How To Speak Up At Work Without Burning Bridges — A Framework To Deal With Difficult Managers, Set Healthy Boundaries, Ask For What You Want, Improve Your Self-Esteem And Become A Leader
When you’re afraid to speak up, you damage your confidence, self-esteem, mental health, and overall life satisfaction.
Most advice out there either vilify the managers or suggest quitting your job immediately.
Neither is a long-term solution.
When you learn to speak up and navigate challenging relationships at work you:
- Learn to say no
- Stop pleasing people
- Can easily set healthy boundaries
- Improve your self-esteem and self-confidence
- Create a safe psychological environment in the workplace
After coaching hundreds of people and spending close to 1000 hours solving these challenges, in this guide I want to give you my 3-step formula.
So you can do your best work, learn, earn, contribute and enjoy your time at work.
Let’s dive into it.
Step #1: Manage Yourself - Clear Your Perception, And Learn To See The Reality Objectively.
- doesn’t give you credit
- criticises you publicly
- isolates you
- tries to intimidate you
- blames you
- keeps you in the dark
- tries to silence you
- doesn’t support you
- controls every aspect of your job
- displays any type of micro-aggression behaviour
- or behaves in a way you consider toxic
… understand why you get triggered.
Let me give you a few examples:
Level 0: Withhold — say nothing (the other person is unaware of anything that’s wrong).
Don’t speak up to avoid hurting the other person’s feelings / avoid being reprimanded.
Level 1: Blame — speak up but only comment on their personality (the other person becomes aware of how you perceive her/his personality).
Instead of withholding, I can tell the other person what I think:
- “You are <<insert negative personality trait>>> (e.g. a jerk, psychopath, controlling idiot).
Although this is more useful than Level 0, this approach gets us in trouble and it’s not really accurate.
Level 2: Feel — speak up but only comment on how you feel towards that person (the other person becomes aware of your emotions).
Instead of blaming I also share the emotions that arise in me when they behave in a specific way.
- “And I feel <<<insert feeling>>> (e.g. angry, ignored, frustrated, isolated)”.
This can deepen my manager’s understanding of the situation and of myself.
Instead of sharing my feelings, this time I back up what I say with a specific example of a behaviour — thinking that this may add credibility to my argument:
- “Because you <
> (e.g. take credit for the world that I do and try to actively isolate me).”
The only time this is efficient is when the other person isn’t aware of the behaviour they displayed towards you.
The only time this is efficient is when the other person isn’t aware of the behaviour they displayed towards you.
Level 4: Perceive — speak up but only share the perception you have about why they do that (the other person becomes aware of your perception).
Each of us has a different perception of the same event. I go one step further in speaking my own truth when I disclose the story I created about the event:
- “I think you think that <<<insert story>>> (e.g.I’m incompetent because you think that I’m a push-over)”.
Level 5: Disclose — share the fear you have with the other person (the other person becomes aware of your fear)
It’s usually this fear that inspires the stories I create in this relationship.
- “About myself I fear that… <<<insert fear>>> (e.g. I am incapable, unworthy, unlikeable).”
Once I remove that fear, my self-esteem improves, I stop projecting my fear onto others and I don’t get triggered regardless of what other people say or do.
Level 0: You can say nothing…it’s not professional, who knows what happens if I do…
Removing either the fear or the perception that my manager thinks of me that way will help me improve my self-esteem, my performance and my relationship with my manager.
Rule of thumb:
- If I’m only aware and share my truth on Levels 0 to 3, I may create conflicts
- If I become aware of and share my truth on Levels 4 and 5, I reduce negative feelings towards the other person and become more resourceful
- The less aware I am → the more distorted version of the reality I see →the lower my self-esteem → the more stories I create.
Now that you understood what triggered you, you have two options:
- Remove the fear through a deeper set of tools (not covered in this guide)
2. Clear out your perception (see below)
PERCEPTION CLEARING FRAMEWORK
To clear out your perception:
I didn’t want to follow a process that was broken.
I was hoping that this behaviour is encouraged, so when I heard you mention that feedback in front of everyone in my head I created the story that…well, you think that I’m incapable to do something simple, a pushover because I can’t follow a simple process and shouldn’t even be doing this job...
I know that’s a story in my head. And I guess I just wanted to clarify that with you.”
They have perceived toxic behaviour or language because they may try to cover up their insecurities. By being open yourself, you create psychological safety which may invite your manager or other team members to open up.
