The number 1 mistake mid career professionals make when job searching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that is….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A new approach to job searching.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do I think it works so well?

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

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

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

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

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Are you listening to your intuition?

Are you listening to your intuition?

 

How often do you find yourself doing what you think you should be doing rather than listening to your intuition… and later wishing you had followed your gut instinct?

Women are intuitive beings. We have an inner compass, that when given the chance, can really guide us in the decisions we make and the direction we take.   When we trust our intuition and take action based on it’s guidance, it will support us to be seen as authentic and super charge our power and influence.

But in all our busyness we seem to be forgetting how to tune in and listen.

Many high achieving driven women have disconnected from their gut instincts and it’s getting in the way of career progression, success and happiness. They are working hard, getting the job done and putting on a brave face.

But at what cost?

The cost can be high when we ignore the quiet whispers or persistent inner calling that are trying to guide us. When we fail to recognise these tell tail signs, we miss the need to pause before hitting burn out or fail to say yes to the big opportunity or make a poor choice when recruiting a new team member.

When have you failed to listen to your intuition?

Looking back on a decision I made last year that didn’t turn out so well, I recognise that I ignored a nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right. I experienced massive resistance, slipped back into an old habit of procrastination and come up against lots of unexpected roadblocks.

I now know this was my deep intuitive knowing at first whispering and later shouting from the roof tops that this was not right for me. Had I listened to the initial whispers it would have saved me a lot of time, energy and financial pain!

Obviously there is no exact science to this but it pays to listen.

We know that when we listen, our gut instincts help us to;

  • Read people,
  • Make the right decisions,
  • Set the right goals
  • Align with our true path

And there is something magnetic about people who are in tune with their intuition and make decisions based not only on logic but also gut instinct.

When our intentions, our instincts and our actions are completely lined up, people see us as authentic. They are drawn to us. We have a presence that gets noticed for all the right reasons.

So I hear you saying… how can I become more intuitive?

The good news is that we all have the skill; we are just out of practice. Somewhere between early childhood and now we have become way more focused on operating from a point of logic rather than intuition. It’s time we got the two working in harmony again.

3 Ways to tap into your intuition more effectively

1. Take time to pause. Gut feelings are difficult to recognise when we are caught up in the busyness of our day to day. Take the time to pause and still the mind.

 That might mean making time for a little meditation, taking the dog for a walk, dancing to your favourite music or like I did today, taking a quiet moment during my lunch break to watch the waves roll in down at the beach.

2. Pay attention to your body. We don’t tap into our intuition by thinking. It happens through feeling. To get back into the habit of listening, simply take a few moments a couple of times each day to scan your body. This will help you become more present, to quiet your busy mind and tune into your body. Notice anything that feels out of the ordinary. Be aware of your breath. And tune in to how you feel.

3. Emotions leave clues. Take notice of the emotions you’re feeling on a consistent basis. Too often I see smart dynamic women suppress their emotions to a point that they no longer feel them.

Our emotional response to any situation provides us with clues. Notice your energy and trust your emotions to give you the signals we need.

We have an inner guide, we would be crazy to ignore it… wouldn’t we?

Imagine what could be possible if we were to shift our focus (just a little) from our head to heart and get tuned in to the signals from our body.

NEXT STEPS?

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How to set clear boundaries for strong leadership

How to set clear boundaries for strong leadership

 

Do you have clear boundaries? Or perhaps an even more important question is … do you have any boundaries at all?

Are you clear on what’s acceptable to you and what isn’t? Do you protect your time, energy and resources and prioritise what is import to you?

In a world that’s becoming busier and where business is conducted 24/7, boundaries have become blurred or nonexistent. In many workplaces there’s an unwritten expectation that you are always on and always accessible.

But I wonder what would happen if you were to create clear boundaries.

Recently I was delivering training in large corporate organisation with a group of professional leaders. The recurring theme for these women became clear; they had failed to set clear boundaries.

