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Why Being Helpful and Reliable is Now Holding You Back

Why Being Helpful and Reliable is Now Holding You Back

Do you often find yourself working tirelessly, trying to prove your worth and earn that well-deserved recognition? It’s a trap many mid-career professional women fall into, thinking that by working harder and doing more, they will finally be seen, heard, and promoted.  

But here’s the truth: it’s not helping you move forward. It’s holding you back. 

If you’ve been making this mistake too – I get it. Over the years we’ve been told that success comes to those who work hard. 

Your strong work ethic, getting the job done and doing it well, was probably what got you to where you are today.  It may be what you are known for. It’s likely helped to open up some fabulous opportunities for you over the years. You may have even crafted a reputation as someone who is super helpful, reliable and dependable.  

But being helpful, useful and reliable is likely the very thing that is now holding you back.   

It was great in the early years of your career but if you want to be seen as an impactful leader… this approach will only keep you stuck at the level, you’re at.   

Take a look at the leaders who you admire. And think about this for a moment… 

Are they stuck in the day to day, busy doing low value tasks? 

NO, they are not!   

The brutal truth is that working harder and doing more is more likely to lead to burnout than respect, recognition or an amazing job offer.  

So, you may be wondering… how do you get to that next level of leadership, impact and recognition?  

It starts with DOING LESS and dedicating more time and energy to actually LEADING.   

It may seem counterintuitive at first. How can you get ahead when you are actually DOING less? 

It’s quite simple really. When you’re busy being busy you’ve got no time or head space to truly lead.   

Leadership is about setting the vision, making impactful decisions, solving the big problems and focusing on progressing projects that will support the growth and sustainability of the business. It’s about building and leading high performing teams and supporting and mentoring people to perform at their best.   

All of these activities require space to think.   

So that’s exactly where you need to start – by creating the space to think and lead.   

That means taking back control of your calendar. I recommend that my clients start by clearing the clutter, removing unnecessary meetings and creating at least 1 or 2 chunks of time each week which they dedicate to focusing on the big picture work of leadership.  

It means setting boundaries.  

It means saying NO to the busy work so you can focus on the work that matters.  

But first… 

Do you actually know what work matters most to you, your team and the organisation?   

If you want your talents and capabilities to be recognised, it’s important you’re prioritising based on what matters most to your boss (and their boss!)  Too often I see women lost in the weeds of the day to day and not focused on the work that is in alignment with the organisations goals, and then wonder why they are being overlooked for promotion or interesting projects.  

Recognition will come from DOING LESS, creating space to think, and focusing your efforts on what matters most to the organisation and doing work that supports the business goals.   

And finally – we cant overlook the importance of making time and space prioritise you.   

Being happy, healthy and well rested is a prerequisite for great leadership. It supports productivity, is the foundation of creativity and is essential to enable you to show up as the best version of you!  

Taking time out for you is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. As is getting enough sleep, making sure you move your body, and doing what you need to do to quieten your mind and nurture your spirit.  

So, let me ask you…. 

Do you really want to stay stuck in the day-to-day busyness, working really hard – but not getting the recognition you deserve?  

Or is it time to break free of this pattern and finally step up to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition – not by doing more but by doing less?   

If you’d like to learn more about how to let go of the busyness and truly step into the work of leadership, then click the button below and join us in our FREE Facebook group, Leading Ladies: an exclusive group for mid-career women to share, learn and grow.  

  

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Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
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Similar Blog Posts

Portrait of beautiful Asian businesswoman working at office table

Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s…

If you are a mid-career professional woman who has achieved career success – like landing a well-paid role, leading a sizable team and heading up important projects – and find yourself feeling lost and confused, instead of the professional pride and fulfilment you thought you’d feel, this is for you.

Jane Benston

Blonde woman talking phone and posing with notebook in office

Leaders are in high demand ……

If you look at any Org Structure right now, you’ll see plenty of leaders listed – but are they really leading?

Jane Benston

What you learnt at school will…

What most mid career professional women never realise is that what you learnt at school automatically set you up to be a productive, hardworking team member – NOT an impactful strategic leader.

Jane Benston

Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s why.

Mid Career Women

Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s why.

If you are a mid-career professional woman who has achieved career success – like landing a well-paid role, leading a sizable team and heading up important projects – and find yourself feeling lost and confused, instead of the professional pride and fulfilment you thought you’d feel, this is for you.

On paper it looks like you’ve made it.

You should be happy. Right?

But instead, there is a part of you that dreads going to work. You’ve struggled to deliver the quality of work you are known for and you’re functioning pretty much on autopilot.

