Discovering Success: 7 Exercises to Uncover Your Purpose, Passion & Path | Emma Gannon | Skillshare

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Discovering Success: 7 Exercises to Uncover Your Purpose, Passion & Path

teacher avatar Emma Gannon, Author, Broadcaster, Podcast Host

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Rethinking Success


    • 3.

      Exercise 1: Break Free of Expectations


    • 4.

      Exercise 2: Go Back to the Beginning


    • 5.

      Exercise 3: Listen to What You Love


    • 6.

      Exercise 4: Choose a Direction


    • 7.

      Taking Action: Managing Your Time


    • 8.

      Taking Action: Money Strategies


    • 9.

      Taking Action: Gaining Confidence


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


    • 11.

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About This Class

Ready to define success on your own terms? Join creative star Emma Gannon to workshop your past, dream your future, and seize today for your first step!

Emma Gannon was working full-time at a successful, glossy magazine when she realized she wasn’t truly happy—and then started taking small actions towards change. While keeping her day job, she started a side project that turned into a successful business, and today has become a Sunday Times best-selling business author, broadcaster, and Webby-nominated podcaster for her hit podcast CTRL ALT DELETE, exploring the exciting nexus of creativity and the Internet.

Now, Emma is sharing what she’s learned on her journey so that you can do the same: redefine success on your terms in a way that’s financially, emotionally, and authentically fulfilling for you!

This hour-long class is packed with insights, exercises, and guidance for personal reflection—and includes 7 exclusive downloadable worksheets to support you along the way.

You will:

  • Define success on your terms, breaking free from expectations
  • Discover what brings you joy, using guided exercises to reflect on key themes
  • Identify personal and professional opportunities, with prompts to broaden possibilities and establish your non-negotiables
  • Gain strategies for managing time & money according to your unique priorities
  • Craft a realistic “first step” plan, transforming intention into action
  • Give yourself permission and confidence to go after the life you imagine

These lessons are intended for everyone and accessible wherever you are in your journey. Whether you’re looking to change careers, start a side hustle, or simply gain more intention in your day-to-day, you’ll find exercises to guide you to insights that matter.

There’s never been a better time to customize your path and take charge of your future. Use this class to redefine what success means to you—and create a confident, full, enriching life of your own design.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Emma Gannon

Author, Broadcaster, Podcast Host


Emma Gannon is a Sunday Times bestselling author. Her career guide The Multi-Hyphen Method was a business bestseller and her debut novel OLIVE was nominated for the Dublin Literary Award in 2022.

She is also a trained coach, host of the no. 1 creative careers podcast in the UK, (Ctrl Alt Delete) and speaks on the themes of wellbeing, creativity, digital culture and living life on your own terms.

