Four things to remember if you are struggling emotionally

March 27th, 2015

Four things to remember if you are emotionally strugglingWhen you are going through a tough time, it can be very hard to concentrate on anything apart from how hard it feels. Try embracing your struggles instead by focusing on these four truths…

1. Know that you’re getting stronger

Instead of racking your brain for all the reasons behind your pain, try to focus on the fact that you will become a stronger person because of it. You’re taking small steps to a brighter future!

2. This will lead you to a new chapter in your life

Life is full of trials and tribulations. Without navigating through them, we won’t get to the great parts.

Think about this: in the context of the world, very few people are born in the most beautiful parts. The majority of people will have to travel to get there. To do this, you would need to save up for a plane ticket, wait at the airport, fly there, you might lose a bag… but you will finally get there. You will then appreciate the beauty more because of the journey.

Know you’re on the right track, but remember that you might have to do a bit of travelling first.

3. Your own narrative is developing

Try to think about your life as a novel when you’re going through a rough time. If someone were reading your story, would it be interesting without any setbacks? Probably not!

Think about how boring your life would be if your journey were just a comfortable train ride the whole way through. You wouldn’t be grateful for what you have. You wouldn’t learn much. You wouldn’t test your limits. If you embrace your adventurous side, you might just feel great by doing so.

4. You can inspire

When you overcome your struggle and come out the other side wiser and stronger, you can inspire others to do the same.

You can be the source of someone’s hope. They can use your story to keep fighting.

If you feel you are struggling through a tough time, a life coach may be able to set you on the right track. Use our advanced search tool to find a life coach in your area.

Read and comment on the original MindBodyGreen article.

How to answer the most common interview questions part two

March 26th, 2015

How to answer the most common interview questions part twoFollowing on from part one, we explore more questions that are likely to crop up in an interview, and give you some advice on how to answer them.

Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years time?

Your potential employers are now looking to gauge your long-term planning. This answer generally depends on the job role and your personal aspirations. It should incorporate the growth in your experience, skillset and responsibilities.

In preparation for this question, try researching an attainable career path for your job role for five or 10 years into the future. Don’t be too overambitious as it could be seen as your rushing past your first role before you even set foot in the door. Instead of this, highlight your enthusiasm for the role and document the logical next steps of your chosen career.

Do you have an accomplishment that you are proud of?

This is a competency styled question – a strong answer to this is based on your ability to tell a story. Saying you saved your last company £10,000 worth of business isn’t going to get you the job. You need context.

The STAR technique (situation, task, action, result) is a good way to answer this question.

If you start your story with the size of the challenge you faced, you can grab their attention right there and then. For the middle part, let them know how you overcame the challenge, and at the end state what you achieved and what you took away from it all.

Give us an example of when you solved a problem

Try thinking of a recent example for this question, and an example that could be applicable to the role you are applying for.

You can use the STAR technique for this answer as well. The most important part of this answer is the result. Emphasise how big the problem was, how integral you were in solving the problem and the magnitude of your success. Don’t forget to let them know how this can help you in your new position too!

Give us an example of a situation where you led/worked in a team

The STAR technique is again useful for this question. A good leader isn’t bossy; they listen, they’re knowledgeable about their area and have a top-down strategic view of the situation. It’s also good to demonstrate your understanding of your team members’ strengths, and how you were able to match their strengths to the task at hand.

Do you have any questions?

This gives you the chance to build up a good rapport with the interviewer. It’s definitely worth preparing a few good questions beforehand. You can demonstrate your enthusiasm for the opportunity to work for their company.

Here are some example questions you can use:

• What’s the biggest challenge facing the company right now?
• Where do you see the company heading in the next five years?
• What can you tell me about the team I’ll be a part of?

Just remember not to ask questions that have already been answered in the interview!

If you want to change career but need some extra help, a life coach may be able to help. To find out more, take a look at our career coaching page.

Read and comment on the original Guardian article.

Five easy confidence boosters

March 20th, 2015

Five easy confidence boostersIt can be difficult to feel confident if you dwell on past failures and negative thoughts. In this blog we explore five ways to easily boost your confidence.

Be positive

Focus on your achievements, good health, experience and talents. The power of positive thought can surprise you.

Utilise the power of mantras

Thoughts can be verbalised through the medium of mantras. How can you overcome critical comments, insults or setbacks? How can you increase your confidence while all of this is going on? Many experts believe that mantras are a great tool for improving confidence. Try a few of these:

  • I’m good enough.
  • I look great.
  • I will succeed.
  • What other people say is a reflection of them, not me.

