Navigating the ‘messy middle’ of your professional growth: a helpful hack

Navigating the ‘messy middle’ of your professional growth: a helpful hack

Growth is never easy, 

One of the most challenging parts of up-levelling in our careers is navigating our way through, what I call, the ‘messy middle’. 

The ‘messy middle’ is the often uncomfortable part of our growth – that sits between our old habits, behaviours, strategies and ways of thinking, and the ones our Future Self needs us to step into, to progress and move forward. 

What I see happen, time and time again in my work with mid-career professional women, is this

The women who persevere and commit to staying the course through the messy middle (no matter how hard it gets) are the ones who successfully make the transition into the next phase of their careers.

They are the ones who are stepping up to the next level of leadership, being offered promotions and getting seen as the ones to watch, in their organisations.

The fact of the matter is, that change and professional growth never come if we allow ourselves to be paralysed by our fear and discomfort.

Professional growth requires us to act with courage.  

There is no shortcut or bypassing the discomfort.  It’s part of the process that we must embrace in order to get to the other side. 

Let me share some of my most successful tried-and-tested strategies with you  for transitioning through the “messy middle.”

  1. Call in support

One thing the ladies in my Ignite and Leadership Connection programs tell me time and time again, is that they would not be where they are in their careers, or had the skills and confidence to navigate the ‘messy middle’, if they hadn’t had the support to keep them moving forward. 

Stepping into the next level of leadership is uncharted territory, and it takes guidance, support and accountability (especially from someone who has been where you are!) to make the journey feel easier and less overwhelming.

  1. Get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable

Many women are under the impression that if something feels really uncomfortable, it’s because they’ve made a ‘wrong’ decision. 

But this isn’t always the case. In fact, I’d dare to say that everyone who is aspiring for growth in their career will feel some level of discomfort no matter how many years of experience they have tucked under their belt.

New things take practice and up-levelling in your career requires you to ‘re-wire’ and learn new skills, habits and behaviours – and this will often stretch you outside what feels familiar or comfortable. 

Discomfort is completely normal!

  1. See the ‘messy middle’ as a good thing

While it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the ‘messy middle’, another way to look at it is through a more positive lens. After all, being in the ‘messy middle’ ultimately means that you’re moving forward and making progress!

This chapter is absolutely worth celebrating because it means you’re actively getting one step closer, each day, to where you want to be.

There is much gold to glean in this period of great change and growth.

The career you aspire for yourself really is just one decision away, on the other side of messiness. 

You get to decide whether or not you say ‘yes!’ – you truly do hold all the power in your hands. 

We have many mid career professional women, who have successfully navigated their ‘messy middle’, over in our free Facebook Group.  Join in the conversation and ask for advice, here.

 

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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.

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The fight for top talent. How to make the most of the HOT job market

The fight for top talent. How to make the most of the HOT job market.

Have you noticed that right now the job market is HOT!  Many organisations are falling over themselves to keep their best people or poach top talent from elsewhere.   

The reason for this is twofold.

Firstly, with international borders closed and likely to remain closed for some time yet, organisations are unable to rely on employing talent from around the globe, leaving a shortage of skilled professionals.

Secondly, the shakeup created by COVID has left many people reassessing their priorities and professional future.  With high levels of burn out and increased opportunities for working from anywhere – many are choosing to take time out of the workforce or moving on to work for themselves.  

What does this mean?

High quality talent is in demand. This puts you in the box seat to secure a promotion with your current employer or a new role in a different organisation – with a pay rise and the flexibility you could only dream about 2 years ago.  

But there are a few things you need to be doing now to make the most of this very unique time in history to put yourself in a powerful position. 

How to position for the best opportunities.

1. Know what you want.  If you don’t know what you want… it’s difficult to position yourself for it.  Lack of clarity leads to confusion and keeps you stuck where you are for way longer than is good for your career. 

2. Be valuable.  Being useful, helpful and reliable is nice but being valuable is what will make you highly sought after.  To tap into the best opportunities, you must be able to clearly articulate the value you offer your current or future employer?  

But being able to articulate your value is not enough.  It’s then about ensuring that you are working towards solving the big issues, delivering the results most needed or contributing in ways that have you being recognised for your leadership?  Be intentional and focus your time and energy on those activities that showcase the value you deliver for the business. 

