Tuesday, 3 March 2015

New Directions

New Directions

It’s very disheartening being unemployed and over 40 or 50 years old. Ageism seems to be ingrained in employers’ minds and no matter how hard you try it sees impossible to find an employer who will give you a chance. You live in hope though. You might find another job you could try for; you have the right skills, you have the experience, so you write up the application and send it off. You hope for a interview at least. You hear nothing. So you ring up the contact person and find out that the job has been taken. By someone younger. And you didn’t even make the interview stage. Depression sets in. And so the cycle goes. Perhaps you do even get some interviews, but never land the job. You might have sent off hundreds of applications, but still nothing.
Feel familiar? But there could be hope.

If no one will give you work, then are you in a position to make your own? Do you have the skills and experience which you can turn to your benefit and become self employed? Go into business?
Of course it will depend on your financial situation. It does take quite an amount of money to go into business.

However you could start looking around at the possibilities. There is the NES Scheme. If you have a business idea you can join the NEIS Scheme and complete a Certificate 4 in Small Business Management. In this process you create your business plan. The NEIS allowance is the equivalent of Newstart for over 22 year olds and you receive it for 39 weeks. However, the proviso is that your business needs to make a certain amount of profit. You also receive business advice and mentoring for the first year of your business. When you are working on your business plan you need to be realistic. It’s always going to take longer to get into the market than you expect. Marketing is the key and you should try a number of possibilities before you give up. Persistence is important and so is having monetary reserves to tide you over.
Hopefully if you have the contacts and the ideas you will come up with customers or clients that will start you on your way.

Another possibility is to buy into a franchise. This takes a lot of money and you need to be able to do the work related to the franchise and you should actually love doing it or else it will be a waste of money. You should in this instance consult with a lawyer so that they can look over the contract and find anything that might otherwise be a nasty surprise for you.

If you are creative or have access to various products, you could do the market rounds. This is unlikely to make you huge money but it might make you a reasonable living. You would need some money behind you to tide you over the not so good times. You could set yourself up with a business name, public liability insurance, the right shelter and transportation capabilities.

Where these above three options are out of the question then perhaps you could take another look at your interests and skills and think about other areas of work you haven’t yet tried. Perhaps you have some transferable skills you could apply in a completely different area.

Whichever option you are interested in you are welcome to explore in my one day workshop called New Directions. For a small investment of $100 you will be able to discover a new hope and reenergise your search for a new direction in your life.

Even if you are employed and facing work changes New Directions will help you explore your options and sort out your skills and interests so that you can face the changes with an optimistic frame of mind.

The workshop will be run throughout the year. The next one is on Saturday March 28th. The venue is Safe Place Training, 147 Goodwood Road, Goodwood, in room 2. (Next to the Capri) Cost includes catering.

New Directions Facilitator – Diana Hutchison

Diana Hutchison is a life coach with a psychology degree, a graduate diploma in life coaching and personal experience in changing her career direction in later life.

To book in today and reserve your seat (maximum of 12 participants) go to http://www.trybooking.com/118805

For more information phone Diana on 0417 295100

Looking forward to meeting with you.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Upcoming Career Planning for Success

3 big mistakes that even smart professionals make
that keep them frustrated in their careers.

  1. Not keeping up with professional development.

To position yourself strongly in your field you should keep yourself up to date with any developments that are occurring.

What you might need to do in order to keep up to date will vary across the field and career path. Certainly there may be journals and magazines you should read. Perhaps you might need to upskill by attending seminars, workshops and conferences. If you do these things you will find yourself in a strong position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Additionally you will be in a great position to make your own opportunities for advancement. By knowing the current developments in your field you can position yourself at the forefront should you choose to do so.

Different types of careers require different types of approaches. Find out what approach is needed in your career field. This might be as easy as just asking someone. It is important to know how advancement is supported in your field. Perhaps you might need to undertake more training. Find out your possible career path.

  1. No mentor.

It is a big mistake not to have a mentor. A mentor is someone who is usually older than you, who is more experienced in your field and who can give you pointers and advice so that you can move forward in your career. Your mentor may be someone at your current company or it may be someone elsewhere.

A mentor is great for positioning yourself at the right place and time for career advancement. It is especially helpful to young professionals who want to rise up the ranks to middle management and beyond.

How to get a mentor is as easy as working out the best person to ask and then asking them if they would be your mentor, or would they know of anyone who would be happy to do it. Mentoring can be done in person or on the phone, and contact may be as little as monthly or bimonthly.