Not to mention, you’re likely working long hours that are leaving you exhausted and with no energy to enjoy your weekends.

The real question that’s rolling around in the back of your mind is…

“How much longer can I keep doing this?”

Or even worse,

“How will this affect my family, my health, and my professional reputation if nothing changes very soon?”

After more than 10 years supporting mid-career women to navigate the ups and downs of a dynamic career, I’ve seen this scenario play out for women in every industry, across all job role types.

If this is you, I’m going to suggest that it’s 100% normal.

Think about it.

Most of us head into the world of working with a clear enough vision for the first 15 – 20 years or so.

It probably included a good job, a house, maybe a partner and a couple of kids – throw in a bit of overseas travel and … voila! Happy days!

Then one day you wake up and realise you have all of that – and yet you ask yourself … is this all there is?

You’ve delivered on your vision.

You’ve achieved everything you set out to achieve. But now there is no clear picture to guide your next move.

Many women pride themselves on having it all figured out – but here you are with nothing figured out. You know what you don’t want… but you’re not entirely sure what it is you do want.

I call it the mid-career crossroads.

What makes it even tricker is that you’re probably super talented, with a broad range of experience. You’re capable of pretty much anything, which leaves you with way too many options to choose from.

And to top it all off, you may have had a negative work experience that has knocked your confidence and left you wondering if you’re really cut out for more anyway.

So here you are.

Now what?

Without a clear picture of what’s next, it’s likely that you’ll remain stuck.

You’re probably entering a new phase, both professionally and personally.

Perhaps the kids have completed their schooling, or even moved out. Or you’ve hit menopause, and EVERYTHING is changing. Or you’re caring for elderly parents, or they’ve passed away leaving you with a decent-sized inheritance – which opens up even more opportunities.

And you’re entering a new career phase too.

Which means …

It sounds like it’s time to pause, reflect and give your work and life a complete audit.

It’s time to be curious and to dream a little. Imagine how you’d like to be spending your time, sharing your wisdom and putting your hard-earned experience to work over the next 10 – 15 years.

What type of life would you like to create for this next phase?

Work and life don’t happen in isolation – so plan them out together.

Even though it might be scary, you get to choose. Remember, we only get one life. Let’s make it fun. Let’s make it count.

Spend some time getting clear on what type of work you love to do, what you’re passionate about and where you can add the most value.

And take note of what you’d rather never do again. For me that’s easy. NEVER again will I head up an audit process or be responsible for creating new policies and procedures. I know what I’m good at – and these aren’t it!

But most importantly, give yourself some grace as you work through these important questions.

It can be tricky to figure this out and it’s likely to take some time.

Be patient, while also excited as you craft your new future.

You’ve got this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Why Being Helpful and Reliable is…

Do you often find yourself working tirelessly, trying to prove your worth and earn that well-deserved recognition? It’s a trap many mid-career professional women fall into, thinking that by working harder and doing more, they will finally be seen, heard, and promoted.

Jane Benston

Blonde woman talking phone and posing with notebook in office

Leaders are in high demand ……

If you look at any Org Structure right now, you’ll see plenty of leaders listed – but are they really leading?

Jane Benston

What you learnt at school will…

What most mid career professional women never realise is that what you learnt at school automatically set you up to be a productive, hardworking team member – NOT an impactful strategic leader.

Jane Benston

Leaders are in high demand … but in very short supply!

Leaders are in high demand ... but in very short supply!

If you look at any Org Structure right now, you’ll see plenty of leaders listed – but are they really leading?

Do they have respect from their team members, trust from their stakeholders and the backing of their executives?

I think we’d all agree that there are plenty who do not!

Many leaders are not building and engaging cohesive, high performing teams. They are not setting the vision or building strategies that will lead the business to great heights. And many are not making much of an impact beyond showing up and churning through their to do list.

Sadly, too many in leadership positions are too busy in the day to day, or lacking the courage to make uncomfortable decisions or take bold actions, or failing to harness the full value and potential of their team…. to be seen as truly leading.

I’m sure you’ve seen this to be true too.

When you think back over your career, how many of your leaders would you consider to be good (or even great) leaders?

Over my career I’ve reported to a couple of people who I would say were truly exceptional leaders, with the rest falling in the OK range. And a few… well I’d plonk them directly into the dreadful basket!

So, here’s the good news.

Organisations are crying out for exceptional leaders – at all levels.

Which means…

If you’re considered to be a great leader, you will always be in HIGH DEMAND.

As a great leader, here’s what you can expect…

More money.

Greater job security.

An abundance of opportunities.

To attract the highest quality team members.

Commanding respect across the organisation.

Recognition for your leadership.

