Jeremy Epp: In today’s episode, I’m going to talk to those of you who feel like you’re currently stuck, and you feel like you don’t have any options. I’ve been there several times throughout my career, and it is frustrating, it is stressful, and it’s a real challenging place to be. Well, today’s guest, Clare Josa, is going to share information about our self-talk, about our beliefs, and the stories that we project on ourselves.
Jeremy Epp: You’re going to want to stick around. You’re going to be encouraged to learn that you have options, tremendous options, and that you have the power within you to make that change.
Jeremy Epp: So I don’t want to delay any further. Let’s started with today’s show.
Jeremy Epp: Well, welcome everybody. On today’s show, I have Clare Josa joining us. And Clare is the author of five books, with her latest book, Dare to Dream Bigger. Clare has a very interesting journey that she’s going to be sharing with us, moving from a corporate environment where she started with an engineering background, and then life happened, and Clare’s going to fill in the details, and her journey changed to one of an entrepreneurial journey. So, welcome to the show, Clare. I appreciate you coming on.
Clare Josa: Thank you, Jeremy. It’s great to join you.
Jeremy Epp: So I first met you via a shared website that we’re both members of, and I reached out and I asked for folks that had an interesting career journey that they would be willing to share with my audience. And you reached back, I appreciate that, and I’m excited to learn from you today of not only your story but also the lessons of life that you have learned and want to pass on to help others along their way. So I’m excited.
Clare Josa: Me too.
Jeremy Epp: So first off, you began as an engineer, and you worked your way up to the head of a market research department. Tell us a little bit about that.
Clare Josa: Well, I started off … I studied engineering, mechanical engineering, and I’ve actually got a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering in German. I studied it both in England and in Germany. And the only reason I studied engineering, I was one of those really annoying 17-year-olds. When I chose my degree, I thought that German and Russian would be too easy.
Jeremy Epp: You wanted that challenge.
Clare Josa: Yeah. And I’d been building a kit car with my then-boyfriend, and I wanted to know how the engine worked. And my teachers and my physics teachers couldn’t tell me. So I thought, you know what, I’ll go to university and find out. So I did my five-year degree. I still didn’t know how the engine worked. So I had to do some extra studying. And I actually ended up specializing … I was one of the first people in Europe to get formally trained in Six Sigma. I was a specialist in Japanese Lean Manufacturing methods and the process engineering that where you design the quality in to actually make it harder to get it wrong than to get it right.
Clare Josa: And this just fired up my brain. It’s always how my brain has worked. I’ve always, when I’ve seen a problem and everybody else sits around whinging, I’ve been the one that’s stupidly raised her hand and gone, “How about we fix this? Here’s what we could do, yeah?” And it started at sixth form college when I did my A levels, when people said, “Oh, we used to have a radio station. Apparently it was great.” I was like, “Great. So let’s restart it.” “Oh, no, no, no. That’s too much hard work.” So my best friend and I ran it for two years.
Jeremy Epp: Oh, that’s fantastic.
Clare Josa: I’ve always been what I didn’t realize at the time was a passionate world-changer. And in engineering, what I loved about that Six Sigma approach in manufacturing was that I could solve problems once and for all. You could get to the root causes, no more sticking plasters. I had no idea when I was in my late 20s and decided that actually I’d had enough of working in manufacturing, the whole Me Too thing. Yeah, it was quite harsh back then. I had no idea how important that passion for solving things at root cause was going to be in my later career.
Clare Josa: So I kept having my promotions blocked by my managers. Because they got a bonus for having enough female engineers on the team, and if I left they’d lose their bonus. So they were sabotaging promotions that would have allowed me to move back into project management and design work. So I decided to go on a sabbatical.
Clare Josa: So I was nearly 30. I was doing really well in my career. And it seemed like a crazy thing to do at the time, but I didn’t like who I was having to become to cope in that environment. And the only way I could think of escaping was to go traveling round the world for a year.
Jeremy Epp: That is certainly one way to escape.
Clare Josa: I did. And I look back now, and I’m glad you’ve used that word, Jeremy, because it was escaping.
