New Year. New Job. The 5 steps to take before you apply for anything.

New Year. New Job. The 5 steps to take before you apply for anything.

So 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, 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.

This is not about identifying a job title. The world of work is changing so rapidly right now it’s likely that the title for your next role hasn’t even been dreamed up.

So 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?

2. Be clear about what you don’t want. This is equally as important as knowing what you want. Think about what you don’t want to in your next role.

Perhaps you have become known to be good at 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, provide the necessary documentation and to prep them to effectively answer the auditor’s questions.

But I was terrible at all the attention to detailed required in the 3 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?

3. 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 managed to get out a couple of dot points, I’m rarely convinced that they believe that these are their strengths.

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

Need some help to get clear on what your strengths are? Join us as Career by Design – a 1 day workshop for mid career women.

4. 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?

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.

5. Decide you’re worthy. Because you are. You know you are capable of so much more and that 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 hash 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 you 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.

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Emotions. Do they belong in the modern workplace?

Emotions. Do they belong in the modern workplace?

Many corporates would have us believe that emotions do not belong at work. We have been well trained to suppress any resemblance of an emotion, pushing them below the surface.

We hide them in an attempt to stay in control, look strong, and keep things at arm’s length. We have been conditioned to see emotion as a weakness or something to be ashamed of.

But in reality – our lack of emotion is holding us back.

Emotions are critical to everything we do as a leader: build trust,
strengthen relationships, develop bold strategies, focus energy, engage
the team, make tough decisions, and inspire action. Without genuine
emotion these things always fall flat and stall.

A genuine display of emotion stands out. We notice it for it’s authenticity, vulnerability
and compels us to connect. Sometimes it’s messy and can leave us
feeling a little uncomfortable but it’s powerful and creates an
impression.

If you’ve ever been in a room with a senior exec who has shed a tear
while speaking about something that’s truly matters to them, you know
what I mean.

And then there is the CEO who I’ve worked with who day by day is
charismatic, engaged and light hearted, but when he is truly annoyed he
will let his team know. He doesn’t leave any room for doubt about how he
feels. His response is measured, authentic and drives action from his
team.

And it builds trust and loyalty – because his team know exactly where they stand.

But don’t get me wrong. I’d be the first to say that excessive
emotion that fly’s carelessly throughout the office can also be
detrimental. It can feel chaotic and leave us wanting to duck for cover.

So how do you find the happy medium?

Self awareness is the answer. Being aware of how you are feeling is important.

I often ask in workshops; “What emotions do you feel on a regular basis at work?”

Many struggle at first to find the answer to this question. It’s
clearly been a long time since they have acknowledged their feelings.
They are buried so deep that they can no longer be easily accessed.

Some are surprised to discover the heaviness of their emotions –
feelings of frustration, anger, disappointment and sadness. It’s not
surprising then that as we progress through a process of awakening self
awareness that tears bubble to the surface catching them unawares.

And one of the secret weapons of being in touch with our emotions is the power of intuition.

Emotion is required to tap into our intuition. With
our emotions switch off or suppressed we can so easily miss the signs
and clues that something is a bit off. The business world has put such
emphasis on logic, data and proof that we have lost the art of making
smart decisions based on both head and heart.

3 simple ways to reconnect with your emotions

1. Introduce mindfulness.

This might include breathing exercises, guided meditation or even a quite walk where you are totally present. Through a regular practice of mindfulness we become more aware of how we respond to our day to day work and life and we learn to become an observer of our thoughts, emotions and our habitual reactions.

2. Listen to your body.

It leaves us clues! Listen to the aches and pains. Listen to the recurring colds and flu’s. Listen to the chronic tiredness. Our mind and body are inexplicably connected. When we are stressed, tired, angry, frustrated – it will show up in our body. The pain and dis-ease is there to remind us to attend to our feelings and emotions not just ignore them.

And if we don’t – that’s when serious illness is likely to come knocking at our door. Burying emotions deep within is fruitless. I see it everyday with the women I speak to. They are too busy or afraid to listen to their body or feel their emotions… but they are there and if left unattended, will wreck havoc on their overall wellbeing.