She is a trained coach and experienced speaker and has spoken at TEDx, the Oxford Union, Founders Forum, Instagram, Amazon and Google. She has also appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4 (Woman's Hour, MoneyBox and Word Of Mouth), BBC Radio 2 (Simon Mayo) and BBC Radio 1 (Life Hacks). She is a trusted panel host and has interviewed everyone from... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction: I think for a long time success did mean one thing because that's sort of how the world worked, especially the workplace, but I think now especially since the invention of the internet, essentially we can do different jobs and we can pick a career that might be slightly unconventional. We just have more options now which enables us to define it for ourselves. Hi, I'm Emma Gannon. I'm an author, broadcaster, podcast host, speaker, lots of things, so I call myself a multi-hyphenate. My class today is about redefining success. Like many people, I did go to school, go to university, get the job that looks good on paper and there's nothing wrong with that. But for me, I felt like the amazing, shiny,very good on LinkedIn job description wasn't necessarily making me happy. So the first step for me was starting really really small. So I started with a side hustle, which means I did something on the side whilst having a full-time job. It's all about starting small. It's all about kind of laying down that fast seed and learning what you can from just getting started. Today, I'm going to go through how you can find the passion that you might not know that you have to start a side hustle. We're going to go through some exercises, some tools, and techniques in order to get your started. I've also made the exercises as worksheets available online to download. So you can download them, print them off, and work alongside me as I fill mine out. I just hope that someone taking this class might be inspired to re-introduce something into their lives that they once enjoyed or that they really want to start doing. It could be a hobby, or it could be a side hustle, or it could just be that every other Sunday you do something for yourself, but it's all about starting small. I'm really excited that you've picked this class to take. So thank you for clicking on it, and let's get started. 2. Rethinking Success: Success literally just means that you have reached a desired outcome that you have achieved something that you set out to achieve and that could be that you set out to travel the world or to have three children or to be on the front cover of Forbes magazine. But these things are all different but that all just as valid as each other. But I think what's interesting is that millennials and Gen Z and younger generations, they have their own goals. Now I don't think it's necessarily that they want to go and work for a famous brand. I think that success can mean different things and it can mean starting your own business or it can mean freelancing for different types of companies. We don't necessarily have to follow in the footsteps of our family or the people that came before us. We can rewrite the rules. I used to work at a really well-known magazine and everyone in the world has heard of it to the point where you can say what you do and get a really positive response which I think can be a really nice feeling and it can encourage you to stay at a job just because everyone else thinks that's really cool. But for me I realized that I actually really love working by myself and that's just my personal definition. But I don't love working in big teams. I don't love doing the same thing over and over again and I don't necessarily like having my sad hours set out for me. I'm a night owl and I found that I had to work at times that didn't really suit me. So I started thinking was that anything that I could do on the side just to learn new skills and work in a different way and just experiment and see what worked best for me. There were also two reasons why I wanted to leave and one was that the hours and the work environment didn't suit me but the other thing is also that the world is changing and actually that magazine might not exist in the future. I think there's something to be said for making sure that you are future proofing your further career and that you're always learning new things on the side. Something that I found really interesting when I did leave my successful job was that I didn't feel as successful anymore on paper and people do think differently maybe about you or the older generations and your family might think that you've taken a massive step down. But at the end of the day, I felt so much more successful because I was doing something that I wanted to do and every day was so much more fulfilling. I think that it's the generational divide that comes in and parents or older members of your family or friends. They just want the best for you and they probably want you to be secure. Older generations had more of a hierarchy in the workplace is very much you climb the ladder slowly, you get experience, and you do it that way. Whereas now everything has changed. Old companies there anymore. We have new startups coming up all the time and essentially we can start their own businesses way more easily now than we have occurred in the past. So everything is kind of for the taking and it's just really looking at what security means and kind of pushing back on those judgments that other people are making on your life. The other thing is that the world as it is wants to keep you small and they want to keep you just working a job that you don't really love. It's easier that keeps the world moving and I think that one of the dangers is that you can look up in five years time and you haven't really done what you want to be doing. So I think it's really important to push back on other people's judgments of you and actually really engage with what you want to be doing. So how do you find what your definition of success is? It really takes time to reflect, to sit with yourself and to look at what motivates you. So coming up next is going to be the four exercises that are really going to enable you to identify how you're going to redefine and rediscover those elements of your life that you want to add in or you want to remove. So we're going to be looking at how you can go back to the beginning and figure out what your passions are. 3. Exercise 1: Break Free of Expectations: So this exercise is called break free from expectations. What we're going to do in this exercise is really look at all of the influences that you've had when you were younger and now, and all of the things that might be still staying with you and influencing the decisions that you make. So I thought it was important to start with this exercise because really it's looking at everything from scratch. What has impacted you, what has influenced you, are there any memories from school when someone said that you weren't good at something, or do you really care about one particular person in your life and what they think, and just looking at all of those things and just looking at them objectively. In this exercise as well is also about looking at that gap between where you want to be and where you are now. It might be that there's loads of things that are great about your life now and actually want to do more of those. But it might be that actually there's a big distance between where you are now and where you want to be, and really we're going to look at that and look at that jump and how to get from A to B. So there are going to be three mini exercises in this section, and the first one is going to be the influence spider diagram which really is doing a spider diagram of everything in your life that influences you good and bad, and really looking at how those influences play a part in your decisions that you make. These three many exercises and this exercise as a whole is just simply about reflection. We're not going to have any answers yet, we're not going to necessarily know what direction we're going to take. It's just about really digging underneath the truth of our lives and what we want to change. This is just a starting point, a starting exercise that will help you with the later exercises. Hopefully, it will give you some sort of example of what your own one can look like. So in the middle I just writes My Life, but you can write whatever you want in the middle really. Then just start writing down all of the things that impact you, people's opinions, people's advice, all of the things that when you grow up have had some impacts on you. So I've put here parents and that can be just family in general. You've got your friends and what they do, maybe