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Notes from last night: “How to Live a More Passionate Life (& Build an Extraordinary Career)” w/ Lucia Labouchere

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If you are currently reading this, chances are you fall into one of 3 categories:

(a) you want to make a career change, but can’t quite figure out what you want to change into – you feel LOST.

(b) you have a couple of career change ideas, but don’t know which one to go for – you feel CONFUSED.

(c) you know what alternative career path you want, but are too scared to take the leap/anxious you won’t succeed – you feel FEARFUL.

Whether you are feeling LOST, CONFUSED or FEARFUL, rest assured you are not alone, as I found out last night at the Escape School event “How to live a more passionate life – an evening with Lucia Labouchere”. The event was packed with potential escapee’s all hoping for Lucia (aka “Fairy Godmother”) to wave her magic wand and sprinkle them with a shower of her magic pearls of wisdom……and suffice to say, in true fairy Godmother style, she didn’t disappoint!

So who is this Fairy Godmother?

Lucia is just like you and me, she too was once dissatisfied with her city job. She started her career working in recruitment and executive search. Although she was a consistent top biller, she felt unhappy in her job and it was taking its toll on her health…she was running on empty and a former shadow of her lively energetic self (sound familiar?).

The turning point came for her one morning during her daily commute. As she was going up the escalators she saw a poster which said “if you don’t like your life, change it”……and so she did! This was the tipping point that sparked an internal breakthrough for her, that eventually saw her leaving her city job and embarking on a journey to Malawi, where she changed her career to international development.

Once her international development work contract ended she was faced with the daunting question.. “now what?!” She was an inch away from going back into recruiting, but the thought of going back made her sick to her stomach. She decided to hire a coach to help her to get that step closer to determining her “dream job.”

Lucia is now a performance coach and career consultant focused on helping individuals identify what it is they really want from their careers and lives and making a plan to get there.

So what happened when Fairy Godmother waved her magic wand…?

Cue a couple thought-provoking exercises.

Exercise 1 –   beautifully entitled “joy list/ ick list”

  • “Joy List” – spend a few minutes writing down a list of things in your career and life that you like doing, that light you up and bring you joy e.g photography, travelling, cooking etc.
  • “Ick list”  spend a few minutes listing things you don’t like doing……the things that you put off/ take ages to do.

So what?

This exercise makes you conscious of the things that you do and don’t like…it’s only when we put pen to paper that we can really gain clarity in this area. Lucia says that you need to try and get more of what you do like into your life, to give you that renewed sense of energy and help to negate the effects of the items in your “ick” list.

Exercise 2  – “what do you want?”

This is an exercise to get you to start thinking in the mindset of what you really want from a job – its switching from a mindset of what you dislike in your job, to having a sense of optimism for what you want.

How does it work? 

  • Take a piece of paper and draw a circle in the middle.
  • Divide the circle into 4 segments. In each segment list the 4 most important things you want in a career  (your four key “values”) e.g recognition/sense of purpose/sense of making a difference/travel/adventure/progression/work-life balance.
  • Give a score out of 10 as to how your current job fairs in respect of each of the four values in your circle (zero being “ick” and 10 being “state of total joy” ). If you scored zero in more than one of the four segments, don’t worry…you are not alone.

Exercise 3 – visualisation (let your imagination run wild!)

  • Sit back, relax, close your eyes and let your imagination run wild.
  • TIME MACHINE – imagine that it is 2 years from now and you are scoring a 10 in relation to the four values you identified in the exercise above…you are in your ideal job.
  • WHERE ARE YOU? – are you working in the UK/ abroad/ in the City/ outdoors?
  • ENERGISED – think about your day at work – imagine that you are really excited and energised….what is lighting you up ..what is causing this excitement?
  • BREAKFAST – visualise breakfast time – are you on your own/with family/ your partner?
  • COMMUTE – visualise your commute to work, are you running/cycling/simply going downstairs to get to your place of work?
  • SURROUNDINGS – are you working in an office/ are there other people working with you/ do you spend your day on the phone/ are you communicating via Skype?
  • WORK LUNCH  – what is your ideal work lunch – is it with friends/family/ al fresco?
  • FIGHT – imagine you are now back in the office, if you have one cause to fight for – what is it?
  • HOURS – what time do you go home? do you have set hours? do you start late?
  • HOME TIME – imagine you are heading home – who is there? What does your perfect evening look like?

So what?

The point of this exercise is to help you to imagine your dream life. Lucia maintains that you can turn your imagination into reality, by having belief in yourself and being pro-active about going out and getting it.

Exercise 4 – Positive action

  • Re-visit your circle from Exercise 2.
  • Identify in relation to which value you scored the least.
  • In relation to this value, bullet point 3 ways in which your “ideal job” from exercise 3 would incorporate this value. I.e if the value for which you scored the least was “adventure” one of your 3 bullet points would be “I am travelling 3 times a year” .
  • Out of the 3 bullet points you note down, take one of them and come up with an action you can take that will get you one step closer to achieving it.
  • Give yourself a fixed deadline for achieving this action.

So what?

The point of this exercise is to start getting you to take charge and take positive steps forward to achieving your ideal job.

What’s stopping you?

  • Lucia advises taking the negative statements that plague your mind and turning them into positives i.e turn “I can’t do this because…..” to “I am going to do this….what is my next step?”
  • Take the fear and face it head on – “will I be good enough?” (sound familiar?) Lucia says the best way to combat this doubt is to go and test the waters. Give things a go e.g if you say you want to be a writer, test it out…try starting a blog, see what people’s reaction to it is. If you don’t try you will never know whether you will be good enough. Don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back…be proactive.

Fairy Godmother’s key take aways: “Go out there, Make it happen, Commit”

  • BE KIND TO YOURSELF.
  • If it’s humanly possible, you can achieve it.
  • Dare to DREAM.
  • 99% of people do not know what they want. Be in the 1% by investing the time in figuring out: WHAT MAKES YOU TICK.
  • GET SUPPORT – Friends/family/a coach/meet up groups.
  • COMMIT – believe you can do what you set out to achieve – commit no matter what obstacles come your way (and there may be many) – DO NOT GIVE UP.

Guest Reviewer: This post was written by an anonymous Escapee :)

Are you based in London? You may be interested in coming to our next evening talk at The Escape School. Details here.


What is Escape the City all about then?

Frustrated by climbing the corporate ladder, we decided to build a community to help people build meaningful careers doing work that matters – to them and to the world. We help talented people find fulfilling work by making big career changes, building businesses, & going on big adventures. We’d love you to come with us on this journey.

How do you get involved?

1. Job Seeker? Create an Escape Profile to get matched to exciting jobs.

2. Aspiring Career Changer / Entrepreneur? If you’re in London, come and see us at The Escape School.

3. Want to stay in touch? Subscribe to one of our newsletters. Find us on Facebook or @escthecity.

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