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From doing it all … to not!

From doing it all … to not!

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.   

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader.  It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity.  

So much of what we ‘do’ is tied up in how we see ourselves.   

Making the shift to seeing ourselves as a valuable leader can sometimes be difficult for women who’ve held the busy label for many years. However, in leadership, and in life in general, busy is the highway to burnout. No thanks!   

The shift in activity that comes with a leadership role, from doing to leading, can feel seismic, especially for those women who have made a career out of being known as the woman who gets things done. This reminds me of that infuriating quote/meme:  

‘If you want something done, ask a busy woman.’  

It’s such a patronising, manipulative ethos designed to simultaneously stroke a woman’s ego and leave her in the lurch of taking on the heavy lifting. At the risk of repeating myself, no thanks times infinity!  

While it’s not necessarily easy for a woman to step away from doing it all, it’s not impossible.  

In fact, it’s one of the most remarked upon outcomes of my work with mid-career women. Once they stop doing the busy, out of leadership scope work, women have the space and the capacity to tackle – and embrace – their leadership role of thinking, driving, leading and (depending on their leadership style) serving aspects. They can be visionary and strategic. They can guide rather than do.  

By definition, leadership is about thinking. The traits of good leadership are almost all conceptual rather than activity based. It’s analysis, facilitative thinking, enabling, communicating and decision making, generating and bringing to life opportunities. Deep, strategic, critical thinking, not (necessarily) the execution or the doing. A big picture perspective becomes essential to this process.  

In ‘busy’ doing work we can’t see the big picture. We’re stuck in getting sh*t done mode, ticking through the list. The result is a disproportionate workload that makes us feel like rubbish. It also leads to disengagement, stress and potentially even burnout.  

Getting caught up in the busy work often means we’re doing work that’s not taking advantage of our capabilities nor our potential. It’s often soul destroying and erodes self confidence.  

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should!  

When we spend time after hours and on weekends doing the ‘stuff’ that didn’t get completed in business hours we erode our boundaries which are designed to protect us.  

A side note: so many times I see ‘taking one for the team’ accompanying this ‘doing’ mode of operandi. This does us no favours and is a massive breach of our boundaries.  

Want an example?  

Picture a meeting room, and someone says ‘who wants to take the minutes?’ Of course, no-one wants to take the minutes. Who would? There’s a few moments of uncomfortable silence and then a woman raises her hand. So instead of contributing her expertise, experience and smarts to the discussion as a leader, she’s recording it.  

I think it’s important to note that this type of behaviour, ie not having allocated roles for meetings ahead of time, is really symptomatic of a poor organisational culture, but it doesn’t change the fact that rather than step into her leadership, a woman has relegated herself down the ladder. Sadly, this isn’t an isolated incident across the many, many women I’ve worked with.  

On this – as a leader you have an obligation to be a good role model. We all know that there’s gender inequality in the workplace. Statistically, women are more likely to put their hand up to volunteer for work that won’t progress their career.  What message are you sending the young women sitting around the table?  

When you don’t automatically volunteer to take on the “housekeeping” jobs you are role modeling for the young women at the table that they don’t always have to either.  And you never know…  you may just allow space for a bloke to put his hand up. 

So, how to make this transition from doing it all to not? 

We could ask the workplace to step up – ha!   

Change is always more embedded with long term stickiness when it’s self-directed.  

I’m a big proponent of what gets measured gets managed. Have you ever tried time tracking? It’s illuminating. You can’t argue with data that tells you exactly how much of your working day is spent involved in tasks that have no bearing on your leadership.  

Start with building better boundaries  

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. These are not flippy floppy boundaries – but boundaries protected with barbed wire!  Without barbed wire boundaries, there’s simply no time or space to effectively lead. Enough said.  

Boundaries in place? Great! Now we enforce them.  

Don’t be the first to ‘just get on with it’ or volunteer to do something just because nobody else is stepping up. Either delegate if that’s within your remit or politely decline.  

This applies to your personal life too. I was recently chatting to someone who was having a mini-grumble about a friend cancelling a lunch because they had to dole out basketball uniforms for their local community club. Here’s the kicker – the uniform coordinator’s kids had long stopped playing yet she was still stuck in that role! 

