A lot of people that contact me are experiencing either feelings of anxiety, depression or stress about their work/job situation.

I wanted to share my own experience of this. Sometimes when we contact a professional for help we might assume they’ve either not had the same experience as us or they know how to deal with it better.

Over the years I have felt extremely anxious, depressed or stressed about some of the jobs I’ve had to the point of taking time off sick or resigning or moving job.  Now I am beginning to do life a bit easier which is helping me to manage such situations with more ease.

The things that are helping me are realising that how I feel is related to what I’m thinking. Despite all the media suggesting we can control our thoughts, actually we can’t. Thoughts come in and out all the time. Some thoughts are pleasant; some are not. Some bring our mood down, some raise our mood up. For years I thought that there was some important information for me to pay attention to when I was in a low mood. Now I’m less attached to that idea I can let my thoughts float up and down like in a lift or like clouds moving across the sky. I can see that my thoughts are separate to me and they don’t mean anything about me. When I stop giving them lots of attention (particularly the low mood ones), they settle on their own.

Over the years the low mood thoughts I’ve paid particular attention to have become rules or beliefs that I live (and limit) my life by. These are thoughts we’ve turned into stories over the years until we see them as truths about us and our world. We’ve actually created neural pathways to make it even easier for those thoughts to reoccur!

Right now I’m really starting to notice my own stories that are keeping my life smaller than I would like it to be – in my business and in my personal life. Ultimately they are based on fear. Fear of being in a situation I can’t control. Fear of not being my best at all times. Fear of not being accepted as I am by others.

As I start to notice these, I’m more able to challenge them, seeing them for what they are: stories. Noticing is the first step. When I say challenge, it’s more about noticing and accepting. Because if we’re challenging by telling ourselves off for example,  we’re giving those thoughts lots of attention meaning they’ll hang around for longer.

What stories are you running about yourself and your work situation? e.g. I’ll never find a job that pays more than this one. I’m no good at presentations. I’m no good at making decisions. I don’t interview well. I don’t know what I like. I’m not good enough. I don’t tend to fit in at work.

If there were no stories, what would you be doing?

I wanted to share some examples of what my decision making looked like at those times and how you can always trust your own decision making.

My first example is when I was working on a government contract delivering the national careers service. Over 4 years’ I experienced it moving from something I loved to something that was not in line with what clients actually needed, an increase in bureaucracy and my respect for my manager seriously undermined. I felt increasingly out of control with my thinking and I reached the point where going off sick felt like the only option. After ringing in sick I thought (felt) about what I needed – to be out in the Peak District. I packed my backpack and set off up onto Kinder. My mind was still racing about the situation going over and over it. As I neared the top of my walk, I suddenly heard my voice from a different place than my head. It was inside. It was uncensored. It had waited until my mind was silent as I’d been concentrating on my breathing. My inner voice said ‘you’ve done your bit’. I felt calm. I knew it was true and that it might herald me leaving this job which I’d had no thought about up until that moment. Within minutes my brain had resumed its noise – ‘what if you can’t find another job?, ‘what will you do for money if you just resign?’, ‘you’re not ready to start your own business,’, etc etc. I took 2 week’s off work in the end and by the end of this the inner voice (which I often refer to as my wisdom or inner guidance system) had become louder and I’d begun to inhabit the alternative world of resigning. During this time I had the idea of emailing my CV to a careers company which my friend was freelancing for to see if they had any work. They didn’t.

So what happened? I listened to my wisdom. I returned to work and resigned. I felt scared but knew it was right. I met with the careers company a month later and a vacancy had become available working with young people. I started seeing my first private adult clients.

My second example is more recent. Whilst delivering a school contract I realised I was getting very stressed about the amount of work I had to get through in the time I had been given. My fight/flight/freeze response was activated and I wanted to be able to leave one of the schools to solve the problem of me feeling stressed. I met with my coach to talk it through. I was hoping she’d go along with my idea so I could justify it to myself more easily. I explained to her my role felt like pushing a boulder up a big hill. She pointed out to me that my job description didn’t include pushing boulders up hills; it covered carrying out meaningful conversations with 6 young people per day. That conversation helped shift my perspective and my stress reduced. I remember hearing my calm inner voice again. It would not sanction a resignation which was the right decision because I couldn’t afford to do that. It wasn’t judgemental about it,  just knowing that it was not the right decision at that time.

There are also times that I’ve overruled my wisdom. I’m still here to tell the tale but only after some painful and lengthy battles with myself until I’ve finally listened to that inner calm voice.

I’m wondering when you’ve noticed your wisdom guiding you? The clue is to listen when the mind is quiet. The ‘voice’ is likely to be quiet and calm and often says stuff that we might describe as common sense e.g. you’re not sleeping well and you know that it would be a good idea to do some exercise.

The more we can listen to this inner guidance system, the better. It only has our best interests at heart. The brain (intellect) is a wonderful organ but can send us round in circles when we’re trying to make a decision and it’s goal is to keep us safe so it will avoid perceived danger which is what the ‘unknown’ represents.

How can you listen out for your own wisdom more often?

If you want to find out if I’m the right careers professional to help you, book a free Discovery Call: https://calendly.com/lindseycarrcareerconsultant/discovery-consultation