Challenges

How to Future-Proof Your Career

Are you worried about your future?

Are the threat of restructures and redundancy hanging over you?

The development of Artificial Intelligence, automation, outsourcing, offshoring, gig economies - all of these are having an impact on the world of work as we have known it for the last couple of centuries. A McKinsey report published in May 2017 states that “about 60% of all occupations have at least 30% of their activities technically automatable.” Only about 5% of occupations, they estimate, will disappear entirely; and still many more will be created.

So the reality is: your work will change. There’s no doubt of that.

But how? And what can you do to future-proof yourself?

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2018 reports that:

By 2022, everyone will need an extra 101 days of learning.

Life-long learning is imperative “for organizations and for workers whose growth strategies and job roles are being affected by technological change.” In my view, life-long learning is imperative for everyone - regardless of the affect of technological change on job roles.

“The need for finely tuned social and emotional skills will rapidly grow.” McKinsey, Skill Shift: Automation & the Future of the Workforce, May 2018

The World Economic Forum report also identifies the top skills required by 2022, and it’s no surprise to me that at least 75% of those noted are skills clients gain from working with a coach. Active Learning and Learning Strategies, Creativity, Originality and Initiative, Critical Thinking and Analysis, Leadership and Social Influence, Emotional Intelligence are all skills clients develop in working with a coach.

During coaching, clients have the opportunity to self-reflect, self-enquire, and develop self-awareness, which leads to increased emotional intelligence, and better leadership and social influence.

A coaching program, by its very nature, is active learning. No-one with an open mind ever walks away from a coaching experience saying, “I learned nothing.”

A good coach guides the client towards creatively solving their own problems, thinking critically. It is not a case of ‘fixing’ a client, or telling them what to do. The coach has the questions; the client has the answers. The client just needs to be guided to access their genius.

How to future-proof yourself?

Invest in your future.

Learn and develop new skills.

Get a coach.

If you’d like to future-proof yourself, get in touch and let’s discuss.

References:

Workforce Strategies and Trends for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum.

Skill Shift: Automation and the Future of the Workforce, McKinsey Global Institute

Technology, Jobs and the Future of Work, McKinsey Global Institute

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What I learned one cold Wednesday evening in the 19th...

What’s one thing you used to do in your childhood that you tell yourself in adulthood you can’t do?

Paint beautiful pictures?

Write imaginative stories?

Dance like a maniac?

For me, it was anything musical. I’ve always loved singing, and I’m always quick to pick up a tune; but somewhere along the way, I got the message that I couldn’t sing well enough, I couldn’t read music, and rhythm and music was not a genetic trait in our family.

So I joined a choir, aged 52.

This Wednesday night, a cold, wintry, rainy evening that rightly should have been spent curled up on the couch, with a ‘blanky’ and the cat, watching Netflix, (I know - enlightening…), I ventured into an arrondissement I’ve never been before, across the other side of Paris, and stood in a circle with 10 other slightly odd-ball people I’ve never met, filled my lungs and sang!

Apparently, I’m some way between an alto and a soprano.

And I can read music.

The thing I am most amazed at is, in looking at sheet music with fresh, curious, adult eyes, how it tells a story that transcends culture and language with a bunch of universally-understood squiggles. I wish reading music had been presented to me in this way as a child. I might not have spent 45 years not doing something that makes me feel good.

Sure - it took some courage to venture out to the 19th, on a cold night, with complete strangers, to do something I thought I couldn’t do, and I remember enjoying - but it was so worth it! And let’s face it - I wasn’t climbing Mt Everest! It was everyday courage, and we all have that.

I absolutely CAN sing, and yet all these years, I haven’t done something I simply feel good doing because I had a story attached to it.

What stories are you attaching to things?

How are those stories stopping you from doing something you vaguely remember you used to love doing?

Get out and do them. You’ll find the stories are exactly that.

I've done it all wrong!

I’ve been quiet the last month or so for good reason. I’ve experienced personal and health issues, and only now am I bouncing back. I have withdrawn into a cocoon (have you ever felt like doing that?) of self-evaluation and digging deep, and here is what I realised…

I’ve done it all wrong!