- Brene Brown
Apart from creating psychological safety, clearing out your perceptions helps increase your self-esteem because you clear out the wrong story you created about yourself (e.g. my manager thinks I’m not good enough or a pushover).
At times they may tell you that your perception is true – bingo!
Firstly, understand that that’s their perception.
It’s not an absolute truth.
Secondly, now you’re dealing with more reality and have a few options:
- you can ask for feedback to improve
- you can change their perspective
- or you can move out of the team or company
Step #2: Manage Your Relationships - Ask For What You Want Without Burning Bridges
In this section, I will use the example of speaking up in front of a toxic manager – because this seems to be the hardest situation my clients bump into
When you speak up, you do it so that the other person changes their behaviour.
Most behaviours (including the toxic ones) fall under one of 3 dimensions:
- Inclusion: Am I in or am I out?
- Control: Am I on top or am I on the bottom?
- Openness: Am I open or closed (connected to others or distant)?
Inclusion: Am I in or am I out?
To understand more about these 3 dimensions, check out FIRO theory by William Schutz
To efficiently speak up and manage your relationships:
- How much inclusion do you want and in what areas?
- How much control do you want and in what areas?
- How much openness do you want and in what areas?
2. Ask for the behaviour you want from your manager, without creating additional stories about what you think they may think if you speak up
"Hey NAME, my intention is to have an amazing relationship with you and deliver 100% for this team. When you do X behaviour, my perception is Y. Is that your perception too? Instead of X behaviour can you do Z behaviour in the future?"
- "Instead of criticising me in front of others, give me this feedback in private."
- "Instead of taking credit for my work, give me credit in front of the senior team on the next call.
You may be inclined to avoid asking for what you want (withhold), because you may have a story about the story your manager has about you.
“The great leaders are not the strongest, they are the ones who are honest about their weaknesses. Great leaders don’t see themselves as great; they see themselves as human.”
– Simon Sinek
- the work you do
- the people you’re surrounded by
- the company you work in …
- being annoyed, stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc
- managing tensions created by wrong perceptions
- being productive
- enjoying your work
- having fun at work
This is what I mean by being real = becoming aware of what you want and of the perceptions you create unconsciously and asking for what you want despite them.
But sometimes, you don’t get what you want so you need to have a plan:
Step #3: Manage Your Career: Have A Plan In Case Nothing Changes
But first, you need a clear career direction and a plan.
Here’s our unique planning methodology:
1. Your Personal Mission Statement (coming from your essence):
How do you want to relate to others, the world or yourself?
And since you’ve aligned it with the person you intend on becoming and the contribution you want to make, you will be internally pulled to implement it and fulfilled when you do so.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” – Proverbs 29:18
- Manage yourself: clear your perception, and learn to see reality objectively.
- Manage relationships: ask for what you want – inclusion, control or openness.
- Manage your career: create a strategic, purpose-driven career plan.
That's all I've got for you today.
P.S.: You can use this framework in every relationship: with your partner, colleagues, kids, friends, and family.
Do you know anyone who would benefit from knowing this?
See you again next week.
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I told you at the beginning, I was very confused. I had all these voices in my head telling me, ‘You can't do that. You will fail. It will never work.’
Now, I have none of these voices anymore in my head. And it's very clear what I want to do.
And I even talk to a lot of people now. I'm all out there talking to people and speaking about this.
And of course, I think 80% of the people tell me, ‘there's already so many coaches out there’.
But I don't care. They can tell me whatever they want but that's what I want to do.
During the program, the first part for me was more as a surprise and especially all the visualization exercises. Because people expect to go into 'these are my competencies' and try to identify a dream job based on the skills they already have.
I can't say the visualisation exercises were challenging because I like that. I like that type of exploration. But they were more of a surprise in that type of program.
For me, what I learned in the program was clarity and determination.
I needed to understand somehow where my career took the wrong turn. And why?
Because if I didn't, if I hadn't understood this, I would've run a big risk of going back and do the same mistake again.
Cause you know, when you have a big job, a big salary, I'm the bread-maker for my family. If I don't earn a good living, then it puts us under pressure.
There was a huge risk for me but...
The fact that we went through all this thinking process and I had this moment where I understood that THAT direction was wrong because it was not aligned with my values and with the life I wanted to live in the future with what I want.
To anyone who wants to join the program, I'd say go for it. But you need to be determined and motivated to change something in your professional life.
You need to have enough time to go through the modules. You need to have this willingness to go dig quite deep and go into areas where things that are not so nice. So be brave. For me, it was key to my transition."
