In this roundtable, we talk about how you can improve and change your work situation. The three of us are constantly improving and evolving our own work situations so this talk is all about our own experiences and real life advice. : )
Leanne lives in British Colombia, Canada and has an online consulting company for families with infants that were in intensive care units.
Andi is originally from Switzerland and lives in Southern California, she is a German teacher and works online at the moment as well.
This topic is dear to Andi‘s heart. In 2014 she found herself in a work situation as an elementary school teacher and special aid teacher that she wasn‘t happy with anymore.
First she used to take long vacations and when she came back she felt better, but in 2014 she emotionally crashed. Taking a few months off to reevaluate her situation finally showed her that she dismissed early signs for a long time and that she was ready to move on to something new.
«I‘m a big fan of listening to feelings and thoughts», Ronja
I ask Andi what those early signs were. She says: «I was often tired, I didn‘t have the drive anymore, it was hard to prepare the lessons, but I felt like a hamster in a wheel. The money needed to come in, it was what I learned and what I knew how to do. I think my thoughts were fighting with the reasons that this is what I should be doing, because it‘s what I learned and studied, against the feeling that it is time for a change.
«I really want to feel light and free in what I do», Andi
If bad feelings continue over a long time or if the same feelings are coming back over and over again, you really have to think about if it‘s time for a change.
Leanne‘s first career was as an archeologist. She loved her job that was exciting and adventurous, going miles and miles into the wilderness and travelling parts of the world. But one day, when she was working on top of a mountain at home, having her hands in the dirt, a message came to her: «Who are you helping?» Leanne recounts how this message kept coming back even whe she was back at the camp. At first, Leanne had a hard time with it, but after a little while things bubbled up within her. It was a breaking point.
«I think I always had an interest in helping people but I didn‘t really know why. I had to listen again, I had to really listen to not only myself but to what was being offered to me», Leanne
When a dear friend of Leanne, who was doing her law degrees in the states, asked her to do a counseling degree at the same university, she took the leap.
«The good connection to my friend was making me aware of what she was offering», Leanne
«First of all it needs bravery and courage to do it. It‘s not going to be easy, just because you decide that now you do something that you love, it often goes hand to hand with a time of struggle», Andi
I think it can be a struggle, but it doesn‘t have to be. The experience of friends that died, when I was only 17, really sharpened my feelings to listen to what I want. When I had and idea and still have, I‘m right into it.
«Inspired action, that‘s my thing», Ronja
When I wanted to go to Japan to do an internship for my studies, everybody told me that that was impossible, because internships aren‘t even a thing in Japan. But I wanted it and I talked about it and eventually my dad asked a Japanese guy whom he had met for only 20 minutes in Zurich one time and that guy knew another guy and in the end I was with the most awesome host family working in a chewing gum factory and meeting my future husband, whom I married at the age of 25 after only knowing eachother for a short time. Again something that many people told me isn‘t the right thing and look where we are 17 happily married years later. : )
«It can be really easy as soon as you know it and then you can be in the flow again», Ronja
Andi adds, that there is a chance that when you change something and you feel that it‘s not easy, you turn back and stop trying. But you shouldn‘t hold yourself down, you‘ll grow through the struggles.
«When your WHY is big enough, you‘ll get through the struggles», Ronja
«It‘s that beautiful connection to self, because when you are having the wish for change, there is something driving you, there is a deeper sense, whether it‘s your higher power giving you the messages or just the fact of serving differently», Leanne
Leanne says, that she thinks every job serves in some way, shape or form. You don‘t have to be one on one with people to serve.
«It‘s okay to start that new passion project, that you want to turn into your job one day, when you‘re still doing another job», Leanne
As Bo Eason says: Plan B can actually pay for Plan A for a while.
There are different types of people, some people want to jump and build the airplane while they fall which isn‘t me, I needed to decrease my teaching hours at a school for food technologists and increase my work for my own company, but when I was working 30% at the school, I knew that – although I had a very high salary - I had to take the leap and just go to zero. But going from 70% to 60% to 30% was perfect for me, otherwise I would have been totally overwhelmed.
How can you know when it‘s time and how do you know what‘s the best version for you?
- Write down different situations and setups of your work. If you dream about all the possibilities, you‘ll find out what‘s right for you.
- Ask yourself: How do I want to feel when I do my job? What is my goal at work? What impact do I want to have?
- Write on a paper how you are feeling now and how you want to feel. Comparing these two lists will show you if there‘s gap. Ask yourself if you can change the negative things in your current situation and if not, what other options you have.
Andi says, that as a teacher in Switzerland she had a high salary too, but she knew that there was only so much to make. Andi wanted to earn as much as she wanted and she didn‘t want to be dependent on someone else. When she stopped working at her old job, she made 0$ for a year, but she knew where she wanted to go and that helped her get through it.
«You have to connect with your inner self and ask yourself, is this still the thing that I want to do, the place where I want to go, do I still want to make money like that, do I still want to serve the community like that», Andi
Leanne says that she wasn‘t the one to jump either and needed time for the transition. After finishing her masters degree she went back to Canada, because her student visa was up and she needed a break to recharge. Leanne decided to stay at home and started looking for a counseling job. «I got stuck between not having enough experience and being too educated», people were looking for something that she didn‘t have a combination of. But at almost 30 and having worked since the age of 15, she needed a job. Leanne took her masters degree of the résumé and found a job at a womens clothing store. While working there she kept trying to get a job at counseling but she always ran into the same problem. When she met her future husband, he asked her why – with the big dreams she had – she was working at that store. As her answer was that she needed money for the rent, he asked her to move in with her and that‘s when Leanne took (another) leap, not only regarding her job, but also regarding their relationship, which was still fresh at that time. Leanne talks about how she volunteered at a society for three or four months, before they realised that she had a degree and she started doing sessions as a private practitioner for some of the people there. Eight months later they hired her as a counselor.