The first time I came to live in Paris, I was over the moon to have been transferred by my company. I lapped up living here, enjoying the lifestyle, working very hard, but still...something wasn’t quite right, and I was prone to bouts of, if not depression, then downright gloom. I didn’t ever feel quite where I was supposed to be. After all, I was here for work.

The second time I came to live in Paris, I was surprised at my move - I thought my previous years in France were well-spent but ultimately over. I came here this time for l’amour, lerrrve, and again...something wasn’t quite right. In fact, that is what I have been dealing with these last few weeks. I walked away from my reason for being here in la belle France. It’s what’s called a course corrector, for sure! So the last few weeks I have spent wondering, "If not here, then where? What does breaking up mean for me and where I live?"

In a way, I feel like this is now the third time I have come to live in Paris because now,...

I am here for me.

I had a moment last week on le quatorze juillet - Bastille Day - as I watched the pomp of the military parade, and the rouges blancs bleus jets (the Patrouilles Acrobatiques de France who spew red, white and blue smoke out the back as they fly low along the Seine to celebrate the national day) - THIS is where I am meant to be. I am here for me. I can now redefine my relationship with Paris and France instead of being here for someone or something else. I can go back to the time in my life as a young 20-something arriving for the first time in Paris and literally weeping when I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time.

And that’s what I have been doing wrong all along.

I have made decisions to please others, backing my own desires into theirs. It's called self-abandonment, and women are very prone to doing it to themselves. Self-abandonment runs deep and can show up in many ways including giving more of your time, energy, love and care to others than you do for yourself. Sound familiar? This is quite possibly the first time in perhaps 15 years I can truly say that where I am is where I want to be - for now.

Who knows what the future has in store, but I’m excited about what may come, especially now that I am breaking a pattern of self-abandonment.

Bisous xx

P.S. Does any of this strike a chord? Are you dressing up the desires of others and calling them your own? Do you want to find a way to have exactly what YOU DESIRE? Is lack of confidence and self-abandonment making you accept someone else’s desires as your own?

Let's talk - we’ll discuss where you are now, where you desire to be, and how we can get you there. These calls are super-valuable, and whether we decide to work together or not, you’ll come away with value and ideas about what to do next. These calls are not for everyone. It's for those ready to create change in their lives - that's why there is an application process. Is that you? Apply now.

6 Reasons Why Coaching With Me May Not Be For You

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I’ve had a number of instances recently where the decision at the end of the call from the client is “I’ll think about it”.

Danger zone.

There are numerous apparently sound reasons potential clients say they’ll think about something, for example:

  1. They haven’t heard enough yet of how they will benefit from working with me;

  2. They have 'people pleasing' tendencies and they fear asserting themselves by saying “No”;

  3. They procrastinate:

    • In fear of what might come after they’ve taken a decision - failure, success, change of some description;

    • Because it is uncomfortable for them to consider taking the unusual step of investing in themselves;

    • Because saying they haven’t got the money is a ready excuse that most people accept in this world where a scarcity mindset prevails;

Except for reason number 1, which is entirely up to me to convey clearly, all of the others are the very reasons you SHOULD get coaching. The way you perceive yourself and your habitual behavioural and thought patterns that prevail on a daily basis discreetly prevent you from living and working exactly as you desire, stepping powerfully and confidently into what COULD be for you.

In case you don’t feel you have enough excuses at hand as to why you should NOT work with me, let me give you some more to add to the mix:

1. I challenge you to think and act differently

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

One of my all-time favourite quotes attributed to Einstein. If you want different results in your life and work, you need to approach the challenges and problems differently. That’s what we do together, and that can be scary for some; expansive and enlightening for others;

2. I’ll call you out on your BS

Without even realising it, we put our shields up or create stories to justify our behaviours and inaction. Worse, sometimes we do realise what we’re doing, but we have got away with it for so many years, we’ve been able to manipulate those around us to protect ourselves. It’s all done with good intention and it also keeps us away from what we really desire. Na-ah - not on my watch. I’ll call you out if and when I see you’re trying to fool yourself and others.