"When we were having our conversations back in October, I was totally lost in my burnout. I always felt like I'm stupid. I'm like a five years old and I was telling myself 'what the heck'?
And now I think I'm doing really good. I’m really busy, but
it's my dream job. I've never been happier in my life. It's a perfect thing for
me. It's all everything I wanted to do.
I get paid well which is important for me, to feel that I'm not being taken advantage of whatever. It was good. I've never gotten so much money. It was almost double what I was making at G**** and it’s a good market price.
The team is great. They're very nice people. Hardworking but they're also very supportive and collaborative. It's a team effort, has a very safe culture, gives feedback and people listen. They don't become defensive we are all like contributing.
I feel like I fit in and I can contribute and it's totally aligned with what I wanted to do and where I want to go. I'm afraid but I'm really, really happy.
What I’ve learned in the program is, the magic is there inside of us. We just have to bring it out and believe in it. You just have to trust that, going after your passion makes sense in the adult world.
Now I can see the whole steps. I can see my steps, my career plan because I am on the right path.
Silviu and Steve help me on that path."
But after just three years, I knew that I wouldn't stay that much in this domain and I knew that I wanted to become sales because I was attracted by sales in the consulting. And I felt that I would like to do the job that my business manager was doing. Let's say building teams of consulting.
I did the change from consultant to sales and also business management in the consulting domain. I enjoyed it very much. I became director in the consulting domain. And my next step that I was thinking I had to do was to open my company because I would say that was the next step.
And going to Silviu was the last brick to continue my career.
Being able to follow your coaching and being able to connect and to understand really who you are made the whole difference. You could go, I would say, to people who have very good connections, in a multinational company who will drop your CV to a good table. This is not the same.
Now that I'm purpose driven that I know that my calling is to be a pioneer, I'm much more peaceful. I know what I'm doing and I know why I'm here. And it gives me confidence.
Now I'm at Salesforce. Salesforce is an amazing company, a huge growth, unique product management.
It's an upgrade in every domain, in the salary, in the mission, in the client in the portfolio, in the team. This is an upgrade everywhere and I can say I'm blessed. I can say this. It was not easy but it's awesome.
And for me, now I know also my strength because we made this matrix of competencies.
You taught me that that's wrong. I had to hear my emotions in order to be able to be empathic to people. And the emotion has something to say.
And it's another Aha! moment that I brought home.
I would recommend this to anybody. For the tools that you provide and for all of those things that I was telling you before.”
"Before the program, I just had a normal life as anybody else would think. You have a job. You go to your job. You earn your money. You pay your bills and then you have your holidays and days off for what you actually want to do and enjoy. So that's what I had.
I was working in customer service in hospitality and I was happy but not necessarily with the companies that I worked for. I was happy because of the people that I worked with.
I was never really into any company's vision or any company's long-term views. And I never really thought about purpose driven workplace or my contribution.
I was just going with the flow basically and not necessarily super happy but was just okay with it because everybody does this so I'll just do the same.
My original purpose was to help big cats to increase their numbers in the wild by improving their habitat. So that's still I would say the ultimate goal.
Obviously, the plan would change and I'm okay with it because I still rediscover new topics and new ways of doing my purpose and to contributing.
I know that this will be probably very challenging and difficult to do again, but it just shows how many different ways you can actually approach it.
Joining the course, the biggest Aha! moment for me was not on only during the program, but also after the program that I'm realizing even now is that it actually changes you as a person, your mindset.
Even though it's a career transitioning program, it's not just about career but it is about YOU and getting to know yourself and accepting yourself.
I think that's the biggest Aha! moment for me because I never would've thought that getting into a problem for career change, I would actually rediscover myself and even get emotional in some of the exercises.
Now, I started as a senior administrator and I have an administrative assistant as well. I just manage her and I report straight to the director of the department."
"I used to look at the problem as a logistical issue. It's
more about, I'm going to go back to London, and I need to find a job. And
what's the best way to apply for jobs, and how should I think about things like
travel, and should I just stay in my current lane?
The moment I decided to apply for the program, I definitely took into consideration the amount of experience which was being offered by Silviu and Steve. So I did a little bit of research about them.
I think that was the most important factor at the time I needed to decide before the deadline ran out.
Having someone like Steve with decades of experience, I know that he knows what he's talking about.
It was really good to have someone like Steve and Silviu on The Aha! Moment academy because this process has to be done using methods which are tried and tested.
I've had experiences with similar services previously, and I never got that feeling that the coaches were actually interested in my success.