the school that you went to, maybe the trends that come around in friendship groups and what other people are doing and what you feel like you should be doing. Then over here we've got school and also your teachers, and maybe what they've said to you in the past because our memories of what our teachers say to us can be really positive and also can be quite negative, because they can often say, you're really good at that one thing, and so you dedicate yourself to that one thing, but I think they can also put you off a path that you might have taken actually if you were on your own making that decision. The other thing is I think like your childhood self and all of the goals that you felt you should have. It's almost like this judgment that you have for your life when you were little, you should be doing this, you should be earning this money and you should be X, Y and Z. So I think that's really important to put in there. These are the main ones that everyone has and they're just big parts of your life that impact you. But there'll be other ones that might not be as relevant for me, but they might be for you which is something like religion or your community impacting you in some way positively and negatively. The other thing I think that's important to write down is this idea of status whatever that might mean, but it might be that you grew up in a situation where people expected so much from you. They had a level of expectation on what you would achieve with your life, but it might be the opposite. It might be that no one guided you or showed you exactly what you could achieve. It might be that someone had no expectations from you. So I think it's important to look at both sides. So if I was going to do this properly and really go into detail, I would make sure that I write quite a few notes under each category. So here I've just put an example of a few. For example, with childhood self, I personally had really, really high expectations myself when I was young. It probably made me feel more disappointed than I should be with my life, because I think when you're a child you really want your life to be so amazing and you want to live in a massive house and you want to have a massive garden. I think that being realistic about your life and actually looking at how great it really is and how you don't necessarily even want that anymore, because I think what we want does change. So I think looking at all of these influences really this exercise is about looking at what are the things that you've just gone along with, what are the things that you've just followed along with your whole life and what might you want to change. So now we're going to move on to the second exercise. So I'll just put this one aside. So this second mini exercise is about rating the impact of that outside influence on your life. So to start with a personal example, I would say that where I currently live, which is in London, I would say that the influence rating of that would probably be about a three. I personally really like it there and I chose to move there. But if I really unpick that decision, it probably did come from the fact that my friends have moved there, the fact that my childhood self had big dreams to do big things. So obviously I'm still following that, and I think that we can look at these influences as a positive. It's not necessarily a bad thing that people have influenced you, but it's just interesting to write down how and why you've reached your current conclusion, and then look at how much you want to change it. The next thing might be an example of someone who has ended up working in a glass office as a CEO in a massive company in a corporate environment. Looking at that, it might be that actually 10 out of 10, that is a 100 percent being influenced by her family, or her parents, or her friends or just everything around her has moved her towards that goal in her life. The other one that you could write down is money, and obviously this can go two ways. It might be that you are putting so much pressure on yourself to have more money than you need to be happy, but it might be that actually feel that you're influenced to not go for that pay rise and not have more money. It might be that other people have been putting you down or making you feel like you're not worth as much as you're worth. So looking at those influences can be really, really interesting as well. So if I was looking back at my old job that was definitely influenced about nine out of 10 I would say by other people, it was my childhood self and my dreams to work in an environment like the Devil Wears Prada. All of the influences laddering up to that decision was going to university, doing that degree that I felt should lead me to on paper successful job. So it was all to do with other peoples expectations really, it was to have an impressive job that looked good when I said it. So that I think was definitely a nine out of 10. Then if I go to my career now, which is my self-employed life and this is not for everyone, so your list will probably look different to mine. But this idea of me really going out on my own, it really does go against quite a lot of the influences on my life. I had one positive influence which is that my dad is self-employed. So I always had his recognition and his guidance on that which was really great. But on the whole, I would say it's really gone against the grain of what other people felt like I should do. So I would say that myself employment would be maybe a five out of 10 influence, because I'm in the middle, I'm really doing what I want to do. I'm happy because I do still have successful opportunities, and I do like the fact that other people are into what I'm doing, but I also feel like so much of it comes from exactly what I want to be doing. For me having the nine out of 10 influence on being a journalist, it could have been a good thing. It could have been that actually all of my influence and going to university and having supportive parents, that could have meant that I was really happy in that job, but actually it was too much influence I think in one way, and mainly for myself making sure that I had a good job on paper. Whereas now looking at the five out of 10, it has less influence, I'm doing what I want to be doing. But I think it's interesting to make that distinction because it might be that you had a parent that made you take piano lessons when you were little, and actually you love the fact that you can play the piano. So some influences can be good, and some just need readdressing. So with this exercise, I would say spend quite a bit of time on it. If you can fill out the sheet and keep going for as long as you run out of things to put down, it's going to be really helpful, so you can look at things from all angles. This exercise is going to be needed for the later exercise. So it's really good that you go into detail and you really get a grip on all of the different aspects of your life and how much you want to change. Once you've completed that one, we're going to go on to the third mini exercise. So this third exercise is about finding the dissonance between what you're projecting and what you think looks good to what your real life actually entails. Another way of looking at this exercise is your Instagram life versus your real offline life. So it's all about putting down all the things that people think look really good, and might not be making you feel actually as good as you want to feel, versus the things that you do want. If I was going to do my own example of a few things, I would say that actually travel used to be something that I loved doing, and I just wanted to do that all the time. That was a real success measure for me. Now over time, I don't want to do as much traveling, if I'm honest with myself even though it looks really good and shiny. So I would say that actually my real life successful measure would be actually staying at home more, and actually being around my friends and family and spending more time with them. So the other thing might be material items, as a journalist I used to get free stuff sent to me. That can always look amazing, but that job wasn't making me happier at all. So actually all of that stuff, I really didn't need, really didn't want and it wasn't going to take me to the next stage of my career. So I don't have as much of that anymore, but I am happier. So I would put now myself employed life makes me so much happier. Another thing I would say is that still this culture that exists around projecting this life of being busy, and just being constantly on and constantly doing things, and I think that that is a stereotype that might come with being a multi-hyphenate because