3. I won’t sugar-coat things

There are a lot of other coaches that will be 'softly-softly' with you. When I see my client needs compassion, and a safe haven to express their thoughts, emotions and needs, I’m there with the snuggly rug and the hot chocolate. At the same time, you came to me for transformation - to effect changes in your life so you could finally live and work as you desire with unshakeable power and confidence. That doesn’t happen exclusively on hot chocolate.

4. I’ll hold you accountable

You’re a results-driven kinda gal - me too. Listen, I love you, but I don’t intend for this to be a life-long, co-dependent coaching relationship. I’m guiding you to think for yourself - smarter, more creatively, and to take conscious decisions about your life and work. That requires accountability and if you miss appointments or don’t do the work required, I’ll pull you up on it. I’m doing it to serve YOU because my only goal is your transformation.

5. It’ll be uncomfortable at times

How do I know? Many clients who are beginning to see results in coaching hit the 'breakdown' before the 'breakthrough'. It’s ironic - you have to feel worse, before you can feel better. How else do I know? Because I hold the mirror up to myself - the way I think, feel and act every single day to grow, to improve my relationships with myself and others, and my life and work, so I can serve my clients better, too. It is painful at times, and ugly, and vulnerable and sometimes even a little scary. I commit myself to your growth, as I commit to my own, and as I need you to commit to yours.

6. We’ll have FUN as we work together to create your kind of wonderful life and work.

You still with me?

That all being said, where there is darkness there is light; and I love a laugh! There is serious business to be done in working on your transformation, and there is a lot of lightness to be enjoyed, too.

So - if you’re still thinking about it, by all means do; and challenge yourself to dig deeper and question what is driving that statement.

If you’re still sitting on the fence, let's get on a call and we can talk it all through.

PS. This is not a high-pressure sales call - it’s me and you creating the best decision for YOU! If that means we work together, I’d be over the moon! If that means you decide to work with another coach, I’m happy for you. If you decide to do nothing, let’s keep in touch. When you’re ready, you’ll know. Let’s get on a call.

Vulnerable Share: Reality Bites

I'm writing this on the terrace of the Ritz Carlton in Maui, overlooking the deep Pacific Ocean, local reggae tunes softly grooving in the background, frolicking, mating whales in the deep blue in front of me (seriously)...
 

BLISS.


It's MY bliss. It's what I aimed to create when I left corporate 18 months ago - a life doing what I love doing - helping people to achieve all they desire - while traveling and working from any point of the compass. I've created this lifestyle, and sometimes it's a lot to take in.
 

But this is not what this post is about.


I have been so grateful for all the words of encouragement from my friends and connections, and their words that I inspire them. I am truly grateful - but let me say, too, this has not come easily. I have created it but it comes at a cost.

Behind the freedom lifestyle, the high vibe public face, I still have challenges, just like you. A lifestyle like this, or any desire we have, comes with its own challenges.

Relationship issues? Loads!
Self-doubt? Uh-huh!
Fear of visibility and judgement? Yup!
Financial investment? You betcha!

Yes, I've never been happier, and I am living exactly as I designed in my head a few years ago, but it has come at a cost. What I have found though, by being so clear about what I want to achieve, is that I have greater resiliency, and I am able to get back on track when there are bumps in the road.

And there have been BIG bumps in the road.

My point is - well, there are several:

  • Clarity of purpose (what we are driven to do on this fine earth) and vision (how we want to live and work) is so freaking important. It is the glue that holds everything together when the wheels fall off. Knowing what you are aiming to achieve keeps the path clear of clutter.
  • You get what you focus on. My focusing on traveling the world and working to serve others the best way I know how is not just good marketing for those seeking inspiration, it creates more of the same. Focus on the good stuff; more good stuff comes your way.
  • If it's worth doing, it's worth not just doing well, but it's worth fighting for. It's about being clear on 'non-negotiables'. For me, I am non-negotiable about how I desire to live and work, so, even when the challenges come my way, I will find a way to make it happen. It means asserting boundaries where they have been very flexible in the past, and not served me well. It means being uncompromising about what I tolerate; and when the Universe sends its playful challenges our way (oh, and it does!), how we respond is more important than the outcome.
  • Creating what you desire is not a 'set and forget' setting. It's not something we achieve then sit back and enjoy the spoils (though there are sustained periods like that). It is about consistently working towards our goals - laser-focused and unwavering, being true to ourselves and our desires when so much will challenge our resolve.