Which in turn makes work so much easier, enjoyable and fulfilling!

So, let’s make sure you are seen as an exceptional leader.

The good news is …

Being seen as a great leader isn’t going to require you to work any harder.

Let’s celebrate that for a moment – because I’m guessing you’re already working long hours and perhaps weekends too. Actually, when you step into impactful leadership, it’s very possible you’ll work less – not more!

Being seen as an exceptional leader is all about focusing your time and energy in a new way.

Here’s how…

  • Dedicate more time and effort to high impact, high value projects.
  • Focus on creating results that matter to the senior executive team.

  • Learn to influence important decisions and provide clear strategies that others will get behind.

  • Set strong boundaries, delegate more and support your team to deliver on the highest priorities.

  • Ensure that the right people know who you are and how good you are at what you do.

In other words …

The most reliable way to be seen as an exceptional leader, so you are always in high demand, is to focus your time and energy not on the low-level day-to-day tasks but on the high impact activities that make a difference within your organisation.

By investing your time, energy and resources in becoming an exceptional leader you will be richly rewarded. Stand apart from the average leader and you will always be in high demand.

You’ve got this. Go out and be exceptional!

 

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Why Being Helpful and Reliable is…

Do you often find yourself working tirelessly, trying to prove your worth and earn that well-deserved recognition? It’s a trap many mid-career professional women fall into, thinking that by working harder and doing more, they will finally be seen, heard, and promoted.

Jane Benston

Portrait of beautiful Asian businesswoman working at office table

Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s…

If you are a mid-career professional woman who has achieved career success – like landing a well-paid role, leading a sizable team and heading up important projects – and find yourself feeling lost and confused, instead of the professional pride and fulfilment you thought you’d feel, this is for you.

Jane Benston

What you learnt at school will…

What most mid career professional women never realise is that what you learnt at school automatically set you up to be a productive, hardworking team member – NOT an impactful strategic leader.

Jane Benston

What you learnt at school will keep you stuck

What you learnt at school will keep you stuck

What most mid career professional women never realise is that what you learnt at school automatically set you up to be a productive, hardworking team member – NOT an impactful strategic leader.   

Now, that’s not your fault.  

The education system did a fantastic job at grooming all of us to be good hard-working team members. 

I mean. Think about it….  

Raise your hand! Work hard! Ask permission! Wait your turn. Do what you’re told! Get it right. Never make a mistake. 

Be a good girl and get good grades. 

And then one day my child, YOU will be successful in work and life.  

Well, if that was the case, then everyone we know who operates this way – those who work long, hard grinding hours and wait for permission and do what they are told and seek perfection… they would be successful. 

But we know that’s simply not the case.  

And that’s because, when you hold onto this team member mindset after securing a leadership position, your value can only be assessed on your effort – and we all know that your effort is limited by the amount of time you have in your day and the amount of energy you have to give. 

And have you noticed: you never seem to have enough of either!  

Successful leaders are those who rise above the day-to-day low level tasks and think and act strategically … 

NOT those who rely purely on their hard work to get ahead.   

Leaders take risks. They question everything. They challenge the status quo and take bold action. They set expectations and hold their teams accountable.  And most importantly – they create results for the organisation.  

If anything, successful leaders are those who adopted the exact opposite mindset of what we’re taught at school. 

Think about it.  Find me any successful leader who’s getting results, setting the agenda and leading a high performing team, who thinks and operates like a hard-working new graduate.   

You can’t.  

Because they don’t exist.  

And now you know the difference between someone who gets stuck languishing in a mid management role and someone who thrives in a rewarding leadership role, making a real difference.  

Which means you have a choice. 

You can continue to operate as an underpaid, overworked team member on a downward spiral towards burnout with nothing to show for it… 

Or 

Starting today, you can step into the mindset of a leader and start living and operating from that place. 

Now, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to mean breaking a few long-held habits and it’s going to be uncomfortable. 

But… 

It’s going to be worth it in the end.  

What’s it going to be?  

Hard work with little to show for it?  Or focused, strategic, rewarding, high level work that has you recognised as a leader.  

Your choice.  

 

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Why Being Helpful and Reliable is…

Do you often find yourself working tirelessly, trying to prove your worth and earn that well-deserved recognition? It’s a trap many mid-career professional women fall into, thinking that by working harder and doing more, they will finally be seen, heard, and promoted.

Jane Benston

Portrait of beautiful Asian businesswoman working at office table

Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s…

If you are a mid-career professional woman who has achieved career success – like landing a well-paid role, leading a sizable team and heading up important projects – and find yourself feeling lost and confused, instead of the professional pride and fulfilment you thought you’d feel, this is for you.