3. Let down your guard.

It takes vulnerability and openness to be in tune with our emotions. If you want to be known as a genuine, authenticity leader who cares… it will require you to let down your guard. But it will be worth it. It’s only through this personal inner work and courage to be truly seen for who you are that your effectiveness as a leader will be fully realised.

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Do you put everyone else first?

Do you put everyone else first?

Is it time to stop putting everyone else first? The kids, your partner, the needs of your ageing parents, your boss, your team, the business you work for… even the dog! Or perhaps I should ask… when was the last time you put your own needs at the top of the priority list?

Perhaps like me you were raised to be caring, considerate and helpful, to do as we are asked and to work hard. These qualities work really well in many areas of our life but at work they can leave us over worked and undervalued.

Consistently putting the needs of others before our own is rarely a conscious choice.

It creeps up on us and one day we look around to find that we are prioritizing and supporting the careers of others.

We give to others. We take care of others. We work late into the evening finishing work others have deemed most important. We put our own priorities and needs to one side while we support the priorities of others.

Many of us fall into this trap.

And it’s often at the determent of our career progression, our health, our lifestyle and our relationships.

You accept a heavier workload. You say yes to unreasonable requests. You expend time and energy on projects that fall outside your job role. All which leaves you no time for you. As a result, you may feel overwhelmed, overworked, and unappreciated… often leading to frustration and burnout.

In my work as a women’s leadership coach I see many smart professional women who are frustrated, unfulfilled and burnt out. They have fallen into this trap of taking care of the needs of others at the expense of their own needs, desires and aspirations.

Wondering if this is you???

Here are 4 signs it’s time to make your goals and aspiration a priority

1. Your career has stalled.

Where once you were being offered promotions and interesting opportunities every couple of years… now you seem to be going no where fast. Ask yourself whether in part it’s because you have taken your eye off the ball and failed to stay focused on what’s most important to you and your career development.

Doing low impact work that does not demonstrate your greatest strengths will not get you seen, recognised or valued. A dynamic career that continues to inspire and challenge takes networking, strategic positioning and demonstrating your best work. And you can’t do much of any of that if you are busy taking care of someone else’s priorities.

2. You’re constantly exhausted.

Are you skipping your planned exercise, working late into the night, or experiencing stress and anxiety related to the volume of work you have said yes to. If you are… it’s little wonder you are constantly tired.

Taking care of others while neglecting your own needs is exhausting. Every time you say yes to take on another project or responsibility, you know it means extending your workload. But at what expense?

3. You’re bored and unfulfilled.

You are smart and highly capable so why are you stuck doing uninspiring, menial work that does not light your fire? While you are busy being busy, taking care of everyone else, it’s hard to find the time or energy to build your career.

4. You experience resentment. This is a tricky one for us to admit. It’s not who we are and it’s not an emotion we are comfortable with.

But have you noticed a nagging feeling that takes over when you put the needs of others first. You know that it’s holding you back from what you really want but you’ve fallen into the pattern and your not sure how to get out of it.

Striving to make everyone else happy all of the time is not sustainable.

It might be possible in the short term, but ultimately, the only person you have complete control over is you.

It’s time to draw a line in the sand and make yourself your first priority.  

You’ll be happier in your work and a better professional for it.  Let’s make your needs a priority and to focus on building a career that’s meaningful, fuels your soul and truly gives you a sense of achievement. It’s time to take action.

To help you get all the support, clarity and direction you need to flourish and feel fully alive again in your work I have created a brand new program called The Leadership Connection.

No more waiting. No more going it alone. No more putting everyone else first.

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

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Are you listening to your intuition?

Are you listening to your intuition?

 

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

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

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

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

But at what cost?

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

When have you failed to listen to your intuition?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Ways to tap into your intuition more effectively

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT STEPS?

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

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How to set clear boundaries for strong leadership

How to set clear boundaries for strong leadership

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting boundaries and sticking to them is difficult!

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

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

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

How to set clear boundaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Others will only respect your limits if you do.

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

And only you can set and maintain your boundaries.

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

But know… it will be worthwhile.

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Do you have a powerful magnetic presence?

Do you have a powerful magnetic presence?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is yours energy doing?

