Making the most of your working life









I watched a recent Youtube video of a speaker encouraging us not to waste our lives in jobs we do not enjoy. At the start of the video I admit to having the following thoughts;

“Here we go again”

“How do you suggest we pay our mortgage if we stop working?”

I was surprised that he actually hit on some home truths and he gave me much food for thought. He did not touch on anything that I did not already know but it was the way in which he presented the information.

Assuming we live to 70 (which I certainly plan on doing as a minimum) we will spend the best part of 50 years working. Mothers will take a year’s maternity leave for each child and possibly some additional years whilst they are aged under five. We spend a lot of “awake” hours at work. Far too many to be doing tasks/projects that we have no interest in.  The career we choose should therefore be something we have a passion for or at least care for at the very minimum. We may want to work in a field completely different to what we would have chosen 20 years ago. Life changes, we change. What motivates us today possibly did not motivate us years ago.

The challenge is we can often feel stuck and unable to move for a number of reasons;

1. Family commitment
2. Financial commitment
3. Lack of confidence
4. Lack of skills/experience/qualifications in the field
5.  Lack of support from family and friends
6. Fear of the unknown

If you are considering moving to a new career path you will need to weigh up the pros and cons. It is a big change but one you may well need.  We can feel tied to our commitments and that our window of opportunity has come and gone.  Options exist but sometimes they are not always obvious particularly if we are not open minded or optimistic about our future.

Consider the following;

1. Could it be you need a change of environment?
2. Can you take a drop in salary? If so, how much?
3. Are there any luxuries you can drop in order to fund a course/training?
4. What impact would this change have on your family?

Have you made a recent career change? What gave you the push?
Have you always known which field you wanted to work within?
What advice would you give to others?



Do you actively listen or do you hear?








Giving your full attention is important but how often do we do it? The temptation to tail off mid conversation is all too easy. In order to improve our relationships we must be willing to listen and repeat back some of what we have been told. This illustrates our core listening skills.

The majority of us enjoy being listened to as it makes us feel relevant and that we matter to others. It is disingenuine asking others how they are yet not being willing to stop and listen as they share their experience.  Asking others how they are has become a formality, something we say but do we truly mean it? Are we prepared to listen to their response or are we hoping they say they are fine and we can continue with our day? I guarantee you have found yourself in such situations and I doubt it left you with a good impression of the person.

We need to be real with ourselves and others. It does us good to check our motives as they are not always right.  I remember studying for my counselling diploma 12 years ago; I was not as good a listener as I thought. The practical person that I was (and still am), felt the need to find an answer, a solution, anything to improve the situation for the counsellee. I had to fight against being ‘a rescuer’ and simply listen.

We lead busy lives compared to 15 to 20 years ago. Apparently technology has contributed to making our lives easier but it has also opened us up to many social media platforms, many of which can consume our time if we allow it.  Our busyness can hinder us from investing “real” time in others.  Yes, Skype, Zoom and other video conferencing can be a good alternative when people are unable to physically meet but it should not replace human contact as a long term measure.

We need healthy relationships where we can discuss, debate and be real with one another. We need to be feel loved and cared for, knowing our concerns are of some importance to others.

How can we improve on our listening skills?

1. Resist the temptation to look at your mobile phone, watch television or do anything remotely distracting when being spoken to.

2. Do not try to find solutions for the person unless asked. Allow them to use you as a sounding board.

3. Allow enough time to listen so the person does not feel you have squeezed them in.

4. Refrain from bringing in your own experiences, particularly at the beginning of the conversation. This is about the other person and not you.

How would you rate your listening skills?
Is this an area you need to improve on?

How do you channel your anger?








I am sure you can recall the last time you were angry – it may have been justifiable or not but feelings of anger came either way.

Life is challenging and we are tested each and every day by the person who jumps the queue, the person who does not say thank you, the husband/wife who sometimes takes us for granted, the children who always take us for granted!

A situation springs to mind of when I felt annoyed.   My children were arguing over who should go into the shower first. This is a delay tactic in order to stay up later – to them every minute clearly helps! I was tired and had a nice day with them at the park. It was after 8pm and  in my books time for their bed. I become quite protective of my evening as this is when I can truly relax and focus on myself. Yes, I shouted and felt bad soon after.

When you act out in anger you are more likely to say and do what you really do not want to. You are acting out in haste and giving little thought to how you come across to others. Your tone and body language will reveal your anger and the recipient will have their back up. By this stage you have lost.  Though you can apologise, you cannot take back what you say or do.

There are many benefits to remaining cool and refraining from being hot headed. You remain in control and therefore more stable.  If one lives off of their emotions they will become ‘the colleague’, ‘the friend’, ‘the family member’ who is like a loose cannon – you do not know what you are going to face at any given time.

Taking time out to think about your situation means you will look at it from several angles, you are more likely to be reasonable.

How can you stop acting out in anger?

1. Whenever you feel anger coming – walk away from the situation if possible.  If your child or another person is slowly winding you up – step away.

2. As tempting as it may be to ‘say your piece’, try not to engage in arguments.

3. Ensure you have all the facts.

4. Identify the triggers and put mechanisms in place.

How do you curb anger?
How do you remain calm in challenging situations? 

