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How to make the most of the silly season

How to make the most of the silly season

 

The days are getting warmer and the evenings longer which means we are on the downhill stretch to Christmas, the silly season and the end of the year.

But this does not mean that it’s time to put your career aspirations on hold, swan off with a cocktail in hand or slip into your summer sandals and head to the beach. Not quite so fast, my friend. That time will come but not quite yet.

Here’s what I suggest you focus on first. 

As I’ve discussed with many high-achieving women over the last two weeks, this is the perfect time to get out and about connecting and positioning yourself for the types of roles you would like to be considered for come the new year.

Think of this as your time to get out from behind your desk and connect in person with your network for a pre-Christmas drink, coffee or lunch. Dig into your contact list and pick up the phone to colleagues from years gone past.

Go into this festive period with an intention to have some fun, while also making best use of the opportunity to strengthen key relationships, build your profile and seek opportunities in the hidden job market.

Yes… I’m suggesting you be a little bit strategic.

As I’ve discovered, through many discussions with women over the last couple of years … knowing how to have these conversations and exactly how to position yourself can be bewildering.

Here are my 5 best suggestions for making the most of the festive silly season.

1.  Relationships first, business second. Networking is about building relationships. No one likes to be taken advantage of or used. So focus on developing authentic connections and be willing to give even more than you would ultimately like to get from the relationship.

2.  Be bold. Ladies, it’s time to own your accomplishments and successes. When someone asks you how the year has been, speak of what you have achieved and what has made you proud this year. No more hiding in the shadows or skipping over the wins. This is all about positioning your skills and talents and developing your personal brand.

3.  Be open to new opportunities. If you are on the job market… let people know (with discretion of course.) If you don’t know exactly what is next for you then share that you are exploring opportunities that will allow you to use your X, Y and Z skills and further develop your interest and passion for A, B and C. Avoid speaking about a specific job title as this will very much limit the possible opportunities coming your way.

4.  Ask for introductions. Your next role is most likely to come through an introduction or a recommendation from someone in your network. So let’s expand the network. Ask your connections whether there is anyone within their network that may be valuable for you to connect with. Remember, you will never get what you don’t ask for.

5.  Have fun. Let’s face it, you’ve worked hard all year, so let’s take some time to enjoy the festive season. And, as an added bonus, you will exude the type of energy that we are all drawn towards. A positive, optimistic and fun attitude during the silly season will do wonders for your soul and boost your chances of a fabulous opportunity coming your way either now or in the near future.

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Are you networking in the right rooms?

Are you networking in the right rooms?

Having the right people in our network can help us to up level our income, open up career opportunities and elevate our personal impact and influence.   Some people seem to do this with ease but many of women I speak to either do it poorly or not at all.

We women are generally good at using our networks for friendship but we are not so good at using connections for influence and power, asking for help or positioning ourselves for the next perfect opportunity.

It is time for us to stop waiting for the right connections to land on our doorstep and waiting for the phone to ring. It is time to start taking action. For more on this check out last weeks article “Who’s on your A Team?”

The time you spend creating and nurturing relationships now, will pay off in the long run. Networking is not about the quick wins. It is not about having hundreds of passive connections on Linked In or fleeting conversations of 180 characters or less on twitter. It’s about developing quality relationships with people who, over time will have your back and care about your future.

I was reminded of the power of connections recently at the CBA Women In Focus Conference. Firstly, this was a rich melting pot of power, influence, generosity and warmth. These women cared about the success and growth of everyone else in the room.

The photo below is a representation of just some of the powerful connections that emerged during the conference in previous years; women helping women to grow their careers and their businesses. It is a reminder that there are countless opportunities out there and at the core they are all connected to people.

The best and most exciting opportunities are not being advertised on Seek or in the Saturday papers. They are discovered through having conversations. We must be brave enough to let people know where we are at and what are goals, dreams and aspirations are.

I heard recently that putting yourself out there is a bit like putting your business card out to the universe.   I have seen this in my own work with a stream of opportunities coming my way in recent weeks after a jam packed diary of conferences, courses and breakfast events over the last month or so.

So my question today is “Are you networking in the right rooms?”

Are you attending conferences and events, getting involved in the high profile projects or being part of a committee etc where you get to meet, connect with and form robust genuine relationships with people who will propel your career forward.

You are in the wrong room if there aren’t people who are smarter than you or have the influence to help you achieve your goals and aspirations

Is it time to get into some new rooms? It is through these rooms that you can form powerful new relationships to make things happen for yourself and for other people.

Here are 5 Keys to creating powerful connections

1.  Be strategic. Networking and nurturing relationships take time and energy, something that many women don’t have much to spare. So let’s be strategic about this.

Get clear on where you are heading and types of people who have the power and influence to help you achieve those goals. Although this might sound a little icky or inauthentic for some… I know as women we have the skills and care to think relationship first – business second.

 2.  Pay to play. Networking is an investment in your future. Seek out conferences and trainings where you will not only learn and grow but also where you may meet the types of people who are likely to open new doors for you.

One of the most rewarding elements of the events I run is to see relationships develop throughout the event and to receive emails and phone calls long after the event is over to thank me for introducing them to someone new that has now resulted in securing a new role or opportunity. The generosity of women to help, support and offer up solutions and opportunities always brightens my day!

3.  Up close and personal. We build stronger relationships, more quickly when we meet people in person. We can look people in the eye and see their heart and soul, feel their energy and build a deeper level of trust. It is time to get out from behind your computer and into face to face meetings and events.

4.  Play the long game. Just like dating, good relationships take work and strengthen over time. If you have aspirations of being on boards or want to head down a new career path some time in the future, start to nurture connections now with people who have influence in this area.

5.  Kick fear to the curb. Many women use the excuse of “I don’t have time” when I ask about the strength of their networks but deep down I think it is more closely linked to fear. Fear of rejection, fear of asking for help, fear of not being good enough to do it alone, fear of letting go of their fiercely guarded independence, fear of … insert here any number of unfounded terrors.

Career growth comes from taking bold action, putting yourself out there and being courageous enough to allow your network to support your aspirations.

NEXT STEPS?

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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.

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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