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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 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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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.
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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.

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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

Photo of beautiful happy woman looking at camera while working and sitting at table in open-plan office

New year, New Job, New You

You’ve had time to reflect over the summer break and you’ve come to the decision that a new job is on your list of goals for the year. Good for you!
Perhaps you’re looking for greater job satisfaction, more money, better corporate culture, more variety, more flexibility, a leader who inspires you or to have a greater impact. Whatever the reason… you know that it’s going to take time and energy.

Jane Benston

New year, New Job, New You

New year, new job, new you

You’ve had time to reflect over the summer break and you’ve come to the decision that a new job is on your list of goals for the year. Good for you!

Perhaps you’re looking for greater job satisfaction, more money, better corporate culture, more variety, more flexibility, a leader who inspires you or to have a greater impact. Whatever the reason… you know that it’s going to take time and energy.

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

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

And it’s not all about jumping into action.

Not yet. Hold your horses for a moment ladies.

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

Here’s where to start

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

There may be lots you don’t yet have clarity on – but let’s start with what you know you do want.

What type of tasks do you want to be doing each day? What key skills do you want to be using? Do you want to be leading a team? Do you want the opportunity to work from home? Do you want travel to be part of the role?

  1. Be clear about what you don’t want. This is equally as important as knowing what you do want.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————

Like some support getting clear on how to go about accessing your next ideal role?  Book a Leadership Support Session here, and together we’ll create a plan for your success!

LET'S CONNECT

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

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

Reflect, review and reset

Reflect, review and reset

If you could find the magic pill to create a powerful, productive and amazing year ahead… would you take it?

But before we go there… I wonder how this year turned out for you? If we were to focus on your professional growth just for a moment; are you satisfied with what you achieved, what you contributed and the impact you made?

As I speak with each of my clients to round out the year, I’ve been reminded how easy it is to forget how much we have achieved. We race through the year from one project to the next, rarely celebrating the accomplishments along the way.

Then there are those that focus only on the 2% of what’s not going to plan rather than the 98% that is. You may have done and achieved some great things but you ignore those in favour of being overly critical and beating yourself up, leaving you feeling deflated and defeated.

Crazy… I know. But I bet you can relate? I know I have been guilty of this more than once.

So I may not have the magic pill.

I may not be able to predict or script out the perfect year for you…

But… what I do have is a simple three-step process that will set you up for a powerful, productive and exciting year ahead.

It takes no more than 10 minutes and, although it’s super simple, it’s incredibly powerful.

Pull out a notepad and pen, settle in with a cuppa and take a little time for reflection on the year that was. And yes, writing it down is way more powerful than just thinking through the questions.

3 questions to close out the year and supercharge the next

1. What did I do, create or experience this year that I’m really proud of?

It has been an incredibly challenging year so it would be easy to say that this year has been a write off. But I know that if you were to stop to digest and acknowledge what you have achieved the list would be extensive. Simply surviving this year would be a great start but I’m sure you’ve accomplished way more than you at first might think.

What did you make happen this year? Look back through your calendar and note down the big wins, where you had impact, what you had influence over.

Think about what you did for the first time and how you have grown.

Recognise how you have supported projects or specific people. Don’t just look at the big accomplishments… the little wins are equally as important.

Celebrating your accomplishments is key to building your confidence. It drives progress and puts you in a vortex of high vibrational energy. It’s been scientifically proven that once you are in that place of positivity and energy, it pulls great results towards you. You become a magnet for bigger and better things… so let’s get you into that state!

In short, we attract more of what we focus on – good or bad. That for me is enough of a reason to focus on my accomplishments! I want that for you too.

As you recognise and celebrate each achievement, take note of how this will positively impact your career. Anchor in the learning by writing down how it is important to you.

2. What mistakes did you make and what can you learn from them?

This is about shining a light on what didn’t go so well. It’s not about dwelling on the mistake but rather focusing in on what you can learn.

This is about taking a more objective, big picture view of the mistake. From this vantage point, you can more easily spot the lesson or the growth opportunity without beating yourself up or letting your ego get in the way.
Ask yourself; what didn’t go so well? What opportunities did I let slip by? What do I want to do differently next year? How can I do better? How can I use my experiences of this year to grow?

