on for all the hacks, tips and resources to help you feel more confident and working happy… before you can even say ‘imposter syndrome’.

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

– Henry Ford

Mindset is everything

Mindset is everything and your thoughts are not facts. How many times have you heard those words before?

Our incredible, wonderfully complex brains are wired to keep us safe and cannot tell the difference between a real and a perceived threat.

So if you think something bad might happen (such as not getting that amazing job if you apply for it or no one buying your new offering), your brain will respond as though you are facing a real threat; triggering your autonomic nervous system and flooding your system with stress hormones.

This kick-starts your flight, fright and freeze response; causing you to either panic, run for the hills or stay rooted to the spot. (i.e you don’t even bother applying for that amazing job or launching your business for fear of rejection.)

Thanks for nothing, brain.

This primitive response has served the human race well for millennia. It’s kept us safe from the likes of sabre tooth tigers who used to lurk outside our caves.

But in a world where tigers are less common in the work place (unless perhaps you work in a zoo?), how do we manage this natural response and push through the fear to get what we truly want out of life? In this instagram live from earlier in the year, I shared a few tips on how you can overcome this primitive response, beat the paralysing effects of imposter syndrome and make progress in your work life.

What else affects your mindset?

In short, lots of things!

a) your beliefs

b) your experiences

c) your assumptions

c) your social and personal constructs

The truth is, we all see the world through our own filters which are shaped by so many factors. These filters then influence our thoughts and ultimately our actions.

A handy model to help you deconstruct your own ‘filters’ is the Ladder of Inference where each ‘rung’ of the ladder represents another filter through which your thoughts will have passed before they actually come to fruition as actions.

In this video, I explain how these filters and ‘rungs’ can really get in the way of you taking action if you let them!

If you've found this helpful...

…and you’d like to find out how I can help you feel more confident in your professional life, I’d love to chat. 

I hope this article on confidence has offered some food for thought and that you have a few practical strategies to try out next time your very own version of ‘Snarky Sarah’ rears her ugly head!

 

What’s come up for you? What baby step could you take to boost your self-belief and confidence when it comes to taking the next step in your work life?

 

What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?

 

If you’d like to chat about how I could help you find the confidence to create your own ‘work happy place’, you can book a free ‘no-strings -whatsoever’ call via the button below.

If you’d prefer to do a little self-directed learning and development, there’s a bumper module on the very important topic of how to feel more confident in my membership, The Shine Collective, which is packed full of tips and strategies on how you can overcome imposter syndrome, comparison-itis, self-limiting beliefs and automatic negative thinking to name but a few confidence crushers.

 

My 1:1 coaching programmes start at £1599 or you can sign up for my affordable career and personal development coaching membership , The Shine Collective for only £47/month and get started today. 

 

How to find your purpose

This is an article on the non-insignificant topic of ‘purpose’. And more specifically how to find your purpose. That elusive something that we all seem to be endlessly searching for in life.

I’ll be dispelling the myth that we all have one singular, definitive purpose and showing you how you can make finding  your purpose more accessible by simply weaving it into aspects your every day life. 

Banish your significant other(s) to the another room, pour yourself something cold, pop in your ear phones, grab a pen and paper.

(You’re going to want to take notes! )

“The stronger your ‘why’, the less the ‘how’ matters”

– Dan Cable

Wondering if you'll ever 'find your thing?'

Are you feeling the pressure to have found ‘your thing’ by now? Whatever ‘your thing’ is meant to be…

If your answer is ‘yes’, then rest assured that you’re not alone.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to have it all worked out by now, have our shit together, finally grow up and ‘adult‘.

Ugh. The overwhelm that this sort of thinking can create is what often sends my clients into a tailspin of panic and stuck-ness.

But what if you were to view purpose in a different way?

Instead of a static, shiny ‘destination’ (full of unicorns and fairy dust), what if you started to view your purpose as a journey filled with ‘purposeful moments’?