Jeremy Epp: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Clare Josa: I ran. And I came back after my year and they offered me my same job back. And I was like, but now I’m fluent in Spanish. I’ve spent months studying Spanish in a university in Argentina while I was traveling, I’ve been in Peru, I’ve been in New Zealand. I really can’t go back to the same job I was doing; I’m not that person anymore. And as soon as I found out that’s what they were going to do … I’d actually been doing some guerrilla market research, again, solving a problem. Because the market research team at the manufacturing company’s owner, they didn’t speak the engineers’ language. So they would go and get feedback from customers saying, “Oh, we don’t like this.” And they couldn’t translate it for us for us to do anything useful with.
Clare Josa: So I’d actually been part of going to Germany. We hired a hotel. We got 300 owners of the cars in to talk to us. I and one of my colleagues did the bilingual translation of the depth … what I now discovered were depth interviews. And we found out what the actual problem was so that the engineers could fix it. And that so excited, and being that translator between the customers for marketing team and the engineering teams, that when I came back from traveling, I actually managed to land myself a job as head of market research at Dyson. Being that three-way translator. It was incredible. It was something that officially I had no qualifications in. I was entirely self-taught from the guerrilla market research we’d been doing. When I discovered, sitting in an internet café in Colorado, that I had the interview, the first thing I did was head to the nearest book shop and buy Market Research for Dummies.
Jeremy Epp: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. Been there, done that.
Clare Josa: Yeah. And basically I realized I had two weeks till the end of my journey when I was back in the UK, at which point I had to pass that interview. And something just told me it was going to work. And it did. I made sure I knew the terminology, because that’s the bit I was missing. So I was missing the insider lingo. And I could provide examples of how I’d used market research to help the engineering and marketing teams. And they went for it. And I actually set up the market research function at Dyson, including all the work that was required for the launch in the USA.
Clare Josa: So that was basically my career. And that huge leap from engineering to market research, it gave me a chance to be able to solve the problems. I realized it was solving problems and making people smile was what made me tick.
Jeremy Epp: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Clare Josa: Yeah.
Jeremy Epp: Now let me jump back, because I think this is really important. When you were working in your trained engineering background, talk a little bit more about the realization of, this wasn’t the path that you once thought it was, or did your interests change, or as you grew as an individual you became more self-aware of the things that really gave you passion. And was it the environment that kind of made that decision for you and kind of steered you in that change? Or was it something inside of you?
Clare Josa: You see, I still have this thing. Now this was 15 years ago I left engineering now I think. No, more than that. 18 years. I walk into a factory, and the smell of a factory just makes my heart leap with joy. Okay? I love engineering. I love making things. I love seeing how creativity turns into something physical that somebody can buy.
Clare Josa: What made me realize that it couldn’t be the path for me was I had fought for so long to be taken as an engineer and not a female engineer. Because, you know, all through my university when I was in Sheffield, there were about 5% women; when I was studying in Germany it was under 1%. I was used to holding my own. But when it came to the workplace, I started noting positive discrimination. You know, the “Oh, we only putting you forward to this because you’re a girl and we have to have a quota.” So first it was fighting against that. Secondly, the particular factory I was in, the machines were very modern but the mindsets were very old. They weren’t used to having women. I went into one factory where they actually drew my face on the top of a calendar for Page 3 girls.
Jeremy Epp: Jeez.
Clare Josa: The final straw was in the factory. I finished my engineering career and was … I used to wear Doc Marten boots, because you’re machines; you need to be safe. My boss’s boss said to me one day, “Clare, do you not think you could wear more feminine shoes?”
Jeremy Epp: Wow.
Clare Josa: I said, okay. Yeah. Yeah. And it was not uncommon for the guys on the shop floor to make very direct comments about how I was looking. And I realized if I was as strong as them and if I were … Because on a shop floor environment, if you stop the line for a quality issue it cost $2,000 a minute. Yeah? And part of my job was stopping the line for issues. So if I behaved the way they did and I was kind of firm, down the line, direct, then I was the ice maiden and I was ostracized. If I did it in a nice, feminine way, I was laughed at. And I just thought, you know, I just can’t keep doing this. I was getting so angry at the fact that my gender made a difference in my job. I wanted to be judged based on my ability and not on my physical appearance.
Clare Josa: And also in that kind of environment it is very, very high-pressure; I discovered I was addicted to adrenaline. You know, that excitement of still being there at 2:00 a.m. trying to work out how to fix a problem. Begging people to give me another five minutes to analyze data so we could work out how to fix things. And I realized that was also making me really angry, and I was taking that home. And I didn’t like the person I was becoming in order to survive in that environment. And I felt I couldn’t fight the environment anymore.
