By Shea Ki
TRUTH: I'm sometimes guilty of what I coach others TO NOT DO in their work.
I've been staying in my comfort zone. Not stretching, especially when it comes to how I do my coaching business and who I share it with.
I've gotten comfortable doing one-to-one online sessions with clients and blogging to give those I help as much value as I can. Too comfortable. I've noticed it's time for me to STRETCH and learn new ways to put myself and what I do out there.
I'll continue to do individual coaching and my blogging here as those are some of my first loves. But I need to explore this call inside myself that is telling me LOUDLY to....well...there really is no better word to use here....UPGRADE my own career courage.
That's right. I'm putting myself in the hot seat more. It's my turn to share with more people what makes my services, message, and support valuable. And it's scarier than I thought it would be.
It is reminding me of what my clients go through when change is on the horizon. It comes natural for me to help others adjust their mind, body, and spirit to not give in to fear and share what they've got. But when I want to make some personal or professional shifts of my own, I struggle with resistance. It shows up for me as procrastination, anxiety, and absolute overwhelm at times.
Part of me wants to stay doing what I do and how I do it, but then I won't grow.
I want to walk my talk (and with some swagger!).
Do not worry. UpgradeMyInterview.com is not going anywhere. Interview skills coaching and career happiness support is where I continue to see my strengths serving best right now.
My Small Biz Journey...So Far
You might not know this, but when I decided to stretch myself by starting my blog about two years ago, it was a big change for me.
I had been enjoying working for years to help thousands of jobseekers and career changers who came into public employment centers for support in the Northern Virginia/DC metro area. But as I kept being promoted while also watching the agency that I loved become less resourced, there was also less and less work-family-life balance.
With two amazing young kids, I felt that there had to be a better way to do what brings me career happiness and also be there more for them. At that time, I was also being invited to attend incredible online courses and masterclasses in New York and other places. I soaked in amazing information, energy, and tips from some of the top self-development and spiritual practice gurus in the industry. But I could never use much of what I learned in my day to day work in the employment centers.
Talking with clients about meditation, Reiki, chakras, how to trust their intuition, and exploring ways to plug into their higher source of positive energy is not usually permitted in traditional, government run programs. The urge inside me to gain more creative freedom to share with others what was working for me to boost my interview skills and career happiness kept rising.
I could have stayed working successfully in those predictable, gray colored government walls with all its security and reliable paychecks.
But I would continue to be limited in who I could help and how I could support their career journey.
And on top of that, I would likely end up feeling burned out because I was missing too much of what was going at home.
I took the leap and have not looked back.
Have I missed some of the elements of having a predictable place to work, reliable income, high status in an agency, and some of the people? Yup.
Do I have days when I wish I had a procedure manual for clear guidance or more people around to get comfort from on the harder days of small biz life? Of course.
But I know I'm now in a better fitting lane that serves me and others even more.
Inside My Busy And Often Over Protective Brain
Right now my online coaching business is manageable. I have put systems in place to keep up with more ease and I feel I can give 110% to my blogging and clients without risking burn-out. And I have been keeping my promise to myself that I made two years ago. When I started working on my own I vowed thad I would maintain healthier work habits than I had done during my dedicated years working in public service (scroll through how I barely survived when I ignored the high stress and emotional demands of that job here).
If you told me told two years ago that I would be sharing so much of my work and my message with so many people across the internet, I would have laughed.
My introverted mind and non-techy side would not have believed your wild and silly imagination.
But I did eventually listen to my inner voice that was guiding me to open a coaching business. And now I get to do more of the work that I feel called to do.
But as I begin boosting the visibility of my online services so I can help more people, I feel anxiety about things changing. Yes, I know it is kind of ironic. I am constantly helping others boost their career courage and relieve stress, but I'd be less the real me if I did not admit I have my own demons to battle.
Many fears pop into my head as I move into new, unknown professional territory.
Here's just a quick sample of them that you may relate to, even if you are not an introvert. I share this for anyone thinking of stepping out on your own, going for that promotion, or figuring out the next dream job that you desire.
(We all need help sometimes getting out of our own way.)
Will I regret increasing my workload?
My seven year old and eleven year old are down the hall right now. I hear their giggles as they are engaged in a "Beanie Boo" battle with their stuffed animals. I adore how their imaginations are growing and their ideas generate an excitement in their play that I cherish.
I'm so grateful to witness their milestones, be there to put band-aids on and soothe hot tempers when needed.
But now that they are getting older, they are becoming more independent. Like most kids their age, they want to do more supervised-by-someone-other-than-my-Mom activities. They need to do more of their thing and I need to do more of mine. (Don't get me wrong, lots of quality family time will still be a priority in my house!)
I'm excited to start opening up my schedule and trying new ways to help people get closer to work that they enjoy.
The more I let myself focus on the vision I have for my life's work, the less I see regret happening when I take new risks.
The result I see when I coach people on how to share their value and attract more work that lights them up thrills me. Every. Single. Time.
It is what lights ME up.
So I have to trust that as things get busier, I will take my own advice. Just as I tell clients who are exploring new career opportunities or trying to get promoted, I will stay on track with my self-care. For me, that's my Reiki, yoga, nurturing food, meditation, ladies' nights out, gym visits, and other routines and rewards along the way. These are non-negotiables for me to run a sustainable business and stay at my best to help more people shine in the hot seat.
