Aug. 11, 2022

How NOT to Feel Stuck in Your Career with Helen Kho

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If you're feeling stuck in your search for more fulfillment in your work, or in running your own business, my special guest, Helen Kho, has some very special guidance and inspiration for you inside this episode. Listen in as we discuss how to address when you know you are meant to do something else, something more… and how being open to your intuition, open to letting it all go, getting back into your curiosity and feelings and following your heart will help you make a smooth transition into what you really desire.   

Helen helps people to discover their passion and to make choices in their career and business to follow their heart. She has a master's degree in Change management but decided after 15 years of optimizing company processes and implementing new systems to transition into a career as a coach and started her own business. Since then, she has helped many professionals to discover what they truly desire and help them translate that to a new career. She's a trained life coach and NLP practitioner and is passionate about personal development and helping others to make empowered choices.

• [4:28] Helen talks about changing the way you show up in your business so you can grow and evolve. 
• [6:41] “I was in tears realizing I'm not happy anymore in this job.”
• [10:56] “Okay, I have this question. I want to find out what it is that I am really, really good at. I know there is something out there that I need to do.”
• [14:31] Helen discusses the beauty in being open in order to discover more about yourself.  

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Christine Li  0:01  
Welcome back to the Make Time for Success podcast. This is episode 87. If you're feeling stuck in your search for more fulfillment in your work, or in running your own business, my special guest Helen Kho, has some very special guidance and inspiration for you today. She has a master's degree in change management, but decided after 15 years of optimizing company processes and implementing new systems to transition into a career as a coach and started her own business. Since then she has helped many professionals to discover what they truly desire, and to help them translate that into a new career. She's a trained life coach, and an NLP practitioner that stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. And she is passionate about personal development and helping others to make empowered choices. She very generously shares the lessons she's learned in her own career journey with us in this episode, and you're going to hear all the joy she was able to unlock along the way. It's a terrific episode. I'm very grateful to have had Helen on the show. Let's go listen to this episode now.

Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li, and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they can begin working to their potential. In this podcast, you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important, and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. 

Welcome to the Make Time for Success podcast. Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. Today I have my new friends and new colleague, Helen Kho on the show with us. She is a delight. I know that already. But I don't know that much about her career, her life's journey. And I can't wait to interview her with you all listening so that we get to know much more about her. Welcome to the show, Helen.

Helen Kho  2:34  
Thank you, Christine. And thank you for having me. It's such a delight to talk to you and get to know each other a little bit more.

Christine Li  2:40  
Yes, we had a lot of fun on the beach in Southern California. Just a few weeks ago, we had met at a conference, a business conference, and really connected right away. But we didn't have that much time to really get to know each other. Helen is a life coach who comes from the Netherlands and practices in the Netherlands, and just going to pass it on over to her so that she can tell us more about who she is what she does, and what she has to share with us today. Why don't you take the mic?

Helen Kho  3:12  
Thank you. Thank you, Christine. Yes, I am in the Netherlands. I am in Rotterdam actually. And I'm a life coach, I work with professionals who want to transition into a new career who have been in the same job for years. And they know they're not going to find the joy and fulfillment that they want. But they don't know what they actually do want and would really like and love to do. And so I help them to discover that about themselves and to actually take action into this new career. And so I help them to make that career transition. And I also work with business owners who wants to find or kind of remember what they're so passionate about. Because sometimes if we have a business and we run our business for several years, we sometimes tend to stick to doing the things that we are accustomed to do. And without considering that we grow and evolve. We have new wishes, new desires, and we need to change the way we to run our business. And it takes a little bit of you know, changing how we are and how we are showing up in our business. And if we forget about that, that means that we can sometimes feel like we're stuck in the business that we are running and so I help business owners to to make some changes in how they work so they can also find or kind of get back to the passion that they started off with when they started their business.

Christine Li  4:53  
Okay, a lovely explanation. And I hear the emphasis on Korea. Eating change and making sure that you stay conscious of the changes that might need to be made so that you're sure that you're getting the gratification, you can out of your work. How did you become interested in the area of change I saw on your bio, that you have a degree in change management?

