Returning to work: what does the pit of your stomach say?

When The Project’s Carrie Bickmore returned to work earlier this year, three months after the birth of her daughter, she touched a nerve with many people when she said: “I think any mum going back to work will tell you that there is a little pit in your stomach that does feel torn …”

It doesn’t matter what has kept you out of the workforce – maternity/paternity leave, accident, illness, carer’s leave, study commitments or travel. Like Carrie, most people returning to work following an extended career break have mixed emotions about transitioning back.

Self-doubt and a loss of confidence, together with feelings of optimism about the chance to realign your goals and direction, make returning to work understandably confronting. Executive coaching is one way senior professionals can navigate the inevitable challenges of re-entering the workforce.

The starting point is this – what are your values? By clarifying what’s important to you, an executive coach can design a personalised intervention strategy that will make returning to work as smooth sailing as possible. These are the key focus areas:

1. Do your skills stack up?

As a high-achiever, this one’s a no brainer – you’ll want to make sure your skills are up to date. During the return-to-work phase, you’ll identify whether you could benefit from any upskilling or training. When you feel prepared, confidence will inevitably follow.

2. Build your support network

Before you hit the ground running, build your support network – inside and outside of work. Engage with your family and friends to find out who is in your corner. Whether they will be there to provide practical or emotional support – it all helps. You could invest in an executive coach, too. Just saying.

3. Look after yourself

In your enthusiasm to prove yourself on your return to work, don’t overdo it. While agreeing to a flexible work arrangement is awesome – set realistic expectations. Work out what your limits are and aim to stick to it. Always factor in getting enough sleep, exercise and time for friends and family.

There is no magic bullet for people returning to work. When the pit of your stomach is speaking to you – an executive coach can help you swallow the reality of what’s ahead and develop a specific and personalised plan to make the transition a seamless one.

I want to help you be your brilliant best.

Thank you for your time…Thank you for sharing this post, and thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn!

Brought to you by Kim Vella – a personable, qualified and certified executive coach who engages and empowers talented leaders to break through the “inner game” – self-sabotage and self-limiting thoughts.

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