Your Busy Period Survival Guide

Your Busy Period Survival Guide

Your Busy Period Survival Guide

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As we begin the run down to the end of the year, are you beginning to feel the pressure to get projects completed, lift the team to new levels or ramp up efforts to meet KPI’s and budgets

Women often tell me they are already running hard and are not sure how they can do even more – both in and out of work.

So I thought I’d share some of my best tips and tools to managing it all and getting through the next few months.

Best Tips And Tools To Managing It All

1. Intentional

Get really clear on what matters most. We sometimes have to come to terms with the fact that we can’t do it all. This is the season to double down on focusing your time and energy on those things that will have the biggest impact – for you, your team and the organisation. Then look at how you can delete, delegate or downgrade the rest.

I know you can juggle a LOT… but, as we head into the busy season, I want you to practise using one simple word – NO. Every time you say NO, it allows you to stay focused on those activities that matter most.

 

2. Create space to think

At this stage of your career, you are employed to think, not just do! Solving the big problems, creating new strategies, coming up with innovative ideas and sustainable solutions. These don’t come when we are knee-deep in the weeds.  They need time and space to emerge.

As the demands for your time increases over the next few months, creating space every week will be critical.  Take a look at your calendar now and schedule in at least an hour of weekly “thinking time.”

3. Optimise your energy

When people ask me what my number one productivity tip is – my answer is – get more sleep!

 

For years we’ve been encouraged to manage our time to increase our output but in this era of the knowledge worker where we are employed for our brain not our brawn – being well rested is the thing that makes the biggest difference.

Intuitively, we all know that we do our best work when we’ve had a good night’s sleep and have taken good care of our mind and body.

Don’t be fooled by how simple these suggestions are.

That’s the beauty of them. They aren’t fancy – but they work.

So I wonder… which of these strategies could make a real difference to how you close out your year?

Are you clear on what matters most – to you, your team and the organisation?
Are you creating space each week for thinking and planning?
Could you benefit from a little more sleep?

Here’s to a brilliant end to the year.

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I recently told an incredible woman (let’s call her Kate) that she would not make partnership at her firm.  Not now or anytime soon based on her current actions, behaviours and outcomes.

Harsh, but it was the truth she needed to hear.

She was hardworking, dedicated and reliable.  She had a long history of delivering good work. 

She knew she had been “drifting” for the past couple of years but was unclear on what she needed to be doing differently to get the type of recognition needed to progress her career. 

So how could I be so certain to be bold enough to give her the very direct advice about her prospects to make partnership?

Quite simply – because I quickly recognised that she had been focusing her efforts in all the wrong places.

The one thing I know with a high degree of certainty is – the difference between a good career and a great career is where you focus your time, energy and resources.

And she was not focusing her time and energy on the things that mattered most to the organisation.

I asked Kate, “Do you know what the senior executive team would need to see from you to be considered for partnership?”

There was silence at the other end of the phone.

The penny had just dropped.

She had no idea!

And that’s a problem.

If you want to be considered for promotion, you need to demonstrate that you can have an impact on what matters most to the business.

This will vary from business to business but you can count on some common ones such as sales, profits, strategic direction, continuous improvement, customer service, delivery of key projects, company culture and efficiency.

When you want to be considered for a senior role within a business, being hardworking is not enough.  You need to demonstrate you care about the business beyond just doing your job.

Kate also recently received specific feedback for improvements the senior executive team wanted to see from her.  The frustrating thing was  she had already been doing these things … But NO ONE knew.  She is like so many women I meet who are humble, diligent and shy away from playing the political game.

But your hard work and achievements amount to nothing if they remain invisible. 

Ladies, we have to find a way to make you and your achievements more visible.  Being proud of your work and letting people know about your progress and achievements is not “brown nosing” or ego driven.  It’s smart!  It’s necessary!  It will get you recognised!

And finally, I want to have a word about the importance of attitude.

Kate admitted that over the last couple of years, her attitude had been a little less than stellar!  I love her honesty.  It’s only when we are honest about this, that we can do something about it.

Do you honestly believe that you would promote someone into a senior role if they had a poor attitude?  I know I wouldn’t.  A CEO I work with often reminds his senior leadership team to hire on attitude first, skills and experience second.  And I see an increasing number of high-performing businesses that all aspire to this philosophy. 

So if you’ve found yourself drifting along unable to break into the next level of leadership, there is a fair chance you too may need to make some changes to where you are focusing your time and energy, dial up your visibility or take a long hard look at the attitude you are bringing to your work. 

Need some help to work out what it is for you?  I’d love to invite you to book a 15-minute Career Breakthough Session with me just like Kate did.

Click here to answer a couple of questions and book in a time.

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I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” 

Perhaps you too are the go-to girl.  Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”.  Eek!

I get it.  I was this woman for a long time.  And I wore the label like a badge of honor! 

I liked the fact that people would seek me out, knowing that I was the only one in the team to really take the time to help them. It fueled my ego to be needed! 

But I had no clue how much it was holding me back.  On reflection now, I realise that I was seen as a doer not as the leader I wanted to be seen as.  

A comment from the HR director about “over mothering” the team now makes sense.  At the time, it was nothing but insulting and hurtful.  Now I realise he was providing guidance on how I could step up to lead more effectively. 

So what’s the problem with being the go-to girl?

1. Your plate becomes over full.  

I don’t need to tell you this.  You know it already.  You are super busy.  You’re working long hours without making any real progress.  You’re exhausted.  And at times it’s overwhelming.  You have no bandwidth for creativity or strategic thinking. 

2. You are so busy doing – there is no time to truly lead

You may have the title of leader, but who has the time or headspace to really lead? Finding the time to sit quietly to think, plan and strategise is for many go-to girls … well … pie in the sky.  And building and nurturing a high-performing team takes your consistent time, energy and focus, which you have so little of. 

3. It’s killing your career progression 

You don’t get seen, heard, valued or promoted for doing the busy work. It’s as simple as that! 

When was the last time you did something that truly moved the dial on a personal career goal or a business goal?  

Being the go-to girl will inevitably keep you stuck in the weeds – doing what I call busy work.  And you don’t get promoted for doing the busy work! Someone has to do it, but it’s time to pass it onto someone else. 

So what now…

If you are the go-to girl, stuck in the weeds of doing rather than leading, then it’s time for change.  Your career goals will not be met while you stay stuck in this place.   

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Breakthrough Your Career Plateau

Breakthrough-your-career-plateau

Breakthrough Your Career Plateau

A career plateau, if left to fester too long can damage your reputation, minimize your career opportunities and leaving you feeling miserable about your work.  

Although it doesn’t happen overnight, it can sneak up on us and take us unawares.  For a time we can hum along – having and impact, making a difference and feeling fulfilled.  Then one day we can look around and ask – is this all there is? 

Have you reached a career plateau?

Here are 10 keys to breaking through your career plateau.

1. Expand your comfort zone. 

Your career plateau is representative of your comfort zone.  Ouch … I know!  Your comfort zone is exactly that… comfortable.  It can keep us trapped in a false sense of security.

If you want to move past your current plateau you will have to step outside your current comfort zone.  There is no other way past it!  This might involve taking on a new project, tackling a difficult conversation, raising your profile or stepping into a completely new role.

2. Up your game. 

What got you to this point in your career is not what it will take to get to the next level.  As they say… if you keep doing the same things you will keep getting the same results.  So a little up leveling will be required… to your thinking, actions, attitude and behaviours.

3. Change your internal dialogue. 

What are you telling yourself about your career?  What are your underlying beliefs around what you are capable of?  When our internal dialogue is out of alignment with or even in conflict with what we “say” we want, progress is near to impossible.

For example if you’re thinking you’d like to lead a bigger team and manage a bigger budget but your ongoing self talk is “who am I to think I could do that” or “I’m not worthy” – then you’re absolutely going to hit up against recurring resistance to growth.   