3. What am I willing to let go of?

It’s time to de-clutter your days, your commitments and your mind.

Let’s start by taking a look at what you committed to this year. Did those commitments serve and support you and take you closer to your goals? Or did they take you away from those things, activities or people most important to you?

Give yourself permission to stop doing anything that no longer aligns with who you are and where you’re heading. If it doesn’t feel good, serve you or bring you joy, then let it go.

What can you get out of… or just walk away from?

Do you have any projects or goals that have been hanging around on your to-do list that have been weighing you down for years? If they are no longer aligned with your future… let them go.

And let’s also look at the emotional baggage that is getting in your way and holding you back from what you know you are capable of. It’s time to clear it out and let it go. Let go of the belief that you are not good enough, old enough, smart enough, worthy enough to go after what you really want next year.

If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.

If you want to create a powerful, productive and amazing year it’s up to you.


Give yourself the best chance of creating an environment to give you exponential growth, remarkable experiences, meaningful connections and pinch-me moments this year.

I know you’ve accomplished more than you give yourself credit for.

Allow yourself to acknowledge this…feel it…and be proud.

Take the learnings from this year and decide what you will let go of.

Settle into reflection mode, get plugged in and set up for a fabulous year ahead.

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 tips to boost the effectiveness of your meetings

5 tips to boost the effectiveness of your meetings

As a senior professional you attend a LOT of meetings. Maybe too many? Some of them may be productive and useful but I’m guessing there are many you walk away from, frustrated with the lack of purpose, achieving little progress and without a clear outcome or action plan.

There is no doubt, meetings are important. 

Meetings are where great ideas are born, collaboration happens, relationships are strengthened, problems are solved and momentum to deliver important projects is maintained.

But how effective are the meetings you attend?

  • Do you achieve tangible outcomes?
  • Do you get a reasonable return on the time and energy you invest?

Or are they your number one time waster and source of frustration?

I was speaking with the women from my inner circle program about the effectiveness of meetings within their organisation. Some are spending up to half of their week locked away in meetings, many of which venture way off track and achieve very little. That is a LOT of unproductive time!

Unfortunately, you can’t always influence the effectiveness or the outcomes of the meetings you attend but you can take charge of the meetings you run.

Mastering the art of running productive, effective meetings is critical to your long term career success. 

Who would have thought… the humble meeting being important to your career success?

Let’s take a step back for a moment and think about what the purpose of most meetings are?

They are generally to support the team to deliver a task, service, project or new initiative… all of which are ultimately linked to the achievement of the business goals.

So becoming a skilled meeting facilitator can set you up to be seen as an invaluable contributor within the business and position you for some of the best opportunities on offer.  They are your opportunity to make your mark and get you seen, heard and recognised as an influential member of the leadership team.

So let’s drill down into some simple strategies you can employ to minimise time wasted on ineffective meetings and maximise outcomes.

5 tips to boost the effectiveness of your meetings.

1. Conduct a meeting audit. Just hearing the word audit makes me cringe … but bear with me. Let’s start by eliminating those meetings that don’t have a clear purpose or outcome. Let’s stop having meetings for meetings sake. You know the ones. They are nothing more than a data dump or an update fest.

2. Banish the 60 minute standard. Why is it that almost every meeting is a standard 60 minutes long? Let’s take a moment and decide if this is the right length for every meeting.

Trust me. Your attendee’s will love you for booking just 45 minutes. It will give people an opportunity to grab a coffee, return an urgent call or gather their thoughts before dashing to the next meeting starting on the hour.

Or perhaps a couple of 20 minute desk-side catch ups would be better suited to keep track of progress and solve problems on the spot, rather than waiting for a longer, less regular meeting.

3.  Agree before you start. At the start of every meeting be clear on the purpose and agree on what needs to be achieved before the end of the meeting. Getting this agreement will help shape the discussions and keep everyone on track.

And, if it does go off track (we all know how easily a meeting can be hijacked by an off topic discussion or issue), it’ll be much easier to steer it back on point and towards the outcome you all agreed to.