3. Raise your profile.  No more flying under the radar, hoping that your good work will speak for itself.  I know that it should, but it won’t! It’s time to speak about the work you’re doing, the results you and your team are achieving and how you are contributing to the organisations most important goals.  Being a well-kept secret will not give you access to the best opportunities. 

4. Pimp your LinkedIn.  A well thought out LinkedIn profile is a must for all professionals.  You can no longer hide behind the excuse of “I’m a private person” or “It’s a waste of time.”  LinkedIn is a professional tool that all we should be embracing.  It is increasingly being used by recruiters and organisations to find top talent.  You are limiting your opportunities if you are not leveraging LinkedIn! 

5. Be intentional and stay focused. It is time to get strategic and focused on what you want. Yes… it may even be time to create a plan.  Get clear on what actions you will take and what changes you will implement to put yourself in a great position to take advantage of the best opportunities that are out there. 

Now is not the time to be complacent about your professional development. This window of opportunity will be brief.  The job market will not remain hot for long.  So, although you may be feeling tired, frustrated and bored or even struggling with mental fatigue as a result of the ongoing lockdowns and long periods of working from home, if you are ready to take the next step in your career – now is the time to act.  

Get clarity.  Get visible. Get out there.  And get ready to seize onto this unique moment in time. 

Like some help to make the most of the HOT job market?  Click here, answer a few questions and book a Leadership Support Session with me.

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

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Your ultimate guide to making the…

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

Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influence our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

Jane Benston

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Jane Benston

Are you making this one critical job search mistake?

Are you making this one critical job search mistake?

If you are in the market for a new role (and let me tell you the job market is HOT right now) then please listen up.

Most women I meet are going about their job search all wrong.  It’s costing them valuable time, emotional energy and access to the best opportunities that are most likely to bring joy and fulfilment.

And – it’s quite possibly costing them getting paid what they’re worth too.  

The NUMBER ONE MISTAKE I see most people make is that they go out to the job market and ask; “I wonder what’s out there that I could do?”

They are relying on others to work out what would be a good fit for them and passively wait for the right thing to turn up.  It’s frustrating, emotionally draining and leaves them at the mercy of others.

If you’ve done this too… don’t beat yourself up. 

It’s the way most people approach the job market.

But it’s a flawed.  It leads you to trying to fit yourself into a role that’s not exactly the right for you. 

So, BEFORE you go and speak to recruiters, reach out to your network or engage a resume writer, do this one thing FIRST. 

Start looking within!

Take the time to truly know yourself!  Who are you?  What do you do better than most?  What value could you bring to an organisation?  What do you really want to being doing and just as importantly – what don’t you want to be doing?

Can you clearly answer these questions? 

If you can’t – you are NOT YET READY to put yourself out there on the job market!

It’s only once you can clearly articulate who you are, what makes you unique and what it is you actually want to be doing – that you can truly take a proactive, empowered approach to you job search. 

The best most aligned roles go to those who can say…

This is who I am.  This is what I can do.  This is the value I can bring to your business… Do you want me? 

This approach puts you on the front foot and has the RIGHT potential employers queuing up to speak with you.  And because they’ll easily recognise you as a valuable asset to their business – you’ll be in a powerful position to ask for the remuneration you know you deserve. 

So, if you haven’t yet done the work to truly know yourself – stop right now. 

Get clarity – then get back out there.

Knowing yourself WILL speed up the job search process, put you in the driving seat and increase the chance of you landing a role that will play to your strengths, stretch and challenge you and bring you joy and fulfilment.

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

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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.
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Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

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Jane Benston

Hit a mid-career plateau? 5 assumptions…

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Hate workplace politics? Here’s why you should embrace it.

Hate workplace politics? Here's why you should embrace it.

Eek! If you hate the very idea of workplace politics, I want you to hear me out.

I agree it’s icky and can be a truly ugly game.

It may make your skin crawl. Perhaps you’ve made a commitment to yourself that you would never do it.

You hate when you see it in others. And it’s frustrating to see them being rewarded for it – getting recognition they don’t deserve or even being promoted because they’ve played the game so well.

The truth is …

Avoiding the political game is hurting your career.

You’re missing out on being considered for the best opportunities.

Your best work is being overlooked or ignored.

And there’s even a chance you are being paid less because of it.

