Now seems like as good of a time as any to think about the work we do and if it’s right for us or time for a change.
Happiness coach and author of Love It or Leave it, Samantha Clarke, joins me on the Calmer You podcast.
We get into topics such as:
- Leaving your work and trying something new
- How to figure out what you want to do and what you’re good at
- The job market and moving jobs in a time of COVID-19
- How to handle the inner critic
Chloe Brotheridge: Hello, and welcome to the Calmer You podcast. This is your host, Chloe Brotheridge. I’m a coach, a hypnotherapist, and I’m the author of The Anxiety Solution, and Brave New Girl. And this podcast is all about helping you to become your calmest, happiest and most confident self.
Welcome to this week’s episode. Today, I’m talking to Samantha Clark, who is a happiness consultant and a coach. She’s the author of the brilliant new book, Love it or leave It. It’s all about either learning to love the work that you’re in or leaving it and figuring out what you do want to and go do it.
This is such a pertinent topic right now in the time of COVID when lots of us may be questioning our work and our lifestyles. Maybe you have been made redundant or furloughed, and it’s forcing you to reconsider things.
What we talk about
So I thought this topic was coming at a perfect time. We get into topics such as leaving your work and trying something new; how to figure that out; how to figure out what you want to do; and what you’re good at. We do talk about work, the job market and moving jobs in a time of COVID-19. And we discuss how to handle the inner critic. You know, I love this topic, the inner critic is going to come up when we are trying something new. When we’re doing something for the first time or we’re going outside of our comfort zone. Samantha shares her strategy for handling the inner critic, which I love.
Actions speak louder than words
We talk about priorities and why your actions speak louder than words. This really gave me pause for thought and has caused me to evaluate a few things in my life. I loved what she had to say about this. We talked about how to fall in love with your work again.
Chloe Brotheridge: I have a new website and as a result I have kind of a headache if I’m honest. Squinting at the screen, checking all the buttons work, etc. I did have some technical help. But to be honest, it was a lot of me doing it and trying to figure stuff out for myself.
If you want to check out the website, it’s still the same address Calmeryou.com. You’re going to find every single podcast. The last 20 or 30 includes the full transcript. If you or if one of your loved ones is not much of a podcast listener, but actually they would prefer to read it.
Videos and transcripts also available
You can also watch the YouTube video of me and the guests talking. I’ve got lots of videos on there. Not everyone, not the people I did in person. But lately, I’ve been doing it all online. So I’ve uploaded the videos. So perhaps you would prefer to watch us or read us having this conversation or a friend or family member would prefer that.
Chloe Brotheridge: I’ve got loads of freebies on therel. Freebies for confidence, anxiety. I’ve also got some new things coming as well in the next couple of weeks. Free resources for you to get involved in. So do head over there and check it out. Let me know what you think. Hopefully you won’t find any typos on the buttons that take you to a 404 page. Fingers crossed.
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You’ll also find on my website how to work with me one on one if you want to. I have a couple of slots at the moment for one on one clients. I help people who put a lot of pressure on themselves to find more work-life balance, to quiet the inner critic, and to move forward with confidence. If you think that might be you, I’d love to hear from you. You can contact me by my website.
Alright, let’s get into the episode with Samantha.
Chloe Brotheridge: I kind of don’t want lockedown to end. I know, that’s terrible. I wonder if lots of people are feeling the same. We’ve got this cozy little bubbles and it’s like now we have to go out into the world.
Samantha: It’s a funny one. When I was having a conversation with a friend and she said, you know, now I feel like I need to set different boundaries around what I will or won’t attend. I think a lot of people have really enjoyed this time inside to reset. Almost like a little mini-retreat from life.
Chloe Brotheridge: Yeah, totally. And realising what things you really want to do and what you don’t. Also thinking about what people you want to see and what people you don’t really want to see.
Chloe Brotheridge: Can you please share for people that maybe don’t know who you are and what you do, what it is that you do and how you got to where you are today?
Samantha: I’m a happiness consultant and the author of Love It or Leave It, how to be happy at work. I’ve been on a journey to really figure out how to create more happiness at work. So I guess I’ve come a long way from my days in advertising and branding and moving into footwear design. Now I’m doing a mixture of style coaching and personal branding.