Maintain good posture

You can now get posture correcting apps that you strap to your lower back that remind you to sit up straight with your head lifted and your shoulders back. Experts believe that slouching affects our outlook on life and our confidence – so sit up straight!

Learn from setbacks

If you’ve had a number of setbacks on the road to getting fit or getting your dream job, it can really affect your confidence. The way to react to setbacks is to see them as feedback, rather than just flat out failure. They give you indications of how you can improve for the next time!

A quick confidence booster

Think of things that you are good at. Maybe you’re a keen jogger, a budding guitarist or a good cook. If you feel great after an activity, try taking advantage of the boost in confidence to try new things or better past mistakes.

If you feel you are struggling with you own confidence levels, visit our confidence page to learn how a life coach may be able to help.

Read and comment on the original Lifehack article.

How to answer the most common interview questions

March 19th, 2015

How to answer the most common interview questionsThere are a number of common questions that can throw you off your rhythm in an interview. Read on for some advice on how to answer them.

Interviews can be very tough – even for the most competent job hunter. You need to come across as enthusiastic, professional and confident, but you also need to know that what you say will have a massive effect on whether you get the job.

So take a look at some of the most common questions that come up in interviews and how to answer them.

Tell me about yourself

This is usually the icebreaker that interviewers love to use. The thing to remember with this question is that they do not want your life story. Choose around four points about yourself that you feel are relevant to the role. The points could include skills you have developed, qualifications, work experience or passion for your career. Practising this answer can give a great first impression.

Why do you want to work for [company name]?

Try to resist the temptation of saying “I want a job” or “for the money.” Even though these statements might be true – they’re probably not the best answers to help you get the position. Do your homework, learn about the company and tell them what parts of their company have impressed you enough to apply.

Why should we hire you?

First, try to make it clear that you meet all of the job requirements. Then back them up by giving examples of how you have demonstrated those skills. To top it off, give them examples of how you have proactively discovered and help solve a problem. This will let your potential employer know you are a positive self-starter – just the sort of person they want at their company.

What are your strengths?

This question gives you the opportunity to let the interviewer know why you are better than all of the other candidates that applied for the job. Match your strengths with the job requirements and always back them up with examples. Let them know how you solved your previous employers problems.

What are your weaknesses?

This can be one of the most of the most difficult questions to answer if you’re not prepared. Be truthful about your weakness, but explain how you are taking steps to overcome that weakness. You can give examples of past weaknesses too!

If you want to change career but need some extra help, a life coach may be able to help. To find out more, take a look at our career coaching page.

Read and comment on the original Guardian article.

Can you go a month without complaining?

March 13th, 2015

Can you go a month without complaining?Could you create a more positive life by eliminating most of your negative comments? In this blog we explore a number of tips on how to accomplish this.

Complaining comes naturally to us all. When things break, or work starts to get on your nerves – it seems like the easiest way to vent our frustration. But all of that whining comes with a cost.

When we complain, our brain releases certain stress hormones that may harm our neural connections in areas used for cognitive functions such as problem solving.

It is however very difficult to get through an entire month without having a moan. So instead of cutting out complaining altogether, aim for the middle ground with these tips:

1. Define what a complaint is

Saying “it’s cold outside” isn’t a complaint – it’s an observation. However if you say “It’s cold outside. I really hate living here,” you are complaining. Realising the difference is your first step.

2. Document every time you complain about something

Become aware of when you are complaining and what you are complaining about and write them down. Looking back on your notes might give you a shock!

3. Step away from the complainers

When you lend an ear to a constant complainer, instead of fuelling their fire, try to add a positive comment to their complaint. They may stop altogether because they aren’t getting the stimulus they need from you to keep complaining.

4. Turn the complaint into a solution

This is known as ‘effective complaining’ or ‘positive complaining’. Try not to sit around and admire the problem – do something about it!

5. The ‘but-positive’ technique

Here’s an example: “I don’t like my car, but at least it gets me from A to B.”

6. Try changing ‘have to’ to ‘get to’

Instead of “I have to go to work today”, replace it with “I get to go to work today.” This changes your complaining voice into an appreciative one.

With these tips you will achieve a far more positive outlook on life.

If you are struggling to gain a positive outlook on life, a life coach may be able to help. Read our confidence, energy and motivation pages to find out more.