Clare Josa: You know, things have changed in engineering in the last 10 years, and there are plenty of great places for women to work. I think I was at the tail end of the ones who were still having to lead the campaign. My favorite Italian word, because my granny was Italian, is basta. So B-A-S-T-A. Basta. It means enough. And I just had my basta moment.
Clare Josa: Yeah, with my mentoring clients now I always say to them that, don’t come and work with me until you’ve had your basta moment. Until you’ve really decided enough, this has to change.
Jeremy Epp: Yes.
Clare Josa: And that is what made me go traveling.
Jeremy Epp: So fast forward now. When you landed the job at the market research with Dyson, were you actively looking for that type of role, or did it kind of fall in your lap?
Clare Josa: Not at all. Not at all. A friend in England was actually looking for engineering jobs with them, and … This was in the days where, you know, we didn’t have Smart phones; they hadn’t been invented. So I’m traveling around Peru in internet cafés, where I’m having to go and search for the internet café and then pay multiple dollars an hour to use the machines. And I just happened to log in at a time my friend had said, “Hey, did you know Dyson’s recruiting a head of market research. I think this could be perfect for you.” And I thought, that’s absolutely crazy. I love market research, but technically I’m not qualified.
Clare Josa: And I thought, you know, I’m going to send in an inquiry with my CV. So I sat there in Peru and did what I could with my CV. It happened to land on the desk of somebody in that team who was perfect at understanding it was worth taking a risk. My old friend, James … couldn’t have landed on a better desk. And he was the one that pitched my application and said, “Look, there’s a spark here. It’s a bit different. Let’s at least interview her.” And the initial interview was in an internet café.
Clare Josa: So I wasn’t actively looking for it, and it was a huge string of synchronicities. And the one thing that I’ve really learnt in life is if something just happens to fall into place like that, at least go for it a bit to see what happens.
Jeremy Epp: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. And I’ve found something similar to where there’s an element of luck involved with being prepared. And I know that for many listeners that have been thinking about and actively taking steps to find their next job, whether that’s at a different company or whether it’s steps to go work for themselves, a lot of times they’re frustrated because they’ve seen that the doors just don’t open up for them. And then they look around and they see somebody where the door just opens up, and they’re like, how did that happen so simple for that individual? And so it can be very frustrating and very energy-sapping for folks that are stuck in that position.
Clare Josa: Absolutely. And demoralizing. Very demoralizing. Because you start to doubt yourself. When you’ve applied for 20 jobs and you haven’t got interviews or you’ve made it to the final three 20 times. We know how that feels. All of us have had it. The tip I give my clients on that now is my three-word mantra. Follow your flow. Okay? So yes, take the actions that need to happen, make sure you’re on the job boards, make sure you’re reading the right industry magazines. But follow your flow. If you see something that excites you, that gets that bubbling in your stomach where you’re like, god, this could just be brilliant, pursue that. Follow that. Every time a door is open, just forget about the closed doors. Because while we sat there feeling miserable about the closed doors, the wide open door can’t be seen. Yeah?
Clare Josa: And then the one thing I learnt when I shifted to move into the market research formally is you’ve got to mean it, yeah? If I’d just kind of gone, you know what … I mean, back then there weren’t websites to check out some market research. The equivalent now would be, I’ll just ask Google what market research is. That would have got me nothing. I gave the final two weeks of my round-the-world trip to studying; to make sure I knew my stuff; to make sure that the stuff I intuitively was doing I could back up with data, with evidence, with stuff that would show them that I was a safe pair of hands for the job. I had to mean it.
Jeremy Epp: I think that’s one of the … There’s a benefit and a downside to what the internet access allows us to have. In one aspect we have all this data at our hands to do the research that’s required; on the other hand, though, we feel inundated with endless opportunities to apply for. And to do it right you’ve really got to dive in, do your research, devote the time. And you feel like, is this worth that one application that I’m putting in when I’ve got another hundred that I really need to get out there. Because after all, I’m being told it’s a numbers game.
Jeremy Epp: And so what ends up happening is we spend our time filling out those hundred job applications and the depth is not there. And so of course the hiring manager’s going to overlook our resume and our application, because there’s just not a whole lot of substance there.