I believe that we all have multiple purposes in our lives and that as we grow and evolve, so our purpose evolves and shifts.

My own purpose has changed in the 4 short years I’ve been running my business! When I started out in 2018, I was known as @shinebrightermums and focused solely on helping mums return to work, because that’s what my purpose was then. Now that’s only a very small portion of my work.

It’s well-evidenced that it can be unhelpful – not to mention unhealthy – to spend too much time in the past or indeed in the future; and that being more present and enjoying the ‘here and now’ is where we’d do well to focus our energies.

With this in mind, how could you incorporate more purpose into your day-to-day work life?

The answer is through a process called job-crafting. And you can apply this approach to both your corporate role or in your self-employed business.

In this article, Dan Cable talks about the ‘3 P’s of job-crafting’. And yes, one of those P’s stands for ‘Purpose’. He asks:

How can you find and connect to more meaning in your day-to-day tasks? Ask yourself WHY a specific activity is important to you four times.

What's your Ikigai?

If you’ve never heard of the word IKIGAI before then you might be wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Pronounced ick-ee-guy, it’s a Japanese philosophy around purpose which originates from the island of Okinawa. Okinawa is said to be home to the largest number of centenarians, which begs the question whether it is the secret to longevity! Here is a brief video I did on my instagram feed about Ikigai some time ago.

Coaching prompts to help you find more purpose

Journal around the following questions:

1. What activities do you never need to put on your to do list?

2. What would you do for free if money was no object?

3. What topics get you hot under the collar?

4. What kinds of articles or posts do you share on social media?

5. What non-fiction books do you find yourself drawn to and why?

6. What life lessons have shaped you that could also benefit other people?

If you've found this helpful...

…and you’d like to find out how I can help you find more purpose in your professional life, I’d love to chat. 

I hope this article and resources on finding more purpose in your work life has offered some food for thought and that you now have a few ideas about how you can make work feel more meaningful every day.

If you’d like to find out how I could help you find more purpose and create your own ‘work happy place’, you can book a free ‘no-strings -whatsoever’ call via the pink button below. 

My 1:1 coaching programmes start at £1599 or you can sign up for my affordable career and personal development coaching membershipThe Shine Collective today if you’d rather take things a little slower and ‘DIY’ your work happiness journey from only £47/ month. There is a whole module dedicated to purpose and finding your next best steps in there.

 

Are you making this common career change mistake?

This career change mistake is the biggest blocker approximately 90% of my clients face when they are standing at a crossroads in their career. 

The career change mistake so many of them make is feeling they have to be clear on their destination before they take the first step. 

It’s not unusual for prospective clients to send me an email or DM talking about their predicament of feeling stuck and saying things like, “I just need to work out what it is I want to do, then I’ll be ready to talk to a career coach…”

If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone!

I know just how unsettling it can be to feel like you’re free-falling; no idea where you’ll end up or how you’ll even get there – wherever ‘there‘ may be… But waiting until you get clarity on your destination may well delay your work happiness by months… if not years.

In 2016, I was made redundant from my Head of Talent & Engagement role whilst – unbeknownst to me – in the early stages of pregnancy with my second little girl. Soon after, my husband was also made redundant.
Quite frankly, it was a bit of a sh!t show all round!

By far the biggest mistake people make when trying to change careers, is to delay taking the first step until they have settled on a destination. “

 – Herminia Ibarra

Tune into your inner compass

It was like my world had been turned upside down overnight. I had zero clue what lay in store for me professionally and my confidence was in tatters.

I didn’t have the luxury of time on my side with a baby on the way, so I just put one foot in front of the other and started. Lucky for me, having worked in personal development for years, I had a good deal of self-awareness and a strong inner compass which I proceeded to follow relentlessly.

I said ‘yes’ to opportunities that ‘felt good’, aligned with who I was, energised me and played to my strengths. I also said yes to a few things that didn’t feel quite right – and then instantly regretted it!