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

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

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

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

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

What does your body language say?

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

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

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Jane Benston

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A career plateau, if left to fester too long can damage your reputation, minimize your career opportunities and leaving you feeling miserable about your work. Although it doesn’t happen overnight, it can sneak up on us and take us unawares. For a time we can hum alone – having and impact, …

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So 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, a leader who inspires you …

Jane Benston

Do you hold yourself accountable?

Do you hold yourself accountable?

Why is staying accountable to what we say we want, so jolly hard? If it were easy we would all be a dress size or two smaller, super healthy, spending quality time with the kids, leaving the office on time, applying for the job we really want, doing great work for a charity…. or some variation or combination of the above.

Clearly desire is not enough.

Over the past 12 months I have been trying to meditate each day. I know I feel better when I do, my decision-making is clearer and my productivity soars. Just 5 or 10 minutes every day is all I am aiming for… yet I am falling short of creating a daily practice.

I’m clearly struggling to stay accountable to my goal… even a pretty small goal at that. For just a moment this week I found I was beating myself up.

Then I asked myself a better, more empowering question.

“How can I truly succeed at this goal?”

I know one thing for sure… relying on old habits and pure will power is not the answer.

As I pondered this answer, I thought about the women who have attended Career by Design (1 day workshop for mid career women) and wondered why it is that so many of them stay accountable to the commitments they make to themselves about stepping into the next phase of their career.

I think the answer lies in the work we do in setting them up for success. They walk away with so much more than a plan.

We have worked on their mindset, acknowledged the fear that may show up and identified their next steps to create momentum. And most importantly, during the day they connect with other amazing women who want nothing but success for them.

Think about the goals or personal commitments you have struggled to see through. Have you truly given yourself the best opportunity for success?

Here are 4 keys to staying committed and accountable.

1.  It starts with why. You have to know your why… why is accomplishing this goal important to you? How will it ultimately improve your life or help you to grow your career?

If you don’t have a compelling enough answer for yourself, then you probably won’t stick to it since it’s not that important to you.

2.  Create momentum for change. For many people, taking the first step is the hardest. Creating change can feel scaring or overwhelming or hard.

Start by breaking down your goal into smaller chunks. Identify the very first step. And then take that first step. You don’t need to know every step… just the first one. The next step will reveal itself once you take the first step.

It’s that simple. Let’s not over complicate things!

3.  Recognise fear. Fear can be an annoying hand break that stops us in our tracks. It’s that nagging voice in our head that reminds us of all the things that could go wrong. It can be relied on to provide us with the reasons why we are not good enough or why we should wait until we know more or have more experience or our home situation is different.

Very rarely is this fear based dialogue based in fact. Almost always the dialogue going on inside your head is… well quite frankly… it’s bollocks!

You are good enough. You are experienced enough. You do deserve it. You are worthy.

So next time you commit to stepping up or to play a bigger game at work notice the fear, but don’t let it rule your actions.

Ask yourself: if the worst was to happen, could I handle it. And 99 times out of 100 I know that you could!

So let’s agree to take action towards your goals … in spite of the fear. No more waiting for courage. It’s time to be bold. Be brave. Be fearless. 

4.  Enlist a support team. You may be proud of your independent nature and what you have achieved without much help, but it’s time to change that habit.

Let’s make this easy.

Surround yourself with people who have your back. Seek out people who will lift you higher and support you to stay accountable and succeed.

If the people who you hang out with now are not going to support your mission to create a new habit to enhance your health or lifestyle or champion you to step up and stand out as the exception leader that you are, then it’s time to enlist a new support team.

Reach out to people who have achieved what you want to achieve. You will find people are much more willing to support your growth than you may at first think.

Finally …go public with your goal and ask for help to stay the course. Just saying out loud what it is that you are striving for will raise your chances for success.

Accountability for your goals starts with you.

 If you have struggled to stay accountable to some of your goals and personal commitments ask yourself a better question.

“How can I truly succeed at this goal?”

 Following old strategies and hoping for a different result … well that’s just crazy. Commit to giving 1 or all 4 of these strategies a go and see how much easier staying accountable to you really can be.