Helen Kho  5:21  
Yes. So I had been working for 15 years and 12 and a half years I worked for in healthcare actually. And what I did was I did implementation of new software, I would kind of translate no government rules into what the organization needed to do to, you know, to make the changes they needed to make. And I really loved it for a long time. And I worked for an organization that was just delightful to work for. And I had created this huge feeling of loyalty and I never wanted to leave there. And until I got to work with a coach for the very first time, and in one of the sessions, I came to realize that I had been kind of bored for a while in my work without me realizing that and that realization on the spot with that coach was just, it was insightful, I once you see it, you cannot unsee it right. And so it was kind of shocking to me, because I was always telling my friends about how happy I was in my job and how I loved working there. And, and then I was there with that coach, and I was in tears realizing like, I'm not happy anymore in this job. And I haven't been for a while. But I had been, you know, kind of fooling myself that I was still fulfilled and, and happy with where I was. And once I realized that I started this search for what I really wanted. And it was hard, because I was always the person that could make the best out of anything. So whatever across my path, I would just take it on. And I would make something of that. And I would be really grateful of the things that I have. And then to suddenly ask the question, what do I really want? And what is it that I am missing? Obviously, it was a search for I don't know, several years, I tried to find out and figure out how to know, you know how I feel about things. Because normally I would go into my head like, oh, you know, that seems like a nice opportunity. Let's just take it on and see what happens. But now this time I was working for an organization that is so good, that has been so good to me, I didn't want to leave them for a job, I wasn't sure about that, that would kind of bring me the fulfillment that I was looking for, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't leaving just for a new job. It had to be like worth it to leave this beautiful organization. And so yeah, it took me a while to find out. But I then switched into, you know, coaching and helping other people to find their passion because I now knew what it took for someone who didn't know, you know what they wanted. And I had to find out kind of the hard and long way. And now I get to help people to do it a bit more easier and faster.

Christine Li  8:39  
Beautiful. I love this story. It's really a lovely story where you were happy and you did have fulfilment from your job, but it just kind of expired, as you I think got more and more skills and experience and put in your years there. And what a good stroke of luck that you decided to go into coaching. I'm wondering, was that a personal decision to find a coach? Or did your company support that or find that coach for you?

Helen Kho  9:10  
Yes, it was the company who was actually looking to find out if I would want to, you know, develop myself in that organization and maybe become a manager or something. And I was open to anything because I had already had that question in me like, there is something that I can do even better than what I'm doing now. And it didn't make sense to me because they were telling me you're doing such a great job. This is what you're good at. But I somehow knew it wasn't it. There was something else waiting for me. But my assumption was that it would be in that organization. And so when they asked me do you want to explore if you can become a manager? I said yes, I was open to To discover that and I did some tests, and in the test it said, like, oh, you can you do have capabilities to grow into that role. But there are also some things that you could work on. And one of the things was that I could be more assertive and more out there. And that's the reason why they said, Well, if you want to, we can hire a coach for you. And that coach was a really good coach. And so she noticed that I had a different question than just the question, you know, why? Why is it hard for me to be more assertive? She knew like, oh, but you do have a different question. I was like, no, no, no, but this is my employer kind of paying to find out this question. I don't want to put in my own personal question into this. And she said, No, but if you don't do that, it will not be a fulfilling trajectory for you. So please just ask you a question. And I said, Okay, I have this question. I want to find out what it is that I am really, really good at. I know, there is something out there that I need to do. I just don't know what it is. And so because that became like the second question in in my coaching program, I think after a couple of months, she just started asking me questions about how I felt in the organization that I was working for how I felt in my job. And then she had me kind of visualize how my kind of perfect day would look like if I was working. It gave me a visual that I could not explain to myself, it was at the beach, I was seeing myself with working with people and like moving around and being happy and feeling really free. And she would just move me from that spot. Like, where where I am right now, how do I feel about this job? And then go on to this other side of the room? And how do you feel there on the beach with the people and and then I started to feel things? And she would ask like, what do you need to go from here to there? And I said, I don't know, I don't know, I really don't know, I don't feel anything. And she would kind of let me go back and forth in the room until something just came up from very deep. And then the emotion started to come up. And I didn't understand because I didn't know it was there. And that my answer was I need to leave this organization and it got me crying. So that was the the moment and that is actually why I I think a year later, maybe two years later, I thought of coaching as the you know, the profession that I really would love to learn and help people with.

