Sit back and enjoy the reading of our Expand member Tina de Plaa and her insights about finding your direction.


Tina de Plaa is a licensed psychologist and owner of de Plaa Psykologi, a private practice in
Stockholm. Her practice focuses on coaching clients to find their direction in life and to build skills
to reach a more personal fulfilment. Tina is also a consultant, offering one-on-one support to
private companies. Together with Hanna Delby, she is hosting Lyckopusslet podcast.
Instagram: @deplaapsykologi
Contact information:

Why being clear about what matters will help create your dream career
Here’s the thing that every single one of us struggle with; when we start to take steps towards a
new direction in our lives we will trigger difficult emotions and thoughts.
Why is it that such an exciting and positive situation can cause a lot of discomfort and trigger self-
doubt? The answer is that our brains are wired to think in terms of ”safety first”. We get
uncomfortable thinking about putting ourselves in new situations that create uncertainty. When we
start doing something new our brain is sending us ”warning signals” to stop us from taking these
meaningful or important steps. Warning signals such as doubt, negative thoughts or a feeling of
anxiety or worry. The brain wants us to play it safe.

If we listen too much to these warning signals, we might get stuck in the ”missing-out -on-life-
zone”, where we just keep doing the same old thing as we always have been.
We can’t get rid of all of the emotions and thoughts that arise when we do something new because
this is how our brains are wired to secure our survival. Instead we have to set up a clear direction
for ourselves that we continue to follow even though we experience moments of doubt.
So let’s take a moment to think about your career. How would you like to grow professionally?
When looking back at your career later in life, what would you like to see that you focused on?
Take a moment to finish the following sentence:
In my career, I want to be…

Hopefully you could think of a few qualities you would like to have. Maybe you want to be brave,
creative or curious in your career?
The qualities you would like to strive towards are what we in psychology call values. We can use
our values to set up a direction for ourselves to make our lives more rewarding, thriving and
meaningful. Values are also about what’s important for you in your career. Is it important for you to
have flexibility? To be able to give back to society? Or to build relationships and connect with

Values differ from goals. Goals are things you would like to reach or have in the future, such as ”I
want x amount of money in my savings account” or ”I want to have my own company”. Values on
the other hand, is something you can move towards no matter if you reached your goals or not. For
instance you can always take steps toward giving back to society regardless of owning your own
company or not. And you can always take steps towards being curious and creative, regardless of
if you have your dream role at work or not.

In your entrepreneurship, focus on taking the steps you need in order to get closer to what’s
important to you and how you would like to be professionally. Be aware of the difficult emotions
and thoughts that arise and take that step anyway. By focusing on our values rather than listening

to the brains warning signals, we are able to shift focus to the things that are in our control; the
ability to act like the sort of person we want to be. That is a way of empowering yourself.
Let your values be your guide and put your energy in taking that step, rather than focusing on the
possible outcome. When focusing too much on the possible outcome, we are actually
disempowering ourselves. That is because we can never guarantee what the outcome might be. It
is simply out of our control. The only thing that is totally within our control is our own actions.

When acting in line with our values, we can walk away from the situation with a feeling of being
true to ourselves and that we take steps towards living our life to the fullest. We can ensure that we
connect with the meaningful and important things in life on a daily basis, no matter if you have
reached your professional goals or not. And that mindset will help create a more
inspirational,rewarding and meaningful career.

Curious on how you can set up your own professional or personal direction in life? de Plaa
Psykologi offers coaching specialised in helping clients find their values and direction in life. Please
don’t hesitate to reach out to de Plaa Psykologi if you want to get started!


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