In this interview, Natasha Stanley, Head Coach at Careershifters.org, packs in tons of practical advice for those of you who want to or might actually have to make a career change. Firstly, you may have lost your job or have been furloughed. Secondly, your industry may have changed due to the Coronavirus / Covid-19 outbreak. Or lastly, you might just be looking for a new direction in your career or life to be happier and more fulfilled.
What juicy tips will you discover?
Listen in on key principles to navigate uncertain times and big life changes. Because in this interview, we touch on so many important issues such as:
- What Covid-19 means for people who want to change their career
- What to do about your finances during career change
- Why purpose is overrated, and;
- Focusing on curiosity and not passion
- How to approach your boss to ask for less hours or to work from home more to avoid burnout
- Should you take a career break?
- The concept of portfolio careers
- What does planning glorious intentional surprises have to do with being happy?
What if I’m not looking for a job yet?
Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job or career change, there is great wisdom for everyone to take from this. Because being able to navigate change during uncertain times in life is as useful as being able to steer a ship when you are heading towards rocks!
I totally recommend checking out the Career Shifters’ case studies of people writing about their own career change journeys. Above all, I love their blog articles which are honest, transparent and packed with sound advice, just like you might have picked up from watching Natasha on this interview!
- Career Shifters: Career change specialists, practical blogs, workshops and coaching.
- This Is For You: Exploring how you can form meaningful human connection – workshops, podcast and retreats
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? Paperback – by Seth Godin
- The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters – by Priya Parker
- Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear – by Elizabeth Gilbert (also author of Eat Pray Love) and her concept to take a break from following your passion, follow your curiosity instead
Below is the entire interview conversation written out in text for those of you that are hard of hearing or want to scan through the content and skip to the juiciest bits for you. We include time stamps too so you know where to skip to!
Hey guys, and welcome to another episode of Burn From Within. And on today’s show we have Natasha Stanley. Hi Natasha. How are you?
I’m good, I’m good. I’m really excited to be here.
Now. Natasha is joining us from, uh, the Canary islands and she’s got quite an exciting passion filled life. Um, she’s been telling me that, uh, well she obviously she’s head coach for Career Shifters, which is a phenomenal resource for anyone thinking about changing careers. I’ve, I’ve read the many blogs and there’s lots and lots of different case studies of people that they’ve helped, um, really, really valuable resource. Go and check it out. Um, so she’s the head coach for career shifter. She’s also the founder for a consultancy called This Is For You, which is focused on the art and sciences of meaningful human connection. Um, and also Natasha teaches, um, acro yoga. Um, she’s traveled the world. She left, uh, the charity sector back in 2012. Um, and you know, also does work like freelance copywriting and many other different things, so very varied rich life. And, um, thank you for, for agreeing to the interview today and sharing your, your experiences.
Yeah, it’s a pleasure. I’m looking forward to it.
Awesome. So, um, obviously you know, you, you write, uh, you know, a lot of blogs and, um, you know, train a lot of people in, in how to manage their career change at Career Shifters in particular. Um, what… The topic that is on everyone’s mind right now is obviously, um, Covid-19 particularly if you’re in the job market or you know, want to leave, either leave your job or maybe been displaced from your job, um, uh, or you, you know, you were looking to change career and now what do you do? What options are that industries are changing? Um, the whole market is changing. Um, what is your take on that now? I mean it’s, it’s April 20, 20. Um, you’ve been in the business for a number of years, you know, helping people get through career change. What are your thoughts now given what’s going on?
Yeah, it’s a very specific moment in history. Um, and it’s impacting pretty much everybody in the planet. Um, which is unprecedented certainly in my lifetime. Um, and what I’m seeing from the people that we work with is a sense of shock. Um, a lot of people have been made redundant. A lot of people have been furloughed. Um, some are continuing to work but in a very different way. So they happen to work from home. And what I saw a couple of weeks ago was a sense of shock, um, and a sense of panic. Um, what I’m seeing now in just a couple of weeks is that sense of shock and panic starting to settle a little bit and very valid questions coming up. Um, is my job going to be safe? Um, okay. If it’s not safe, then what do I do about it? I’m sitting where I’m sitting. I’ve really tried to zoom out on this whole conversation and kind of say, okay, so there’s, there’s panic, there’s a lot of change right now.