Through this iterative process of self-discovery, lots and LOTS of cock-ups, lots of baby steps (and lots of lovely learning), I finally created my own work happy place a couple of years later.

The point is, you don’t have to know where you’re headed, you just have to take the first step and START. Work out who you are and then start doing it on purpose.

Find out who you are and do it on purpose.

 – Dolly Parton

Take the first step

The ‘working out who you are‘ bit is the undoubtedly the hardest part!

Which is where I come in…

Luckily, self-discovery, personal development and personality stuff is kind of my zone of genius. I’ve been helping people understand who they are, what they’re great at and what would make them happy at work for the best part of 2 decades now.

So, if you’d like to give the googling and self-help books a rest, I’d love to help. 

Or if you’d like to talk about how we could work together 1:1 so I can help you find more purpose and create your own ‘work happy place’, you can book a free ‘no-strings -whatsoever’ call via the pink button below (prices start at £1599) or you can sign up for my affordable career coaching membershipThe Shine Collective today if you’d rather take things a little slower and ‘DIY’ your work happiness journey for only £47/ month.

 

5 myths to dispel before you start your own business

Have you ever wondered if you could start your own business one day?

 

… and then promptly talked yourself out of it?

I know I did. 🙋‍♀️ At least a hundred times before I finally took the plunge and did it. And even then, it was crisis that was actually the catalyst for my decision to start up my own business, Shine Brighter, in the Spring of 2016.

I was in the early stages of pregnancy with my second daughter and I’d just been made redundant from my Head of Talent and Engagement role. At the time, going self-employed seemed like my only option. “Who would employ a pregnant person on a part-time basis for just a few months before the baby arrives?” 

But self-employment had always appealed on some level. My dad ran his own successful management consultancy for many years so I knew that it could be done. Plus, as somewhat of a ‘free spirit’ and a square peg in a ’round corporate hole’ for much of my 15 year career, the lure of more autonomy, freedom and flexibility was always a big driver for me in wanting to start my own business one day.

As The Work Happiness Coach™️, I make a living out of helping brilliant people like you find your ‘work happy place’. But what happens if a client struggles to find an opportunity that fits them like a glove? 🤔

The answer is simple, I help them create their own ‘work happy place.’
 
And my 1:1 coaching programmes are designed to help you build and grow your very own ‘made-to-measure’ business. A beautifully aligned work life and business that’s simply an extension of who you are.
 

So the question is, could you start your own business?

The path to entrepreneurship most definitely isn’t for everyone, but for some – like me  – it’s the best decision they ever make in their careers. In this article, I’m dispelling a few myths about what it’s really like to work for yourself. So if you’re even slightly curious, read o

 Learning how to monetise your talents in new and innovative ways will be an essential skill to master in future world of work. “

Myth #1

Working for yourself is risky

This is one myth that’s been well and truly busted as a result of the global pandemic. Roles are being made redundant left, right and centre. The truth is, no job is ever 100% secure. Your notice period indicates just how secure your job really is.
 
The days of ‘a job for life’ that our grandparents subscribed to are long since gone. We can no longer rely on putting all our ‘work eggs’ in one basket. The world of work is changing and many roles will become obsolete as technology and AI evolves.
 
Those who are adaptable, resilient and agile will survive in this ever-changing job market.  Learning how to monetise your talents in new and innovative ways will be an essential skill to master in future world of work. 

Myth #2

Your income will be less predictable

There’s a common misconception that being employed by someone else guarantees a predictable monthly income. But in reality, there are many factors that actually influence your pay cheque at the end of each month.
 
How the board who run your company decide to allocate bonuses will be largely out of your control, unless you sit on said board. Market rates and benchmarking performed by HR will likely determine your maximum earning potential.
 
As an entrepreneur, your mindset (and strategy!) are pretty much the only limits on your earning potential!
 
