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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

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

5 keys to creating momentum for career growth

5 keys to creating momentum for career growth

Have you ever wanted to create change in your career but felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the task ahead? The idea of stepping up to the next big thing, changing career direction or creating some new results, can at times seem totally daunting and a task too large to begin.

The comfort of what we know is all too alluring…. but often not at all satisfying. We delude ourselves into thinking that avoiding risk and sticking with the status quo – however miserable – is the smartest and best course of action… when of course it isn’t.

I know this to be true because I stayed in a job for more than 18 months even though I was totally miserable, unproductive and doing a lousy job. I stayed, wishing, waiting and hoping that things would improve but of course they never did.

It took a “crisis” to finally push me to find the courage, to take action and move on.

So often I see leaders who want to create change in their career, but are too busy, overwhelmed and exhausted to find the space in their schedule to even pause to think about what they truly want, let alone reflect, create a plan and commit to action.

Here are 5 keys to creating momentum for career growth.

  1.  Press the pause button. Get off the treadmill and be still. That’s right, just stop! Until you take time out to think, create and plan nothing is likely to change. The busyness of our lives does not allow for creativity, problem solving and we are unlikely to see the opportunities that are right there waiting to be seized.

Start by blocking out a chuck of time to reflect on your current career status.  Grab a pen and paper and jot down your thoughts. What is working for you?  What frustrates you?  What do you wish was different? What do you love most about your current role? Does your role provide a positive challenge for you and are you being given opportunities for growth?

  1.  Assess the cost of maintaining the status quo. I wonder what it is costing you right now by maintaining the status quo? Is your health taking a hit? Are you neglecting some of the people who are most important to you? Has your career flat lined? Are you bored, uninspired and feeling lost?

Getting clear on the true cost of staying stuck is often enough to create the motivation and the drive to create change. Life is too short to settle for mediocre!!!

  1.  Listen to your intuition. If you have experienced a quiet and persistent gut reaction for some time telling you that something has to change… well it is now time to listen. The busier we get the less we listen to our own intuition but this is exactly when we need to stop and ask ourselves what is our intuition telling us here.

Our intuition can be a brilliant guide, particularly when we pair it with our rational, analytical brain to assess the risk, weigh up the options and assess the facts. Bring the two together and you have a powerful foundation for effective decision making.

  1.  Find support. Yes you are a strong independent woman…. but you don’t need to go alone. Reach out to your network and ask for their support and assistance. You will be surprised at how willing people will be to provide you with their help if only they know how.

Women are great at building relationships, connecting and sharing ideas. We are born to nurture the growth and development of others. You have no doubt extended a helping hand to others at some time, now it is your turn. Let people know what opportunities you are looking for and share your career dreams and aspirations.

Opportunities for promotion, career change or a position that will allow you more flexibility and lifestyle choices may be as close as one conversation with the right person.

  1.  Know you are capable. Yes You! You’re capable of so much more than you might at first think. Even if the worst was to happen, I am guessing you could handle it.

Every day I work with women who underestimate their potential. There seems to be an epidemic out there of women who down play their achievements, question their value and are blind to the unique skills and talents they bring to their work.

It is time to shift your focus from what you can’t do to what in fact you can!

And then take action. Nothing changes without action and without doing some things differently.

Now is your time. You have been waiting long enough. If you want to create change in your career it is up to you. The hardest step of any change is the first so…. be bold, be brave and believe that you can.

Know that something needs to change but unsure where to start? 

Book in for a Leadership Support Session here, and together we’ll create a tangible plan to move you forward courageously, strategically and in a way that honours and utilises your strengths.)

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

You are already capable

You are already capable

Have you noticed that many women underestimate their abilities and fail to shine a light on their performance? 

Are you one of those women?

Perhaps, at times, you have thought you needed to know more, learn more or have more experience to be taken seriously, seek promotion or allow your true value to be seen.

If you are … you are absolutely not alone.

No doubt you’ve heard about the studies that have repeatedly found that men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both…. while their performance is of equal quality.

A study by HP found that women only applied for a promotion when they believed they met 100% of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60% of the job requirements.

Ladies, if we want to have more of an impact at the leadership table, it is time for us to shift our thinking.

You do not need to learn more. You do not need to be more experienced. You do not need to wait for permission or to be tapped on the shoulder. And, most importantly, you do not need to wait until you feel more comfortable and confident in your abilities.

What you really need is to get out there and get the experience by doing the do. 

