I admit it.
My dream was always to live abroad, dive into a new culture and earn my living. As soon as I completed my A-levels I hopped on a plane to Dublin (Ireland) with nothing but an oral job-offer as investigator for an international bank in my pocket.
Yes, my dream seemed to be coming true, but I soon realized that the time I spent discussing Macbeth at school left me totally unprepared for things like speaking English in business. I had to learn a lot of new skills like
· how to talk about the tasks in my job
· how to survive an assessment centre in English
· how to make small talk
· how to discuss different issues with customers and colleagues politely and diplomatically
· how to negotiate
· how to get used to a completely different corporate culture.
And then there was the culture shock which kicked in after one month. I was truly frustrated and wondered if my dream would remain a dream and I might just take the next plane and return to Germany.
I needed a mindset shift to thrive in my career in English
As much as I struggled, I was still curious about learning all about the new culture and also learning all the new skills I needed for my job. This gave me the motivation to work hard; not to care about how my bad English might sound to others and practice, practice, practice; laugh about myself when I made a mistake in English like having a “date” with my hairdresser (instead of an appointment) etc.
And things got better.
After 4 months I was settled in my job, enjoyed my life in Dublin and learned a lot in my job which later became the basis for my current job.
Sure, I was living in a foreign country which made learning the language easier - but still I needed the courage to open my mouth and speak. And also reveal my accent.
So, what helped me make my dream come true? And how can you do the same?
Curiosity, courage and learning new skills will help you reach your language goal and create a better career.
How to shift your mindset
Be curious: although you might have a stressful job there are a lot of things that spark curiosity. E.g. similarity between words, how to say things differently etc.
Learn new skills: learn how to make small talk properly in English or how to discuss issues politely and diplomatically. It is a lot of fun and will make your job easier.
Courage: find your courage and don’t be afraid to speak up in business situations even though you might have an accent and make mistakes. It is much better than staying quiet and create an uncomfortable atmosphere.
If you start working on these three mindset shifts right away, I'm sure you'll find your confidence much faster. Your English might never be 'perfect' academic English, but you may realize you can focus on the real-life business English skills you'll need to create a better career...and start living the life you've always dreamed of.
So, what are your dreams for the future?
Job security, moving up the career ladder, job satisfaction, a pay-rise etc.?
Leave me a comment. I’d love to read your thoughts.
Warm wishes, Petra