How the Smartest People are Self: Coaching, Directing and Leading Themselves Into a New Role 

In a New Industry or a New Way of Working – Freelance or Setting up in Business 

Photo by Matt Ridley on Unsplash

Part 2 of this story focuses on the ‘How’. Part 1 of this story focuses on the ‘Why’.Click here to read yesterday’s story: Why the Smartest People are Self: Coaching, Directing and Leading Themselves into a New Role.

The exercise Millie had carried out evaluating her current role and company reinforced that the most important aspect for her in her WorkLife is continuous learning, development and growth. It also brought about the realisation that, as it stood, her current role and company wouldn’t deliver on those wants and needs.

Evaluating a role and company that piqued her interests in line with how she wants to learn, develop and grow in her WorkLife, brought about the realisation that she needed to move towards a new way of working. She wasn’t sure, yet, if that meant a similar or different role in her current industry, a similar or different role in a new industry, or establishing herself as a freelancer, working across industries, in similar or different roles. She was open to discovering that by building on her strategy to self-coach, self-direct, self-lead, then following through on the actions required.

Millie really loved what she had discovered about ‘ABC’ company, but currently, because of the pandemic, there weren’t any positions available. Being in the travel industry, Millie knew it would take time for things to get moving again — both for the company to get back up and running and for people to start travelling freely again.

Adopting a self-coaching approach, Millie considered how she could continue to learn, grow and develop while she was still furloughed from her job at the hotel. In a way that would guide her through the period of transition, she knew would, in time, take place — a time when she could get back to work.

Reviewing the job description for the role at ‘ABC’ company, Millie recognised that because of how her learning, development and growth had stagnated in her role at the hotel. She was not up to speed with this requirement:

What will you be doing as a Marketing and PR Professional at ‘ABC’ company.

Writing stories that communicate the key messages of our organisation — That travel is vitally important to the world. Telling these stories on behalf of our clients to inspire people to visit new places and enjoy new experiences.

Millie excelled at writing stories, but because she hadn’t been given an opportunity to do this in her current role, she needed to get back up to speed with her ability.

She adopted a self-directing approach in doing this. She built a portfolio of work that was free from external control and constraint. After all, she was doing this for herself, which meant she could do it from a place of individualism coming from an independent mind, without intervening factors or intermediaries.

Millie adopted a self-leadership approach to her next steps. It was several months later when the world began opening up again. She was brought back to work at the hotel two days a week and was required to work from home the remaining days. Millie knew she needed to bide her time before she could move her WorkLife in the direction she wanted and needed to, to honour her learning, development, and growth wants and needs.

Millie knew the travel industry still had a long way to go to get back the serving their clients as they had done before the pandemic because freedom of travel was still restricted. But this didn’t deter her from approaching ‘ABC’ company, letting them know how what they did, and how they did it — i.e. the culture of the company, really impressed her. She expressed an interest in working with them should an opportunity arise. She included her portfolio of stories by way of introducing them to her work and her ability to write stories that drew people in, from a place of piquing their interest to want to learn more.

To her surprise, she received a response immediately, letting her know that because of the current situation with the travel industry, they weren’t recruiting for permanent positions, nor would they be in the foreseeable future, but they were beginning to recruit freelance writers, and if that was of interest to get in touch.

It was, and she did. It took just a few weeks for her first assignment to come through. Travel to Ireland was the one county that had remained pretty free throughout the pandemic. Millie was asked to write a story about places of interest to visit in Ireland. That wasn’t difficult for Millie because her mother was Irish, and she had holidayed there many times over the years. When they had visited, they had spent time with their family, who were scattered around the country, and so, Millie had lots of knowledge and experiences to draw upon in crafting her story. ‘ABC’ company loved her work, and soon she had her next assignment, which involved a trip to Spain — a country that it was now OK to travel to, to research her story about ‘Travel in Covid times’.

After that, more and more work began to trickle through. Not enough to financially sustain Millie, yet, but enough for her to stop working full-time at the hotel. She approached her manager to work part-time — she also approached other hotels for freelance work (as a back-up plan). She figured this was the industry she knew, and because she was now working with a new industry, that for now, this would probably be as much learning, development and growth, she could manage in her WorkLife. Her manager actually said yes! This was because things were very slow at the hotel, and they were considering making Millie’s job redundant. In fact, this is what they did. Millie’s role was made redundant, and then one month later, she was brought back into the company as a freelancer.


This was a win/win for everyone, really. For the hotel, because Millie understood the business, and so was up to speed immediately in delivering in her work. And for Mille, because that work was now writing stories to sell the hotel to old and new clients, to get people through the doors, once again.

And that’s the story of how Millie took control of her WorkLife in times of uncertainty. How she self-coached, self-directed, and self-led her learning, development, and growth wants and needs to establish a new way of working as a freelancer, serving clients’ needs in her existing and new industry.

Millie shares these:

Words Of Wisdom:

“If I can do it, so can you.”

She encourages you to self-coach, self-direct, and self-lead your Worklife towards a new way of working by working through the:

Three Steps to Self: Coach, Direct and Lead Your WorkLife Through Times of Uncertainty Assignment:

You will need to access the: Two Steps to Self: Coach, Direct and Lead Your WorkLife Through Times of Uncertainty Assignment you’ve completed. It was part of yesterday’s story: Why the Smartest People are Self: Coaching, Directing and Leading Themselves Into a New Role.

Step 1: Begin by adopting a self-coaching approach.

Review the job description that piqued your interest. Identify an area where you are not up to speed, and do whatever you need to do to get up to speed with this. i.e. for Millie, she wasn’t up to speed with her story writing abilities — so she set about doing this through:

Step 2: Begin by adopting a self-directing approach.

Follow through on the actions you need to take, free from external control and constraint. i.e. for Millie, she focused on writing her stories from a place of individualism coming from an independent mind, without intervening factors or intermediaries.

Step 3: Begin by adopting a self-leadership approach.

All of the steps you have taken so far will have given you a developed sense of who you are, and what you can do. Now you need to communicate that. i.e. for Millie, this was approaching ‘ABC’ company to tell them why she wanted to work with them, and in sharing her work, she demonstrated why she believed she was a good fit.

Good luck!


As a WorkLife Learning Practitioner and Writer, I create learning programmes and resources to help people manage, develop and transition their WorkLives in good, challenging and bad times.

The focus of my work begins by helping people identify a WorkLife path that’s true to their core values, purpose, and motivation. This is followed through by creating meaningful short and long-term WorkLife plans while enabling self-coaching, self-directing, and self-leadership to drive these plans.

I bring you stories created from questions and answers drawn from WorkLife lessons. What I’m trying to do is to highlight different solutions, to provide you with a pathway so that even if a particular story doesn’t apply to you, you understand there is a path to follow.

Whatever you want to do, there is a clear path to it, and once you understand those steps, it becomes much more intuitive, and hopefully, it motivates you to get started. Because that’s what you need most, the motivation to get started. The motivation to follow your vision.

My book, Your WorkLife Your Way, focuses on helping you live your best WorkLife by managing your learning, development and growth, through effective self-feedback, insightful questions and the ability to shape and tell your unique story. Click on the title to see a preview of what’s inside the book.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.