At times I will I fall off the wellness-at-work wagon (even if I do carry the biggest sign advocating for stress relief). Old "frienemies" called Perfectionism and Self-Doubt will still visit me. It's called being human, not Wonder Woman. That heroic job is taken and I'm becoming more and more okay with that. (Is there an #imperfectboss t-shirt yet?)
On the tougher days, I will ask for more help from good friends around me, beautiful support I've found in the Female Entrepreneurs Association, and my dear, wacky-but-always-there family. It's taken me awhile to build up my team of support and sometimes I've had to learn more than once how doing too much on my own takes its toll.
I have learned the hard way that my career success requires routine rebooting, intentional slowing down, and frequent adjustments of my ambitious goals.
What about my learning curve?
Skype, Zoom, and even Instagram were firewalled or blocked in the employment centers I used to work at, so I did not use them much until two years ago. I've been catching up with SO MANY things internet, business development, and Mac programs related. Plus, the improvements in all the technology keeps changing at a fast pace. Once I know how to do something that is new to me, the next month it feels like it is obsolete.
I know I experience a lot of frustration because my adaptability in some situations needs work. So far though, the challenge is worth it. It is giving me lots of opportunities to not be so hard on myself, let things go more easily, and pat myself on the back from time to time for making progress.
I've surprised myself by building my own website, learning how to use plug-ins and pop-ups, sharing more often on social media about my life and coaching services that I offer, posting career advice on Medium and LinkedIn, and attending a number of business networking community events online and in the Washington, DC area where I live.
All of this work creating something new often feels good and scary and good again. That's how I know I'm on a path that is leading me and hopefully many others to more career joy.
I am also learning how to celebrate small steps of progress, instead of racing to the finish line as I used to do.
Even so, I'm still not-so-patient with myself often or with anything involving technology (smartphones, selfie-sticks.....blenders...). My hubby thankfully comes to my rescue when I have a problem with internet connections, laptop malfunctions, sound problems, frozen margarita making, and more after my troubleshooting has bombed. But when any of that kind of stuff fails I often let it really frustrate and sometimes stall me. It's an area I have to push myself on.
I know I'll experience some more fails, challenges, and down days as I move consistently into doing webinars, videos, being "Live" more often, and at some point creating e-courses and expanding my team. Even with th challenges of growth ahead, delivering my services and message in ways that will help even more people is the right next best career step for me.
New promise to self: I will allow myself more breaks and take smaller action steps when needed. BUT no more stalling in getting my message out in new ways.
I'm ready to expand my reach and impact.
(*gulp* *deep breath* *where's my chocolate?*)
I am looking forward to aligning more with the dream I have for what UpgradeMyInterview.com will further become. It's time for me to shift my own mindset and trust that I can handle more change and growth.
I want more people to experience the freedom, satisfaction, and other benefits that learning how to share your value while boosting your interview skills brings.
Just like I tell my clients, I need to keep in mind that:
Change may make your stomach do belly flops, but it's worth going through the I-feel-like-I'm-going-to-throw-up part every time.
How Can You Help?
It is my intention that this site will keep offering tips that help you, stress relief that calms you, and authentic encouragement that lifts you before and after your moment in the hot seat.
Thank your for being here and telling others to check out what I'm doing. Your support and feedback helps me grow UpgradeMyInterview.com so I can serve more motivated millennials who are opportunity seekers, career changers, and future CEO's.
My mission is to do more on this site that will help those who are eager to move up in the workforce see their strengths, upgrade their interview skills, connect to inspiring people, and develop career courage.
I believe that UpgradeMyInterview.com is growing into a diverse, nurturing community and resource where:
It is an honor for me to lead this space that you count on to lift your spirit and your confidence at work.
And I am ready for the new ride ahead. I'm thrilled to see what else works best to get you more of what you want and deserve in the workforce.
Goodies + Freebies For You
Did you know I am offering free online mock interviews every Monday in May?
My spots for free Monday Mocks Interviews are limited and filling up quick.
These sessions work best for those who are open to hearing what they need to work on and trying some new ways to kick self-doubt to the curb.
Anyone I coach benefits from three perspectives in one with my combined background of being a Career Coach, a hiring manager, and a pre-screener for employers to help them meet their hiring needs.
And I'm a giver. (You can take the girl out of public service, but you can't take public service out of the girl). So those that I coach are likely to also get bonus resources to help them in their career journey.
Speaking of resources, I also want to share with you what I am choosing to be in the Upgrade My Interview Spotlight this month. If you have been looking for an engaging, very low (practically free) cost way to get more into meditation, then the "Stop, Breathe, & Think" App is a great fit.
I know I've been sticking with doing my own meditation practice more because of the fun badges and other motivational ways this App offers for encouragement. It's easy to use on your work breaks or to help you start your day with less stress.
Your turn: What tools have helped you learn about the benefits of meditation at work or during the job search? Or what is holding you back from trying this stress relief practice during the work day more often?
Tell me in the reply box below. I hope you know your replies and comments make my day!
Most of all, believe in you.
Shea Ki is on a mission to help end the interview struggle. Sign up for her free newsletter to get her latest tips on shining in the hot seat and attracting work that lights you up.