How to deal with negativity at work

How to deal with negativity at work

blogOne of the most trying times in my career was my first year in New York City; I was dealing with a lot of negativity. I had just moved from London and had no real support network in my new city.

Work was a nightmare; there was all the usual office politics, a manager who set me up to fail and a colleague who wanted my blood. I had just left a meeting where my co-worker point blank said: “I’m not here to make friends.” To top it off, I also no longer enjoyed my actual tasks at work either.

The worse thing was feeling completely stuck. I was on a work visa and quitting this job meant bye bye America. I had hit rock bottom; I was lonely, overwhelmed and utterly lost! How did I even let myself get here?

I knew to get myself out of this mess; I’d have to dig deep, use all the coaching wisdom I had uncovered in my sessions the year before. I started to implement them one by one and finally gained back my confidence and control to move on.

Sound familiar?

Here are four strategies you can use to improve your work environment and figure out your next career move faster:

1: Shift your focus.
To get out of any messy situation, you need to shift your focus from the current problem to the solution. (even if you don’t know what the solution is yet, stop thinking about the issue that’s causing anxiety and stress for you.)

2: Commit to staying out of the drama.
Instead of obsessing over the usual work politics and drama, and this includes getting involved in negative conversations about it, start using every opportunity to visualize and strategize how you can do your job better, what is working, and what you’d like your future career to be. Bonus tip: try to see the good qualities in everyone.

3: Verbalize it.

If it’s possible, voice your concerns with your manager or team. Remember to come at this from a compassionate and respectful place. It may be a tough conversation to have, but it’s always better to keep an open dialogue to avoid misunderstandings and a complete breakdown of communication, which will only lead to more annoyance and stress.

4: Hire a life coach.

Working with a life coach will help you keep a level head, look at things more objectively and come up with creative solutions to address and solve the problems at work. A coach will also help you home in on your values and goals. Then the coach will assist you in aligning these takeaways with the demands of your job, or help you clarify a profession that honors them.

Implementing these strategies reduced my stress levels significantly, and a few months later I figured out my next career move!

If you’re currently finding yourself in a similar situation where you feel stuck, undervalued and caught in a company culture that’s not working for you, be sure to join me for my Thriving Career Webinar where I’ll help you develop and design a career that’s perfect for you.

Join others who are in the same boat as you and together you’ll:
1 – Discover your purpose by organizing your life and career goals
2 – Gain clarity and certainty to home in on the perfect job for you
3 – Get the step-by-step guide you need to build a successful career

Sign up for the Thriving Career Webinar Oct 3rd, 6:30 pm EDT! (Replay will be available to registrants.)

* indicates required



Praise from Ultimate Career Bootcamp Graduates:
“Working with Hanneke restored my confidence in myself and my abilities and helped me to organize my goals and make strategic plans to achieve them. Every single aspect of my life improved because of the work I did with Hanneke. It truly brought happiness to a whole new level!” – Leanna Gonzalez

Three signs that you need a life coach (and one bonus sign for free)

Did I ever tell you how I came to know about life coaches? You see before I started working with a life coach, I had seen a therapist and a counselor on and off, but had no clue that life coaches even existed.

Although my therapy and counseling sessions were very helpful in my past, by the time I was 24 I was a highly functioning individual craving to make better choices to create more positive changes in my life.

It was at this very time that my company booked a client ski trip to Chamonix in France. Side note: In case you’ve forgotten – I’m originally from South Africa and the only snow this gal had seen a few inches that would fall in my backyard one day every other year and instantly melted away. Needless to say, I didn’t have a clue how to ski.

Dennis and I with my client from American Express in London, Lauren.
Dennis and I with my client from American Express in London, Lauren.

While my colleagues and clients took on the black slopes of the French Alps, I was stuck making pizzas on the baby slopes with my personal ski instructor, Dennis who also happened to be an Olympic skier. Naturally, poor Dennis also rather wanted to be on the black slopes.

However, I quickly progressed to more than just pizza making and we ended up having a blast. We had some fascinating conversations filled with nuggets of wisdom and interesting stories. And it was there on the slopes of the Alps that Dennis introduced me to the term “life coach”.

He quickly figured out that I could benefit from working with one because of the telltale signs that repeated themselves in all my stories.

These three signs are not unique to me, in fact, a lot of us will have one, some or all of them in one or more areas of our lives.

Here are the most common signs that you could benefit from working with a life coach:

1: You feel stuck
Whether it’s in a certain job, relationship or situation in your life, you can’t seem to get yourself out of a particular situations or routine and can’t seem to find a solution or way out of it.

2: You keep being in your way.
Even though you know better, you just can’t seem to keep yourself from making the same bad decisions somehow hoping they’ll lead to better results.

3: You’re negative all the time.
You just can’t help but keep focusing on everything that keeps going wrong in your life. People who do this tend to start every sentence with: “The Problem is…” or “That won’t work, because..”

And then there’s another one most of us have:

BONUS 4: We don’t know how.
We have a sincere desire to create positive change in our lives but don’t know how to do it or feel overwhelmed by what it is we want to accomplish.

A life coach will help you identify and home in on all of the above. They will also help you to achieve your goals and the change you desire in your life faster and with less stress.

I am so grateful for Dennis for informing me about life coaches and their work that day. I left Chamonix and found Shirley, my life coach in London. She helped me work through my barriers and develop some helpful tools that I still use to this day and now teach my clients too. It’s been by far the best investment I’ve ever made in myself.