Read and comment on the original Fast Company article.

Career coaching – CV grammar checks

March 12th, 2015

Career coaching – CV grammar checksFirst impressions count. So don’t let a potential employer discard your CV because of a tiny grammatical error.

1. Don’t rely too heavily on spellcheckers

A CV will show your potential employer what effect you can have on their business. But it shouldn’t show them what affect you can have on there business. These sentences will pass through the spellchecker without any problems, but one does not make any sense.

Another aspect to be aware of is the placement of homophones (words that sound the same, but are spelt differently). These could ruin a perfectly good CV, especially if the recruiter receives hundreds of CVs and needs a way to cut them down – spelling and grammar might be one of the factors. Checking these errors could be the difference between a grate knew job and a great new job.

2. Use capitalisation wisely

Capitalising Every Important Word in a Sentence isn’t the Way Forward. NEITHER IS USING BLOCK CAPITALS – THEY DON’T MAKE THINGS EASIER TO READ. For recruiters who value correct grammar, incorrect use of capital letters can be a reason for rejection.

Consistency is key. If you capitalise your job title, make sure you do it all the way through your CV – don’t deviate.

3. Correct use of apostrophes

Apostrophes are a great demonstration of your grip on grammar. Some people forget about them while others litter their CV with them, guessing where they should put them. If you don’t fully understand them, try giving your CV to a proofreader who does.

4. Use the singular for an organisation

If you are working for the Life Coach Directory, you are working for ‘it’, not ‘their team’ – remember to use the singular.

5. First person is key

You need to sell yourself when writing a CV. Use I, me and my – and don’t start using third person half way through! This can land your CV in the bin.

6. Past, present and future

You will most likely talk about your previous job in the past tense and your current job in the present tense. But sometimes you may have to use the past tense to talk about your current job if you completed a relevant project a number of years ago for example. Just make sure that you don’t switch tenses in a middle of a phrase – it can make your writing very hard to follow.

7. Abbreviations need an explanation

Some well-known abbreviations, such as GCSE or FIFA, don’t need explaining. But when you start explaining you work for the FCA, your employers may not know that it stands for the Financial Conduct Authority. Another quick tip – you don’t need to put full stops between abbreviations (FIFA not F.I.F.A.)

8. Avoid semicolons if you are unsure

Semicolons are used when a full stop is too much, but a comma isn’t enough. They are also used to separate items in lists. If you can use them correctly, go for it. But if not, you will be caught out.

A final thought by the Guardian’s production editor David Marsh: “You can lead a full and happy life without bothering with semicolons.”

If you need some extra motivation or guidance with a career change, a life coach may be able to help. Contact a life coach in your area to find out more.

Read and comment on the original Guardian article.

Famous failures – Your inspiration for success part two

March 6th, 2015

Famous failures – Your inspiration for success part twoFollowing on from our first famous failures article, we explore a number of famous faces that have dealt with failure to become successful.

Albert Einstein

As soon as you mention his name, you will most likely think of the man that pioneered the theory of relativity. But he hasn’t always been a genius – until the age of nine he couldn’t speak fluently, his rebellious attitude got him expelled from school and he was refused entry to Zurich Polytechnic School.

These early setbacks didn’t hold him back – he won the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics.

Einstein believed that “success is failure in progress.”

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan was famously quoted saying:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Jordan’s talent didn’t come naturally. In his early years many basketball coaches wouldn’t sign him because of his height. Years of effort and training led him to become one of the best players in American history.

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spieling, the genius behind such films as Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List, didn’t have the best time in school. He got poor grades in high school and was rejected not once, not twice, but three times from the University of Southern California.

In college, executives at Universal spotted his talent and offered him a contract to become a television director in 1969. He would not complete college for another 33 years. This just shows how successful you can be, even if you aren’t meeting your academic expectations.

If you are finding it hard to recover from failure, a life coach may be able to help. Take a look at our motivation fact sheet to find out more.

Read and comment on the original Lifehack article.

Become more efficient when working from home part two

March 5th, 2015

Become more efficient when working from home part twoIn part two of our blog we will explore more ways that will help you become an expert at working from home.

1. Create your own office

Although it can be very tempting to set up your laptop on your couch in front of the television, it isn’t the ideal place to promote productivity. Try to always work at a desk with limited distractions, this will tell your brain that it’s time to work.

