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Neil Prem’s ‘7 Steps’ published for those at ‘career crossroads’




Neil Prem with 'Steps to Purpose: How to Get Unstuck, Discover Your Gift and Do What Matters Most' at Allia Future Business Centre, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Neil Prem with 'Steps to Purpose: How to Get Unstuck, Discover Your Gift and Do What Matters Most' at Allia Future Business Centre, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Neil Prem, the career coach who has worked with 1,500 emerging leaders in more than 50 countries, has published his first book, 7 Steps to Purpose: How to Get Unstuck, Discover Your Gift and Do What Matters Most.

The book distils his experience as “the coach’s coach” – he’s trained more than 40 career coaches – into a variety of principles for use if your career is in the doldrums.

The author, who quit his role as head of engagement at Allia Future Business Centre earlier this year to start writing, spoke with the Cambridge Independent about the book.

What was the inspiration behind 7 Steps to Purpose?

“My life’s work has been based around a single belief, that everyone has a profound talent that the world desperately needs. So since 1991, I have been working with thousands of people to help them discover their gift and create roles in which they can flourish and make an impact.

“However, over the years, I have noticed that there are many times when people find themselves at a crossroads, feeling stuck and overwhelmed looking for purpose and direction, asking ‘Where now and what next?’. Whether that’s leaving university and not knowing what to do, or waking up mid-career feeling that what they’re doing is no longer right for them, or that deep feeling in the pit of their stomach that there is work that they are meant to do. This book is written to them – to help them get unstuck, discover their gift and do what matters most.”

Everyone has a unique talent - the question is how to allow that to find an appropriate expression. The Purcell School Chamber Orchestra with conductor Paul Hoskins. Picture: Tony Nandi
Everyone has a unique talent - the question is how to allow that to find an appropriate expression. The Purcell School Chamber Orchestra with conductor Paul Hoskins. Picture: Tony Nandi

Did it take long to plan and write?

“The book took three months to write and then another two months of editing. Originally, I started to write a different book, but it just didn’t feel right so I stopped for two weeks and eventually this book began to emerge.”

Did you enjoy writing it?

“I really enjoyed writing the book. Although it was an incredibly challenging experience. Finding the daily discipline of studying, reading, thinking and then writing. Overcoming the regular internal fear that says ‘no-one will read this’ or having overcome the real challenge of daring to put your thoughts and convictions out there. The editing was the hardest part. Trusting a stranger to help you bring your thoughts together in a coherent manner and trusting them when they say some passages just aren’t working.”

How is your work shaping up post-Allia?

“After leaving Allia, I took a three-month sabbatical to write the book.

At a crossroads? Jobs for life are a thing of the past - most people will pivot their careers three or four times, and how to do that is the subject of Neil Prem's '7 Steps'
At a crossroads? Jobs for life are a thing of the past - most people will pivot their careers three or four times, and how to do that is the subject of Neil Prem's '7 Steps'

“At the end of it I was asked to join a charity working to measure the quality of relationships between teachers and students in schools – which I did part-time and for a fixed duration. This has been fascinating. I am in the process of launching my own social venture, ROUTES UK, which will train coaches, counsellors and change makers in my models of career transitions and flow.”

Stefan Stern of the Financial Times said of 7 Steps: “Like its author, 7 Steps is warm, witty and wise. It has brevity and concision, is not stuffy, and is utterly practical. It wears its learning lightly. In fact, it’s not like most business books you might read. It will make you laugh and think, and learn.

“Best of all, it will make you believe you can get better at all sorts of interpersonal/people skills which do not come naturally to many. There is something to enjoy on every page.”



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