So, what’s the solution? How can you get seen, heard and recognised without playing politics?

The answer is…

Get comfortable with tooting your own horn – just a little – in a way that allows you to remain humble, authentic and in integrity.

It’s time to get comfortable with not only doing great work – but also to speak about the great work you and your team are doing.

It’s not icky. It’s not political. It’s smart!

It’s time to step out from the shadows and stop hoping and expecting your work to speak for itself. Yes, I know your great work should speak for itself – but at this level of leadership – it won’t.

It’s time to get comfortable with speaking about what you are doing and the value you are contributing to your organisation.

Leaders are visible. Leaders actively build their profile. Leaders consciously create a reputation that positions them for what they want to be known for.

So, if you hate the political games – don’t reject it. Instead, create your own game.

Raise your profile, build your reputation, get the recognition you deserve – but do it your way…. in a way that’s authentic to you.

Don’t reject it outright. There’s lots to be learnt from understanding the politics but it doesn’t mean you need to play the game in the same way as those who make your skin crawl.

Find your own way.

Jane

P.S. If you’re a mid career professional woman who is ready to invest time and energy in your professional development, here are some ways I can help you:

1. Join the Leading Ladies to connect with mid career professional women

It’s our FREE Facebook community where talented professional women, dedicated to growing into their full leadership potential, connect and share. Click here to join the group.

2. Join our Ignite Program to achieve more while working less.

I’m brining together a small group of mid career professional women to help them step up as leaders, have a bigger impact and get the recognition they deserve – without working harder. If you’re feeling stuck, under-appreciated or nearing burnout, send me a message and I’ll get you all the details.

3. Work with me privately

If you’d like to work directly with me to help you to take the next step in your career… just send me a message … tell me a little about where you’re at and what you’d like to work on together, and I’ll arrange a time for us to connect.

 

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

Happy business woman using digital tablet in modern office with christmas tree in background. Young middle eastern woman smiling and looking at camera during xmas. Portrait of cheerful young businesswoman working during christmas time with copy space.

Your ultimate guide to making the…

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

Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influence our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

Jane Benston

Hit a mid-career plateau? 5 assumptions…

Is it possible that you are your worst enemy when it comes to progressing your career? Are you playing small, ruling yourself out or holding back from stepping up to the next level of leadership?

Jane Benston

Is your self criticism getting in the way of your professional growth?

Is your self criticism getting in the way of your professional growth?

Many mid-career professional women are overly critical and hard on themselves.  I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that!

They’re great at identifying what they could improve on, but not-so-great at identifying what they’re already exceptional at.

They’re skilled at setting high goals for themselves and ticking things off their to-do lists, but not-so-skilled at celebrating their wins along the way.

They’re phenomenal at seeing everyone else’s gifts, but not-so-phenomenal at recognising their own talents.

The most terrible thing about self criticism, is that it tends to hold women back in their careers – they question the worthiness of their contributions, keep quiet and stay small.

Because of this, they don’t get the recognition and promotions they deserve …

WHICH JUST PERPETUATES THE CYCLE OF SELF CRITICISM! 

But don’t despair.  If you’ve struggled with being overly self critical, I have some tried and tested tips to help you.

One – Get clear on how your self criticism looks.

Everyone’s self criticism shows up in different ways. Recognising how yours is presenting itself is crucial if you want to put a kink in the cycle and choose a different path for yourself.

Is your self criticism leading you to speak unkindly to yourself?

Is it leading you to say ‘YES’ to anything and everything that is asked of you (even if your calendar is already full to the brim or the request is out of the scope of your role?)

Is it holding you back from sharing your innovative ideas in meetings?

ASK YOURSELF: How does my self criticism show up at work or in the way I lead? How is it influencing my actions and behaviours?

2 – Identify the impact your self criticism is having on your career.

We can sometimes be fooled into thinking that our self criticism is serving our careers …

“It keeps me focussed and drives me to take action!”

“It stops me from growing too big for my boots! I don’t ever want to be a leader with an ego!”

“It makes me likeable – my team loves me!”

But while all of this may be well and true, self criticism also has a way of hindering our career growth …

It can keep you stuck in doing mode, rather than being a strategic visionary.

It can lead to you not chasing new opportunities.

It can result in you staying hidden and therefore not being recognised for promotions.