you're always off doing fun things. But in real life actually doing those fun things enables me to have more time off because I am in charge of my own diary. So I would say that those two are very different from each other, but both of them means success to me. One plays into the other. So this exercise can be quite hard to do, because it's essentially uncovering things that might be truthful that you don't necessarily want to discuss or to focus on. I think because sometimes it's easier just to carry on how things are, but writing these things down will be really, really helpful. One thing that you could do is go on your Instagram, look at these amazing pictures that look so great, and just really look behind it and think, what was I feeling, was that actually a really good moment, did that takeoff something on my list, did that move me towards my goals, or was it because of the projection that you want it to give off. I think it can be hard to track those good real moments, and that's why writing things down and journaling is really good as well. There's an exercise later on in this class that will really help you time track and take a moment to really track your feelings in more detail. At this point in the class, you won't necessarily have any answers yet, you won't know really what you're doing here at all and that's totally fine. This is just about reflection, it's about starting at the beginning, it's about really just laying the foundations and just unpicking some of the things that we're not aware of on the surface. This really is just an inspiration to get you started. 4. Exercise 2: Go Back to the Beginning: This exercise is about going back to the beginning and really finding out what you're passionate about as a young child. There's something that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, she has always said that "There's no child who doesn't know what to do with lego. There's no child that isn't creative." I feel like this exercise is really going back to that unselfconscious place of just doing whatever you enjoy and whatever your passions are. So this exercise is split into two mini-exercises. The first one is all about before school, so you're really looking at your early life before school had any impact on what you enjoyed. The reason that's important is because at school we're fed quite a lot of our curriculums, and classes, and ways to do things, and rules to follow. This part is about who you were before you were following any rules. So the first part of this exercise is finding three family members to talk to, to gather information, look through photos, write down things that they said that you really enjoyed, and dig up those old memories. I'm going to go through what I would write down, and it will obviously be very different for you. But if I was going to talk to three family members, I'd want different perspectives. So I probably want a parent because they were really involved in parents evenings and reports and all that stuff. All the stuff I probably wasn't aware of myself. They were learning about my behavior, so I think it's important to maybe include someone that close to you. I would also say my sister because she was someone who I'm quite close to and would tell her my secrets, my hopes and dreams, all of my big ideas. So I think she would probably be a good person to remind me of all the stuff that I actually wanted to do. Then you could also pick someone who is slightly removed, someone who you catch up with every now and again and you fill them in on your life and you tell them things that maybe you wouldn't tell other people. For example, for me I might put a cousin or someone like that, someone who's slightly outside of your immediate family. So once you've spoken to them and you've asked them what you were like back then, and actually it's really a nice moment to discuss all of the memories that you have and all the photos that you've got. Some things that will come out will probably be really basic creative activities. It might be that you started to put on plays, it might be that you would do delaying, it might be that you used to make up silly little stories that you used to tell people about. All of these things are actually really important because it really shows the things that you navigated towards, and things that you were really good at, and things that people remember about you. So for me, I know that people would say that I was just writing, I always used to write really bad stories and I would also doodle a lot. Alongside that, I was someone who had loads of diaries. I would just glue collages into notebooks, and I don't think I was doing this at five, I was definitely doing that around that time even than just writing and drawing. The other thing that I would do is I would go on the dance routines because he doesn't. I think that all of these things, they do show that you are an expressive person, that you do have an element of creativity and fun in you. Actually, just remembering these things, I think can be really inspiring for all of the things you want to do in the future. Obviously, these are very creative and very obvious ones for me, someone who has ended up being a writer, but for you it might be totally different. It might be that someone really noticed that at an early age you started taking things apart and putting them back together. It might be that you were really into fabrics and clothes, and that you liked colors. It might also be that you liked climbing things and you are very active and very action orientated. All these things are really important and they're clues to what you were trying to go towards. Say for this final part of this exercise, it's really about writing down any heroes or influences you had that you were really obsessed with and you thought were the coolest things ever. For me, I actually don't have any major ones that spring to mind, but I think watching TV presenters light up the TV and do that thing, was really inspiring to me because they were just so full of energy and they really liked communicating to young people. I find that really inspiring, so I'd probably write down something like that but it might be different for you. If nothing jumps out right now, then it's actually fine because the next section during school, I'm sure something will come up them. So once you finish that, we will go on to the second half of the exercise which is all about your influences and your obsessions during school. So this second half of the exercise once you've uncovered your very younger childhood self. This is about who you were during adolescents, during your school years, during a time where you're probably quite impressionable and you're picking up social cues and learning new things at all times. So it's a very similar layout and we're just going to go through each step again. Friends at school play a really valuable role because they saw you change throughout a 10 year period. If you went to school for shorter amounts of time, that's fine too and you could maybe write down three different friends from your different school years and mix up those results together, to figure out what you were like during each part of your teen years. For me, I would write down my three friends who I had at school who really knew me very well and would know the things that I was saying, all the hints I was dropping about what I wanted to be when I was older. So I would just write down my three best friends from school, and I know that they would give me very honest answers about the things that I enjoyed, the classes I loved, the things I didn't like. I think that they would tell me if something didn't really feel right. So for the second part, this is about writing the three things down that you loved at school. It doesn't have to be classes, it doesn't have to be the exams that you were taking, it could be anything. It could be that you liked doing gym at lunchtime, it might be that you liked to go off to school club because you got to be sociable, it could be that you liked doing the behind the scenes at the theater club. It could be anything that you enjoyed at school-based. Really important to write down any aspects of school even if you hated the whole thing, to show where you got your energy from and where you got your feelings of passion from. So for me, it's quite predictable actually because it really links into the previous page, which is I liked doing drama, I liked doing my English lessons because I liked writing, and I liked telling stories. Actually, I probably would leave at that because those two were my biggest loves in school. I don't know if I really enjoyed anything else apart from that. So for the third part, it's all