Your words hold the power

Your words hold the power

 

Your ability to influence, engage, inspire and drive performance from your team all stems from your language skills. The effectiveness of your relationships, your ability to build trust or your skill to craft powerful communications by email, through reports or to be delivered from stage all rely on your mastery of language.

You can create the best strategy in the world but if you can’t communicate it in a way that inspires action and full engagement from the team, what’s the point.

And what I have discovered is that the power of our language is influenced less by how well we did in English class at school and more to do with our certainty, what we think about ourselves and our passion for the work we do.

Powerful language comes from a powerful belief in you!

Yes it really is that simple.

What we believe to be true (whether it is true or not) influences the words we use on a consistent basis. If you don’t believe you are worthy of your position, if you don’t believe the targets really can be met, if you don’t believe in the talents of you team… it will come out subtly in the word you use.

Our words leave clues.  They are a signpost to what we are thinking and what we believe and influence our own actions and behaviours and the response of those around us.

And it is the smallest tweaks to our language that can make the biggest difference.

Here are 4 easy tweaks to communicate more powerfully

1. Believe in YOU. It all begins here. If you don’t believe in you, no one else will. Notice where you doubt yourself. And know that much of what we believe about ourselves is complete bunkum!

Shifting your negative beliefs will automatically change the way you communicate and is absolutely the fasters way to tapping into your most powerful influencing abilities and being recognised for your impact.

2. Speak of what you want…. not what you don’t want. This helps to focus the mind to achieving a positive result rather than avoiding a negative result. Here are a couple of examples to get you started.

  • Don’t be late to todays meeting ===> I’d appreciate you being on time (or early) for today’s meeting.
  • I hope I don’t mess up my speech at the conference ===> I’m determined to present clearly and with unwavering confidence
  • It’s important we don’t miss budget ===> Let’s focus this month in lifting sales and exceeding budget expectations

3. Eliminate words that drag you down. Words have energy. Some are light and filled with possibility and some are heavy and block progress. The goal is to eliminate the words that are heavy and drag you down. My clients know that there are some words I just don’t allow them to use!

I was speaking with a client this morning who described “dreading” relocating to head up a different geographical region. After a brief discussion focusing on the positives associated with the move they shifted their language around the move to it being a “huge opportunity for a fresh start with amazing people.” And with this change in language came a sense of excitement, possibility and energy.

4. Limit Negativity. Sometimes our language displays negativity or a lack of choice. If you are one of the many who fall into negative patterns with your words (happens to me too!), here’s a handy guide for reframing what comes out of your mouth so it’s empowering.

  • I Can’t do it =====> choose not to
  • I really should =====> I would like to or I can
  • I have to =====> I really want to
  • I’ll give it a try =====> I will do this

So I’m curious… which of these simple tweaks could you implement today that would have you communicating with more impact and influence?

Remember: When you align your thoughts with your words and your actions, amazing things happen.

And it starts with YOU. Change your beliefs, change your words, change your outcomes. Good luck !

NEXT STEPS?

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Does Happiness Matter To Leadership Performance?

Does Happiness Matter To Leadership Performance?

 

How happy are you in your current role? Pretty simple question really but not one we ask ourselves that often. Maybe it’s because we don’t really want to admit the answer.

And what does happiness have to do with work, career and being a productive, inspiring, high performing leader anyway? I’d suggest … a lot.

Think about it. When do you do your best work?

Is it when you are wallowing in you own self pity party day dreaming about getting as far away as you can from the day to day grind of your uninspiring job with uninspiring people that leaves you cold? I would think not!

Happiness is at the core of creating a productive team culture, where collaboration and supporting each other to achieve exceptional results are the norm. It’s important for sparking creative ideas and innovative problem solving.

And it all starts with you.

If as a leader, you’re not happy and having some fun… it is very unlikely you will cultivate a team who bring a fun, happy and engaged energy to their work. Know one thing for sure… you set the tone and your energy and behaviours are contagious.

Intuitively we know this is true… and now research from the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience are making a clear connection between happiness and success.  It turns out that when our brain is in a positive state, it is actually primed for higher levels of success and performance.

So it would make sense we seek happiness… not just because it feels good but also because it has a powerful impact on our work performance and outcomes.

Start here to improve your happiness... and your results.

1. Choose your attitude.

Your attitude has a powerful effect on you and on the people you lead. What impact do you want to have on them?

If you are filled with negativity and bring a grumpy or may I say, bitchy or gossipy energy into the office… you will be influencing the general actions and behaviours of your team.

