Increased workload? Here’s the simple secret to managing it all.

Increased Workload?
Here’s the simple secret to managing it all.

As we head into a new phase of Covid-19, I’m wondering how you are managing your workload.   

A few weeks ago, I asked the 1500 or so women of the Leading Ladies Facebook Group (a free group that I run for mid-career professional women) whether they were less busy, about the same or more busy as a result of Covid 

I had expected a bit of a mixed bag of responses – but to my surprise the response was a resounding “WAY more busy!!”  

Give a busy woman something to do… and she will find a way to make it work!   

And hasn’t this been the truth over recent weeks.  

During the last couple of months I’ve seen so many professional women very effectively juggling home schooling and keeping the family fed along with adjusting to working from home, supporting their team to maintain productivity while managing to churn out a massive volume of their own work. 

Ladies – you are amazing. But there comes a time when it’s time to take a breath and take care of you.    

I’m curious – have you been putting everything and everyone elses needs ahead of our own? 

Doing your best work, remaining productive and focused, keeping your mood and emotions in check; these are all vitally important to any leader. To achieve this we need to feel fresh, energised and on our game... not stressed out and tired! 

My question today is “What are you doing to take care of you?” 

What are you doing to allow your brilliant best to shine every day at work, even when things get a little crazy? 

We all know what we should be doing… but are we doing it? 

These are questions I have had to ask of myself more than once over the past couple of months.  

Too often, when we get busy, the first thing we drop off the to do list is our self-care. But it is exactly these times when maintaining our self-care rituals and routines are most important. 

Here are my personal rules for taking care of me even when things get busy.

1. Keep moving.

Ok… you don’t need me to tell you that exercise is important. It is critical for your health and brain function to maximise productivity, creativity and general mood. My early morning walks at the beginning of the day is a must for me – to get you fired up and focused for the day 

2. Quality refuelling. 

If you put poor quality fuel in a racing car it doesn’t go well. We are the same. We can’t expect our mind and bodies to perform at their best if we don’t pay them the respect with high quality fuel.  Have you been treating your body respectfully the high quality refuelling?  (And ladies – quality vino does not count!)  

3. Still the mind.

The research around the benefits of meditation and the powerful state of mindfulness are irrefutable.   

But who needs proof?  

Intuitively we know that when we make time for even 10 minutes for a little meditation or mindfulness, we feel calmer and our thinking expands, allowing ideas to flow, creative solutions to appear and projects to be completed without quite so much effort. 

If you are looking to add a regular meditation practise into your daily routine, there are lots of great apps.  My personal favourite is Insight Timer.

4. Say NO. 

How often have you said yes to something, only to later wonder why you did or, worse still, feel resentful and trapped into doing something you don’t want to do or is not your responsibility? If this resonates with you – it’s time to learn the art of saying no!  

Take your time. Think it through and only commit to those things that will serve you well. 

5. Schedule ‘you’ time.

Ladies… I know many of us are hard wired to put others before ourselves. However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can all too easily end up feeling depleted, burnt out and exhausted. And when that happens, we end up with nothing left to give anyone. 

Self care is not a luxury.  It’s the foundation to doing your best work.   

To manage the increased workload that many of us find ourselves in right now, working harder, longer hours is not the answer. We need to double down on those activities that allow us to be our most productive, clear thinking and keep stress and fatigue at bay.  

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Resilience. A key foundation to thrive during Covid-19

Resilience. A key foundation to thrive during Covid-19

Right now, our resilience is being tested.  With increased uncertainty, massive disruption to our day to day lives and the threat to our physical, mental and economic health, focusing in on building resilience has never been so important.   

Resilience is a prerequisite for surviving the fast paced and demanding work and home environments we are currently experiencing.Having resilience creates a secure foundation to managing in this constantly changing and unfamiliar world.  

During periods of pressure, stress and change, people with lower levels of resilience tend to become disengaged, unproductive and struggle with low self-esteem.  They are more prone to illness and emotional distress. 

Like so many professionals I’ve spoken with recently, my guess is that although you are working from home right now, your workload has increased and you’re expected to deliver with even greater productivity and effectiveness than ever.   

And given that having a super strong immune system is critically important to minimise the chance of becoming a statistic in this pandemic, building resilience must be high on our agenda.  

The good news is – its absolutely possible to supercharge your resilience and learn to cope, thrive and flourish in the face of adversity.  

And it all starts with managing your thought patterns, shifting your response to what life throws at you and building a few specific skills to bolster your coping mechanisms. 

So if you want to boost your own inherent resilience to maximise your ability to thrive though this time, here’s what I would suggest.

5 Keys to building resilience during Covid-19:

1.  Accept change and uncertainty.

Resisting is fruitless and tiring. There is much of this experience that is outside of our control and uncertainty is here to stay for a while longer yet.  Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest.  


2.  Avoid making a drama out of this situation. 

Choose not to get caught up in the doom and gloom.  It will only make matters worse.  The events of your life are not what shape you. It is how you choose to respond that has the biggest impact.   Be intentional about choosing how you respond to the disruption, change and uncertainty in your life and work right now.  


3.  Choose optimism and take positive action. 

Choose to focus on what is going well rather than the challenges and setbacks. Choose to focus on the opportunities that are being made available to you as a result of this situation. 


4.  Look at the bigger picture.  

Ask yourself how do you want things to be in one year from today, and begin laying the foundations now for that reality to come to fruition.  Staying focused on the bigger picture will help you avoid dwelling on the events of today that you cannot influence.   