Clare Josa: Exactly, Jeremy. And I know over my corporate career, I interviewed over 500 people to help with recruitment. It’s something that started in my university days; I used to help to recruit the students onto the engineering degree. It was always incredibly clear when somebody was passionate about a job in a company. And it’s like showing up for a date and not even checking what the person’s name is. The people who got second-round interviews were the people who had applied for fewer jobs but only ones with companies they were excited about, where they’d gone and actually maybe looked at the company report, where they’d looked at the company structure, where they could ask questions that showed they’d done their research.
Clare Josa: The ones that never even got an interview were the copy and paste CVs where … I used to interview for the marketing team regularly at Dyson, and somebody would say, “I’ve always wanted to work in IT.” And you just think, oh, this is a marketing position. You’ve just copied and pasted the CV from another 99 job applications. I’m sorry, but you’ve got to have a certain level of passion to work here, yeah?
Clare Josa: So, yeah, I actually think cherry pick the applications and do them well. I know it’s scary, because I know everybody says it’s a numbers game. But you don’t want to end up working at the one place that says they’ll have you; you want to have a career that you’re actually going to enjoy, that’s going to build on your skills, that’s going to move you towards your dreams. And if you lose faith in that, you’re going to end up doing a job that you hate and you’re going to be job hunting again within a year.
Jeremy Epp: Yes. I agree completely. I find that quite a bit. And one thing that I’ve done in my past is I have to ask myself, am I running away from something or am I running to something? And I think that’s very important as I’ve talked to a lot of folks that are very unhappy with where they’re at. And they’re desperate. They’re just looking to get out. And of course they’re just going to go land in a similar environment where it’s just a matter of time before they’re miserable once again. As opposed to taking the time, doing it right, finding out first who they are and what drives them before looking for opportunities that match with who they are.
Clare Josa: Exactly.
Jeremy Epp: So you made the difficult decision, I want you to talk about this, to leave Dyson. Tell us a little bit about that.
Clare Josa: Well, one of the things I realized when I was traveling is how much I actually loved making people smile. And I don’t mean I was a stand-up comedian, because I’m not. It was that human interaction and being able to lift somebody’s day that really, really rocked my boat. So if I could walk around the shop floor, and all these guys frankly were bored, and I could just be the one that smiled at them or asked them how their team had done at the weekend or remembered that their child had an exam coming up. Just that lifting their spirits really excited me.
Clare Josa: So I’d been a fan of psychology since my childhood. And when was at Dyson I got the chance to study NLP, neuro-linguistic programming, which I think of as like applied psychology, like the user manual of your brain. And as I progressed through, it fascinated me; for me it’s engineers’ psychology. It covers the so what, you know, we say, what do I do? Why is this useful? And I became a practitioner. I became a master practitioner. I was using it more and more in our research to decode the hidden motivations behind why people were doing things. So they might tell you one reason why they bought something but when you analyze their linguistics underneath it was actually a completely different reason. And when you told them that they were like, wow. How did you know? It’s like, it’s basic just … I just analyzed what you’re saying.
Clare Josa: I knew I wanted to take the ability to help people understand how their thoughts affect their experience of life and how they can then do something about it. I wanted to take it to the next level. So I wanted to become an NLP trainer, because there is a huge leap between being able to do something really well and being able to teach others do it to the same standard. It was an intensive one-month full-time residential bootcamp. I couldn’t get the time off work to do it, because I was not allowed to take one month off. Which I totally understand. So I quit.
Clare Josa: I was that committed knowing that that training was the next stage in my journey. I’d also been doing an awful lot of inside work on myself. I learnt something very valuable. When I came back from traveling, having jumped from one career to run away from the stress, the anxiety, the anger, the adrenaline, and I’d gone traveling. And then I came back to the corporate environment; I found that many of the things I’d found hard about engineering I was also finding in my market research career. And I had a real insight. And in fact it’s the name of one of my novels, is You Take Yourself With You. I realized I’d taken myself with me. And the bits of me that had attracted the conflict, it all being hard, I had taken with me.
Clare Josa: And then when I dealt with that bit of me, I no longer needed that. And I found that being in the corporate environment just wasn’t where I wanted to be anymore. I couldn’t make a big enough difference to the world in somebody else’s business.
Clare Josa: So, yeah. I took an incredible job on a great salary with amazing prospects, and I said, no thank you.
Jeremy Epp: You know, it’s always interesting … The book Good to Great talks about you’ve got to get rid of the good so you can make room for the great. And I think it takes a lot of courage to do what you did and say, this is a great job here at Dyson, but I can be great somewhere else. And having that courage to give your notice, leap off that bridge, if you will, with no net to catch you, and jump right in, that takes a lot of courage to do that.