You need to apply for that next promotion… even when your experience does not meet 100% of the criteria. You need to step up and tackle that high profile project that will get the attention of those that matter.

Next time you catch yourself thinking you need that next level of expertise before taking a step … STOP IT. You already have enough, know enough and are enough to take action from exactly where you are right now.

We women will never break through the glass ceiling or truly settle into our place at the leadership table in the numbers that will really make a difference while we allow ourselves to think we need everything to be perfect before we make the next move.

It is time to break the long held patterns of thinking and to create some new rules to live and work by. No more waiting, perfecting and pondering.   It is about taking action, surrounding yourself with great people and learning as you go.

Here’s how to build the courage to step into all you are capable of –

  1. Notice your wins. Each week there are things to be proud of.  Sometimes they will be big things that are hard to ignore – but more often than not they will be small, almost insignificant, but wins all the same.  The more you focus on the things you do well – the more you’ll notice all that you are capable of.

  2.  Stop listening to your inner critic. Your inner critic is there to keep you safe and free from danger. But don’t believe everything it’s telling you is true. Look for evidence that you can rather than listening to all the reasons why you can’t.

  3.  Don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with a network of other advancing people who will lift you up, challenge you and support your growth. This may mean finding some new people to hang with.

Looking for a positive community of women to lift you higher.  Join us in Leading Ladies – a free group for mid-career professional women.

  1. Know you’ve got this. It is time to be brave and take action in spite of your fear and uncertainty. You are already smart enough, talented enough, experienced enough!  All that’s missing is you believing that you can.  It is only through putting yourself out there that you will prove that to be true. 

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

5 Ways You Can Start Leading Your Way, Now.

5 WAYS YOU CAN START LEADING YOUR WAY, NOW.

As I shared in this article, the number one thing you need to do to be a great leader and advance your career in 2021, is to show your true self. 

Now, as great as this is for us ladies, my guess is that some of you are sitting at home thinking, ‘Yes Jane, but that’s easier said than done. How do I show more of my true self?’

Today I want to share 5 practical ways you can step more fully into your true self, so you can lead in a way that works for you (and therefore feels easy, elegant and enjoyable!)

Before I jump in though, I want to acknowledge the fact that stepping into your own leadership style, and leading your way, can sometimes feel uncomfortable and (let’s be honest) scary.

It takes courage to step outside the traditional leadership mold – even if it is outdated – and be ourselves.

It takes bravery to show up, instead of flying under the radar, and allow our colleagues and staff to get to know the real us. 

It takes guts to lead OUR way, and let go of the pressure we feel to be someone we’re not (like being assertive when that’s just not in our DNA!)

The simple fact that you’re here with me right now, reading these words, shows me just how great a leader you truly are. That you’re willing to embrace these challenges, so you can lead in a way that compliments who you truly are, rather than ticks the boxes of who you think you need to be, is cause for celebration.

Now, let’s get practical, shall we…

Here are 5 ways you can start leading your way – today!

1. Be you

I want you to repeat after me, ‘I am enough’. 

‘I AM ENOUGH’.

You are valuable, and you are who you are truly meant to be, just as you are. The more you can bring your true character into your workplace, the more people will be able to get to know you, like you and trust you. 

Do you have a quirky side? Let your team see it! Do your loved ones describe you as ‘real’ and ‘down to earth’? Let it shine through! The more YOU you can be, the better!

Consider: What makes you, you? How can you be more of your true self in your workplace?  

2. Model wisely

Having role models is very important as a leader BUT you need to choose the right ones for you.

Don’t just model the leader you report to, or your CEO – model the leader you look up to and whose leadership style resonates with how you want to lead. 

Consider: What leadership traits do you admire and respect?

3. Mix and match

Because everyone is different and no one role model will ever have all the traits we ourselves aspire to have, it helps to mix and match and have a number of people we can look up to.

Perhaps you admire how your Manager speaks up in meetings, or how your past employer would create space to think and reflect before she responded to a complex situation. 

Consider: Which 6 leaders do you look up to? What traits of theirs do you admire?

5. Have the courage to lead

It’s your time to really believe in yourself, step forward and take up more space in your workplace. No more hiding and no more dulling your light. So many opportunities will reveal themselves to you when you have the courage to be seen and lead.

Consider: How can you allow yourself to be seen more in your workplace?

6. Own it

Own your greatness, claim your space (in your workplace and in this world) and give yourself full permission to lead YOUR way. You deserve to lead, just as much as the next person. Now is your time! 