4. Focus on needs & wants. Let’s agree that data dumps and team updates are of limited value …. and quite frankly boring to sit through! Aim to keep updates to a minimum and focus on what people need or want from the group to move a project forward.   Maximise the wealth of knowledge in the room to collaborate, brainstorm solutions or seek advice.

5. Make it actionable. Never again allow the attendees of a meeting you facilitate, leave the room confused or unsure of what the outcome is. There comes a point in every meeting when you must move on from brainstorming and general discussion and make a decision.

And be ok that you may not reach consensus. Pleasing everyone is not the aim. Taking a stand, making a decision and moving forward towards achieving the business goal is your role as a leader.

And to conclude the meeting… be very, very specific and get agreement on who is going to do what by when.

Which of these tips will you take action on?

If you have read to the end of this article, it suggests to me you know you have room for improvement.  Pick just one of these tips and give it a go during your next meeting.

I’d love to hear how it goes.

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

Protect your professional reputation. Why you must stop doing and start leading.

Protect your professional reputation. Why you must stop doing and start leading.

What is your professional reputation? 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 who focus on creating effective strategies that deliver on the business objectives, drive 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 stalled.

Well to be honest… her career progress had not only stalled … it had actually taken a backwards step. And with it her pride, commitment and joy evaporated.

After a little digging to diagnose the problem it all came down to her professional reputation.

Even though she had a track record of being a strategic leader who could engage a diverse team to deliver on complex projects… somewhere along the way she had developed a reputation as a “doer.”

She now found her days filled with preparing contracts, tender documents and completing tasks that no-one else apparently had the skills to do. Yes she was good at these task, 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.

Even though she was reassured that she was not being demoted and she continued to get exceptional performance feedback, it was hard not to see this as a kick in the guts!

So what’s the solution? 

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. Get strategic. Ok ladies it’s time to get strategic! Let’s start with being strategic about what projects you get involved in. 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.

OK … I’m hearing you! Right now you’re thinking I don’t have time Jane. I’m already too busy. And there’s the problem right there. You have been busy focusing on the wrong things.

Take a look at your workload. There is bound to be something that you really don’t need to be doing or something that you could down grade your efforts in.

For all you perfectionists out there, let’s stop the need for everything to be perfect. Flex your perfectionist muscle on the likes of completing your board report and let go a little on the rest. Trust that your 80% is absolutely more than good enough.

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

I’m here to encourage you to get out from behind your desk and prioritise time to grab a coffee or lunch with people of influence within your organisation and industry. Developing and maintaining a network of strong relationships is the secret to opening up the best opportunities.

And as much as you might believe that self promotion is irksome, I know you can find a way to share the value of your work in an authentic genuine way. Being a well kept secret will not get you the recognition you deserve.

3. Get delegating. If you’re in a leadership role there is a fare chance you have a team. It’s time to bring your team on board to do some more of the doing.

I get it… it’s quicker to do it yourself! But this is taking a short term view. If you want to be seen as an effective leader you need to step away from purely doing the do and start developing the team to operate at their peek.

The short term pain that comes from slowing down the process to coach one of your team to take on more responsibility will be well worth it for months and years to come.

The damage to your professional reputation will only get worse if you choose to do nothing.

And just like Gillian, I know that you are capable of so much more. And more importantly you want more.

And that’s why I have created a brand new program called The Leadership Connection, an exclusive 6-month program for smart professional women to connect and grow in their career success.

No more going it alone. No more working in isolation.

We need more women just like you to leading not doing.

Click here for more information and to apply for your invitation to join the group.

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

Being overlooked? Here’s why

Being overlooked? Here’s why

Ever wonder to yourself “why am I being overlooked?” You are working hard. No… you are working really hard. You know you are good at want you do and you are getting great results. Your team members are engaged, love you and you know you are doing a great job building talent.

But yet…

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

But why?

I blame The Good Girl Syndrome. It’s not the entire answer but it definitely plays a part for many women.

From an early age we learnt that being “good” got us recognition, praise and attention. I know this is my story.