Clare Josa: It does.
Jeremy Epp: And you talked a little bit about people around you, closest to you thought you were probably going crazy and losing your mind.
Clare Josa: Well, the universe then tested my resolve even further, because I hadn’t stayed at the company for quite the three years that was required for my relocation bonuses. I actually ended up working my last six weeks unpaid. And that’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my career. Particularly as I’d put in 80-hour weeks, traveled round the world unpaid, you know, I’d really given back through the rules. And, yeah, that made it even more difficult. But it also made me even more sure that I was doing the right thing, yeah?
Jeremy Epp: Yeah.
Clare Josa: Yeah.
Clare Josa: But the one thing I would change if I were to make the leap again …
Jeremy Epp: Life is always good at teaching, yes.
Clare Josa: Yeah, yeah. The one thing I would change if I were to leap from my corporate world to running a business again is I would build up my business before I left. Because I was so driven by this need to go and do that course, and so focused on negotiating that and making that decision, that although I knew a lot about business, you know, I was a department head, somehow there was a disconnect. And I didn’t go and do the one thing I would always recommend now, which is I didn’t go and get myself a mentor or a business coach to work out my business plan and work out where I was going to get clients from, and work out, okay, how can I start ramping those up and maybe ramping my job down.
Clare Josa: I was impatient to make the decision and put it into action. And so after I’d done my NLP trainers training, I came back home and kind of sat there and went, oh, right. You know, I’ve had a few clients as part of my training but nothing that I can pay the mortgage off.
Jeremy Epp: Right.
Clare Josa: So I would always recommend, if you’re going to take the leap to set up a business, is that have as much of that in place as you can before you leap. So it becomes a flow rather than a cliff edge.
Jeremy Epp: Yeah. And of course there’s always circumstances where you don’t have a choice, whether that’s you’re being laid off, the department’s closing down, you’ve got to make quick, rash decisions. And I was in a similar circumstance many, many years ago. I was with a department and our company had been purchased by another company, and so we knew it was just a matter of time. And when news came down of the layoffs in the city where I was being held, I looked at my wife and said, “I’ve always wanted to try my hand at running my own business, and now is the perfect opportunity.”
Jeremy Epp: So sometimes the stars align and you have that opportunity. But it’s always easier if you’re prepared before you make that leap.
Clare Josa: Well, actually, getting prepared doesn’t have to take that long. You know, you can set up the basics of a business in just, in days. It’s that head space that’s actually the hardest.
Jeremy Epp: Yes.
Clare Josa: If somebody’s getting laid off and they can feel the clock ticking and they’re stressed, it triggers the whole sympathetic nervous system. And that takes blood flow from the prefrontal cortex of your brain that does brilliant business planning to the primal part of your brain that does survival. And it’s very hard to think clearly when you’re in that stressed state. So anything you can do to take that step back, to allow fear … to have excitement bubble through it. You can put together a business plan. And even, with social media now, you can start testing it out to see if there’s a market for your idea in just a day.
Clare Josa: But it’s having that commitment to your dreams that you’re prepared to say, you know what, this actually isn’t optional; what do I need to do to make sure this works?
Jeremy Epp: Let’s go deeper on that, because I think this is really important as far as … somebody’s in an environment, they don’t enjoy it; in fact it’s not a matter of enjoyment, it’s a matter of they dislike it adamantly, they’re stressed, they’re frustrated, they don’t know what to do. One of the things I have seen is to where people that are really good, similar to your engineering experience, you’re really good at what you do. You know your stuff. You’re confident. But over time, people keep telling you, no, we only want you to do this menial work. We don’t need that expertise; we need you to do some mind-numbing routine stuff. And eventually if you’re not careful, you could begin to convince yourself that that’s all you’re good at. And you have to really change your mindset to say, no, I am fantastic. It’s this environment that’s pulling me down.
Jeremy Epp: Talk a little bit about self-doubt with your neuro-linguistic programming experience, as far as how to make sure that somebody stays in the right mindset and has the right self-talk and not believe those doubters that are surrounding them.
