At the beginning of last January, I sat down to write my goals for the year and decided it was time to address a nagging feeling of ‘not having enough’, that seemed to be growing. It was an old issue which I thought I had overcome many years before but recently it had begun to bother me again.
Since starting work as a freelance trainer with a local training company three years ago, I had hardly seen any change in the classes, pay or type of course I was getting. During the first year, I focussed on settling into a new country, a new home-life and getting to grips with new methods of working. I had to learn all the ins and outs of being self employed as well as understand their systems and policies as well as learn new course material. However, learning new methods and starting new jobs was not something new to me. I had been quite used to ‘hit the ground running’ in the past.
So why now, after all these years of experience, was I not receiving enough work or the kind of quality work that I should be doing? Especially, since I knew I had the capacity to do so much more. Here I was not even using half of the skills or knowledge that I had stored away. Surely, I should have more clients, be delivering more business skills courses and be initiating some of those brilliant ideas that I kept coming up with. I was just really fed up with having started at the bottom and not having moved forward at all.
Over those few years, I had offered numerous project ideas to my boss and dedicated my own time to creating new training proposals. These should have brought in new business to the company as well as satisfying my needs to use my skills and abilities. My ideas included ways to improve their business methods, personal coaching, management skills courses and even whole series of completely new training programs. And every time my boss would get excited, go through the ideas with me and enthusiastically set dates and make plans for the projects or courses. Then, each time I would build up my hopes and do my part to research, prepare and create the material.
But each time she would fail to do her share of promotion or administration, and so the courses would never get off the ground.
However, don’t misunderstand; this story is not about the failings of my boss. I have always liked her and was quite aware that she had her fair share of fallibilities as well as strengths in business. We all do. It was just that, at this particular time, her priorities did not align with mine.
As is my habit, whenever I recognize an ongoing sense of unease in my life, I know it is my spirit bringing to my attention something that I should address. In this case, it was the gnawing feeling of frustration at not getting enough, and this I could no longer ignore. Something had to change. So, I made a firm decision that I would no longer accept this and if there was going to be change, I should be the one to change it. Only, it had taken me a very long time to get to grips with the what it was that needed changing.
Having grown up with a persistent sense of inadequacy, I was no stranger to the feeling of 'not enough'. But why now? Here I am in my late forties, thinking I had put all that behind me. Now, having given so much energy to a profession that I love, I was simply trying to build on it with passionate new ideas. Why was it not taking off?
After some self analysis and asking myself some typical coaching type questions, I eventually realized that beneath the superficial annoyance and frustration, I was feeling somewhat taken for granted. Ofcourse, I knew that this was not the first time. This had occurred at various times throughout my life, only I hadn’t noticed. Not being appreciated but keeping on giving and giving had been a common theme. It had occurred in various other working and personal relationships in the past and I had unknowingly allowed it to continue.
I also uncovered that underneath all of those feelings of 'lack', lay an even deeper damaging belief that my own work, my knowledge, my contribution was no good and could never be good enough. It soon became clear what I had to do next and that first, I needed to do some work on throwing out those beliefs once and for all.
So, as any good Coach should do, I gave myself a dose of my own medicine. I identified the old, unhelpful beliefs and reframed them with opposites using some special techniques for abolish this kind of negative thinking. Also, I wrote down my list of goals for the year and visualized my future. Then, I created some positive new affirmations such as, ‘I am receiving only good work which I truly deserve’, and ‘my clients and colleagues fully appreciate my knowledge and advice.’
The trick to affirmations is that you must visualize them using all your senses and emotions, and then repeat them often when you are relaxed. I am sure I visualized them every day for the first couple of months but then I got more and more involved in helping my husband with his new business project and I forgot about my own business plans. In doing so, I had created the perfect manifestation process.*
But before I could manifest anything, some rather strange and difficult events took place which I had absolutely no control over. In recent months, the company had made some staff changes and communications were, to say the least, not being relayed appropriately. One sunny Monday morning, whilst I was travelling back from England, I received a call to say that I was supposed to be delivering a week's course, starting that very morning. I couldn’t believe it! No notification had been sent to me even though I had enquired about that particular course, a few months beforehand. When I realized that I, the trainer, had failed to show up for a course, I was mortified! To keep a room full of people waiting for hours is a disastrous situation for any trainer. There was not only lost earnings but my professional reputation at stake, which until now had been that I was one of the top trainers. I could do little but watch as the situation unfolded and my boss tried to appease her client.
Most of all, I felt terrible for those poor course participants. So I took it upon myself to visit the group about a month later when they were attending the second part of their two-week course. Even though it was not my fault at all, I apologised to them in person. Interestingly, Dan the trainer, who was taking the class at the time, seemed to know all about the big ‘mishap’, as did everyone else. He made a joke about it and it was only many months later I found out that it was Dan who had stepped in and covered for me during the first week of the course. Unbeknownst to me, he had noted all that had happened.