As a little girl I was praised for being “good” when visiting friends. As I got older I spent hours perfecting my assignments and studying for long hours to get recognition for good grades. Then as I entered the workforce, working hard brought me promotions and opportunities without even looking for them.

So sticking to the model of working hard and following the system, structure and rules worked for a time… but then the interesting opportunities ran dry.

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

Relying on hard work alone, 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 under appreciated. 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. Stop The Busy Bee Work.

For many women, it’s as simple as… they are working on the wrong things.

They are focused on the details rather than the big picture. They get trapped in the day to day implementation rather than being seen to be strategic thinkers who can move the business forward.

Don’t get me wrong. These tasks are important. But the question must be; are you the best person to be doing them or could you support one of your team members to take on this responsibility?

And when you focus on these tasks, what aren’t you getting around to doing? What big ticket projects or strategic pieces of work are you failing to complete in timely fashion?

Put it another way – you are a Busy Worker Bee when, to be truly seen, heard and valued, you need to be operating more like the Queen Bee.

Worker Bee work does not get you the recognition or access to the best roles or a seat at the leadership table. Queen Bee work does.

2. Get Visible.

Putting your head down and working hard usually means that you are too busy to be building strategic relationships and networking. If you want to stop being overlooked… you need to get visible.

You need to get known.  And you need to build relationships with the key decision makers in your business and in your industry. And like any relationships, business relationships take time and energy.

It’s time to get out from behind your desk and connect in person. Make time for coffee.  The people I have the best business relationships with are with those people who I’ve made time to meet in person in a more relaxed social setting.

And make sure that those that matter know what you do, what your career aspirations are and what value you add.

Career aspirations will never be realised if you keep them a secret!

3. Discover what part you play.

It’s now time for some soul searching. If you are being overlooked… there is usually a reason. We are usually doing something to contribute to the situations we find ourselves in.

I know. This is pretty hard to face up to at times. It would be so much easier if we could blame the boys club or the funding cuts or the leader who is blind to the talent they have right in front of them.

But the honest truth… there is always something we are doing that results in us being overlooked.

What is it for you? Let’s be honest.

Progress and change all starts with self awareness.

Is it that you’re focused on the Busy Worker Bee work? Is it that you are not blowing your own trumpet and letting people know about the results you and your team are getting? Is it that you are seen as difficult or unapproachable?

Is it that you are focused on driving the results at the expense of the team or is it that you are focusing on developing the team at the expense of delivering on the big picture business strategy?

Whatever it is… it’s very likely that it’s within your control to change.

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 is all it takes.

Don’t stay stuck where you are…. being overlooked for the best roles.

LET'S CONNECT

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

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

Reflection to finish the year

Reflection to finish the year

 

If you could find the magic pill to create a powerful, productive and amazing year ahead… would you take it?

But before we go there… I wonder how this year turned out for you? If we were to focus on your career just for a moment, are you satisfied with what you achieved, what you contributed and the impact you had?

As I speak with each of my clients to round out the year, I’ve been reminded by how easy it is to forget how much we have achieved. We race through the year from one project to the next, rarely celebrating the accomplishments along the way.

Then there are those that focus only on the 2% of what’s not going to plan rather than the 98% that is. You may have done and achieved some great things but you ignore those in favour of being overly critical and beating yourself up, leaving you feeling deflated and defeated.

Crazy… I know. But I bet you can relate? I know I have been guilty of this more than once.

So I may not have the magic pill.

I may not be able to predict or script out the perfect year for you…

But… what I do have is a simple three-step process that will set you up for a powerful, productive and exciting year ahead.

It takes no more than 10 minutes and, although it’s super simple, it’s incredibly powerful.

Pull out a note pad and pen, settle in with a cuppa and take a little time for reflection on the year that was. And yes, writing it down is way more powerful that just thinking through the questions.

3 questions to close out the year and supercharge the next

1. What did I do, create or experience this year that I’m really proud of?

Everything is moving so fast these days that we rarely stop to digest and acknowledge what we have achieved. It’s only when we start to look back that we can truly recognise how far we have come.

What did you make happen this year? Look back through your calendar and note down the big wins, where you had impact, what you had influence over.

