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Lindsay’s In Business PART 61: All things to all people – stupid me 

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

I’m back in London and sitting in a café bar with my Business Development Director. We’re soon to meet a well-connected, very insightful contact he’s set up for me. We talk for the first time about the misalignment bonanza between us over the past months.

I realise now that he had held back from opening up his network to Mirror Mirror because the proposition just isn’t right.  It’s not something he feels he can sell. I don’t know how far that was conscious or unconscious, but while I’d been super task and delivery focused with the plan to revamp and sell sell sell, he’d been more people and impact focused. I’d lost trust with him way too quickly and he’d lost the communication with me way too quickly.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 59: Success and stress

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

Did I tell you that my goal for 2018 was to sell Mirror Mirror six times? I promised myself that if I didn’t achieve that goal, I should review the feasibility of the business (although it would take a lot more than a few sales short to quit).

The last time I posted a blog with Femflections, there had been 2 sales for 2018. Now it looks like there could be 7!  When I say a ‘sale’ it doesn’t have to be delivered within 2018, but it does look like a few more might be, even though it’s November already. That’s incredible! What a boost.

I need to tell you all about it…

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Why do you work?

Feeling disillusioned with your work? Other than the money, not sure why you pitch up at work every day? You’re not alone. Reflecting on their recent State of the Global workplace report, Gallup indicates the 85% of employees around the world are not engaged, or are actively disengaged at work, representing an estimated cost of $7 trillion in lost productivity. The majority of these employees are ‘not engaged’, which doesn’t make them the worst performers in their organizations, but it does suggest that they are indifferent to the organization’s work or success. As Jim Harter points out, this does not equate to employee laziness. The far more probable cause is a lack of recognition of, and investment in, employee motivation and engagement. The result is employees who show up to work and offer their time, but not very much more.

This type of data is more often interpreted from the organizational perspective: what can the business do to increase employee engagement in order to improve results? This is an important question, but there is another obvious perspective that is less often tapped into with real depth: what about the individual? What impact does it have on a person to be spending the majority of her waking hours on work that is not engaging or meaningful to her? What would become available to a disengaged employee if his work became a source of satisfaction and purpose? These questions underlie – consciously or unconsciously – the career moves that many experienced individuals find themselves negotiating. Of course, everyone wants to be paid well or, at least, what they are worth. But beyond that is a more fundamental human drive: to be seen, to be appreciated, to feel of value. Work can either kill that drive or liberate it.

But, as anyone who has experience of holding an ungratifying job knows, changing the game is not as simple as recognizing that you’re unhappy (though, for many people that recognition is itself a major eye-opener). A balance is required between interior reflection and action in the world. Most self-help programs focus on one or the other. In working with clients in such situations I have found it helpful to draw on Ken Wilber’s four quadrant analysis. Essentially, we are all continuously engaged with four quadrants of reality:

  1. Our own individual interior: eg. thoughts, feelings values. As you read this post, for example, you are having some form of emotional and intellectual response that is entirely personal and invisible to anyone around you.
  2. Our own individual exterior: eg. body, actions, physical energy. For example, right now you are involved in the action of reading, but your heart is beating, you are holding a particular posture, neurons are firing in your brain.
  3. Our own collective interior: all humans – even hermits – form part of some kind of collective. And every collective has shared values, cultural norms or common feeling. As you read this, you have a cultural context of which you form a part. You have a perspective on what I am writing that is partly based in your social values.
  4. Our collective exterior: we are all embedded in systems and meta-systems greater than ourselves. As you are reading this online, you are connected to a technological system called the internet; outside your window you witness the manifestation of weather and climate, and in some way or another you are currently paying for data, thus playing a part of a broader economic system.

Though you will have a subtle bias towards one perspective – a ‘native perspective’ – none of these quadrants is more important than the others. They all arise concurrently and with equal value. So, in deciding how to engage with a significant topic like choosing a new career direction, I ask clients to pay attention to all four quadrants. Part of this process requires an evaluation of what is important to that client – basically answering the question ‘Why do you work?’ – and another aspect will be the commitment to action.