There’s a lot of emotional mode on this conversation, but if we zoom out, what’s actually going on here and what I hope will be reassuring for anybody who’s thinking about making a career change or looking for filling work is actually the challenges that you’re up against now are likely actually to be the same challenges as you were up against before. All of this started to happen. And I’ll unpack that a little bit. So career changes are people who want to make a shift into more fulfilling work are always at a fundamental disadvantage in the traditional job market. Um, in all likelihood you want to make a move into an industry or an area that you’ve never been in before, it’s brand new to you. Your CV is unlikely to have the perfect set of experiences or skills on it that the machine at the other end of the job application is going to be looking for in order to tick the boxes.
Um, and so as a career changer, one of the things that we work with really strongly at Career at Career Shifters is, is okay, so if the traditional job market is already a difficult place for a career change, or what are the alternative approaches that you can take to finding a, moving into fulfilling work that bypass those automatic systems and that have you kind of get in the side door rather than the way it is. We’re all really well trained to apply for jobs. You know, you look on the job sites, you scroll endlessly until your mouth is dry and your eyes are square and you don’t see anything inspiring. And even if you do see something inspiring, you don’t have the experience for it. So is that still the case now? Even with all of this Covid-19 stuff going on, you’re still going to need to find other ways to break into new industries, um, ways that are far more relationship focused ways that are a little bit more, um, avant garde perhaps than were trained to do.
Um, and so I hope that’s okay. I know that sounds like that you’ve still got the same problems. How is that reassuring? But actually it means that no matter what’s going on in terms of current events, the approach is that you need to take in the mindsets that you need to develop are consistent and then the same. Um, yes, the job market’s going all over the place, but actually that’s not where you’re likely to be looking if you’re making a career change. Um, so in that sense it’s not such a big impact what’s going on in the world right now.
Okay. Um, yeah, I mean sound advice. I think, you know, the principles that you teach, whatever, I mean career change has happened in different economic downturns and upturns it’s always happened. This is a bigger one than usual. Um, but sure. I understand that those principles are still the same. Um, I guess one question that I’ve, I’ve had, um, uh, is around industry change as well. If you’re thinking about changing a career, um, some people say, well, should I go into that industry? Maybe it’s not a safe for me, even though it might be a passion of mine, for example, the travel industry or the hospitality industry. Um, what would you say to, to those people, um, and do the principles still apply there would you say?
Career change at its heart is, is a process of navigating uncertainty? Um, most people don’t necessarily know exactly what it is they want to move into. Um, if they do know, they don’t know how to get into it. Um, and a big part of this is about the individual’s relationship with risk. You know, how much of a risky you willing to take in order to find more fulfilling work? Um, industry is that seeing particularly unstable at the moment? Mmm. I’m not likely to be over a long period of time. Um, so yes, things might be really awful in the travel industry right now, but if you’re somebody who is naturally predisposed to building, creating problem solving, um, if an upward movement is really important to you in order to be engaged in your work, that could be something and an area in which you actually have masses to contribute.
And if you can get into an industry like that contributes something really powerful and become what Seth Godin calls the linchpin in the company or organization you’re working for. This could almost be a really smart move for you because it means that you’ve got more value to add and you’re going to be more deeply appreciated in those industries. Now that does mean that in order to do that, you’ve got to be okay with a higher level of risk and some people are okay with, um, a lot of people that I’m speaking to at the moment say, you know, this has really thrown a whole different spin on the way that I thought about my shift. I was interested in starting my own business, becoming self-employed, but this has made me realize how important security is for me, for me, my family, my mortgage, my kids. And so that’s put a different angle on things.
And for those people, one of the things that we work with really strongly at Career Shifters is the idea of themes, which are almost like umbrella directions that lots of different um, jobs or roles or industries could fall under. Um, so for me, one of my kind of career themes is all around helping people to do things that they never thought were possible. And that sounds really big and wealthy and vague, but there’s loads of different jobs and industries that I could get into the, I know that I would connect with and be happy with because they fall under that umbrella. And so for people who are thinking, okay, I want to go into the travel industry, but that seems scary at the moment and my relationship with risks doesn’t make that feel good. I’d ask those people. So what is it about the travel industry that draws you to it?
Like what is it about? Is it about travel? Is it about creating experiences for people? Is it about connecting people with that across different cultures? If you can get to the nub of like, what, what’s a core of my interest in this thing and how many different possible ways are there for that to get expressed in the world that I could get involved with. Then maybe the travel industry isn’t the only option for you. Um, and there are other industries or other ways that you could kind of express that theme and get involved with it that are more suited to the level of risk that you’d be happy to play with. That makes sense.
