As introductions to homeworking go, Darren Lawrence had his at a young age. He remembers his dad, sitting at the dining table, wearing a shirt and tie to feel as if he was ‘at work’. It was a very different experience back then, with a fax machine churning out paper by the front door but it meant the idea of working from home wasn’t unfamiliar. Subconsciously, he says that he always saw it as an option, and it places him well to help others making the change to working from home.
When Darren launched his coaching business, he had already been home-based for several years in his role at the Football Association (FA). He had always wanted to work in football and his roles involved promoting the sport, securing funding, and opening up opportunities to girls, those with disabilities, and other minority groups.
Although a career in the football world might seem far removed from his current business, the experience of working with athletes, developing staff, and mentoring people gives him the perfect coaching foundation. “I realised football is important but over that career, I’ve shifted to think that what’s more important for me is developing people.”
This shift is something he encourages in his clients as well: find out what you love and follow it.
Through his involvement with the charity, Switch The Play, he continues to work with sportspeople, and more recently the military, with what direction they go in as they come out of sport or the Services. Helping people through big life changes forms an important part of what he now focuses on with his coaching clients and that can include making the change to working from home. He has developed three core areas:
His knowledge and experience of working with athletes is invaluable in his coaching practice. “I can now bring that skill to my clients as they look to transition in areas of their life — be it work, careers or even relationships,” says Darren.
Drawing on his own experiences of transition and change throughout his life, he encourages clients to look at their own stories and ask:
– What is my relationship like with change?
– When have I got through change before and come out the other side successfully?
Darren has always held a fascination with home and remote working having experienced a variety of office cultures and home-based roles. While the practical set-up at home is important, he stresses the importance of mindset and self-awareness in managing to sustain productivity. How well you know yourself, Darren says, is key to understanding things such as when you do your best, focused work, or how you tap into your creativity and your creative process.
This knowledge will allow you to structure your day and be most effective.
“You always have an inner monologue about what you should be doing or could be doing if you work for yourself,” says Darren. “You’ve got to have a lot of self-discipline.”
One area he is passionate about is looking after yourself and your mental wellbeing. For Darren, the other reason self-awareness is important is that it will help you know when you’re starting to get too stressed and need to take a break.
He highlights how important it is to nurture your network and he enjoys helping his clients identify their own goals and work towards them in a sustainable and compassionate manner.
Work from home tips
As Darren’s experience centres on making transitions and helping people through them, he understands how difficult making the change to working from home can be. When it comes to homeworking, he will often recommend that his clients explore the following:
- Find out what you love to do (this can change over time) but is important to help you maintain stamina.
- Manage your time: you need a lot of self-discipline so a schedule is important.
- Know yourself: discover when you’re most creative and do your best deep work so you can schedule appropriately and take breask when needed.
- Talk with people and collaborate: social interaction is really important for your work but also beneficial for your mental health.
Darren says he enjoys the deeper work with clients, helping them to identify and achieve their goals. “Making a difference with people and helping them transform their lives is so rewarding. It’s all about asking the right questions for them to take action and responsibility. I really enjoy developing that close relationship with people to help them get what they want out of their lives.”
Work with Darren:
Find Darren in The Homeworker Directory under Life Coaches
In collaboration with Darren Lawrence Coaching
This profile first appeared in the Breathe issue of The Homeworker magazine.
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