Career coach and consultant, Dr. Alice Penn, shares the 3 questions you need to ask before you change careers to make your next step the best step.
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How To Change Careers & Make The Next Step Your Best

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Feeling stuck and considering a change in career? Career coach and consultant, Dr. Alice Penn, shares the 3 questions you need to ask before you change careers to make your next step the best step. Don’t miss Dr. Alice’s inspiring story of her own seemingly impossible career change and be encouraged that it is never too late to change.

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  • Signs you should consider switching careers
  • How Alice transitioned from practicing medicine to business coaching
  • The correlation between divorce and career changes
  • Advice for people in a struggling marriage
  • 3 questions to help find direction
  • Practical ways to create opportunities for yourself


Feeling stuck and considering a change in career? Career coach and consultant, Dr. Alice Penn, shares the 3 questions you need to ask before you change careers to make your next step the best step. Don't miss Dr. Alice's inspiring story of her own seemingly impossible career change and be encouraged that it is never too late to change.


Dr. Alice is an expert international business and career consultant, coach, and keynote speaker.

She is formerly a sought-after and dynamic medical physician to high-level c-suite executives and successfully grew her private medical practice by artfully combining her compassionate bedside manner with her laser-like problem-solving abilities.

Now, her mission is to help people take action to be at their best and forge true success in their careers or business. She is a master in the art and science of change and knows what it takes to level up personally and professionally. Her unique perspective allows her to offer a hybrid coaching-consulting experience that elegantly guides her clients to reach their full professional and personal potential. 

Feeling stuck and considering a change in career? Career coach and consultant, Dr. Alice Penn, shares the 3 questions you need to ask before you change careers to make your next step the best step. Don't miss Dr. Alice's inspiring story of her own seemingly impossible career change and be encouraged that it is never too late to change.


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One imperfect day at a. Hello. And welcome back to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I am your host, Anna Fuller. Today. It is my honor to introduce you to Dr. Alice Penn, Dr. Alice is an international business and career coach. She was formally a medical doctor for 10 years with a thriving, private practice.
When she went on to accomplish what many said. Was an impossible career change. She pivoted from a medical doctor into corporate finance at one of the big four firms in London and has transitioned now based on her personal and professional experience to a very successful and accomplished. Career coach sharing her own story and expert advice on how to change careers and make the next step.
Your best step. Welcome career coach Dr. Alice Penn. Hi, we’ve finally made it happen. I know I’m so excited. I was like, today is the day . Oh my goodness. Well, welcome to, well, we made it thank you. I’m so pleased to be here. So excited. Now tell me, where are you living currently? You’re in South Africa, right?
Yeah. At the moment I lived in London for a very long time, but I live now in Cape town, South Africa, and we’ve just had these terrible strike actions and power stations are being held to ransom. So, oh my goodness. On the hour we may lose some power, but it, the only thing will happen is my life will go Booker art.
My camera will work, but we should be alright. Yeah. Well, I’m so glad that you’re here for everyone listening and watching. We have rescheduled multiple times due to either power outages, or I had to reschedule on her several times. I can’t even remember why. So this will be an amazing, be a must that’s there’s a reason.
That’s exactly right. Well, I loved reading your background because we share similar paths. You started as a medical professional and your doctor. So you’re a medical doctor, and then you made what seemed like this impossible career change. And I’m in the exact same position where people are like, wait, you were an emergency medicine nurse practitioner, and now you do what.
Exactly. Oh, I have question you should always amaz do. Yeah. So talk to us a little bit. I mean, you’re an expert on changing careers, not just professionally an expert, but you have experienced it in your own personal life. So tell me a little press or wind a little bit, and tell me about your medical career and how that led to this career change and what you’re doing.
So maybe I’ll just dial back a little bit to, to how I got into medicine, the first place. So, you know, we’ve really said I born in Cape town, South Africa, but eldest child to a medical doctor, kind of typical, quite high performing family. Mother’s got a few degrees father’s doctor. I was the eldest quite type, a personality, lots of sport, lots of music, et cetera, got to age of 16.
Went through that whole process of, I think you guys call it college. We call it university applications. And I thought, oh, what am I supposed to do? So I looked around, I thought, well, I think I’m gonna do medicine because the people are doing well at school are our doc are going into medicine. Maybe I had to crush at a few boys at medical school, perhaps that was part of the reason, but my dad real life for real life.
And then I thought, well, you know, it looks like a good kind of thing to do. So I rocked up, I was actually only 17, pretty. Medical school, but pretty much from the beginning I had that niggle. Ooh, I don’t know if this is really for me, but matches the story in my life in general for such a long time. I just didn’t wanna follow my intuition cuz I felt like it’s not what society says or it’s just not what you do.