4. Challenge your fears. 

Could it be possible you’ve hit a career plateau because you fear failure (or even success?)  Moving past this plateau will absolutely require you to accept a little risk and to face your fears.  And consider for a moment the risks to you, your health, your sanity and your professional reputation if you were to stay exactly where you are for another 12 months?

And let’s face it … our fears are almost always unfounded!  

5. Know yourself. 

Know your strengths.  Know what inspires you to take action.  Know what you love to do and where you add the most value.  Know what gives you energy and what drains your energy away.  Know what drives commitment, passion and fulfilment.

Then ask yourself – “Am I tapping in the best of me in my current work?”  When we are not… it’s way to easy to settle for what is.  And really – are you someone who is prepared to settle

6. Get Clarity. 

The fastest pathway to growth beyond your current plateau is to get clarity on what you truly want.  You can and will not move forward without clarity.  Confusion and uncertainty will keep you firmly rooted to exactly where you are today.

7. Set a new goal.

Once you have clarity of who you are, what’s most important to you and what you truly want next … it’s the time to set a new goal that will both inspire action and guide decision making.  Get as specific as you can and answer the question: “What would I really like to be doing?”  It can be scary to claim what you want. It’s time to get into the driver’s seat and creating your career by design rather than leaving it up to chance.

8. Focus your time and energy. 

Many women I work with reach a career plateau because they fear that taking the next step will require more of them and they can not see how they could work any harder.  Can you relate?  The truth is … at a certain point in your career it’s not about working harder.  It requires you to work smarter.  And being conscious about where you focus time and energy.

9. Take time out & inject more white space into your day.

The more senior roles you take on, the more thinking time you need to schedule into your day.  At this level you are employed for your knowledge, experience and wisdom, not your technical expertise or your capacity to do the doing.  That is what your team are for!

10. Give yourself permission. 

And finally … give yourself permission to step into your fullest potential.  You are worthy.  You have more to contribute. It’s time to do what it takes to make it happen.

And … stop waiting for someone (your boss, your mentor, your Dad, your partner) to give you permission to take this next step.  The only person who can make that decision is YOU! 

If you’ve hit a career plateau – it’s time to take some action.  The longer you leave it the harder it is to did you way out towards your next ideal role.  Start by focusing on any one of these keys and watch the ripple effect of change.

If you need a little more help to get into action – then I invite you to join us at the next Career by Design workshop

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New Year. New Job. The 5 steps to take before you apply for anything.

New Year. New Job. The 5 steps to take before you apply for anything.

So you’ve had time to reflect over the summer break and you’ve come to the decision that a new job is on your list of goals for the year. Good for you!

Perhaps you’re looking for greater job satisfaction, more money, better corporate culture, more variety, a leader who inspires you or to have a greater impact. Whatever the reason … you know that it’s going to take time and energy.

SEEK research found that 90% of Australians take up to six months to find and secure a new job.

But there are some key things you can do to make your job search easier, faster and help you to land your ideal next role.

And it’s not all about jumping into action.

Not yet. Hold your horses for a moment ladies.

First we need to set the foundations; do the ground work and set you up for success.

Here’s where to start

1. Clarify what you want. Ok so I hear you saying… that’s my problem Jane, I’m not sure what I want.

This is not about identifying a job title. The world of work is changing so rapidly right now it’s likely that the title for your next role hasn’t even been dreamed up.

So start with what you know you do want.

What type of tasks do you want to be doing each day? What key skills do you want to be using? Do you want to be leading a team? Do you want the opportunity to work from home? Do you want travel to be part of the role?

2. Be clear about what you don’t want. This is equally as important as knowing what you want. Think about what you don’t want to in your next role.

Perhaps you have become known to be good at task or role that you really don’t enjoy.

Some years ago I became known as the expert/go to girl in managing the annual self insurance safety audit. I may have been really good at it … but I loathed this task!

I was really good at influencing the key stakeholders throughout the business to be involved, provide the necessary documentation and to prep them to effectively answer the auditor’s questions.