What to do after redundancy
The conversations I was having with people who’d just been made redundant or were thinking about switching was all around work and I just love it. So I fell down that rabbit hole and retrained as a coach. I got my break thinking about happiness consultancy at a tech company. They were growing very quickly and not really sure how to scale people and culture. So I proposed setting up a culture of happiness at work.
Head of Happiness
I became their head of happiness for two years and then I branched out on my own. So I’ve been doing my own thing now since 2015. I work with companies helping them to think about cultures that really support employees to be their best.
And I’m driven as well to give the employees and individuals that agency around their career. Love It or Leave It is really about empowering you to decide. Are you going to find ways to love what you do? Or to create other opportunities on the fringes of your work to bring more joy and more happiness? More fulfilment and contentment? Or if not, are you going to leave and what does leaving look like? How do you destroy and rebuild your career and reinvent yourself?
Is now the time to review your work?
Chloe Brotheridge: I love that job title Head of Happiness. Your book is fantastic. I just read it and think it’s really practical. The fact that you can just be learning so much about yourself. It’s so timely for right now. I imagine a lot of people are thinking about reviewing their lives and their work and thinking about what they really want.
What do you think in terms of the current climate with everything that’s going on in terms of people’s jobs and revealing their happiness?
What does your company stand for?
Samantha: There are a lot of people who are feeling or questioning their professional and personal values and the values of the company that they work for. They are looking to leadership and their managers to really showcase what the company is about.
We’ve had a lot of movements in addition to the pandemic. We’ve also had, Black Lives Matter. Individuals are really scrutinizing their workplace and thinking is this a place where I can flourish and be happy? I think the pandemic has given us the space to breathe and to stop from the commute and the general running from one place to another and realising that I’m enjoying having breakfast with my partner. I’m enjoying putting my kids to bed, you know.
Reflecting on your work
Could there be a different way of working for me? And then we’ve also got to be realistic. There are people who’ve been furloughed or made redundant. That’s a massive setback or jolt to how you were working. You know, at the beginning of the year, you were probably very happy in your work and all of a sudden, you’re not working in it. You don’t know what the health of the company is, and so it can be unsettling.
I really want people to use this time to reflect. There’s lots of exercises in the book that are about that deep self-reflection and self-knowledge to figure out what is it I actually want to do? How do I want to spend my working days moving forwards? Because we spend a lot of time working. It is very intertwined with who we are and our identity and how we show up in the world. I think we can make some right moves and now is the time.
Chloe Brotheridge: It’s the perfect time to reflect. We spend so much time working. It’s one of the biggest stressors I would say from the people that I speak to. It can be one of the most stressful things or the thing that gives the most happiness. It’s important to spend time looking into it. One of the things that you talk about in your book is about work.
You are so much more than a title
Samantha: For a while we’ve been maybe hemmed in by particular titles. They’ve kept us a bit small. I want people to realise that there’s so much more than that. I’m very driven to help people embrace the term or to find their purpose umbrella. To really think what sits under the remit of who I am and what I want to share with the world. That can take so many different routes.
You could be the graphic designer who’s also really interested in PR, and maybe sells cakes. You could have a really fantastic career in law and be using your time also to educate startup entrepreneurs on legal issues. I want people to be able to think: who am I; who do I want to be; who do I want to become? What am I meant to do on this earth?
Chloe Brotheridge: Are you seeing that there’s more of this type if work being created?
Samantha: I think there’s a mix. There are people who want a portfolio career and they want to be able to embrace lots of different sites, very right and left-brained. They want to do both, or maybe they want to do something that is physical and away from the laptop. I’ve worked with an individual that is a programmer, but also as an amazing oil painter. And so, from that perspective, then there are people who just have a great genre of work.
Are you a serial specialist
For me happiness at work, you know, I’m a coach, I’m a consultant, I have a podcast, there’s so many different ways that I’m doing this umbrella of work. So I think lots of people are investigating what work looks like for them. It’s okay to also be a serial specialist.
Chloe Brotheridge: It’s good to have those options. I was talking to my cousin recently who is 17. He’s just deciding on what he’s going to study at university. We don’t have to just go down one specific path.
Samantha: We have to be open to giving ourselves permission to do that, too. The younger generation definitely are so much more empowered now to use the internet and different platforms to start things in new ways. And it’d be okay to change. I think maybe as we get older, we get into certain responsibilities, or we’ve given so much to our training or the money we’ve spent educating ourselves. We suddenly think, oh, no, I can’t change because I’ve invested so much, but I think I want to make it open for people to really trial some experiments and to see what another version of yourself could be.