Jane Benston

Blonde woman talking phone and posing with notebook in office

Leaders are in high demand ……

If you look at any Org Structure right now, you’ll see plenty of leaders listed – but are they really leading?

Jane Benston

My guiding word for 2024

my guiding word for 2024

My guiding word for 2024

Every year I choose a word of the year. It guides me and provides focus – usually in an area of growth or it supports the development of a new positive habit.

Last year my word of the year was ASK.

My goal was to use my focus of ASKING to let go of the long-held habit of being overly independent. For most of my life, I’d seen my fiercely independent ways as one of my greatest strengths but in more recent years it was becoming increasingly obvious that it was also becoming a barrier to my growth and an easier, more fulfilling life.

Throughout 2023 I consciously resisted the temptation and habit of diving in and doing it all myself.

Did I get it perfect every time? Absolutely not. Fifty plus years of habitual coping alone rather than leaning into support doesn’t vanish overnight – but I’m proud to say I’ve made significant progress.

Whether it was handing over the keys to a professional team to prepare my Melbourne property for sale or asking for a lift to an event or delegating more to my team (and letting go to allow them to flourish). I’m
happy to report I’m enjoying the results from ASKING.

After much deliberation I’ve now come up with my area of focus for 2024.

This year’s word is ALLOWING.

Why ALLOWING?

It primarily comes from a realisation that not only have I struggled with ASKING – I’ve also struggled with RECEIVING. So, my focus on ALLOWING is to build my muscle around accepting support. Allowing work and life to be easy. ALLOWING others to carry some of the load.

It’s to remind me to go with the flow rather than struggling against the tide. I’ll be asking over and over again…. “Is there an easier way?”

We women often feel that things need to be hard to be worthwhile. I’m calling BS on that! I’m committed to ALLOW myself the gift of taking the easier pathway – provided it leads me to the results I want!

This year’s focus is to encourage me to spend more time in silence to ALLOW my intuition to support decision making and guide my next moves.

It’s about ALLOWING the year to unfold without judgement. It’s accepting that there will always be situations and circumstances that are challenging. I will be letting go of what I can’t control and focus on responding to those things I can.

I’m also expecting 2024 will bring with it challenges in supporting my aging parents – so my focus of ALLOWING extends to ALLOWING myself grace as I navigate those challenges.

Finally, it’s about ALLOWING more space in my weekly schedule for me. The transition to menopause has not been smooth sailing and I’m committed to allowing myself the time and space to focus on building a healthy foundation for this next stage of life.

And most of all …. I’m excited about what this year of ALLOWING will create.

How about you? Do you have a word or area of focus for the year? I’d love to hear what it is?

Would you like some help to create your 90 day plan to kick the year off on the right note? Join us Tuesday 23rd January  at 8pm AEDT where I’ll be working with other mid career women to create their Transformational Year in a free online workshop. Click here to register.

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Why Being Helpful and Reliable is…

Do you often find yourself working tirelessly, trying to prove your worth and earn that well-deserved recognition? It’s a trap many mid-career professional women fall into, thinking that by working harder and doing more, they will finally be seen, heard, and promoted.

Jane Benston

Portrait of beautiful Asian businesswoman working at office table

Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s…

If you are a mid-career professional woman who has achieved career success – like landing a well-paid role, leading a sizable team and heading up important projects – and find yourself feeling lost and confused, instead of the professional pride and fulfilment you thought you’d feel, this is for you.

Jane Benston

Blonde woman talking phone and posing with notebook in office

Leaders are in high demand ……

If you look at any Org Structure right now, you’ll see plenty of leaders listed – but are they really leading?

Jane Benston

Unlock Your Career Potential with a 90 Day Plan

Unlock Your Career Potential With a 90 Day Plan

A new year is the perfect time to assess your priorities and aspirations. And I wonder… do you have a clear and specific plan in place to support you to take your career from where you are, to where you want to be?

A document that articulates your key priorities, and that you can use to guide your decisions and actions so you stay focused and on track?

If not, you are not alone … many of the mid-level professional women I meet and work with don’t have a plan for their success. More often than not, they can clearly tell me what they don’t want – but they can’t articulate (for themselves or others) what they do want.

Which is usually why they can’t seem to get where they want to be in their career…

Why 90 day plans are essential

Without a clear vision and plan, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing bits and pieces of everything – without intention or direction. While this keeps us busy, it is rarely making us effective. And chances are, you’re not working to your full potential, which leaves you feeling unsatisfied.

With a 90 day plan, you are clear about what matters, and where you want to be adding value in your workplace (or not).