At the same time, I also got caught up in an intensely difficult situation with a loved one. This is another long story which I will not digress into here. Suffice to say, it involved much deep down, long held angst which needed to be uncovered. After much anguish and self analysis, I realized that it proved to me once and for all, that throughout my life I had laid myself open to being treated unfairly. And interestingly, had always been the target of those that can take my support for granted. It wasn’t easy but I worked on letting it all go, knowing clearly that I needed to value myself, my own worth, much more.
Meanwhile, the summer was upon us, my husband’s work project was finished and I had very little work coming in. My private work had reduced to a mere one client and the company had no more training work for me till September. I decided it was high time for me to take some serious action! Instead of bringing my great ideas to a boss who did not care, I should market my own training programs. After all, I had enough knowledge about marketing in my back pocket. I just needed to step out of my comfort zone and do it! Then surely, I would be rewarded with doing more of the kind of work I really want to do.
Interestingly, soon after I made this decision and stated it clearly in my head, things just started to move forwards. I received an advertising email that I would normally delete, which suddenly jumped out at me. It was entitled, ‘Getting Clients for Coaching’. As I read the blurb, I was amazed! It was as if the advice was written just for me and exactly what I needed to hear at that time.
Immediately, I set about putting this advice into action. I wrote some specific business objectives for my coaching work and designed a new marketing strategy. This included how many and what type of new clients I wanted, what exactly I had to offer them and how they would benefit from my help. I created a database with all the clients, colleagues, acquaintances that I had had over the last few years. It was amazing to notice how many people I had already known and could reach. Then, I wrote to all of them asking if they could help by recommending me to their friends. I updated my internet presence, made sure my profile was up to scratch and also created new marketing material.
Then slowly but surely, the offers of help started to trickle in and new enquiries from potential coaching clients. I was delighted – my luck was changing! My positive energy was flowing and I think it must have showed because then, something pleasantly unexpected happened.
About a month later, whilst delivering another training course, I ran into Dan again as I was rushing by during the course break time. “Hi there! Good to see you” he said cheerfully. I smiled and greeted him back. Then, without any further ado and a little sparkle in his eyes, he said “hey, you know something, I’ve heard some good things about you.” He grinned, “perhaps, you and I should have a coffee some time?” Immediately, I knew where he was headed and agreed with an enthusiastic, “Yes, sure! It’s funny thing that... because I am currently looking at ways to broaden my horizon.”
Although, I had never talked much with him before, I had known that Dan had his own training company. So it wasn’t a stretch to presume he might have some work on offer for me. A couple of days later we met and without even looking at my CV, he suggested several opportunities that he had on offer. Interestingly, when I did hand him my CV, his first words were, “Why aren’t you doing more of this kind of work?” He was pointing to my business training and coaching competencies. “You would be great for a specialized coaching project which I have pending.” Then, he continued to tell me all about his exciting new plans for growing his own business and where my talents could come in very useful.
That was several months ago, and now I am happily delivering regular training, better courses, with bigger clients, and getting paid much more than I did before.
Much, much later, I also discovered that the very nice and astute Training Director of our client company, to whom we deliver the training courses for, had already known why I had failed to show up for that particular training course months ago. Very interestingly, it turned out that she was fully aware of the failings of my old boss’s company. So when I approached her for a private discussion, she reassured me that I had little to worry about and that she was keen to have me onboard because she was very aware of the quality of my work as a trainer.
Looking back over the past year, it seems quite astounding how my work life turned around for the better, in such a short space of time. Not only that, but it seems I had to do very little to make these necessary changes. The most interesting part of this story is the strange little ‘coincidences’ that took place which were beyond my control. And all of which seemed to conspire to bring about the most effortless and bountiful changes for my benefit. The strange intertwined connectedness of what initially seemed to be a host of unrelated events, nagging worries and disappointing failure with what turned out to be perfectly aligned situations that occurred in unison my own desires, needs and actions to create a better outcome than I could have ever planned out myself. This is what I like to call perfect synchronicity and of ‘being in the flow’.
So, did I achieve my goals? Do I have ‘enough’ now? The answer is a definite YES! Am I being appreciated more? Yes! Am I using more of my skills and knowledge in doing the work I am really good at? Am I getting more of the work that fulfils me and that I am passionate about? Yes and yes! I am very pleased to say I now have several new private coaching clients. I exceeded the number I set myself when I wrote my marketing goals.
Finally, after years of delivering prescribed training courses for employers, I have just recently delivered my very first course, with my very own material, to my very own group of private clients, confidently and successfully. Their exuberant feedback at the end of the course has been more than rewarding!
And the exciting thing is that this journey has only just begun! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
*If you want to know more about the tools for this clever way of creative working, manifesting your wishes in the workplace, please do email me or write a message below. I would love to hear about you and help your business grow.
With love, NQ
Written by Nazish S. Qazi on 06/02/2016