It is your responsibility to set the tone for your team…. regardless of the tone being generated above you. You may not be able to influence a shift in the broader company culture … however you can influence the culture of your team by choosing your attitude wisely.

The attitude you bring to work will have an impact on your own personal work performance, the effectiveness of your relationships and the way you are being perceived.

And most importantly… your overall level of happiness.

2. Reassess your role.

Does your role bring you joy and happiness? We spend such a large part of our lives at work… let’s make sure it’s work that makes us happy. We do our best work when we are engaged in work that we are passionate about and that allows us to put our greatest skills and unique talents to work.

And doing work we are proud of matters! Making a real contribution, having an impact and being able to influence the direction or business outcomes is what brings many of us the most joy.

So if you have found yourself in a role that no longer inspires you to do your best work and leaves you feeling depleted, disengaged or unfulfilled… it might be time to consider what’s next.

And if you are unsure about what’s next or you are waiting for the courage to take the next step, then consider coming along to the next 1 day workshop for professional women: Career by Design to map out the next phase of your career.

Life is too short to be stuck in a role that does not make you happy!

Choose your attitude, choose your career path, choose to fire up your right brain, choose happiness!

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Shatter Your Inner Glass Ceiling?

Shatter Your Inner Glass Ceiling?

 

Women continue to struggle to make their mark on the corporate landscape with the numbers of women securing leadership roles remaining stagnant at unacceptably low levels.

For many women, the glass ceiling is real although often subtle and hidden.

Those seeking leadership roles talk about bumping up against the many barriers to securing a seat at the table, including unconscious bias, lack of access to internal networks of power and influence and the need or desire for greater flexibility.

But it is not just the external barriers that are hampering women’s advancement. Of equal importance is the inner glass ceiling holding many smart, capable and talented women back from the top jobs.

In conjunction with learning how to overcome the external barriers, women need to work on clearing the gunk and smash through their own self-imposed, unconscious limits.

What is the Inner Glass Ceiling?

The Inner Glass Ceiling is the incessant self talk going on in a woman’s head. Yes, men experience this too but it seems to be to a lesser extent. Women internalise what’s going on around them and are more susceptible to patterns of overly critical self talk; the need to be perfect, fear of not being good enough or of not being worthy, just to name a few.

Because how we think determines our actions and behaviours, the internal inner gunk gets in the way of many women being seen as strong leaders. The negative self talk often leads to fear, inaction and shying away from doing what it takes to achieve their potential and to be seen, heard and valued as a leader.

Everything starts with what we think!

Your inner world shapes your outer world. 

If you don’t fully believe in yourself, your brain isn’t able to visualise your goals or motivate you to take action. If you have any self-doubt, hidden fears or uncertainty, you’ll sabotage your efforts and be prone to procrastination or perfectionism.

Doubts and self-limiting beliefs can hold us back from voicing our opinion, speaking up in meetings, saying yes to the big opportunities, presenting with confidence or generally showing up as a strong decisive leader.

We all have an inner glass ceiling…

It’s created from our experiences, parents, teachers, thoughts, fears, beliefs, perceptions, and internal brain patterns from a very young age. What we believe and think affects us at EVERY level of our leadership and life success!

I have worked with many women who come to me saying they know they are capable of so much more but are frustrated that they are stuck and holding themselves back for no apparent reason.

Sarah was a great example of this. She was achieving ok results as a sales manager but no matter how hard she worked she couldn’t break through to make serious improvements for herself or her team. She knew she was sabotaging herself and that she wasn’t living up to her full potential.

Sarah’s inner glass ceiling was showing up as a lack of confidence, self worth and beliefs around her ability to make sales. We worked together on breaking through these limits, replacing old, disempowering beliefs and generating new habits to reinforce a new way of thinking and acting.

And the result; Sarah has recently been recognised as the top performing sale person within the business. But the benefits don’t end there. She has also achieved some personal goals that up to now had only been a dream.

To shatter the inner glass ceiling …

Sometimes I would have liked to take a massive swing at mine with a big sledge hammer!

Seriously… it’s as simple as learning how to release the old patterns and the self-imposed, unconscious beliefs and replace them with new, empowering ones.

It’s about retraining your brain to get rid of negative limiting beliefs, habits and behaviours and reinforce the right positive beliefs, habits and behaviours to support the achievement of all you are capable of.

The good news is that brain scan studies have proven that you can re-wire and strengthen the key areas in your brain that control your conscious thoughts and unconscious feelings and emotions influencing every decision you make and action you take.