5.  Prioritise your health and wellbeing.

There has never been a more important time to focus on your health.   When you are tired and run down, your immune system becomes compromised. Taking care of YOU is the foundation to building your resilience and your ability to handle whatever comes your way.

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Our mindset matters – even more right now

Our mindset matters – even more right now

There is much of this Covid-19 crisis that we can’t control. But what we can control is our mindset. How we choose to respond to the changing landscape is totally up to us… and could be the difference between just surviving it or truly thriving through this.

I’m choosing to stay curious and open to the wild ride we are on. I’m consciously looking to celebrate the big and little moments of joy in each day. Because this situation is bringing with it plenty of gifts too.

For me it’s been the nudge to become more present and double down on my meditation practise.

I’m enjoying the slower, quieter energy of the streets around me and I’ve noticed more and more people saying hello as I take my morning walk. And, although I miss starting my day working in my local café, I’m enjoying getting to know the regulars who join me waiting outside for our take away orders… while maintaining a very healthy distance.

What have you noticed?

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been in constant contact with the ladies in The Leadership Connection (my inner circle group program for mid career women.) The support in the group has been heart warming. But what has impressed me more than anything is the way they are stepping up to lead – themselves, their teams and beyond.

These ladies are contributing in a big way and having an impact in this moment of chaos.

Here are some of the key messages I’ve been sharing with them that you might find helpful too:

1. Acknowledge your emotions. 

There has been a LOT to process over the last few weeks and undoubtedly this has brought up a range of emotions. I know it has for me. I swing from feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and frustration, to being excited about tackling the challenges and uncovering the opportunities that this situation presents.

2. Double down on self care rituals and routines. 

More than anything – right now a strong, healthy immune system matters! Which means, it’s time to prioritise those activities that take care of your mind, body and soul. Healthy eating, exercise, mindful moments, meditation, journaling, listening to music. Find whatever works best for you.

3. Focus on what matters most. 

Everything has changed over the last couple weeks. Priorities included. Be sure to know what matters most to you in this current environment.

For me it’s maximising my immune system, developing even stronger connections with those I care about and ensuring I’m supporting you, my community of incredible women as best I can. IN THAT ORDER!

Yes! I do love you – but if I don’t take care of me first, I’m not going to be able to support you. And it’s the same for you. I’m going to encourage you to take care of you first!

4. Set new habits to maximise productivity and effectiveness. 

Through all of this we need to remain productive. Being effective, getting things done and continuing to have an impact is not only good for the soul – it also helps to future proof your position.

There will unfortunately be job losses across almost all industries. Let’s do whatever we can to minimise the risk of your name being on the redundancy list.

5. Look for the opportunities

Now is NOT the time to play it safe, to fly under the radar or to contract. Many people will. It’s natural in a time of crisis. But don’t let this be you.

This is the time to step up, seize the moment and demonstrate your leadership capabilities. We need strong leadership right now. And it may as well come from you. Don’t wait to be asked. Just do it!

I’d love to know – which of these reminders did you need most today.

Take care. Stay healthy.

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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.

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.

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 do want.

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, providing 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 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?

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 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.

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 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 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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Jane Benston

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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 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 prioritising 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 detriment 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 leave 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.

Is this 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 nowhere 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.

If you’re ready to get the support, clarity and direction you need to flourish and feel fully alive again in your work, let’s jump on a Career Breakthrough Session and come up with a plan. Click here to answer a few questions and book your time.

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

LET'S CONNECT

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

Jane Benston

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5 Rules You Need To Break.

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Jane Benston

Young asian business woman working on computer laptop in office room with paperwork document on desk

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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 guide us in the decisions we make and the direction we take.   When we trust our intuition and take action based on it’s guidance, it will support us to be seen as authentic and super charge our power and influence.

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

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

But at what cost?

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

When have you failed to listen to your intuition?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Ways to tap into your intuition more effectively

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEXT STEPS?

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

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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 important to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Setting boundaries and sticking to them is difficult!

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

Unfortunately, in my experience it often does the opposite. Setting personal boundaries protects our personal space, builds respect and allows us to focus our productivity. 

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

How many people do you know that get burned out, stressed, over committed and over worked just because they cant say “NO”? 

Perhaps you’re one them.

How to set clear boundaries

1. Get clear on what matters most. 

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

2. Clarify your standards. 

And by this I mean – make a list and write it down.

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

3. Let go of the guilt. 

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

4. Prioritise and plan. 

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

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

5. Take responsibility. 

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

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

Others will only respect your limits if you do.

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

Only you can set and maintain your boundaries.

It takes consideration, being intentional and persistant. 

Maintaining your new and improved boundaries is about creating a new normal – for you and those around you. You need to be consistent and be ready for those who will fight against them.

But know… it will be worthwhile.

 

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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 you 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.

I was recently speaking with a delightful professional woman 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 a powerful presence you are likely to struggle to get the attention, support and engagement you are seeking.

The good news is, your presence is something you 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 yourself 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 your relationship with fear that makes the difference. If you allow yourself to be ruled by your fears it will hold you back and show up in subtle ways that will impact how others perceive you.

To show up in a way that draws people in, you must confront and make peace with your 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 if it is scattered or a little “in your face” and pushing them away?

What is your 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 body language gives 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 you are stuck in your own head, filled with fear and overwhelm, you send out a message to stay away. But when you walk into a room with confidence and warmth, you signal that you 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 being truly seen as a leader by developing a magnetic presence.

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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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