Think about what you did for the first time and how you have grown. Recognise how you have supported projects or specific people. Don’t just look at the big accomplishments… the little wins are equally as important.

Celebrating your accomplishments is key to building your confidence. It drives progress and puts you in a vortex of high vibrational energy. It’s been scientifically proven that once you are in that place of positivity and energy, it pulls great results towards you. You become a magnate for bigger and better things… so let’s get you into that state!

In short, we attract more of what we focus on – good or bad. That’s enough of a reason to focus on your accomplishments!

As you recognise and celebrate each achievement, take note of how this will positively impact your career.  Anchor in the learning by writing down how it is important to you.

2. What mistakes did I make that taught me something?

This is about shining a light on what didn’t go so well. It’s not about dwelling on the mistake but rather focusing in on what you can learn.

This is about taking a more objective, big picture view of the mistake. From this vantage point, you can more easily spot the lesson or the growth opportunity without beating yourself up or letting your ego get in the way.

Ask yourself; what didn’t go so well? What opportunities did I let slip by? What do I want to do differently next year? How can I do better? How can I use my experiences of this year to grow?

3. What am I willing to let go of?

It’s time to de-clutter your days, your commitments and your mind.

Let’s start by taking a look at what you committed to this year. Did those commitments serve and support you and take you closer to your goals? Or did they take you away from those things, activities or people most important to you?

Give yourself permission to stop doing anything that no longer aligns with who you are and where you’re heading. If it doesn’t feel good, serve you or bring you joy, then let it go.

What can you get out of… or just walk away from?

Do you have any projects or goals that have been hanging around on your to do list that have been weighing you down for years? If they are no longer aligned with your future… let them go.

And let’s also look at the emotional baggage that is getting in your way and holding you back from what you know you are capable of. It’s time to clear it out and let it go. Let go of the belief that you are not good enough, old enough, smart enough, worthy enough to go after what you really want next year.

If it’s meant to be it’s up to me.

If you want to create a powerful, productive and amazing year it’s up to you.

Give yourself the best chance of creating an environment to give you exponential growth, remarkable experiences, meaningful connections and pinch-me moments this year.

I know you’ve accomplished more than you give yourself credit for.

Allow yourself to acknowledge this…feel it…and be proud.

Take the learning’s from this year and decide what you will let go of.

Settle into reflection mode, get plugged in and set up for a fabulous year ahead.

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

Who’s on your A team?

Who’s on your A team?

Who do you have to hold your hand, believe in you, hold you steady when you slip into moments of self doubt, push you, challenge you, tell you when you are off course, clear the path for you and advocate for you in the right circles?

Our career success has as much to do with the relationships we create as it does with doing great work.

We need other people in our lives if we want to do our best work, to sharpen us, challenge us, help us to see the world in different ways, spark our creativity and innovation and to celebrate the wins.

I have noticed the highly successful leaders I have worked with all have strong networks and relationships that underpin their professional success.

Therese is a great example of this. She is an in-demand senior executive who, within weeks of arriving back in Australia after working in the US for 10 years, assembled her A Team to support her transition, get the word out about the type of work she is looking for and to advocate for her.

This A Team is made up of long time friends and colleagues as well a collection of powerful new connections and partnerships with people who helped her to fast track the process. And fast tracked she did – with a new job offer.

It’s all about relationships.

Too often when we get busy, it is our relationships that suffer. I understand… because I have fallen into this trap too. We prioritise “getting the job done” over building and nurturing relationships. But the time we invest in our relationships will always pay dividends down the track.

And ladies… lets face it, we are hardwired to connect and collaborate. It’s time we reconnected with this super power and put it to good use as we step into having a greater influence at the leadership table.  

Who is on your A Team?

Todd Henry from the Accidental Creative Podcast has identified 3 key types of relationships we all need to nurture.

1. Mirrors

These are the people who are willing to hold up a mirror for you and to tell you the things you don’t want to hear… but need to hear! They will challenge you, push you beyond your comfort zone and expect even more from you than you expect from yourself.

Who do you have in your network who will speak the truth, provide honest feedback because they are genuinely invested in you and want to see you succeed?