You will feel much more organised, awake and confident. Try a personalised, spacious set up near a place of natural light – create a place where you will enjoy working.

2. Place boundaries

Becoming efficient when working from home can be difficult if you share your house or flat with other people. They can create distractions without even intending to, so when you are working try to implement some ground rules so you can stay focused.

Try to keep the boundaries friendly, as you don’t want to upset your housemates! If you’re working in a specific room, try hanging a sign on the door that says whether you are working or not.

3. Tune in to your inspiration

Working from home has its benefits – you won’t annoy any co-workers with your music taste! Take advantage of this by choosing what playlist to put on, and play it loud if that’s what helps nurture your inspiration. If you are doing arduous, repetitive tasks, try an audiobook for good measure. Mix and match a number of ways to gain that extra bit of motivation.

4. Touch base

The one thing you will miss from working at the office is socialising with your colleagues. Just because you are working from home does not mean that you have to lose this perk. Touch base with your colleagues at least twice a week whether by Skype, email, phone or even in person.

Try to make sure that you keep in contact on both a personal and profession level to get the most out of your relationships.

If you missed it, take a look at part one of our working from home blog.

If you think you are spending too much spare time working from home, a life coach may be able to help. Read our work/life balance fact sheet to find out more.

Read and comment on the original Lifehack article.

Famous failures – Your inspiration for success

February 27th, 2015

Famous failures – Your inspiration for successEven the most successful people suffer from massive setbacks. We explore a number of high profile people who have failed and bounced back that will inspire you to be a success.

Failure occurs all the time, be it in school, your career, within family situations or even when doing household chores. Sometimes we just want to throw our hands up in the air and give up. Instead, try to remember that if you endure and survive the ordeal, you will become a better person because of it.

Here are a few famous examples of people who can inspire you to keep going:

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling outlined the importance of failure in a speech at Harvard. Why? She had failed too. Rowling said:

“I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears that my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.”

She explained that enduring and coming out of this failure made her a stronger and more determined person, and also attributed this to her success.

Steve Jobs

Ronald Wayne, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple in April 1976. Now it’s a $2 billion enterprise with over 4000 employees. Yet Steve Jobs was fired from the company he began. The time away from the job he loved made him realise his passion outweighed his disappointment of failure. He then embarked on successful ventures with NeXT and Pixar, before he eventually returned to Apple as CEO.

Speaking in 2005, Jobs said:

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”

Bill Gates

Bill Gates has been famously quoted saying: “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Gates is the perfect example of this – he dropped out of Harvard and co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data that failed. He champions the process of learning from failure, rather than beating yourself up about it.

If you feel you need help navigating through life’s failures, a life coach may be able to help. To find a life coach in your area, please use our advanced search tool.

Read and comment on the original Lifehack article.

Become more efficient when working from home

February 26th, 2015

Become more efficient when working from homeWe explore a number of tips to add to your daily routine that will help you become an expert when working remotely.

Working away from the office can be extremely difficult – mainly due to the myriad of distractions, little communication with colleagues and less accountability for your work. But this doesn’t mean that it’s an insurmountable task.

Whether you are just working from home while you recover from an illness or work at home every day, these tips can help you get the most out of your working day.

1. Stick to regular working hours

This aims to ensure maximum productivity while working from home. It’s very tempting to get up when you want, take breaks and call it a day when you think you’ve done enough. Be your own boss – implement regular working hours (including lunch) to your day so your colleagues and customers can get in touch and so you can keep work from encroaching into other parts of your life.

2. Keep personal and work time separate

Giving yourself time off is just as important as working when you say you will. Try not to extend your working hours on too many occasions as this may put you at risk of burning out.

Compartmentalising your day to plan work and play will keep you productive when working and reduce stress when you’re not.

3. Plan your workday

Be smart and plan your workday. This can have a dramatic effect on your output so you can impress your boss when you next meet.

Consider the following when planning your day:

  • Complete tasks when you have the most motivation (usually in the mornings).
  • Plan breaks and rewards to increase motivation.
  • Attempt the high priority tasks first.

4. Dress the way you would at work

Even if you won’t be interacting with clients or customers all day, it’s important to dress for success. This will let your brain know that it’s time for work, not relaxation! Wearing comfortable joggers and an old t-shirt might be comfortable, but it might lead you to become tired, sluggish or unmotivated.

Do you have any tips to improve productivity when working from home? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Read and comment on the original Lifehack article.