And now for a word on delegation.  

It’s an art and a science in itself, or it could be. Allocate the task, check understanding and then let people do their jobs! Clear communication of your expectations is key. Clarity will get the best and the most out of your team and will help them stay on track and focused on delivering your strategy or vision. 

This brings me to the concept of trust.  

Trust your team, allow people to get on with it, scaffolded by your clearly communicated expectations.  

Being helpful, useful and reliable – focused on doing the do may have supported your career progression up to this point.  But sadly, from this point forward it’s going to hold you back.   

As a leader you need to move from the role of do-er/implementer and shift your focus to be one of leading others to do that execution.  

Leadership is about enabling, and at the core? It’s a conscious decision on how you want to show up as a leader. This is not something you need to explore alone – let’s have a conversation about how I can be of support as you transition from a reliable doer to an exceptional leader.  

 

 

 

 

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My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

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

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.

My story, amplified

Jane-Benston-Programs

My story, amplified

Over a decade ago I launched my consultancy, Jane Benston, delivering leadership coaching to women in mid-career roles looking to step up the corporate ladder without burning out or selling their soul, two critical caveats to success in my world view! So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

My about page shares some of the not-so-pretty details about my own personal career journey and path to my role now as a leadership coach for women. I thought I’d share a bit more of the story of how a girl from a sheep and cattle farm in central Victoria came to be working with incredible women from across Australia achieving remarkable feats in their careers, and more importantly, loving their work.  

I’ve worked extensively as a womens leadership coach, corporate trainer and career strategist since starting my business in 2011. Prior to this, I had over 15 yearsexperience working in corporate leadership. I experienced first hand the impact of strong, female leadership both on the bottom line of a business as well as from a workplace culture perspective. Today, I absolutely love that I continue to play a part in nurturing female leadership.  

My career started as an Occupational Therapist before quickly transitioning to working for 2 incredibly talented strong women in a small but rapidly growing dynamic business, negotiating return to work solutions for injured workers.   

Next came my step into the corporate Health and Safety space.  

For the first fifteen years or so in the workforce I had regular promotions and new opportunities as I followed a path and climbed a somewhat predictable career ladder. I loved my work, I loved making a difference and I really, really loved how easily the pay rises and promotions came my way!  

I was proud of how my income was affording me a wonderful lifestyle – enjoying fabulous holidays and adventures overseas and independently purchasing my first home. My role also included a ton of interstate travel which, again, as a farm girl, never stopped being a ‘pinch me’ moment. My parents also took it as confirmation that their girl had made it! 

As my career progressed, my leadership skills and strong results were recognised more and more. I had incredible mentors and cheerleaders who were in my corner, supporting me, advocating for me and encouraging me.  

As a single woman without children, my work was incredibly important to me and was closely attached to my sense of self. I was fiercely independent, I wanted to make a real difference and I knew I had the skills and expertise to do that.  

Everything was going according to plan, my plan, until it wasn’t. 

Enter a corporate takeover which saw me working in a position and a role that just wasn’t me. It didn’t fit. I didn’t fit. I was that proverbial square peg in a round hole, or to use one of Dad’s favourite farming sayings, I was flogging a dead horse. I lost my mojo, my sense of direction and all belief in my skills. With that loss followed my sense of identity. The result?  My confidence was in tatters. 

Every time I walked through the office doors my heart would sink. It’s a feeling that’s difficult to describe, but one that’s familiar to anyone knowing intrinsically that they’re not where they should be. It was like walking around with a boulder in the pit of my stomach. Happy, fulfilled and engaged at work? I think not!   

Here’s the thing with psychological stress – very rarely does it restrict itself to a mindset issue.  

Hello burnout! 

My health fell apart.  My brain was foggy. My joints ached. My sleep was disturbed, I experienced unexplained dizziness. I’d cry for no good reason. I was EXHAUSTED. Put simply, I felt like crap. All the time.  

I made the difficult decision to put my health first and walk away from my corporate career, saying goodbye to a great salary and job security. With my confidence already shot, it was incredibly scary to make that move, but I knew I needed to make a change. I also knew I didn’t want to make that change alone.  