When I began doing The Aha! Moment program, there were so many challenges while doing the exercises throughout the program. But at each of those moments, you have people on board who have seen it all.
Talking to Silviu, I really got the impression that you were there for your clients and you were really passionate about it.
What The Aha! Moment did for me was an understanding of how important it is to connect with your essence.
Number two was actually having a method, which I thought was tried and tested.
And since our last session, I've actually already landed one interview and that's just from one attempt I've made. That's quite a good breakthrough and it's in a role which I didn't think I'd get an interview for.
Anyone who is on the fence of joining this program, I would tell you of the importance of having people who have been through the process.
Steve and Silviu has so much experience applying and refining their method and have mastered the process and bring that depth of experience into coaching you and helping you.
They've set it up for me and I can't express how grateful I am. They have definitely over-delivered.
This is stuff was missing in my previous experience with coaching. All of this stuff which I paid the previous person for - The Aha! Moment Academy delivered 10 times more value."
I worked for the same company for 21 years. That's quite a long time to be working for one company, but I just thought, there's something else that I want to do.
I wasn't sure whether I wanted to get out of law, because I'm a lawyer. Whether that was the right thing to do because you've done the law degree. You've done your professional qualification. Should you just leave it all behind?
So, there was that.
Because obviously we're in the middle of a pandemic. People were being furloughed at other companies, and people were losing their jobs, and there's more people out there looking for jobs. And I just thought, 'No, I'm just going to go with it.'
So, that's what I did.
You're in a comfortable route as it were. And it's easier to stay in that comfortable track, going down your little roots, rather than turning off the road somewhere, and just doing something completely different.
But speaking to Silviu and Steve, they were completely different to anything else. And I thought, no, this is going to work. Because it made sense when you were talking to me, and I thought, 'No, this makes sense.'
And it did make sense. It's the way someone puts it across to you. Somebody could tell me all this, and the other but you guys made it simple.
It is simple when you get down to it. But other than that, it's a real uphill struggle when you're trying to decide what you want to do. And you might say to people, 'What do they know? Or, What does he know?'.
During the program, I feel so liberated because Silviu and Steve told me, 'Okay, it's not difficult. This is what you have to do.' And I did all the coursework.
I think there's something missing somewhere, but no, this is it.
And I find it so eye-opening, if you like, to be able to say, 'Well yeah, I can do something else.' And so I just acted upon it.
The entire journey was awesome. Really awesome.
I'm one of the people that sit on the fence. I'm so skeptical, cause I'm a lawyer and I have to question things. But no, just go with it. Just trust your instinct and go with it.”
I was working really long hours, holding the teams through crisis, I was already thinking about changing the job but...
'What do I really want in life rather than just what's my next promotion or next job?'
I started to feel a little bit tired with where I was and kinda thinking 'Do I really want to continue doing this?'
I started to feel like – 'I want to enjoy my life, I don't want to just work.'
I certainly had really poor work-life balance when I started this.
I was just working and normally in leadership positions you often do, but it was even more so than normal because it was the crisis response.
And I think what was challenging was we didn't know how long it was going to last and I felt like, I don't think I can go on forever. I was starting to feel it.
I started to reassess, what are my values, what do I want in life?
I want spend more time with my family, friends, with my partner and I wasn't doing that because I was working in a great senior position, but I wasn't really that happy.
And I think my problem was as well that I get bored quite quickly and I think I was just jumping from one job to another because every time I achieved what I wanted to achieve, it was like, 'okay, time to move on to the next one'.
I wat in that kind of wheel - if there's a problem I'm up for it.
And then I realized that I just keep doing that and I don't actually think about the why am I doing this? Why do I always want a problem or a challenge?
I joined at the point where I was just thinking about what's my next big job? But knowing somewhere deep down that I actually probably didn't want the next big job, that I've done enough of that.
Every time I take a job I felt 'this is another mountain to climb' but I keep climbing these different mountains but none were MY mountain.
When I look at the mission statement I've written as part of the course of who I want to be and how I want to live my life, I look at it and say, 'This is what I'm doing'. I wanted to spend more time with my friends and my family. I wanted to have better work-life balance and not work sixty hours a week.
I wanted to do things that will fulfill me and where I feel that I really doing something meaningful.
And I do because I have coaching sessions with my clients and I leave a feeling like this was worth it. I'm making a difference. I have just made a difference to somebody's day, life, week, job, whatever it is.
To anyone who wanted to join the program, you shouldn't think about that - this is too much money to spend, because what you're going to get out of it is way more valuable than the investment that you're making.