You don’t just give up halfway through medical school. That’s what I, I felt like it would be a failure. Anyway, I moved to London after I’d done all my training and working here for a while. And when I was in medicine in South Africa, we do this community service here where you go into rural hospitals and.
Lots of people do it and I’m not taking away. Everybody really struggles and find it hard. But for me, I had a particularly rough experience and it did impact me quite negatively. So by the time I got to London, which a lot of young south Africans do to experience living in other parts of the world, I thought, no, I am gonna leave medicine.
Like the writings on the wall. This is now the time new country, new. But then I got a really fantastic job in a private practice, but it was in the financial district. So I thought, okay, so it’s a private practice. So there could be some business type skills there I’m in the financial district, so different sort of patients.
And that was true to an extent in that it was a bit different from working in kind of hospital practice, but. That niggling feeling just doesn’t go away. So I always say to people, my career was going well, life was good, but sometimes when I say to my clients sometimes good enough, isn’t good enough. Mm mm.
It reached the point that for me, I felt that the. Pain of saying stuck where I was, was getting worse than the pain to change it. You know? So I eventually the cracks were showing a little bit in my personal life. Marriage was under pressure and I took the opportunity. My mental health was being impacted.
And I thought, you know, I mean, I’ve always been a big fan of Oprah and I love it when she talks about the whispers from the universe or guard or whatever works for you, where you get little whispers early. And perhaps I already had those at medical school, like Alice isn’t right for you. They get a bit louder.
They get a bit louder. And I think I got to the point in my medical career where I couldn’t ignore those whispers. They were now shouting at me. You need to change like you, you are not thriving. So I wanna highlight something quickly for somebody listening that. Is wondering if they’re at that point or not.
Talk to me about some of the emotions and the thoughts that you felt when you said that it was getting to the point where the pain of staying in, it was no longer worth, it was worse than the pressure to change or the pain of changing. So talk to me a little bit about the thought processes, how you felt, what were those signs that changing would not be as bad as what I’m currently.
So it was like a square peg round hole situation. So I knew that if I wanted to do well in this job, I had to do X, Y, and Z. So I was forcing myself to do those things, but they were taking a lot of effort. So I was doing well, but it was not a natural fit. So I began to feel like you. I feel like I have more skills, more innate gifts, other things that I can offer that I’m just not bringing to the table in my, in my work.
I’m not really using them. So yeah. Yes, I’m doing the job well, but me, Alice is a person I’m not coming out here. I’m not expressing, I’m not showing myself. And I felt very stuck and I felt a bit trapped. And I also had the feeling that. You know, I’ve been doing this for quite a while. I’ve spent a lot of money all that time and investment.
Is it too late? Every year? Yeah. Is it too late? Is it too late? Kind of building up. So, so, and personally for me, not everybody reached this point, but I started dreading going to work. Yeah. And feeling this like, oh, maybe I actually even reach a stage thought. Maybe I’ll actually be unwell and I won’t be able to go in.
And I think, I think that’s a sign. You. Yeah. And it’s hard. Also add irritability. I experienced, I felt like I saw myself, you know, I prided myself on always having a good bedside manner and a great connection with patients. And I found myself getting to the point where I actually felt like I was so mentally not there.
Yeah. That I was almost becoming a hazard to. My patients, because I just didn’t have the same empathy and the same sense of, I want to be here to help you. And anyway, I would just add that in there to just an increasing sense of I’m actually not even doing as well in this job right now as somebody else could be doing, because I’m not here.
And this isn’t where I wanna be. Anyways. I think I really had that in my hospital practice. And then in the, in my physician practice, I tell you something I used to do is a patient would leave. I’d close the door and I’d kind of just slump over and then I’d have to take a brief deep breath and just fake smile and like, okay, hello.
And it was just exhausting me drag yourself in to see another patient. So I think when I got home, Not an easy person to be around because I was so depleted. So yeah. Yeah. It really chipped away at my physical and mental health at the time. So, yeah. Yeah. That’s perfect. Sorry, I just wanted to touch on that because I think a lot of people question, how do I know when I’m at that point?
Yeah. Where I’m actually more of a liability in my current job than I am an asset. Cause I’m just simply not, not there. And then you were talking a little bit about how that was transitioning into your mental health. At home and I interrupted you. No, no, no. That’s, I mean, I think at that stage, I just took that opportunity to say, you know, I really do need to do something different.
And I was fortunate enough that working in the financial district, I’d made quite a few contacts and connections. So, um, how long, how many years had you been a doctor? I think it was just nearly 10 years, nearly 10 years. So, um, and you know, it’s, I’ve listened to your podcast. So I’ve heard you chat about the guilt of, of leaving a clinical job.
Yeah, because what I do wanna say is, even though I talk here about how exhausted I was from, from the interactions with, with patients at times. Yeah. I also knew how privileged I was. Mm-hmm to have that interaction because people are trusting you and they’re telling you things that they wouldn’t tell anyone else.
