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Back to work Blues? Here’s what to do.

Back to work Blues? Here’s what to do.

After quite a significant year in 2020, of doing our best to adapt to the changes brought about by COVID-19, have you found yourself re-evaluating your priorities and what’s important to you?  Are you battling the back-to-work-blues?

Perhaps you have returned to work after some precious time out, reconnecting with your friends and family and immersing yourself in all those activities that truly bring you joy.  As you step back into the office it would be normal to experience a little sadness for the loss of the sense of freedom that comes with long days at the beach, the joy of settling into a good book or enjoying a long lunch with friends.

But if you are dreading the end of holiday time and wondering how you will survive the year as it stretches out ahead of you… then perhaps it is time to reconsider whether you and your job are meant for one another.

However, before you take this as permission to go out and quit your job, lets first look at a few ideas that might help you reignite your career mojo.

How to overcome the back-to-work-blues:

1. Clarify Your Goals.

I know you have heard this one before and you may have wondered if it’s really important. Well, it is! One year is much more likely to flow into the next without you actually making any progress in the absence of the focus and direction that comes from setting goals.

If goals are not your thing, then one idea I like to play with each year, is to set a theme for the year. For example, I had a year of focusing on taking action outside my comfort zone and another year it was about building relationships and connections. What will be your theme this year?

2.  Set Boundaries.

This one is for you if you have found yourself consistently working longer and longer hours. All of us know that we will need to put in some extra hours from time to time, but when it becomes the norm we have let it go too far.

I recently worked with a client whose average working day had stretched out to be more than 12 hours EVERY day. Her health was suffering, and she was beginning to resent the fact that she was spending so little time with her family. By simply setting some personal boundaries, identifying some opportunities to maximise her efforts and saying NO to the extra tasks that were not her responsibility, she reclaimed more than two hours a day of personal time.

3. Commit to working smarter not harder.

No matter how you juggle your schedule, the number of hours in the day will always remain the same. But it is possible to adjust your habits to create more time for the things that matter most.

Working smarter starts with planning regularly, carving out specific time in your diary for the bigger, more strategic tasks to be completed at your most productive time of the day and to delegate those tasks that don’t need to be done specifically by you.

 4. Focus on your strengths.

Ask yourself, are you working to your strengths or has your role morphed into a bunch of tasks that do not capitalise on what you do best? When you work to your strengths you are much more likely to enjoy the work you do and produce much better results to boot!

5. Strengthen your working relationships.

For many people the quality of their working relationships determine the degree of job satisfaction. And like any type of relationship… this takes some work. It is about staying connected, adding value, collaborating and supporting others to meet common goals.

6. Focus on your personal wellbeing. There is a growing mountain of research that points to the value of focusing on healthy eating, making time for exercise and taking time out to still the mind through meditation or mindfulness. It is hard to be at your best at work while also having energy for an active and fulfilling life outside of work, if you are not taking care of your heath.

7. Set an end point.

If, after all of this, you are still struggling to find enjoyment and fulfilment at work, then perhaps it is time to take the plunge and go after something new. Life is too short to spend most of your waking hours stuck in a job that does not “float your boat.” 

Commit now to an end point, a date by which time you will either have found a way to re-ignite your career mojo or to move on!

Now it is over to you. 

If you have been hit by the back-to-work-blues and are struggling to get fired up and motivated for another year, then it is time to do things differently. Without change you are destined for more of the same. So, go out and do what it takes to re-ignite the spark for more enjoyment and fulfilment in your work.

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Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
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New Year. New Job. The 5 steps to take before you apply for anything.

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

Over the summer break, you’ve had time to reflect, particularly in light of the impact of COVID-19 during the past year. Perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to see yourself, your career, and your priorities through a different lens, and now you are ready to embrace change that utilises your greatest strengths. Good for you!

Perhaps you’re looking for greater job satisfaction, more work-life balance, better compensation that’s aligned with your skills, a healthy corporate culture, more variety, a leader who inspires you, or to have a greater impact. Whatever the reason … you know that it’s going to take time and energy.

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

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

And it’s not all about jumping into action.

Not yet. Hold your horses for a moment ladies.

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

Here’s where to start:

1. Clarify what you want.

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

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

Start with what you know you do want, and who you want to be.

What kind of impact do you want to make? What lights you up? What key skills do you want to be using? Do you want to be leading a team? Do you want the opportunity to work from home? Do you want travel to be part of the role?  What types of activities do you enjoy and will help you to achieve the above each day?


2. Be clear about what you don’t want. 

This is equally as important as knowing what you do want.

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

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

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

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

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

3. Understand your strengths. 

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

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

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

4. Know your value. 

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

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

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

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

5. Decide you’re worthy.

Because you are. You know you are capable of so much more and you want to contribute in a bigger, more significant way.

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

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


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

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.  
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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Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

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Future proof your career post COVID.

Here's how to future proof your career post Covid.