Share below what you commit to and we will help you keep accountable.

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How persistent are you?

How persistent are you?

It is human nature to want to be good at what we do and to have our efforts recognised by others.  It makes us feel worthwhile, valued and it leaves us with a proud sense of achievement. But if you feel like you have to do things perfectly and that near enough is absolutely not good enough, then you may be afflicted by the curse of perfectionism.

Striving for perfection is a recipe for failure.  Perfection quite simply can not be attained!  Not at work, not in our relationships, not in our home. 


At work, perfectionists are obsessed with producing their best
, often setting unattainable goals.  They take longer than most to get their work done while they focus on the tiny details and burying themselves in their quest for getting things right.  As a leader they tend to be unreasonably demanding.  They will often micromanage their team; unable to let go for fear of less than perfect outcomes. 

For all their diligence, perfectionists also tend to procrastinate.  They are fearful of not getting things right so avoid getting started.  They struggle to get their work finished given the high, unachievable standards they have set.

Career success isn’t just about being the smartest or the best educated. It is not about who has the highest IQ or has been fortunate enough to be introduced to the right people.

Yes all of these things help, but there is one very important ingredient which is rarely talked about…. and that is your ability to persist!

That’s right. Persistence.

It’s not the sexiest of skills but it really is important.

Persistence means keeping on going when at first you fail. Persistence means to keep pushing through to become really great at something when others give it away.

Having persistence helps you to work through a difficult performance management issue to resolution or complete a project even when a whole bunch of unexpected barriers appear along the way. It allows you to move through the discomfort of learning something new or to influence your team to embrace an idea or project that they initially rejected.

How persistent are you?

  • When the going gets tough do you keep going?
  • Do you see projects through to completion… even when the process becomes boring or monotonous?
  • When you hit roadblocks, do you hang in there to find a solution?

Let’s just be frank here for a moment. Being persistent is not easy. In fact, very often it is hard.

It’s often so much easier and sometimes more appealing to give up.

Think about the last time you went on a fitness kick. You’re doing really well … then winter arrives and the allure of the warm doona and an extra half hour in bed is so much more inviting than the wet, dark and cold morning.

Those who persist (and yes I admire you) end up with the health, fitness and vitality that we were striving for in the beginning when the motivation was high and the weather warm.

Persistence builds character.

When we achieve something easily we often don’t even recognize the milestone. But when we have fought for it, it seems worthwhile. We feel worthwhile. And the learning from the struggle is profound and lasting.

Like anything, building your ability to persist is like building a muscle. The more we do it, the easier it becomes.

Here are my 3 top tips for building your persistence muscle.

1. Focus on the outcome. Get clear on what you are working towards and why it’s worth pursuing. If something is important enough to you, then you will find a way. Visualise completing the project, task or overcoming the challenge and notice how you will feel when it is done.

 2. Develop your belief. More than anything, persistence is about belief; belief in you! Without belief that you are good enough, smart enough or worthy enough it is so often too tempting to give up when things get hard, boring, challenging or painful. Your belief in yourself and in the goals you are going after will help you to continue.

3. Enlist support. Doing it alone is doing it the hard way. Reach out, collaborate or ask for support.

If you don’t have belief in you yet… enlist a colleague, coach or mentor who believes in you to lift you up, push you on and hold you accountable.

When I first started out in my own business, I had a dream and big goals. But I was afraid and uncertain. I didn’t have 100% belief that I had what it took to create a successful business, so I found a mentor who I believed in and who believed in me. When my belief wavered, my mentor propped me up, provided encouragement and gave me the tools to make persisting so much easier.

To persist at anything – is a choice. At any time we can choose to keep going, keep fighting, keep learning, keep finding ways to achieve OR we can choose to give up, say that we tried but failed or simply move onto something else that seems easier or more fun.

But I know that if we want to play a bigger game, achieve new goals, progress our careers so as we really make a difference… then persistence is required. Giving up or taking the easy road is not an option.

And remember, there are no over night success stories! Success in any area of our life takes persistence and hard work. And without it you are only dreaming. Remember, persistence is a choice.

Be honest with yourself…. Are you demonstrating persistence?