Instead of being the Go to Girl who tries to juggle it all, your plan helps you stay focused on the right things, in your lane and moving towards the growth, impact and recognition you crave (and are more than capable of!).

90 day plans can be the stepping stone to your success – I’ve seen it happen time and time again!

How to create your 90 day plan

1 – Start with the end in mind

To get to where you want to be, you first need to know where you want to go!

Think about this: in three months’ time, what would you like to be working on or have experienced in your workplace?

Be aspirational, but also be realistic – there is only so much you can do in 90 days!

Is there a key project you want to get off the ground? Can you introduce a new strategic direction for the organisation? Do you want to show up in a new way for your team?

2 – Let go of the less important

It’s very common to waste hours (yes, hours) in our week doing things that don’t ultimately support us to move forward in our careers. Micro-managing, being always available, saying yes to things outside your remit… the list goes on.

Get really present to everything standing between you and where you want to be in your career so you can recognise those things when they arise, and choose a different path for yourself.

3 – Create an environment for success

Now that you’re clear on the things that are standing between you and where you want to be, you can create an environment for success.

This might include external things like leaving the office to get into deep work mode, being more intentional with your contributions in meetings, or encouraging your team to independently problem solve before they come to you.

You might also identify some internal things like seeking out professional coaching, working on your self belief and confidence, or finding a community of like-minded women who understand you and the unique challenges you face in your workplace (my free community is a great place to start!).

4 – Document it

Ambition is fruitless without a plan. So once you have done all the dreaming and thinking, and you have determined where you want to focus your time and energy, it’s time to capture it.

Write down your clear, specific, and actionable goals, schedule in time to work on them, and then commit!

5 – Review and Celebrate

This key step is often overlooked – which is robbing yourself of a great opportunity to celebrate!

At the end of 90 days, set time aside to review your progress against the plan you created. What worked? What challenged you? What didn’t work? Perhaps you’ll identify:

Where you could’ve shared the load

What tempted you to go off track and fall back into your old ways

If you’re trying to do too much, too quickly

How you leveraged your strengths to create greater impact – without working harder

The foundations you created to support continued growth in the next 90 days.

And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get all your goals ticked off… because this gives you something to learn from.

Finally, celebrate your wins, big and small! Did you get that project off the ground? Fantastic! Did you say no to something you’d normally just say yes to? Incredible! Did you protect the white space for deep work appointments in your calendar? Amazing!

Goal setting quickly becomes a chore if you don’t remember to celebrate all the progress you make along the way, which is why reflecting on the wins is an important part of this process.

Then, take your lessons and wins and use them to develop your next 90 day plan. You’ll be amazed by what you can achieve when you have a plan to follow!

 

Like some help to create your 90 day plan to kick the year off on the right note? Join us Tuesday 23rd January  at 8pm AEDT where I’ll be working with other mid career women to create their Transformational Year in a free online workshop. Click here to register.

[jc_buttons]

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Why Being Helpful and Reliable is…

Do you often find yourself working tirelessly, trying to prove your worth and earn that well-deserved recognition? It’s a trap many mid-career professional women fall into, thinking that by working harder and doing more, they will finally be seen, heard, and promoted.

Jane Benston

Portrait of beautiful Asian businesswoman working at office table

Stuck at a mid-career crossroads? Here’s…

If you are a mid-career professional woman who has achieved career success – like landing a well-paid role, leading a sizable team and heading up important projects – and find yourself feeling lost and confused, instead of the professional pride and fulfilment you thought you’d feel, this is for you.

Jane Benston

Blonde woman talking phone and posing with notebook in office

Leaders are in high demand ……

If you look at any Org Structure right now, you’ll see plenty of leaders listed – but are they really leading?

Jane Benston

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the Back-to-Work Blues

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the Back-to-Work Blues

After navigating a seemingly endless whirlwind of changes and challenges over the past few years, have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues.

Returning to the daily grind after treasured downtime means saying goodbye to those leisurely beach days, quiet reading moments, and extended lunches with friends. It’s completely normal to feel a bit wistful…

Seeing another year stretch before you might also have you wondering whether you and your job are meant for each other. But, before you start contemplating a major career overhaul, let’s chat about some strategies to reignite your professional spark.

How to Beat the Back-to-Work-Blues:

1. Get Clear on Your Goals

You’ve likely heard this advice before, and for good reason – because it really is important! Setting clear goals provides a roadmap for the year ahead. If traditional goal-setting doesn’t resonate, how about picking a theme for the year? For instance, I once dedicated a year to pushing beyond my comfort zone. Last year’s theme was Ask. What theme might guide your year?