And I will forever be grateful for that experience. And that has teed me up. Well, I think to understand people going forwards in, in business and, and in the rest of my career. So I will always be grateful for the experience, even though in retrospect, I probably didn’t make the right choice going to study medicine.
I certainly learned a lot from it. Yeah, well, and I think it’s a beautiful picture of, you mentioned that your experience in medicine has also provided you with more clarity in what you’re doing now, and probably gifted you with unique abilities in your career coaching role. So it’s kind of like how I see it too.
I mean, the reality is. Did I make the wrong choice or was it sort of, I was meant to do that or else I probably wouldn’t be where I am today and it’s hard to not look back. And, you know, I look at the finances of two masters in medicine and I think, Ugh, like I know what in the world. And yet the reality is both of them.
Whether people realize it or not contribute to the knowledge that I have today in fitness nutrition, and my ability to interpret and understand research and exactly have a balanced view of preventing disease as well as pursuing fitness. And anyway, So here we are here, Dr. Alice and I are, and you just never know what life holds.
no, it’s great. So you, so you were in medicine 10 years and then tell us how you got into this coaching role. So then I worked in a really fantastic job in London for one of the big consulting. Commercial financial advisory firms. And there, I really, I thrived a lot more. I was in a team. I learned a great deal and I got a lot of my business finance strategy training there.
And then some changes in my personal life. I decided to come back to South Africa. Unfortunately I went through a tricky divorce. I mean, I don’t think any divorces are not tricky. It felt like a huge failure for me. It’s still difficult to sometimes admit yes, that that is something. Totally failed. I tried my best, but I had to get back on a plane and come back to South Africa, which, you know, to be close to my family, I think was the right thing for me.
But again, it prompted a moment in my life where I had to stop and, and reassess and think, okay, what trajectory am I on here? And this is an opportunity to do something else. And this is where. I, you know, was listening to a podcast one day and Rori Vaden, who I know, you know, from the organization, we both part of that.
He, I heard him say your best place to serve the person you once were. And it was like a light bulb. Sign from God, sign from the universe saying, okay, Alice, you need to sit up and take note of this. You are here for a reason. So you’ve had some ups and downs in the last few years, but just as we were saying, your path through medicine, your path through corporate finance, your moving country, and dealing with a failed marriage has put you in a place that must mean something.
And it started me down this. To figure out who am my best place to serve, what value can I add? And I really just started helping people who going through similar things that I went through. And it’s built now into this coaching consulting business, where I help people go through figuring it out, what they might wanna do, but then also actually the second piece of implementing and doing it because for me, I found that I spent a lot of time talking about what I wanted to do, reading about it thinking, but not feeling able to take the steps.
So I see my role as just helping people be accountable. And, you know, Anna, it’s hard to make these changes. Mm-hmm, so some, as you need courage, you need someone to hold your hand a little bit along the way. And that’s a lot of what I, I really do in my business. And I really enjoy it because. I do believe it’s, you’re never too old.
It’s never too late and you can absolutely change what you’re doing. You just need the kind of confidence to be able to do it. And that’s what I try to facilitate. I love it. The confidence and the resources, and that’s exactly what you provide. You know, I would also add clarity to that and we’re going to dive into exactly what you do in a little bit.
And I’m really excited to touch on it, cuz as both of us have been in this position of changing careers and making rather impossible changes, it would seem to everybody. I wanna rewind a little bit and touch on the divorce concept, because what you said, I think is so important and I’ve heard other women talk about this.
And I think, especially when we’re addressing career change, there’s emotional and mental narratives that are kind of consistent in both arenas. And yeah, if you’re in a career currently that you’re miserable in, you may feel like a failure. That you know, is certainly something that could come up is maybe you just don’t feel like you’re thriving and there starts to become this very negative narrative that I could never do anything else.
I’m just stuck here. The happiness is not in my future type of a thing. And I, I think the same thing can be true for, uh, this is probably true for men and women. I just have spoken more to women after divorce. Yeah. It’s a similar narrative where maybe happiness isn’t in my future. I feel like a failure. I tried, what did I do wrong?
You look at all of the things that you could have done that you didn’t do, or maybe you still don’t know what, what went wrong? Talk to me a little bit about through the emotions of. As you had described a Rocky marriage and divorce, walk me through some of the thought processes and the emotions that were part of that experience and how you are still learning or growing or using those experiences to be able to relate to other women and encourage them.
So I think there is actually a common theme from the relationship point of view and the work as you were saying. Yeah. So I talk often about a sunk cost fallacy. This idea that. We’ve invested a lot of time, resources, energy into something. And the longer it goes on the longer we think we don’t wanna give up on it, like a bad investment, but you keep putting more and more money in.