NEXT STEPS?

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How To Work Smarter Not Harder

How To Work Smarter Not Harder

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

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

It’s not by working longer and longer hours!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The choice is now yours!

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

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

Here are 3 Steps To Overcoming Your Habit of Perfection

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT STEPS?

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Your professional reputation is at stake

Your professional reputation is at stake

 

How you show up at work matters. The type of energy you bring to your work impacts your effectiveness while also shaping your professional reputation. It’s not something many of us give much consideration to, but it can absolutely influencing our outcomes and whether or not new and exciting opportunities come our way.

So let’s pause and reflect on the type of energy you bring to work every day.

Imagine for a moment that you are encased in a bubble and in that bubble is your energy. That energy could be positive, energetic, loving, inspiring, compassionate, caring or it could be negative, stressed, anxious, angry, sharp, and abrasive, abrupt.

And as you move around the office, in the tea room, in meetings, sitting at your desk… your energy is bumping up against other people and is having either a positive or a negative impact.

Your energy will absolutely shape the opinion others have of you and influence the mood and the moral of the team.

Recently, I caught up with a senior leader whose energy dial was tuned into the land of frustration, crankiness and in a constant state of fighting against the system.  At every turn, all they could focus on were all the things that weren’t working and how a particular global decision was negatively impacting on them and their team.

They shared with me that they were constantly tired and feeling like they were in a “battle”.  They weren’t sleeping well and there is no doubt that they were gaining a reputation for being a negative influence around the office.

This was so unlike the bright, bubbly, solution-focused energy they usually brought to the leadership table.

So my question to you today is…

  • What energy are you known for around the office? 
  • Are you having a positive or a negative influence on those around you?

Let me channel Oprah for just one moment. One thing I know for sure is that….

Your energy is more contagious than the common cold!

And your energy also impacts your own personal productivity, the decisions you make and the effectiveness of your communication. It’s pretty difficult to think strategically or creatively or to build effective relationships with people when you are in a really crappy mood!

And most importantly, how you show up every day will absolutely be influencing your professional reputation.

The way you show up around the office will shape how people see you and feel about interacting with you. They will be silently judging whether they like working with you and whether they see you as an effective leader.

So let’s put on our big girl pants and take a little responsibility. 

It’s time to be more conscious of our energy and agree that there may be times when we’re not bringing our best selves to work.

HERE ARE 3 ENERGIES YOU ARE BEST TO BANISH FROM YOUR BUBBLE.

1. Overwhelmed Crazy Women. Yep … this is the crazy woman who is about to go into melt down. I know that you know her. Maybe you know her rather too well.

If you are familiar with this women, you know that it’s like her brain has been hijacked by an alien. She is unable to function effectively and she emits a chaotic energy. Her decision making powers have gone out the window along with their usual calm, rational efficiency.

Generally the trigger will be an unusually high workload that has spiralled out of control and ironically her response makes getting through her growing “to do list” almost impossible to complete.

2. Negative Nelly. Unfortunately this energy is all too common in many workplaces.   I know her well… she chose to show up in me for a time some years back. Ugly but true.

She genuinely loves to get involved in idol gossip that has nothing to do with her. She is fuelled by wingeing and complaining and has an incessant focus on problems outside of her control.

The glass is always half empty and she has every reason under the sun why things wont work. The Negative Nelly loves to blame others and make excuses… and rarely takes any responsibility.

3. Don’t Come Near Me … because I’m about to snap. Ahh… scary! If you are taken over by this energy, look out. You are about to get a reputation to be hard to work with and may well find your colleagues giving you a wide berth.

Some of your team will be scared of you, some wont trust you and some will choose to avoid you as best they can.

This angry ant is like a pressure cooker, on the verge of exploding. She can at times say things she doesn’t really mean but once they are out… she cant take them back.

And the choice is entirely yours…

Just like the leader who I met with recently, we all have the choice of how we show up and how we respond to situations around us.  So if you recognise that you have let one of these unresourceful energies out to play a little too often… think about what impact it is having on you, your work performance, your team engagement and ultimately your reputation?

Perhaps it’s time to upgrade the energy in your energy bubble!

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