My first step was to find a coach to guide me through this huge transition. I didnt want to just survive, I wanted to thriveand I knew I was going to have to bare my soul, so the coach had to be someone that could give me a safe space. 

The coaching process led me to the world of self-development. I was fascinated by the amazing world of neuroscience, and I invested a ton into my own personal development. I buried myself in every book and course I could find, as well as throwing myself into learning about human behaviour and the importance of empowered feminine leadership.  

I learnt the secret code for controlling the inner critic and boosting confidence. I discovered simple language structures for becoming an influential communicator and recognising behaviours that get in the way of success. I applied everything I learnt to myself and in response? Everything changed. 

Investing in myself paid off, big time, across all measures 

I was happier, healthier and more fulfilled than I had been in years. I found more confidence, more clarity and more direction than ever before. I loved the person I was becoming and, for the first time ever, I believed with absolute certainty that I could achieve anything I wanted. 

Fast forward to todayand not only am I reaching all my goals, Im helping other women to do the same.  

My corporate experience is backed up with qualifications in behaviour profiling, executive coaching and neuroscience. My approach is fresh, warm and energetic, and I believe in making every coaching experience fun and transformational. Ive worked with some of the biggest names and brightest minds in Australian business, and helped hundreds of women to believe in themselves, to find their perfect next role and to lead in a way that’s congruent with who they are. 

I love helping driven women unlock their limitless potential both personally and professionally – and Ive dedicated my career to doing just that. I work with women to get the results they deserve. I’m rarely without fresh flowers on my desk, a candle nearby and a glass of bubbles on hand for when women bring their aspirations to life.  

To find out more about working with me, please reach out

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Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

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

Click below to…

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

What the Queen taught me about unconscious bias

What The Queen Taught Me About Unconscious Bias

 

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all.  There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.  

Here we were, witnessing history.   

This is going to be one of those moments we will talk about in years to come and ask, “where were you when you heard the Queen had died?”   

I will always remember the gorgeous Airbnb in Brunswick Heads in Northern NSW – because just like when the twin towers came down… I was on holidays. 

How about you?  Where were you when you learnt the Queen had died?  

I will also remember my surprise at the degree of sadness and loss I’ve felt. 

Not just for the 70 years of this amazing woman’s life of leadership and service – but also for the pure fact that here was a woman ahead of her time, excelling in her leadership role long before it was common for women to have a place at the leadership table.   

She came to leadership not by choice but through duty.  At just 21 she was thrust into a role so few of us would want, let alone excel in. Yes, she has made mistakes – but haven’t we all.   

What struck me most while I watched her funeral, was my disappointment as I realised we are unlikely to have another female monarch for at least the next 3 generations.  Our new King and the next 2 in line were all on display for us to see. All men. 

And here’s the lesson for me.   

My own unconscious bias… towards a preference for a Queen rather than a King as the head of the monarchy.   

We’ve got so accustomed to the style of leadership the Queen brought to the role. For 70 years we’ve seen no other leadership style.  We’re become comfortable and familiar with having a woman in the role.   

Is it possible the new King – a man – will do a great job too?   

Probably.  

However right now, I’m having a hard time seeing Charles as the head of the monarchy.  Not only because I don’t warm to him.  I don’t see him having the same caring touch, poise, grace or sparkle of the queen – all qualities I’ve come to expect from the Crown.   

But we are going to have to let go of what we’ve come to expect and allow him to Lead His Way.  His leadership style will be different.  He will bring not only his own strengths, passions and quirks – but also the male perspective.   

Just like any new leader – we need to give him a chance to find his way.   

Which brings me back to unconscious bias. 

As we strive to bring more women to the leadership table – we need to be aware of the unconscious bias that is undoubtedly playing out each and every day in workplaces across the globe.  Until recently, senior leadership roles were almost exclusively held by men.  We became comfortable and accustomed to the style of leadership they brought to the table – just like we became accustomed to the style of leadership Queen Elizabeth demonstrated over such a prolonged period.   

Today, as I’ve pondered the Queens final farewell as she was finally laid to rest, I’ve been shocked by my own unconscious bias, and it’s left me wondering about the degree of impact unconscious bias continues to have on hiring managers around the world.   

