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Knowing who you are as you consider work options

I've been chatting to lots of people who, now that offices are reopening for business and they can go 'back' to work, are wondering whether this is really what they want to do or whether instead they'd like to start their own business or reduce their working days so they can consider other options or indeed spend more time with their family. Many of course are switching to Home Schooling. The pandemic has brought new priorities in its wake and many are taking advantage of the opportunity to reassess. With this in mind, I decided to have a read of my book 'Engaging NLP for Back to Work' and share some of it's content with you.

Before we plunge headlong into the ‘back to work’ decision, let’s take some time to get to know ourselves.

Thinking about who we are, how we think and how we communicate seems a good place to start in the context of making a major life - changing decision.

When was the last time you spent some time thinking about yourself, your values and beliefs, your identity?

Undoubtedly there have been some major changes for you since you last gave it any thought. Knowing who you are now and what is important to you in life will determine what you want from work.

In your work life in the past you may have come across the Myers Briggs categories of personality types. Neuro Linguistic Programming offers us three initial internal representational preferences (VAK) and then a number of Meta programmes.

VAK stands for Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic and although we use all three at different times, we have a preference. Have a read through and discover yours.

You can recognise if you are visual quite easily because you pay more attention than most to your appearance and you will notice what other people are wearing and comment on it. You like to present information visually as well, perhaps you point to things, are drawn to visual stimuli such as photos, art or a lovely view.

You will probably have worked or want to work in a visual capacity where your skills are used such as Advertising, Graphic Design or Photography.

The words you use paint images and pictures such as ‘I’m seeing someone about a job’, ‘I’ve seen an advert for a job’, and ‘I’m looking into going back to work’ or 'I see myself working for myself'.

If you are not visual and want to establish rapport with a visual person, replay their words back to them and use other similarly visual words. Show rather than tell and email rather than phone.

By contrast, an auditory person likes to converse with you. Phone calls are their preferred way of communicating if they can’t talk face to face and they don’t like emails and texts.

If you are auditory you may speak quite slowly, taking trouble to find the right words and you will make the effort to understand what someone is saying because it is important to you to communicate clearly. You may have a lower tone to reflect the importance of what you say and you are a good listener.

If you want to build rapport with an auditory friend or colleague use expressions like ‘Have you heard about the job?’ ‘This sounds an interesting job’, ‘what jobs do you like the sound of?’, ‘have you heard from your boss?’

If they pick you up on a word you use, it isn’t a criticism; they just want to really understand what you are saying.

If you are kinaesthetic you like to make physical contact with people , touch them on the arm, shake their hand and make good contact with them because you are more sensitive to atmosphere and getting on with people.

Physically you are active and want to be doing something rather than chatting. You talk about ‘grabbing the opportunity with two hands’, ‘getting a feel for the job market’, ‘testing the water’ and ‘getting back to work’.

Kinaesthetics prefer face to face meetings rather than emails and texts and they tend to be action packed and energetic.

Have you worked out what you are?

Does this help you in thinking about the sort of work you might want to do?

If you are visual you’ll enjoy something arty or creative, making things or selling something visual. Perhaps being a hairdresser or beauty therapist would appeal to you?

Think of all the things that you could do that are visual including perhaps things you wouldn’t automatically think of. There are lots of creative small businesses and individual enterprises like cleaning, cooking, decorating or gardening, web design that can be done during a school day.

If you are auditory, then the spoken voice and music will sound good. If you play an instrument or sing then you could teach that either within a school environment or evenings and weekends.

Teaching English as a foreign language is a job that can be done during school hours or at evening classes, also tutoring or working as a therapist.

Teaching appeals to auditory people and most schools have part time vacancies for assistants or you could train as a teacher of course. You could do this while your children are young and take advantage of the crèche facilities at colleges or universities.

Another great job for an auditory mum is taxi driving or being a driving instructor because there are lots of opportunities to talk and it fits around your commitments.

Kinaesthetic jobs would be active so fitness instructors, sports coach, PE teacher or being active outside maybe building or gardening.

Once you know your own VAK preference you will be able to work out other peoples and this means that you can quickly build rapport with them which is essential for networking and interviews.

The way to build rapport using your knowledge of VAK is to match the other person’s preference so if the person interviewing you is talking about ‘seeing opportunities for you’ or ‘looking at how you’d fit into the team’ you know they are visual so you can respond using similar phrases such as ‘I can see I would enjoy working here’.

It is also important to match voice tone and body language because decisions are frequently taken on potential candidate suitability before they have even spoken.

If I can help you in any way, with feeling confident as you step forward in your new business or your new role, let me know. I not only wrote a book about building your self-esteem but I run a one-on-one course to help you do this.

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