I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my career and what’s helped me get through some difficult periods. A recent interview for a LinkedIn Live got me thinking more deeply about what keeps us all strong, and specifically how I deal with challenges, change and setbacks.

I still remember getting my first Saturday job at the Gateway supermarket in Stretford Precinct, over 35 years ago, I thought I was so grown up.  I worked all-day Saturday and did 2.5 hours on a Thursday evening, I loved it.  I worked on the fruit and veg aisle, not the most glamorous, but I loved being able to mark down the veg at the end of day for the OAPs that were regulars later on. I still remember the random smell from the boxes of bananas, it has a name you know – isoamyl acetate!

Little did I know that I would only work there for a month before the demise of Gateway when I got my first knockback and was laid off – I was gutted!  I clearly remember going out the next Saturday around the Arndale Centre in Manchester to try and find another job, which I did and started my induction the same day!  The new job was in a children’s wear shop called Top 12. Unfortunately, that didn’t end well either when one of the managers ran off with a whole day’s takings just before Christmas!

Again, I went out and got myself another Saturday job, this time in Lewis’s in Manchester.  The iconic store which is now the anchor Primark, it used to be over 5 floors.  I absolutely loved it.  Working in the Haberdashery department with a lovely Irish lady called Kelly.

I loved the chat and gossip of the big store and will never forget Mr Walminington, he was just like John Humphries from are you being served!  I was fortunate to get extra hours over the summer holidays and I stayed working there through the first year of my YTS. I cut my teeth in retail and gained some great life skills, and it’s where I developed my passion for people.

My dad always says that no matter what is thrown at me I always come back fighting stronger. I take this attitude with everything in my life.  I see challenges as opportunities and this mindset has supported me throughout my corporate career.

We all have choices when faced with setbacks and I choose to grow, develop and learn, our mindset shapes our beliefs in accomplishing something.  I used this philosophy to see me through the first lockdown early last year when my business largely stopped temporarily. I used the time to get my workplace resilience and wellbeing (Wraw) practitioner’s accreditation, CIPD Diploma and ACTP and ACC coaching accreditation with Barefoot.   I was also able to help a number of people through a very challenging year with my pro-bono coaching. I delivered a series of free resilience and wellbeing webinars for businesses to the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and Business Peak District, where I am a Board Member.

Know yourself and know when to ask for help – build a solid network in work and out and don’t be afraid to ask for support. Networking is an essential skill in our ever-changing business world. Knowing how to connect with others and build lasting professional relationships will help you in your professional and personal endeavors. Whether you are looking for a job or simply want to explore more opportunities for growth in your current work, networking will help you achieve your goals.

Values – make sure you’re living your values and working to your strengths – these are natural motivators. Don’t take yourself too seriously and try and have some fun.  By creating space for personal values in business, you can build a business that is effective, profitable and deeply committed to the well-being and integrity of those around you.