«It took forever and I had to jump, I had to let go of that job that was taking my thoughts, taking my energy, holding me in a spot that I thought I needed at that time for security. It was scary and not everyone is lucky enough to jump and be held on one level or the other», Leanne
I love Jens Corssen, who wrote a great book that finally is available in English too. There is one chapter about these things and he suggests that you do your current job with excellence, while thinking about what you want to become. Don‘t slack at the job you‘re doing, because you never know where the opportunities are. You can transfer that to any situation. Always be nice and helpful, who knows, maybe you meet your future boss. : )
«If you‘re grumpy you won‘t find the golden nuggets which are leading you your way. Take care of your attitude and of your energy, be of excellent service now and the stepping stones will appear while you‘re doing what you‘re doing now», Ronja
Andi says that energy is super important. Many people work all day long and at the end of the day the are way too tired to think about how to change their situation. Ask yourself, how much energy you‘re going to put aside to build the job situation that you really want. Even when you‘re really busy with your current job, even if it‘s only half an hour a day to focus on what you want to change and how you want to feel, you will walk towards it. Nothing is impossible.
I admire Sara Blakley who started her billion dollar business with 5000$ and idea, while selling fax machines at doors. 15 minutes here, a phone call there, all of it will contribute to getting one step closer to your dream and in the meantime, even or especially through disappointments and failures, you‘ll learn so much that will help you in your future job.
«Give yourself a big time frame and then do something every day, that gives you energy», Ronja
Andi says, that another issue could be the belief that you have to work that much because your parents worked that much too or because you believe that the society demands that.
How do we even figure out what our dream is, how do we connect with a passion?
For Andi it‘s three things that helped her figure it out:
1. What do you know are gifts that were given to you, things that you‘re just good at and that you know you‘re good at
2. Write down how you want to feel when you exchange those gifts
3. Do some research how it would be possible to make money with those gifts
You could also write down what people are asking you all the time, this helps you find out what you‘re naturally good at and it can be something that you didn‘t even think about. If you like to try out new recipes but you think that there are enough cookbooks already, imagine that, if everybody would think like that, there would only be one cookbook in the whole wide world. : )
«You matter, your unique touch on something matters. You have a different tone and people need to hear it from you. You are needed with your unique gifts. Accept that as a fact», Ronja
Andi says, that sometimes it‘s tempting to think of the moeny first. It‘s important, that that‘s not the starting and the end point of your work.
«What am I really good at, how can I help others with what I‘m good at and what‘s the amount I want for myself. These three components are vital», Andi
Leanne adds that other people can give you indications of what your gifts are, but – as she experienced herself – it‘s also hard when you‘re good at something that you don‘t want to do at that time. She says that she really had to find out herself, what the gifts she had meant for her, although people kept saying she would be good at it all along. «Now I love and feel so blessed with what I can do».
It‘s like descriped in the book «The Big Leap», sometimes you‘re in the zone of excellence but want to be in the zone of genius. For me the zone of excellence was teaching, I was good at it, but it didn‘t fulfill me. The work that I‘m doing now, leading groups, doing joy work, speaking on stage, making online courses, that‘s my zone of genius.
«Maybe you can change things up and do your own version. You can do anything», Ronja
Andi adds that you need both a yes to what you‘re good at and to what brings you joy.
«Find the little dot in the middle between what you‘re good at and what brings you joy», Ronja
Andi says, that she also likes to think about the money. How much she wants to earn, how much she wants to spend, how much she wants to give to other people…
«It‘s up to me how much I earn, I have a say in this», Andi
When I was at a live event of Denise Duffield Thomas, she asked, how much we wanted to make in a year. For me it was 3 millions. That sounds like a lot but when I did the math, I counted that it‘s 15 people buying the Joy Academy every day. 15 people of all people in the word a day, that‘s not impossible.
When you admire other people and you all of the sudden ask yourself how do they do that and how did they become what they are today, that‘s a good indicator too, Andi says. As well as envy. When you envy someone ask yourself why and if you‘d like to have or do something they have or do, ask yourself why you can‘t or don‘t.
Andi is currently building a group where you talk about what you want to do and how you‘ll be able to do it. As a practical person she‘s all about a clear approach.
«It‘s self-evaluation how you want to feel everyday and how you get there», Andi
If you‘re busy the whole day, you need some accountability to take the time to think about how you can do what you want. Andi and I had the same coach when we were younger and she once said: «You could figure this out for yourself but you‘re just quicker with me». We‘re so easily lost in our eveyday life but when you‘re together with a group, there‘s a certain energy that keeps you going. It‘s also helpful to see other situations, to think outside the box, to feel that you‘re not alone.
Andi adds, that sometimes it‘s really hard to talk about your dreams with your family and friends, because they are worried about you. Dreams usually start as small seedlings and constantly evolve and grow to be big plants, but a harsh comment from a dear friend can crush the seedling before it even had a chance to get bigger. Talking with other people who have dreams is a huge support.
You can watch our conversation here:
If you‘re interested in becoming part of Andi‘s group, you can find out more about it here: https://www.swissmissandi.com/store/p6/Rediscovering_your_passions_and_gifts_-_8_week_course.html
This is Leanne‘s website: https://www.mynicufamily.com/
Resources we talked about: