“There’s got to be something better than this.”
How many times have you told yourself this? Whether about work, school, relationships, or general frustrations with your life? These negative feelings of anger and despair might seem discouraging to you, but Karen Styles joins me on the podcast today to share why they shouldn’t be.
What you’re seeing as frustration on the surface, could actually be a seed of hope inside of you, telling you that there are better things to come. Learn how to uncover that voice and find the motivation you need to make a change in your life.
About Karen Styles:
Karen Styles is a Career and Life Coach, founder of Flow + Fire Coaching, and the host of the Intentional Career Podcast. Before becoming a coach, Karen spent 14 years in a variety of industries, including Career Services, Recruitment and Education. During that time she went through a lot of angst about her work, before finding her calling as a coach.
Karen is committed to digging through the muck of complex work and life feelings with her clients so they can really listen to their authentic inner voice for guidance. She provides interview coaching, career direction and life coaching, because everyone deserves to discover and do what lights them up.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Lindsay Recknell 0:03
Hello, welcome to another episode of the Hope Motivates Action Podcast. I am your host, Lindsay Recknell. And it is my pleasure to have my new friend Karen Styles here with us this morning. Good morning, Karen.
Karen Styles 0:16
Lindsay Recknell 0:17
So awesome to have you here. I am super pleased for this conversation. I think it’s super timely, both from a professional and a personal level. And I can’t wait for people to hear how you use hope to motivate action in your life.
Karen Styles 0:32
I’m so thankful that you are having me on your podcast.
Lindsay Recknell 0:36
Let me share a little bit more with the listeners. From a professional point of view. Let me share their your bio with them. And then we’ll get right into your story.
Karen Styles 0:47
Lindsay Recknell 0:48
So Karen Styles is a career and life coach, founder of flow and fire coaching. She’s also the host of the intentional career podcast. Before becoming a coach Karen spent 14 years in a variety of industries, including Career Services, recruitment and education. During that time, she went through a lot of angst about her work before finding her calling as a coach. Karen is committed to digging through the muck of complex work and life feelings with our clients show they can really listen to their authentic inner voice for guidance. She provides interview coaching, career direction and life coaching, because everyone deserves to discover and to do what lights them up.
Lindsay Recknell 1:27
Yes, we all want to do what lights us up,
Karen Styles 1:30
don’t we? Yes,
Lindsay Recknell 1:31
yeah. And I really feel like that’s the thing that we should be able to do.
Karen Styles 1:36
Lindsay Recknell 1:36
So Karen, tell us a little bit more about how hope motivates action in your life?
Karen Styles 1:42
Oh, such a great question. And it’s interesting, because when we first started talking, and you were talking about how, you know, what is hope? And how does it motivate action, one of the first thing that came up for me is that sometimes you have to deal with the despair or anger or frustration, and the you know, quote unquote, negative emotions before you get to hope. And, you know, I think that’s what happened.
Karen Styles 2:18
For me, I think if you try to ignore the frustration, it’s hard to get to hope to, you know, ignoring the negatives, you know, what do they say that numbing emotions, you have to numb them all, you can’t just choose to turn off the negative ones. So um, for myself, how this happened was, I got to a place a few years ago, and I was working in recruitment as an executive recruiter headhunter. And it was the best job I’ve ever had at the time. The best people I’ve ever worked with as the best salary ever had had, you know, pretty good career trajectory, lots of interesting work.
Karen Styles 3:04
And I still wasn’t happy. And that fact was kind of driving me crazy, right? Because I was like, I, I should be happy, you know, like this. This is good on paper. These are the best opportunities I’ve ever had. So what is going on?
Karen Styles 3:22
And I think for a good part of that time, I tried to not feel that frustration, I tried to tell myself that that was imagined I tried to just focus on the good things, or try to ignore the frustration. And that didn’t work for me.
Lindsay Recknell 3:41
Karen Styles 3:42
weird, weird how that didn’t work. Um, and so through a couple of conversations. I remember so clearly, one day driving home from work with my partner and I was, again, talking about the NX and how frustrated I was, and he, he finally just said, like, he kind of got so frustrated that he was like, Karen, I don’t like seeing you like this. You know, if you want to make a change, whatever it takes, let’s make it happen. Because I don’t like this, like, it’s not good for me to see like this either.
Karen Styles 4:14
And I, I was kind of shocked. You know, partly, it kind of showed me that it was real, that this frustration wasn’t just imagined, but that, you know, he recognized it as something real and that it was affecting him too. And, and I had another conversation with a friend to where I was like, oh, maybe we should just be more grateful.
Karen Styles 4:39
Like it’s okay Karen, it’s okay to want more than you have. It’s okay to want things that are better. You know, and so it’s interesting how, you know, sometimes you need the voice of an outside person to just reflect something back to you, for it to really land and so through that You know, I wish I could say, actually, during that time, I didn’t want to start a business. I had the idea about starting a business. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do.
Karen Styles 5:10
I wish I could say, Oh, yeah, I started a business and everything was good. But it took me about five more years, to get to the point of launching my own business. But I think those moments really allowed me to start looking inside and recognizing what was really going on for me. I’m, I’m a bit of an introvert. I mean, I say I’m an ambivert, actually, but recognizing, writing down, what’s going on, what am I feeling and, and accepting those feelings? I think that was during the time I started getting into mindfulness and meditation.
Karen Styles 5:47
I read the book, radical acceptance by Tara Brock, you’re familiar. And, and just the idea of acceptance of, you know, oh, I’m feeling anger, okay, oh, I can accept that, and what’s going on in my body. And that was really transformative, to accept what’s going on. And to recognize that that was okay. Rather than running away, because the running away from the, the so called negative feelings didn’t work for me.
Karen Styles 6:23
So I think ultimately, when you get frustrated enough, maybe this is what what happens to you, when you get frustrated enough, there’s actually a seed of hope. Underneath that, right? There’s something in there that says, this can’t be how it should be. Like, there’s got to be something better than this. So on the surface, it looks like frustration, anger, maybe even despair. But underneath it, there’s something saying, There’s got to be more I there must be something better. So I think that’s where maybe we think it’s despair. But actually, there’s a seed of hope, underneath.
Lindsay Recknell 7:04
Oh, I love that. I love that. I can just like, I can visualize how that feels. In my, in my body and my mind in my head. Because it’s, it’s so my definition of hope is that the future will be better than today. Yes, that is that little bit of Yeah, that seed of hope to say it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, yes, it, it can’t possibly stay this way. But there has to be something better. And very cool that you recognized it but that you also shared that that is something to be recognized.
Lindsay Recknell 7:40
Because I imagine I’m I’m in the brains of the people listening to the show right now. And hearing you speak and hoping that they are also recognizing underneath that despair and frustration and anger and impact to their friends and family and their probably their current career. That there is that seed of hope underneath that may be we aren’t recognizing because we are numbing all of the emotions raised.
Lindsay Recknell 8:06
As you mentioned, we can’t be selective about that. Althoughh, I suspect we would like to be. But when we’re numbing the negative emotions, we’re also numbing those positive emotions of which hope is a positive emotion. very insightful. Karen, thank you.
Karen Styles 8:22
Okay, thank you.
Lindsay Recknell 8:22
Thank you for sharing. Um, it’s very cool To hear your experience, because I imagine that there’s a lot of people feeling the same experience. We’re recording the show in August of 2021. We are, you know, the world is opening back up, people are going back to the office. And I don’t know if you’ve heard of this thing that
Karen Styles 8:46
the great resignation,
Lindsay Recknell 8:47
the great resignation, the talent tsunami, ya know, all of these names, and which, I mean, this isn’t a, this isn’t a workplace mental health conversation. Anybody who wants to talk about that, please tune in to my other podcast. But I think the fact that we are having conversations about the talent tsunami and the great resignation is because people are recognizing where they’re at. And figuring out that enough is enough, that they don’t have to be in this place forever.
Karen Styles 9:18
Lindsay Recknell 9:19
Is that what you’re seeing in your business as well?
Karen Styles 9:21
I am, I’m seeing um, I mean, I do some work in in career transition. So with folks who have been laid off, I work with lots of those folks, to which of course, we’ve seen a lot of that in the last year as well. And I’m reading a lot about the great resignation and the numbers coming out of the US that 4 million people quit their jobs in April of 2021. alone.
Lindsay Recknell 9:46
Karen Styles 9:47
Yeah. And what was it Microsoft did a worldwide survey, and like 41% of their employees were had plans or were thinking of Leaving. So these are huge, huge numbers. And I think having gone through the experience that we went through in 2020, and now into 2021. That there’s a lot of evaluation going on. Right? And, and maybe there was a for a time people were like, okay, I just got to hang on, just got to hang on to this job. Because if you don’t know, if there’s another one out there, it can be scary.
Karen Styles 10:23
But at the same time, there’s a lot of evaluation going, Okay. Some things have really gotten clear for me. And if I’m not happy, I’m not willing to stay on happy. Continually. So, yeah, there are lots of folks that and also, they’ve been frustrated with how they’ve been treated during the pandemic, right? Did my employer trust me? did was I supported? If I needed to homeschool, my kids, all of those things? Can I keep a flexible? Like, can I be flexible in my work? Or do I have to go into the office, all of these things, you know, when some people realize their life was better? Now that they were working from home, and then if they get forced to go back to the office, what does that mean for them?
Karen Styles 11:12
So I think, you know, I think people are taking choices into their own hands now and going, Okay, this is a time where it’s really important for me to choose what is best for me. And, and I think that, you know, like I said before, there must be hope underlying that. And I think I totally agree with you what I was thinking about my definition of hope, I think it’s the belief that things can be better than they are now. So, yeah, thinking a lot about those things.
Lindsay Recknell 11:43
And I think it’s really a cool opportunity, you know, so we’re coming out of something that’s unprecedented, we’re going into something that’s unprecedented as well. And I really think that it’s an opportunity, because, unlike a year and a half ago, when people were feeling like I have to hold on to this job, I have to stay miserable, because I can’t, the alternative is too uncertain is too scary.
Lindsay Recknell 12:08
Now, we’re going well, there is opportunity for me to feel happier. without as much risk as there was before we get to choose, we there is, you know, the masses are kind of running the show here where employers are paying attention and recognizing that they have to take care of the mental health of their people, and recognize that they get to bring their whole selves to work, and all of those things, because if they don’t, there is another employer that will, you know, as someone who’s worked in recruitment, and and I have tons of people in the recruiting industry, who are telling me that they have never been busier,
Karen Styles 12:55
Lindsay Recknell 12:56
Because employers great employers are hiring great people. So you, so people don’t have to stay where they are, they actually get to figure out what’s best for them and their families, and they get to make those moves. You know, what kind of conversations are you having with people who are thinking? You know, I don’t know, I don’t know how to do that. For so long. I’ve been, you know, following the traditional path, or I’ve been in this job forever, and I don’t know how to make that move. What kind of conversations and what kind of tips are you giving to people in that are thinking about? Enough is enough? Let’s make a move here.
Karen Styles 13:41
Hmm. Um, I mean, it’s pretty individual for each person. So that that was the first thing that comes to mind. I don’t think I’m necessarily giving everybody the same advice because everyone’s considering different things.
Karen Styles 14:03
But one of the one of the things I found really valuable is to take some time to assess and reflect on your past experience and this is something that I do with my clients as well is is something about thinking through your past jobs and your current job and and like what did you like and what did you not like about it? and reflecting on those things, a lot of times in our in our job, if we’re really busy, we don’t think about those aspects. What do I like, what do I value? What are my career needs?
Karen Styles 14:36
So sometimes that’s where the help of a coach comes in right to ask you those questions and take some time to reflect on them. And going back to my story, actually, that’s what I that’s what I did. I I just took a piece of paper and I put a line down the middle and was like job, likes dislikes. I did that for like the past few jobs and I went through and highlighted and I saw a pattern. The words people, people people came up and help, help, help help came. Which maybe it’s not surprising that now I’m a coach.
Karen Styles 15:10
But it just kind of showed me something that there was this thread through all of my work, even though, you know, I had been a recruiter or an ESL teacher, or a barista and assistant manager at Starbucks, all the parts that made me happy, that gave me energy that I really enjoyed that I wanted to do more of involved helping people. And so those types of things like reflecting, where have you been, sometimes that back can give you some information that will help guide the future?
Karen Styles 15:49
Because, yeah, it is a it’s a bit scary to go, Okay, I don’t, what I have now is not what I want. But now what do I do? So we have to start somewhere. And sometimes, you know, that’s looking, I call it looking back to look forward, right? Where am I? Where have I been? And does that give me information about where I want to go next? And all that to say to it’s not necessarily but replicating only the good things you’ve had before, you might think, you know, there are some things that I have never had exposure to that I’ve never done that I really do want to do in the future.
Karen Styles 16:20
So yeah, taking the time to think through, assess, have those conversations with a coach and all of those things, that that’ll really helps.
Lindsay Recknell 16:31
It’s like you’re setting me up to share my things. I swear my life. We didn’t script this. But I mean, what you’re talking about is exactly the the coaching program that I’m launching in the next couple of weeks, you know, it’s that identification of who you are, you know, what lights you up? What experiences you’ve had, that you super excelled in that you flourished in figuring out, okay, cool. Where are we now where you are, you know, what life circumstances are you in? You know, how did you get here? You know, what do you what is your identity? What are your values and all those kinds of things?
Lindsay Recknell 17:12
And then awesome, now where Do you get to go? And I loved what you said about identifying some things that you’ve never done that you’d like to try. This is a cool opportunity to do that, too. You know, we don’t have to do the things we’ve always done. Even if they brought us joy.
Karen Styles 17:31
Lindsay Recknell 17:32
What if there are more things to bring you joy?
Karen Styles 17:34
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And there are things that you maybe were great at and that you enjoyed, that you actually don’t want to do anymore? Right?
Lindsay Recknell 17:42
Karen Styles 17:43
it might be like, that was great. And I’m ready to let that go and experience something else. Yeah.
Lindsay Recknell 17:48
Well, and they gave you so much joy. But maybe you were a different person, then. Or were, you know, you had a different partner, you, you know, you were in a different country, or whatever. And you can find experiences that are similar, or will replicate those feelings, but still, you know, honor your, I don’t know, risk taking or adventure seeking kind of mentality or whatever.
Lindsay Recknell 18:17
Do you How important is identifying values to the work that you do? Or like career planning? That’s something that you can talk about in your practice?
Karen Styles 18:32
Um, I do you know, what, not a lot. I feel like that’s the wrong answer. I think often what happens in in our conversations, maybe it’s going into the difficult areas, that the things where people are really frustrated, that actually is where you start to recognize what’s important. And I guess you would use that language of values.
Karen Styles 19:07
And so just as an example, I’ve been I’ve talked to a couple of clients over the last few weeks, and, you know, really expressing a lot of frustration about what’s going on and sometimes not knowing what to do. And and, and part of my, I think focus is to stay with that discomfort and really explore it and seems like you know, the way out is through, but to go in and ask more and ask more and, and when you start to see, when there’s anger or frustration about something, it’s usually you know, that that knowledge that this should be better, this should be different.
Karen Styles 19:50
And so I guess, in a roundabout way, the values and the things that people really care about do come out. So it’s funny, I Feel like the correct coaching answer would say, Yes, we haven’t we have a module on values. But I also don’t want to pretend that, that I am an expert in area that I’m not. So I don’t know, I always kind of go into where are we now? You know, what’s going on with you? Let’s really get into that and figure out, you know, we get to the heart of what’s the issue here? And how do we find a way to make that better for you, even if that’s just a little bit better right now?
Lindsay Recknell 20:33
I love that. I love the authenticity, the vulnerability of that because I’m, I also don’t know a lot about values. But I hear it’s like the best to do. But you know,
Karen Styles 20:46
Lindsay Recknell 20:47
Right, I hear that it’s the thing to do. I know that many coaches, many of my, my business friends will say you must identify your values, you need to know the language and all those things. They’re totally right. I mean, it’s awesome. I love that people know their values. But, it doesn’t have to be the only way.
Karen Styles 21:06
Lindsay Recknell 21:07
And so I mean, I feel like you have been successful in your life in your career without possibly knowing the language of values. The same as I have also been successful in my career. So I love I love that approach. I love that it doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. You get to have a coaching practice and work with your clients in the best way that you know how the best way that it’s gonna meet them where they’re at. And I think that’s brilliant.