Sound scary?

It can be, but it is also exhilarating to realise we have overcome those challenges and we're living exactly as we desire.

What do you want to create? What is your ideal lifestyle? Let's chat to figure it out together.

What Are You Resisting?

"Your resistance to playing the game means you're out of the game"

I read this in a relationship coach's blog - it was with reference to the dating game. If you're resisting putting yourself out there, you're taking yourself out of the game of ever meeting someone; but it got me thinking...

What else could this be a reference to?

For a lot of people, including myself, being visible is an area where there is resistance - resistance to taking centre stage (preferring to lurk in the shadows or being the best damn 2IC but never stepping into the spotlight of leadership); not putting yourself out there in so many ways  - creating an extraordinary life and work, marketing yourself (or 'self-promotion' which is considered negatively), dating and relationships.

For me, I am conflicted. While I enjoy being centre stage at some level (I love public speaking and I used to do amateur dramatics), putting myself out there in my capacity as a coach challenges me. It makes me uncomfortable. Good God - what if people judge me?! (The horror!)

And being uncomfortable is exactly what we must strive for in order to effect change and to get different results.

"Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" Commonly attributed to Albert Einstein.

So what resistance do you feel?

What makes you uncomfortable?

How would it benefit you to feel uncomfortable more frequently?

What does the phrase bring up for you?

"I Don't Know" - What it Really Means

"I don't know"...Harmless enough response to a question, isn't it? Perhaps you use it quite frequently.

This is just a quick post to highlight what I am finding in working with my clients.

I find that the ways the response "I don't know" is most often used is not in the circumstance where somebody truly does not know the answer to the question, but in one of several other situations, such as:

  • Facing Fear: "I feel resistance to thinking about this - it may identify a fear I have that I'm not willing to face;"
  • Time versus Priority: "This is not really a priority for me to think about so let's move on;"
  • Solve My Problems: "This feels like it will take a lot of energy to think about - I want you to do it for me;"
  • Processing: "I need to digest this - it's a big idea and I don't know what to do with it right now."

On rare occasions in my business, it means "I genuinely do not know the answer to that question, but I am going to find out."

Language helps to create our reality - what you say is what you ultimately do and how you show up. "I don't know" can be seen as avoidant behaviour, procrastination, lack of creativity or desire to solve a problem - and in some cases, just plain lazy! I believe that this 'no response' response creates our reality, too - it's the thoughts behind the non-committal and ambiguous words that matter.

Before you answer "I don't know", try digging deeper - if "I don't know" wasn't a phrase, what would your response be?

Get to the real answer behind those words so you can gain greater understanding of the problem and greater self-awareness.

Want to create a different reality? Get on a call and let's see if we're a fit!

Forgive - Don't Forget

What the...?

I've just finished up a coaching session with my own coach - I had to share it. (Yes - I have my own coach. A couple actually. It means I understand the experience of coaching from both sides of the relationship. I can serve you better.)

I'm rocking it out quite intensely in the next week and a half with my coach to create an awesome effing plan for 2017! (Can't wait!) While we discussed all I want to achieve, do, be, feel in 2017, the issue of forgiveness came up. Something that happened in my past came back up to bite me in the ass. It could have potentially sabotaged my relationship, and on reflection, may also be impacting my business success. I won't go into the deets but suffice to say, I was a lesser person at the time. And during the session this morning, I realised - I have not forgiven myself for it!

Whaaa'?? Where did that come from?

These self-inflicted wounds can run deep. And it got me thinking...