I definitely say that the combo of the program, the fact that it's evidence-based and well researched, and that you've got Silviu who's the driving power behind this and Steve, it just works! I've certainly seen it work for me.
"I studied to be a lawyer. I worked as a lawyer for three years in India. I wanted to change my career from law to something else.
I wanted to
get into marketing which is why I went ahead and did my MBA in Marketing and
It didn't work out. So, I worked as an Operations Manager. Currently I work as an Assistant Operations Manager in a charity in UK.
I've moved countries over the past two years and I've moved roles and functions. Well, I had been applying to a lot of roles, and not really getting either any response, or even after interviewing, I was getting rejected.
I think one real problem I was facing was that I was an outsider and did not have any London experience. Another thing was also that I did not know how to navigate the London market.
And also, I myself was not very sure about where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, my industry function, etc. I was very anxious.
[I was] anxious in the sense that I would start working on one work stream and then jump to another. And my mind was always in an overdrive and very unsettled.
The course was very expensive for me especially I had not been earning for two years. So that was one big obstacle. Another obstacle also was I had tried this career coaching with someone else.
I was in the
midst of it and it wasn't working well. It had been two, three weeks that I'd
been working with that person and I was not getting the support that I needed.
I'd had a
really bad experience.
When I spoke to Silviu, it was not just about working on my CV or to work on some techniques and tactics. It looks like Silviu could solve my problem of also answering what I want to do.
And also, I saw of course that you were carrying out the whole thing. But you were also associated with Steve. And I saw Steve's credentials and I saw that he has worked for 20 years or so in this field.
And he has
done a lot of work, written books, collaborated with a lot of people.
So that gave
me confidence that although I don't know you people, you guys have something
solid versus a random guy off the internet.
surprise me were a lot of personal qualities about Silviu. And by personal
qualities I mean the kind of support he was giving.
working very hard to support me. I saw that he also recognized that timelines
are tough when you're in the actual job market.
The program is
for people who are wanting to change, or do something and define what that
different for people who are very clear about what they want to do in the future.
It’s not just a career coaching. It is a mixture of life coaching and career
I'm given a curriculum. I'm giving a pacing guide. I'm giving mandates by the state and the federal government. Of course, I have to follow those but something was missing. And the more I worked with children, I saw their struggles and their needs.
They have a lot of social and emotional needs that are not being met in the public school. We just sort of pushed the academics really hard and I was sort of losing my steam and feeling very stuck and dissatisfied.
One day I was scrolling around on Facebook just looking for something. And I just happened to see Silviu doing a little, I call it... [infomercial].
He said a lot of keywords that really resonated with me, like - being stuck in your career, being unhappy and unfulfilled and you don't have to be that way.
You can really find out who you truly are and what you want to contribute to the world. And I thought that is what I'm seeking.
Silviu and Steve helped me develop a Career Plan that is very doable and I know it will be successful because I intend to do it.
Even though I had this job that felt very dead and void to me, now I can have more passion about it because I can deliver my Work Purpose in that job until I get to different levels of that.
I have more confidence now. I have less fear. I have more direction, clarity.
One thing I learned in this journey is, I am starting to believe that if I mess up along the way, if I make mistakes, that's okay. I used to really shame myself and beat myself up when I would make mistakes.
I would feel not good enough and not competent enough and then I would just kind of, retreat back into a shell and stop, like I can't do that.
Now I'm beginning to work with those beliefs because I'm more conscious about them. And I'm like, 'I don't have to accept this as a truth.'
These beliefs are not truths, they're just habits and beliefs that we've picked up and they're programmed into our minds and we can change the programming in our mind and therefore our beliefs. And so I am learning to do that.
I'm a teacher and that's where I am but I intend to work my Work Purpose in my job. Now I'm more intentional about it. I know who I am in my essence. I know what I want to contribute to my students and I intend to implement that.
When I go back to school, I am going to be a different woman. So empowered, so confident, knows what she wants and watch out, it's all I can say.
I can see myself getting involved in groups that maybe go to different schools, public schools, and speak to young people, speak to educators, speak to parents that work with young people and then eventually evolve into a speaking career for young people and parents and educators.
The program has great resources. The coaches, Silviu and Steve are so accessible. I can send a message and Silviu respond immediately - 'Hey, let's have a coaching call' and they can steer me in the right direction. I've not experienced that before. The coaches I've had are not always so easily assessable.
Silviu and Steve truly invested in their clients and it is so worth the investment.