Karen Styles 21:34
So I’m curious if I can interrupt where where did the question come from?
Lindsay Recknell 21:38
But well, because I was thinking about, like, how a person figures out, okay, I know enough is enough. Now, I know that I need to do something different that it has that there is something it doesn’t have to be this way, there must be something better.
Lindsay Recknell 21:55
So then I was thinking, Well, how do we go from here to there? And so I wondered if it was about values? So if it’s not values, what is it? How like, what would you say to someone who’s listening? That goes, Well, what the hell? Where do I go from here? Now? What would you say to them that are listening?
Karen Styles 22:15
The first thing I would say is your thoughts and feelings are important. As they are right now. They’re a signal that’s telling you something. And something I often say to is how you feel about your work is important. Because I think we get this message that like you don’t have to like your work, you just got to do it. You just got to show up. And I don’t believe that. And I don’t agree with that.
Karen Styles 22:48
So I guess to that person who’s feeling frustrated to say, how you’re feeling right now is important. And that’s a signal to you. And hopefully, you know, that’s a signal that you’ve got, underneath all that frustration, you’ve got hope somewhere. And there’s some kind of vision for how your life can be better. And, you know, what are the little steps that you can take to tap into that?
Lindsay Recknell 23:16
I love that. If it matters to you. It matters. Full stop,
Karen Styles 23:21
Lindsay Recknell 23:22
full stop, you get to feel your feelings, you get to feel uncomfortable, you get to be angry. And you get to work through those things and use them as the signals, like you say, you know, your inner compass is telling you, and you get to choose to ignore it, or to listen and to do something about it. the privilege of the environment, the industry, the economy that we’re in right now.
Lindsay Recknell 23:48
We have the privilege to be able to not just settle. we don’t have to be miserable. We don’t have to be okay, we can be awesome. We can flourish, you know, we get to do all of those things. So what- just start. What are you waiting for? Just start, you know?
Karen Styles 24:10
Lindsay Recknell 24:11
And I think that’s so important. The point that you that you mentioned there about the recognition that it’s okay to want something more. Tell me about that self permission. I imagine that must be many conversations that you have with people.
Karen Styles 24:33
Yeah, it’s funny how sometimes folks give themselves permission only when they’re frustrated enough with the BS in their lives. And they’re like, I gotta make a change. You know.
Karen Styles 24:46
I had a client text me after a session recently and she said, My heart feels better. Thank you, no deep breaths were hard for a while. And it, it showed me again that that, yeah, those word feelings are important, because they were really causing her a lot of turmoil, you know.
Karen Styles 25:17
And so talking through it, getting into it really diving deeper and deeper and deeper, helped her, helped her heart feel better, helps deep breaths happen, you know, so to, again, going back to understanding and recognizing that these emotions and thoughts are signals, and looking at them, going into them, versus trying to avoid them, does make a difference for feeling better, and then you know, taking the steps to make your life better. So that’s where the, you know, the action piece comes in.
Lindsay Recknell 25:56
which we all know anybody who’s listened to the show, action is my thing. Hope without action is just a wish. And so and you mentioned earlier, like, you don’t have to be big steps, they can be little actions, like learning how to breathe deeper, because once you read the deeper you can those stress chemicals in your body. And you can start to see a little clearer and think a little clearer. Those little steps really, really matter.
Karen Styles 26:23
Lindsay Recknell 26:24
Yeah, that’s amazing. And how do you recognize that little seed of hope in other people in your clients, especially if they can’t recognize it for themselves?
Karen Styles 26:42
I think it’s, it’s when people say, Okay, I’m ready to talk to you now. Right, I’m ready to ask someone else for help to make this happen. Because sometimes, maybe we all get to a point where we just want to stew for a little bit. And that’s okay, too. But I think there gets a point where, where I, for myself, and for other people I’ve spoken to where you kind of get sick of yourself. Like, I’ve complained enough about this to the people around me, I need to actually start doing something.