about writing down what you wanted to be in your head, what you were really inspired by, the people that you're inspired by. For me at the time I was absolutely obsessed with the Spice Girls, and I do feel like they have a relevance in my life now because they were the founders and creators of the girl power movement. I also really found storytelling as a whole, a really fun thing to do, and anything that's necessarily a career. I mean, I suppose it's a career but I would definitely put storytelling because that's what I wanted to do. That's why I always did, I'd always write down stories. The third one was a woman called Dawn O'Porter who fronted lots of fun documentaries on TV. She was someone that was on TV when I was about 15 or 16. She was just someone who was really fearless, and I just remember watching her and thinking, I'd quite like to be a bit more fearless when I was older. So she had quite a big impact on me. It really can't be anything. This last section is a real mixture of careers that you wanted, people that you want it to be like, just any inspiration at this point is really really useful. So this exercise is really about rediscovering a part of yourself that might be slightly lost along the way. This isn't about changing up your entire life overnight, but it's just introducing these things that you used to love and used to make you feel very creative and happy. The exercise is a really good starting point for knowing what your side hustle could be, or your side hobby. This really is just a starting point. So you could start introducing small things and you never know what might happen or where they might end up. But the point is that you're going to enjoy doing them anyway. The next exercise in the next video is all about time tracking and how to really make sure that we are acknowledging and identifying the feelings when we got them. Because in a world that we're constantly scrolling on the Internet, we don't really take the time to check in with ourselves. So that is the next exercise. 5. Exercise 3: Listen to What You Love: Now that you've done a lot of self-reflection, you've looked back, you've looked over your memories from the last of many decades. This is now about working in real time and looking at how you are in your current life. We don't really take any time to really sit down and reflect anymore. It's getting harder to even sit down and read a book, let alone look at your whole life and analyze all of the different moving parts of your life. It's really hard. Life is really busy. We all have so much going on and some days adjusted crazy, but it's really important that you can take small steps to write down and acknowledge the moments that feel really good, and this is where this exercise comes in. Every single day, we are literally bombarded with signals and feedback and images and just constant noise. So this exercise is really about trying to tune all of that out, or at least working with that and writing down and time-tracking the moments that make you feel positive and the things that make you feel good. Our brain and our body are giving us signals all the time on what we are enjoying and what makes us happy. So it's important to write them down, otherwise we'll just forget. So for this exercise, it's really important to actually focus on the mundane stuff that you probably don't think it's anything big to focus on, but it's actually the more granular details the better. So, is it that you got to present in a meeting and you actually really enjoyed that feeling of public speaking? Was it that actually one Friday you've got to go home with it earlier and you loved the idea of having an hour to yourself every Friday afternoon, and how can you make that work? Or is it that you've got to work on a weekend, in a bookshop on a Sunday night and actually you loved being in that environment meeting new people? It's very important to focus on smaller things because at the end of the day it's the smaller things that ladder up to the big changes. Another useful thing to do in this exercise because I know we're all really busy, but at the end of each month you're going to want to look through your notes and just see what jumps out at you. Instead of just reading through all of it and all of your kind of small print, color-coding is really useful. So you can use red for something negative, you can use yellow for something kind of in the middle, and you can use green for something that was just amazing and you really loved. If you look through the month and you've got all red, kind of looks like you need to change something, but if you look through the month and it's kind of greens and yellows, then actually maybe you're onto something and maybe you are doing the things that you want to be doing. So it's really important to do this over the course of a few months because that's when you can spot patterns, that's when you can see if something's working, that's when you can really reflect on something because it's a chunk of time that really means something. What's important is for this to be a daily practice because it's actually easier if it's daily. If you're doing it every other day and you kind of forget, then you don't really get into the routine, but actually if you start doing it every day, you just get into that rhythm and it'll soon be really easy to do. Another part of this exercise is knowing how you feel at the end of each day because even though life is really busy and things can be really stressful, that moment when you get through the door, when you're at home, actually, those moments are really useful. It might be that you've just had a really draining day and that's fine, but some days you're tired because you've done a lot of work, but you actually feel quite energized and you actually feel like there's a little bit of a buzz going on, or you feel good. I think that's a distinction between being tired and really drained, and tired and actually kind of fulfilled or full of something. So I think it's important to capture those moments. So if you do it at the end of the day, this works better. If I was going to do this for myself, obviously yours will look different to mine, but one thing recently that just made me feel like I was doing something that made me feel like I was on the right track was, I interviewed two people this week who are just really inspiring and made me realize why I do my podcast, for example. So that made me feel just so energized actually and just really inspired about my own future, talking to them. The other thing I would say was recently traveling somewhere very far away that I was really nervous about, and I would put that down as taking a risk because it was something that I tried to say no to but I sort of did it because I thought I need to get out my comfort zone actually. I felt actually really proud of myself because it was a really long flight. It was really a totally new culture. By the end I realized I do like doing that, I do like meeting new people, and I do like seeing different parts of the world. So that was an interesting one for me because I kind of thought that I didn't want to do that but clearly I do once I've done it. The other thing I would say is, I recently changed up my routine so that on Mondays I don't have any meetings and I don't really talk to anyone. I have a day to myself to do my admin because I run a business and I can't always be talking to people on the phone all day, and that literally has changed everything for me. That made me felt in control. I felt like I was the master of my own calendar again. I got quite stressed out by all the stuff I had to do, so that kind of like pulled things in again and rained things in. So that was a bit of a revelation that one. This exercise really is about determining how you feel and those positive feelings that you get from actually something may be quite small, maybe a very small change. So what you will get is a list of feelings, and these feelings really are your motivation to change things or to redefine what that success is. For me, even just by doing these very small three notes, I've got these three results which is I want to feel energized, I want to feel proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and not sticking to the same old, and I want to feel in control because being in control of my own schedule is the whole point of my own definition of success. I've really kind of whittled it down and I'm quite happy with these three words that I can really focus on now. So in this exercise, you could even go even more granular with what you write down. So it could be that you go for breakfast with a friend and you kind of get a pap talk. It could be that you walk to work one day and actually prefer that over getting the bus. It could be anything, but write it down if it makes a difference because when you add up all of this column and all of the feelings that are written down here, it will all start to make sense. The next section is the last exercise, and that is about really taking all of the things that you've learned up until now and putting it into something concrete and choosing a direction. 