Any money that anybody pays to invest in their Personal Development and Career Development is so worth it. It is just worth it. It's priceless and I am so grateful to them. I really am.
It is one of the best, to this day, personal and career development programs I've ever taken and I've taken quite a few, and this is the golden ticket right here.”
After talking to him, I was able to identify my purpose and identify what I want to do at my next steps professionally and also personally.
Now I was able to apply all the knowledge given by these courses and officially have a new job now. I am going to start working for this new company following my purpose.
I already have three opportunities or four opportunities, and thanks to them I was able to have this clarity to distinguish between what I want. After this clarity came, I was able to define my job opportunity and literally go for it in a good way. And this was just crazy.
It was amazing to be able to present myself as I am and at the same time be efficient with my speaking and say what I have to say in the proper way. Because I was so bad at this.
Just to tell you guys that this definitely works. Just to give you a hint, I pass from $110,000 job to a $152,000 job. Additionally, I receive all the perks and benefits that I need. This is something amazing. I cannot describe how my family and I feel about this.
What Sylviu and Steve are doing is just amazing.
After all of this, I was able to align my brain, my ideas and go forward. Thanks to this program, I was able to easily identify my purpose.
I know that is a journey. It's not easy but thank God I was able to identify this. And that's why, for me, it was easy to now say – ‘this is my purpose’. "
"I've never had a clear idea of how I am professionally. I think that's why it's always been a matter of changing one course to another or one avenue to another.
I'm creative. I'm outgoing, I like talking to people. I feed up other people's energies but I've never had a clearer idea of what I want to do in my life.
And so that's why I think finding a career that really fits me has been a very hard to quantify thing. That's why when the pandemic hit, I did have a lot of questions in my mind.
Before I joined the academy, I was working for a sustainability consultancy. I was working as a senior consultant for a lot of hours. I was probably doing 50-60 hours a week.
A lot of pressure, getting in early trying to get ahead of deadlines. Working late, sometimes working through the night. A lot of pressure dealing with young trainees and junior consultants as a senior consultant trying to manage 10, 15 projects and a lot of pressure and feeling often overwhelmed.
I was doing a role that I wasn't really recruited for. I was meant to be out and about visiting and working with companies and those projects weren't coming through. I was doing primarily a project management role, writing a lot of reports, being very desk based, which I hate doing, and then being pressured into that role as well. Then I got furloughed.
I had so many limiting beliefs about what I could or couldn't do or what I should and shouldn't explore even to the point of who could or couldn't help me.
So I've done crazy career change of different things and then I was thinking about who I could approach to ask about lecturing.
Before joining the program, Silviu said, ‘Don't judge who can and can't help you or who will or won't be the people to open up the doors for you. You tell me what you're working on and we will see where we can support you. All I care about is that I will have enabled you to professionally flourish.’
After hearing his words ‘If you have professionally flourished, then I will have done my job.’,
Joining the program, I was afraid that the money I was paying for is not going to deliver. I had quite a lot of expectations. Whether it was going to be something that would really make a difference.
And looking back, I would say it was absolutely worth the investment. It was worth the investment on not just a get another job but an investment in terms of my mental health.
What was really important for me is to have a family and to have a support network to say that this was something I could use as a positivity.
And having an outside perspective and Silviu’s advice - ‘if you do the same thing, you get the same outcomes’, is a proof that taking alternative approach is definitely worth it.
I know what I can say yes to. I know what my manoeuvrability is meant that I was still hated doing the negotiation. I still found it really difficult. But I think I had confidence that I knew my worth and I knew what I was and wasn't willing to accept.
To do a 12-week course where the structure of it is far more about who you are and what you want to do and what makes you happy. And then the career element to that, you've got so much out of it.
I’ve got so much out of it that I think I realized what I needed to do. It was more of how would I really keep the motivation and the focus.
The best word I can about the program is energizing.
I've been so glad of the support and the network and the structure and the solidity. That's given me an energy to feel this is doable and I can work on this.
Also, it is empowering because it's gives you the ability to think I can do this. And so often it feels insurmountable.
There’s always reasons not to do something. But I think having someone who's an expert and is going to give you a hug when you need a hug, and also gives you a bit of a kick when you need a kick. And it's hard to do that on your own."
I just moved to the UK from the Philippines, and I was struggling a lot in terms of career. I had the career in sales and it was probably about three years I've been in sales already.
However, I was just feeling a little bit awkward with myself. This is what I want to do but why am I unhappy with what I'm doing? I was just trying to get a grasp of it.