For some this meant filling their schedule with small menial tasks not really within their scope of work, while for others they found themselves working excessively long hours.

I loved the realisation from one participant when she said, “I need to downgrade my relationship with my phone.”

She had found herself obsessing over emails and text messages from colleagues in her evenings at home rather than being fully present for her family.

Setting boundaries and sticking to them is difficult!

I think this has something to do with the need to please. Many of us equate being available, responding promptly, saying yes and helping out… with building goodwill and respect.

Unfortunately, in my experience it often does the opposite. Setting personal boundaries protects our personal space, builds respect and allows us to focus our productivity. People who work hard and maintain boundaries typically get more respect and better results than those who allow others to take them or their time for granted.

And how many people do you know that get burned out, stressed, over committed and over worked just because they cant say “NO”? Perhaps you’re one them?

How to set clear boundaries

1. Get clear on what matters most. Get clear on what’s most important to you in terms of your life and your career. A client recently had the massive realisation that what mattered most to her was spending quality time with her young children. She had however been increasingly focused on her work at the expense of time with her family.   Setting boundaries has been crucial for her to better integrate her family priorities with her inner need to do quality work.

2. Clarify your standards. And by this I mean – make a list and write it down.

  • Reassess the hours you are prepared to commit to work, both in the office and at home.
  • Decide whether you will respond to emails, text messages and phone calls outside work hours.
  • Get clear on what work you will routinely say YES to and what you will choose to say NO to.
  • Notice what irritates you and create boundaries to limit the opportunities for this to happen.

3. Let go of the guilt. Beating yourself up and feeling guilty isn’t helpful. If it’s important that you attend your child’s school assembly or make it to a weekly yoga class… then be ok to do what it takes to make it happen. We shouldn’t feel guilty for putting ourselves first.

4. Prioritise and plan. The only solution many women see when their workload increases is to work harder and longer hours. In many instances this is definitely not the answer. It’s more likely to lead to overworking, decreased productivity, poorer quality work and resentment.

Instead, take some time out to review and prioritise your workload and create a plan focused on those activities that matter most to you and your organisation.

5. Take responsibility. Know that we teach people how to treat us. So if your team are dependent on you or you are seen as the go to girl to get stuff done or people are constantly interrupting you … it’s likely you’ve allowed this to happen. To put it bluntly… it’s your fault.

People are predictable. They will always take the route of least resistance. So it’s actually good to create a little resistance, eg: push back, say no, or respond on your terms not theirs.

Others will only respect your limits if you do.

Too often in our effort to produce our very best work, be seen as a team player or purely get through the “to do list” we allow our boundaries to be crossed.

And only you can set and maintain your boundaries.

It takes consideration, being intentional and persistence. Maintaining you’re your new and improved boundaries is about creating a new normal, for you and those around you. You need to be consistent and be ready for those who will fight against them.

But know… it will be worthwhile.

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Do you have a powerful magnetic presence?

Do you have a powerful magnetic presence?

 

You have the title and the responsibility, but are you seen as a leader? Do your team members follow you, respect you and deliver for you? Does the senior leadership team value your and the contribution you make?

If you have ever struggled with making your mark as a leader, I am going to suggest that it has more to do with your presence than your skills and capabilities as a leader.

I was speaking with a delightful professional woman last night who was struggling to be seen heard and noticed for what she knows she is capable of. She talked of feeling invisible, passed over and not respected or valued for her work.

As I spoke with her it became obvious to me that she didn’t need to work harder or learn new skills. She was clearly talented and good at her job. Her challenge was she had a tendency to “shrink” in the company of powerful people and her presence could best be defined as “wishy washy.”

A magnetic presence is our ticket to being seen, heard and noticed for all the right reasons.

We all know people who have a magnetic presence. They are the people who command attention every time they walk into a room, not because they are the loudest or the best leaders but because they have that special something that draws us in.