Do not allow comparison to steal your joy

The well known saying:
“Comparison is the thief of joy” is true. You will either feel superior when you are better off than some and inferior when you are worse off than others. Neither is a good place to be. How we feel about ourselves should not be based on where we stand in relation to others. We should not be using others as our yardstick because then we risk the danger of making them our idol.

As a teenager, around 15 I had a friend who I idolised.  She was confident, pretty, popular, academic and creative – basically everything I was not.  I would watch the way she spoke to peers with ease whilst I struggled socially, generally preferring to speak to people on a one to one basis.  She knew how to push herself forward and remain visible whilst I stayed very much in the background.  I tried to become more outgoing and it lasted all of a week. I did not know it then but I was an introvert, preferring solitude and a lot of time alone to gather my thoughts. I was also ridiculously shy.  I cannot remember exactly when but it may have been the first year of college when I stopped comparing myself with this friend. I stopped beating myself up that I was not more like her and began to accept myself. Making new friends at college also helped.

Unless we are very close to someone, we only see what they present whether in person or on social media.  People still hold back on parts of their lives they do not wish to share (me included) and this is fine.  It would therefore be naive of us to believe we know the ins and outs of someone’s  life when really we only see snippets here and there and rarely the whole picture.

Comparing ourselves with others brings no benefit. Admiring others who inspire us is healthy but going on to weigh up their life with yours is unhealthy and will lead to discontentment.  Resentment can trickle in unbeknown to the other person who is busy getting on with their life as should you

What are your views and experiences of comparison?

Tell self-doubt to leave!






Many are plagued with doubt and the inability to trust their own judgement. This could be due to low self-esteem, past failures, or criticism.  When we doubt ourselves and our abilities it is difficult to step out into new opportunities. Doubt can hold us bound, causing us to second guess ourselves.  Have you ever been in a situation where you begin to question your actions when there is no evidence to suggest you are in the wrong or made an error? I have – it was crippling and chipped away at my self-confidence.

I have learnt not to yield to doubt by ensuring where possible that I have enough information to hand when starting a task or project.  I tend to doubt myself when I am not well informed. Unfortunately I cannot control every situation I find myself in therefore I must learn to deal with my attitude towards doubt.  It always serves me to remember that no one person knows everything. No one person has the answers. Many succeed through trial and error as they are not fearful of making a mistake.

Look at the entrepreneurs of their time, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, the late Steve Jobs – they did not arrive to success without failing along the way. They also took risks which meant having the confidence to push forward with their ideas and plans.

When we doubt ourselves, others will do the same. When we are bold in our actions it installs confidence in those around us. People will struggle to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself.

Tips on dealing with doubt:

1. Accept that you are doubtful- you cannot deal with an issue if you do not first acknowledge it exists

2. Stop underestimating your abilities and note down your skill set – we take many of our skills and expertise for granted as we do them daily. They become a part of us.

3. Take on the new opportunity/project and decide to master it as you go along.

To round up, doubt can hinder you if you allow it. The feelings of uncertainty will come but you can choose to take a step in the right direction.

How do you dealt with self-doubt? 
How would you encourage others who struggle in this area?








The importance of forgiveness





Forgiveness is a touchy subject as many have endured terrible experiences in which they have suffered hugely. There are acts people have carried out that are truly abhorrent and in my eyes there is no coming back from. However, I do not have the right to dictate who should forgive and who deserves to be forgiven. In my life I have been on the receiving end of cruelty by words and actions. I too have dished out harsh words and carried out actions which have hurt others.

Choosing to forgive is more about you than the other person. In some circumstances the other person has no idea you are even holding anything against them. They are getting on with their life, oblivious that the words they flippantly spoke ten/twenty years ago are impacting on you. Even if they are aware of their actions, you can choose not to be bound by the past.  You are unlikely to feel like forgiving and will find reasons why you are within your right not to. Forgiveness starts with intention. It must be deliberate. If we allow our feelings to lead the way, we will fail to do so.

I have had to forgive in order to move on with my life, not for the other party but for me.  I no longer wanted to be bound by the past and remunerate what was said, what was done, how I felt – it was exhausting. In some circumstances I took years to forgive and the journey was long and hard but I arrived at this point.  On reflection I can admit the unforgiveness ate at me, it made me resentful, angry and miserable. I spent years asking why my life panned out as it did. I was deeply unhappy throughout my teenage years because of several situations I has no control over. I smiled and laughed but inside I was broken. I learnt to hide it – probably far too well which affected me emotionally.

When we are betrayed, hurt, abused or overlooked we should not dismiss the emotions as they are real.  Deceiving ourselves will not bring any form of healing. I believe we have a responsibility to remove ourselves (where possible) from the company of people who mean us harm. We must look after ourselves and our well being.

To round up, forgiveness will bring you freedom in your mind and loose you from past ties. It will enable you to live in the here and now rather than the past. It will enable you to shake off the old you and embrace the new you. It will enable you to have an element of joy and peace.

Do it for yourself even if not for the other person.

Do you struggle with forgiveness choosing to hold onto it or do you easily forgive?


Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!

Take No Fake

Listen to your inner voice and live your magic!

Word Bank Writing & Editing

Make Every Word Count

Emotionally Resilient Living

Embrace the power within you!


Children's Literature and Issues of Race

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