The rate and extent of workplace change that we have witnessed in just a few short months has been huge. The way we work, where we work and, most importantly, what we work on, has in many ways changed forever.

We don’t yet know yet what the new normal will look like – but we can be sure that most organisations will not slip back into business as usual, as it was before. 

We can expect some degree of working from home to be the new normal, a greater reliance on technology for managing remote working and I’m sure many organisations will use this as an opportunity to review pretty much everything about the who, what, where and how of work.

As they say – “never let a good crisis go to waste!”

A recent survey of NAB employees across the country suggested that 80% of employees now want the opportunity and flexibility to do some work from home.

While many big and small organisations are already considering what their needs for office space moving forward will be.

And furthermore … I expect that all organisations will be reviewing whether they have the right people for the right roles going forward.  

So … let’s make sure you are focusing your time, energy and resources in the right areas to future proof your career. 

Ready to future proof your career? Here’s how!

 1. Embrace change. 

Change is the only constant we can rely on! There is no point fighting it, resisting it or trying to stand in its way. It is here to stay and will only get faster and more significant.

Start by looking at how you can position yourself  to take full advantage of changes occurring in your organisation or industry. Look upon the changes happening right now as an opportunity for growth rather than fearing the shift in status quo. 

Your ability to be flexible and take full advantage of this time will be the difference between being left behind and using it as an opportunity to accelerate your career  progression. 

2. Embrace your unique skills and talent.

Your career pathway may not be as certain as it was before, however being clear on what your unique skills and talents are allows you the flexibility to consider a much broader range of opportunities.  

When considering your next career step – think more about what value you can bring to a team, business or industry, rather than relying on following the well worn pathway others within your field have taken. That pathway may no longer exist or may not even be the right one for you based on your skills. 

3. Embrace leading remotely

Whether you lead a team, projects or you are a SME with influence – one thing is for sure... your ability to lead remotely will become increasingly important.  

Take the time now to hone your skills in this area. Right now we are all finding our way with this, so it’s not about getting it right. It’s about trying things out, seeing what works for you and adapting your leadership style to get the best outcomes.   

4. Embrace new opportunities.

Believe it or not – right now I’m seeing plenty of interesting opportunities out there.  

With crisis comes disruption to the status quo.  And because of this many organisations are reviewing EVERYTHING. Which means there are many interesting projects, positions and opportunities opening up.   

Many aren’t being advertised – but rather being filled via networks, referrals and recommendations. So if you want to be considered for one of these opportunities, I’d suggest now is the time to be tapping into your networks, strengthening your internal and external relationships and speaking about what types of opportunities you’d like to be considered for.   

Do not leave your professional future up to chance!  

Future proofing your career is all about adapting to the environment we now find ourselves in. Resisting change is futile. Instead, focus your energy towards embracing the opportunities that this situation has offered up.   

The world of work is changing rapidly and opportunities abound for those who are ready.  But if you are not… you could very easily find yourself irrelevant and without a clear career pathway forward. 

Good luck.  Stay well.  

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

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston

What got you HERE, will not get you THERE

What got you HERE, will not get you THERE

You have worked out what you want for your career. You are ambitious, driven and courageous. You have your future mapped out and high expectations around what you and your team can achieve.

You have tasted success and you have “lucked” into some really great opportunities by being in the right place at the right time. Up ‘until now, your career has unfolded pretty much as planned.

So why have all the great opportunities dried up?

It can be scary, hugely frustrating and very unfamiliar territory for many high achieving professionals. You’re doing what you have always done but it is no longer getting you recognised, rewarded or promoted.

Many leaders make the mistake of believing that, provided they continue to do what they have always done, they will keep making progress in their career. Let’s face it – it has worked well so far.

But sadly, the habits, actions and thinking that got you here will not necessarily take you to the next level.

In the early years of your career, purely working hard, getting the job done and continuing to grow your technical skills was all it took for the accolades to roll in.

But, as a mentor once said to me, as we move to a new level, we need to overcome new devils. This might be to overcome our fear of speaking up, letting go of our habit of over-delivering, learning to delegate more effectively or stepping up to a new level of strategic thinking.

It is the same for growing your team results. A new level of results will take a new level of thinking, new decision making strategies and even more courageous action.

Recently I worked with a leadership team at a two day retreat to create the foundations for their five year strategy. Over the past 18 months, they have operated in survival mode to take the business out of the red and back into the black. They are now achieving good results and are poised to create great results. We acknowledged that what it took for the business to merely survive was not what was needed to build an exciting, thriving organisation that would be seen as the leader in their field.

Yes, strategy is a critically important element but great results start with the best people playing their part to the best of their ability.

Our first step towards exceptional team results was to look at what each member of the leadership team needed to do differently to create a new level of results. For some, that meant tweaking the way they operated within the leadership team, for others it meant identifying areas of personal growth such as improving their communication skills, collaborating more or remaining focused on the key business priorities.