Presence is an inside job. It’s developing a deep awareness of your body and your energy and how it impacts those around you.

A powerful magnetic presence will get you further and faster as a leader than any other skill.

You can have the most beautifully crafted speech, well thought out strategy or some fancy tactic to boost sales… but if you don’t have an powerful presence you are likely to struggle to get the attention, support and engagement you are seeking.

The good news is our presence is something we can work on for immediate effect.

Here are 5 Keys to developing a magnetic presence for leadership results

1.  Identify as a leader. It all starts here. If you don’t identify as a leader, no one else will. I often speak to women who tell me that they don’t see themselves as a leader… even if they have a title. They prefer to collaborate and work with the team to get the results.

That’s ok, but there is always a point in every project when leadership is required. Your ability to influence, have impact and to be seen as a leader relies on you embracing your leadership identity.

2. Make peace with fear. We all have fears. It’s not just you. It’s our relationship with fear that makes the difference. If we allow ourselves to be ruled by our fears it will hold us back and show up in subtle ways that will impact how others perceive us.

To show up in a way that draws people in we must confront and make peace with our fears.

What are you afraid of and how is it holding you back?

3.  Manage your energy. Your energy will always be attracting or repelling people. How would people describe your energy? Are you warm, attentive, caring, energetic, passionate, rushed, erratic, angry, aggressive, bitchy, frustrated, emotional…. ?

The energy you carry with you will determine how others choose to interact with you. People will notice if it is contained, warm and inviting them closer or is it scattered or a little “in your face” and pushing them away?

What is yours energy doing?

4. Elevate your voice. Your words are only part of the picture. You will be giving away so much more through your tone, volume and rhythm of your voice. Some women speak so quietly they are barely heard while others allow fear and doubt to creep in or make statements more like a question.

Notice what your habits are and pick one thing to focus on improving.

5. Empower your body. We all know that our body language give clues to what we are really thinking.

Do you have an empowering presence where you own your space or do you shrink and appear insecure in the company of people who you perceive as more powerful or dominant than you?

When we are stuck in our own head, filled with fear and overwhelm we send out a message to stay away. But when we walk into a room with confidence and warmth we signal that we are approachable and welcome connection and conversation.

What does your body language say?

Mastering your presence is the fastest path to maximising your influence and impact.

Remember your presence is either repelling or attracting people to you.  Give yourself the gift of creating authority and truly seen as a leader by developing a magnetic presence.

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How To Work Smarter Not Harder

How To Work Smarter Not Harder

If your everyday workload regularly leaves you feeling overworked, overwhelmed and frazzled then it’s time to work smarter not harder.

We all have the same amount of time available to us but have you noticed that some people are able to get much more done while remaining calm and unflappable… but how do they do it?

It’s not by working longer and longer hours!

Yes I know that for many women, you have gotten to where you are from working hard. Putting your head down, working hard and doing great work has been the foundation of your success … but there comes a time when just working a harder is no longer enough.

I see way too many women who are exhausted and depleted from trying to maintain their high standards while keeping on top of the workload.

If this is you, it’s time to find some new ways of getting it all done.

Here are 7 habits to help you to work smarter not harder.

1.  Be intentional and focused. I am a huge advocate for the power of intentions. I know that this one small habit is the difference between achieving what is most important or getting caught up in “busy work.”

Do you know what is most important to you, your career direction and progression and what will get you noticed by those that matter?

To boost your productivity and effectiveness, make time each month and each week to review and set your focus. Get crystal clear on the biggest priorities and create space in your week to get these things done.

2.  Make quicker decisions. If you procrastinate, over analyse or get stuck seeking the opinions of every man and his dog before you make a decision … it’s time to stop!

I am not suggesting that you make snap decisions that are irrational and without consideration, but painfully slow decision making is holding your back and impacting your reputation as a leader.

