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  • Writer's pictureCaroline King

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Have you ever thought about the number of roles and personas you have taken on over the years? And if you have, whether those have been forced upon on you, willingly embraced or handcrafted by you.

Reflecting recently on the past five years alone, I realised how much of a journey I had been on. On the personal front I have gone from wife to divorcee; co-parent to single mum and back to co-parenting; dating to finding my soul mate and becoming a step-mum, gaining two young boys who lost their own mum a few years ago.

On a professional front, it is fair to say that my career was always something I allowed to define me. I was used to success in the classroom and I brought that determined and high achieving attitude to the workplace. Always hard working, loyal and striving for the best results, I thrived in a corporate environment and my career took off. I am so lucky to have enjoyed over 17 years in one job. A place where I went from entry level to a leader with influence and skills that people could benefit from every day. A business that grew merged and changed significantly. During my time there I grew up. I left home, bought my first house, gained my lifelong best friend, got engaged, married, became a mum and so on.

Last year, for a range of mainly personal and some professional reasons, I left the job and organisation I loved. I decided to retrain and leave a life of stable employment to become a business owner doing something totally different. Shifting from a Head of Communications to a self-employed financial planner is not a regular career change. But I am not a regular person and have a strong vision for how I want my life to be that has guided me every step of the way. Even on one hideous Friday last year when I turned up three hours late for a tax exam.

I was bought into learning tons of new knowledge and embracing a new sector (and culture). I was excited at the possibilities of owning my own business. I could not wait to spend more time at home with my partner and our combined brood.

In hindsight those things were easy compared to the personal transformation I have been on. My sense of identity and purpose has changed several times. I have been up and down the change curve. I have learned a lot about myself.

In recent months, against a backdrop of lockdown, here are my key takeaways.

I love being with and around people. However enforced solitude has brought a new inner peace with a much smaller circle around me.

I have not missed shopping at all. I also hate food shopping. And I still find every excuse in the book to avoid the ironing.

I am a terrible primary school teacher that has resented having to learn a ‘new’ way of multiplying and dividing. What was wrong with the way I was taught in the 80’s?

I did not know what had hit me when my business was grounded after 11 weeks and the prospect of no income for many months was scary and upsetting.

I have adored daily walks and exploring my local area with fresh eyes, hungry for woodland, flowers and paths that twist and turn.

I realised that the main thing throwing me out of alignment was missing my old creative career and feeling I had lost the ‘Caroline’ way of doing things. That is a way that rails against process of any kind. I was also used to expressing myself through writing which I did every day for almost two decades. I went from a pantone obsessed, sharpie wielding communicator to a stranger in a new world overnight.

My epiphany came a few weeks ago. I realised that it was possible to apply the old Caroline way of doing things to my new career. That realisation provided immediate inner peace.

Creating this blog is one of the first steps in channelling my creative energy into the latest iteration of Caroline.

I will be writing about family life, the insanity of having three boys aged 11 and under in the house, the life of a self-employed woman in business, the lessons I learn from those around me, snippets about my childhood and a whole load of other reflections and inspirations linked to my new business and the world around me.

I hope you enjoy my journey.

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram @KingsandCubs

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  • Writer's pictureCaroline King

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

What does connection mean to you? Brene Brown describes it as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they can derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.

My work as a financial planner is all about making connections. I am passionate about helping people make the best financial decisions for them. That is only possible when I can connect and click with somebody. There is no better feeling than sitting down with a client or professional connection that is on the same wavelength as me, feeling the trust and connection build throughout our meeting.

It can be hard for people to talk about money. Nobody wants to be sold products with 50-page booklets issued with them. Nor do they want to sort through paperwork that is stored in one of those special drawers we all have for important stuff we hope to never have to look at again.

In my experience, people are much more comfortable talking about the problems they face and having somebody they like and trust to help them unpick their issues and work with them to build solutions.

The events of recent months have made everybody reconsider the aspects of life they value, those they are glad to see the back of and cement in their minds the plans and goals they hold most dear. Seeing family and friends, going on holiday and not being a slave to work in future cropping up every day with the people I speak to. For business owners, having enough of a back-up plan to continue to operate against the odds and fathoming how to appear professional on Zoom when you are simultaneously teaching long division. Sound familiar?

Daily life was turned on its head a few months ago and with it, business plans and family adventures stopped in their tracks. Realists will say that this is just the start of a topsy-turvy world where tales of the unexpected will become more commonplace.

That brings me neatly back to those problems I mentioned a few minutes ago. We all know somebody in business that cannot pivot. What a word. If you can do it, you will be quoting the pivot word wherever you go. If you cannot, it is an eye roller in a five-letter word.

We also know people who are furloughed, some of whom have genuinely loved time out with pay whereas others are terrified that their time at home might soon become more permanent and the things that matter most to them could be put at risk.

We have friends and family who have been ill or are concerned about their health and wellbeing and others who are isolated and lonely because of the impact of Covid-19. I defy anybody to say they have not been affected and had a sleepless night or two since Spring. Every day there is a new announcement and uncertainty that we cannot control.

Why is this relevant? It is those real-life situations, concerns, worries and things that might keep you awake at night that are bread and butter for somebody like me. Last week I spoke to a prospective client who said they were interviewing a few financial advisors but were not sure how to select the right person to help them. Here is what I said to. Choose the person you are comfortable having a cup of tea with and opening up to; the one who will always have your best interests at heart; the one who will willingly give their time to get to know you and explain things in a way that works for you; the one who would be happy knowing that you are better placed to make decisions that could change your life because you were listened to and cared for. That is what making a connection is all about for me.

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  • Writer's pictureCaroline King

Updated: Aug 16, 2020

Last week I was reunited with a school friend I had not seen for 25 years. We reconnected during an online Networking event, subsequent 121 and then met for coffee and took a trip down memory lane. Meeting Kerry and recalling the spirited schoolgirls we were got me thinking about our respective journeys, never more than 15 miles apart but entirely unconnected until two weeks ago.

I reflected on how some people remain in your life for the long haul whereas others drift back in and out, as though a higher force is sending them or you on a different adventure for a while. And how new people suddenly enter from the side of the stage and you realise immediately that they will be amongst the special ones long-term.

I decided that this was the week I would reach out to some people who have been lynchpins at different points in my life, but I’ve not seen nearly enough of, mainly because real life has got in the way. I have loved giggling with nursery mum friends, meeting my best friend for lunch, arranging a socially distanced stroll in the park, hearing from a very good friend who reminded me that I’m still one of them (our old friendship group) and exchanging messages with my old desk-mate who I literally grew up with in my old job. That is just the start of it as I am on a roll now.

Life is busy, chaotic and routines seem to have gone south. But people, friendships and bonds are enduring. Do not let a lack of time get in the way of reminding somebody that just thinking about them makes you smile and how they will always occupy a special space in your heart.

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