Questions to ask yourself
In the book, I proposed lots of different ways for you to start experimenting and stress testing different strands of your portfolio. So you know, looking at you know, where where are the areas where I feel like I want to have a bit more fun? How do I interrogate people that I might know in that area? What skills would I like to learn and grow into and set yourself different challenges?
A good example of this is, I’m really interested in photography. I feel like, I’m going to become a photographer, and I said, Well, what do you know about photography? And it’s like, well, you know, I’m really interested and passionate about these types of photographs. Have a journey of experimenting and thinking, you know, do I want to take the photos? Do I want to teach people to take photos? Curate exhibitions? Study the work of famous photographers and you know, write about them, or just podcasts?
I said, you know, try lots of these different things. Give yourself a period of time, maybe two months, three months, you know, and at the end of that, quarter, what do you say to yourself? What have I learned; what did I enjoy? Where do I think I could make some money from this particular area? It’s an experiment and then you try something else and then you make a decision. Or you look at the results and analyse what’s best to move on from that. But I think if we don’t try, we’ll never know.
Making it as an artist
Chloe Brotheridge: I like that idea of kind of road testing ideas and giving things a try. Just thinking about my sister who had an office job for years. She studied illustration at university and was really very arty. She was trying to do this office job for a few years. Everyone told her you’re never going to be an illustrator.
Even my dad, it was horrible. He told her she should get like a real job. She did stick with it. She has finally created a good successful career for herself. I think it is difficult if you’re wanting to go down a route of something more creative or unless say you want to be a singer or an actress or an artist. The odds may be stacked against you, and how do you decide what to pursue and how to give up?
Samantha: The key thing that you said about that, which I found interesting was when our family or friends also don’t believe it can happen. Should I really stick with this? I think there’s always a way to do anything that you want. It’s just about perseverance and determination.
Go for it
If you are driven and you believe in yourself enough, I think it comes from that self belief to know actually. At the end of the day, I’m going to go home and I’m going to illustrate. I’m going to do 30 amazing drawings over the course of the week.
That is me building my portfolio and so the job kind of helps me get there. I also don’t think that you should rest on that I think you should find your own power to feel and drive your experience. She’s done it. Had she allowed herself to crumble under everyone else’s weight or it doesn’t work. I don’t think it’s possible like she would still be stuck. We do have to find that inner courage to go for what we want if we really believe in it.
Chloe Brotheridge: That sense of self belief and just sticking with it. I remember her saying to my Dad, I’m gonna die trying to be an illustrator. I’m literally not going to give up. You need that kind of attitude sometimes.
Give your inner critic a job
Samantha: Disney is my internal voice that creeps up whenever I’m trying to do something new or improved. She sometimes pops up and will test me. Why are you doing that? Does anybody really want to hear from you like all of these tokens statements? And, you know, I think it’s important for us to give our inner critic like a job role or to really name what it is trying to do.
We are naturally wired to be drawn towards a negativity bias. Our brain is then helping us to preserve ourselves and to be safe. This relates way back and we have to kind of keep overwriting that behaviour and keep pushing ourselves to find the positivity and so I question you know, okay, why, why do I feel this? Where is this sensation coming from? What are you trying to tell me? Is it because maybe I’m underprepared in a certain area and I do need to do a bit more research or I do need to ground myself a bit more knowledge. Should I just give it a go and take the plunge and on what’s the worst that could happen? Okay, it doesn’t work out, move on.
Listen to how you speak to yourself
I will sit and have a conversation with myself and speak it in to voicenotes. I might sometimes share that voice note with a friend or talk to a friend about it. They can also see the other side of the problem or the issue. But I think it’s important for us to really know that it’s a daily battle between our internal critic, our ego, and us finding our own voice, our own intuition.
It’s being aware of that voice when it comes up and how loud it wants to be. Also knowing that you have the power to quieten it. We really need to monitor how we speak to ourselves and the things that we say. But I think that they show up as and when I need it..
Name your inner voice
Chloe Brotheridge: I love the idea of giving it a name. We all have that inner critic. I think just hearing you sharing that reminds everyone listening that we all have that. It doesn’t matter how successful you are. I think some of the most successful people have the loudest inner critics.