But I was terrible at all the attention to detailed required in the 3 month long project. PLEASE poke pins in my eyes before I have to do this type of project again!

How about you? What would you rather not do in your next role?

3. Understand your strengths. This step is key. Be really really clear about what your key strengths are.

I ask this question of smart professional women every day… and almost every single time they struggle to answer. And if they do managed to get out a couple of dot points, I’m rarely convinced that they believe that these are their strengths.

Ladies … you have to get clear and comfortable to SELL who you are and what it is that you would bring to your next role.

Need some help to get clear on what your strengths are? Join us as Career by Design – a 1 day workshop for mid career women.

4. Know your value. You are so much more than a list of attributes or the jobs you’ve held in the past. Yes these are part of the story but not the complete picture.

You are unique and have a special value to bring to your next role. What is it?

Susan’s unique gift is that she is a master at uniting a team to deliver way beyond the business expectations. Carissa is a genius in taking a complex idea and bringing it to life in a no nonsense kind of way. Katy is known within her industry to be invaluable in the negotiation phase of multi million dollar IT projects.

You have a unique value to share. It’s time to own it! Make it clear in your CV, LinkedIn profile and during the interview stage that you would be an impressive asset to the right employer.

5. Decide you’re worthy. Because you are. You know you are capable of so much more and that you want to contribute in a bigger, more significant way.

But let me tell you … the most likely thing standing between you and your ideal next role is YOU. I know hash but true.

If you don’t believe you’re worthy of the types of roles you really aspire to …. no one else will believe you either. Your lack of self belief will seep through in you job applications, your networking efforts and in your interviews.

Ladies it’s time to embrace all of who you are and the value you have to offer.

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The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching

The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching.

Job searching. I don’t think it’s anyone’s favourite thing to do. It
takes effort. It takes time. And it takes mental and emotional energy.

It requires soul searching and at times it can be soul destroying.

We’ve all experienced the excitement of finding a role that we believe would be ideal for us. We imagine ourselves in the role; what we could achieve, the impact we could have and how we would feel resigning from our current role.

Gosh you may have even allocated the potential payrise to pay for school fees or that overdue house renovation.

And then the unthinkable happens…. they offer the role to someone else!

Ah the roller coaster – the highs and lows of job searching.

There is no exact formula to make the process pain free but there are some things we can do to improve our chances to landing our ideal role – more quickly and with less stress.

It all starts with avoiding the number 1 trap I see many mid career professionals fall into.

And that is….

Going out to the market to “see what’s out there” without real clarity about what it is that you are looking for.

This approach can work, but is likely to be hit and miss. It can be disempowering and it’s an incredibly frustrating waiting game. It leaves the process up to chance and what we end up doing is trying to fit ourselves into whatever comes up rather than going after what we REALLY want.

Even worse – if you think a recruiter will be able to figure out what types of role you would be good for based on your past experience, then you are gravely mistaken.

There are some hugely talented recruitment specialist out there who are dedicated to the bringing together the right candidate with the right role but on the whole most are super busy, looking for the safe, quick solution to a job vacancy.

It’s time to flip your thinking and your approach to job searching.

No more aimlessly looking to see what’s out there. No more hoping something interesting will pop up. No more leaving the process up to chance.

It’s your career. It’s up to you to figure out what you want and to go after it. It’s time to drive the process.

A new approach to job searching.

1. Know who you are. The job search process doesn’t start out there. It starts within. Yes this is the soul searching part of the process.

Before you speak to your network, before you update your LinkedIn profile, before you speak to a recruiter – spend the time to get really clear on;

Be honest with yourself… what do you love to do. What parts of your past roles have filled you with the most joy.

And equally important, what tasks or responsibilities do you never want to do again! And don’t be fooled. It could be something you are seen to be very good at – but let’s be honest – you hate doing it.

2. Set your direction. You may not know at this stage the job title of your next ideal role. But don’t let that hold you back. The world of work is changing so rapidly right now it’s impossible to know what type of opportunities may become available.

