You have to show interest in your interests

In a recent conversation I expressed that I believe it’s important to show interest in your interests, especially if it’s something you want a career in.

If you want to get into photography are you taking photos, learning about the manual settings on your camera, attending exhibitions etc.  And how often are you doing these things?

I’m interested in personal development/wellness/spirituality/mental health/self exploration. I show my interest by writing about these things, attending events, talking about them, reading books, listening to podcasts and taking online classes.

Aside from these things being my interests, I also consider them to be important which is why I make a conscious effort to dedicate time to them each day.

However, if your interest in what you want to pursue only goes as far as saying your interested, then you’re probably not interested enough.

5 things I’ve learnt from being back in the office full-time

After 18 months of working from home, I changed jobs and found myself back in the office full-time.

Here’s some of what it taught me:

I don’t need to be there
After working from home full-time for around 18 months, it’s clear that being in an office full-time doesn’t need to be mandatory for a lot of jobs.

Talking is easier than Teams
It’s much easier to walk over to someone’s desk and have a 2 minute conversation than it is to message them and wait for a reply which in one instance took 2 days.

It’s easier to switch off
When I log off, close my laptop and leave it in the office at 5pm before heading home it creates a good sense of separation. When I close my laptop at home and then sit at the same dining table to have dinner. There’s no clear separation between work and home.

Some days I don’t want to talk
It’s nice to be in the office and talk to people but some days I’m quite happy sitting alone, not interacting, typing away and reading documents. Being in the office when I don’t want to interact or talk isn’t ideal because it’s a social environment.

I like having the option for both
Being in the office means I get dedicated writing time on my bus journey and it’s easier to switch off. However, being at home gives me more flexibility in how I structure my day.

I think all of these things depend on the working environment. If you don’t like your job or your colleagues, it’s no wonder you wouldn’t want to be there at all. But if you do like what you you do and the people you get to work with then office is probably a great place to be.

Picking the right project to pursue

If you’re what I like to refer to as an ideas person, you probably have the challenge of picking what to pursue. You might find yourself with half a dozen great ideas and the thought of bringing each one to life is equally exciting.

It can be difficult figuring out the best way to solve this issue. And so, sometimes we end up picking multiple things to do at once.

We become a jack of all trades.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with having more than one project at a time, it’s not worth it if you can’t do them well. I like to think of it in terms of spinning plates. The best way to do it is start with one plate and add another when you’re comfortable and then keep going. When you start with multiple plates, they’re more likely to end up broken.

If we take it back to projects, we end up producing work we aren’t proud of and struggle to achieve our desired outcomes.

On the flipside, if we work on things one at a time we give ourselves the opportunity to actualise the vision. If things don’t work out how you’d hoped, you can be much more content with quitting because you know you’ve given it your all.

When you’re doing important work that you believe in, the best way to honour the vision is by being solely dedicated to it. You do yourself and the vision a disservice when you choose to do multiple things at once.

When it comes to deciding what to do, there are plenty of ways to decide.

  • What do you care about the most?
  • What idea feels most important?
  • What will you be most dedicated to?
  • Write them all down and pick out of a hat?
  • Introduce yourself as the person behind each project, which one feels the best?

Maybe try a combination of these things and see what idea comes up the most.

The only thing you need to do is make a choice. If you’re finding it difficult, you’re putting too much weight on it.

And, if you pick something and it doesn’t work out, just try something else.

Introspection and extrospection

Over the past few weeks I’ve been asking myself the question ‘what is this blog about?’.
I’ve been thinking about the topics I share most often and how that can be encapsulated into a few words, a clear answer to my question.

Over the past few months I’ve been in a personal development, problem solving, self-help space which is reflected in my writing.

But in the last few days the ideas I’ve had for blog posts have been things I’ve noticed or observed, nothing to do with personal development.

I was then reminded of the origin of this blog, taking the opportunity to notice something in myself or the world then use that to find a lesson, growth point or a helpful reminder.

It’s a balance of introspection and extrospection.

To observe and understand life in the same way that we can observe and understand ourselves.

It’s a mix of personal development, self-discovery/exploration, career, social-media, wellness and blogging tips.

Changing yourself to progress your career

The workplace can often just feel like one long game with lots of rules. For many people following these rules requires changing perhaps to the point of doing things that you don’t really want to do.

So, how much should you change for the sake of career progression?

