Letting go of the H’office dream.

Ahhhh working from the home office. Dreamy. Wake up a little later. Make yourself a flat white. Swan about in your fave leisure wear, munching on your home-made muesli and sitting down at your beautifully adorned desk to write screeds of extremely professional emails, locking down 4 new deals and clearing the to do list by 1130am.

When I worked in the corporate world, my employers were fairly lenient with a ‘WFH’ (working from home) day here and there. I was so thrilled not to be sitting in my cubicle or ‘hot desk’, I twiddled away on the couch/rug/balcony with minimal distractions and was fairly efficient. Unsurprisingly with employers eager to keep workers loyal & the growth in entrepreneurship research shows one in 12 workers (769k) in Australia (ABS 2013) and 169k in New Zealand (NZS 2016) choosing to base themselves down the hallway. However, after 3 years away from a cubicle and working on my own business I’ve decided to pull the pin on living the h’office phenomenon full time.

orange chairSure I get it. WFH is pretty rad. You have flexibility. There’s no nasty commute and there’s plenty of tax benefits.  If you have little ones this can work in well with pick ups/ drop offs and you can easily slink off for an afternoon nana nap where required. And wow! How spotless does the house look whenever you encounter a business problem? However here are several reasons why I think it’s worth ditching your sweats and h’office and getting back to ‘work world‘.

Being social vs lonely. Hot DesksA survey of 250 ‘work-from-home’ workers by McCrindle Research in Australia last year found 58 per cent are craving more social interaction and face-to-face contact. WFH is lonely and while the office dramas can drag us down we underestimate the power of being surrounded by others to push us, share ideas and build our confidence. Find a space to work with like-minded folk where you can interact, network, join group learning sessions and potentially do a better job of of ‘co-lab’ than Justin Bieber on exciting  projects with new colleagues.

Self-discipline. The struggle is real. Respondents from the same survey also admitted to eating more food, spending more on office expenses, being unable to relax at home after work and struggling to muster enough self-motivation to do a decent job. The housework all seemed to take top priority for me all of a sudden when I didn’t have to ‘be’ anywhere. If you’re an Olympic qualified procrastinator your h’office is likely your enemy. Move away & fast.

Professionalism in an ug boot? Honestly how much of a success story do you feel in your slippers? Even when coaching on Skype I know what’s going on under the desk and it makes me feel sloppy. Even when you’re WFH it’s always advised to dress as if you were meeting clients in order to convey to yourself & others you mean business.

Work/life balance. Pffft. leaves and window coffeeFrom the same McCrindle research only 25% of people said the WFH offered better work/ life balance. Remember – you can NEVER escape the h’office. Saturday & Sundays blend into a slippery slope of working hours because you were too busy attending to your herb garden on Monday & the computer’s standby light is beckoning you every time you walk past.

The Buzz. Home & Away omnibus playing in the background does not make up for the atmospheric buzz of people kicking goals and the uplifting energy you can literally feel being surrounded by others. The banter may drop off but the sounds of others getting sh*t done is enough to motivate the snooziest of us.

high shotThe alternatives. Many of my clients are ‘solpreneurs’ and if budget is a little tight they choose to hit up cafes or libraries – though NZ seriously lags Australia on free wifi spots. The only annoyance is the occasional café office hogger loudly completing personal admin on their headset purchasing just two mocha-chinos for a days free rent.

For those of us who don’t have to go into a company office I am a big fan of co-share spaces. I’ve visited many inspiring hubs in Sydney and NZ over the last 3 years & I’m excited to finally commit to a space called The Collect and see how my productivity levels accelerate, network grows and routine falls into place. I believe it will be the best of both worlds but I’m very aware at the end of the day my  determination to have my own successful business will always be the driver to get up motivated everyday whether I’m in an office, h’office or co-share space.IMG_5177 A

Enough from me. The dryer just ‘dinged’ and it’s time to get folding.

Check out some co-share #inspo from around the globe.

Need some motivation? King or queen of procrastination? Sign up to our mailing list and receive your free Kickstarter Guide from The You Project. A quick simple guide to get you focused on what’s important and how to get there.

 

Find your true north.

Last week I asked a client who was pondering their next move What is it you actually want? They were stumped. I think often we can all be guilty of being on auto-pilot,  drifting into careers (and other areas of life for that matter) which we feel like we didn’t choose but know deep down we simply  weren’t in tune with what is really meaningful to us. It’s time to turn off the auto-pilot button people!

Next week I’m fortunate enough to be joining the media crew at the Wanderlust Festival on the Sunshine Coast. Wanderlust.com is a mindful living community created in the U.S. based on yoga, meditation and fun times where their brand ethos is ‘Find your true north’. I love this!

So what’s your true north and are you living and breathing it?

In the book “I could  do anything, if I only I knew what it was” author Barbara Sher points out how many of us end up in careers which have been heavily influenced by our parents without us even realising (sneaky!). Just list all the careers your closest elders wanted you to do when you were 12 and you’ll understand why you were so confused at high school and sought advice from the guidance counsellors dodgy ‘career-picking computer system’.Untitled design (3)

All too often we end up in roles where the work/ life balance is unsustainable, we like the job but not the people/ leadership, we just drifted in there, the actual work is disappointing or we ‘make it’ & then feel unfulfilled . But then it’s ok for a bit. And then it isn’t. And it continues until you crack & go walkabouts or straight into another role which looks different from the outset but is just the same with a different wrapper. And while I’m not suggesting their is a perfect job out there which will be 120% ace everyday I can assure you there are people who’ve found their true north and are thriving.

One of the most simple, yet useful guides to finding a career you love is this:

  1. What are your intrinsic drivers ? List everything you LOVE to do but then ask what is it about them you love.  Go back to childhood & right up to now.
  2. What do people close to you give feedback that you’re good at (I even did a survey of friends to find this out about 10 years ago & still missed the clues so pay attention!)
  3. What are people going to pay you to do.  If this is a new career you want to make sure it’s not just a hobby.

If you’re more a ‘realist’ try describing the worst job you could ever imagine and then flip it on it’s head for the opposites.  Or work with a buddy who asks you What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? tri

A key to finding your true north doesn’t have to start with how you make a living – it might be volunteering, joining a new club, contributing to your community or trialing out new activities which excite you. Just start something!

Want more? Check out Larry Smith in a funny, blunt review on why you’ll never reach the career of your dreams.

 

Less chat. More action. And almost an Aussie.

Have you ever noticed how much time you spend in your head, analysing a decision, procrastinating on a potential direction, dithering over a different choice ? You may have a good old chin wag with yourself or share it forever and a day with anyone who will listen but it still goes on and on with no resolution in sight.

Last night I discovered my Nana’s great grandparents from Donegal, Ireland aged 18/19 made the incredibly brave voyage as so many did, to the Antipodes in 1863. They settled & married in Maitland, NSW (Hunter Valley)  – I like to think this was a voluntary move as opposed to them being of the convict persuasion! After five years, in 1868 they moved to Greymouth, New Zealand. First question – did they hook up on the boat & THEN get married?? Secondly I acknowledge if it wasn’t for their decision I wouldn’t be here today but initially I questioned their choice to move to Greymouth  – WHAT were they thinking? I could be an heiress to a vineyard by now though admittedly supporting the Wallabies would be a travesty.  I sat &  pondered how long it would have taken them to make the decision to leave Australia. Would they have struggled internally for months after already having moved so far to uproot again with their 3 kids (9 more were to be born in NZ!) to an unknown land, with unknown prospects and for that matter had anyone ever ‘penned’ to them about West Coast weather? Then I researched Maitland in the 1860s.  Good lord! Robberies, gang warfare, shootings galore – my call is Bernie said to Mary at dinner one night, “Look, we’ve given this a good swing love, but I don’t fancy becoming a bush ranger, or being shot in the back by one so let’s get out of here.” And in those days I’m guessing Mary went “Good decision Bernie, I’ll start packing”. Decision made.

As we know it’s not just decision making that traps us in our thoughts. We get lost in the stories we’ve made up about ourselves. “That’s just how I am” and “That’s just how it’s always been done”. We use our fears to keep us safe and constantly rationalise doing or not doing something based on evidence from the past. Some of us get so caught up in our mind, ‘busy’ living a life we’ve just ‘fallen into’ haphazardly or one that was expected of us and don’t notice how unhappy we are. While others endlessly wait to have everything ‘just right’ before we try something (god forbid if we ‘get it wrong’) some wait for the universe to deliver an opportunity to them while seated comfortably on their couch.

Humans have had internal chatter scientists believe for over 75,000 years. You’d think by now we’d all  be well practiced at keeping the negative banter at bay & our levels of life satisfaction should be off the charts! But it seems with the overwhelming amount of choice and complexity of our lives today we can be struck with a paralysis of analysis or many a downward spiral when things don’t pan out quite as we’d hoped. It leaves many drifting along almost unconsciously, sitting at the back of the bus with someone else driving (sometimes a 7 year old version of us – not ideal!). Months and even years slip by as we practice some excellent avoidance techniques to not dig a little deeper on where we are at for fear of what challenging actions might need to be faced in order for us to take our life in a direction we actually want.

One way to stop the thought drift is to get clear on your values. I’m betting one of Bernie ‘s was physical safety. One of yours might be connection. Everyone has different values, dependent on upbringing, life experiences and life stage . I’m sure what you wanted to experience every day on a consistent basis was quite different ten years ago compared to what it is today.

Where  it really begins is with you. How do you treat yourself – are you kind and compassionate? Who are you being everyday? What is the story you are telling yourself?  Are you owning the results you are getting in your life? Do you accept yourself completely –  the good and not so good parts?  What really lights you up or drives you crazy? How do you cope when you hit a road block? Bernie and Mary moved to the West Coast, but you might just need to revisit what gives you a little bit of happiness every day.

Hokitika, just down the road from Greymouth in the 1870s. 

I’m running a super fun and informative  half day workshop in Bondi Junction called The Direction Momentum on Sunday, July 12 at 10am. If any of the above rings some bells and you are ready to move forward but need inspiration we’d love you to join us. Numbers strictly limited.