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Some Career Lessons From Doing DIY

Aug 13, 2018

First off, let's talk about the weather

We're all talking about the weather here in Ireland. It's summer and the reason it's such a hot topic is well, frankly, because the weather is hot. And I mean hot like most normal places are during the summer. Except that in Ireland we don't usually experience a 'normal' summer season so it's sending us all into a tailspin.  It seems that everyone you talk to (we Irish love to talk) are feeling upbeat & happy, we're all in great form.

I shared with a client that as much as I adore this wonderful weather it would be a nail in the coffin for my business if this continued too long. People seem less bothered by their annoying colleagues, or less stressed about going to and from work. It's a different feeling returning from an overseas family vacation to warm sunshine and blue skies.  To see people having BBQ's in their gardens and reconnecting with family, neighbours & friends over good food and a nice glass of wine is wonderful, it's good for the soul.

Making The Most Of The Summer

Now I hope that you too are making the most of the summer spending quality time with your friends and family. Do you find that your summer routine is more enjoyable and relaxing? Do you notice that there's less traffic and getting to and from work is a lot easier? You're probably coming home more upbeat as you look forward to the evening ahead ? Taking a break from the normal routine is so good for us and personally helps me recharge before September and the new school year begins.


This is also the time of year when I usually take on some kind of home-related / DIY project. My kids have the great fortune to spend time in Italy with their Nonna so I take advantage of the empty house. But like any project we take on in life, as much as we plan for the unexpected, things don't often go accordingly, and we find ourselves challenged, stressed, angry & frustrated. But we also find that we have to tap into a whole other incredible set of skills such as resilience, optimism, patience and a can-do attitude to see it through.

7 Lessons That You Should Apply To Your Career

And as we've been working through our most recent home project I couldn't help but think of the lessons I'm learning. Lessons that apply not only to DIY but also to our careers. Let me share them with you.

  1. Two heads are better than one.While it's certainly possible to take on a DIY project alone it's certainly easier, more fun and much quicker working with another person. If you think about it, you need someone to hold the ladder so it doesn't wobble & you fall. (Same could be said for your career project.)
  2. You need a vision for what you're trying to achieve.You need to be able to see it. When others think you're crazy you can reassure them that you're not because you know what it's going to look like once it's finished. (You need to know what you're aiming towards. Even if it's not crystal clear it's got to have a strong enough pull on your head and your heart that you'll do whatever it takes to make it happen.)
  3. Have an action plan with a timetable but keep it flexible. You've got to have an outline of a plan while always retaining the mindset that unexpected things happen, things go right and some things go wrong, be flexible and you'll figure out the best solution to move forward. Keep your deadlines flexible and you will avoid unnecessary stress. (Taking time at the beginning to plan avoids lots of unnecessary time wasting and keeps you focused on your goal.)
  4. Have a financial plan.What are you prepared to invest to make this project come to life and achieve your vision. Ensure you have an allocation to cover the unexpected as well as avail of an unexpected opportunity. (You won't achieve anything of value without investing in it, same goes for your health as well as your career.)
  5. Don't take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the process and acknowledge that you're moving towards your goal no matter what else happens. (This applies to any life project !)
  6. Make the most of your friendships & network.My neighbours, friends and some family members have really helped us on this project. By removing furniture, taking bags to recycling centres, letting decorators in when we were out, to name a few. Ask for help and you'll surprise yourself. People like helping and when I can, I too will return the favour. (Same goes for your career, let people know how they can help you and don't forget to return the favour.)
  7. Your project can be on any scale.It may be a significant extension or some reconfiguring & decorating. You'll likely find that whatever steps you've taken to improve your home has the effect of making you appreciate your home more and enjoy it in a new way. Or you may outgrow your home & eventually have to move to a bigger house. (I've seen various outcomes for a lot of my clients. Some felt stuck in their organisation and after coaching (unexpectedly) where approached about a new role/promotion internally. Others realised they'd outgrown their organisation and found a bigger and more exciting role externally.)

And when your project is finished you will see that it's turned out even better than you could have possibly imagined. The hard work, focus & challenges (which you found uncomfortable at times) has been worth it. You were tested but you stuck with it and you achieved your vision. You did it.


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