Great results for the team start with each team member performing to their potential. The outcome of the team will only be as good as the weakest link. Just like in an orchestra, all the musicians need to put in the work to grow their skill in their particular area of expertise, but also to work together in harmony to create beautiful music.

If what got you here, wont get you there, what do you need to do to create some new outcomes?

1.  Get clear on where THERE is. Start by getting clear on what you want for your career, your leadership and your team. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your team to achieve? It is only once we know what we want to achieve, that we recognise what we need to do differently to get there.

2.  Seek feedback. Honest feedback is the foundation for change. We are usually blind to our own limitations, challenges and behaviours holding us back. As one of the leaders at the retreat said, feedback can feel a little like a slap in the face. It can be painful, but not knowing can be even worse.

3.  Commit to change. Given that what got you here will not get you there; commitment to change is the next step. Commit to delegating more, taking more courageous action, creating a more engaging team environment, providing more feedback to the team, taking time out for creative thinking. Commit to whatever it is that will take to get you and your team “There.”

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

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston

Ladies … It Is Time To Lead Like A Woman

Ladies … It Is Time To Lead Like A Woman

Women continue to struggle to make their mark on the corporate landscape with the number of women securing leadership roles sadly lagging behind their male counterparts.

It saddens me to walk into leadership meetings to find the disproportionate representation of men and women on the team. 

A recent Ernst & Young women in leadership report concluded that “leadership groups make smarter, more informed decisions; customers are better understood; employees are less cynical and more engaged; and organisations gain competitive advantage” when there are large numbers of senior women within the organisation.

With only 16% to 20% of leadership positions occupied by women, clearly something needs to change. 

It is wonderful to see the conversation around how to support and promote women in leadership roles gaining momentum.  It is clear there is no one simple answer to this challenge.  There is robust debate about whether we should have quotas, the need for more ideal female role models, the impact senior men can have on encouraging more women and training to help women get the competitive edge. The answer will undoubtedly take a combination of all of these.   

But I believe it is also time for women to stop competing with men and start embracing their unique, brilliant feminine skills and capabilities to add to the corporate equation.  It is time we started to lead like women!

Mid last century women, in large numbers, discovered they liked working, earning money and gaining recognition for their talents.  They demanded to be treated equally to men and, in order to succeed in business, they believed they had to become like men and compete with them for the prized senior roles. 

Unfortunately, this means leaving much of our innate femininity behind.  On a primal level men and women are essentially wired differently.   

Women are hardwired to desire cooperation, collaboration and operate from a place of compassion, empathy and intuition.  While men – generally speaking – are driven to bring home a good income for their family, achieve status and recognition and are firmly focused on achieving targets and goals.

Given that historically most workplaces have been male dominated for a very long time, they essentially operate from a masculine paradigm where the focus is on winning, power and the bottom line. 

When we let go of our natural, innate strengths and reject our feminine energy, we don’t feel right…  but often we don’t know why.  

Women tell me they feel disconnected, constantly tired and struggle between making decisions from a compassionate, intuitive place verses from a logical numbers, driven perspective.

It is important to recognise that both men and women develop strong leadership skills when they tap into both their masculine and feminine energy.  It is not an either or but a combination that makes the most powerful leaders.

So ladies … it time to be bold and lead like a woman!  You will feel better, see better results from your team and create a more engaged, happier workplace. 

Here are some tips to bring your strong feminine energy to work.

1.  Recognise your strengths.  Start by recognising and acknowledging your unique strengths.   Are you bringing all of who you are and what you are capable of to your role?   

2.  Connect even more.  We love to connect and we are good at it.  So do more of it!  But lets also be a little strategic about it.  Who can you connect, network and build a relationship with, who might be able to support you and help you tap into new leadership opportunities. 

3.  Collaborate for powerful outcomes.  Collaboration is a key strength of many women.  It is time to break down the barriers and competitive nature of many workplaces and start working more effectively together to reach a common goal.  

Get your team on board.  We all bring so much more to our work if we feel involved and included.  An engaged team will bring you results that will get you noticed!

4.  Dress like a woman.  Stop blending in and looking like one of the men at work.  Identify your style, dress for success and bring a touch of femininity to your outfit.  However, keep it professional.  There is no place for your “girls” being out on show in the office. 

5.  Manage your energy.  Work life balance is a myth with many women holding down busy paid employment and then heading home to step into their second full time role as mother, wife and social organiser. 

To avoid burn out, one solution is to understand what activities give you energy and build more of these into your day.  Discover what tasks deplete you and delegate as many of these as you can.  If most of your work is made up of energy sappers … it is time to ask yourself whether you are in the right role.

Women bring unique and important attributes to leadership such as building relationships, collaboration and partnerships – all of which trump traditional power and competition of the masculine workplace.

Workplaces everywhere are crying out for a change in the way we do things and I believe, in many instances, the increased participation of women in leadership positions, leading as women from their feminine power, is the answer.

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

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston