I am aware that many people are cynical about marketing. I am a marketer by background so I know! This has been magnified with a lack of trust about business and a cautiousness in spending. I am sure you get bored of my blogs so I thought it would be great to invite a client to ‘guest blog.’
My clients inspire me so much and I get such a buzz out of what they achieve. Here is the account of a client I worked with recently, Hannen Beith. My clients can explain what I do better than I ever could.
HANNEN’S STORY (male, age 59)
I was flattered when Rachel invited me to write a guest blog. I feel I owe her so much, it was the least I could do.
So here is my story. In March 2011 I was made redundant. I had worked in the legal sector since 1974. It was not a profession I chose, it was ‘chosen’ for me – my father in law. I had enjoyed many roles, including solicitor, partner, Deputy District Judge, adjudicator, and casework adviser with the Law Society.
Overall, however, I looked forward to, and relished the prospect of redundancy. It would give me a chance to strike out in a new direction away from the Law which I had found constricting. Of course, there were occasions when practising law was rewarding. They were mainly when I was interacting with people and helping them to achieve their aspirations. I often felt, especially when practising Family Law, that I was more of a counsellor than a lawyer. I hated having to regard my clients as “walking wallets”. On the other hand, I was business aware, having had my own sole practice, and working hard and marketing even harder to support a wife and three children, and to pay the mortgage.
So I was aware that, whilst my world of work was not satisfying, work was necessary, and I often felt that it could be enjoyable. I could not see how partners and managers were unable to recognize that a happy working environment brought the best out of people, and if you bring the best out of your employees then it follows that you are going to retain them, motivate them, and increase your £ turnover.
Redundancy seemed to me to be an opportunity to strike out in a new direction and to find a job or career that would better suit my personality and aspirations.
However, having completed several application forms, and made it to final interviews I faced disappointment after disappointment when I was told that, although I had the experience that the company required, I did not have e.g. the “key competencies”.
It dawned on me that I could spend the next few years applying for jobs and get nowhere. I did not know what to do, but I knew that carrying on applying for posts that I thought might satisfy me could go on for years.
It was at this point that I think the Universe intervened. Like many of my colleagues, who had been made redundant at the same time, I had joined “LinkedIn”, the professionals’ “Facebook”. Following one of the discussion threads one day I came across Rachel. There was something in the comment she made that intrigued me. I started to wonder whether I would be better off ploughing my own furrow and using my skills in a field that would satisfy me personally and professionally.
I emailed Rachel and we had a informal discussion, face to face. Fortunately she lives not too far away from me. I was immediately struck by her engaging manner, her personality, her directness and honesty. She did not try to engage me with empty promises, but set out what she thought she could do for me and left it up to me to decide whether I would like to go ahead. As a seasoned decision maker I had no doubts, and asked her there and then, if she would be my coach.
The weeks that followed, after we had agreed to do business together, were incredible. I can say frankly and sincerely that this period has been one of the most thrilling experiences of my personal and professional life.
Rachel began by bolstering my self-esteem, which I now realize had dropped to a dangerously low level. She reassured me that I had transferable skills, and if I chose to, could make a career based on those skills, using them to gain an income and more job satisfaction than I could ever have hoped for.
Rachel helped me to see how I was not nurturing myself, something that would be vital if I was to run my own business when I would be my own advert. I must emphasise that Rachel is completely non-judgemental. She never says you “should” do this or that. She probes and analyses, speaks to you as an equal, and leaves it up to you to make the changes which you know you need to make in order to live a more fulfilling life.
Rachel gave me many exercises to work on in between our weekly sessions. I was able, with her help, to identify specific skills that I could offer to companies and people. I became aware of my limiting beliefs, and Rachel gave me the tools to free me from them, tools which I still use now, even though I have progressed so far in such a short space of time.
Rachel also showed me how I could identify my values and be true to them. This exercise alone was amazingly liberating. After all, it was what had been holding me back, in terms of job satisfaction, and personal relationships, for decades.
Rachel also gave me a huge toolkit to play with and I relished that. I used to be so pessimistic, but now I am optimistic. For example, I used to be plagued by negative thoughts and beliefs. Rachel taught me techniques to deal with that. I found that I was able to turn my negative thoughts into positive ones very quickly, sometimes within a few seconds. It is a technique that I use now several times a day, although I have to say that as I have moved on, with Rachel’s help, I have fewer and fewer negative thoughts. The important thing is that I have lost so many fears. Fears about personal relationships, fears about money, fears about future security, fears about growing old.
The coaching is over now, but I am still in touch with Rachel. She gives out so much positive energy that I think that any client of hers would want to keep in touch. That does not mean that I feel dependent on her. On the contrary, I am confident that she has given me the skills to be my own coach. But you cannot come into contact with Rachel and fail to like her as a person, and respect her as a coach.
When I first approached Rachel I was not aware of how low I had sunk psychologically. I only had two concerns. Could she make me aware of the modern job market and its opportunities? Could she help me to acquire the skills to succeed in setting up my own business in such a market? Rachel has delivered on both.
To get down to the nitty-gritty, I have learned so much from her about branding, marketing, networking, being specific and applying the “S M A R T” approach to life and work.
I have only just finished working with Rachel – we worked together for 12 hours in total over 6 weeks – and I already have two potential assignments. If you had said that to me when I first met her I would not have believed it was possible.
To be even more specific let’s look at “networking”. Rachel impressed upon me how important it was. My reaction was “well I don’t know anyone worth networking with”. However, whilst when I first met Rachel my diary was blank, having used the skills she taught me I am now in a position, just a few weeks later, where I see or telephone a colleague or friend every day. I find it incredible that I’m now in the position where I have to say to members of my network that I cannot see them or telephone them for two weeks, because I am so busy!
Contrasting how I was before I met Rachel and how I am now, I feel like a totally different person. My friends and family recognize this in my attitude and even in the tone of voice I have when I speak to them over the telephone.
Rachel has also taught me how to cope with and use social media. Something she is very adept at. My world now feels full of endless possibilities.
So the last few weeks have been, to use a metaphor, like pushing a boulder. Hard at first, but as it gathers momentum easier and easier, until you are chasing it down the hill!
I think to myself this is the life I have always wanted. I am happy. My odyssey is not at an end, but I feel that, from sailing in stormy seas, I am now in calm waters and the sun shines on me every day. I cannot wait to gather more assignments and provide businesses with optimism and hope, knowing that those qualities in themselves can be called vacuous, but as awareness is raised, the link between the qualities and increased profitability and stability becomes apparent. What I want to do is to help people flourish and that in turn will nourish and nurture their businesses, because at the end of the day, businesses are made up of people.
Hannen Beith B. A (Hons.) Humanities, Solicitor, Deputy District Judge (Retired), MCIPD
Director, The Resurgence Consultancy
Hope you enjoyed Hannen’s story. If you are at a career crossroads or know someone who is, get in touch – click on this link: http://careerstrategies.co.uk/careercoaching/what-next/
ENERGISE WEB SITES
Career revitalisation programme
FREE report – Skills
Thanks for making the time to read Hannen’s story – hope it inspired you that career change is possible.
For more inspiring career change client examples, click on this link: