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Maite Baron

7-Steps to open up new horizons for financial sector professionals



By Maite Barón, CEO, The Corporate Escape™

It’s been a tough year for many in the banking sector. You may have taken a ‘hit’ yourself already, or with more redundancies in the pipeline, are worried that you soon will.

But whichever side of the corporate door you’re standing on at the moment, a summer break at least offers a temporary respite in an uncertain world and an invaluable opportunity to recharge the batteries … so you can ‘get back in the ring’ on your return.

However, approached from a different angle, holidays can offer much more than this – in fact they can be a catalyst for major personal and professional change, and this is why.

Annual vacations are unique in that they provide an unparalleled opportunity to disconnect from our current lives and, for a week or two, to walk in an alternative universe, where the long hours, the grinding commute and the never-ending stress of the corporate environment can, at least to some extent, be forgotten.

Consequently, holidays can be a time of reassessment and reflection that could lead to change, that in turn could open doors to an altogether more fulfilling and rewarding life … but only if you grasp the opportunity.
So here is a seven-step plan that you can use to make your holiday your springboard to a new future, rather than just lie back soaking up the sun.

1. Your holiday should be your chance to escape from work, at least for a short time. So put up a firebreak by at least trying to obey these four simple rules. Don’t check your phone continually for work-related messages and calls, in a misguided attempt to stay on top of things. Don’t take work-related articles, blogs and books to read when on holiday, just to keep up to date. Don’t worry, at least not all the time, about ‘being out of the loop’, forever wondering what’s happening to your projects. And don’t ‘treat yourself’ to even more drinks and cocktails just because you’re on holiday, when you treat yourself every night of the week already.

2. See this as a time to rediscover the pleasure of being with family and friends, engaging in new experiences without being constantly torn between conflicting priorities. The feelings that you will be experiencing as you do this are known as ‘enjoyment’ and ‘happiness’, things that you may have forgotten about, so long have they been smothered by the demands of your corporate lifestyle.

3. Now take these ‘holiday feelings’ and compare them with the way you feel every day. Notice the difference. You know which you prefer, but your ability to withstand discomfort allows you to repeatedly choose pain over pleasure. This isn’t what you were put on the planet for, so make the decision that this has to change.

4. Reassess where you are with your life. Ask yourself: do you really like what you’re doing? The money may be good but is the price you’re paying in return too high? This is a time for honesty, so don’t fool yourself. Even if could carry on doing what you’re doing for the next ten or twenty years, would you want to?

5. If the answer to that question’s ‘no’, then what would you want to do instead? Don’t be scared to think the unthinkable. Most of us lock ourselves into daily prisons by being both judge and jury when it comes to deciding what we can, and more importantly, what we can’t do. So think the unthinkable, and kick-start the breakout process. Without the baggage of daily life to keep our feet nailed to the ground, holidays are an excellent time for doing this.

6. If ‘fresh’ ideas begin to flow, don’t be frightened by them but follow them wherever they may lead. That might mean considering an entirely new role, or getting out of the corporate sector completely to start up on your own, as a self-employed professional or new entrepreneur. Just remember that you don’t need to share these ideas with anyone unless you choose to, so you’re not making commitments you can’t unravel.

7. If the ideas do start to bubble, and the prospect of an alternative reality outside banking or finance becomes a little more real, don’t dismiss your radical thinking as a ‘holiday romance’, but take it seriously. Take note of these alternative possibilities. You don’t need to anything about them right now, or even decide whether to do anything about them at all. But if these ideas resonate with you, don’t try and push them away – they’ll just keep coming back to haunt you and fuel your frustration and dissatisfaction. So allow yourself to explore them. Perhaps now is the right time to embrace the world of possibilities outside the corporate banking world, just as others have done before you.

Back from holiday, take action. That means either deciding to stay where you are – through choice, not inertia – or electing to do something different with your life. There are always options. Explore them and you may find that your summer ‘break’ really has broken you away from the past.

By Maite Barón ‘The Corporate Escape Coach™’, founder of ‘The Corporate Escape™’ and author of ‘Corporate Escape: The Rise of the New Entrepreneur’. You can download two free chapters of Corporate Escape here. (

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