I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

 

 

Image source:Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP

 

 

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Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

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

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.

Leading through and beyond burnout

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. 

Hello burnout!  

It’s not pretty, and sadly it’s not uncommon. And while I’m no doctor, I’ve come out the other side, and so can you. 

My experience of burnout showed up after a corporate takeover.  Overnight my job role changed, and the leadership style was at odds with how I work best. I found myself doing work that did not allow me to work to my strengths and my job performance plummeted.   

My confidence was knocked for six, my brain was foggy and I found myself bursting into tears for the most trivial annoyances. But worst of all was the long list of unexplained medical symptoms. 

So, what is burnout?   

Here’s a definition by the Mayo Clinic that I think sums it up well.  

“It’s a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”  

But it’s this list of personality traits of people who more commonly experience burnout that captured my attention.  

  • A tendency towards perfectionism or a type-A personality 
  • Being hyper-competitive or comparing oneself to others 
  • Difficulty asking for help or support 
  • Inability to prioritize work tasks and adjust effort accordingly  
  • Identifying one’s job as the most important part of who you are 

Over the last 10 years working with dedicated, hardworking mid career women, I’ve met many women who have found themselves deep within the dark tunnel of burnout.  And many of these women have displayed one or more of these characteristics.  Interesting!  

If you have been wondering if you’re teetering on the edge of burnout – you know you should do something about it.   

A week off work curled up on the couch watching Netflix or escaping to a beautiful beach in the sunshine may seem like the perfect quick fix … but sadly it’s unlikely to do the trick.  You don’t reach a place of burnout overnight – so it’s fair to say you’ll need more than a band aid solution to get you back to feeling fresh and alive and loving your work. 

So, what does work? 

Here are my top 3 pieces of advice for anyone noticing symptoms of burnout. 

1. Take a breath.  
Let’s start by acknowledging where you are at. Notice how you are feeling and how it’s impacting you, your work and your personal life.  

Is it time to draw a line in the sand and commit to creating change and putting you and your health first for a while?  

You already know that self-care is key to moving beyond burnout… so let’s make sure you are making time for sleep, exercise, mindfulness, fun or whatever it is that helps you to feel calm, centered and more like you.  

2. Prioritise like a pro.  
The next step is to do a stock take on all the things on your plate right now… and I mean all of it.  Not just the work stuff – but the home stuff too.   

Despite what some people might think – not everything is urgent.  Spend time getting really clear on what things are most important.  Be ruthless.  I mean really ruthless!   

To help clarify your highest priorities, ask yourself; “If I could only focus on THREE things on this list – what would they be?”  

It’s time to lighten your load and let some things go.  Let go of doing it all.  Especially let go of doing it all without help and support.  Let go of striving for perfection.   

What you need more than anything else right now is space to think, breathe and rejuvenate.   

3. Commit to change.   
If you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same result!   

But given you’ve read this far… you’re ready to reignite your spark and reclaim your work mojo.  And for that – things will need to change.  Let’s start by setting clear boundaries, saying no and delegating.   

Recognise where you are over functioning – and allowing others to under function.  For example, are you doing your team members’ work because it’s easier and quicker to just do it yourself? Or have you failed to recognise that your kids are now old enough to make their own lunch, fold the laundry or cook dinner for the family once in a while? 

Or perhaps the change you need comes in the form of a new job?  If your growth has plateaued, or you’ve fallen out of love with our role or you’re uninspired by your leader – then hoping and waiting for things to get better is rarely the answer.  

 Intuitively we know when we are heading towards burnout – but we often stick our head in the sand – too busy or too exhausted to do anything about it until it’s too late.   

The solution to my burnout was to eventually quit – without another job to go to.  But that’s because I left it too long before finding ways to stop it in its tracks.  Take it from me – you don’t want to do this!   

If you have battled fatigue and poor motivation, coupled with a bunch of unexplained illnesses – then now is the time to act, put yourself first and start looking for ways to find the best version of you again.  

One option might be to join our 8-week group coaching program IGNITE.  It’s designed to provide accountability and support to do this work.  You can check out the details here. 

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Last week 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.

Her family shared how she was remarkable for being unremarkable.