  1. No career plan.

The biggest mistake is to not have a career plan. A career plan guides you along your path to success. It helps you to decide whether to stay or go from your job. It helps you to make big decisions and also little decisions. Small decisions might include who you make friends with, who you ask to mentor you, extra curricula activities and whether to go on that team building exercise day. It helps you to get motivated to work your best and to give it more so you can impress people with your work ethic and dedication to excellence.

A career plan helps you decide who to approach for help, for a reference, for feedback and if this is your direct supervisor or manager then it also helps you to understand the need for a good respectful working relationship.

A career plan will not only articulate your major long term goal but also medium term goals which would include learning goals, training goals and education goals. All the steps along the way would be written down for you to refer to. It would be important to review the whole process regularly so that the goals can be tweaked and steps altered when necessary, based on what happens, your progress and your feelings about it.

A personal career plan is the outcome of my one day workshop titled Career Planning for Success.

Normally for one on one career coaching sessions such a program would cost $800.00.

Sign up today for my one day group workshop and pay just $110.00.
In addition you will receive my book Setting Yourself Free absolutely free. As well as this, attending this workshop qualifies you to receive a discount on follow up career coaching sessions should you desire this.

If you have a friend who is interested in attending my workshop too, then you can buy a double ticket at a discounted price.

Book in today and get your career planning for success happening.

What: Career Planning for Success
When: Saturday December 6th
Time: 9.30am to 4.45pm
Where: Safe Place Training (Adelaide)
             147 Goodwood Road
             Goodwood 5034
             Room 2

To get your ticket go to http://www.trybooking.com/111467

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

How to succeed in achieving your goal

How to succeed in achieving your goal

Firstly you need to have a SMART goal. For example, losing 5 kilos in 6 months. Is it SMART?

Specific – the more specific, the better
Measurable- you need to be able to monitor it
Attractive – if it’s not you won’t do it
Realistic – Needs to be realistic and practical
Time framed – you need to have a time when you are going to achieve it.

The next step is to work out the strategies you are going to take to reach your goal. These are the ‘how’, the small steps that you act on every day and every week. Unless you can work out the ‘how’ then the goal stays as a dream. In a case like losing weight, it is probably fairly straightforward to work out how you are going to do it, but with some other goals it might be a bit more difficult.

Once you decide on the strategies or steps then it is a matter of acting on them. It might be good to review them after a period of time to see how they are going. Are you making progress towards your goal? If so, then keep on doing the same strategies, if not, then try something else. So, if losing weight, you might try the 5-2 diet or the CSIRO wellbeing diet for a month or two and see how you go. It would be important to monitor the food you eat and your weekly weight. If you are eating less, then you are more likely to lose weight.

In addition to eating less, you could also exercise more. Exercise will help you tone up and it has many health benefits.

It’s a good idea to keep a journal of your daily or weekly progress so that you can look back in the future and see what worked, what didn’t work and what challenged you. Then it will be easier to put steps and strategies into place that work for you. When you monitor and review your progress it makes it easier to reach your goal.

When you are unsure of the steps that you should take to achieve your goal, it is important to do some research to find out. You might find a book written on the subject, or you might find some people to talk to who have the information you require. You could also find a life coach who will guide you to find the information you need. You will find that results are faster if you do have a life coach. Contact me at Directions Coaching to get started today.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014



Visualisation is a powerful tool that you can use in everyday life. It can be used to practice behaviours and scenarios in the future, for letting go of emotions that are attached to past events, and can also be helpful to use in meditation and relaxation.

Visualisation works because your brain can’t tell the difference between real experience and imagined experience – it’s all in your head when it comes down to it.

Studies have shown that visualising helps athletes improve their performance. For example a swimmer might imagine that his or her body is covered in oil and so might swim faster. Practising in your mind is almost as good as doing it in real life.

You might have an important event coming up such as an interview, or you might want to have an important discussion with a loved one, or you might like to put a new behaviour into place in your life. All these things will be easier using visualisation to practice before the actual real life moment.

When you are visualising it is important to involve all your senses, so that you have in your mind the things you will see, the colours that would be there, what you and others would be doing, what you would be hearing, what you would be feeling, as well as any touching or tasting if appropriate.

If you find it difficult to actually see the images with your eyes closed, then tell yourself what you would be seeing if you could see it. Words work too.