It made me question myself a bit: ‘Am I going in the right direction?’ ‘Is this what I really want to do?’
I became comfortable in the position: 'I need to put money on the table' - the usual norms that we get from our parents or friends.
I’ve come so far from where I was originally.
How I'm going to navigate myself through the rest of my life. Because I was feeling very lost at that moment.
I could feel that there is something and I've been feeling this call for some time prior to the program.
But I could never really sit down and put it into some frames or vocalize it or I didn't really know what that is.
I've been trying different things but not really getting the results.
And while I was doing the job, that was never really much time to focus on myself and figure out what I really want to do.
The results I had after three months in the program were:
(1) Now I know that I have a lot of control or at least I have a choice. And I'm motivated. I'm much more motivated.
Just getting to know myself and there's this strength inside me that I didn't see in myself before which is amazing.
Just like getting to know my skills, my abilities for all the tools that you've provided from the choice, from payoffs, from knowing that you start with a 10%.
(2) The big part was about the beliefs and assumptions that we tell ourselves. Whether there are career assumptions, money assumptions, lifestyle assumptions.
And then actually believing and started to see that you have the power to change them.
It's not to somebody else. It's not to external conditions. You make all the choices around that. That's why that gave me lots of strength.
(3) And also helping me to find the essence or basically reconnect with the essence with my core.
It was suddenly a change. When you're aware of it and that you can act from the core of yourself.
Suddenly anything is possible. It's like, wow, there must be an amazing feeling.
It is brilliant because that gives you this strength and belief that I can actually do it.
And even if those beliefs will come back again because it's like a work in progress, then you know that like once you've learned the tools. Once you kind of start applying them.
There's no way back because you have some compass and you can help yourself to navigate for this. At least that was my experience.
One word to describe the program was CLARITY.
Just like that program, it gave me a lot of clarity.
Why? I think because what I've just said with all the tools, with all the support and having the space to explore. It is also about the environment that you provide and with other people that are on the same path and journey.
I remember before the program, I have some visions or some dreams that would be like, ‘No, you don't want to go there. No, you don't want to try it. Don't go in there in the front row. Don't try too hard’.
But now it's like, ‘Yes, I can do this. I can actually do this and whatever.’
"I've always seen work as a tool to get money and then live and be happy kind of thing. And that's like how I grow up also in my country and my culture and everything. And now it's more like I'm not very happy with our landscaping job.
I have always been a fighter against myself like I don't find my purposes. I don't have a passion. I like a lot of things but I don't have one thing that I'm super passionate. That's super selfish actually because I'm just thinking about my happiness.
I really want to change that and have other career paths for myself and to come back to my background in Columbia. I need the mindset that I'm going to work this season with them. I am here because this is going to give me this opportunity to save some money and then I can pay for this study.
Now I have a better mindset that this is not forever. The other thing is learning how to appreciate work as a way to contribute to others.
It's a totally new concept for me and I'm learning a lot with that. And that helps me also with the mindset because that makes sense.
The whole mindset is giving me another view to come back. I'm going to keep going with all this adventure I guess of searching in myself and hopefully I will get a good plan at some point.
For now, just work and make money and serve people in their houses with their lawn and their gardens.
The best learning that I have had in this course is to rethink about what's my relationship with work or job."
But then when it came for me to write down my work purpose, I started second guessing myself wondering if I'm good enough.
When I finally discovered this course and I started doing it, I kept at it because I felt within myself that this is the direction I should have been going in to begin with. I have been doing the modules and it has been an eye-opener.
At first, I felt I was feeling so depressed. So out of place because I have been out of a job for over a year and when I found this course I'm like, ‘What the hell was I doing before? Where was this course?’.
All the while, I wasted so much time and so many opportunities to learn something.
And I kept telling myself, ‘You know what? This is for my benefit. This is for me.’
When I am done, I will be done. I will feel so much better.
And my time has been shifting in so many directions for the last couple of weeks. I'm applying for jobs. I'm trying to get in the hours for this. I'm trying to manage my home, life and trying to work out and keep my mental state in check.
Growth is happening.
And I'm almost done. It's just for me to just pack in the last 10% of that thing and get it done.
I appreciate this course. I have learned, and I have grown so much."
Agencies are such fun environments to work in. It attracts the outgoing and wildly creative people. Very stimulating environments to work in.
But I had begun to become discontent that there wasn't enough socially redeeming value in the work that I was doing and I wanted to be of more direct help.
And then boom… I got laid off due to Covid!