So it’s kind of like a good money off to bad. And, you know, at some stage you’re gonna probably need to get out and, and reinvestigate. So it kind of makes no sense to stay in it. But I think with the, the marriage. It’s the feeling that you’ve got it wrong, that you’ve perhaps like the career thing for me was, and I can’t speak for everybody, but I do think that a lot of people don’t trust their own judgment or their own intuition.
So they go through with something because they feel that they should, for me, I felt when I got, I know now that I, I didn’t get married for the right reasons, but I didn’t feel able to, I knew something wasn’t right. Matches with, with studying. But I didn’t trust myself enough to say, you know what, I’m not gonna go through with this, this isn’t right for me.
I didn’t have that autonomy. I didn’t have the confidence in myself. I thought, no, there’s something wrong with me. There’s something wrong with me. Not this isn’t a good fit. And I think you really want to make, for me, I really wanted to make my marriage work. My now ex-husband had some. Challenging addiction problems.
And I think for me, that really kept me stuck in the relationship because I didn’t want to let him down. So I felt that I wanted to help him. Now that might sound great. Like I’m a great, uh, person for helping and supporting him. But I’ve learned over the years that there’s this thing called codependency.
He is really struggling with an addiction and now suddenly I’m the rescuer. So I feel important. I’m needed, I’m saving this person from themselves. I’m holding the marriage together. And I now understand that that is not a healthy relationship. So it took me a long time to accept. That I wasn’t in the right relationship that I wasn’t able to have my needs met, that I wasn’t communicating well, that I was enabling things.
I shouldn’t, that I wasn’t pursuing my own dreams. And it was very, very hard to make that change. Um, and I think that when I did, we did go through with it. I felt broken. Really like a broken person you were saying, you know, people feel like, feel like a failure. Well, I did feel like I’m, there’s something wrong with me.
I can’t do relationships. I’ll never meet anybody I’m done for, but the good news story is that I, you know, I had a, a F. The hard few years after the divorce feeling really like I’ll never meet anybody. And I have, so, you know, it is possible. It does happen. And I have a healthy relationship now where I’m able to express myself and, and understand where my boundaries are and that we are two separate people and you can’t save other people, et cetera.
So it was a big, big, big learning curve that, you know, so many of the people I meet in my work, even if they haven’t gone through a. Life happens. There’s tragedies along the way. And I. The feeling that I really had was, wow. My life has not turned out. Like I expected. I’m like the good girl from school.
Who’s gone to medical school and what has happened to me. so, so, and I think that does happen to people. They kind of wake up in their thirties or forties and think this wasn’t the plan now what? Yeah. So. And sometimes people live with regrets, et cetera. So even though I do business and career coaching, I end up having to talk a lot about these things, because I think actually so many of us do go through these Rocky patches.
Absolutely. What would you say to a woman who could be listening right now? Possibly even a man who’s listening, but especially a woman who may be in a rough marriage right now, or maybe she. Uh, recently divorced or going through the process. What is the number one piece of advice you wish somebody would have told you at that time?
I think for me, the, it was the piece of advice that I got kind of right at the end, which was you are an individual person. You need to be, you, you need to be the fullest. Fullest best version of you. So if that means saying to somebody, look, this is where my boundaries are and, and if the person cannot respect them, you, so what I’m trying to say is you need to keep who you are throughout the process of your marriage, whether it’s going through a Rocky patch or not.
And then as you come outta it, if you do end up, unfortunately getting divorced to try. Find who you are again, and to really ground yourself in that and embrace who you really are because you can, I think through a divorce process, just lose the sight of, you know, lose the subconsciously the word for the trees.
And yeah, just, I like to always give people hope that. Little bit by little bit, you can get your confidence back and realize that sure things may have failed, but you aren’t necessarily a bad person. You, you still have lots to offer and lots of value and, and love to give. Um, you know, so yeah, it’s possible to, to get beyond it, even if it is hard.
I love that. and it’s just a beautiful reminder that we’re all human and we all have different struggles and our stories look different, but it is definitely not true that any one person has not got their own messy, messy story. So everyone’s story matters. You’re all loved. And I would also throw out that.
What we’re about to chat, you know, with Dr. Alice and your clarifying questions, I think are excellent. Whether you’re looking at a career change or something else. So I stay tuned. We are going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we are going to talk about how to make a career change. Your expert advice.
Dr. Alice is going to tell us three questions that you need to ask. To make your next step, the best step in your career. Right? When we come back from this message, you have tried it all worried. You will never lose the extra weight or reclaim the energy you once enjoyed, want to achieve bat loss without spending hours in a gym or eliminating entire.
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Free seven day fat loss accelerator course today. And start your own transformation story while we are back here with Dr. Alice Penn. And first we’re gonna play a quick round of this or that. And Dr. Alice, I’m gonna ask you, give you two options. No stress. Pick, whichever one, you prefer sandwiches when you cut them rectangles or triangles.