My challenge to you today is to find someone who can be your mirror and ask them;

“What’s something that I don’t see and you think could be holding me back.”

You might be surprised by what you find out. It might be a little painful. And it will always be valuable if you choose to listen.

2.  Circles

We all need an inner circle of like-minded confidantes with who we can hang out, have inspiring conversations, bounce ideas around. They lift us up when we are down and dance and sing with us when we achieve great things.

I love my inner circle.

I have a collection of proactive, inspiring, beautifully soulful women in my life who have undoubtedly contributed to many of my proudest achievements and, without them, many of these achievements would feel somewhat hollow. These women have been my sounding board, they have pushed me, held me accountable and most importantly shared a glass or two of bubbles along the way.

3. Guides

These are people who have achieved what you want to achieve. They may be just a few steps ahead or they may be people who have already scaled the mountain you want to climb. They will share with you the shortcuts, guide you on what steps to take and steer you away from the pitfalls that you are not yet able to see.

Over time these people will likely clear the way and open doors for you; advocate for you and shine a light on opportunities that you may not have noticed.

And, most importantly, all relationships are two-way.

As your career progresses think about who you can bring along with you. When you go beyond yourself and help others, it opens you up to new pathways of passion, knowledge and self understanding.

Who can you be a mirror or guide for?

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 80/20 Rule: Stop Wasting Your Time

The 80/20 Rule: Stop Wasting Your Time

In a world where the most valuable commodity we have is TIME, finding ways to maximise our results with less effort is paramount to our success and sanity.   We seem to be in a constant battle to “get it all done” while struggling against distractions, putting out the spot fires and completing low value busy work that can chew up most of the day.

I am all for finding ways of working smarter not harder… and embracing the 80/20 Rule is one of those ways.

The 80/20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. I think we know this instinctively. There are days that we get stuck in the busy work and make very little progress on the things that are going to make a difference. And then there are days when we focus our energy and efforts on the big ticket projects that will have a real impact on results of the team and the business.

It is on those days when you focus on what will really make a difference, that you will get seen, heard and applauded.  It is on those days that you will get flagged as someone who deserves the next big opportunities. It is because of those days, that you will get recognised for what you are truly capable of.

And all too often when work gets busy I see women working harder and longer hours, when really a better solution would be to pause and identify where to target their efforts. Great results more often come from working smarter not harder.

I wonder, are you focusing on the tasks that will produce the biggest results?

Here are my top 5 ways to put the 80/20 Rule to work for you.

1.  Know your core work.   At the heart of the 80/20 Rule is understanding what is the core of your role. By using the 80/20 Rule we can identify the most impactful tasks and understand where to focus our time and energy.

It is all about clarifying those activities and tasks that will get you the best results with the least amount of time and effort. Learning to recognise and then focus on the 20% high return activities is the key to making the most effective use your time.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you to identify the core of your work.

  • What have you been employed to deliver?
  • What are the key outcomes expected of you?
  • What are the few things if done well will mean that you are doing your job well?
  • What are the numbers/KPI’s that matter most?
  • Which aspect of your role does your boss focus on?

Once you know the answer to these questions you will be clearer on where to prioritise your efforts and what things you must never drop the ball on.

2.  Let go of the less important. So for all the perfectionists out there, this may be a bit challenging. But sometimes we just have too much on the plate to do it all. It is time to give up trying to do it all and focus on 20% of tasks that are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck and only tackling the rest once the big ticket items are taken care of.

3.  Learn to say NO. Your value comes from doing your core work… and doing it well. If you get caught up saying YES to EVERY project or fiddly job that comes along, then you will never have the time or energy to do the work that will really make a difference.

4.  Protect Against Distraction. The modern world is filled with distractions with beeping smart phones, Facebook messages, emails that ping even in the middle of the night and people wanting a piece of you at every turn.

To be more productive and focus in on the important tasks we must learn to interrupt the interruptions. We must build a fortress around ourselves and carve out some sacred space for creative thinking and high productivity.

I do this by taking myself to a local café where I DON’T have internet access. It is here that I can focus in on the core activities that will make the biggest difference without the distractions of all things digital.