Samantha: I feel like it’s part of the journey. I think if I didn’t have any of those like, I’m then I know I’m not stretching myself. You know, I feel like I want to keep growing. I want to keep building on it, keep pushing. And every time growth is a stretch, though it’s painful. It’s like birth and death. It’s always painful destruction, giving birth to anything. And so if I wasn’t feeling it, I’d be a bit off.
A sign you are moving forward
Chloe Brotheridge: The inner critic actually is a sign that you’re moving forward and you’re doing something.
Samantha: I think there’s two things: it’s knowing that you’re feeling it and you’re doing something new but when you feel it, what will you do with it? We will let it crush you or will you let it propel
Chloe Brotheridge: I like that you share the voice note with a friend. That’s a really good idea. I was having a conversation with a friend recently about what my inner critic was saying, and it was really nice to get her outside perspective of Chloe. That sort of thing can be helpful to you to step into that kind of perspective.
Can we fall in love with our work?
Chloe Brotheridge: Can we fall in love with our work? Again, if there are people listening? I don’t know if they’re in a rut, you know? Or they’re just questioning everything since, you know, all that is going on in the world. And is it possible to do things to make ourselves be happier at work and what are some of those things that you recommend?
Happier at work
Samantha: When it comes to work, I think there are six different pillars that we really need to engage with. And we need to understand, you know, is it an internal thing that I am struggling with in that, maybe I need to do some work on my own? You know, my own mindset, maybe I need to really think about how I am looking after my mind, my well being and maybe, you know, lack of sleep or stress. Whatever is impacting my day job. What is causing me the biggest amount of pain at work?
Ask yourself this?
Is it the relationships that I’m in? The actual role itself? Is it the sector or the job and it’s like, how do I start to make those tweaks if I want a pay rise? Like how do I set myself in motion to make that happen? If I am really unhappy with the way that my manager is speaking to me, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to go and say something start the conversation?
Start where you are at
We need to know that there is something that we can do at every stage. It’s just, you know, how bold are we prepared to be? Also knowing that perhaps work serves a different purpose, you know, is it just the job for now, that enables you to do the other things on the fringes? Is it your calling? You may realise this work isn’t your calling. Maybe it’s a step towards it, but actually now you need to find your calling, and you need to kind of move in that direction.
We can love our work in different ways
We can love it in different ways. If we are just willing to do the reflection on on what it is that isn’t working, is it an inside job? Or is it things externally that need fixing, and then take it from there? I think in the book, I definitely give you lots of different insights from the internal perspective but also from the external to practically about what to do.
Chloe Brotheridge: I really like that idea of looking at in terms of pillars and sections and figuring out what is it about our work? What steps can you take to tackle it there? Because so often we make things about outside of ourselves, don’t we? We blame other people. We blame situations, but actually, we have the most control over ourselves and our own responses to things and how can we work on that?
Samantha: It is taking ownership. Whilst everything is easy to point the finger at there are six different avenues for us to think about mindset and our leadership. Thinking about whether or not it’s actually on brand for our purpose, thinking about if the way that we’re working and how we’re working is actually the right fit for us. Understanding the people in the place and looking at what systems and structures you have in place that allow you to be in workflow that really play to your strengths. And if you don’t have all of this you’ve got to do the work to fix it.
Speak with your actions not your words
Chloe Brotheridge: It’s such an important thing to do. So I really hope people are gonna buy the book and do this inquiry into how they can love it or leave it. I was really drawn something you posted on Instagram. If someone could see my actions and not hear my words. What would they say my priorities are? That really struck a chord with me.
Samantha: I’ve been having a lot of quite a lot of conversations around actions and habits and what we can do to really push ourselves in Britain. I love thinking about the future. There are so many different books that I read about behaviour. And I question when we say we want change or we really want to move in a direction.
Reflect on what was in your diary
Look across your past week or the past month in your diary. Can you see where you made the time, the space, or put the energy towards this thing that you say you want. If you reflect back, can you show me your actions. Where was the time that you put in the 10 minutes or the 20 minutes to just write down what you’re visualising for your career or to send that LinkedIn message or to reach out to somebody on Instagram? The same with exercise. Look at your diary to where you made time for the yoga class, the gym, the quick walk with a friend.
Are we acting or just talking?
We want lots of things. And we say we want to make that a priority. But what are we doing today, this minute, step by step habit. It just takes one action to change this whole kind of cycle of behaviour. If we are falling into a rut where we’re doing the same routines again, that aren’t bringing us the changes that we want, it’s like Einstein says: It’s madness. So we’ve got to reset the actions that lead up to the goals that we want to achieve.