6. Exercise 4: Choose a Direction: This next section is about choosing your direction, and it's really important to do this and take it seriously because the world of work is changing more quickly than we can really keep up with. So this is about investing in yourself. This isn't just about having a hobby that you love, this is actually about learning new skills and staying relevant. This is going to look different for everyone, there isn't just one size fits all, there isn't just one correct answer. This could be a hobby, just something that you want to introduce into your week to make you happier, it could be starting a new business, it could be a side hustle that might take years to grow, but in the end you do want to monetize it, it can be all sorts of different things. At this point, you've written a lot down, you've done a lot of self-reflection, you have spotted themes probably coming up, but now is your time to take everything and spread it out. Look at what you've got, look if there's any patterns or themes or things that just keep coming back around. If you spot any repetition, that is a good thing. So just look at everything and start to identify anything that is pointing in the right direction. First of all, I would recommend getting a highlighter and just highlighting anything that really jumps out at you. Then once you've looked through everything and you've made notes and you've highlighted bits, then get a new notepad or piece of paper and start writing things down because you will start to make sense of things and you will start to see a clear direction at this point. Once I've gone through everything, I'm going to start pulling out some key themes because this will go into the next section. I realized that I do like having time to myself, that might not mean a day off, that just means having some time at home. As I'm a writer, I can't have too much going on, too much distraction, I really need solo creative time. So that's really important. I've written here that I feel really energized by interviewing people and talking to other people. So people, in general, is super important to me and it's important to know that these two things can both exist but it's just the ratio of how much of each I want. The other thing that's really popping out at the moment is I actually do like new things, I like trying new things, taking risks, and getting out of my comfort zone. I've got here that I do like traveling a bit, so I'm going to put that in because that will be something in the next exercise that I do include. I've spoken a lot about my friends influence and friends are a massive part of my life, so that'll be something to add in. So for this exercise, I've already pulled out the five main themes that I want to constantly happen. Sometimes they don't and actually, this is a really good exercise for me to realize that I need to shift some things around and actually pull things in and have more time for certain aspects. You might have something that jumps out at you that you are not doing at all at the moment just because life is very busy and you have a lot on. It might be something like doodling or it might be something like you really want to start writing a book or it might be anything. The point is in the next exercise, is to find the time and to find a way to fit that in. So at this point in the exercise just keep this piece of paper with your main findings on and then just put everything else to one side for now. The next part of this exercise is about taking your findings from the previous exercise and putting them into pie charts. So the step one of doing these two pie charts to help you choose a direction is really about splitting up a pie chart of all your non-negotiables, that is things that really have to happen, they are super important to you and you need to include them. It's really important to do this because it just gives you an idea of the things that you don't want to change and the things that you do want to change. For example, a big non-negotiable for lot of people, pretty much everyone, is money. So it's looking at how much of your section really is about money. Is it a huge part of your life that you really care about or is actually that it's smaller than it used to be? I personally would part money as like quite a big chunk but I don't want it to take over everything, but I would say that it is a big indicator at the moment of the projects I take on because I'm at that point in my life where I've worked so much for free, I've done so much on the side that I'm like, "No, I'm going to really focus on money." So I think I would put it as quite a big section, but this might change and it might change if I did it in the future. So a massive part of what I really want to do and I guess I want to make sure is included in my values is people and that includes meeting new people, but that also includes my friends and I think that I can put that in as one section of the pie chart because that just means my social life and that can be work and it can be personal, but I think that's important to put in. Then I'm going to put in travel but I'm going to put in quite a small piece of the pie actually because I am trying to be really selective around what I take on, but also I don't want it to take over too much because I know that at the moment one of my values is actually staying at home more. So that leaves me to putting in here time for myself, which I think is a big value for me at the moment, just because if I'm going to write another book or I'm going to work on something that's a big project, you have to spend a lot of time on your own. That's what writers do, they just stay at home by themselves all day. So that's really important. Then the last thing I've got in here is new things, so taking new risks. So I'm going to make sure that a part of my pie chart is all about getting out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, all of these things will lead to this section which is all about the money. This is my starting point, yours might look totally different, but really this is just about getting the nuts and bolts down of what you really value and how you want to spend your time. So this second part of this pie chart exercise is all about filling in a pie chart of your ideal week. This is taking your values and taking the motivations and taking all of the things that you know about yourself now and putting them into your fantasy week. This really is a starting point, it's something to aim for. I'm going to do an example now of what I want my ideal week to be like and it's something for me to aim towards and readjust as I go. So for me, it really depends week by week but I can show you an example of an ideal week, where I would say a big chunk of my time is spent writing and that might be editing a book, it might be writing a new one, it might be working on a book that is going to be published in another country, but essentially, that is going to be working on my writing. The second bit, I would say is a big part now of what I do, which is podcasting and radio stuff and all of that audio business that I'm doing at the moment which I would put in there because that is another big chunk. The other one would be speaking events or doing workshops with interesting people who want to learn more about the creative industries. Then I would also put in a smaller section but still a section doing my work with schools and also the charity initiatives I'm working with because that really matters to me and it's something that I've realized does make me feel really good and it makes me feel like I've got a bit more of a purpose. So that is something that I want to fit in there. Then I would probably want to leave this section for seeing my boyfriend, seeing friends, seeing family. So I'm happy with that because I think it leaves quite a big sections there as well. These are probably the most important things for me, so I think it's important that they both have big sections, the writing and seeing family. That's just a starting point, yours might look different but at least I know that I've got a few non-negotiables into my working week. So the next part of this exercise is really joining the dots between the two. So you've got your values and you put your ideal