When you learn how to make your own money on your own terms, you’ll never become a victim of someone else’s decisions again. Entrepreneurialism is a life skill that will stand you in good stead, even in a global pandemic .

Myth #3

Trading time for money is 'worth it'

Work used to be about trading time to do a job that simply paid the bills (even if it sucked the life out of you) with the promise of a nice ‘nest-egg’ or pension at the age of 65.
 
It’s now looking more likely that we’ll be working well into our 70’s before we’ll be able to retire and those ‘nest-eggs’ are looking less and less likely in an increasingly volatile financial landscape.
 
‘Always-on’ culture and 60 hour working weeks mean that burnout is rife and our physical and mental health is suffering. The trade off is simply no longer worth it.
 
Work simply has to matter more and nourish our personal lives; not detract from it. Working parents and millennials alike are waking up to the fact that there’s more to life.

Myth #4

You need 'a boss' to feel motivated

From what we know about motivation; extrinsic factors such as bonuses, promotions, SMART goals, fancy job titles and benefits have limited and short-lived motivational value.
 
When you’re only operating from a place of external validation in pursuit of these extrinsic factors, you may have to compromise who you are in order to attain them.
 
True motivation comes from working in alignment with your values and playing to your strengths. This is known as intrinsic motivation and it has a huge influence over how motivated you feel in your work life. Intrinsic motivation comes from being able to bring your whole self to work, every day.
 
When your work has meaning and purpose it takes on a life of its own and actually over-working is likely to be more of a concern than under-working, in my experience!
 
If you’d like to learn more about the neuroscience and psychology of motivation, we cover this off in more detail in my personal development membership, The Shine Collective.

Myth #5

You need to be a confident person to 'go it alone'

This statement isn’t 100% myth because yes, of course, confidence and self-belief are very important ingredients in any successful entrepreneur’s artillery!
 
But what is a myth, is that you have to feel confident before you take the first step.
 
Confidence comes from evidence. Evidence that nothing bad will happen if you do ‘the hard thing’ and take the first step. Confidence grows with every positive experience you have on your entrepreneurial journey. 

I go into the neuroscience that explains confidence and the various hacks and strategies you can apply to your own work life in my personal development membership, The Shine Collective, if you’d like to dig a little deeper.
 
You don’t have to ‘go all in’ all at once. The road to entrepreneurialism can be as gradual, slow and steady as you want it to be. Every baby step you take out of your comfort zone gives you the confidence to take the next step and so on. Before you know it, you’ll be achieving things that were previously beyond your wildest dreams.
If working for yourself has ever even crossed your mind, it could well be your path to work happiness.
 
It’s not for the faint-hearted but fortune really does favour the brave.

I for one have never been more fulfilled, motivated (or financially successful) in my entire 20 year career since I set up my own business back in 2016.
 
So if you’d like to have a no strings chat about exploring the option of working for yourself, I’d love to hear from you. You can book a slot using the button below.

Be authentic. Shine Brighter.

AUTHENTICITY

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you’ll know that, as a strengths coach, I’m all about you “being more of who you are”. Whatever  that looks like.

Excellence comes in all shapes, sizes and flavours. In fact, how we each achieve excellence is very personal and unique. It’s all about defining what the best possible version of yourself could look like and going out there and bringing her to life.

Authenticity is critical in life but particularly so at work or when you’re running your own business. Your bosses, colleagues, clients and customers will smell a phony a mile off. Not it to mention it being bloody hard work pretending to be someone you’re not!

Are you being true to your brilliant self? Are you really being authentic?

If you want to run a successful and fulfilling business, your company’s values should reflect your own personal values. Your USPs will be your unique strengths combination and experience, your business goals and mission should echo your personal purpose or ‘why’.

If you want to excel and love your job when you are working for someone else, your values should be aligned to those of the organisation you’re working for and ideally those of your colleagues. Your role should allow you to play to your strengths every day and you should be emotionally invested in the purpose of the organisation if you are to excel and feel fulfilled.