2. Establish Boundaries

Is it beginning to feel like you’re living at the office? I once worked with someone who’s average work day was 12 hours. Yikes! It was no wonder her health was suffering, she felt endless guilt about not being present with her family, and she was resenting the role that used to energise her.

A new year is a great opportunity to establish some new boundaries – or reinforce those boundaries that have slipped away. And if your work hours seem to be growing, it’s definitely time to set some boundaries.

When my client learned to stick to her boundaries, graciously decline tasks that weren’t her responsibility, and focus on the work that really mattered, she was able to reclaim over 2 hours each day… while still delivering results for the organisation.

3. Work Smarter, Not Harder

We cannot create more time. It’s that simple. So the trick here is to find the tactics and habits that will support you to win back some time for the things that matter. Things like carving out – and fiercely protecting – time for your big-picture, strategic thinking, and then working on those strategies during your most productive hours.

It will mean understanding what is important (for you, your team, and the organisation) and effectively delegating everything else. And it will mean getting good at saying no to things you don’t need to focus on.

4. Leverage Your Strengths

Can you clearly articulate your strengths? Do you get to leverage those strengths in your current role?

When you align work with your strengths, you will perform significantly better and – more importantly – you will experience a higher level of job satisfaction. Take some time to reflect on your strengths and whether your current role gives you the opportunity to use them effectively.

5. Nourish Professional Relationships

Another factor that can improve job satisfaction is the relationships you have at work. Nurturing these relationships takes effort… but it will pay off if you commit to it. Stay connected, give value, collaborate, and support your team and colleagues in shared goals and objective. Taking the time to create a strong professional network can make a world of difference.

6. Prioritise Your Own Wellbeing

I know you already know: when work takes over, our own wellbeing gets dumped at the bottom of the pile. Yet research consistently highlights the importance of cultivating a healthy lifestyle for overall performance – in life and at work.

Focusing on nutritious eating, regular exercise, and moments of mindfulness is crucial. When you cultivate an active and fulfilling life you will see the benefits across the board.

7. Give Yourself a Decision Date

If, despite your efforts, you still struggle to find joy and fulfillment at work, this year might be the time to consider something new. Commit to a date by which you’ll either rekindle your career mojo or decide to explore new opportunities. Life is too short to stay stuck in a job that leaves you feeling drained and unfulfilled.

Now, over to you…

If the back-to-work blues have left you uninspired for the year ahead, it’s time to embrace change. After all, nothing changes if nothing changes! This is your time to take charge, shake things up, and reignite that professional mojo so you can step into that sustainable, fulfilling leadership role you know you’re capable of.

Know you need support and accountability to begin implementing these strategies? My signature group coaching program, IGNITE, can help. Over 8 weeks, you’ll discover how to step up to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition – without working harder. Learn more about the program here

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5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Front view of a doubtful woman shrugging shoulders and looking at you sitting on a sofa at home

What’s holding you back?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and Play This Silly Season

5 Tips for Blending Work and Play This Silly Season

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5 Tips for Blending Work and Play This Silly Season

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year

But this does not mean that it’s time to put your career aspirations on hold, swan off with a cocktail in hand or slip into your summer sandals and head to the beach for that long awaited break. 

Not quite so fast, my friend. That time will come, but not quite yet!

Here’s what I suggest you focus on first. 

As I’ve discussed with many high-achieving women over the last couple of weeks, this is the perfect time to get out and about connecting and positioning yourself for the types of roles you would like to be considered for come the new year.

So, ladies, it’s time to dig into the back of your wardrobe, pull on some real clothes and head out for a pre-Christmas drink, coffee or lunch. Look through your contact list and pick up the phone to colleagues from years gone past.

Go into this festive period with an intention to have some fun, while also making the best use of the opportunity to strengthen key relationships, build your profile and seek opportunities in the hidden job market.

Yes… I’m suggesting you be a little bit strategic.

As I’ve discovered, through many discussions with women over the last couple of years … knowing how to have these conversations and exactly how to position yourself can be bewildering.

Here are my 5 top tips on making meaningful connections over holiday drinks:

1. Relationships first, business second.

Focus on building genuine robust relationships. No one likes to be taken advantage of or used. So, look to develop authentic connections and be willing to give even more than you would ultimately like to get from the relationship. And remember, a handwritten, heartfelt note to those people you are grateful to have in your life will go a long way to raising your profile as a genuine professional worth supporting.

2. Embrace and celebrate your achievements.

When someone asks you how the year has been, speak of what you have achieved and what has made you proud this year. No more hiding in the shadows or skipping over the wins. This is all about positioning your skills and talents and developing your personal brand.