Yeah, completely, completely. Um, it’s, it all depends on your individual circumstances and, and what’s important to you as well. You know, the level of risk, um, maybe how much money you have in the bank, your situation if you have a family or not. Um, so it’s not a one size fits all approach for sure. Okay. Um, well, I mean, one, one, one observation I had actually, um, around that and as you around pivoting, um, I, I’ve worked with a number of coaches and NLP trainers and someone asked a question around, um, how do I pivot, uh, during these times of change? You know, when, when industries might be be changing or even, you know, how do I, if I’m in a business or a contractor or a freelancer and there’s, there’s less work for me, uh, in my industry, what do I do? Um, and quite an interesting question.
Um, uh, we discussed that to ask was what is the purpose of, um, of my business or what is the purpose of my role? And so for example, if you’re in the events industry, um, Oh, you’re running retreats, for example, your retreat leader. Now this, there’s not many retreats going. Um, but, uh, but so how else can you, what is the purpose of the retreats is to, it’s to serve people to make a difference to their lives. Um, so going to the level of purpose of what, what, what does travel, uh, mean to you? What is the purpose of going into the travel industry? And then finding other opportunities around, um, that high level purpose? Uh, that’s helped me a really a lot. Um, you know, working with, with people in person and now thing now just focused online is uh, going up to that high level I think has really, really helped. Um, what is your take on, uh, finding people’s purpose in, in work and in career?
I think it’s a, it’s a big scary one. I think that it’s the two, the two P’s like purpose and passion are big buzzwords in the personal development, the personal development field. I’m in career change in all of this kind of thing and they’re useful and they’re not so useful. Um, the, the classic one is like find your, find your passion and the money will come, you know, do what you love and the money will come. Just find your pet. Like the first thing you need to do is find your purpose. And certainly for me, when I was making my career change, I was sat there on the couch just like where, like where it’s not down the back of the sofa. I’ve spent, I don’t know how many hours chasing my tail inside my head. Like where is my purpose? How do I find it?
What is my passion? What if I don’t have a passion? What if I’ve got 36 passions? How do I know which one it is? So I think it’s inspiring and it’s nice and it’s not very practical. Mmm. Some people, maybe they don’t have a purpose and that’s okay. You know, we, we’re raised with this, certainly for me, I don’t know where I got this from, but there was this thing about like child genius, violinists, you know, you see these kids and they’re just like incredible musicians and they’ve done it all their life and it’s just everything about, and I was like, why haven’t I got one of those?
And actually what I figured out is for me at least, I don’t have a purpose. You know, my purpose is to do whatever it is that I choose to be doing at a time. Um, and what I found far more practical and far more useful, um, first of all for me was the question of like, what do people need? You know, there’s something very, uh, the whole purpose and passion conversation got me into a very Naval gazy kind of space. You know, I poured a glass of wine in the evenings and I’d make lots of lists of like, Oh, purpose, passion, [sounds blob blob blob]. And it would be the same list every time I did this and I would still wake up the next day and have no idea what to do. You know? Um, and actually asking myself like if I look around the world right now in the areas that I’ve got even a vague interest in what do people need?
And I think their schools also ties back to this idea of, of, of pivoting. Um, if you’re in a business that, um, where your clients have dried up a little bit, like people aren’t paying you to do what you used to do. Take a look around like what do people need right now? So the retreat leader that we were using as an example, one of the things that people needed that those retreats were serving was like time away from their day to day life. For example. Now what people need is actually in exactly the same kind of core sense, but the expression of it could be something different. You know, what people need is not to get up and leave the house and go and spend seven days really close to other human beings. What they need is that sense of connection and being with other people when they’re stuck inside the four walls of a house. So how do I give them that? How do I meet that need and that desire and that pain point for people? It’s not about me. It’s not about my purpose. It’s about other people and what they need and how can I solve that problem for them. Um, so yeah, I’m a little bit of a skeptic around the whole like passion, purpose kind of thing. But, um, hopefully that reframe can help a little bit for people who are in that situation.
I love it because I mean, it, I’m being very impractical if you just dwell on these bigger, uh, ideas that almost a philosophical rather than practical. Um, you know, one is my life purpose and, um, I think sometimes it’s useful to kind of have an idea of a direction of what you like in life. Um, so that you can try those things out. And that kind of takes us back to your, your themes, your umbrella directions and being aware of your strengths and your passions and your values, et cetera. Um, but to look for one sole purpose and that defines you. Um, it’s, it is confusing for people and also not that helpful. I totally agree with that. Um, I mean, I guess like you’ve got a quite interesting story yourself and your life. I mean, you left the charity sector back in 2012, is that right? Yeah. And, and now, you know, you, your, um, Head Coach at Career Shifters, you teach, uh, acro yoga as well. And you know, you have a copywriting, um, business and, uh, you have have a consultancy as well, but where did all of that come from? How did you know that you’re going to do all of this? Or how, how did that journey evolve? Cause it’s inspiring.