This is a very controversial issue. You know, I got brought up on the rectangles. I’m not a huge sandwich person, but I, because I got brought up on the rectangle, I go on the D in the LA, because I feel like I’m breaking the rules. She’s my infection. A I’m like living on the edge, living on the edge there preach.
I love it. Listen, whatever it takes, if it’s triangles or rect. Sandwich cutting. You do what you gotta do. That’s hilarious. Cat or dog. Ooh dog. You have a dog. My dream is no, but I’d love to have a golden retriever. I’ve got this whole dream of this golden retriever. I believe it’s gonna be able to talk to me and tell me it loves me.
And I’ve got this kind of wild, wild imagination, but no one day, maybe I hear they’re lovely. We do not own any dogs. I have kids. I don’t need pets. They are my pet. My kids will be asking for pet soon. I’m sure you’ll be under. Oh, they would love, love to have animals. Yeah. My daughter’s always wanted a cat.
I keep telling her when she’s of drinking age, she can have a cat okay. which is 21 time together. Yeah, that’s exactly right. 21 early bird or night owl. I am an early bird, but I think I’ve kind of trained myself that way, but yeah, early bird. I, I get up pretty early. I get my exercise in early mm-hmm I get cracking on day.
Yeah. Yeah. So I’m good. Convertible or truck. Oh, that is a hard one because I’m not a fan of the convertible. I’m gonna go with truck. I’m gonna go with truck. Let’s get practical and yeah, kind of girl here. We do a lot of outdoor, you know, I grew up my parents big into their four by four wing and we, you know, in South Africa we, oh, that’s true.
Faries and nature. And we getting out there, hiking, camping. So even though can be a real city slicker. I love my time in London, but I’m at the heart of it. I can M in and, uh, so track it is, let’s say. So really quick while we’re talking about South Africa, if somebody were to go visit South Africa, tell me the top two things that you must do when you’re in South Africa, you must come to Cape town.
It is, you got the most beautiful scenery table mountain. You go off table mountain, you view of everything, the sea it’s just amazing. And obviously table mountain. Is that what you said? Yeah. Table mountain and looks like a table. So it’s got the shacking table and it’s literally two minutes from where I live.
I can walk out and get up on the mountain and go hiking. It’s amazing. I love we trail around every weekend. Mm-hmm and our beaches are beautiful and we’ve got wonderful wine farms and that kind of thing. But if it was me, I would come to Cape town and then I would go on safari. Somewhere in South Africa, SOS far.
So we’ve got all the big five, the lions and elephants and rhino and Buffalo. And you can just have a brilliant time. So those are the top. That’s beautiful for sure. I, this is showing nice. The holiday. Yeah. This is showing my ignorance, but what is the, what is the weather like in South Africa? What’s the, so we are in a supposedly in winter now, obviously Southern hemisphere.
We opposite to you guys. Okay. Um, and. You know, different south, Africa’s quite a big country, so the weather is different, but most of the places we rain and cold and winter dry and hot and summer, but, um, definitely with global warming, a bit less rain and a bit more dry heat. So we are in the middle of winter now and it’s pretty warm.
so. What is your temperature? I’m just curious. I truly avoid, oh, we do do Celsius. So that’s hard to have to doctor. Oh, that’s because we’re American and we decide to not do anything normal. Huh? I actually thought before it’s so my host saw American. I need to SW up on things like what actually Phite is and get the numbers so people can relate.
it’s I’m so grateful for our country. Let me just say, but there are certain things that drive me insane, like why we do feet and the rest of the world does meters. Is it meter, you do miles or kilometers. So that’s another one we do miles, everyone else know those kilometers. We do FHE. K. They do miles. Oh, do they?
I actually did not realize that. Yeah. Yeah. They do miles kilometers too. Yeah. Cause when you know, I know you’re runner and I also run, run a lot. So it gets a bit difficult when you’re talking times. You like that. What that’s exactly. What’s that split mean? And so , that’s exactly right. Oh, it’s so maddening.
Yeah. Fahrenheit. You guys do everyone else does CEL. Anyways, we’re making life more difficult for ourselves. Anyway. I love this country. It’s it’s all good. But some things do drive me insane. You have this line on your website that says. You help, high performers turn inspired ideas into excellent outcomes.
And I read it and I instantly thought like, well, that’s me, high performers being like the Enneagram threes of the world. You know, those of us that are like high achievers, we are, we kind of live to like check off our lists. so talk to me a little bit about the type of. Client or the mindset that somebody might actually be right now, who’s listening or watching to this, watching this mm-hmm what are the three questions you talk about?
You know, there’s three things that you are going to ask somebody and then ultimately you help them use those three steps to implement. Changes, but talk to me a little bit about those three questions that they need to ask themselves. So there’s a few different things I do, but the three questions I think you are referring to are around purpose.