3. Be open to new opportunities.

At this time of the year people will ask you about your work, what you’re doing and if it’s been a good year. If you’re on the job market… let people know (with discretion of course.) If you don’t know exactly what is next for you then share that you are exploring opportunities that will allow you to use your X, Y and Z skills and further develop your interest and passion for A, B and C.

4. Ask for introductions.

Your next role is most likely to come through an introduction or a recommendation from someone in your network. So, let’s expand the network. Ask your connections whether there is anyone within their network that may be valuable for you to connect with. Remember, you will never get what you don’t ask for.

5. And most importantly, have fun!

Let’s face it, it’s been a tough year and you’ve worked hard, so let’s take some time to enjoy the festive season. A positive, optimistic and fun attitude during the silly season will do wonders for your soul and boost your chances of a fabulous opportunity coming. 

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businesswoman working on laptop at office, typing something on computer and holding smartphone while sitting at her working place, copy space

Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Front view of a doubtful woman shrugging shoulders and looking at you sitting on a sofa at home

What’s holding you back?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

A Change of Perception

A Change of Perception

There are three questions I always ask the women I work with – because the answers will dictate whether she’s going to flourish in her leadership role or work herself to the ground (and feel like she’s selling her soul in the process). 

They are:

  •  Do you see yourself as a leader?
  • Does your leadership role sit comfortably with you?
  • Have you found your place as a leader within your organisation?

These questions are an important part of the discovery process, for me and for my clients. Let me explain why. 

Not so long ago, I worked with an incredible woman in my Leadership Connection membership program. Let’s call her Emma (even though that’s not her real name). Emma had an enviable work ethic that kept pace with an extremely busy workplace. She was well-liked and respected by both her peers and the senior executive team. Following a restructure, Emma was excited to be tapped on the shoulder for a leadership position. 

In the new role, Emma found herself reporting to a director that was new to the organisation, and brought a leadership style she wasn’t used to working with. Emma’s new team included some of her former peers, and sadly the shift from colleague to leader did not go smoothly. 

Emma’s former peers were happy to keep her in a place of micromanagement, while the rest of the team (who were looking for strategic guidance) grew resentful of the lack of direction they were receiving from Emma and frustrated that she did not seem to trust them to just get on with the job. 

Emma knew she needed to step up, but being stuck in her to-do list, working ridiculously long hours and dealing with borderline-toxic team dynamics, meant she simply couldn’t see a path forward. She constantly questioned her capabilities, value, and worth.

This story is devastating! And, sadly, all too common.

The transition from peer to leader can be really difficult, and it is rarely an issue of competency. After all, you are employed as a leader in recognition of your abilities and hard work. However, at its core, leadership isn’t just a different way of doing – it requires a different way of thinking. And one of the biggest obstacles to this is how leaders see themselves! Throw in the good girl dynamic that’s so prevalent in our generation and it becomes even more difficult.

Embracing a leadership role requires a distinct shift in how women see themselves. 

Very few people are natural leaders (despite what pervasive mythology would try to have you believe). Effective leadership comes from developing a set of skills, and cultivating the perception that you are, in fact, a leader. And the most significant perception comes from within. 

So, tell me… do you actually see yourself as a leader?

When we step into a leadership role, our behaviour needs to reflect that as well. In performance psychology there is a philosophy of ‘behaviour informs action’, as a reflection of attitude. Put simply, action is (literally) the act of doing something. Behaviour describes the way you conduct yourself as you take the action. To step up into the next level of leadership, the way you behave likely needs to shift, along with your perception of yourself.

When someone steps into a leadership role, they’re really good at doing the work – especially when this role has come from a series of shoulder taps. And while this should shift in their new leadership role, it often doesn’t.

One of the frustrations women share with me (far too often) is that, while they recognise this new role should allow them to be visionary, set the strategic direction, and drive change, that is not the case. 

They find themselves still caught up with implementation (doing the do) and, in some cases, still doing big chunks of their old job! Very often they get stuck in that go-to-girl image.  Their title and official PD changed, but how they approach their workload does not. Which leads to resentment and burnout, with many women left wondering… is this is? Is this what I’ve worked so hard for? No thank you!

Which brings me back to those 3 important questions. 

  • Do you see yourself as a leader?
  • Does your leadership role sit comfortably with you?
  • Have you found your place as a leader within your organisation?

We start here because it helps us focus our work, and understand where exactly my clients need to shift their perception of themselves from the reliable, hard-working, go-to girl to the capable, engaged, and insightful leader they truly are. 