And all these things get in the way of you being seen as the amazing leader you are. 

ASK YOURSELF: How has my self criticism fooled me into thinking it’s helping me? How does it hold me back from stepping into all I am capable of? 

3 – Get support

Having a community of like-minded women around you who understand the challenges of being a mid-career professional, who help you see when your self criticism is rearing its ugly head and who celebrate your gifts, makes a real difference.

Knowing you are not alone in this struggle is game changing!

Self criticism amongst talented mid career women is common, so let’s not beat ourselves up about it.  But at the same time – let’s agree to do something about it.  

Be reassured that with a little focused attention we can shift our habitual patterns of thinking away from being  self critical to focus on our achievements, talents and self worth.  

And simply having people around us who ‘get it’ and who cheer us on, can have the most profound impact on how we perceive ourselves.

In fact, it’s possibly the most profound module that has the biggest impact for the participants of IGNITE, my 8 week group coaching program for mid-career professional women! 

Interested in exploring this topic more?

Explore my group coaching program, IGNITE.

Have a read of these helpful articles – ‘If You’re Beating Yourself Up – Stop It!’ andDo you need to share the load?’.

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

Happy business woman using digital tablet in modern office with christmas tree in background. Young middle eastern woman smiling and looking at camera during xmas. Portrait of cheerful young businesswoman working during christmas time with copy space.

Your ultimate guide to making the…

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

Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influence our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

Jane Benston

Hit a mid-career plateau? 5 assumptions…

Is it possible that you are your worst enemy when it comes to progressing your career? Are you playing small, ruling yourself out or holding back from stepping up to the next level of leadership?

Jane Benston

Plan for success with a 90-day plan

Plan for success with a 90-day plan

Do you have a tangible plan in place to support you to get your career from where it is, to where you want it to be? 

Something that outlines your key priorities, guides your actions and keeps you focussed and on track?

If you don’t, know that you’re not alone … many mid-level professional women I meet don’t have a plan in place for their success.  They often tell me they know what they don’t want – but are unable to articulate for themselves or others what they do want.  

Which usually means, they aren’t quite where they want to be in their careers because of it.

Why are 90 day plans so important?

When we don’t have a clear vision or a plan, we tend to ‘float about’ doing bits and pieces of everything.

Our days and actions lack intention and direction and while we are still being busy, we’re not being as effective as we could be, nor are we working to our full potential.

A 90 day plan helps you get clear about where you do and do not want to be adding value in your workplace.

Rather than being everything to everyone and the ‘Jack (Jill) of all trades’, your plan helps you stay focussed, in your lane and moving in the direction of the growth, impact and recognition you crave and are more than capable of.

90 day plans really do have the potential to 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

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

Consider for yourself – what would you like to be doing/working on/experiencing/have completed in your workplace in 90 days?

Be aspirational and innovative, but also be realistic (there is only so much you can get done in 90 days after all!)

Is there a project you want to initiate and get off the ground?

Is there something you want to have finalised and signed off?

Is there a new way of showing up in meetings you want to aspire to?

2 – Let go of the less important

Many of us waste many hours in our week doing things that don’t ultimately support us to move forward in our careers …

Being available to everyone – all of the time, micro-managing others, being a ‘YES’ woman, constantly doubting ourselves – the list goes on and on.

Make a note of all the things that are standing between you and where you want to be in your career so you can recognise them 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 could include doing external things like shutting your door when you’re in deep work mode, being focussed and intentional in meetings, or encouraging your team to independently problem solve …

Or internal things like seeking out professional supervision for support, working on your self belief and confidence, or connecting with a community of fellow mid-level career women who understand you and the unique challenges you face in your workplace. (Join my FREE online community for mid career professional women here!)

4 – Write it down

It’s one thing to know where you want to focus your time and energy, but ambition is fruitless without a plan. 

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

5 – Review

At the end of the 90 days, set time aside to review your progress. 

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get all your goals ticked off – learn from it!

Did your commitment waiver, and do you need support to stay on track?

Did you get inundated with other work, and do you need to share the load?

Did you put too many goals on your plate, and set yourself up to fail?

From there, you can create another plan for your next 90 days!

6 – Celebrate

Goal setting quickly becomes a chore if we’re not celebrating our progress along the way. 

Don’t just celebrate your big wins – celebrate your small ones too!