I provide down to earth, supportive coaching to brilliant women like you- who are often (but not always!) mums; to help you fulfil your professional potential authentically and shine even brighter in your businesses or your careers.

I can help you reconnect with your unique strengths, values, USPs and get clarity on your professional purpose. Your business and career should be a reflection of your best bits. So in order to be authentic, it pays to know what you’re great at (your strengths), what you stand for (your values) and why you do what you do (your purpose).

Why not get a taster of my approach if you’re local to Bucks, Herts, Oxfordshire or Berkshire at my workshop on Feb 15th in Chesham?

Newsflash! Anxiety can be helpful.

Monday was National Stress Awareness Day, so it feels like the right time to talk about all things stress and anxiety, and their impact on your ability to reach your professional potential. Whether you’re running your own business or building a career.

As a strengths and career coach, many of the psychometric tools I use to help my clients reconnect with what makes them tick and what they’re great at look, at a personality trait called ‘Adjustment’. Those reporting a lower level of adjustment tend to exhibit behaviours associated with stress and anxiety (worry, insecurity, self-doubt etc) more often than those with higher levels. Essentially, it is a measure of how easily an individual can adjust to stress in his or her environment.

Having higher levels of adjustment is often purported to be the most desirable trait in corporate competency models – think relaxed, secure, resilient – however I have good news for all us self-doubters out there.

Having lower adjustment can actually be a GOOD thing, providing we are able to recognise and understand our own personal stress limits.

Those of us with lower adjustment tend to be naturally more self-deprecating and set ridiculously high standards for ourselves, our businesses and our careers.

As such, this constant anxiety (at manageable levels) can actually do those of us with low adjustment scores a favour. It can act as a driver and motivator, much like money, power or ambition might drive another person. In fact, fear of failure might be a stronger driver of our achievement than an actual desire for success.

You see, anxiety and worry can actually be productive and useful when they are harnessed to improve our performance. Many successful entrepreneurs report low levels of adjustment and they emphasise the importance of this associated worry in their work.

Do you find that there is always something at the back of your mind, a problem or an opportunity that needs to be addressed? In the middle of the night, if you’re anything like me!? But as with every trait, there’s an optimal level. Too much or too little of any personality trait is always associated with problematic behaviours.

Those with very high adjustment may seem distant or detached. Very low levels of adjustment can lead to avoidance of the source of the stress altogether. Moderately low adjustment can be an asset when effectively channeled and used in the right way.

Self-awareness is crucial for harnessing your natural tendency to be anxious. Everyone has a different level of adjustment (their stress threshold). Even those with the highest levels of adjustment have a breaking point. Take the advice given to gamblers: “Know Your Limit, Play Within It”.

Drop me a line if you’re keen to boost your own self-awareness levels (or indeed those of your employees), so that you too can understand how your own adjustment levels have a bearing on your own career or the way you run your own business.

I am a qualified strengths coach and I run my own career and professional confidence coaching and employee engagement consultancy, Shine Brighter Consulting.

You can find me on:

@shinebrightermums on instagram and Facebook and on twitter as @shinebright_sjc

www.shinebrighterconsulting.co.uk

Don’t let your weaknesses undermine your confidence

Managing your weaknesses

In my last article, Curating a Confident Mindset Through Your Strengths, you may recall how we examined the power of positive psychology and strengths-building versus weakness-fixing. In other words, how when we play to our strengths every day we can expect to experience higher levels of satisfaction, deliver better quality outputs and therefore boost the confidence we have in our own abilities.

You might therefore be forgiven for assuming that all this chat about positive psychology and strengths-building would mean we can forget about our weaknesses altogether. Think again. Our weaknesses, or anything that might get in the way of our success, need to be managed in order to allow our strengths to flourish.