Visualising can also be helpful to process past events. You can reduce the emotion that is attached to an event by giving your brain the message to let it go. You can use any imagery that works for you. For instance, you might like to put your embarrassment, guilt or other negative emotion into the basket of a hot air balloon and then watch it as it floats up into the sky and out of sight. Perhaps you would like to dump your negative emotions into a rubbish bin that is outside your front door, ready to be collected. This particular visualisation is good to use after you come home from work or at the end of the day. Leave the day’s thoughts and emotions outside in the bin so that you don’t let it affect your home life

Visualisation can also help you to meditate and relax. Imagine that you are sitting on the bank of a creek or river. There is a tree a little bit upstream that every now and then drops a leaf and that leaf comes into your view and you watch it as it is carried downstream by the water. Treat your thoughts like those leaves. When a thought comes into your mind, just say ‘There’s that thought again’ and let it go out of your mind just like the leaf disappears out of sight. Keep in your mind the image of you sitting quietly on the riverbank watching the water, the leaves, feeling the warmth of the sun, perhaps hearing some birds. And time will pass.


Sunday, 6 July 2014


Meditation is a good daily practice to engage in. While it takes a bit of practice to get to a stage of just being in the moment it is worth it. Studies looking at the benefits of meditating suggest that it boosts immunity, gives emotional balance, increased fertility, relief of irritable bowel syndrome, lowers blood pressure, has an anti-inflammatory effect and gives calmness.

Meditation is quite easy to do. You don’t have on sit on the floor cross-legged or sit in any other pose. Just sit in a chair, legs uncrossed, close your eyes and breathe regularly. You can if you like pay attention to your breath. You can if you like count 1 as you breathe in and count 2 as you breathe out. Or you can count to 20 and then start again and continue. However you do it, just take a step back from your thoughts. When you realise you are thinking something, don’t follow it but say to yourself “There’s that thought again.”

You might like to visualise yourself in front of a blackboard and when you have a thought that thought comes up onto the blackboard. And then you scrub it out. The idea is to get to a state of just being in the present moment. Whenever thoughts come into your mind, just scrub them out and go back to being in the present moment. It is a bit hard at first but after awhile it is a lot easier. Sometimes it’s not easy to switch off from what is happening in your life. However, if you persevere then you will be rewarded.

Even if you start out with 10 minutes of meditating a day then you will make progress. I have been doing 10 minutes of meditating in the mornings since January this year and in June my blood pressure and pulse measurements were the lowest ever. So it works.

Work meditating into your daily routine. You will find out whether the morning or evening works best for you – or perhaps you’d like to do it at both times. Whatever works it doesn’t matter just as long as you do it.

Visit my website at www.directionscoaching.net.au

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Making Decisions

Making Decisions

As you go through your day and your life you need to make decisions. Sometimes these decisions are easy to make because the stakes are not very high. For instance it’s quite ok to go shopping now rather than later. However, sometimes you may be faced with a choice in which the stakes are higher. Even for fairly low stake decisions you can follow a conscious process. If you have worked out your top 10 values for instance or can at least articulate the values that are important to you, then you can ask yourself the question “Does this decision uphold my values?” If it does, then go ahead with it. This process is also similar if you have worked out a goal that you want to achieve. The question to ask in this case then is “Does this decision help me to achieve my goal?” If it does, then it may well be a good decision provided it also upholds your values.

When faced with a big decision the above two processes may not be enough. In this case, it is good to sit down and write down the advantages of doing something on one side of a page and the disadvantages of doing it on the other side. When you have brainstormed as many advantages and disadvantages as you can think of, ten go through them all and rate them between 1 and 10, where 10 is most important and 1 is least important. Next, look through the ratings. If there is a 10 on the disadvantage side for example, then this might be enough for you to decide not to go ahead with it. It depends on the reason you gave it a 10. On the other had, it might mean that you need to do further investigation. Before you make an important decision it is a good idea to discuss the decision with other people, whether family, friends or experts, or all. If you at least see an expert then this might give you enough information to make an informed decision. When you take care to have as much information as you can and ensure that your values are being met as well as your goals, then you will be able to accept the responsibility for the results from your decision.

Visit my website at www.directionscoaching.net.au

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Book launch speech by Mary Hutchison

Diana’s book launch – speaker Mary Hutchison, a Canberra-based author and public historian

It’s a great pleasure to be launching Diana’s book Setting Yourself Free: a practical guide to self-change, and to be part of the celebration of her achievement.  Particularly because she’s my sister.

A book launch is a great opportunity to tell something of the story of a book beyond what is between the covers.  I want to tell you a bit about the journey of writing Setting Yourself Free, as well as introduce you to its content and intentions.

Diana wrote the first draft during the 1990s and I can remember our mother Elizabeth announcing with pride, and some surprise, ‘Diana’s written a book!’   I also remember having coffee with Diana and a psychologist friend of ours at around the time she must have been working on it.  Her conversation with Henry that day about aspects of her work as a psychologist in the NSW Department of Corrective Services gave me a glimpse of the issue that is central to her practice – then as a psychologist, now as a life coach – the issue of how people can take charge of their lives and set a course for themselves that is positive and fulfilling.  This issue is the raison d’etre, the heart, of Setting Yourself Free.

At the same time that Diana was thinking about this issue in relation to the wide range of people she counselled in the prison system, she was also starting to seek new directions for herself.  This eventually led to a graduate diploma in the psychology of life coaching at Sydney University. As she says, the book grew out of her own journey of self-discovery, as well as having its genesis in her professional practice. 

As you may have gathered Setting Yourself Free has been something of a family affair. One of Diana’s first readers of her first draft of the book was our cousin Rod Hutchison.  For many years Rod had been creating exquisite small pen and ink drawings of local landscapes and Diana wondered whether he would do some illustrations for the book.  He agreed, and in a departure from his usual style responded to what Diana had written through a series of perceptive, wry cartoons that highlight moments in the process of working out who you are and what you want.  I am so sorry that Rod did not live to see the book published but I am very glad that he is part of it.

As things worked out, it wasn’t until a number of years after Rod had done the illustrations, when Diana thought she had almost let go of her psychologist self, that she came back to the book.

My own role in helping with redrafting and editing came at this point of the book’s  development.   At this stage another family member, Michelle Herriot, also read the book and provided comments which fed into my work with Diana. This involved  successive drafts created at a distance using email and track changes – (not Diana’s favourite) – and detailed sessions at Diana’s kitchen table.  It was an interesting process for both of us – moving us into a relationship more related to our different expertises than our position as sisters, which in turn required new ways – I think better ways – of communicating.

This is a small example of how the process of writing the book has been as much about self-discovery and change as its content.  For Diana it has been a long term experience of personal development, which she stepped into on the basis of the same principles and practices that she writes about in the book.   In working on the book with her, I became part of that experience.

I think it’s a great strength of Setting Yourself Free that it is so thoroughly based on both professional and personal experience. Another great strength is that Diana talks about personal development in a very practical and down to earth way. She provides simple examples of how we work psychologically as a basis for exercises which she sets out as a step by step program. And I think a third strength is the way Rod’s sympathetic humorous illustrations highlight the process Diana describes.

Diana wrote Setting Yourself Free particularly to encourage and support people who might be making conscious changes in their lives for the first time – people who have perhaps reached a decision that change is necessary to improve their lives but are unsure about the next step. But making life changes is a daunting  task whatever our experience.  Lessons we think we have learned usually have to be learned again in the context of the particular circumstances we find ourselves in.  So Setting Yourself Free may offer food for thought for anyone in the process of sorting out life issues.

One of the sections in Setting Yourself Free I found most instructive is about communication. It’s something I generally think I’m pretty good at understanding, but the way Diana describes what can go wrong in communication helped me realise that in one particular situation I had been ignoring something that when you know about it seems obvious.  The distance between obvious and insoluble can be so near and yet so far. Another aspect of the book that strikes a chord with me is that it doesn’t promise a quick fix or marvellous revelations.  It emphasises the hard work of
working out life directions and setting goals to achieve them.  Diana’s model for self-change is not a recipe for instant results but a map for an ongoing journey. 

I want to finish with a summary of what I see as the key ingredients of the book.

In Setting Yourself Free, Diana highlights aspects of the process of taking charge of your life that are crucial for anyone to take into account as they work on change, whether a whole of life change or changing the outcomes in a particular context – and whether they are new to considering their directions in life or not.  She has stern words to say about taking responsibility for our actions. She offers ways of identifying our impact on others. She suggests ways of moving carefully through the process.  She invites us to think about what we value and shows how this can lead to a sense of purpose.  She encourages us to think about what we believe about ourselves and suggests ways of replacing beliefs that hold us back with ones that move us forward. And she provides a model for setting goals that are achievable.

Setting Yourself Free provides a program for change that people can follow if they wish, or adapt to their own needs.  It is also a straightforward guide to the self that provides important reminders about how we work as individuals and in interaction with each other.  It offers tools that can help individuals take greater charge of their lives and set directions that are relevant it them.  It also understands the difficulties that people can experience in learning about themselves and making changes and offers encouragement through the process.  Setting Yourself Free respects its readers and believes in their capacity to make changes in their lives for the better. 

These ingredients seem to me to be the essence of life coaching and I like to think of the book as a pocket life coach.

I now declare this pocket life coach launched and commend it to you.

To find more about my book go to www.directionscoaching.net.au