Your best option will be to align your job search with the types of tasks and responsibilities you would like to be included in your next ideal role. From all the work you have done looking within, you now know what the non negotiable elements of your new role are.

3. Go to market. Finally … you are now ready to go out proactively to the job market with certainty and clarity. It’s about going out to your network or to recruiters and saying – this is who I am and this is the value I have to offer and this is the type of work I would ideally like to move to next.

By succinctly and confidently articulating what you are looking for next, you are much more likely to illicit support and interest from recruiters and your network.

And if by chance your ideal role does pop up on Seek – you are more likely to be able to articulate to your potential employer exactly why you are the person they have been looking for.

So my question to you today is – “have you fallen into the trap of going out to the market before you truly know what it is that you are looking for?”

If you have it’s time to switch things up.

Yes it will take a little more work up front but the proof is in the pudding as they say.

By following this approach I’ve seen many mid career professional women quickly turn their job search luck around and land the very next role they applied for. Not just any old role – but their ideal role.

Why do I think it works so well?

Because the hidden secrete is that through the soul searching work at the beginning of the process you’ll get super clear and confident on the value you have to offer and why you would be the best candidate for any role which is perfect for you.

And clarity and confidence is an incredibly attractive attribute to demonstrate to your ideal new employer!

If you’re ready to make a change but need a little more clarity about what’s next for you then I invite you to come along to Career by Design – a one day workshop for smart, dynamic, mid career professional women ready for something more.

Click here for more information about this transformation 1 day workshop.

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How to own your value and leverage your talent

How to own your value and leverage
your talent

Almost every week women tell me that they are capable of more but are struggling to make their mark within their organisation or industry. These women are brilliant and their unique talents are much needed in the modern workplace.

Their CV’s document their extensive experience and the results they have achieved throughout their career but still they find themselves languishing in roles that no longer excite them.

They know they have more to offer … and they are right!

So what’s the missing link?

To put it simply … they are not owning their value or leveraging their talent.

They have not positioned themselves as a woman of preeminence with valuable expertise to share.

Humbleness is a virtue – but not when it holds you back from getting you seen, heard and recognised for your expertise.

Many are waiting in hope and expectation they will be noticed for their good work.  And most struggle to speak about who they are, what they want and what value they offer an organisation.

But once they get clear on their value and are able to articulate it in a succinct, congruent way, magic happens.

Katherine is a great example; super talented, exceptional leader and all round great woman. When we first meet she was what I’d describe as beige. She had been flying under the radar, busy doing the do but not owning or leveraging her talents. She was frustrated by the lack of career progression but didn’t know how to change it.

After attending one of my workshops, she realised she had been asleep at the wheel.   Simply by getting super clear on her value she was able to position herself for the perfect next opportunity.

With renewed self worth and certainty about her career, she is now up beat and confident about her future. And it doesn’t stop there.  Her friends, family and colleagues have noticed a significant shift in how she is showing up both at work and at home.

Here’s how to own your value and leverage your talents.

1. Know your value. It all starts here. You have to know your value.  And to be seen as valuable, you must step up and own it.  Simple really.

Over and over again I’ve seen women struggle to articulate the value they bring to a team or an organisation. It’s not enough to know what you do well. This is a good start but it’s important to be able to speak about how this contributes to the organisation’s bigger picture.

2. Do the inner work. Believability is key. You need to do the inner work to ensure you show up with presence, poise and grace. If you are fidgeting, shrinking or letting your nerves run riot, no one will buy into your opinion, your leadership or your direction.

Breaking down the limiting beliefs and mental barriers that get in your way is key to owning your value and leveraging your talents. It takes courage to do this inner work and to put yourself our there … but it’s worth it.

It’s about doing the work so that you go into the most critical situations with a mindset of “I am here to contribute and add value” knowing you have what it takes.

3. Demonstrate your expertise. Ladies, it’s time to step out from the shadows and shine. No more being the best keep secret. Create a strategy to demonstrate your expertise on a regular basis.

This might mean sharing your expertise more freely in meetings, taking on high profile projects or being intentional about the opportunities you say YES to and those you say NO to.