3.  Say no to perfectionism. This one goes hand in hand with making quicker decisions. I get it. Like so many women you want to do your best work. You were rewarded at school and at uni for perfecting your assignments but in the working world your perfectionism is holding you back.

I see many smart women falling behind when they get into leadership roles because their perfectionist tendencies slows down delivery or they don’t even give their ideas the light of day, waiting for the ideas to be perfect.

The solution that works for many of my perfectionist clients is to set a new benchmark. Where in the past they would not see a project, report or email as complete until it was 100% perfect… the new benchmark for the majority of their work is now 80% – saving time and effort without significantly impacting the value of their work.

4. Put your needs first… and say NO. Yes ladies. I know how much you struggle with this one but this is important. Too often I see fabulous women making time for everything and everyone else, at the detriment of their own work performance and energy levels.

Next time you have a board report, strategy paper or major project that needs your concentrated time and attention block out some time in your diary to get it done… interruption free! Make an appointment with yourself .. and stick to it.

5.  Discover your productivity zone. When and where are you most productive? Is it early in the morning before the team come in or is it after dinner once the kids have gone to bed or some other time through the day?

And know your productivity is also likely to be impacted by your environment. Do you like the hum of activity around you or do you work best in a quite, uncluttered airy space?

We all have our own productivity zone. When and where is yours? I know that I do my best work before 11.00 am sitting in my favourite local café.

6.  Turn off distractions. This one really is too obvious but had to be in the list. Have you noticed that we respond like Pavlov’s dogs, reacting to the buzzing and binging of our social media, emails or phones?

And as much as we think we can multitask – we may do this better than the blokes – but still we loose our focus and concentration every time these micro interruptions come our way.

So ladies… it’s time to disconnect from your devices, even if it is just for a few hours each day.

7.  Prioritise your self care. If you want to accomplish more, make it a priority to nourish your soul, your body, and your mind. I am not exactly a pro at this one; I mess up all the time.

I do however know that if I have a super busy week then the best preparation to getting it all done is a good night sleep, time spent moving my body, good nutrition and focusing on filling my soul and clearing my mind.

 The choice is now yours!

If you are struggling to get it all done and your “to do list” is a source of stress and tension for you, choose one (or more) of these habits to slot into the way you work.

Let’s make life a little easier (and a lot more fun) by working smarter not harder!

Here are 3 Steps To Overcoming Your Habit of Perfection

1.  Recognise what your perfectionism is costing you.  Pain is a great motivator!  Identify what your perfectionist ways are costing you in terms of your career progress, your health, fun time with your family.

2.  Prioritise your most important tasks.  You most likely bring your perfection strategies to every area of you work.  In some areas of your work, your diligence and pursuit for excellence is a strength (eg: completing budgets, drafting board reports etc) while in other areas (emails to colleagues, weekly meeting agendas etc) your need for 100% is slowing you down, holding you back and quite possibly stressing you out.

Pick the top 5 tasks where your focus on detail is critical and allow yourself to pursue excellence in these priority areas.  For the rest, turn back the dial to 80 – 90%.  You may be surprised by how few people notice any difference in your effort.

3.  Set realistic Goals. “Good enough” is a term that strikes fear in most perfectionists but is a goal worth pursuing….. why? Because you are more likely to get the job done and on time! A reputation of poor productivity and failing to get work finished on time is a massive stumbling block for career progression.

Striving for high standards, of course can be beneficial.  But at some point it becomes debilitating and self-defeating.  You may feel a sense of control when you are doing things absolutely perfectly… while in fact your perfectionist ways are controlling you.  Letting go of these long held habits may take time but you will find it is well worth the effort.

Start today, by acknowledging what your perfectionist ways are costing you.

NEXT STEPS?

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Your words hold the power

Your words hold the power

 

Your ability to influence, engage, inspire and drive performance from your team all stems from your language skills. The effectiveness of your relationships, your ability to build trust or your skill to craft powerful communications by email, through reports or to be delivered from stage all rely on your mastery of language.