Consider: What are 5 of your greatest qualities as a human, and as a leader?


Ladies, no more being who you think you need to be in order to lead! It’s time to lead in a way that compliments who you truly are. 

P.S. Know that I’m over here cheering you on – and that constant cheering and encouragement is always available to you in our free Facebook Group. This group is specifically for mid career professional women. If that’s you – we’d love to have you join the conversation.

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

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader and advance your career in 2021

The number 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader and advance your career in 2021

Like most mid-career professional women, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that 2020 created huge disruptions and upheavals in your life.

Perhaps you went from working in the office, to working at home sharing a space with kids and other family members.

Maybe you had to increase your capacity to hold space for the complex emotions of your staff and colleagues? No doubt you had to support them to sit with uncertainty and fear too!

And it’s likely you had to step up, and be even more adaptable, strategic and forward thinking.

What made a great leader led prior to 2021, is likely to be vastly different to how your workplace needs you to lead now. What worked in the past simply won’t be the way going forward. 

Given this shift, here’s the NUMBER 1 thing you need to do to be a great leader, support your organisation to grow and progress your career in 2021.

Show more of your true self.

Do you feel like 2020 asked to take your mask off and be more yourself?

Times are changing and the women we thought we had to be in order to be seen, progress our careers and break through into our next level of leadership, impact and recognition, was thrown out the window.

As a leader in 2021, your workplace needs you to be more YOU, not who you think you need to be in order to get seen and succeed. In fact in 2021, being YOU is the key to fast tracking your professional progress!

Why? Because people are craving depth and more ‘realness’ in the workplace. 2020 brought everyone’s humanness to the forefront and now, people are needing and expecting this more than ever.

As well as this, being your true self by expressing emotions like vulnerability and authenticity are a must going forward. 

As I shared in this article, many corporate environments in the past, made us believe that emotions didn’t belong at work, and should be suppressed and pushed below the surface.

But this simply isn’t true – especially in 2021.

Emotions like vulnerability and authenticity are anything but weak, and they’re not inappropriate or something to be ashamed of. 

2020 was a watershed moment that woke everyone up and in this waking, the human side of leadership came to be encouraged, embraced and celebrated.

Now is your time to infuse more of YOU into your workplace, and step up as an empowered feminine leader who is comfortable expressing yourself openly, vulnerably and authentically.


As I share in Ignite – our 8 week group online program for mid career women, 2021 truly is your time to lead your way. 

No more feeling like a ‘square peg in a round hole’ in your workplace, and no more trying to emulate an out-of-date version of what a good leader was. 

What your career needs, in order for it to progress, and your organisation needs in order for it to grow, is for you to own your uniqueness and lead in a way that feels true to you.

Never has there been a better time to fully step into your feminine power and lead in a way that feels right for you! You’ve got this!

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

Why you must stop doing and start leading.

Why you must stop doing and start leading.

What are you known for? Are you known for your exceptional leadership skills or are you known as someone who can be relied on to get the job done?

Sadly too many women are being overlooked and missing out on the best opportunities because they get caught up “doing” the work.  

Yes the work they do is to the highest standard but that isn’t what will get them seen, heard and valued as an effective senior leader. 

The people who get paid the most, get the most interesting opportunities and receive the most recognition are not the worker bees! They are those people who focus on creating effective strategies that deliver on the business objectives, engage high performing teams to deliver key KPI’s and are known for their big picture view of the business challenges. 

I recently worked with Gillian, a talented, ambitious leader who had carved out a hugely successful career. But then something went wrong. Her career progress had not only stalled … it had actually taken a backwards step. And with it her pride, commitment and joy evaporated. 

And it all came down to what she was known for.  

Somewhere along the way she had developed a reputation as a “doer.” 

She was the go-to person for preparing contracts, tender documents and completing tasks that no-one else apparently had the skills to do. Yes, she was good at these tasks, but they left her feeling undervalued, bored and without the time or energy to devote to the type of work that kept her challenged and motivated. 

And worst of all… she found herself no longer included in the Senior Leadership Team meetings. 

The good news is, it is possible to resurrect and repair your professional reputation and be seen as a leader who can truly make a difference rather than just someone who can get work done. 

How to shift your professional reputation from doer to leader:

1. Create space.

At this stage in your career you are employed not just to do – but to think. So, the first thing we must do is create space to think, create and be strategic.  

Finding the time to do the work that truly matters doesn’t happen by accident.  We need to create the timethrough relentless focus, prioritisation and commitment to diarising high impact work. 