So a lot of high achievers have. Studi, you know, degrees gone onto masters. They’ve got into the right places to do the right jobs, but they like me maybe, perhaps like you felt like, oh, just, you know, I’m doing well, but it’s, I’ve got more to give. So the feelings that they have is I’m a little bit stuck.
I’ve got more to give. I dunno what my. Next the best move should be with me, for me going forwards. And I also feel like I’m looking around and I, I think, especially with the pandemic, you know, social media is full of live your purpose, find your passion. And I think it, it leaves a lot of people feeling wanting a little bit lacking.
Like, I don’t know if I’m fulfilling my purpose. So. What I, I say to people is, look, try not to focus so much on purpose. Like what’s my purpose walking around the whole time saying, what’s my purpose. It can actually leave you feeling really stuck, frustrated, and, and, and a little bit less than because you think, why does everybody else know what they’re doing?
And I don’t. So the first thing I say to people is, look, who do you think that you. Actually help. So that’s the, you know, the, who do you think your best place to serve and start turning things around from what should I do? What could I do? What’s my purpose and start thinking. Just it’s that shift of perspective.
Okay. Hang on a second. Who do I think that I can add value to you and what do those people need? So just moving it away from yourself, it just takes that pressure off a little bit. It starts opening up your mind to different opportunities. And then I like to combine that with, I do a whole module in my program around what’s your ideal future, but what I’m trying to get people to do is to really think about what do you actually want, what do you actually need and what do you really not want, but write it down, get granular, be specific about it, because if you can use those as your takes me back to sort of my finance business case investment days, where.
What would your success criteria be for a project, but what would your success criteria be for your life? That you actually have a clear direction that you’re pointing? Because I find that the high achievers and you probably went through this, there’s actually a lot of things you could do. There are a lot of things you could do, and then everyone’s giving you a million ideas or telling you that you can’t do anything.
So you either feel like you’ve got a hundred ideas or. Hm, that’s a great point. And actually sometimes having a hun, you know, having 30 options, I saw a study in a book which showed that if you have 24 jams on a table, or I think, do you call them a jelly preserves that you put on? Jelly jams jelly. We do call, we do call them jams.
I actually grew up in the UK for the first four years of my life. So I’m also not here. I’m not sure sometimes if it’s just like in our house or if people are there, but yes, jams. Yeah. So they said, if that you have that as a tasting table, everybody will taste the 24, but nobody buys anything. But if you have three, they choose one to take home.
So. There is this thing about having too many options. So I find that’s why I find it, the high achievers. I say, guys, we really need to figure out, you know, so who do you, who are the sorts of people that you either wanna work with work for? What problems are they facing then to say, what do you really want?
What do you really not want? And then to bring these things together and actually start coming with ideas that will hit off against all these CRI. , but there’s also a lot of work I do about helping people figure out where they are in their sweet spot. And I have this phrase when you, uh, find your flow, your success will grow.
So when you are in the right place for you, that is when you will accelerate forwards in your career. And. If you don’t mind, I’d love to share the story of, of it’s actually a Oprah. I usually save it for the end who it is, but Oprah, again, you can tell I’m a bit of an Oprah fan. We didn’t get all the TV channels here in South Africa when I grew up, but we had Oprah.
So I, I was always watching that every day. So from what I understand with her story is. She won this radio competition. She decis set her sights on being a TV anchor. That was everything for her. She wanted to be Barbara Walters. She age 19, she started in the business. She did well, she was progressing, but she hit a kind a ceiling where she couldn’t get beyond it.
They said, no, you’re not reading from the teleprompter. You’re too emotional. They criticized us. So they put it in this daytime talk show, which for her was a massive. Demotion, but she realized immediately that everything they criticized her for and she wasn’t doing badly in the other job. Mm-hmm she just, wasn’t getting past a point.
Suddenly the things that they were criticizing her for were the things that made her excellent at that role. Mm. So sat little shift into something else and she recognized it. So I say to my clients, you need to investigate. Appreciate and you’ll accelerate. So what do I mean, investigate who you are, embrace it and appreciate it.
This is me. This, these are my innate skills, my innate innate gifts. This is my uniqueness. And once you do that, you’ll see how suddenly, when you’re in the right place, everything just accelerates forward and you CA catapult forward. So quite a few exercises and. I do with my clients to work out where do we think they are at their best?
And some of them are just really simple questions that they can can ask themselves. And something is maybe a nice takeaway for listeners is write down 10 people that you know, from different parts of your life could be from school, college, different people. You’ve worked with that, a range of people and ask them, where do you think I’m at my best?
What am I doing? Who am I with? Where am I? Any areas you think are perhaps not so strong. And then lastly, if you were gonna give them an hour, a week, day of your time for free, what would they ask you to do for them? That’s an excellent say that one one more time. I’ve never heard that. And that is a really, really great application.