You can create the best strategy in the world but if you can’t communicate it in a way that inspires action and full engagement from the team, what’s the point.

And what I have discovered is that the power of our language is influenced less by how well we did in English class at school and more to do with our certainty, what we think about ourselves and our passion for the work we do.

Powerful language comes from a powerful belief in you!

Yes it really is that simple.

What we believe to be true (whether it is true or not) influences the words we use on a consistent basis. If you don’t believe you are worthy of your position, if you don’t believe the targets really can be met, if you don’t believe in the talents of you team… it will come out subtly in the word you use.

Our words leave clues.  They are a signpost to what we are thinking and what we believe and influence our own actions and behaviours and the response of those around us.

And it is the smallest tweaks to our language that can make the biggest difference.

Here are 4 easy tweaks to communicate more powerfully

1. Believe in YOU. It all begins here. If you don’t believe in you, no one else will. Notice where you doubt yourself. And know that much of what we believe about ourselves is complete bunkum!

Shifting your negative beliefs will automatically change the way you communicate and is absolutely the fasters way to tapping into your most powerful influencing abilities and being recognised for your impact.

2. Speak of what you want…. not what you don’t want. This helps to focus the mind to achieving a positive result rather than avoiding a negative result. Here are a couple of examples to get you started.

  • Don’t be late to todays meeting ===> I’d appreciate you being on time (or early) for today’s meeting.
  • I hope I don’t mess up my speech at the conference ===> I’m determined to present clearly and with unwavering confidence
  • It’s important we don’t miss budget ===> Let’s focus this month in lifting sales and exceeding budget expectations

3. Eliminate words that drag you down. Words have energy. Some are light and filled with possibility and some are heavy and block progress. The goal is to eliminate the words that are heavy and drag you down. My clients know that there are some words I just don’t allow them to use!

I was speaking with a client this morning who described “dreading” relocating to head up a different geographical region. After a brief discussion focusing on the positives associated with the move they shifted their language around the move to it being a “huge opportunity for a fresh start with amazing people.” And with this change in language came a sense of excitement, possibility and energy.

4. Limit Negativity. Sometimes our language displays negativity or a lack of choice. If you are one of the many who fall into negative patterns with your words (happens to me too!), here’s a handy guide for reframing what comes out of your mouth so it’s empowering.

  • I Can’t do it =====> choose not to
  • I really should =====> I would like to or I can
  • I have to =====> I really want to
  • I’ll give it a try =====> I will do this

So I’m curious… which of these simple tweaks could you implement today that would have you communicating with more impact and influence?

Remember: When you align your thoughts with your words and your actions, amazing things happen.

And it starts with YOU. Change your beliefs, change your words, change your outcomes. Good luck !

NEXT STEPS?

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Does Happiness Matter To Leadership Performance?

Does Happiness Matter To Leadership Performance?

 

How happy are you in your current role? Pretty simple question really but not one we ask ourselves that often. Maybe it’s because we don’t really want to admit the answer.

And what does happiness have to do with work, career and being a productive, inspiring, high performing leader anyway? I’d suggest … a lot.

Think about it. When do you do your best work?

Is it when you are wallowing in you own self pity party day dreaming about getting as far away as you can from the day to day grind of your uninspiring job with uninspiring people that leaves you cold? I would think not!

Happiness is at the core of creating a productive team culture, where collaboration and supporting each other to achieve exceptional results are the norm. It’s important for sparking creative ideas and innovative problem solving.

And it all starts with you.

If as a leader, you’re not happy and having some fun… it is very unlikely you will cultivate a team who bring a fun, happy and engaged energy to their work. Know one thing for sure… you set the tone and your energy and behaviours are contagious.

Intuitively we know this is true… and now research from the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience are making a clear connection between happiness and success.  It turns out that when our brain is in a positive state, it is actually primed for higher levels of success and performance.