Let’s not forget about our weaknesses

We all tend to have far greater awareness of our weaknesses than we do our strengths. They are those things we are likely to leave until last on our to do lists, the things that drain us of energy, take a long time to do or those activities that we try to avoid doing all together wherever possible! Watch out for overplayed strengths becoming weaknesses too!

Allow your strengths to flourish

There are various ways we can manage our weaknesses to allow our strengths to flourish:

  1. Try to leverage the strengths you do have to compensate for your weaknesses. My example on this one is that I am naturally fairly undisciplined and have the tendency to be late for social engagements (!). So what I try to do (not always successfully!) is to leverage a strength I do have which is empathy and remind myself how awful that person would feel if they were left waiting for me on their own!
  2. Mitigate against the risk associated with your weakness by ensuring adequate competency in it. For example, if you occasionally need to use Excel for your bookkeeping and it isn’t a strength, a basic course might help ensure you don’t make any schoolboy errors that could undermine your business’ success.
  3. If you have the luxury of teammates or work colleagues, why not delegate the thing you struggle with to someone for whom it is a strength? If you run your own business and can afford to, why not outsource the work? Failing that, why not do a skills / strengths swap with another small business owner?
  4. Last but not least, don’t beat yourself up about being less good at something, especially if you don’t actually need to be good at it in your line of work! Contrary to social media, none of us are – or indeed need to be – super-human and good at everything.

Activity:

Take a look back at the activity right at the start of the last article “Curating a confident mindset through your strengths” when I asked you to think of a time when your confidence was at an all time LOW. Were you having to use your weaknesses then by any chance? What would you do differently now, knowing what you do about managing weaknesses?

What else can undermine our confidence?

There are lots of other pesky mindset critters that can undermine our confidence. Here are just a few of them: fear of failure can be a biggie, fear of our true selves, denial, guilt, self-limiting beliefs, self-sabotage, imposter syndrome, procrastination a negative mindset, perfect vs done, comparisonitis…and the list goes on and on. The good news is that, according to the Law of Attraction, if we stop and shift our focus back to what is going well, what we’re good at and what we love doing (our strengths), positive change will follow the focus of our attention. We will be able to achieve better and better results and experience a greater sense of satisfaction in all that we do. The happy byproduct of all these great results and satisfaction is a well-deserved boost to our otherwise flailing confidence levels.

3 Other simple ways to boost your confidence

  1. Trusted friends, family-members, colleagues, clients and customers are often a great source of potential confidence and insight into your strengths. Why not ask them to describe you at your best? How do you come across? What can you handle? How do you behave? Keep hold of any positive feedback from emails, social media or testimonials that you receive and keep them in an easily accessible folder called “Boosters” or something similar. Dip into them when you feel your confidence taking a dip. What patterns emerge? What common themes or strengths threads run through the positive feedback you receive?
  2. And if there isn’t anyone on hand to provide you with the feedback you need to hear, stop and remind yourself of all the great things you have achieved and the hard work, long hours, unfailing commitment etc you have put in to get you where you are today.
  3. Take a look at the type of language you are using. Can you make it more positive in order to shift your perspective? Take a look at your body language or stance if you are presenting. How can you get more of those feel-good hormones pumping round your body by standing taller, with optimal posture?

Summary

There will always be situations and people in life that will, intentionally or otherwise, try to erode your confidence. Remember, you always have a toolkit of brilliant strengths, unique to you, at your disposal every single day if you choose to use them. The key is to identify, recognise and maximise them so they can be your rocket fuel when the going gets tough.

I am a qualified strengths coach and I run my own career and professional confidence coaching consultancy, Shine Brighter Mums. I also provide employee engagement and workplace culture consultancy as Shine Brighter Consulting.

You can find me on:

@shinebrightermums on instagram and Facebook and on twitter as @shinebright_sjc

www.shinebrighterconsulting.co.uk

07990 578180

sarah@shinebrighterconsulting.co.uk