So yes. So you say, okay, so Anna, I’ve got a week and I’m not gonna charge you anything. What would you ask me for if I gave you a week of my time and it’s amazing, what, what comes up people like, oh, I would get you to do X, Y, or Z, and you can see quickly. Where you really are at your base, in your flow, in your sweet spot.
And even if you can’t be in that space a hundred percent of the time in your career or job, you can at least try and craft an opportunity that you spend a decent chunk of your time in that space. Because when you are in that space, when you are. Solving some sort of problem for others that’s when you start to feel purpose.
Yeah. That’s when you realize, okay. So instead of searching for purpose, you shifted around with these sorts of questions and that’s how you find, ah, this is how I’m adding value and I’m living this sort of life. That’s right for me and, and my values and what I really need. This is where you start to find purpose in what you do.
So try to make it really practical because it is a difficult place to be when you have so many options and you don’t know what’s right. Those questions are so good though. And then the applications that you give to try to tease out the answer to those questions. And you said again, at number one is who think about who you would best serve.
Yeah. And how, so you said, sorry, go through it again. One who they best serve, who, who you, who you would best serve or perhaps even who you would work for and with mm-hmm what do those people really need? So what problem are people facing? And then thirdly, what do you really want and not want from your, from your life?
And like write down everything. Salary benefits. Working experience, location, all of those things. And then you can go into the figuring out where you in your, your flow in your sweet spot, by speaking to people, and then things like an Agram that you mentioned. There’s lots of work you can do there to tease out and get a more detail on where you might be best placed to make your next move in your career.
And perhaps it’s just stay where you are, but. Slightly change your role or change the way you’re approaching it, or, you know, speaking to work about creating a slightly different opportunity. So it’s not always quit and do something drastic. It doesn’t always have to be as drastic as I am, but not always change careers.
Yeah. Right. So somebody’s coming to you and you go through all these clarifying questions. You have this consult with them and then share with me how you. how you can, somebody’s interested in changing careers. And again, maybe it ends up being that there’s a shift within their current career, but for somebody who you, based on your consult, you also think like, yeah, a change of career might actually be a good fit for you.
How do you help them implement that change? Cuz we talk about it and the reality is it’s such an overwhelming it’s such an overwhelming process. So how do you help someone actually implement. The questions that they’ve clarified and change careers. How do you walk alongside your clients? So normally the next step is I, I do it’s quite back to my corporate finance days, where we have a long list of ideas and options.
We apply our criteria to eliminate things, just to tell your brain, like we rule those out for a reason. And let’s say we take maybe one. Three maximum. I say to my people that will take forward to explore looking for opportunities. And honestly, Anna, the, the main thing people need to do is to just get out there and speak to people.
every time I’ve made a new opportunity for myself or I’ve seen other people do it. It’s because again, high achievers, what do we like to do? We like to work hard. We know if we work hard, we probably will become good at doing something. Okay. So we know how to get behind our laptops. Mm-hmm work hard study and become masters in aircraft at something.
But at some stage, you know, no one knows that you. No one knows what you’re hoping to do. No one knows your dreams. People don’t know your intentions. They can’t read your mind. No one is just gonna magically arrive in front of you with an op for, with an opportunity. And quite often you actually have to create your own roles and opportunities.
Mm-hmm , but no one will be able to help you do that unless you tell them. So I actually just try and, and this is where people do get a bit resistant. You feel like, well, I don’t know, you know, am I good enough to go? And why would people give me my time? And I work very hard with people to actually help them learn how to form networks, relationships, engage with people and.
The thing is, as soon as they start doing that and getting out there, and I do very practical things like this is how to write a good email. This is how to approach somebody. This is how to have a good conversation. They get so excited because they meet people who refer them to other people. They have conversations, they research different companies and they just get out there and they get in front of people for short conversations and create opportunities, networks, and make relationships.
And that’s really how. It works when it comes to business or career change, or even leveling up in your career. I find that that, you know, mostly people want to help other people mm-hmm . So if I approach somebody, you know, when I was in my finance job and I was climbing a career ladder, I looked ahead and I thought, I need to get myself a few mentors.
I approach people for mentorship. People love it. They want to help you. And if they don’t want, if they can’t help you, they tend to help find somebody who can help. And if they don’t want to help you, they just get out of your way. So there’s no real reason to just not put yourself out there a little bit.
And I think, you know, you talk about anagram. I’m actually slightly more on the type one, the perfectionist, which mm-hmm has held me back, but also also helped me to a degree, but you don’t wanna put yourself out there cuz you fearful of being judged. Like who do you think you are? But actually when you put yourself out there, you have conversations with people.
It sets you apart, just randomly putting your resumes on job boards. It’s a very disheartening game. I’m not saying don’t do it, but if that’s all you’re doing. With the way that the world works with automation. I have a client who sent out before he met me, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of resumes without one response.