So it would make sense we seek happiness… not just because it feels good but also because it has a powerful impact on our work performance and outcomes.

Start here to improve your happiness... and your results.

1. Choose your attitude.

Your attitude has a powerful effect on you and on the people you lead. What impact do you want to have on them?

If you are filled with negativity and bring a grumpy or may I say, bitchy or gossipy energy into the office… you will be influencing the general actions and behaviours of your team.

It is your responsibility to set the tone for your team…. regardless of the tone being generated above you. You may not be able to influence a shift in the broader company culture … however you can influence the culture of your team by choosing your attitude wisely.

The attitude you bring to work will have an impact on your own personal work performance, the effectiveness of your relationships and the way you are being perceived.

And most importantly… your overall level of happiness.

2. Reassess your role.

Does your role bring you joy and happiness? We spend such a large part of our lives at work… let’s make sure it’s work that makes us happy. We do our best work when we are engaged in work that we are passionate about and that allows us to put our greatest skills and unique talents to work.

And doing work we are proud of matters! Making a real contribution, having an impact and being able to influence the direction or business outcomes is what brings many of us the most joy.

So if you have found yourself in a role that no longer inspires you to do your best work and leaves you feeling depleted, disengaged or unfulfilled… it might be time to consider what’s next.

And if you are unsure about what’s next or you are waiting for the courage to take the next step, then consider coming along to the next 1 day workshop for professional women: Career by Design to map out the next phase of your career.

Life is too short to be stuck in a role that does not make you happy!

Choose your attitude, choose your career path, choose to fire up your right brain, choose happiness!

NEXT STEPS?

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10 actions to close out the year.

10 actions to close out the year.

 

There is no doubt that this is a very busy time of the year. There are the projects to complete, end of year functions to attend, shopping malls to navigate and the odd family drama’s to attend to.

So I am sure that you don’t need me to add anything more to your long “to do” list.

But I am going to… because it’s time to close out the year.

It’s time to celebrate your achievements and recognise the struggles. Acknowledge and appreciate your growth and start preparing for next year. It’s time to clear the clutter, close this chapter and create space for a fresh start and fulfilling year in 2016.

Here are 10 actions to add to your “to do” list to close out the year

1. Create a “small tasks” list. We all have those pesky little jobs that are non urgent but really should be done. Make the most of this time to give yourself a deadline to get them done. You will feel satisfied and accomplished once they are finally checked off your to do list.

2. Set aside time for big picture thinking. For much of the year it is about putting your head down and just getting the job done. Use this time for some big picture thinking. Grab some texta’s and some flip paper and map out the strategy for next year. Get clear on what are the big priorities for next year and identify the outcomes you want you and your team to achieve.

Think about whether you have the right people on the team, what resources you might need and anything else you might need to consider for the strategy to be a success.

3. Have the hard conversations. If you have been putting off having a difficult conversation with one of your team, schedule it in and get it done. Performance issues don’t generally just go away. By having the conversation now you are allowing them to process the feedback over the break and return with a new and improved approach in the New Year.

4. Set up for career for success. Take some time to reflect on the year that was. Acknowledge your growth, big wins and the successful projects completed. Pause to consider where you want you career to head next year. Think about your professional development and determine what skills, knowledge or experience will aid your career progression.

5. Say thanks. Showing gratitude and appreciation goes a long way. Take the time to write a hand written note to clients, colleagues and mentors who have supported you throughout the year. Acknowledge what you appreciate … the more specific you can be, the better.

6. Write a January to do list. I love to create an action list prior to taking leave so that on my return I can hit the ground running. It also minimises the risk of important jobs falling off the radar over the break.

7. Clear your desk. I am sure that this one is not on the list just for me. I have to confess that my desk is chaos much of the time but I LOVE the sense of clarity that comes from an uncluttered desk. And don’t just stop at tidying up your desk. Plan a total clear out. Give the shredder a workout, ditching old files and fill your bin with anything that’s no longer needed. It is time to purge the old to allow space for the new.