When they come to me, they usually understand the responsibilities, obligations and potential that comes with leading a team, but they are unable to see a path forward that gets them out of the busywork and into the big-picture visionary work that will move the organisation forward. That’s where I come in – so let’s start a conversation today.

By the way, if you’re wondering about what happened to Emma? Through our work together and her own commitment to shifting her perception and the perception of those around her – not only is she now wholeheartedly embracing her leadership role, she is respected by her team and peers and kicking goals!

LET'S CONNECT

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Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Front view of a doubtful woman shrugging shoulders and looking at you sitting on a sofa at home

What’s holding you back?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

What’s holding you back?

What’s holding you back?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.  

 The saddest part of all?  Many of the roadblocks and obstacles that hold women back come from within.   

 Yes… the system and structures, unconscious bias and the preconceived vision of what a leader looks like play a part, but they’re not the only factors. 

 What’s holding you back? 

Women come to me for a wide range of reasons. While they’re all mid-career, some find themselves ‘stuck’ and unable to progress their careers, while others have reached (and smashed!) their career goals but instead of feeling jubilant feel underwhelmed. Others come to me because they feel unseen and overlooked, while others know they’re working far harder than they should.  

Almost every time I ask “What’s the number one thing holding you back?” they answer without too much hesitation… ME!  

 What almost all these women have in common is the (horrible!) experience of ruminating and questioning their sense of worth. They have internal blocks and mental obstacles that take up far too much real estate in their heads. Instead of strategically approaching their work and career, it’s happening by default, and that doesn’t feel great in the long term.  

 So, how does this arise? At a macro level it’s the patriarchy, no doubt about it, but let’s save that discussion for another day. Let’s go to the nitty gritty of how it arises and the impact it leaves.  

It’s not unusual for women to come with me with an extremely unclear understanding of their worth.  

 They either shrug off their accomplishments or don’t even see the value in what they do. What’s interesting is that low self-worth and busy work that keeps women occupied (but doesn’t progress their career) often go hand in hand.  

 The thing with being busy is it’s incredibly validating. Ticking things off a list feels great. There’s that dopamine hit as we ‘prove’ our output and productivity. But just like a sugar rush, there’s a crash, and in this context the resulting erosion of boundaries breeds resentment and limits career progression. It also means they continue to show up as a do-er rather than a leader.  

 The other thing holding women back is a reluctance to delegate.  

 In some cases, it’s a flat out refusal. Instead of hand-balling appropriately to the relevant team members, some women find themselves doing the workload of an entire team. This is unsustainable and quite frankly insulting to their people, not to mention demoralising.  

 There’s only one way to move past this and that’s to learn to let go. Trust in other people’s abilities and allow them to step up and actually do the job you’ve engaged them to do.  

 Another inner block that keeps women stuck is a lack of clarity around their values and what matters most to them. As I detailed in this piece, sometimes women compare their current state of being with how they defined success in their 20s or 30s, and while their priorities shifted their approach didn’t. The end result is misalignment between their role and the way they see themselves, OR the way they see themselves and the way they intrinsically feel 

 Women are also held back by their own comfort zone.  

 They’re afraid to fail, afraid to be vulnerable and as a result they are unable to stretch and grow. Sometimes women simply lack confidence in their own abilities, which keeps them in their comfort zone. A great way to tackle this is to simply track your wins. We all have to do lists, but how many of us have ‘done, and done beautifully’ lists?  

 Internal blocks aren’t insurmountable. They require a level of self-awareness. I find that when I help women create a reflective practice they gain the perspective to see their blind spots, and then, in turn, put into place a plan of attack against them.  

 Almost always there’s a need to firstly manage expectations, both their own and those of others, and the next step?  Doing the work to quieten the inner critic, believe in your worth and build courage to back yourself.  

What’s holding you back?  

 If you’re like the women I work with, your inner blocks are something we can absolutely kick to the curb – just reach out. 

LET'S CONNECT

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Reignite Your Career Mojo: Overcoming the…

Have you found yourself reassessing your priorities and reflecting on what truly matters to you? You are certainly not alone. And as we ease into a new year, perhaps you’re finding yourself grappling with the back-to-work blues. Before you throw in the towel, here’s what to consider…

Jane Benston

5 Tips for Blending Work and…

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.
And with restrictions finally lifted – it’s time to get out and about and connect… in person.

Jane Benston

Side view.Young businesswoman dressed in light pink shirt sitting at wooden table and using laptop while talking on cellphone.Girl uses digital gadget. On table cup of coffee. Online shopping,working.

A Change of Perception

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an incredibly accomplished woman may find herself held back… Held back from achieving her aspirations, from stepping into her leadership potential and from becoming even more accomplished.

Jane Benston

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.