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Has your job taken over your life? Four tell-tale signs it might be time for a change!

In this longer blog, I discuss the four tell-tale signs that my clients often reveal right before they decide to  make a change to their job and their lives! I also share with you the deep coaching questions that EVERYONE should ask themselves before they make a change. Grab a cuppa and a note pad! […]

In this longer blog, I discuss the four tell-tale signs that my clients often reveal right before they decide to  make a change to their job and their lives! I also share with you the deep coaching questions that EVERYONE should ask themselves before they make a change. Grab a cuppa and a note pad!

Ten years ago, I was a  full-time English teacher. This was an identity I felt defined me; I was proud of it, and I really felt the vocation. Teaching was a dream come true for me, so when I got a promotion to a leadership role, I was determined to put everything into it.

As years went by, I took on more and more responsibilities from after school drama clubs to summer schools and teacher governor meetings. I lived and breathed my job. I did bus duties, dinner duties and supported students in my breaktimes. At no point did I ever questions the commitment of time and hours; I just felt the same as my other colleagues, that being a teacher was an identity: it meant that we were fully present, focussed and always prepared.

Sadly, things changed. I noticed the impact of top-down government changes, more and more of what we did as teachers became less about teaching and more about data management.  I felt restricted at times because I wanted to keep my own creative way of working in the classroom and this just didn’t seem to fit with the latest Ofsted requirements for lessons. I felt a sense of loss. My beliefs and values about being a ‘teacher’ no longer resonated with the job I was doing.

In the year I before I left teaching, I recognised that there was a need for mental health support for children and young people in the school community.  I found a course and offered to pay for my own professional development training in mental health for children & teens. Unfortunately, this was not possible, the school were unable to release me to do the training. I did manage to do some weekend training though in hypnotherapy techniques which taught me much more about myself and where I needed to go next on my career path.

It was this training that made me realise that if I wanted true autonomy over my own personal and professional development, I had to step up and take that risk by investing in myself. I couldn’t wait around for someone else to recognise my ‘potential’. I had to bet on me.

Although I felt guilty about my decision, I knew I had to leave full time teaching and invest in myself. It was hard to think of myself as anything other than a ‘teacher’. I did not know how else to be!

With the hypnotherapy work I had already completed; I was able to release old negative patterns about my past identity as a teacher and think more about therapy & coaching for myself. I took a risk because I truly believed my soul’s purpose was to teach in a different way.

Ten years on, I’m still ‘investing’ in myself, and you know what? I trust my sense of ‘knowing’ even more now; it’s like developing a muscle in the gym. You get stronger the more you do it. You need to do the work. With my clients I also notice similar patterns of behaviour when a job has become their whole identity, here are the four tell-tale signs that you may want to consider a change and some deeper coaching questions to ask yourself:

  • When new people ask about who you are and what you do your job is the first thing you think of. Sounds obvious however I am sure you are much more interesting as a person than just your job title. Coaching work really drills down on who you are as a person and what you value, your beliefs and personal ethos. Often it is the case that the company changes, the management changes, the ethos changes but we stay the same! This can create a ‘disconnect’. If we can not see this, we can start to feel there is something wrong with us when in fact it is just the environment has changed. Are you happy in your current work environment? What would make you happier? What’s your work day like? Does it motivate you and fill you with the challenges you need or are you just staying in your comfort zone because it’s easier than stepping into the unknown?

 

  • You are putting in more and more hours and your work has started to expand into your evenings and weekends. Whilst there are times when we all need to do a little extra to meet a deadline or finish a report, work time that consistently leaks into personal time is a tell-tale sign that your job is taking over your life. Hypnotherapy reconnects to your passions, what you really feel connected to in your personal life. What makes you truly happy in your personal time? Is there a long-forgotten hobby or pastime that you placed on the back burner because you no longer had time due to work? Would you prefer more flexibility in your work life balance? Who is important in your life and are you spending time with them?

 

  • You struggle to see yourself doing anything else than what you do right now. Another tell-tale sign is that your inability to see yourself differently or doing something differently. Many of my clients say, ‘ I have no idea what I would do if I wasn’t doing what I do now’ and yet they are miserable and unfulfilled! This is where coaching and hypnotherapy  helps to separate you from the job and look at your skills and capabilities in a whole new way.  What if you could use your skills in a way that fulfils you or gives you a new direction? What if your work identity has been holding you back and you need to step away from it and into a new way of living? In my one-to-one sessions, this is a great area of discovery as clients start to peel back the layers and rediscover their dreams – doesn’t matter how old a person is, there is always something that their inner knowing has been prompting them towards. I have lost count of the times a client breathes a sigh of relief once they realise that they can make a change and it will make them feel more aligned with their soul’s purpose. Sounds deep but it’s true.

 

  • You feel trapped by the fear of leaving your work identity because you think you will fail or that you won’t pay the bills. This is a common telltale sign: the fear of loss, especially around money. In truth it is an important consideration – when I am working with clients and this crops us, I talk to them about building a ‘run way’. This is useful because the brain does not always cope with sudden change; building a runway is about putting things in place to ensure that you manage risk and keep the bills paid. I help clients set up side hustles and help them with the skills they need to do this whilst they are working in their job. Building a runway may involve learning new skills or going on a course to gather new ideas of ‘how to’ transition into a new job role. It’s not just about leaving a job; it’s about changing identities and everything that comes with that; it’s without doubt some of the most amazing change work I offer.

 

For me and many  of my clients,  when we start the journey, and give ourselves quite time for coaching and contemplation,  the answers are obvious. The unconscious mind really does know better; it is an amazing guide. Hypnotherapy helps by clearing away the unnecessary ‘chimp’ chatter in our minds and empowering us to find the answers we need to make changes with clarity. With the right coaching questions, you can really understand what has been holding you back and how to move beyond self-doubt.

Finally, a great way to consider if you are ready for a change is to write your own job description! I know this may seem odd but when you write down what you DO want, you can compare it to what you currently have and see how different they are. For example, how many hours do you want to work? What sort of work do you enjoy? Are you a team person or would you be happier on your own in a shed creating things?   What do you really need to earn to pay the bills? (this is a big one, really know your numbers here as this could make the difference regarding change)  A great question to ask is this: if you woke up tomorrow and your place of work had disappeared overnight….what would your first thoughts be?  Another great question I often ask is this: ‘if you could just rely on your savings to pay the bills, how long could you afford to be out of employment?

You see, we often do not stop to ask these questions of ourselves. We just keep going until something doesn’t feel right or we end up feeling trapped and miserable, burnt out or  wondering how on earth we ended up at this point in our lives.

I will finish with this coaching question that made all the difference to me: ‘who made up the rule that we only ever had to do one thing?’

If you have got this far and there are light bulbs going off in your mind, I’d recommend you do the coaching exercise on writing your own job description! It’s a real eye opener.

Still curious?

If you would like chat on the phone to see if I can help you with change in your life, just click here.

For more information on my one-to-one sessions click here