You spoke up in a meeting, even when you felt scared to? AMAZING!

You got a project off the ground? EXCELLENT!

You said ‘no’ and honoured your boundaries, when you’d normally say ‘yes’? GO YOU!

These are all incredible achievements that deserve to be celebrated.

____________________________________________________________________

Need 1:1 help getting clear on where you want to take your career and how to create a 90 day plan that gets you from A to B?

Book in for a Leadership Support Session here, and together we’ll create a plan for your success!

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

Happy business woman using digital tablet in modern office with christmas tree in background. Young middle eastern woman smiling and looking at camera during xmas. Portrait of cheerful young businesswoman working during christmas time with copy space.

Your ultimate guide to making the…

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

Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influence our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

Jane Benston

Hit a mid-career plateau? 5 assumptions…

Is it possible that you are your worst enemy when it comes to progressing your career? Are you playing small, ruling yourself out or holding back from stepping up to the next level of leadership?

Jane Benston

The hidden cost of the Open Door Policy

The hidden cost of the Open Door Policy

Regardless of whether you are working from the office or from home, operating with an open door policy may seem like a good idea… but is it really?

Being available may have been drummed into you as the right thing to do, but there’s a hidden cost.

When you have lots of people demanding your attention, or relying on you for direction, the day’s and weeks can easily slip by without achieving much at all.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of being busy without being effective when you are at everyone’s beck and call.

Many mid-career professional women tell me that being responsive, available and having an ‘open door policy’, is what they think they need to do to get recognised as a leader.

But this isn’t true.

In fact, working in this way can harm your career progression.

In order to be seen as an effective leader, you need to focus your time and attention on those activities that have the biggest impact.

Effective leaders don’t just buzz around helping everyone else meet their goals. They have strong boundaries around their time, protective of their energy and intentional about their outputs. 

While effective leaders still support their team, they do so in a way that is structured and on their terms.

I want you to know that it’s okay to not jump to respond to people’s requests and queries. 

When you work reactively like this you:

  • Open your focus and creativity up to constant interruption
  • Get caught up in the day-to day doing in your workplace (as opposed to the bigger picture strategic and innovative thinking that leaders do)
  • Work extra hard, putting in long hours without always achieving the results required.
  • Keep yourself and your career stuck, and put roadblocks in the way of your progression.

Here’s some ways you can continue to support your team while also staying focused and getting seen as the leader you truly are.

1. Carve out time to respond

In most instances, nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait. I suggest carving out a pocket of time each workday to respond to people’s requests and queries. 

With a few hours passed you may even find that many of them have been resolved, without even needing your input. 

It’s amazing how time and space can encourage independent critical thinking!

2. Be okay with saying “no”

Just because someone asks you to respond to a question or support them with something, doesn’t mean you have to.

Sure, your role may mean that certain responsibilities lie with you, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t say “no” to things that lie outside of this, or, where appropriate, first encourage your team, peers or stakeholders to come up with a solution themselves.

Very often, we teach people how to treat us. If you are always available, you can rest assured that people will take the pathway of least resistance and get you to do the heavy lifting! 

3. Keep your eye on the prize 

When you’re a helpful person who prides themselves on being a team player, it can be easy to press pause on your work to support others. 

And while this is admirable, it’s not always serving your career.

To help you uphold your boundaries, say “no” and stay in your lane, I encourage you to keep your eye on the prize.  The prize really is about doing the work that matters most to you, your team and the organisation.  By doing this you will ultimately get recognised as a leader and receive the promotion you deserve!

I know it’s hard to turn down people’s requests for help, or tell them they have to wait.

But remembering why you’re doing it and how your career will thank you for it, can really help!

You can still have boundaries and be a respected and much loved teammate or manager. In fact, these boundaries will make you an even greater role model!

Want to learn more about working like a Queen Bee and reclaiming your time and energy? My 8-week group coaching program for mid-career professional women – IGNITE – could be just the thing for you. Click here to find out more.

LET'S CONNECT

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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.  
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Read my latest blog post.
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Similar Blog Posts

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Embracing Your Unique Leadership Style

Embracing Your Unique Leadership Style

What springs to your mind when I say the word ‘leader’?

Extroverted? Charismatic? Assertive? Driven? Experienced? 