Yeah. Um, so I had no idea that I was going to do all of this. Um, my life has been a series of glorious, intentional surprises. Um, and how did it all unfold? I mean, without necessarily going through the chronology of it all. Um, what really drives me is engaging with things that light me up and sharing it with other people and those things change all the time. Mmm. And I used to really beat myself up about the fact that I’m interested in a lot of different things. Um, I have a flexible and broad enough skill set and mind that most things I turn my hand to I can be fairly good at. Mmm. And I used to think of myself as being very fickle and non-committal and I used to beat myself up about that is that why can’t like the violinist, right? Like why can’t I just find my thing and master it and do it really well?
And what I discovered was actually if I, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about following your curiosity, right? Um, if I just do that, if I go with the things that are interesting, me immerse myself in it up to the point that I need to and want it to and find ways to share that with people. That’s really, it’s not just enough for me. It fills me up. I don’t get bored. I don’t reach the point where, um, I’m kind of doing the machine repeating itself kind of thing. And some people love that. Some people love the detail. Keeping the machine running, all of that kind of jazz. For me, it’s just like that shiny, I’m going to go and dive into that. Who wants to come with me? And along the way, if I keep asking myself like, why is this important? What do people need in relation to this thing that interests me?
There is always an opportunity to make a living from it one way or another. Um, everything that I do right now does fall under that kind of umbrella conversation around helping people do things they never thought were possible. Um, I see it every day in my work with Career Shifters. People just look what just happened. Look what I just did. Same with acro yoga. You know, the first time somebody flies on someone else’s feet that look on their face is what I live for. With This Is For You. I teach people the art and science of meaningful human connection. I have people walking out of workshops being like, I never thought that I could go that deep with somebody that quickly and not feel scared or vulnerable or uncomfortable. Um, so it all falls under that umbrella. But the more that I go through all of this, the more I realize that kind of happens by accident.
If I just trust the stuff that I’m interested in and I’m energized by when I look backwards, you know, Steve jobs in his commencement speech talks about you can only join the dots looking backwards. When I look backwards, I see that theme, but I’m not like, right, I’m going to go out and help people do things that they never thought were possible. It’s really just me trusting my gut and saying, Hey, that looks cool. Who wants to come with me? Um, and that’s not the case for everybody. You know, some people have a very different approach, a different mindset, different set of needs than I do. But there’s something about… So at Career Shifters we work with an idea called the Fulfillment Sweet Spot. Um, which is like a Venn diagram of three questions. And we believe that your fulfilling work lies at the intersection of those three questions.
So the first one is, um, what energizes me? So not what am I passionate about, not what’s my purpose, not even what do I love, but what energizes me? You know, like wake up in the morning and you’re like, Oh God, I just can’t today. And then there’s something that you do and no matter how tired you were when you started, you come out buzzing and it might be the thing that you’re doing. It might be the people that you’re around, it might be the environment that you’re in is, it’s the whole picture. But finding something, what energizes you? Finding something that you’re good at or that you could get good at. Um, and then what will the world pay for? So for me, I start with the what energizes me part. Cause I’ve been in jobs where I was good at it and I got paid for it and I just wanted to stick a fork in my eye every morning.
So I start with what energizes me? Like, Oh, this feels buzzy, I’m gonna follow that. I do a little bit of it. Oh, I could get good at this. Or Oh, I actually am quite good at this. And then, okay, so what’s the problem I can solve using this? What will the world pay for? Um, and that’s the way round that I’ve found gets results most quickly. Um, but the key of all of that is to start doing it as quickly as possible. So my list making didn’t get me anywhere. I was still in a house, same house, same job. When I woke up the next morning, I’m running circles inside my head, trying to look for a new answer. If the answer was in there, I would have found it. By now. You know, it’s not in here. It’s out there and you’ve got to go and get your hands dirty. Um, basic systems theory, right? Like new inputs create new outputs. So if you’ve got no new inputs, you’re not going to have any fresh ideas. Um, but I’m just yapping now.
Oh, another thing. Now I’m loving it. I mean, I totally get the idea of, um, getting out on the field and actually, you know, rather than reading about, uh, tennis or, uh, golf, but actually doing it and seeing if you actually like it rather than you can theorize all you, like you can write lists all day long, but actually having a feeling or going into that, that role or testing out something so you, so you actually realize “Oh, that does energize me!” Or “Actually, hmm. That’s not quite for me”. Um, is so, so, so important. So, so important.