Without an intentional strategy – it will not happen.

4. Show up and share. There is no other way for this strategy to work well. Be intentional about showing up each and every day in a way that will get you recognised for the skills and abilities you want to be known for.

Share your opinion and allow your expertise to be seen. And most importantly speak often about what you are working on, the impact you’re having and the results you and your team are achieving.

Yes, I’m suggesting you toot your own horn in your best humble, genuine way. It’s not enough to rely on others to notice – you need to tell them.

This work takes courage and is the fast track to exponential growth.

It will position you well within your organisation for the most exciting opportunities. And it will raise your profile within your industry so when an ideal position becomes available your name will be automatically thrown into the mix.

Your next role is more likely to come from within your network than it will from a recruiter so make sure your network knows your value!

Knowing your value and leveraging your talents is one of the most important strategies a woman can have in her toolkit to help her reach her ultimate potential.

It will take you from best kept secret to preeminence … without working harder or selling your soul.

Put this strategy into practice and see your personal power soar and your professional reputation take off with a quantum leap.

LET'S CONNECT

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Are you the “go-to girl”?

I’ve had a number of conversations this week with smart, mid-career professional women who have fallen into the trap of being the “go-to girl.” Perhaps you too are the go-to girl. Or you might be known as the Jack of all trades, the fix-it woman or have earned the label of “reliable”…

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Opportunity Is Knocking. Will You Answer The Call?

Opportunity Is Knocking.
Will You Answer The Call?

The time is now!

Opportunity is knocking for professional women. Ladies, our time is now. A change has been brewing over the last couple of years and now it’s knocking loudly on our door.

Do you feel it?

Women all over the world are refusing to play small and to stay silent. Over the last 12 months we have seen the power of change that comes from an engaged, energised and empowered collective of women.

From the global women’s march in early 2017, the #metoo movement and powerful image of the “Fearless Girl” on Wall St, we see issues that have long been ignored or hidden, become front page news.

Women everywhere are rising up and taking the “women’s movement” mainstream. No longer is this a women’s only conversation. Men are becoming more vocal and aware of gender issues and finding ways to be active as allies.

At a local level I’m seeing signs that businesses (large and small) are finally putting genuine effort towards creating more opportunities to support women to have a greater impact at the leadership table.

Women in my inner circle are being offered seriously impressive promotions and attracting significant pay rises. Their collaboration, negotiation, team building and problem solving skills are being called upon like never before.

And the genuine support coming from both senior men and women from within organisations is increasingly positive.

The conversations I’ve had with senior leaders recently have been heart felt and genuine in their desire to do better when supporting their high potential women … not because they have to but because they want to.

They know they have a pool of talented women who are hungry for growth and to contribute to their fullest potential. And they know the ripple effect supporting their high performing women will have throughout the business.

To say that I’m hopeful for what the future holds for professional women is a massive understatement.

Ladies … this is our moment.

Are you ready to step up with courage to embrace the opportunities I’m certain are poised to emerge for so many?

I’m not so naive to think that this will be easy. It will take work. It will require courage. It will mean taking a chance or two and have some faith in yourself and the people you bring into your inner circle to support you.

My question today is … are you with me?

Are you committed to do the work to be ready to take advantage of the opportunities that will no doubt open up? Do you have the courage to answer the call?

Here’s to being bold and having an impact beyond what was possible just a few short years ago.

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Jane Benston

Are you ruling yourself out without even realising it?

Are you ruling yourself out without even realising it?

Is it possible that you are ruling yourself out or holding yourself back from getting that next big break, exciting opportunity or promotion?

I’m not saying you’re doing it consciously. Most often it’s totally unconscious.

We don’t mean to hold ourselves back. We don’t set out to undermine our own success. We don’t deliberately undersell our brilliance or let the best opportunities pass us bye… but I’ve seen it happen. And I’ve experienced it myself more than once.

So how does it happen? Some call it self-sabotage. 

