Time for change? 6 easy steps you can take now to steer your career



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As you may know, PAPER is going through change

September marks the last month that we, the current team, will be running the show before the organisation goes into a period of hibernation. With this in mind, this month on the blog, we’re focusing on change in all its forms.

Thats why we jumped at the opportunity to talk with Rachel Lee, a Bristol based coach who focuses on helping people to set and achieve their career and life goals. We asked Rachel all about how to work out what makes you tick, and how to apply your values to your life and career, to move closer to where you want to be.
If this sound like a helpful read, thats because it is.

Check out what Rachel had to say below.

How do you work out what career is right for you?

First of all, make sure you’re not putting too much pressure on yourself. A common trap is to think that there is only one “right” career, which can lead to a fear of making a “wrong” choice and analysis paralysis where you spend time thinking (or overthinking!) your career but don’t actually take any action.

What makes a great career?

A great career is a mix of what you love, what you’re good at and what you can get paid for. Each person will want a different mix and it can change depending on the other things that are going on in your life. If you’re saving to buy a house, you might be more concerned with what you can get paid for whereas if you’re just leaving a highly paid job you didn’t enjoy, you’re probably going to be focused on finding something you love. So, ask yourself is this right for now? And if you’re still not sure, if it’s right, will it help you find out?

How do you find what motivates you?

A mind map can make it easier to see patterns in thinking. Grab a pen and paper and write ‘What do I want?’ in the middle. Jot down everything you can think of branching off from that, grouping things together where it makes sense to you (e.g. good friends and community might go together). Then look at each one and ask yourself ‘why do I want that?’. Keep asking that question and adding branches until you can’t go any further. You’ll likely find there are one or two fundamental reasons behind everything you want.

The key here is to be really honest with yourself.

You might not like that you’ve discovered you really want others to find you impressive, for example, but now that you know you can use it by making sure the things you do line up with your definition of impressive.

How do you make career goals?

Beware of separating career and life goals too much. Where goals compete, we’ll often burn ourselves out trying to do both and end up failing at both, too. So, check that all your goals are compatible.

Making SMART goals

To make sure you can very clearly say you’ve completed a goal, it needs to be specific, measurable, realistic, and time-bound. So, instead of ‘spend more time thinking about my career’, your goal might be to ‘spend 2 hours (measurable) writing lists of everything I love, am good at, and can get paid for (specific) by the end of this week (time-bound)’. And don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve your goals, especially the big ones!

How do you work out your values?

Our values are the principles we live by; the core beliefs that guide our behaviour. We feel dissatisfied or like we’re not being authentic when we’re not living and working in line with them so being clear about your values can help you make career decisions:

Start with a list of values

There’s loads available on the internet. Pick the words that resonate with how you want to live your life most. Make sure you’re choosing on what you want, not what you think you should want.

Group your words together in a way that makes sense to you

you’re aiming for about 5 groups. Choose a word or short phrase that represents each group. Make sure it’s a verb (something you can do), e.g. kindness, generosity and support might become “Be generous”

Now write a couple of sentences

What does this mean for your everyday actions? For one person being generous might mean to take time to share their experience with others while to another person it means working with charitable causes.

How do you work out where your skills lie?

Everyone has strengths and lots of them. Write down the last time something went well, or you received a compliment. What happened? How did you make it happen? What did the people around you say? Now write down the time before that. And the one before that…

Create a success timeline

Keep going until you’ve got a timeline of all your successes. Read back through them all – what patterns can you see? Be objective; imagine you’re looking at a list of someone else’s achievements, what would you say their skills are? If you’re still stuck and find yourself focussing on the things you could be better at, try re-framing those things. If you think you’re not very good at following instructions, your strength might that you take an innovative approach.

How do you create a plan to follow?

You need to be clear on what you’re aiming for first. Find yourself somewhere quiet to sit and visualise your ideal day. Imagine you’ve just woken up and are getting ready for work. Where are you? What time is it? What are you wearing? How are you getting to work? What do you do on the way? How do you feel? Be as specific as you can but don’t get caught up in the bits you don’t know. If you’re not sure about what you want to do, think instead about how your work environment looks or what your colleagues are like.

What needs to change?

Now think about what needs to change to get you there and use everything you know about your values, skills, motivation and goals to plan each step you want to take. Write goals to remove every blocker that comes up. A coach can help you make a challenging and realistic plan and will be your cheerleader along the way to keep you going when things get tough. Most of all be kind to yourself, getting what you want can take time – it’s not a race.

Rachel Lee is a work psychologist and qualified coach on a mission to help people live and work on their own terms. She works with individuals, teams and organisations to make work a place you’ll actually WANT to be. Get in touch if you’d like support with the next steps in your career – quote PAPER Arts to get one session free when you buy a 3 or 6 session programme. 
You can check out her website here, or keep up to date with her on instagram.

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The future of paper arts

A Statement from the Board of Directors


Like many organisations, PAPER Arts has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, on appointment of a highly skilled CEO, we made the bold decision to review our business model and begin a process of research and development in order to shape a new service and to better support creatives in Bristol with professional development, networking and the opportunity to learn new skills.

Throughout the pandemic we have proudly supported creatives in Bristol, with a focus on young people from St Pauls, our Creative Employment programme hosted over 20 sessions and we welcomed 17 young people to feed into our research and development proposal. 

However, the last 18 months have been a huge challenge, while we’ve been able to successfully deliver a plethora of projects since our inception seven years ago, we have been unable to secure the funding necessary to realise our ambitious plans for the future and to provide our organisation with much needed financial stability.

As a result, it is with a heavy heart that the current PAPER Arts team, made up of Grace, Kate, Katy, Lau and Amie will no longer be able to continue in their roles. Our small team has delivered a substantial amount of value to the community we serve and the Board of Directors are endlessly grateful for the skills and professionalism they bring with them each and every day. We are proud to know and work alongside such talented individuals and believe that the arts sector is a better place with them in it. 

The ideas generated by this team are inspiring and hopeful and the Board of Directors wholeheartedly believe in the importance of supporting the creative community in Bristol.

As September ends and the seasons change PAPER Arts will be going into hibernation in order to survive this adversity. Our voluntary Board of Directors will spend the coming months considering the future of PAPER Arts, the role we can play in the arts sector in Bristol and how we can sustainably move forwards. We don’t know what that will look like yet, but as soon as we are able to share more with you we will. 

In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns or if you would like to speak to someone about the future of PAPER Arts please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] – Kirsten Cree, one of the Board of Directors will be monitoring this inbox. 

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