8. Empty your inbox. Next it’s time to tackle your inbox. For me this is going to be a big job with 1856 emails currently sitting in my inbox (ouch!) Yes they are all read – but now need to be deleted or filed.

And while you are at it, take a look at your electronic filing system. Now’s the time to archive, reorganise and tidy up!

9. Set your out of office message. You are almost there. Identify back up plans and who will manage queries in your absence. And then walk out the door, slip into a holiday frock and sit back with an ice cold drink.

10. Unwind, recharge, refresh! NOW… the most important step of all. Disconnect! If at all possible make a commitment to unplug, switch off and go technology free. Take this time to fully let go, unwind and recharge. Be present with your family and allow the busyness to subside. It’s time for you fill your cup and allow your mind to be still. Enjoy.

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5 career moves to make now… and get set for success in the new year.

5 career moves to make now… and get set for success in the new year.

With only a few weeks to go before Christmas and the summer break, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your career and where it is heading next year.

Yes… I know it’s a busy time and career planning may not be right at the top of your “to do list” but imagine if you were to go into the new year with a really clear vision of what you want to be doing and what you want to achieve.

Imagine hitting the ground running and being ahead of the game while everyone else is still shaking the sand out of their shoes.

All it would take is to put aside a little time now to reflect, ponder, plan and connect.

I have heard from many women this year that they feel stuck, disengaged and underwhelmed by the work they have been doing. They know that they want something different and are capable of more but are uncertain about what they need to do to create change.

Here are 5 actions to take now to set you up for career success in 2016.

1. Look back. Here’s the thing, so often we get so caught up in what’s next and looking forward we forget to look back and reflect. Before the year is out, look back on your accomplishments, the big projects, the big events and the goals you achieved.

What are you most proud of?

Think about the things you have learnt and the new skills have you mastered. Reflect on the people within your network who have contributed to your career this year. Have you let them know how import they have been to you this year?

Also look back on what you had hoped to achieve this year and ask yourself – did I achieve those things. If you didn’t; why not? Are those goals still relevant?

2. Decide what you want. So many people leave their career up to chance. For some, that works just fine. But for most people what usually happens is that at some point in their career they realise that they have ended up some place they would rather not be!

It is time to consciously create your career. If you don’t know what that is, then a good place to start is to decide whether you want to stay in your current role or to start your search for something new?

If you decide that staying in your current role is perfect for you right now, then think about what new skills and experience you will focus on obtaining in 2016.

Remember – if we are not growing, we will start to stagnate.

But maybe it’s time for a new role. If it is time… it’s likely, intuitively, you already know it. Yes, I know it might be easier or less effort to stay where you are, but way to often I see women staying in roles that have gone way beyond there use by date. In the long run this only leads to dissatisfaction, disengagement and unhappiness.  If you are still not sure what you want then this might help. 

3. Update your LinkedIn profile. Oh my gosh! It frightens me to discover how many people continue to neglect LinkedIn. Believe me when I say LinkedIn is a gold mine when it comes to career opportunities. OK… I hear you saying, I’m not looking for a new job right now so I don’t need to be on LinkedIn.

The truth is we all need to be on LinkedIn – with an up to date photo, a bit of information about each of your roles and a summary sections that makes you sound like a real life, interesting person.

Creating a presence and relationships through being on LinkedIn is like having insurance for when you are looking for a new role!

4. Nurture your network. This is pretty easy at this time of the year with the festive silly season in full swing.   Utilise this social time of the year to nurture your relationships or to create new relationships with key influences.

Pick up the phone and check in with people you haven’t spoken to in a while, organise a coffee or lunch date or send an end of year hand written note (yes, snail mail will have a huge impact) to express your appreciation for their support throughout the year.