It’s when we unconsciously hold beliefs about ourselves or about the environment that we operate in that are at odds with our goals and ambitions. We make automatic assumptions that prevent us from following the path we really want to take.

I see many smart, super talented, ultra experienced professional women get stuck languishing in middle management roles, unable to unlock the code to taking the next step in their career. Some of the work we do is to introduce tactics and strategies to overcome the very real challenges that stand in their way.

But the thing that makes the biggest difference is working on the inner game; the limitations and obstacles we place in our own way.

Here are some of the assumptions and beliefs that limit success and make the work of following your career aspirations that much harder.

Are you ruling yourself out with one of these 5 beliefs?

1. I’m not ready yet. This one has been a personal favourite. For many years I told myself (and others) that I wasn’t ready. I held myself back from potential opportunities and promotions – even when I was being encouraged to apply by senior leaders. I believed I needed to know more and to have more experience which in hindsight was based purely in fear not in reality.

In reality, very often we are ready. Research shows that women tend to grossly underestimate their abilities and rule themselves out of more senior roles even when they are more qualified or experienced than the eventual winning candidate.

And speaking from experience… there is nothing more frustrating when this happens.

2. There are limited opportunities. When we tell ourselves this … we make it true. It’s like a dead end. A full stop. You’re telling yourself you may as well not even look because there isn’t anything for me.

When we make this assumption our energy is one of lack. Now this may be getting a little “Woo Woo” for some, but I believe we either attract or repel opportunities and people to us based on our energy.

So let’s maximise our opportunities by upping our energy and open up to the unexpected opportunities that will only come to you when you are open and surrounding yourself with an energy and attitude of possibility.

3. I’m too busy. The epidemic of busy continues to zap our time and our energy but to what end? If you were to do a quick 60 second audit of what has kept you busy today – has your busyness contributed to your health, happiness, fulfilment or personal or professional growth?

Are you busy doing what is most important to you?

Are you busy doing what will bring you joy, fulfillment and meaning?

Are you busy doing work that will contribute to your career progression?

Or have you become stuck in the busyness of life and checking off your to do list?

The assumption of “I’m too busy” is an easy one to come to because we all live it every day. Being consciously aware of what keeps us busy is an important first step.

And if you know that the difference between a good career and an exceptional career is where you focus your time, energy and resources… how would you allocate your time, energy and resources differently?

4. I might fail. Yes you might! There is a risk of this anytime we step outside our comfort zone and do something we haven’t done before. But you might also excel! Imagine that!

And even if you do stumble, you are way more resilient than you might at first think.

We have a choice of settling for where we are or to take a chance on ourselves. I have done both and I can say the pain and discomfort of playing small is way more unpleasant than the pain and discomfort of stepping out, taking a chance and being seen.

If the fear of failure comes up for you – ask yourself “If I did, could I handle it?”   Undoubtedly the answer is almost always YES.

5. I can’t afford it. This one is big. I can’t afford to attend the conference I really want to go to. I can’t afford to take that holiday that would really help me to pause, reflect and decompress. I can’t afford to invest in a development program or mentoring that would really help me to up level.

When we say we cant – we make it true and we immediately shut off the opportunity.

Imagine instead asking the question; “How might I?” This one simple shift opens up possibility, creative solution finding and choice. In my experience, when we want something badly enough, there is always a way…. (maybe sell off some of the items cluttering up the shed or spare room to get you started!)

Which of these beliefs ring true for you?  Could they be slowing your progress or standing in your way of what you really want?

Ladies, creating a career we love and leading our way is tough enough in the current day corporate environment… let’s not make it any harder on ourselves. These simple beliefs and assumptions too often stand in our way and rule us out of the game, even before the game gets started.

LET'S CONNECT

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Jane Benston

Tied, overwhelmed and plagued with uncertainty! So how can you perform at your best?

Tied, overwhelmed and plagued with uncertainty! So how can you perform at your best?

“What state are you in when you perform at your best as a leader?”

I first came across this powerful question in Michael Buntings brilliant book; The Mindful Leader. If you haven’t read it I’d highly recommend it.