Karen Styles 27:18
So I think there’s, there’s the reaching out for help, I think is a big signal, right? To say, Now I’m ready to do something, I’m going to bring another person into this conversation, so that I know that I am ready to take action. And I know that’s what I do, too. I’m your coach, I’m guessing you probably hire coaches, I hired a business coach recently. And a life coach earlier in the year to say like, Okay, I know, there’s something I want to do, and I want to do something about it.
Karen Styles 27:49
And that’s, that’s the signal for me to that I’m ready to make a change or start acting as bringing someone else into the conversation, whether it’s for the accountability, or just the support, or getting another perspective of knowing I can’t do this all on my own.
Karen Styles 28:08
And actually, it’s easier with the help of another person. That’s why I love hiring coaches to don’t have to slog through it alone. And yeah, so I think that’s, that’s where I recognize it, the willingness to ask for help. And the frustration is the seed but the, the asking for help, I think is a big signal.
Lindsay Recknell 28:32
I’m a totally 100% aligned with you there. And also the part you said about if you’ve recognized that you’ve been complaining or talking about this, or it’s consuming your thoughts, and you can’t sleep and all of those things. That’s an internal signal to you that maybe it’s time to do something about it. If it’s all consuming. It’s time to do something about it. Yeah,
Karen Styles 28:55
Or when you get to that point where you’re sick of yourself,
Lindsay Recknell 28:58
yes. I saw this quote, yesterday, Elizabeth Gilbert quote that says, I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person finally getting tired of their own BS.
Karen Styles 29:10
Yes. Right. 100%.
Lindsay Recknell 29:13
So true. Amazing.
Lindsay Recknell 29:16
Well, Karen, we are getting to the end of our time together. And I asked this same question of all my guests, all my guests at the end, and that is, Karen, what gives you hope?
Karen Styles 29:29
What gives me hope is that I know that change is possible. that it is possible for myself for the people around me who feel frustrated, and that taking small steps does make a big impact. So I know it. I’ve experienced it. That frustration, actually can lead to making change frustration can lead to that seed of hope, which leads to taking action. So yeah, change is possible. That’s what gives me hope things really can be better than they are now.
Lindsay Recknell 30:05
Yeah, it is totally possible. And not only possible, but probable. Yes, you get to choose, you get to have control, you get to engage really smart people, like our friend Karen here. If you are feeling that enough is enough, you are frustrated, you are tired of your own BS. You know, that seed of Hope is there and we all get to take action on it.
Lindsay Recknell 30:28
So Karen, thank you so, so much for being here and sharing your brilliance. I know I took away a ton. I feel like I have permission to continue to flourish, and, you know, make any changes that I need to make in my own life. And I imagine that that audience is also feeling the same way. So thank you for sharing, and I look forward to connecting with you again really soon.
Karen Styles 30:51
Thank you so much for having me Here.
Lindsay Recknell 30:53
Lindsay Recknell 30:56
I hope you enjoyed this latest episode of the Hope Motivates Action Podcast. These episodes are a labor of love inspiring conversations with hopeful people make my heart happy.
Lindsay Recknell 31:06
If you also love this episode, it would be amazing if you could go to Apple podcasts and leave a review five stars if you’re into it. It’s these reviews that encourage Apple to promote this podcast to their network and the more people that listen, the more hope we can spread into the world.
Lindsay Recknell 31:20
Don’t forget to check out the show notes of this episode to find all the links to my guests’ books and other resources referenced in this episode. You’ll also find the link back to my website where you will find additional support and resources for you, your team and your community. I truly believe that the future will be better than today. By taking action over the things we can control and hearing from these guests on these episodes. I know that an even more hopeful future is totally possible.
Lindsay Recknell 31:44
I’m always looking for inspirational guests so if you or anyone you know would like to be a guest on the show, please reach out you can find me on the contact form of my website at expertinhope.com or by email at Lindsay@expertinhope.com.
Lindsay Recknell 32:00
When I was a teenager, my sisters were leaving the house to go out for the night. I always made it a point to remind them to call me if they need me. It was my way to tell them that I cared and would always be there for them. I’d love you to know the same so all of you listening out there Call me if you need me.
Lindsay Recknell 32:14
Again, thank you for your love and support of this podcast, my work in hope and your intentional focus on making your future better than today. After all, hope without action is just a wish.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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