Um, so my question Natasha is, um, around finances and you know, some people they, you know, have a good salary and thinking about changing a career, um, is quite daunting for them because, you know, they have a load of financial commitments. They might have kids, they might be mortgage. Um, what, what is your take on that, um, in training the people that you’ve trained, um, and your experience as well? Uh, how do you handle that and how can people navigate that finance issue? Yeah. Um, so it’s a really important one. It’s not something to um, to put to one side the whole kind of follow your passion and the money will come.
Thing we’ve already talked about is, is it’s just not realistic for the vast majority of people. What I do often see is people kind of putting the cart before the horse, um, with this conversation. So I have a lot of clients who come to me and they say, um, I really want to move into more fulfilling work. Um, but I’m completely terrified about finances and I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it. And I say to them, well, what do you want to shift into? And they say, well, I don’t know yet. And until you’ve got a sense of the direction that you want to go in, you’re slamming on the brakes before the obstacle has even arrived. And it may be that you find out that a lot of the things that you wanna do just won’t pay the bills. And that sucks, but it’s also okay because you can pivot and navigate once you get to the point of knowing what you want to do.
There’s people that I’ve worked with who have had a really big concern around this, found that actually some of the stuff that they love pays as well as, or even better than the things that they did before. But until you know where you want to go, you don’t, you don’t have anything to tackle yet. So deal with the conversation around “OK, well what is it that energizes me? What am I good at? Where do those things intersect?” And then we can tackle the, “Okay, so what part of this will the world pay for?” If you can solve problems for people, any kind of problem in a way that energizes you and lights you up, the world will pay for it in lots of different industries and lots of different places. So it’s a question of situating yourself in such a way that you can direct yourself at the industries that hit that fulfillment sweet spot.
The other thing to say about this is there’s more than one way to change career. So the way that I used to think about it before I made a shift was a career change. Looks like this. Quit your, make a career change, move into something new. And it looked like in my head like there’s this big like [sounds phoooooaaa] blindly off a cliff and it doesn’t have to look like that. That was incidentally the way that I made my career. But it was because I didn’t know any better. And frankly I’m really impatient. So I did, I quit my job, put my house on the market and booked a one way flight to Greece cause that’s how I deal with stress at times! Um, but when we work with career changes at Career Shifters, we look much more at a risk-mitigated way of making a career change. So a lot of people that we work with end up reducing their hours in their current job while they build up experience or build up a business or do whatever they need to do to get a foot in the door of a new industry.
That incidentally is far more possible than most people think. A lot of clients like on my boss would never make it okay. Like, or actually people are much more open to it than you may imagine to start with. So reducing your hours and doing it like itching your way into a new industry as one way of doing that. Um, moonlighting is another opportunity, like people who want to build up a business. It’s hard work, but working a full time job and building up a business in your evening, spare time, weekends, or not building up a business at all, but upskilling, for example, um, in whatever way that you need to before you can make a shift can mean that you can enter a new industry at a higher level than you think. Um, I’m also getting rid of this idea that there’s a trade off between enjoyable and well-paid, um, to really common thought.
Like you can either do what you love and live in an attic like eating cardboard or you can get really well paid and be miserable every morning and there is a middle ground. Um, so shifting that, that immediate mindset of there being a choice between those two things is it sounds very obvious and very, I go, of course the coach is saying, but it’s worth experimenting with and seeing if you can find ways to prove yourself wrong about that belief. Cause there’s plenty of people out there paying their bills and getting and getting real fulfillment of the work that I do.
Yeah, I mean I, I just interviewed, um, someone last week, Luke Mickelson and he left a six figure salary. Um, I think work is working for a water company in the U S started a charity and now he’s got enough kind of sponsors and donations for the charity. I mean, it’s not taking like the, the full package that he was on before, but he’s very, very happy with, with the, you know, the amount he’s able to make and you know, the, the contribution he’s making to the world, um, providing beds for kids all over America. Um, so yeah,
It’s really important as well as is kind of at the reality of like, what do you actually need? Cause a lot of the time, again, clients come to me and they say, Oh, you know, like I can’t make a shift because I can’t take a salary drop. And I said, well, have you run the numbers? Do you know that for sure. And I said, well no, I don’t really want to look at it at all cause it scares the crap out of me. It’s like, okay great. Maybe the analogy that I always use, this is like a, it’s, it’s like in a horror movie, right? The scariest part is always the beginning. Like when you haven’t seen the monster yet, it’s the anticipation. It’s like, Oh, is it coming? And then the monster arise and you’re like, ah, like that’s clearly not actually that person’s nose. Like it’s not a scary, now that I’ve seen it, if you can take the bed off the monster of your finances and have a real good look at it, often there’s more wiggle room than you think there is.