She was a good 1950’s wife of a high-level public servant, moving across the country, with each new work opportunity and promotion. She cooked a mean Sunday roast, was known for her practical dressmaking skills (including making my partner’s first surfboard cover) and kept a neat and tidy home for her family.

In contrast, her early adult life was a life of financial independence, work, freedom and fun.

As an 18 year old woman she had moved out of home and lived independently, working in a range of administration type roles. From the stories shared, it was clear she was a feisty, determined and strong woman of her time.

During the war she enlisted in the WAAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Australian Airforce) and rose to the rank of Sargent.

She clearly had spunk and sparkle being engaged to be married no less than SIX times. In amongst her personal treasures, we’ve found small black and white photographs of dashing young men in air force uniforms. I wonder what happened to these men. Sadly, I suspect they did not live long and fulfilling lives given their war time profession.

She finally married at the age of 23 and left the workforce, never to work outside the home ever again.

I wonder what type of career Betty would have had if she had been born into a different era. What type of leader could have she been? How would she have contributed? What profession would she have chosen?

I may be wrong, but I like to believe she could have been destined for a long and significant career.

I personally can’t imagine a life focused purely around home keeping and family and am grateful for the degree of choice and opportunity we have.

At times, I’m frustrated by the slow progress of change when it comes to women’s contribution in the workplace. Then I think about women like Betty, and I’m reminded how far we’ve come in the last 100 years.

As we navigate this post covid world, I believe we are entering a time of huge growth and opportunity for women. Many of the systems, structures and ways of working have broken and we now have a rare opportunity to reshape our working world as we transition to our new normal.

But just like Betty did – seizing a rare opportunity to work in a leadership role during the war, it’s up to each of us to be courageous and seize the opportunity.

If we want the world of work for women to continue to progress – now is the time to lean in and have a say.

This might mean stepping up to lead in a way that’s right for you rather than modelling outdated styles that don’t align with who you are. It might mean taking a stand for what you believe is important or resisting the temptation to revert to old ways of working when there’s an opportunity to build a better way forward.

Change doesn’t come without discomfort or a degree of resistance. It’s rarely easy and almost always requires courage.

Imagine 100 years from now ….

I wonder how we will see leadership, the contribution of women and what the working environment will be like?

Take a moment today to think about how you might be able to contribute to reshaping leadership and our working world.

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause and its impact on leadership

Why we must talk about menopause and its impact on leadership

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.   

 And let me just say, from my experience, the transition through perimenopause and into menopause can be a pretty rough ride.  Sleep disturbance, foggy brain and the unexplained aches and pains (or whatever curve ball your body wants to throw up for you)… can all take a toll on your ability to think clearly and to have the energy required to tackle the demands of a leadership role.  

 Until recently, menopause was a taboo subject.   

 It wasn’t widely explored in the media and it’s not something that was spoken about at home let alone in the workplace.  Thankfully that’s starting to shift.  More and more public figures are speaking about their experiences and women are becoming more willing to share their stories within their social and business circles.   

 To say I was in the dark about what to expect and how to transition gracefully through this natural stage of life would be an understatement.   

 All I knew about menopause until recently was that I could expect a few annoying hot flushes and look forward to the monthly bleeding to stop.  I thought it was just a short phase of a year Spotify Plays or two that needed to be endured and then it would be done. 

 I was clueless and misinformed, even though I’m probably about 5 years into this crazy transition.  

 In recent weeks I’ve begun a journey of exploration to get an understanding of what’s happening to my body and how to take back some control and make peace with the changes.   

 I want to be able to lead bravely and contribute in a big way – and feel confident in my body but that’s almost impossible while I struggle with the sleepless nights, weight gain, hot flushes, migraines, aching joints and forgetfulness. 

 So yes – being a great leader AND finding the best way for YOU to gracefully transition through the stages of menopause go hand in hand.   

So, what have I learnt so far?   

 That this period of a woman’s life can take on average 7 years from the first signs of perimenopause through to menopause.  SEVEN YEARS!  Who knew!   

 I’ve learnt that many GPs don’t have the time or the expertise to help us navigate this experience.  I’ve sought support and assistance on 3 occasions from different GPs and have come away each time even more confused and with nothing more than a list of drugs to consider.  