  1. This is the perfect time of year to BE GRATEFUL - for all the experiences you have had, good and bad. They have made you into the body, mind and soul you are now. That's something to celebrate!
  2. This is the perfect time of year to FORGIVE YOURSELF - above all else, you must live with yourself, love yourself and be true to yourself. That ain't gonna happen if you're carrying a heavy burden. It will show itself in ways you never anticipated - relationships, business, you name it.
  3. LEARN HOW to forgive yourself. Seriously, I had to Google how to forgive myself! Ambitious people are often like that - holding ourselves to a higher standard than we hold others. I found this brilliant checklist of 10 Ways to Forgive Yourself & Let Go of the Past on mindbodygreen.com by contributor Megan Hale - sound advice. You're welcome.
"To err is human; to forgive is divine."

I'm positively bursting at the seams about 2017 and all its opportunities!!

Lightening the load will make everything all the more joyful to experience. Try it.

Break out the bubbles!

Love you!

x

PS Want to create a plan for 2017? Let's talk to see what we can do to make 2017 your best yet!

Losing Face(book)

Catastrophe.

This week, my Facebook account - personal profile and business page, have been suspended pending authentication of my identity. Don't know why - but I can only suspect it has something to do with my weird last name. Facebook didn't much like it when I first joined about 10 years ago, and I had to verify that I could possibly have this most ridiculous last name of 'Fitness.' Either that, or someone has complained about me.

Rude.

The horror - to be disconnected so abruptly.

As an online coach entrepreneur, I can only say, it sucks. Much of my marketing to and engagement with potential clients, engagement and support with other coach entrepreneurs, and my on-going professional and personal development are conducted to some level via Facebook. I spend a good couple of hours a day on it, catching up with the coaching world. Then there is the purely personal aspect. As an expat NZer, it is a convenient communication line to my family and friends spread across the world.

So you can perhaps understand why I have begun going through the range of emotions comprising the Change curve of Shock / Denial, Anger / Fear, Acceptance and Commitment. Facebook has been a very big part of my life for the last perhaps 10 years and it is suddenly no longer there.

I experienced Shock / Denial ("Nooo - this can't be happening!") and Anger / Fear ("****ing Facebook! What happens to my stuff?") I am now in Acceptance phase ("OK - so life without Facebook..."), moving into Commitment ("What can I do to overcome this?"). After doing some Googling, I have found there are some individuals who have never had their identity finally authenticated with Facebook, even after providing them the requisite government-issued ID. Their entire history of virtual memories and identity no longer exist. It got me thinking - what if that happens to me?

What has all this got to do with entrepreneurship and career management?

  • The Change curve: Being very familiar with the stages of the Change curve give me insight into how I am feeling during times of change, transition, or challenges. When I recognised the range of emotions I was feeling about this seemingly minor episode, I realised them immediately as being indicative of a loss or grief, exactly what the Change curve was originally designed to demonstrate. And think about it, loss of ID authenticity? FB are questioning my very existence - that's a type of loss with a degree of grief that goes with it.
  • Resilience: It comes up over and over again as a critical skill to have in dealing with obstacles, challenges and 'course-correctors'. I have had to tap into my resilience. Resilience encourages expansive questions like "What do I do about this now? How can I look at this differently? What alternatives do I have? What if I did...?"
  • Creativity: As I move through the Change curve to Acceptance and Commitment, I have begun to think creatively about my options in an online entrepreneurial world without Facebook.
    • It might have an impressive 1.65 billion users (about 23% of the world's population) but that leaves 5.75 billion not using FB. They use other channels to communicate and are doing OK. Admittedly, they are not all my ideal client, but then neither are all the 1.65 billion Facebook users.
    • If they are using other channels, there must be a way to access them - in-person networks, websites, chat forums, online networking groups, sales pages, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope, guest blogging for other publications. Facebook is not the only cab on the rank though it likes to think it is.
    • I have to face it - Facebook has made me lazy about keeping in touch with loved ones, and also with my marketing efforts. It has actually dulled my creativity to some extent. Perhaps some time without it will inject more energy and vigour into my life and business.
    • And of course - I can always start afresh with a new profile and business page (and a less controversial name).