Um, especially also if you’ve got a family, for example, if you can have conversations with your partner and say, Hey listen, it’s really important to me. Part of finding fulfilling work is that I get to spend more time with you and with the kids and be around more. Then there’s, there’s compromises and there’s wiggle room there to say, okay, well I’m willing to not go on three holidays this year if it means that I can spend more time with my family at home. Um, so getting really, it’s like black and white, real about your financial situation can often throw up opportunities that you didn’t realize for that.
Sure. Okay. Um, what, what’s your take on, uh, some people suggest minimalism is, is the new way to approach getting more options and more flexibility? You know, if you strip down to the bare basics and actually kind of live frugally or at least you know, buy less things and um, maybe even have a kind of simpler life, uh, it frees you up financially to actually do more, give you more choice. What’s your kind of take on, on that, um, in your own life and maybe your experiences in coaching people as well?
Yeah. It suits some people. It doesn’t suit others. Mmm. If your, so again, from a financial perspective, some people want to save like a, a safety net before they make a shift. Um, those tend to be the people who are going to make their like one big shift kind of move. Um, so they’ll say, okay, well I’m going to leave this job, move into the next one. It’s likely I’m going to need to take a pay cut. Um, so I want to save money in order to have a safety net for when I do that. In that case. Yeah. Spending less, living more frugally. Great. It’s a great way to do that. Um, other people want to ooch their way in and it’s less necessary for them because they can top up their income and kind of move little bit by little bits. They’ve got multiple sources of income.
Minimalism is very in right now. It’s very sexy. It’s very low. Here I am like with no stuff, I’m all Zen and for some people it works really well. Great. Like go for it. Um, I, I did a version of that when I made my career change. I had sold everything, I owned everything that I owned, fit in a backpack on my back and I lived that way for seven years. I’m bouncing from country to country, everything. I owned like a turtle, you know. Um, and it was fine for me. It got old. Um, and I settled and I’ve got a house now and I’ve got stuff in my house and I’m really enjoying that. Um, cause it, it, it, it, it’s not gonna suit everybody and it’s not always going to be the sexy thing to do. Um, so if it works for you, go for it. Um, if it just looks like hell and you really don’t want to go all minimalist and frugal and your little luxuries really appealed to you, great. Hang onto them, but then find a different way of ooching or topping up your income or doing whatever you need to do in order to still indulge in those things that matter to you.
Okay. Awesome. Um, one kind of big, uh, topic that’s been this on a lot of people’s minds, especially when they’re working really hard. Maybe they filled out the thing three jobs at once and that’s one of the reasons why they want to get out of their job or career, um, is about, you know, burnout and balance and finding more balance for health, for family and things that, that wellbeing, quite frankly, mental and physical wellbeing. Um, what would you say to people that are looking to change career based on feeling burnt out and, um, you know, is taking career break the right thing for them?
Yeah, it can be. It can be an if it feels like something that for your mental, physical, emotional health that you need to do. Um, then by all means do that. Um, career breaks can be an incredibly nourishing way to take care of yourself. It can be a great opportunity to press pause, exhale a little bit, dedicate more time and energy to the things that really interest you and figure out what your next steps are. Um, people often think that a career break is career suicide. Um, because how are you going to explain it on your CV? How are you going to tell people about it afterwards? Are they going to think you’re a slacker? Um, but actually coming at it from a really authentic place and explaining that to potential new employers, potential new business partners, um, most people will get it and most people will respect you for it.
Um, so again, there’s a bit of a mindset shift mindset shift there around the idea of a career break. There’s also a lot to be said for, um, you know, if you’re in a situation where you’re pushing burnout because everything’s going on at once, something’s got to give and it’s either going to be something in your environment or it’s going to be you. Mmm. And a lot of people that I work with who are in that kind of position are, uh, kind of doing the silent martyr thing somewhere in their life. Um, so they’re not asking for help when they need it and they’re not setting boundaries around the things that are okay and the things that are not okay for them. Um, they’re not setting boundaries with themselves around what they need in order to be able to get through the day, get through the week, maintain their relationships, maintain their mental health.