It’s easy to think that in order to be recognised as a leader, you need to have a certain set of skills, or act and do things in a particular way.

For many mid-career professional women I know, the (outdated!) stereotypes of what it means to be a great leader don’t resonate with them. 

In fact, they feel deterred by the boxes they think they have to tick in order to step into a leadership role, and they stay small and stuck in their careers because of it.

If this resonates with you, I have good news …

The easiest way for you to become an effective, respected and successful leader is to simply, BE YOU!

In this day and age there is no one set of characteristics that define a great leader and you no longer have to contort yourself to try and fit a square peg (you!) into a round hole (who you think you need to be!)

What was once considered a great leader is morphing at a rapid pace and I’m happy to say that there’s now room for all personalities, skills and styles at the leadership table. 

Some of the most incredible leaders I know are compassionate, vulnerable, introverted, quirky, playful and gentle …

All traits that, a decade ago, wouldn’t have been celebrated in a leader but thankfully, now are.

These women are the ones who are shifting workplace cultures.

Expanding the boundaries of what’s possible.

Creating enormous organisational growth.

Getting seen and being promoted.

I want you to press pause and consider …

How do you feel about being a leader? What thoughts and emotions come up for you?

What would make you a great leader? (Don’t be modest – shout your praises from the rooftop!)

What’s holding you back from stepping into a leadership role (or growing into your next level of leadership) in your workplace? 

As women, we have a tendency to be critical of ourselves. I want you to know that simply, because you are you, you are worthy and capable of being a great leader.

You don’t need to tick any boxes, or change who you are – you are enough.

If you’d love some support honing in on what makes you a great leader and the steps you can start taking to get the recognition you deserve, I invite you to join Ignite.

Ignite is an 8 week group online program for mid-career women who are ready to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition. 

I’d love to have you join us!

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

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Your ultimate guide to making the…

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

Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

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Jane Benston

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Is it possible that you are your worst enemy when it comes to progressing your career? Are you playing small, ruling yourself out or holding back from stepping up to the next level of leadership?

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Quit being busy and get more strategic!

Quit being busy and get more strategic!

If you want to be seen as a leader you must be strategic and work towards the bigger goals of your organisation.

Being busy does not make you a good leader.

Being stuck in the weeds of the day-to-day does not make you a leader.

Great leaders create time and space to be strategic, solve the big problems and focus on projects that impact the goals of the organisation.

Sadly, many of the super talented mid-career professional women I speak with are failing to truly lead.

They have the capacity and capability to be exceptional leaders – but they are too bogged down in the busy work to focus on the work that matters.

They’re tied up doing Busy Bee work when what they really want and need to be doing is Queen Bee work (you can read more about this here) – and they’re exhausted and frustrated because of it.

They are being overlooked for the best opportunities, feel overwhelmed by their huge workload, and have no idea how to break free of their massive to-do list.

Can you relate?

The truth is – working harder will not get you out of this pickle. In fact, being hardworking, helpful, reliable, and good at your JOB is in part what got you into this situation. Now it’s time to let go of those habits and find some new ways of working.

The habits that supported you to excel as a valued team member are not the habits that will get you seen as an exceptional leader.

As I like to say – what got you to this stage in your career, will not take you to the next level.

It’s now time to install some new habits. The habits of a great leader.

Quit being busy and start being strategic.

Here’s where I’d suggest you start….

Put aside 90 minutes in your calendar, one day a week, to focus on the big picture strategic work.

Pop it in your calendar and guard it with barbed wire (that would be the farm girl in me coming out!) Commit to showing up, week in and week out. No excuses and no exceptions.

This appointment with yourself is as important as every other appointment in your calendar. Or even more important. Value this time. Value the work you’ll get done in this time.

You have to create time.

It will not miraculously turn up in your calendar.

There will always be tasks to complete and to-do’s vying for your attention.

True leaders understand the importance of stepping away from Busy Bee tasks and intentionally creating space to put on their strategic hat.

Can this feel uncomfortable or achievable when your to-do list is lengthy?

Of course!

BUT you will soon see that just 90 short minutes a week will not only move the dial on your most important projects, it will also have a positive impact on your career growth. (read this for some practical pointers on how to find more time in your days!)

So, my question today is – will you commit to making this change?

This one small tweak to your week will create massive change to the way you show up as a leader.