week and you just need to see if they match up. So for me, I've got money is quite a big section and I've got time to myself is quite a big section. I think actually this does make sense because I've got my writing, I've got my broadcast speaking that will money things, and writing technically is time to myself as well. I've got friends and meeting new people, so actually, that comes in under speaking because at events is where I'm always meeting new people and I'm always meeting new people with my podcast, so that ticks off. Then with risks, I guess I need to include that a bit more in my ideal weak because all of these things are actually things that I do quite often, so I think I need to adjust that. With travel, I think that comes into friends and family, holidays, but also speaking sometimes I do that way. So I think I'm covered off, but when you do it just make sure that you spot for any inconsistency is that you can adjust. With these, it's really important to say that they're going to change, they might change monthly, they might change every year. I really encourage you to redo your pie charts every so often because our lives change, our priorities change, and they'll always change as we get older. So once you've done these pie chart exercises, it's not going to be the big all singing, all dancing conclusion to your perfect life. It's not going to be that your side hustle is overnight going to be earning you millions of pounds, but this is a stepping stone to really figuring out what direction you want to take and how you want your life to feel because it might be that you've been doing a lot of things that look great on the surface but don't really match up or align to what you really want for your life. So once you've done these pie charts, make sure you keep them somewhere safe so that you can refer back to them. The next part of this class is going to be all about targeting those three obstacles that keep coming up which is time, money, and confidence. So we're going to look at concrete ways, tips and tricks, and techniques to help you through. 7. Taking Action: Managing Your Time: By now, you should be feeling slightly more confident with what direction you want to go in from doing all the exercises and going through all the frameworks and hopefully you're feeling positive about the new direction that you want to go in. But it still can be really daunting to put things into practice and to take action. So this last part of the class, we're going to talk about money and time and confidence because those are the three things that really keep coming up. So the number one thing that is always brought up because it is a massive part of all of this is finding the time. We're going to go through some quick and easy steps to hopefully inspire you to find a little bit more time in your schedule. Similarly to what we did before for the other exercise is really important to lay out your non-negotiables. It might be that you have small children, it might be that you have 95. At the moment, you have to really stick to. So first of all just write down all of those things. Once you've written down all those non-negotiables, the next part is to figure out where you can shift things around or maybe where you can add things then it might feel like you have a non-negotiable that actually you can shift and maybe you can mold it. There's one example that I love that Elizabeth Gilbert once said which is someone writing into her on Facebook and writing a really long paragraph, maybe like 500 words all about how they didn't have time. Her response was, "You have time to write 500 words on Facebook." You do have time and actually maybe there's some things that we do just by habit that we don't even realize is taking up our time. So maybe it might be a long commute or it might be something like the time you spend on Facebook, it could be anything. But try and really look at your day and see where things might be able to shift. We are in a time of lots of technology that can help us along and help us save time. One of those things could be a app that enables you to shut off certain social media sites. There are some that block certain apps for a few hours if you really want to get that project off the ground or there are things that help me with automated services. So it takes out a lot of manual labor if you can just automatically send out emails or invoices or anything like that. Make sure that your admin is as reduced as possible. The next thing is looking at your social requirements or your social engagements. Basically, you look at your social life and see what is no longer serving you. That is a brilliant author called Sarah Knight who writes a lot about how to not care anymore and how to switch off that judgment that we feel when we turn down offers or invites. But essentially, if you want to start the side hustle and you feel like you have no time, you might have to turn down something which is a friend you haven't seen for ages who is an acquaintance and not really a very good friend who has invited you to a weekend trip. Maybe you do need to turn that down and actually use that time for something else instead. This isn't about finding hours and hours and hours for a side hustle. You don't need to put all of this time into some master plan. It's really about starting small and all you need to do is find 30 minutes to 60 minutes and I know that feels very like a long time but actually just starting at 30 minutes maybe one Sunday afternoon is really a very good amount of time to be productive. The other important part of this is really advocating for yourself and putting it out there and not being embarrassed or like not keeping it to yourself but really sharing what you're working on. Tell your friends, tell your family, and also be really transparent about that work. It doesn't mean that you're going to be doing it at work, you will be doing it on the side at home. But just letting people know in your work environment that you are giving other things, it can be quite freeing. The other part of this is actually not being afraid to ask for flexibility. The amount of people that have actually read my book and got in touch to say that they asked the question and actually the answer was yes, has been amazing. All people are asking for is half a day or a day off a week to work on something else, and actually most possessed would rather you work four days then you leave completely. So it's always worth asking the question and also being really transparent. So obviously, this isn't going to completely kill all of your time management problems or magically give you hours and hours of your time back. But hopefully this gives you a good starting point on how to start small, how to advocate for yourself, how to be transparent, and how to start taking that first step. 8. Taking Action: Money Strategies: The other element of this discussion is money. A lot of people who say to me they've love to start side project or they'd love to ask for flexible working, the obstacle in the way is often money. So in this exercise, we're going to talk about how to make money work better for you, but also how to talk about it more openly, and how to make sure that it doesn't hold you back from following these parts that you want to take. We're going to be talking about how to make your side hobby or side hustle work for you with whatever you have available. At this point, you probably have in mind what you want to be doing, what direction you might want to take, and some things don't cost money. Some things might be like cutting down your commute time, or it might be that you want to spend more time outside, these things obviously don't cost money. But some things as well and if you're wanting to start and grow a side hustle, then there are points where you might have to invest. A lot of thinking about money or thinking about a long-term strategy is actually about looking at things that you might have to do in the short-term which don't make sense on paper or at least financially, but long-term will start paying you back. So in my case, I went down to four days a week in my job, and I started to dedicate one day a week to my side hustle which was giving me good signs that it was working, and I ended up making more money in that one day that I did in the rest of the week at my job. So it took a long time, it didn't happen overnight, and it was definitely a long time coming that it would pay back in that way, but it was just one of those moments of thinking it's okay to kind of go down slightly in order to then go up. As we were talking before with time and how it really is about just starting with anything that you have, if it's just 10 minutes that