People do business with and will support the careers of people they know, like and trust. Think relationships first, business second. The effort you put into nurture relationships now could pay real dividends for your career next year or the year after that.

5. Identify learning opportunities. All of the successful leaders I work with are committed to ongoing learning. They take the time to identifying areas of growth and invest in themselves. They are very aware that they can’t always rely on their organisation to provide the opportunities that will really make the difference to them personally.

What are your growth opportunities and what can you put in place next year to fill those gaps?

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How to maintain your leadership mojo when things get busy

How to maintain your leadership mojo when things get busy

Got too much on your plate? Feeling overworked, overwhelmed and stressed out?

You are definitely not alone. In our busy world of multiple demands.. at work and at home.. life can get a little hectic at times. And then if we throw in some work travel, extra commitments outside hours or some tight deadlines we can sometimes push it too far and we can loose our leadership Mojo.

To make matters worse, we women too often put the needs of everyone else before our own. We say yes to that extra commitment, work our butt off to get things “perfect” and “right” or take care of what needs to be done because no one else seems to doing it.

We put everything and everyone ahead of our own needs.

Doing your best work, remaining productive and focused, keeping your mood and emotions in check; these are all vitally important to any leader. To achieve this we need to feel fresh, energised and on our game….. not stressed out and tied!

My question today is “What are you doing to take care of you?”

What are you doing to allow your brilliant best to shine every day at work, even when things get a little busy?

We all know what we should be doing… but are we doing it?

These are questions I have had to ask of myself more than once over the past couple of months with an increasingly busy schedule involving plenty of interstate travel. Early morning flights, long days of workshop facilitation and living out of a suitcase can really disrupt my regular routines.

Too often when we get busy the first thing we drop off the to do list is our self care. But it is exactly these times when maintaining our self care rituals and routines are most important.

Here are my personal rules for maintaining my leadership mojo even when things get busy.

1. Keep moving. Ok… you don’t need me to tell you that exercise is important. It is important for our health and it is also important for our brain function to maximize our productivity, our creativity and our general mood. No one likes a grump around the office!

With my busy schedule I like to have options. When the weather is fine there is nothing better than an early morning walk to get me set up for a productive day.  But the thing that has made the biggest difference to me this year in a regular Pilates and Yoga practise.   Have you tried CLASSPASS to access thousands of different classes at studios and gyms in your city and around the world.  I LOVE it.  It gives my such choice and flexibility and is perfect for my busy lifestyle

When we get busy it is all about keeping it simple, having options and be ok that doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

2. Quality refuelling. If you put poor quality fuel in a racing car it doesn’t go to well. We are the same. We can’t expect our mind and bodies to perform at their best if we don’t pay them the respect with high quality fuel.

This is about quality whole foods. But of equal importance is keeping hydrated. I had let this one slip over the last couple of months. The easiest solution for this is to always have a water bottle on hand or my personal favourite of late… a jug of water infused with mint and lemon. Yum!

3. Still the mind. There is now proof, thanks to recent research, that meditation and the powerful state of “mindfulness” is good for our leadership. Not that I need proof. Intuitively I know that when I make time for even 10 minutes of meditation I feel calmer and my thinking expands allowing ideas to flow, creative solutions to appear and projects to be completed without quite so much effort.

If you are looking to get started with a little guided meditation I can recommend the Deepak and Oprah 21 day meditation experience.

4. Say NO. Learn the art of not automatically saying yes to every request. How often have you said yes to something, only to later wonder why you did or worse still, feel resentful and trapped into doing something you don’t want to do or is not your responsibility? Instead, take you time. Think it through and only commit to those things that are part of your job, of real interest to you or will help you to achieve your career goals.

5. Schedule me time. Ladies…. I know that many of us are hard wired to put others before ourselves. However if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can all too easily end up feeling depleted, burnt out and exhausted. And when this happens we end up with nothing left to give anyone.

NEXT STEPS?

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