Clare Josa: Well, it’s really painful when it does happen, yeah? Because … I think, was it Eleanor Roosevelt said no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. So I work a lot with people on imposter syndrome. That feeling like a fraud, that fear that you’ll be found out. It’s like self-doubt in a very sharp suit, yeah? And imposter syndrome is one of the biggest things that stops us taking the leap into doing something we really want to do, it’s what gets us settling for second or even tenth best. It’s what gets us staying in a job that we hate, because we feel that we’ve got no other option.
Clare Josa: So the first thing I would do is to look at … I have a kind of an unblocking question that I use with myself, because I’m also a meditation and yoga teacher. And one of the things that taught me is how much of our inner story we project onto our outside world. There’s a bit of your brain called the reticular activating system. It filters the sensory information we take in. You know, everything from the air pressure in your left ear to the tone of voice your boss just used to give you feedback from that presentation.
Clare Josa: And if, for example, somebody believes that they’re terrible at presenting, and their boss says, “Oh, that presentation was great, but”, you will not hear “It was great.” You will dismiss that and you will cling to the “but,” because it’s backing up what you believe about yourself. So somebody can be treating you unkindly, not making the most of your skills, but actually if you truly believed in yourself, it would be water off a duck’s back, yeah? So I would sit there and start with a question is, what’s true in this, and what’s just my fear?
Clare Josa: You start separating out what I call the mind stories. Because it’s the mind stories that keep us stuck in the pain. It’s the mind stories … the more we repeat them they become like a highway in your brain. So that that tiny trigger of somebody’s comment then triggers off a whole cascade of negative self-talk. When you ask yourself what’s true in this, okay, what’s true in this is that Fred just gave me feedback that he thinks I could ask the audience more questions when I’m presenting. Okay. Is that fair? It’s then the wooly jumper test; does that jumper actually fit, or is it one that my granny made for me because she thinks I’m still six? If that feedback doesn’t fit, then it’s probably Fred’s projection and it’s not true and you just let it go.
Clare Josa: And then I get people to work on the who am I. Who am I really? What’s the difference I’m here to make? How do I know that I’m here to make that difference? What have I been doing with my life experience, my skills, my studying, my work experience that means that is what I know I want to do? Because if you’re stuck somewhere that’s demoralizing you, that’s making you feel bad, where you feel like you’re out of control where you can’t change it, the way to flip it round is what do I want instead. Okay? That’s my magic question. What do I want instead?
Clare Josa: And make it something that’s within your control. Because you can’t stop Fred behaving unkindly. But you can stop dancing your half of that dance. You can just say, you know what? When Fred has a go at me or he gives me menial jobs, I’m just going to smile and know that this is one step closer to me doing what I want to be doing instead. Being who I want to be.
Clare Josa: So I would always look inside at: how am I dancing a dance that allows this to be happening in my career? What do I need to work on in myself that means I’ll feel immune to that? And then, if you’re going to make a leap, it’s the, why am I really here? What do I want to be doing? Make sure that you’re only applying for jobs that line up with the difference you feel you’re here to make in the world, or the work that fulfills your passion and your skills, yeah?
Clare Josa: It’s easy to say. I also find working with somebody on this really, really helps. Because the more you can get yourself out of your own way before you jump, the more you will enjoy whatever you jump to. If you take that you with you, all you will do is end up attracting another Fred to dance with.
Clare Josa: And I see it so often, is people who’ve ended up being serial career or job changers. And you look at their CV and it’s a new job every year. Because they’re always taking themselves with them. Now that might be that they have struggled with self-beliefs; they’re applying for jobs that they won’t enjoy. Or it might be that they’ve got a button that’s pressed by certain behavior in a boss or a teammate that then gets pressed by the next boss and the next teammate, yeah?
Clare Josa: Does that make sense based on your experience, Jeremy?
Jeremy Epp: Yeah, absolutely. I see that pattern in many areas, not just in the employment world but also in relationships that people choose and other patterns of their life. And I’ve found, when I’m in situations where I’m feeling stuck in the past and I’m frustrated and I’m trying to find my out, it’s really to slow down, do this introspective thinking and say, okay, who am I? What gives me passion? And how do I define that into a career opportunity. And I think once you take ownership of that and you can begin to make your own steps, all of a sudden when you’re back in that miserable environment you can kind of smile to yourself and say, hey, this is temporary; I am making steps to go where I need to go next.
Clare Josa: Absolutely.
Jeremy Epp: And it gives you back that control that you feel like you’re missing.
Clare Josa: Exactly. It’s that feeling of loss of control that’s one of the biggest causes of stress and depression. Even if your being back in control that’s only inside your head and you’re the only one who knows anything about it, it’s still a step towards freedom. And there’s another self-talk trick you can use that can turn this around completely while you’re waiting to make that next move or those changes. And it’s an addiction a lot of us have that I call shoulditis. When you listen to your self-talk, I have to do that, I must, I should, I ought to. As soon as we’re using self-talk that’s got that vocabulary in, if you watch somebody talking out loud saying that kind of thing, their shoulders slump, their back curves, they look at the floor.
Clare Josa: All you need to do is just change that one word to say, “I choose to.” As soon as you say, “Okay, this task is mundane and I don’t enjoy it, but I choose to do it,” you’re reclaiming your power. The more you say to yourself, “I’m choosing to do this, I choose to do this,” the more empowered you will feel. The more confident you will feel. You are retraining that reticular activating system in your brain to spot more examples of where you are actually your own boss, where you are in control, where you are empowered, where you can do what you want to do, simply by choosing that one word. Going from “I have to” to “I choose to.”
Clare Josa: It shifts your entire nervous system, so it rebalances, it gets you out of the stress. And it makes the whole thing more enjoyable. So when you do, if you are going for an interview for a new job, when they say, “Why are you leaving your old job,” you don’t just suddenly sit there and start ranting and turn into a complete monster. Which funny enough interviewers pick up, yeah?
Jeremy Epp: Right. Never a good thing to do in an interview.
Clare Josa: But so many people do it, because they’ve spent so long self-talking about how much they resent their current boss or employer. And I totally get it. I’ve got that t-shirt, yeah? But if you can practice saying, “I choose to,” it shifts your entire experience of life, it gives you back control, and you’re much more likely to take action on the opportunities that would create a career or a business that you would love. You’re changing yourself before you jump.
Jeremy Epp: If you could give yourself advice, if the Clare of today could look back at the Clare of yesterday and give yourself advice, what would you tell yourself that you know today that you didn’t know back then?
Clare Josa: Well, the big learning I had was that you take yourself with you. It really was. Whenever I jumped, I hadn’t realized how much my side of the dance was affecting my experience at work. Yeah. I wasn’t a bad person, but I just hadn’t comprehended that I could choose my self-talk, yeah? That I could choose which battles to fight. And that I was part of that energy of the conflict or frustration that was going round. So, yeah, you take yourself with you. If you want to jump, great. But do that work on yourself first so that the only bits of you you take into your next experience are the bits you want to keep.
Jeremy Epp: That’s a really good point. I think a lot of times whether it’s in an employment situation, I see this a lot in relationships, where it’s very easy to point the figure at the other party and say it’s because of that person or that environment that I am leaving. And my response is, well, what’s your role in this? You’ve got a part to play. How did you play it? What are you the owner of in this situation? And what did you contribute to it?
Jeremy Epp: And so a lot of folks, I think you hit on it with the self-talk, and whether they feel like they’re an owner or not, in their mind they’re self-talking and accepting this. So you could have sat there in that engineering environment and said, yeah, I’m just a woman. I guess this is just the way it is and I’ll just become a person that I’m not. And over time, that would become your new self-thinking and self-talk. Which is, you know, you’ve got to break that mindset, so …
Clare Josa: Exactly. I had to allow myself to do something absolutely terrifying to escape. And looking back, it was the right thing to do to leave, because I love where I am and what I do now. But I could have done it with so much less pain. That self-talk did cause a lot of pain. The confidence knock I took, you know, that was not great. I loved engineering. I’d worked really hard to get my degree, to get qualified. And I was really sad to leave. But I can definitely see what you were saying earlier, Jeremy, about are you running away from or running towards. I was running away.
Jeremy Epp: Yeah.
Clare Josa: By the time I set up my business, that was running towards.
Jeremy Epp: No, that’s great. What advice, other than what you’ve already shared … Somebody that’s in that position, they’re struggling, they want something better; they just don’t know where to go. Again, they’re putting out resumes but they … You know, I see this every single day. I look around and I see people that, you can just see it on their faces, their body language, the way they hold their shoulders. And it’s just miserable to say, why aren’t you enjoying life? What is going on here that’s allowing you to live in this environment? What advice would you give for somebody from a career standpoint that’s feeling that there’s no hope? That this is just life and life sucks.