So - that's why you won't see me on Facebook anytime soon, until the little boffins decide I am an acceptable version of Helen Fitness.

It's an abrupt reminder that resilience steps in at any time...

...and there are always options.

Bounce Back in 7 Steps

Ever caught yourself complaining that there's too much change?

Sitting tight through a restructure or another round of redundancies?

The only constant is change - this is true now more than ever, where change such as restructures, redundancies, outsourcing, insourcing, RIFs, 'right-sizing' and all the other euphemisms are the #newnormal. This does not even account for the constant changes that happen in our personal lives - marriage, children, divorce, illness, retirement, death, buying or selling a house, relocations, financial pressures; you name it - we are barraged with change.

Because of all this, I believe resilience is the most critical skill to develop to become more comfortable with change, to be able to embrace it, and all that life has to throw at us.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude" Maya Angelou

Resilience is the process of adapting to stress, trauma, adversity, threats, tragedy - whether from family or relationships issues, or health, workplace and financial stresses. You may have heard of or worked with the Change Curve - a theoretical rollercoaster of emotions we feel as we come to terms with change, loss or grief. The Change Curve is used in business and change management, and is frequently attributed to psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross resulting from her work on bereavement and grief. In brief, the Change Curve runs through 4 key stages:

  1. Shock / Denial - "This can't be happening!"
  2. Anger / Fear - "This is NOT going to happen!"
  3. Acceptance - "OK - this is happening;"
  4. Commitment - "OK - let's make this happen!"

We all move through the curve at our own pace, but the key to being resilient is being able to scoot through stages 1 and 2 in a healthy way.

Personally, I have been through many changes in my life, and a lot just in the last 12 months. Generally speaking, I have managed to get through it in tact, facing them with courage, and I put it down to these steps that I have honed over years of restructures, relocations, job changes, and personal challenges:

1. Analyse It 

Ask yourself:

How does it serve me, and how can I serve i.e. how can I add value?

How does it 'feel'? Don't be afraid to tap into your intuition - if it doesn't feel good, it probably isn't.

Is what's happening aligned to my values? Can I support it in all conscience?

And if you can't change it, as Maya Angelou says,...

2. Reframe it

...change your attitude. You can't always change the circumstances, but you can change your response; and in all honesty, how is that anger or fear you're holding useful? As the saying goes,

"Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

"Accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative." Work hard to focus on a positive outcome or the pros, rather than the cons of the situation. Reframing to find the positive in a situation is a critical skill.

Every day, while you are getting used to a change include in your morning routine a mantra or affirmation like "I choose happiness", because it's true - happiness is a choice. There is real power in positive psychology.

3. Create the Conditions for Success

What else could you be doing to create conditions for success? Is there something you could be doing differently or better to make the situation work best for you?

4. Let Go

Don't hold so tightly onto the familiar. You do this purely because it is comfortable. Learn to be comfortable with the unknown. You can create the conditions for success, but learn that you cannot control everything. Let it go

5. Find or Create Opportunities

Sometimes it might seem you have to hunt hard, however the opportunities are there. By understanding fully the business or the situation and all its challenges, opportunities appear; and if they don't - create them! Be creative at this point - ask "What if we did...? instead of "We can't do..."

6. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself

If you feel fear or resistance to change, dig deep and ask yourself "Why?" What's blocking you from accepting the change? Is it really the change that is causing you anxiety or is it another underlying fear?

7. Have Confidence, Not Fear

Be confident in yourself - your values, strengths, who you are and what you stand for. These are your moral compass - all decisions come easily when you hold these close, untouchable and non-negotiable.

By applying these steps, you will be able to embrace change and improve your resilience, quickly bouncing back from shock, denial, anger and fear to capitalise on the opportunities that present themselves.

Become skilled at resilience. Book a free 30-mins Discovery session to learn how coaching can benefit you.