We intuitively know the answer to this even if we haven’t thought about it before.

We know that we are most likely to do our best work when we are well rested and full of energy rather than feeling out of sorts or sleep deprived.

We respond best when we are calm rather than flustered or overwhelmed.

We achieve our best results when we are courageous, open and supported rather than fearful, closed and under attack

And we create the best outcomes when we have confidence in our abilities rather than experiencing uncertainty or we are out of our depth.

Simple really! So when was the last time you focused on preparing yourself for high performance?

In his book, Michael Bunting encourages us to “deliberately cultivate a state of wellness and be a beacon of goodness, responsiveness and clarity even in the toughest circumstances.”

The more I think about this the more obvious it seems.

Elite athletes follow this practice – so why wouldn’t we? They know that to perform at their peak they need to take care of their mind, body and soul.

They train hard, fuel their bodies with the right nutrition, incorporate periods of rest and recovery and more and more they are placing their trust in the power of meditation and mindfulness.

The winning team of the 2018 AFL Grand Final – Richmond, attributed some of their rapid rise to the ultimate goal to the introduction of a daily mindfulness practice.

So if we know that these are the ingredients for high performance – then why are we not setting ourselves up for success? I think the simple answer is that we think we are too busy or that it really doesn’t make that much of a difference.

I now believe it makes all the difference!

Since introducing this concept to the ladies in my inner circle program – The Leadership Connection, they have told me that it’s one of the things that has made the biggest difference to them, not only professionally but also personally.

So what have they done that’s making such a big difference?

Here are 4 Keys to deliberately cultivate high performance.

1. Start well. How we start each day has a massive impact on our outcomes and our performance. It sets the foundation for our energy and focus. A chaotic, rushed start will often leave us feeling chaotic and rushed for the rest of the day.

Where ever possible create a routine that sets you up for the type of state that enhances your performance. This is likely to be a different for all of us but for me this includes a little exercise while listening to an educational podcast, a healthy breakfast and a review of my high priority action list.

I know that when I by pass this routine for a sleep in, both my mind and body feel sluggish, leaving it nigh on impossible for me to work as effectively or productively as I’d like.

2. Know what matters. This is all about clarity. Without clarity confusion reins and nothing good comes from a state of confusion.

Getting clear on what matters most to you, your team and the business allows you to prioritise and focus your time and energy. It keeps you on track and allows us to choose what requests to say yes to and which to say no to.

We can choose to be busy being busy, ticking off a to do list OR we can make time for the projects that really move the dial and get us seen and recognised for all we are capable of.

3. Slow down to speed up. This may seem counter intuitive but I believe we must all slow down a little.   (Me included!)

Rushing from meeting to meeting, checking emails and sending off quick messages to manage the latest disaster is not conducive for creative or strategic thinking. How often have you reacted to a situation in a way that only made it worse, during a time of busyness or stress.

Spending time planning is a worthy investment. As is creating what I call “white space;” that precious time in your calendar where you have NOTHING planned.

It could be as simple as blocking out time over lunch to get outside and breath. You might be surprised at how the answer to a problem you have been stewing over, suddenly seems so clear. 

4. Listen.   Building self awareness through listening is critical. Listening to you body, your thoughts and your emotions will all leave clues to what’s working and what’s not.

Aches and pains and recurring illness are often signs that something is out of alignment. There is significant research that demonstrates the link between our emotional and physical wellbeing.

So listen to your emotions. I recently spoke with a senior professional woman who expressed her frustration, having either cried or become angry on a number of occasions in the presence of senior leaders.   Not only was it unhelpful in the situation, she felt it undermined her authority and her position.

And listen to your thoughts. A persistent racing, chaotic mind or self defeating self talk will not support high performance.

So what will you do to deliberately cultivate a healthy physical, emotional and mental state? The simple decision to manage your internal world more effectively will create positive change in your external world.  Let’s make these small every day tweaks to improve how you perform as a leader.

LET'S CONNECT

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Jane Benston