Clare Josa: Right. I would say get yourself some support. Because if you do it on your own it’s hard and it goes slower, yeah? There is inside work to do. If you’ve got to a stage where it feels like life is sucking, is go and get yourself some one-to-one support from somebody who can help you to unravel the stuff that’s going on in your head.
Clare Josa: Because unless you can get to a place of believing in yourself and feeling confident, you’re likely to on with more life sucking. But the key is knowing who you want to be. And choosing to spend the majority of your time every day doing things that allow you to experience being who you really are, yeah? And most of us don’t know what we want. The vast majority of us don’t know what we really want and we don’t know who we really are. We identify with our jobs, and that’s not who you really are. Even if your job is sucking, that’s not who you really are.
Clare Josa: So it’s going back to that identity level stuff. Who do I want to be? Great. If I could take a baby step towards being that, what would it be? And to look at your excuses. Because I’m going to call them out for what they are, okay? Fears, excuses, limiting beliefs. If you’ve got a dream of who you want to be and how that would be embodied by your business or by your career, there’s a brilliant way to find out how you might self-sabotage. And you just give yourself 10 answers to the statement, I can’t do that because. You list out those becauses. Get at least seven to 10 of them. These are the things that might derail you.
Clare Josa: If you deal with those, and it might be, because I’m not qualified enough. Well, really is that true? Okay, great, what course could I go and do? It might be, I’m not experienced enough. Really? Yeah? I got a job as head of market research and on paper I had no market research experience, yeah? Or, I’m not clever enough. Start dealing with these fears. Because they sow the seeds of the difficulties in our future. When you clear out those becauses, you will find the path opens up, yeah? And you can do this. You really can do this. Because if you believe enough in who you want to become, then that will start to motivate you even if the journey is a bit rocky.
Jeremy Epp: You know what’s the most exciting, what I just picked up from you is, it’s within your power. It’s within you to make that change. You have it. You don’t have to rely on any external factors. You can make that change internally.
Clare Josa: Yeah.
Jeremy Epp: And so that’s very empowering and very exciting.
Clare Josa: Yeah. It’s absolutely within your power. Even if right now, if you’re listening to this and it feels hopeless, yeah, my heart goes out to you. If you can turn it around with a what do I want instead. Just to see that ray of light, and then start tiny steps every day towards that, clearing out your own inner fears that might get in your way, you will be amazed at how quickly you can make progress towards that.
Clare Josa: And it becomes like an armor of resilience. If people around you try and knock you down because you’re going to something that they think is big and scary to them, you become immune to that because you’re starting to believe more and more in yourself and you’re feeling passionate about whatever your dream is.
Jeremy Epp: Good advice. Good advice. So, Clare, in wrapping up I want to say a big, big thank you to you. Thank you for sharing your story and your inspiration and your knowledge with the listeners and myself. I’m feeling re-inspired, and I hope our listeners are as well.
Jeremy Epp: How could a listener connect with you if they want to learn more about you and your books?
Clare Josa: My website is clarejosa.com, C-L-A-R-E-J-O-S-A.com. And if you’re in a position where you want to work out the how-to for the things that we talked about today, the best place is actually my book Dare to Dream Bigger. It takes you through seven concrete steps to go from kind of confused and running out of hope through to celebrating the success of the change that you’ve made.
Jeremy Epp: Excellent. Clare, thank you so much.
Clare Josa: Thank you, Jeremy. It’s been an absolute pleasure. And thank you to everybody who’s listened to this episode. I hope there’s been something in there to inspire you, and I can’t wait to hear what you go and do with this stuff.
Jeremy Epp: Big, big thank you to Clare. Thank you for coming on. I appreciate your time, your wisdom, your lessons of life that you shared with us through your experience. I know that I personally have been touched to address some of the areas that I know I’ve let self-doubt creep in. And I’m excited for our listeners. Whether you are pursuing to stay within the corporate world and find that job where you are at your best and you’re passionate about and have the greatest impact, or if you are stepping outside of the corporate environment and you’re going to be pursuing self-employment and stepping into a new role, I trust that these lessons and advice that Clare has shared with us is inspiring and will help you make the “I choose to” statements versus being pulled within and focused on the negative.
Jeremy Epp: Again, thank you for listening. If you found value in this episode, I would ask that you would do me a big favor and head on over to iTunes, Spotify, wherever you downloaded this episode to listen to it, and just put in a review. I appreciate your input, and I look forward to speaking with you on our next episode.
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