Spring, summer, autumn, winter work – time for a change?

After an odd, erratic summer in the UK followed by a strangely warm autumn, I wonder what winter will bring. It seems like the weather has become impossible to predict. Like work. Like life.


From autumn to winter – how do you feel?

How do you feel as the seasons change? Does it bring back good memories of seasons past? Do you look forward in anticipation? Or do you dread what is coming next? 
What happens in your workplace in autumn? Do you look forward to the busyness after the end of summer and write yourself a new and exciting to-do list? Or do things quieten down for you and items on your task list can finally get your attention? Or do you wish that summer never had to end? Or is there no change? Just relentless pressure, stress and hard work? 

As we moved into autumn, I found myself excited and looking forward to lots of new projects but this makes me think about how tough it is when it feels that there isn’t anything to look forward to.  

When work feels difficult, when you don’t get on with your boss, or the tasks are tedious, or your team lacks resources, or the space you are in is uncomfortable or too noisy (or too quiet). When work is getting you down, it’s hard to pick yourself up.  

What motivates you?

If you want to get out of a situation that is too difficult or too stressful or making you unhappy, what is it that motivates you?  

If you find yourself thinking that you want to escape the situation, to get rid of the uncomfortable feeling, to never see your boss again, then you may be more motivated by moving away from your current situation.  

Alternatively, you may feel drawn to a new project that will improve your mood, or you may look forward to working with a different staff team that gives you energy, or even starting to think about a new role in a different organisation which suits you better and uses more of your skills. 

A coaching case study: Jamie's escape

I am often approached by clients who want to escape their situation. I worked with someone recently who presented with a goal of leaving his job and starting a new one in September. He didn’t get on with his boss, he was working on tasks that didn’t interest him and were draining him of energy, not using his skills and he was fed up. By the end of our work together, he was still working for the same organisation with a plan to stay for at least one more year. Does this mean I am not a very good coach? Well, I don’t think so! 

Jamie (not his real name) was aware that he wanted to move jobs because he wanted to get away from the situation he was in. He found his boss overly critical and lacking in empathy and he was working on budgets and processes that he was competent at but which he found dull. The problem was that he also wasn’t drawn to the other roles that were coming up. He was stuck.

In our work together, we re-formulated his goal from escaping to reshaping the situation he was into something more positive. He identified an opportunity within the structure of his team, approached his boss (who was actually more supportive than he expected) and negotiated a different role that meant he would be working less directly with his boss, under less pressure and working in a more people-focussed role which played to his strengths. We worked on drilling down to what would really bring him satisfaction in a job and when we finished, he had a plan to use the next year to seek out a new role in a different organisation that really lights him up.  

The problem with the initial plan for Jamie, when he was motivated by escape, is that once he had escaped, he recognised the risk of repeating the same pattern that he had been following – get out of the job he disliked as fast as possible, land something else, get fed up with that, get out of the next job and so on. By spending time exploring what he actually wanted, he was able to identify an opportunity in his current organisation that would fit his skills better and also allow him time to seek out a role that he really wanted to do, where he would develop and hopefully want to stay for longer.  

Flip your goal

The challenge of setting a goal that is about getting away from something is that, once you have escaped, you are done and your motivation drops. It might feel better for a while but you lack direction about where you want to go. If you can flip a negative goal into a positive one – a goal that is pulling you towards something – motivation can last longer because you don’t just get out of the situation, you gain. And once you gain what you want, you are motivated to get more and to keep moving forward. 

Some people find this easier because being positive is a kind of default but for some, it can take real effort to switch to a more positive goal. For most people, there will be a mix of both. 

Think now about the work situation you are in and why you would like to change it.  

Write a list of five reasons. 

Look through the list and decide if you are motivated mainly to escape from the current situation or if you are being pulled towards an alternative. 

If everything on your list is pulling you towards your goal – great! If there are a few on your list that are negative, flip them to a positive. For example:

  • "I want a job where I am using my creative skills."
  • "I want to earn more money."
  • "I want to spend less time online – too many emails!"
  • "I don't want to be micromanaged."
  • 'I don't want to end each day feeling unaccomplished."

The first one is positive – great. If we were coaching together, we would then explore what these skills are, what you get from using them, how you might use them, etc. 

The second one – well, OK. It’s framed positively but that needs unpacking too. What is it that money would bring you? How would that impact on your day-to-day life? 

The third one needs flipping – something like "I want to spend more time offline" or "I want to communicate more effectively with my colleagues". What would need to happen for that to change?  

The fourth one also needs flipping. What does ‘micromanaged’ mean to you? What is it that you dislike? What do you want instead? To do what? 

The fifth one – flip that one too. How do you want to feel at the end of the day? What would that be like? Imagine it. How might you get that? 

Get in touch!

Are you already listing the tasks that lie ahead to keep you happy and busy over the winter or is your heart sinking as the light fades earlier and earlier each evening and you look ahead with dread?  

If it’s not just the winter that gets you down but you want to explore how to change your work or life situation, I would love to hear from you. I’m a transformational coach working with professionals to face workplace challenges so their careers can flourish. 

Get in touch – it’ll be Christmas before you know it. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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St Leonards On Sea TN38 & London WC1H
Written by Julie Allen
St Leonards On Sea TN38 & London WC1H

Julie Allen is a transformational coach who supports professionals to resolve workplace challenges so their career can flourish. She also works with organizations to support teams who want to work better together so the team, department and organization can thrive.

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