If you feel like you have to become someone else or play up to the idea of who people think that you should be to have the career you want, you probably won’t be happy when you get it.

Some people understand the game and are willing to play it whilst others find the cheat codes and figure out how to work things their favour. Then there are the ones who understand the game but aren’t willing to play it and lastly the ones that have no awareness of the game whatsoever.

I have a lot of beliefs about work and the kind of career I want.

In a past experience, after discovering the game and attempting to play it, I realised that I didn’t want to.

If you have to change to progress in your career it’ll only be worth it if you like the person you’re becoming. Playing the game can be fun but it can also be exhausting. It might be for some people but others are better off stopping and finding a place to work with a game they enjoy playing or better yet no game at all.

The manager you need

When it comes to mentors, managers and the people that help support us throughout our careers, we often don’t know what we need.

If you’re like me, the kind of person that needs a push, you’re progress will be hindered by someone that mollycoddles you. Perhaps you need someone that is kind yet stern who will support you but won’t allow you to hide.

Given the choice you would perhaps run from someone that you felt was stern and run towards someone who you felt was ‘nice’ and ‘kind’. Of course those 2 qualities are great but you might need a little more than that.

When it comes to your career, you’ll always have to push yourself to achieve what you want. However, the case may be that the best person to support to along that journey is the person you least expected.

Wellbeing in the workplace

I think that this matters and I think I think that this is important.

If you had a conversation with a lot of companies, particularly since this covid pandemic, they would have something to say about the importance of wellbeing.

We’re all aware that peoples mental health and general wellbeing has been impacted by the pandemic for various reasons. It could be a lack of social interaction, feeling lonely, the change in routine, fear of getting sick, job security, financial issues and more.

But it might not be the pandemic that is the issue. What about if you go to work and you’re treated poorly, ignored, lied to, there’s a lack of trust, you feel stifled, you’re constantly overlooked, people don’t listen to you and you don’t feel respected, you might not even be aware of the impact it can have or is having on you.

Those things can have a significant impact on a persons wellbeing, particularly when they’re happening regularly.

And sometimes in the workplace these things are very covert. When you speak up you get generic responses that lack sincerity but are somehow just enough. Just enough for you to feel like you were overreacting, that maybe you’re not trying hard enough and that things will be better in the future.

However, if you’ve given things a chance to get better and things haven’t improved then you need to decide if the job is actually worth it.

Are you willing to sacrifice your wellbeing for the sake of a job?

What do you really want to do?

I think sometimes the fear we have of making the wrong choice is really just a sign that our mind is not clear. On the flipside, when you’re mind is not clouded over with stuff you’re able to be more spontaneous and quick thinking with your choices.

More often than we realise we know exactly what to do. However, we allow our thoughts to get carried away and we engage them even when we know it’s not helpful.

Maybe you want to pursue your love of baking but then you let your mind wonder. You start to think about money, what your friends will think, your parents being disappointed, people not getting it, worrying you’ll regret leaving your stressful well paying job, you tell yourself maybe baking is just a hobby or a fantasy career and you wonder if you’re good enough. The thoughts go on until you’ve talked yourself out of making a decision.

You now spend the coming months or even years trying to decide what to do. The truth is you’re just putting off doing exactly what you know you want to do.

Spending time on your interests

Outside of all the things you’re obligated or committed to do, how much time do you spend on your interests?

It’s easy to be dedicated to your career because doing so often comes with rewards like praise, promotions and a pay rise. It’s easy to spend time on your ‘side hustle’ because doing so will hopefully bring it closer to being your main hustle.

But when it comes to your interests like neoplasticism, poetry and hand embroidery sometimes it can feel difficult to make the time when you don’t directly get anything back from it.

As much as your interests bring you great joy, they don’t don’t always come with specific tanigble rewards. And so if you find that you’re not making time for them, you may need to remind yourself why were interested in them the first place.

Security over happiness

There’s a choice to be made that sometimes ends up being a sacrifice.

It’s possible to have security and happiness but people often make choices that prioritise one over the other.

They do this for reasons such as fear, a lack of self belief or because they have people relying on them.

It becomes difficult to choose to pursue something creative where you know you’ll go through a period of low finances and you have people to support. In cases like the choice is security because if you pick happiness the people that need you are now at risk.

Sometimes in life you do have to do things you might not want to do but it’s important that you do it for the right reasons. Choosing a path based on security because you have children to care for is very different from choosing security because you’re trying to appease your parents or impress other people.