So there is some, there’s often wiggle room again where maybe you wouldn’t expect it. So we talked already about the idea of asking to reduce your hours, um, or looking for ways to pitch that to your employer in a way that makes business sense for them. Um, and frees up some time for you. I’ve worked with a number of people who really didn’t think it was possible and said to their employer, Hey listen, I have a hunch that I’m actually going to be more productive if I’m out of the office for one day a week and can work from home. Cause there’s lots of people coming to talk to me all the time. I’m noticing my boundaries are getting crossed a lot. I’m reaching burnout and I’m worried about the impact of that on my role. Can we test for a month? Me working from home on Fridays and we’ll check in every week.
You can check in on what I’ve been doing. We can see how this works and if it doesn’t work fine like I’ll, I’ll, I’ll pop it in the bin, but can we try? Their employees have said all this seems a little bit weird. I don’t want to set the precedent, but yes, let’s give it a try. And actually what they found is they’re more productive because they’re working from home and they don’t have the distractions of the office. They’re at home, they’re more relaxed, they don’t have the stress of the commute and everything that’s going on. And it’s worked out really well for everybody. So finding ways to identify what it is you need and then ask for it again. Sounds really simple. A lot of people may be thinking, yeah, but I can’t possibly do that unless you try. It’s going to continue to be a problem. Mmm. Something’s got to give somewhere. So a career break could be great for some people. Adjustments to your current situation could be another approach.
Love that. Advice about, um, putting a business case that what makes sense for your company’s business. Um, rather than saying, I, I don’t want to work these hours, like I want to reduce them. Can I have a reduction? Like actually having a, a case for it that might even benefit, um, the company or at least give your boss a level of understanding that, you know, I’m going through your burnout and you know, this is affecting me. Here’s the solution. Um, so I love that. Very practical and I guess know with what’s been going on at the moment, a lot of people are working from home now. Do you see the business case and the belief that working from home can become more of the normal for people and after this outbreak is there’s over hopefully sooner rather than later. Um, there’s more of a case to say, look, I’ve worked, I’ve been working from home this whole time. Can I have maybe a couple of days here and there?
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, even pre Corona, Corona virus, there’s been a huge increase in organizations and companies recognizing the value of more flexible working hours for their employees of um, flexible working structures. So working from home some days coming into the office other days. Um, so that was, that trajectory was already on the way. There’s lots of research and studies that have been done, um, from academic bodies that are showing that this is happening and then tracking the increase in employee engagement. And as a result of those kinds of changes, companies now have been forced to engage with this as an option and as a possibility. Um, and this is one of those late, you can’t really get the toothpaste back in the tube kind of conversations, you know. Um, some organizations will be really struggling with this and even afterwards will not want to engage with it so much.
Others will announce it as a great opportunity to reduce business overheads. You know, less people in the office means less rent, less electricity, less, all of this kind of stuff that I have to cover myself. So I definitely think there’s been a big shift in the way that we’re all looking at the ways in which we can work. Mmm. Again, if you want to tell, make God laugh, tell her your plans. Like I never try and predict the future because I’ve been burned too many times, but it definitely seems as though it’s going to be much harder for companies and organizations to just return to business as usual without a new open-mindedness to different ways of working.
Um, I mean, I know we’re kind of running out of time, um, but one, one of the kind of, uh, things that interests me in particular is your consultancy. This Is For You and, and you’ve, you’ve focused it around, um, meaningful human connection, the art and science of meaningful human connection. Um, what, what is, uh, important about that in the workplace? Um, and even out of the workplace now with what we’re going through?
Yeah. Um, so human connection is one of the fundamental basic needs that we have as as animals. Um, on a mammalian level, um, being around other people having a connection with other people reduces stress, um, increases the amount of time that our parasympathetic nervous system is, is working, which is kind of rest and digest. It’s healing time, it’s relaxed time. Um, this is where all of your best ideas come from. You know, most people, your best ideas happen when you’re either on the toilet in the shower or going for a walk. You know, it’s the time that your, your body’s in that chilled space. Um, and I think this is why lockdown is so difficult for so many people is because we’re lacking that being with other people. Um, and this is also one of the reasons that that actually working from home isn’t great for a lot of people and why they are missing. Being in the office, being with their colleagues, something as simple as just like a shared joke across the office, making eye contact with somebody. It has a physical and neurological impact on us as animals and as organisms. So that’s really, really important. Um, there’s incredible stuff going on online at the moment with everybody shut away in order to engender this sense of connection, you know, took part in uh, uh, sofa singers, couch choir a couple of weeks ago on Zoom where we had like 800 people from all over the world singing Bill Withers.