Like some more simple strategies to help you quit being busy and start being more strategic? Our 8-week group coaching program for mid-career professional women – IGNITE – could be just the thing for you. Click  to find out more.

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

Happy business woman using digital tablet in modern office with christmas tree in background. Young middle eastern woman smiling and looking at camera during xmas. Portrait of cheerful young businesswoman working during christmas time with copy space.

Your ultimate guide to making the…

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

Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influence our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

Jane Benston

Hit a mid-career plateau? 5 assumptions…

Is it possible that you are your worst enemy when it comes to progressing your career? Are you playing small, ruling yourself out or holding back from stepping up to the next level of leadership?

Jane Benston

Why Perfectionism is a Problem (and what to do about it!)

WHY PERFECTIONISM IS A PROBLEM (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!)

All of the mid career women leaders I meet want to do a great job. 

The trouble is, many of them think that a great job = a perfect job.

And while intentionally created, high quality work is a must, perfect work can do more harm than good.

Here’s how …

Striving for perfectionism creates stress and sucks the joy out of working.

Although having meticulous attention to detail is an asset, most perfectionists will tell you that they would actually prefer to not be so fixated on achieving a ‘perfect’ end goal. 

Why? 

Because rather than tasks and projects feeling like enjoyable creative endeavours, striving for perfectionism turns them into stressful, overwhelming and energy sucking to-do’s.

Not fun – and I truly believe that work should be enjoyable and rewarding!

You’re going round in circles, striving for an unattainable goal.

Judging something as ‘perfect’ is 100% subjective which ultimately means that ‘perfect’ doesn’t exist! We are all unique humans, who have our own special perspectives, ideas and outlooks, and what you and your boss/colleagues/team label as ‘perfect’ will always be different. 

You’re never going to be able to please everyone … but if you’re striving for perfection, you may just send yourself crazy trying!

It slows you down. A LOT.

Most of the perfectionists I support admit to getting things done more slowly than they should. Not because they’re lazy, but because they’re investing so. much. time into getting every minute detail exactly right. 

It gives you a bad reputation.

Because perfectionists typically work slower, they have a tendency to not get things done on time. Sometimes, they don’t even get things finished at all! This isn’t a good look and it definitely isn’t going to get you seen (well, not for the right reasons anyway!)

As well as this, although perfectionists tend to look busy, they’re not actually being effective. Working effectively is what I call Queen Bee work, and it’s this work that gets women recognised and promoted for getting the work that matters out there in the world.

So, what to actually do about your perfectionism?

You switch your focus. 

My mantra is – PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION.

PROGRESS is what will move the dial on the work that matters and get you seen and celebrated for the incredible asset you are.

Progress looks like:

      • Putting clear project timelines in place, and sticking to them
      • Shifting your standards from 100% perfection to 80% excellence (for all but the most critical task like board reports!)
      • Coming back to the big organisational picture when perfectionism tries to rear it’s unhelpful head
      • Striving to produce great work, not perfect work (remember, it doesn’t exist!)
      • Speaking kindly to yourself (because perfectionism can say some pretty nasty things)
      • Seeing your projects as fun and enjoyable creative endeavours, not simply tasks to tick off a list
      • Asking for help if you need it! No-one expects you to be Super Woman, and teams are there to support one another!

More than anything though, I want you to ask yourself, “WHY do I strive for perfection?”

It’s all good and well to have strategies in place, but if you can get to the root cause and the WHY behind your perfectionism, these strategies are more likely to stick.

Keen to chat more about how to become a recovering perfectionist, by shifting your focus to progress over perfection? Come and join me in my free Facebook group for mid career professional women. Click here to join!

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

Happy business woman using digital tablet in modern office with christmas tree in background. Young middle eastern woman smiling and looking at camera during xmas. Portrait of cheerful young businesswoman working during christmas time with copy space.

Your ultimate guide to making the…

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

Beautiful smiling business woman in suit and glasses sitting at the desk, working at contemporary computer with documents in light office, talking on mobile phone, conducting pleasant conversation.

Your energy is contagious and your…

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influence our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

Jane Benston

Hit a mid-career plateau? 5 assumptions…

Is it possible that you are your worst enemy when it comes to progressing your career? Are you playing small, ruling yourself out or holding back from stepping up to the next level of leadership?

Jane Benston