And he is highly talented, intelligent, gifted person. But the new approach of talking to people is opening up doors for him. So that’s something I just really believe in. I think it’s because my dad is quite pushy and he made us always. You wanna do something, pick up the phone and phone them and ask them.
And I was like, I don’t wanna do that. He’s like do it. It’s a lost that’s art though. I mean, what you are offering to help people with is a lost art. I think it is an incredible, I love how you are so focused on connecting people. To people not automating a resume, no matter how amazing you may have helped that person write a really great resume.
But the fact is it is not the same as handing it, do someone in person, someone that you’ve made a connection with. And I would also add, I think in my experience. not only do people genuinely and generally want to help people. Yeah. But especially if you show a healthy balance of a humble heart that is willing to learn.
Yeah. But also confidence in what you are good at. I think it’s hard to find that connection there, but I have told students who were nurse practitioner, students with me so many times that the secret to success is not knowing the right answers. It’s knowing the right questions. Yeah. And I really think.
That will help you, like you said, I would say to, to my clients, right guys, when you reach out to people, don’t make your email about you. Exactly. Make it about something. Do your research, you know, prepare, prepare, prepare. What’s the saying, if you. Fail to prepare, be prepared to fail. So say to them, I see you, you are doing X in your work.
I find it really interesting. I’d love to learn more. So you’ve gotta go with the spirit of service again. How can you help them? So if somebody gives you their time, you follow up immediately, you thank them. You take their advice. You let them know, oh, I, I did this thing and this is what happened. If you see something that might benefit them and help them, you go back to it and say, Hey, I saw this interesting article.
You might find it useful. So you can go with a spirit of service and curiosity. Ask questions, be the one who talks less, save your talking to the end and don’t make it about you. It isn’t about you. You are looking for mentorship, you go with that sort of spirit and it changes everything. Not like, oh, hi, have you got a job for me?
Clearly. That’s you know, not, not gonna gonna work here. Hire me. I always say, you know, cause I we’ve recently had the musical Hamilton on here. Cause obviously we haven’t, we can watch it in Disney. And what does Aaron bur say? Always says, smile more, talk less. Now I’m not saying have no views, but. Just listen.
And the other main, main, main tip that I would say to anybody, um, from this sort of application and execution point of view is in any conversation that you have with a prospective client, with somebody you might be looking to work with, and actually in your conversations with friends and family, if you can try and say to your.
At the end of this conversation, I wanna know three things that this person is facing in terms of problems. They may be having pain points and maybe something they’re hoping or have a desire for. It just shifts the pressure off you and you self doubt and thinking you are not good enough. And actually you’ll be amazed at how you can build a much stronger relationship and be able to help people and put yourself in a really strong position.
Business and career wise, just with those simple tips. So I love that. It’s I love that where, so if people are interested in their listening and they’re, I want to change careers, or I just need , I need some clarity, you know, I love how you walk people through. It’s not about finding purpose. It’s, you know, maybe some reverse psychology and walking people through that.
Where can people find you and what would be next steps for. So I am mostly on Instagram, although I’m trying to up my game and get myself onto T TikTok, which I’m resisting. But if you see somewhere pointing, pointing signs, I feel like I’m a little bit old, but everyone’s like, you gotta do it. So I’m on Instagram.
It’s Dr. Underscore Alice pay P E w N. And my website is Dr. Alice And at the moment I’ve got a video. Training in making your best next move. And I am launching a YouTube channel coming up soon. So I’m trying to put out some regular content and really just think about what are the questions that people need answered and try and, and help people with that.
So I’m all about genuinely feeling that I want people to know that, as I said earlier, you’re not too old. It’s not too late. Right. You can make a change. Real success comes from sure. The consistency of hard work, but also really leaning into who you are and mm-hmm and living is the fullest version of who you are is kind of like my underlying message to people.
That’s where to find me. And if anyone wants a message me on, on Instagram, I’m quite good in my DMS these days. So I quite like chatting to people there. So that’s easy way. Book a call with her. Yeah. There’s a lot of options on her website to take next steps. Well, I resonate so much with your story and I continue to pray that God uses your story to change lives.
I have no doubt he’s already doing it. And the clarity that you are bringing to people, you’re changing the world for people. One call at a time, and it’s an honor having you on honor. It was really a great experience, um, meeting you finally. And I’m really feel very blessed to be here. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful summer.
I know you all on your summer break and that’s, you’ve got beautiful young children. Thank you. So I hope you have a great time. I’m flagging you as a friend in South Africa now. yeah, you must come and visit. And actually I would love to come visit. I’m trying to actually look to move to the us. So my partner works, um, for a big global.
Corp. So we are hoping that maybe it can happen, so, oh, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be visiting you soon. yeah, you might be coming my way before I come. Exactly. Exactly. Oh, well, take care. Thank you so much. Lovely to meet you. Thanks for listening to this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I would love.
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