2. Get strategic.

Ok ladies it’s time to get strategic! One of the biggest challenges I see for women is that they are busy being busy and getting the job done, but not necessarily working on those activities that make the biggest impact for the business, the team or their own professional progress.

Look across your portfolio and pick one project you could devote some concentrated time and effort to over the next 3 months. The aim is to showcase what you are capable of as well as demonstrate your contribution to the business goals. 

3. Get visible.

It’s time to get yourself out there and known for the great work you do. Doing great work is never enough.

Think about the best leaders you know. They don’t hide themselves away. They are visible and have a strong network who they call upon for support, guidance and collaboration. 

Developing and maintaining a network of strong relationships is the secret to opening up the best opportunities. So prioritising time to grab a coffee or lunch with people of influence within your organisation and industry is important (even if it has to be via Zoom during this time of Covid.)  

You are employed to lead – so lead.   

At the end of the day, getting stuck in the weeds of doing isn’t helping you, your team or the organisation

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

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

Why working hard is hurting your professional growth

You know you are good at what you do and you’re getting great results. Your team members are engaged, enjoy working with you and you’re building a strong team.  

But yet… 

You don’t feel valued. You are not getting promoted, and you suspect youre being paid less than your peers. 

But why? 

Well, it’s quite likely because you’re working too hard.  

Yes, you read that right.  You’re working too hard!  Ok. I hear you. It’s your hard work that’s got you to where you are today.   

But sadly – what got you here wont get you to the next level of leadership, impact or recognition.  

There is no doubt that working hard was a great strategy in your early career but it’s not enough as you step into the more senior leadership roles. 

Relying on hard work at this level of leadership, will only lead to resentment, frustration and ultimately burnout. 

You are way too smart and have way too much to offer to remain overlooked and underappreciated. And right now, more than ever, organisations NEED what you have to offer. 

It’s time to focus on what will get you a valued position at the leadership table. 

If you are being overlooked… here’s what to do

1. Step into Queen Bee work. 

To me our work falls into two categories. Queen Bee work and Busy Bee work. 

Busy Bee work has you stuck in the weeds of the day to day, leading you to be busy but not necessarily effective or productive. 

While Queen Bee work is the work that’s strategic, bigger picture and supports the team or the organisation to move closer to achieving the goals of the business.  

If your days are filled with primarily Busy Bee work – then chances are you’re working on the wrong things. 

You’re focused on the details rather than the big picture. You’re getting trapped in the day to day implementation rather than being seen to be a strategic thinker who can move the business forward. 

And sadly being a Worker Bee does not get you the recognition or access to the best roles or a seat at the leadership table. It’s the Queen Bee work that does. 

2. Lead rather than do! 

If you’re a leader – you need to be leading. Many women I speak to are so busy ‘doing’ the day to day tasks that they neglect to make time to actually lead.    

The work of building and managing a high performing team, of setting the strategy and making progress on the big strategic projects is relegated to ‘when I have time’. But of course, you never have time.  

Leadership is about being proactive and prioritising the work that matters. You need to be ok with saying NO, delegating the busy work and truly step up to fully take on the role of leader.  

3. Focus on developing strategic relationships

Putting your head down and working hard usually means that you are too busy to be building strategic relationships  

But building relationships with the key decision makers in your business and in your industry is not something to do when you have time. It’s something you have to make time to do, given that it’s a critical to advancing your career.   

Having people who know you, appreciate your contribution and advocate for you is priceless and well worth the investment of your time and energy. 

Being overlooked is frustrating and can impact your confidence. 

But let’s see it as a sign that something needs to change. 

The good news is… big change is usually not required. Tiny tweaks are all it takes.

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

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.

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

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 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 trying to guide us. When we fail to recognise these telltale 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 we all have the skill; we are just out of practice. Somewhere between early childhood and now we have become 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 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. 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 they no longer feel them.

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

You have an inner guide, you would be crazy to ignore it… 

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

NEXT STEPS?

If you have a suspicion or a gut feeling that the career you have built isn’t quite what you want any more or isn’t fully aligned with who you are then I invite you to join a small select group of high achieving women in The Leadership Connection.

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

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 important 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 a 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. 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 maintain boundaries typically get more respect and better results than those who allow others to take them or their time for granted.

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. You shouldn’t feel guilty for putting yourself 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.

Only you can set and maintain your boundaries.

It takes consideration, being intentional and persistant. 

Maintaining 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.

 

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