I thought this is my opportunity to make that change, to make that shift that I've been feeling coming on for a while.
Well, and it's too easy to do that when you're relatively happy. I was making very good money into six figures.
You know, I had nice benefit package. I had vacation. I was, um, at a managerial level. So I had a seat at the boardroom table in terms of the direction of the company. And I was training people, and I love to train and teach and mentor and pour into managing an administration.
All I knew was that I wanted to offer more direct help.
I can write a resume that I look good on paper, but to compensate for that lack of post-secondary, I need to get in front of someone.
Everything from computer skills to resume writing, to cover letter writing, and, and so on and so forth.
I'm not 25 anymore. That makes employers consider me a liability. I have to overcome the object, all the objections, and there's a whole list of them to being a mature worker. I'm in a market with 25% unemployment, and I don't have any post-secondary education.
I was trying to get happy about being a barista, and that wasn't working.
And then along comes the Academy and says, ‘Did you know about seed jobs? Did you know about purpose hacking?’
And then also gave the actual templates of the emails and the scripts of what to say when you connect.
And I really fear for short of a lucky bounce how they're going to succeed. Because they're not equipped, their eyes aren't opened, they don't have the tools, they don't have the strategies.
"Prior to joining the academy, I didn't know what I wanted to do. I was suffering from imposter syndrome, and couldn't see a clear path of progression because I never stopped to understand what elements of my work I actually enjoy and what brings me value.
This made me feel frustrated and anxious that I didn’t have a plan. It made me lose the feeling of value within myself. I had tried self-help / motivational / find your purpose books.
The initial interaction with Silviu was a moment where I felt a connection with him and that I’d be able to work with him.
I was debating and trying to work out which path of permanent employment / contract / consulting would be the best path for me, and through this academy I got there.
The academy doesn’t try to make you fit into a path, instead it enables you to understand your journey, and yourself and hone in on what feels good for you and where you as a person get value from the work you currently do or things your not doing yet.
I also felt I gained some clarity and perspective on myself, understood fully why my journey had taken me to where I was and felt empowered to be in control of my own future & destiny.
If I didn't have this as a starting point I wouldn't have made this decision and embarked on a new way of working which suits my lifestyle, allows me to give back and contribute to my purpose.
Had I taken this academy 10 years ago, I truly believe I would have had much more of an idea on how to approach my plan on how to get to where I want to, and would not have fallen into the trap of making some of the same mistakes over and over again.
To everyone who are on the fence of investing to this program, just do it.
Its gonna feel tough at times, but this is one of the best investments I've made in myself.
If you want to feel like your work in life and your purpose are connected and get to a point of clarity from chaos in your head this will definitely help you.
Best investment you are going to make is one in you."
"Before the program, I'd owned my own business for
about seven and a half years. It was just a small retail shop. I just felt like
it is time to move on for several reasons. I've been working hard at trying to
actually sell the business and get out of it, and then I finally got out of it
and I thought I would know what I was going to be doing. And it ended up that I
had no idea what I was doing.
The first couple of modules were probably the most challenging in the program.
Going out and talking to people and exploring a lot of those personal assumptions was very difficult. And it wasn't exactly the most fun. It was hard to get through, it was challenging.
And looking back, there were surprising
amount of things I didn't expect. Some of the actually smaller exercises that
we did like the five clicks for me was really weird but that was probably the
biggest AHA moment of the entire thing. It was like everything just snapped
By the end of it, I feel like I have a completely different outlook altogether with just how I approach things is dramatically different than before.
Before it felt like when I was applying for jobs, I've just got the kind of get this done and hurry up and just get whatever you can and just go for it.
Whereas now, I need to actually take the time and think about what jobs do I actually want.
And then it is a much more almost I get to the enjoyment of choosing now instead of being maybe they'll choose me. Now I get to go out. I can thoughtfully and very carefully plan my application and I have trust that I know what I'm doing now and that I can actually get the job done.
Also before, I thought I knew what I was doing and what
people were expecting of me, but now I have a much clearer understanding of
where I'm going, what I'm doing and getting rid of a lot of those personal
assumptions on this whole process.
So rather than trying to assume that I know what I'm doing or assume I know what they're looking for, I actually go out and actually explore and understand what they're looking for.
Having the clarity and having the tools to go through those assumptions feels awesome. The best word to describe it would be just freeing.
I recommend the program because it really does build on everything that was in the beginning and it's very difficult to see how it really comes all together at the end, but it's absolutely worth it. A hundred percent worth it, and it will be hard, but you should definitely do it."