Here are some suggestions if you find yourself seeking work that will pay you well enough and provide you with meaning:

  1. Consider the types of things that you are passionate about, the pursuits that energize you or that increase your wellbeing when you are engaged in them. Basically, identify what kind of activities make you happy – don’t think in terms of ‘jobs’, think in terms of enjoyment and gratification. For now, don’t eliminate any of them for being ‘unrealistic’ – this is an exploratory exercise and every contribution is valuable.
  2. Make a list of jobs or work that incorporate these activities or draw on skills or aptitudes that you use in these activities. If you think of a job that correlates with a personal passion but requires a skill that you don’t currently have, identify that missing skill, write down what would be required to acquire it, and find out where you can learn that skill at what cost.
  3. Talk to friends and colleagues who are happy in their work. Ask them to share how they found that work, what guided them to it and how they would go about finding a new job if, for some reason, this one came to an end. Also look back at point 2 and check whether anyone in your current network is involved in one of the lines of work identified in your list. And expand your network by connecting on social media with new contacts in your target areas – LinkedIn, facebook and twitter are great places to start, though each of those platforms have more or less relevance depending on your industry.
  4. Determine how much money you need to make, consider your work experience, explore market opportunities, and come up with a plan. This plan will partly include the steps above as your refine and repeat the process of honing in your dream work and build on network connections. Most importantly, build an image of what your life will look like when you have work that satisfies you and offers you the lifestyle you desire. This vision is your compass – create a physical impression of it if that helps you – and can act as your anchor in the bigger picture as you deal with the practicalities of career change.

This process may sound simple, but the challenges involved are many and unique to every person. It will not always be easy, which is why I always recommend working with a coach or mentor of some kind, but I truly believe that happiness at work is your right. Claim it.

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Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Be proactive!

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It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan

Eleanor Roosevelt

Way too often we see women in the workplace keep their heads down, deliver more than what is expected and wait for someone to notice. They don’t get the things they want, the success they have earned or the respect they deserve.

Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen. Taking personal responsibility means accepting that you, and only you, are in charge of your own destiny.

One of the keys to professional success is your ability to let others know who you are, what you have to offer and how you can make a difference.

Your career is totally your responsibility. It is up to you to do appropriate career planning and to take the necessary steps, i.e. obtaining the education and training that will support your career plans, changing job every 3-5 years, seeking advice from mentors, asking for specific and timely feedback, raising your hand for high profile assignments and building strong, supportive networks.

Women who professionally succeed take control of their lives. They don’t believe they are owed anything. They speak up and put themselves forward. If, after using their best efforts, they still don’t get what they believe they’re due, they move on.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 52:  OMG – a competitor

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

The business renovation is going great.  I’ve found someone to draft client terms and conditions, and two practicing lawyers to review them.  Actually, I’m on the train to Amsterdam right now (on one of the Netherland’s hottest days yet) to brief the second lawyer. I hope she might be our (informal) legal counsel going forwards.

By the way, I don’t expect ever to take anyone to court about this business – after all the IP, as I gather, is only worth its value to our clients.  It could be reproduced without much hope of any successful legal action, even if we did know it was happening.  And I don’t see any clear liabilities arising from alignment work. But terms and conditions can at least set the tone, set expectations, and set clear boundaries with potential clients and partners.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 51: Business renovation

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

And now the days are hot. A mid-July heatwave brings quieter streets, a hazy calm, and the world at work is out of office.  But that’s just great for me. My work life balance just seems to be getting better. A run in the cool early morning. A call with coffee at 10.00.  Think-work on the laptop in the cool inside while the sun bakes outside, and fruit smoothie breaks in the garden.

I’m still not making any money and its two years now since the Mirror Mirror concept formed, yet I’m on a good track. And isn’t this work-life balance – and the quality, creativity, and productivity it brings – one of the reasons why I chose to become self-employed?

Ahh.

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Lindsay’s In Business: PART 49: Status today

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…Down to brass tacks. What’s the status as at June 2018?

  • It’s been 21 months since I registered Mirror Mirror as a business and got started.
  • It’s been 18 months since Mirror Mirror went to market.
  • Countless contacts have been approached.
  • 3 excellent case studies have been completed.
  • I dedicated Masters’ thesis (University internship) is nearly complete.
  • I’ve written lots of articles and blogs, done 3 speaking events, and presented 1 webinar.
  • I have now 3 fantastic people are on the core driving team.

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