 I’ve learnt that keeping in shape once our hormones begin to shift takes something different from the regular advice about calories in versus energy out and that high intensity exercise that raises stress levels may actually be having a negative effect.  

 I’ve learnt that skipping my beloved daily coffee and few drinks over the weekend have been a sacrifice worth making to restore my sleep patterns and my sanity.   

 And most importantly I’ve learnt that this is not a time to be endured.  There are lots of options (medical, herbal and lifestyle changes) for relieving the mental, emotional and physical impacts.   

 Here are some things to think about if you too are in this phase of life.  

 1. Find the right health provider for you.  Sadly, many GPs don’t have the time, inclination or the knowledge to provide you the support and advice you are looking for.   If your usual GP is unable to provide you with the answers to your questions – seek advice from another GP or health provider.   

  2. Get educated.  Go in search of experts in this field.  Read their books.  Listen to their podcasts.  Sign up for short courses and workshops.  Speak to your girlfriends.  Talk to your mother about her experience.  Remember – knowledge is power.   

 A book I’ve found helpful is: Hormone Repair Manual – every woman’s guide to healthy hormones after 40 by Lara Briden.  

 3. Don’t settle.  This is NOT a time to endure.  It’s a time to reconnect with your body.  Notice what’s shifting and changing.  And then go in search of answers.  Life is too short to be struggling.  You have too much to give and contribute to settle for feeling less than fabulous.   

 4. Embrace the change.  Remember that this is a normal process that all women transition through.  Embrace it.  Honour it.  Use this time to focus on you, ensuring you have a happy and healthy body to support your professional and personal goals for many years to come.  

 I am by no means an expert on Menopause – but I am an expert on what it takes for mid career women to step up to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  To lead effectively, confidently and with impact requires you to be at your best – not struggling through a range of vague, life sapping symptoms going unchecked.  

 Good luck.  

 

 

 

 

 

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3 simple steps to end the year on a high

3 Simple steps to end the year on a high

You’ve almost made it… to the end of 2021!  And what a year it’s been.  

As we hurtle our way to the end of the year, are you feeling the pressure to get those last few projects completed? 

If this is more about surviving and limping your way to a well earned rest, here are my best tips to managing it all.   

Your final week survival guide:

  1. Be Super Intentional

Get really clear on what matters most. We sometimes have to come to terms with the fact that we can’t do it all. This is the season to double down on focusing your time and energy on those things that will have the biggest impact – for you, your team and the organisation.

I know you can juggle a LOT… but, with only a limited number of days before we all head off on a well earned break, I want you to practise using one simple word – NO.

Every time you say NO, it allows you to stay focused on those activities that matter most

  1. Create Thinking Time

With limits to your time and energy in this countdown to Christmas, creating space to think strategically and make critical decisions will be essential to your survival. Take a look at your calendar now and schedule in at least 20 mins of “thinking time” every day.

  1. Protect your energy

When people ask me what my number one productivity tip is, my answer is – get more sleep!  Intuitively, we all know that we do our best work when we’ve had a good night’s sleep and have taken good care of our mind and body.

Don’t be fooled by how simple these suggestions are.

That’s the beauty of them. They aren’t fancy – but they work.

So I wonder… which of these strategies could make a real difference to how you close out your year?

Here’s to a brilliant end to the year.

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

What are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for?

Every day I speak to women who are waiting.

They are waiting to feel smart enough, good enough, old enough or for someone to notice their talent or how hard they are working.  

It shouldn’t surprise me… because I remember a time when I was waiting to feel ready for the next step in my career.  I had no idea why I was waiting or what being ready would look like or feel like… but I was waiting.

Career progress is only achieved when we stop waiting and become proactive in our development.

If you are waiting to step up to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition… it’s time to stop waiting.  

Here are the 7 top reasons I hear from women about why they are waiting.

  1.  Waiting to feel worthy or good enough.   If this is you – it’s likely you see yourself with less potential or skill than others do!  Imposter Syndrome is often part of the story where you allow your inner critic to influence your confidence and self-belief. 

One talented leader I worked with was waiting to “feel” like a leader before speaking up in a leadership team meeting.  Another was waiting to feel more confident before agreeing to present her ideas to the board – even though she was passionate and expert in her field. 

  1.  Waiting to be old enough. Do you have a belief that you need to be of a certain age to be considered for a particular level of leadership or to be taken seriously? 

I have worked with high achieving young women who have rocketed into positions of influence at a young age but then feel they have to wait for their age to catch up, to take the next step.  

  1.  Waiting to be ready.  Ready for what?  Who knows?  But still you wait! Perhaps this is linked to feeling good enough or worthy enough.  It is certainly linked to the fear of failure and the need to protect yourself from risk.  

And sometimes it’s got nothing at all to do with professional capabilities.  One woman told me she was waiting to lose weight and buy a new corporate wardrobe before she started looking for a new job.

  1.  Waiting to be knowledgeable enough.  Do you think you need more knowledge, skill or training to be able to take the next step?  Perhaps you do!  But it’s highly likely you don’t.  

If you don’t believe me… seek advice from someone who knows you well and understands the requirements of the types of opportunities you want to be considered for.  My guess is that the quickest and most effective way to get the knowledge and experience you think you need, is by saying YES and taking the next step.   

  1.  Waiting until it is your turn.  Getting promoted because you have done your time went out of vogue years ago!  Career progression is now all about taking opportunities and going after what you want.  You will be given opportunities based on the value you can offer and being the best fit for the role not because of your years of tenure within the organisation.
  2.  Waiting until you are tapped on the shoulder. This strategy may have worked well for you in your early career – but at this level of leadership, hard work and results isn’t enough to get you noticed.  I know it should be but it’s not! 

Progressing your career is up to you.  It is about raising your profile, creating opportunities and taking steps to make it clear that you are the obvious choice for promotion or consideration for inclusion on an exciting project.

  1.  Waiting until your circumstances change.  Most of us have a lot going on outside of work which at times can impact what we are capable of or prepared to take on at work. Kids, holidays, moving home, weddings, illness, COVID!  These are all good reasons to take a step back but are you using your circumstances as an elegant excuse?

Stop waiting and take action!

If you recognise yourself in any of these, perhaps it is time to take your foot off the brake, lift your finger off the pause button and get into action.  

You are already good enough and experienced enough and you already know enough. If you are waiting for someone to notice your brilliance and hand you your perfect job, you could be waiting a very long time!

Your professional fulfilment and growth is up to you.  Go out and grab it with both hands… NOW!

And know … you are already enough!

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

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As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

Plan for success with a 90-day plan

Plan for success with a 90-day plan

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

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

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

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

Why are 90 day plans so important?

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

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

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

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

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

How to create your 90 day plan

1 – Start with the end in mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 – Let go of the less important

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

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

Make a note of all the things that are standing between you and where you want to be in your career so you can recognise them when they arise, and choose a different path for yourself.

3 – Create an environment for success

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

This could include doing external things like shutting your door when you’re in deep work mode, being focussed and intentional in meetings, or encouraging your team to independently problem solve …

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

4 – Write it down

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

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

5 – Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 – Celebrate

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

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

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

You got a project off the ground? EXCELLENT!

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

These are all incredible achievements that deserve to be celebrated.

____________________________________________________________________

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

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

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston

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

From doing it all … to…

When you cast your mind back to when you first stepped into a leadership role, it’s possible you remember the feelings of excitement and pride, mixed with fear and trepidation.

What’s required to excel as an effective team member is different to what’s required of us as a leader. It involves a massive behavioural shift which, according to the tenets of Emotional Intelligence, also requires a corresponding shift in self-perception and identity

Jane Benston

My story, amplified

So, how did I come to be a women’s leadership coach?  

Like all good stories, the journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. I help women dig deep from a place not just of expertise but also from experience. I’ve felt that sense of career frustration and resentment. Let me tell you my story… 

Jane Benston

What the Queen taught me about…

As I sat on the couch this week watching the Queens funeral, I was transfixed by the pomp and ceremony of it all. There’s no doubt the Pom’s know how to create a sense of occasion.

Here we were, witnessing history.

Jane Benston