Um, there’s Priya Parker who wrote The Art of Gathering, um, is doing some amazing work as well on how to bring people together in a meaningful way online. Um, in the workplace. I don’t know about you, but certainly for me and for the vast majority of people that I speak to, they’ll tell me actually like, it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing. If the people around me are great people, it’s fun. It’s fine. Like it is, it’s less about the what as it is about the who and the where for, for so many people. And I think that’s becoming increasingly important increasingly to the forefront of people’s minds now is either I really miss my colleagues or I really don’t. I’m so glad I don’t have to be around them anymore. And that might be something that helps guide people when they’re looking for more fulfilling work as well is rather than focusing on like, what’s the activity that I want to be doing?
Who do I want to hang out with every day? You know? Um, it’s something I got really clear on when I started coaching was actually coming from the background that I did. I used to work with, I used to run domestic violence refuges. I worked with street based sex workers, a lot of people in very dark and difficult, chaotic times in their lives. And I took it all on and I realized when I started coaching, I could be spending all day, every day having conversations with people who are having like the most horrendous time and while I want to help them do I want my whole day to be spent hanging out with that energy. Well, no, actually I don’t. That’s not what I need. It’s not where I want to be. So asking yourself those questions like who do I want to hang out with every day?
Who would really like me up? Who’s out there in the world doing things that I think are really cool and how can I get around them more? That’s always a really powerful starting point for looking for fulfilling work is thinking about who’s out there doing things that just, I look at it, go find those people, reach out to them, find ways to hang out with them and the work. Like if I had a version of like find your passion and the money will come. It’s that. It’s like look for the people that you want to be around and the opportunities will, will open up.
Yeah. Right. Cause cause as you said during this crisis that you, you really realize, um, that people is, isn’t really, and human connection is one of the most important human needs, like a biological like mammal need, um, in life and, and, and it’s a great compass. It’s a great compass to find out how you are going to be, how you could be energized is a great direction. So, um, yeah, thank you for that advice. Um, before I ask my last question, um, I just wanted to find out how people can get in touch with you. What would you, and you know, uh, if they want to change career, if they want to and then at Korea yoga or even, um, you know, learn more about human connection, how can they get in touch with you?
So, um, with Career Shifters, um, it’s www.careershifters.org and there you’ll find expert articles on how to make a shift and a huge range of success stories that you’ve talked about to get inspired and start to see that it is actually possible. We run the world’s longest running career change workshops and both live in the UK and online and you can find those there. We also run an eight week career change course, which is really experiential, really fun, really practical, called the Launchpad. Um, and we run monthly master classes on a range of different topics as well. So you can find all of that at careershifters.org and for AcroYoga you’re going to have to come to the Canary islands and come play with me. Um, and This Is For, You can find that at thisisforyou.me
Awesome. Thank you, Natasha. My final question. Um, I call living a life where you are doing meaningful work. Um, you’re passionate about what you do and you have a good sense of balance in your life for your physical and mental wellbeing. I call that to burn from within. Um, what would be the one thing, and I, I, I noticed from your life that you are burning within you, you are living a life, um, uh, you’re doing meaningful work. You have a passion for what you do. And do you have a great balance? What would be the one thing that’s made the biggest difference in, for you to Burn Within, Burn From Within? Tough question.
Juicy question. Juicy question. Um, there’s something for me about being open to you and creating opportunities to be gloriously surprised. Um, Mary Oliver has a beautiful line in one of her poems where she says, uh, leave a little room in your heart for the unimaginable. And I think it’s something about that. Um, I’ve never had a job. I was qualified for. I’ve never done anything with more than a few months planning ahead. The things that I’ve loved the most have happened when I’ve gone just beyond the point that I’d normally stopped to see what was over on the other side. Mmm. And I think for me it’s, it’s really about that it’s about finding ways to let surprise into your life, challenging the things that you think are true. Asking the questions that you don’t think have answers and doing things that you think that you can’t do. Not in a scary way, not in a dangerous way. Like, how can I set myself up to be just gloriously surprised? I mean, that’s my biggest one.
I absolutely love that. And actually you used that phrase right at the beginning of the interview and it kind of lit me up when you said it and I, I wanted to go back to it, but I’m so glad that you’ve, um, you’ve brought it up again. Um, so thank you. Uh, what a great interview. Um, really, you know, inspirational and just a lot of practical advice as well. And I would wholeheartedly endorse, um, going to Career Shifters and checking out all Natasha’s work. Um, I’ve read and gone through a lot of the resources on the website, um, and you know, check it out and thank you so much again for your time today. Touch.
Thank you for having me. This has been really fun.