Chloe Brotheridge: I’ve got myself in periods of time where taking the action almost seems impossible. You don’t believe you can ever change or break free of the pattern. What your saying is that I can then prove to myself that I can change and it makes other actions a lot easier.
Samantha: Check out James Clear’s book Atomic Action. He’s awesome when it comes to thinking about habit change. I think we just monitor it. At some point during the day ask yourself What have I done today? And one of the things that I’m really proud of, where did I invest the time? Are any of these things actually moving you towards the goal? You’ll see at the end of the week as you do your order, and you’ve either filled it with fluff or you know, the mission that you have instead.
Holding ourselves to accountabilioty
There’s no one else that we can blame apart from ourselves. Find someone to hold you accountable. If you’re struggling and thinking actually I’m struggling with maintaining that promise to myself about change, find somebody to help you. Reach out to a friend and say I’m struggling to make this a priority. Can you check in with me even if it’s a WhatsApp message and set reminders on your phone.
Chloe Brotheridge: There’s something very powerful about announcing it to someone and just knowing they’re going to be asking you about it. That definitely helps.
Let’s all give this a try
Thank you for sharing that. That’s really something that I’m going to be thinking about and reviewing over the next week. What am I spending my time on and does it match up with what I’m saying is important to do.
Is there anything that you’re struggling with right now? What are the some of the things that you do to help yourself and to care of your own mental well-being.
Samantha: At the beginning of COVID I felt vulnerable because of sickle cell, so it was very clear that I had to shield. A friend of mine, who was aware of what’s happening said you’re going to be indoors for at least a minimum of 12 weeks. In 12 weeks I had a book coming out. And she said, No.
I think I was definitely struggling with not being able to go anywhere. The guidelines have been a bit wavy. Maybe we’ll pull shielding the first of August, we don’t know. That limit of freedom was a big thing I was struggling with. I also like to know that I can go out and see people. Then I decided to really just lean into myself. Lean into my practices and do it for the first time. I like going to the studio but I had to start a home practice of movement .
Using my senses
Getting structured around my workout routine has definitely helped. The movement has helped me mentally. I’ve learnt to use smells and senses to start my day. Grapefruits and invigorating fresh fragrances and then to draw a line on where the work is and move into my my evening fragrances. That gives me a nice separation of the day and it’s helped me to kind of like zone my spaces differently. That has definitely been helpful for me to find my peace in all of this and surrender to whatever is happening.
I’ve also leaned into my business a lot mor. It’s never been a better time for me to be still and really listen to my clients. Not that I wasn’t listening before but now there’s a different level of pain for different people. There are nuanced messages and ways that they’re talking about things differently.
Chloe Brotheridge: I love the idea of listening without all that external noise. Perhaps we can listen to ourselves and listen to each other in a different way. What sort of smells to use in the evening?
Samantha: I have a diffuser. In the evening it’s more lavender verbena and sandalwood. I’ve also got some great candles. My favourite is Mojo candles. The smell is almost like being in a cake factory. It’s sumptuous. I like more of the citrus in the morning. Fresh fragrance like Eucalyptus and tea tree and orange.
Chloe Brotheridge: I’m obsessed with smells as well. Incense, candles anything. Thanks for the recommendation..
Samantha: Definitely there’s one that I love at the moment which is white sage. It’s beautiful
Chloe Brotheridge: Thank you so much for speaking to me. It’s been really helpful. I think it’s time for people to start thinking about their work and perhaps doing something different.
Where can people find out more about you and where can they buy your book Love It or Leave It?
Find out more about Samantha
Samantha: You can pre-order the book from my website. You can buy the book which is available in all good bookstores online. I also run my ongoing coaching programme which is really about helping people to take action. My signature 12-week programme is called Building Your Work Portfolio. You can find me on Instagram at Love It or Leave It
Check out Career Reinvention Bootcamp which people can join on this link
Her new Work Happiness club is called the LILI LIFE which people can join from July 12th
Buy the book 🙂 https://loveitleaveit.co/book
Chloe Brotheridge: Thank you so much for speaking to me. It’s been really great.
Get in touch and visit the new website
You have been listening to the Calmer You podcast with me Chloe Brotheridge. Don’t forget you can download loads of freebies for anxiety and confidence at my website Calmer-you.com. There you can also find out about my app and my one on one sessions.
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