Christine Li  12:59  
That is beautiful. You make me think that you describe the crying that was part of your exploration journey. And I was thinking to myself crying is like the ultimate self assertion is that your your feelings cannot be held back anymore, as expressed in your tears. And I'm so grateful for you that you had this great coach and this great opportunity to really deeply and calmly explore what was inside and what was in your future. And I think that's a really somewhat rare opportunity or lucky opportunity. I hope it's less than less rare for our audience that you know, if you have some sort of feeling or nudge inside, that maybe this is the cue that you need to explore. You need to consider you need to maybe envision a brand new movie about your life and see how you feel about that movie. You're not required to change. But it is always interesting to see. Do I actually want change? Maybe that is something that I've been hiding from myself because of convenience because of somebody else's paying me because I've been here as long as I have I put in the years why would I leave and the idea in life is that it's a game and you can change the gameplay anytime you like really it's it's scary in a way but it's also the most amazing thing about this game. So it is

Helen Kho  14:31  
it is it is actually beautiful to kind of be open to discover more about yourself. You don't have that visual that image just you know for nothing it it has a reason there's a reason why you have something like that. There's a reason why you think something like that without being able to kind of explain things to yourself because we want to explain with our brain right, this is what I'm thinking This is why this is here. But sometimes you just know it to be true. And I had to learn that I am also an intuitive person. And I always thought like, I'm the brain person, I do everything with my brain. And I'm not as sensitive or as intuitive as other people that I know. But I think when when I started my coaching practice, the first coach that I hired for myself, I invested in an intuition coach, because I knew that I had more to learn about that side of me, and that I would be able to help myself better, but also help other people better if I would have more skills in that area. And she actually showed me that I learned that I am intuitive because she, she had these exercises, where she asked me to think back on three moments where I knew something that I could not explain. And then it turned out to be true, I turned out to be right about things. And doing that, amongst other exercises made me realize, like, I am intuitive. It's just that I wasn't aware of that. And I wasn't kind of trusting that enough. Because sometimes I would just ignore things. And when I discovered that I started to make decisions based on my intuition, a lot more than just on you know, what I could think of? And I don't know, explain for myself,

Christine Li  16:40  
I love this conversation, by the way, and you are making me think that it's likely that all of us have a pretty healthy, active intuition, part of ourselves, that part of us that is nudging us that is kind of indicating a preference, or whiff of danger, perhaps sometimes, but that maybe we're trained in childhood or beyond childhood to doubt our knowledge of it to stop trusting it completely. Or to be skeptical of our own wisdom. Do you feel that that is what you have to help your clients through that they have to reconnect with that part of themselves? That really does know things are going on?

Helen Kho  17:29  
Yes, because when when people are considering to make a transition in their career for work, there are so many factors that weighs on that decision to take this next step. So they are thinking about a mortgage that, you know, that needs to be paid. And then so when when you start asking questions about their desires, their brain just goes into like, that's not realistic. How can you make money doing that? Or, you know, how can I find a job where they would hire someone who has no experience at all. And so even before they start to explore, they already said to themselves that this is not realistic, we're not going to put time and energy into that. So let's just find something that where I have a better chance to find a job that would pay the bills as well and would be better than what I'm doing now. And so they go for a little bit better instead of like following their heart and just going for the thing they really want.

Christine Li  18:35  
And then when they do that, what are the symptoms? Or what are the side effects of that? I guess the the higher income of the the already pre made option? is a plus oftentimes for people, but then what do you find are the complaints of people who follow that path against their heart?

Helen Kho  18:58  
What I find is that they think they kind of made a transition into a little bit of a new career. So they find a new job somewhere else. And then two years later, they're in the same spot again, where they feel like, this is not it. This is actually more of the same. I have the same feelings as I had a couple of years ago. And and then they have that same question, what do I really want? And where do I start to explore that? And so for the exploration, if you really want to find out what it is that you want, we need to be open to let go for just a little while. Let go of the work experience you already have let go of any courses you've you've done and just let go of everything and just go back to what you feel while you're doing things. Where is your curiosity going? Where is it taking you and then follow that? Not too immediately, you know, find a job in that, but just to learn how to feel, and how to become aware of what that means to you, and then later on in your exploration, you can then find find out like, Oh, is it something that I would like to do for a living? And then you can find out in a next phase like, okay, so what are the possibilities in that and, and you can try to connect with people who are doing work in that space. And you can try and feel how that could work for you or not. And then you can make, you know, your choices in that. And so the things that people are doing in the beginning of their search, are actually the things that they should do later on. Because of course, you're going to make choices and use your brain power as well. It's not just about, you know, doing what you feel like doing, of course, you'd need to pay your rent or your mortgage and stuff like that. It's also important. But if you try to put in those factors in the beginning of your search, you would never know how to explore the things without all the limitations of, you know, the things that bring on fear, actually, of the unknown.

Christine Li  21:23  
You have such a wonderful way of speaking about these complicated dynamics, right, the dynamics of wandering and searching and being curious, and attempting something that goes against the grain and goes against experience, which is, again, part of life scheme. It's a wonderful, scary, beautiful opportunity that we all have to consider. Am I fulfilled? And if I'm not, what can I do? Where can I be? What can I envision to get more of a sense of fulfillment? That leads to my next question, which is when you help your clients to actually make that move that transition? What do you see in terms of how they're being how they're speaking? How they're thinking, how they're vibing? What do you notice?

Helen Kho  22:22  
Oh, a lot. No one's once they are actually taking action. To find out more about themselves, you can already see how that changes how they feel. Because when they start working with me, sometimes they feel really stuck in the job that they have. And they really don't know how to get out of that. But once they start to take action by for instance, they are exploring something that they're curious about, and they explore that in the weekends, and they do some activities just to experience and to see if that brings joy. Even that phase where they actually still don't know what they exactly are going to do with for their work and their living. They are more and more following the things that excite them, and more and more start to do the things that you know, make them happy. And once they have like a notion of what they really want to do, and they start to search for jobs, they start to reach out for people to connect, you see that they have more energy and more joy. And at the same time, things come up, where they have to kind of break with the habits that they have that haven't helped them to, you know, explore more. So they would maybe feel like all but does this person really want to talk to me about this job. And so doubts start coming up as well. And so you can also see why they have been stuck for so long. Because they have maybe like in my case, I had loyalty standing in my way to leave or to even think of something different than what I was doing. And I have a client who feels very guilty, just the thought that he would leave his team and go somewhere else would keep them doing the things that he has been doing. And so we have to work with that because you need to develop the skills to move beyond you know where you're at. And it's different for everyone what that is so for some people it's really scary to go networking to go to an event and meet new people and just start talking about that. You know, you are looking for something different and you don't exactly know what it is yet but you're just exploring it So I help them to overcome these obstacles that they have while they are taking their next steps. And, yeah, it's really it's a very beautiful journey, but sometimes challenging as well.

Christine Li  25:12  
Yes, I did two podcasts interviews yesterday. And I realized through the second interview, that I have a tendency to really see the positive kind of rainbow picture at the end of the story. And that's why I bring people on the show to share these success stories. But I was reminded by the second guessed that there are a lot of challenges along the way, and that it's not all a bed of roses, of course, but I'm here also to remind us that there are so many different rainbow stories, Rainbow outcomes, where you're actually generating the income, you're feeling fulfilled, you find like Helen, so beautifully says parts of you that you didn't know you were potentially good at, in making the efforts to find a new destination for yourself, that all of this is the good stuff. Yeah, even even the part that that feel really scary, like, you don't want to walk into the room of 120 people that you don't know in another country, like Helen just did when I met her. And I just want to fit in here that we did end up on the beach. So she did end up creating that movie vision of her life working and being flexible and walking a beautiful beach. And I'm just so glad I was there to meet her.

Helen Kho  26:41  
Thank you for reminding me of that. 

Christine Li  26:44  
You're very welcome. And thank you for reminding us that it is okay to consider our options that you can be loyal and you can leave. Yes. And that we don't have to box ourselves in because of habits that we just picked up along the first part of our life and career journey that there's so many different journeys and paths that we can take in the second part or later part of our lives. Yeah. So Helen, is there a tip that you could share with the person who is actually now shaking in their chair thinking, Oh, I've met this Helen COE woman. And she's made me think in a totally different way. I feel like crying, what would you say to that person.

Helen Kho  27:37  
I would like to remind someone or say to someone that we all can do and experience way more than we believe to be true. When I talked about my story, in the beginning, I was happy in my old job for a long time, and I was fulfilled. But there is a difference with how I am experiencing what I do now, with what I was experiencing then. But I didn't know that it was possible to feel the way I feel now. When I work now. I feel so driven and so grateful to be doing what I am doing right now. And I think like my challenge now is that I don't work all the time, because I just love what I do. Right. And even though I had a lot of joy and fulfillment in the job I had then when the moment came that I felt like something was missing. There was a feeling of I felt guilty about feeling that because I felt guilty that as if I wasn't grateful. And so if if you are now stuck in a situation where you feel like I cannot take a next step, just know that you can because there are so many possibilities every day you can make a new choice and it doesn't need to be like this huge next step it can be a small choice, just to maybe to talk with someone who has done what you want to do who has taken a step and just changed their career or just reach out to someone who can help you to navigate you know your situation and and make changes small changes and if you are able to take these next little steps you can build momentum to make even bigger steps because you will grow the confidence that you can actually influence what it is that you want to do and have the outcome that you desire.

Christine Li  29:51  
Thank you so much Helen. We've gotten ladies and gentlemen a masterclass in life change and career change. So thanks Thank you so much for bringing all the value today and bringing your lovely personality and wisdom and intuition. Today onto the show. I know that you have a very special offer for our listeners, anyone who might want to work with you, could you describe what the offer entails?

Unknown Speaker  30:19  
Well, the offer is actually a focus session, we get together on Zoom, and we talk about your personal situation. So if you feel stuck, and you you just don't know how to get out of that, and you would like to know, if I could help you or you would like to know what you could do as a next step, to create change and in your personal situation, that you could book your focus session, it is free, and we get some time together. And you will come out of that having more clarity around, you know, what it is that you need, and what action steps you could take to create change that you want. So you can go to, and you can book your free focus session. Right there.

Christine Li  31:12  
Okay, great. Could you repeat that link? Just so that we make sure they have it?

Unknown Speaker  31:16  
Yes. So it's So Kho Works. That's K H O works.

Christine Li  31:26  
Okay, beautiful. I will have that information in the show notes, as well. Thank you so much for that very generous, and amazing offer. I would encourage our listeners to go jump on that one. And I want to say thank you, Helen. I look forward to being friends and colleagues for the rest of time. And I just appreciate knowing you. Thank you for your time today.

Helen Kho  31:47  
Thank you. Thank you for having me, Christine. It was lovely.

Christine Li  31:52  
All right, my friends, we are off to do another week of working and making time for success and living our best lives. And I look forward to seeing you back here next Thursday, when a new episode drops on the Make Time for Success podcast. Bye! 

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Make Time for Success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. We'll talk to you soon.

Transcribed by

Helen KhoProfile Photo

Helen Kho

Helen helps people to discover their passion and to make choices in their career and business to follow their heart. She has a master's degree in Change management but decided after 15 years of optimizing company processes and implementing new systems to transition into a career as coach and started her own business. Since then, she has helped many professionals to discover what they truly desire and help them translate that to a new career. She's a trained life coach and NLP practitioner and is passionate about personal development and helping others to make empowered choices.