What can you do to reduce the distractions?

5.  Time slots and Batching. Everyone has a time slot in their day when they do their finest work. Do you know when yours is? Mine is definitely before midday so I schedule a couple of morning blocks of time each week, keeping these reserved for writing, creative and strategic work.

Consider batching the “mindless” busy jobs (eg: responding to simple emails, phone calls) or less intense meetings for your less productive times of the day and reserving chunks of time in your diary for your core work. And YES you will need to schedule it into your diary. If it is not in the diary, generally it doesn’t happen.

Applying the 80/20 Rule is not only about productivity and effectiveness. It is an effect way to maintain your sanity in this crazy busy world and get you recognised for your ability to get extraordinary outcomes. Lets commit to taking the time to recognise what is giving us 80% of our results and focus our attention on that.

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

Networking isn’t just about events!

Networking isn’t just about events!

When you hear the word networking do you immediately start planning the stunning outfit you’ll wear so you look your best to meet and mingle with really gorgeous super cool people?

Or do you groan and imagine yourself entering a crowded room (feeling awkward and uncomfortable) where you don’t know anyone and you know you’re going to be expected to speak about yourself?

If you shudder at the idea of networking at events, you are definitely not alone.

I recently raised a discussion about networking at the Career by Design (a 1 day workshop for women at a career crossroads) and there was an audible groan around the room.

Most often when we think of networking we evoke an image of a crowded networking event where there is a LOT of talking, plenty of exchanging business cards and the odd promise of staying in touch.

So if you’re not the big event type woman… what are you doing instead?

You know you should be building and nurturing your professional network!

Your next promotion or new position is unlikely to come from Seek or the Saturday papers. Rather it will come from an introduction, recommendation or a friendly heads up from someone within your network. A recruitment consultant I was “networking” with recently suggested that up to 70% of roles are never advertised.

So to tap effectively into this market you need to be well connected with people who know who you are, recognise your unique skills and capabilities and know the types of roles you would be interested in.

Networking is about creating mutually beneficial relationships.

Yes … relationships. Not just connections. Relationships.

Building and nurturing your network can be as simple as catching up with people who you already know or who you have been introduced to.

Here are my top tips for networking without ever attending a networking event.

1. Get strategic. As women we are all busy, so preparation is key. Get clear on the outcomes you want from networking. This will vary depending on your career priorities. You may be positioning for a new job or promotion or you may be seeking guidance and support to grow your skills and capabilities.

2. Expand your inner circle. Your professional network is no doubt already filled with riches. It’s time to tap into it and reconnect with some long lost professional acquaintances. Start with people who you have met or worked with in the past. Pick up the phone and say hello or connect with them on LinkedIn.

3. It all happens over coffee. It’s time to step away from you desk and create a face to face connection. Be mindful that time is our most precious resource so be respectful of both yours and theirs. A quick catch up over coffee works or a lunch time walk are my personal favourites.

4. Relationships first. That’s right, relationships first, business second. This is not about bombarding your coffee date with a verbal version of your CV then blurting out a desperate plea for a job or mentoring. Far from it.

 Instead, ask for advice or for a recommendation of who they might be able to introduce you to, to further your career or job hunt. People are usually way more willing to help than we ever expect.

And remember that all great relationships take time and genuine care. They are two way and build on mutual trust and respect. And don’t forget your manners. Show your appreciation by sending a hand written note.

5. Make the time. I know what you’re saying. “Jane I don’t have time.” Yes I know you’re busy but this is important. It’s best to cultivate relationships way before you need them.

I’ve worked with many women who’ve been made redundant and those with the healthiest networks re-entered the workforce much more quickly than those who were starting from scratch.

And at the end of the day ….your network will ultimately enrich your life.

More than anything… life is so much more interesting and enjoyable when we are surrounded by people who we care about.

I am eternally grateful for the amazing women (and a few special men) in my inner circle of professional relationships. They lift me up, challenge me, look out for me, advocate for me. Together we have let off steam and shed a few tears. We’ve celebrated milestones and shared the odd glass of bubbles.

Who’s in your inner circle?

NEXT STEPS?

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