you can spend on your side hustle or $10 that you can set aside for your side hustle, really don't think too big at the moment. Just start the ball rolling because that really is the most important thing. If you're serious about growing aside household or you really want to take more of a leak in order to start something, then it's important to start saving however small. The classic amount that everyone says is to save three months salary before you take any big jump. It's really important to have a safety net, or something, a cushion to land on because obviously you can't just quit your job and go into the unknown. Even if that takes a long time, that will be a positive move in the right direction. So just like we did with time, it's really important to look at your money and look at the non-negotiables. So what is the thing that you have to pay every month? So that's probably your rent, and it's probably all these things that you really can't say no to, and maybe it's certain bills that you need to pay for something to do with your health. These things on non-negotiables, but really you need to look at the ways that you might be able to cut into certain other things. Like with time, it might be spending money at going out for dinner twice a week, maybe you could rein that in slightly, or maybe there's ways that you can cut and look at your subscriptions that are going out of your bank account every month. In order to be really focused about strapping back you're spending in order to then put some money aside for the side project that hopefully will return in a really big and very positive way, look and track at your outgoings for a few months and really seeing granular detail where your money is going. There are so many apps that can help with finance now that categorizes your spending, so you can see the patterns and spot to your habits and see where you might be able to make a change. So I think it's important to know that this is something that a lot of people are doing already, it's very possible. There are so many ways to make extra money now and to have another income stream, however small that might be, I think can really add something into her life. Just like we did with the time management exercise, the money management exercise is very similar. It's about advocating for yourself, is about making room for yourself and knowing that you deserve more. With money is important to ask for more just like you want to ask the flexibility, make sure you ask for the pay rise that you deserve, but also if you're self employed or you're working on a side hustle that's brand new to you, make sure that you ask around, make friends who also have a similar thing going on and compare your rates with other people in the industry. It's important to make sure that you're not undervaluing yourself, but also that you're not undercutting the market rate. You should always be asking for more so that everyone else can also ask for more. I'm really passionate about talking more openly about money and I think only positive things can come from sharing and being just really open about numbers. I think being self-employed made me more open, because you're not necessarily sharing what you earn in a year, it's not as personal, it's not as vulnerable as sharing that information. What you're sharing is what you charge per project. So actually that shouldn't be something that anyone should be ashamed of. Actually, it helps to tell other people what you're getting paid so that they can make sure that they're getting paid the same or more. So in the next part of this section, in the next video, I'm going to be talking about confidence. It's the final obstacle, I think, and a lot of people not starting the project that they want to start. So I'm going to be giving you some tips, some really useful bits of advice to just boost your confidence in a really quick way. 9. Taking Action: Gaining Confidence: From my own experience and interviewing a lot of people on this topic, it seems like the issue of confidence keeps arising and it is a big obstacle that gets in the way of so many people to just getting that first step, because people think someone else has done it, or I wouldn't be very good at it, or what if it doesn't work out, and deep down we're all afraid of rejection. But it's important to get started and to keep those positive pep talks going. I think a big element as well is the fact that on social media, we're constantly comparing ourselves. So we think that we're not good enough. But this part of the class is really to give you some tips and steps on how to put all of that negative thinking aside and believe that you can do it and you can take the first step. So the first confidence tip is that you don't have to start big. You don't have to have millions and millions of people supporting you. It doesn't matter if you are just reaching a small community of people, it still matters what you do. There's a Tim Urban quote that says, "if not point one percent of the Internet cares about what you're doing, that's still over a million people." There are so many people out there who probably really want to hear from you. So just start there, start small, and don't feel like you have to grow overnight. The second tip is to make sure that you save evidence that you are good at something, and that you are good at your job. Because you are, but you probably just forget the nice things that people say to you. People praising you for projects you've done, or a meeting that you lead, or just something that you did a great job on, make sure you put those emails into a folder. If you're ever feeling like you can't do it or you're not very good, just go into that folder and instantly you will get a burst of praise and it will keep you going and keep you motivated. It's something that I definitely do myself, it's just such an instant reminder that you have done good things. So make sure that it's there, it's prominent, and it's just there to click if you need it. The next tip is to practice asking for things because the more you ask, the less scary it will be and the more you'll get used to it and feel confident asking. Because I think a lot of obstacles start with being too scared to ask whether that's for time, money, or the confidence issue. So if you ask for smaller things at work more often, you're more likely to ladder up to a big thing. So for example, if you ask for a personal day with confidence, you might soon be able to ask for the flexible working. So just practice asking and it'll get easier. So the next tip is to work at your self-promotion and to again practice it and keep doing it because the more you do it, the more natural it will feel. With self-promotion, it should always feel like it's coming from your natural speaking voice, as if you were going to tell a friend that you'd just done a really cool job. Say it in that way and you won't feel like it's bragging and you won't feel like it's unnecessary, you're just sharing some good news but with the Internet. I think it's really important now to be good at self promoting because no one's going to just look you up on like the fourth page of Google and give you a job. They need to see that promotion on your personal or professional pages, and find you and find what you're good at. I think that some people think self-promotion is just bragging to your friends and family, but it's actually a really crucial part of building a personal brand and getting more work. The more I self promote my projects, the more other people in the industry see that. So make sure that you know that it's crucial and it's not just you being self-indulgent and showing off. 10. Final Thoughts: At this point, you've taken the class, you've done all the exercises, you've gone through every video, and hopefully, you've reached a point where you know maybe a little bit more about yourself or you feel a little bit more positive about starting something new. Obviously, this course isn't going to solve all of your work problems or change your career overnight, but hopefully, it has enabled you to dig a bit deeper into your own goals, to self-reflect, and have some time to really think about what you want for yourself for the next few years. So you can download all of the worksheets that we went through today in the resources section and you can download them as PDFs and print them out and write on them. Please do share them, share them with each other, share your answers. I'm really excited to see where you got up to. Thank you so much for taking this class. I hope you enjoyed it and I'm really excited to see what you got out of it and good luck on the rest of your career journey. 11. Explore More Classes on Skillshare: