“There are many motivational speakers on the circuit who leave behind them just a short lived glow and then there are the subject matter pragmatic, passionate presenters who can potentially change the long term way their audience thinks or operates. I’d put Andy Lopata in the latter category. ”
Trevor Salomon – Director, Corporate Marketing, IFS
“Andy's 'The Networking Mindset' networking event was fascinating. I've been to loads of networking events over the years which are always full of people who don't quite know why they're there.... myself included. ”
Nicholas Harkin, Head of Risk & Governance at Close Brothers Retail Finance
“It is great to work with a speaker like Andy who really wants to understand the audience he speaks to and tailors his content to them. ”
Galina Lebedeva, Education & Events Senior Co-ordinator, Wella UK & Ireland
“Wherever I go, Andy is held in very high regard and I can personally endorse him as someone who is easy to do business with, professional and also great to work with. ”
Phil Jones MBE, Managing Director, Brother UK
“'Networking' as a topic can often seem forced... about tools and techniques to 'work a room' or 'get noticed' - Andy's take on it in this talk was so far removed from the glib truisms we've all heard before. ”
Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing
“I would not be exaggerating in saying that last night was the most well received and successful event YEN London has had in over two years. ”
Jairo Jaramillo - Chairman, London Young Engineers Network
“I have already received three emails and two telephone calls from attendees who have expressly advised that as a direct result of the presentation they will without doubt be changing the way in which they network. A huge success. ”
Michael Strawbridge, Head of Member Services, Learning and Performance Institute
“At each stage of the event from planning to delivery to follow up, Andy’s approach was extremely impressive. He spent time at the outset understanding us, the way we work and our key objectives and this continued with discussions with us in the run up to the event to shape the session to our needs. ”
Andrew Kelly, Director Human Capital Services, BDO llp
“There is a handful of people who I would consider really an expert in networking, and Andy is one of the few people on that list. ”
Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder and CEO, BNI
“Andy, thanks again for making our Balance HK event a huge success. The audience gave you their undivided attention and you could hear a pin drop when you were speaking. I have never witnessed that before, with a room of 170+ people! ”
Maggie Suttie, Chair Balance Network, HSBC Hong Kong
“The feedback we received from members was overwhelmingly positive, making it one of the best sessions we had all year. ”
Aileen Parsons, Relationship Manager - Strategic Client Services, Paypal
“Andy is an energetic presenter who quickly captured our audience's attention. The content of his presentation was excellent and fostered lively commentary and questions. We will definitely have Andy back for another session and are looking for other ways to partner with him. ”
Jennifer Rademaker, Head of Strategy Development Europe, MasterCard
“It was the best talk I’ve ever been to. Loved the content, pacing, delivery, structure. Your message was very memorable (imparting that much information can leave listeners forgetting what was said) and you managed the balance between substance, detail and memorability well. ”
Rebecca Aguilar, BBC Worldwide
“Andy’s style suited our company values perfectly as it is very much based around letting people learn at their own pace and be part of the sessions instead of just being presented to. There was a mixture of experience, job roles, nationalities and seniority in the room and Andy ensured that everyone felt this training was directed at them, such is his way with words. ”
Robert Kenward, Global Development Director, Banks Sadler
“Andy worked with my business partner and me for a number of months as a referral and networking coach. Our business has demonstrably grown due to the new techniques and skills learned through working with Andy. ”
Dan Hall, Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch
“I would recommend Andy to come and spend time with any team that wants to maximize the time of its busy people out in the market ”
Tomas Freyman, Partner, Valuations. BDO llp
“As a direct result of Andy’s workshop, we are now implementing a “networking strategy” that is aligned to supporting our key business goal. Andy’s advice/insights have made me re-think all my customer interactions and even in the short term I am getting results. ”
Adam Newman, Health Outcomes Consultant, GSK
“Andy certainly made a difference on how I normally approach / perceive events such as this. ”
Ann Azzopardi, Category Buying Manager, Pret a Manger
“"I was captivated by Andy's insightful and thought-provoking workshop. You could feel the energy in the room at the end. Several people commented that the event had changed their lives!" ”
Miranda Abraham, Chair, Women in Banking and Finance
“In the three months since Andy delivered his sessions, I've noticed a clear change in the approach taken by everyone who participated. We have already received a number of referrals as a result. ”
Andy O'Sullivan, Head of Sales - Hospitality, Wembley Stadium
“In the pre-event correspondence, you were the most professional speaker we’ve ever had. By asking great questions as you did, it helped to make us more professional event organisers. ”
Jackie Barrie, Co-President, Professional Speaking Association South East England
“I found the session with Andy really interesting and helpful. It offered a different perspective to development sessions I have been to before and it made me really think about how I was positioning myself at work and what I needed to be doing differently. ”
Tori Henderson, Senior Public Policy Manager HSBC
“The feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to run the training in other offices in EMEA. ”
Astrid Huijssoon, Senior Marketing Manager Cross Border Trade - PayPal CEMEA
“Not only my individual life has had a total makeover after I met Andy, as a result of my personal improvement, the networks that I lead are now making a much bigger impact in the society. I can never thank Andy enough and would highly recommend him any time without hesitation. ”
Ruth Lau, Central Marketing, HSBC Private Bank
“Andy has successfully elevated networking into more of a strategic arena ...................rather than it just being a "skills" thing. ”
Phil Jesson, Director of Speaker Development Academy for Chief Executives
“Andy's enthusiastic and interactive presentation at our National conference was very much appreciated by all and his series of workshops for my leadership team has been put to significant positive use. ”
Shona MacDonald, Business Director UK & Ireland, Wound Care. Molnlycke Health Care
“Andy is really engaging and left the audience wanting more which is a rarity when you work in Finance! He is extremely professional and personable and it felt like Andy really knew the topics and had researched the audience. ”
Nicola Hradek, Co-Chair HSBC Balance Employee Network
“Andy Lopata is a true role model for any aspiring professional speaker in my view ”
Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking
“Several people were surprised to find out that Andy didn’t work in our sector as he related his knowledge so well and confidently, which was key to getting the audience to buy into his advice. ”
Suzanne Rowse, Director, British Boarding Schools Workshop
“Andy has a can do and flexible attitude and is happy to develop and shape the content in line with the clients changing needs. Feedback from participants on Andy's workshops has been consistently very positive. ”
Una Murphy, Manager BBC Careerlink
“The process to gaining the right referrals does not happen overnight, but executing Andy’s strategy into your daily business routine will lead to referral success. ”
Tom Price LLB DipPFS Hodgson Wealth Management

Stuck in a Rut? Two Simple Steps to Finding a Career Path That Makes You Shine

 

I caught up recently with a client and friend to whom I've become close over the last few years. This friend is in a rut where she works and is ready for a change of scenery. The problem is, she doesn't know what that change looks like. 

Then this afternoon I've been looking back at the responses to a survey I sent out to readers of my Connecting is not Enough e-zine earlier this year. In response to a question about the biggest business or career challenge I might be able to help with, one respondent said, 'finding my direction/niche'.  

Does that sound familar? It may well do. Even if you don't recognise yourself in that description, it may well remind you of a family member, close friend or even a colleague.

It's a common issue, many people find themselves in a career through accident more than design. Even if it is the career they planned upon, circumstances and passions change throughout our lives. 

So many of us find ourselves doing what may be a good job but not feeling fulfilled in doing it. 

What do you do when you find yourself in this situation?

One thing that many people fail to do is turn to their wider network for new ideas. You might turn to people in your industry who you trust and in whose opinion you have faith, but that is often the limit of the support we request. 

And by not asking, we miss out on ideas that would never otherwise occur to us. 

The first step is to have the confidence to be honest with your network and admit that you don't know if you're on the right track. We tend to be so obsessed by 'looking good' that we worry about revealing any chink in our armour. When I was speaking with my friend she told me that she couldn't ask her network for advice because "we are brought up in business to show that we know the answers and by now I should be clear about the direction in which I'm going".

Such a restricting belief is very damaging to long term prospects. My friend knows that she wants to change career but, without the confidence to ask for external input', she's stifling her progress. Some months after she first mentioned this to me, it's still a seed of an idea in her mind. She needs to feed and nurture it with the help of others.

Perhaps this belief that we should know our career path by a certain age comes from the culture of a previous generation. When I entered the workforce many years ago (I feel so old!), talk was of a 'job for life'. In fact I joined the ultimate 'job for life' organisation, the UK's Civil Service, where there were people on my team who had been in their job longer than I had been alive! 

In such a culture it's perfectly understandable that you'd be expected to know where your career was heading by a relatively young age. That's not the world we live in now though. People are as likely to enjoy 'portfolio careers' as they are to find themselves in a 'job for life'. Change is no longer the shock it was when I quit my civil service job. And stimuli for change are all around us. 

So it's ok to feel comfortable sharing with people around you and asking for help. If necessary, make sure that you build a trusted network of people you feel happy confiding in and being completely open and vulnerable with. 

Secondly, we need to create a way to open our minds to all of the opportunities that lie ahead of us. Asking people in the same industry, same role or with the same background will lead to the same responses. So make sure that your trusted network comes from a diverse range of backgrounds and drop your guard. Nothing should be 'out of bounds' at this stage. Let ideas come your way that you would never have imagined left to your own devices. 

I suggested three key questions for my friend to consider: 

1 - What is she good at? 

2 - What does she enjoy doing? 

3 - What environment is she happiest in? 

By answering these questions yourself, you would be able to draw up a list of specificiations of your ideal job. What would you be doing, with whom and where? Would you be desk bound or out and about? Is travel a necessity or do you want regular hours and a predictable commute? And what are your key skills?

Once you have the answers to these questions, share them with your network. Ask them what jobs look like this in their world? All of a sudden, new ideas will spring up, opportunities that you never dreamt existed. The ideas you have for your future career are predicated on your own experiences of the world, your own view of what different jobs look like. Invite other people's perspective and that world view can change dramatically.

If you're stuck in a rut, it means that you have run out of ideas yourself to identify the way forward. That doesn't mean that the answer doesn't exist, it means that it lies within your network. The combination of faith in the people around you with an openness to consider all options will open the doors to new opportunities and bright new horizons. 

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