Have you worked with a life coach before? What was your experience working with them? Tell me in the comments which one of the above is a point that triggers or resonates with you.

The next round of the Ultimate Career Bootcamp starts Oct 10th, be sure to get more information about it and sign up here to get my FREE training series to help you:

  • Discover your purpose by organizing your life and career goals
  • Gain clarity and certainty to hone in on the perfect job for you
  • Get the step-by-step guide you need to build a successful career.

You don’t need a year off to figure out your next career move!

While working as a money broker on the forwards desk in London, my visa expired and as a result, I got an unexpected vacation back to South Africa, not knowing when I’d be able to return to the U.K.

Things were up in the air and there was no guarantee that my work visa back to England would be granted. So off to South Africa I went. I decided to use the forced time off to do some soul searching, create positive habits and really design some clear career goals for myself. My little time off turned into a 13-week long vacation.

At first, I stuck to my intention. I read a few self-help books, did some journaling, scoped out the job market and tried to network a little too. Pretty soon, however, I got caught up in the day to day, travelled, did Pilates and spent quality time with my family. All of which left me very relaxed and rested but not any closer to a clear vision of my bigger life goals.

After 13 weeks, my visa was approved and I headed back to London with the best intentions of at least staying more healthy and being less stressed. It took no more than two months for me to be right back to my stressed out, unhealthy self and still without any clarity around future career goals.

It’s like Nigel Marsh, author, and Ted Speaker says in his TEDtalk “How to make work-life-balance work”(you can watch it below): “I found it quite easy to balance life and work when I didn’t have any work.”

I have also found this to be true for my clients and friends. Quitting your job, taking a gap year, traveling in hopes that being removed from your everyday routine will somehow clear your head and help you find your passion, seldom works. Instead what normally happens is the following: You’ll run out of money and then you’ll make impulse decisions, which will get you right back into the same position of being dissatisfied with your job.

More often, the best way to figure out what your true calling is, or to overcome an obstacle, is to be right there in the mess with it, get curious about your behavior and then tackle all obstacles head on!

We don’t get wiser or grow stronger when things are easy and there are no issues to deal with. Our failures and challenges bring the best opportunities to prosper and conquer! 
Comment below:

Now I’d love to hear from you: Have you fallen into the trap of quitting your job to figure out your next career move? How did it work out? Are you wishing you could just quit to try and figure things out? Was this article helpful to you and why? Tell me in the comments below.

Grab your step-by-step guide and design your dream career!

Also, if you want to get a clear step-by-step guide to help you figure out your true calling and your next career move, be sure to sign up for my FREE Training series here.


Meeting Brene Brown & Are you sitting in the cheap seats?

Meeting Brene Brown & Are you sitting in the cheap seats?

13913670_1309621962401002_3478392898888755170_oHave you ever been star struck before? It totally happened to me last week. You see, most people get star struck over movie stars. Me, I get start struck over motivational speakers and world renowned coaches.

When I met Brene Brown, an author, and public speaker, who is currently a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, all I could do was give her a huge big hug. And don’t ask me what I said because it was a silly stutter that went something like “You’re amazing, I love you!” (yes, I’m blushing just even thinking about it…why can one never find brilliant words or responses when you need them?)

I first came to know about Brene through TEDRadio Hour on NPR and then went on to watch her TEDTalk on “The power of vulnerability, one of the top 5 most watched TEDtalks out there. I was an instant fan, so when the invitation came to go and hear her speak live, I could hardly contain myself!

Last Friday will definitely go down in my books as one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

And today, as a little gift for being part of my insider community, I’ll share 2 of my biggest AHAs and personal takeaways from her talk with you too:

1) “No one lives a brave life without going down”

It’s so important to remember that when you’re pursuing something new: a creative unconventional career, a big promotion, or anything that put you outside of the norm, fear will inevitably rear its ugly little head and yes, you will probably fail once or twice. But will you get up again? You see once you accept that failure’s an option, that’s when you set yourself free. That’s when you can get back up, dust yourself off and move on! You no longer waste energy on worrying about failure, you make peace with it and move through it to achieve your goals and happiness.

2) “If you’re not in the arena I am not interested in your feedback.”

This was definitely one of my favorite lines of the day and it hit home for me on two levels:a) When you live outside the box, when you push the boundaries and when you’re out to accomplish things that are different from the norm, there will always be people in the “cheap seats”. These are the people, as Brene points out, that are too scared, or jealous or whatever to actually live a large life or push their own limits. They are the people who have never dared to create or step outside their own comfort zones, but yet they feel the need to be the loudest critiques, the trolls on twitter, or the negative nancies of our worlds. Pay no attention to them. They have no idea what it is like or what it actually takes to live big and push the boundaries.

b) Don’t be the person in the cheap seats. Learn to be less judgemental of others, because it’s none of our business and also because we never truly know what other people are going through. As my mother always says: “If you have nothing nice to say, then keep quiet.” Life’s already hard enough, we don’t have to make it harder by being mean or criticizing other’s lives.

So: go out there and live a big, full and brave life!Ignore anyone who’s not in the arena with you and really focus on becoming and showing more of your authentic and true self, because it’s in that sweet spot where you’ll find happiness, fulfillment and a ton of joy!

xo Hanneke