Once the glass ceiling is shattered, the transition to achieving a new level of success happens with much less effort. While before it may have seemed like you were constantly pushing up hill, suddenly doors open and opportunities show up.

So, for just a moment, imagine what would be possible for you if you were to shatter your inner glass ceiling.

The answer to getting that next position, promotion or pay rise may not be to work harder or to learn more. It may well be to invest in shattering your inner glass ceiling.

Sometimes it only takes the smallest adjustment to totally alter the course of your life!

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Why This Job?

Why This Job?

 

Why is it that you do what you do? Of all the jobs and all the companies; why this one?

If you were to think back to when you said YES to the role that you are now in, what was it that excited you? Can you remember?

Interestingly, research has shown over and over again that it is rarely about the money. Provided our remuneration is OK, money rarely drives leaders to excel, to engage more authentically with their team or dare to venture into unchartered waters seeking the results they know are possible. What drives us is way more personal than that.

All too often we get so caught up in the day to day, busyness of our work, we loose sight of why we are here and what it was that sparked our interest in the role in the first place.

So why here, why this job?

This is the question I asked the leaders at a team retreat last week. There is no doubt that the question caught many of the leaders off guard. It is not something that we often think about.

For one it was because they loved the idea of working with a progressive innovative business, another saw it as a great opportunity for growth, while for a another it was that the role gave him the opportunity to continue to work in the retail industry without working weekends and so allowed him to get involved in his kids sporting activities for the very first time.

Why we do what we do is deeply personal to each us and drives a sense of purpose and meaning.   It connects our work with what is most important to us while keeping us engaged, even when the going gets tough. It directs our actions and helps us to stay focused and committed.

And one of the added benefits is that if fuels our passion. When you do work that is aligned to what is important to you it is easy to love your work. Your excitement will excite others who will want to get involved in what you do. As Simon Sinek in his book Start With Why and his block buster TED talk has said, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

Understand Your Why To Land Your Next Ideal Role

So how do you answer that sticky first question so often asked in a job interview; “Tell us a little about yourself?”

It is one so many of us have stumbled over in the past. I know I have. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of regurgitating a bland summary of our CV. When we do this it doesn’t give the interview panel anything new or substantial to help them see why we are the ideal candidate!

This question is the perfect opportunity to share with the panel what drives you at your core and how this matches with the goals and values of the business.

Recently I assisted a leader prepare for a job interview for a senior marketing role. By tapping into her WHY, Susan was able to not just speak about WHAT her skills were and HOW she had demonstrated them in the past; she was also able to clearly articulate WHY she was so passionate about the businesses primary product.

And did it help her land her dream job… absolutely. She received feedback it was one of the primary reasons she was chosen for the role.

The power of being connected to “WHY this job” is truly compelling.

It will drive outstanding performance, gently nurture you through fear and uncertainty and fuel your passion. It will stand you apart as a leader and have you recognised as the type of leader the organisation feels lucky to have on board.

So stop focusing quite so much on WHAT you do as a leader and start reconnecting WHY you do it.

Take some time to reflect on the following questions;

  1. What drew you to your role in the first place?
  2. Why did you say YES to the role and not some other role?
  3. Does the role still meet your personal WHY?

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5 Questions To Ask To Get Unstuck

5 Questions To Ask To Get Unstuck

 

Has your career come to a grounding holt, where you are no longer being recognised, rewarded and promoted? Perhaps you are feeling bored, lacking challenge and missing the opportunity for growth. Are you wondering why it is that your career progression has plateaued over the last few years, leaving you less than excited about going to work every day?

Becoming stuck at the same place in our career usually dosen’t happen over night. It creeps up on us until one day we wake up and say how did this happen??

So how does it happen?

The simple answer is that you have been playing way too safe!

Too often we do what feels comfortable. We take the familiar route; doing what we know without question we can do well. We say yes to the projects that are similar to the ones we have had success in previously. We take the path of least resistance, avoiding “risky” innovative solutions and do what we can to fly under the radar to avoid the possibility of even more work coming our way.

The comfort of what we know is all too alluring…. but often not at all satisfying. When we think about the things we are most proud of, they are very often those things that stretched and challenged us.

If you want to achieve new results, hit new targets, be seen, heard and recognised for all you are capable of, then you must be willing to do what you have never done before. And yes! That means stepping outside your comfort zone.

Our growth, joy and fulfilment comes doing the things we have never done before. The magic happens beyond our comfort zone!

One of my gorgeous clients, Katherine, discovered this recently. She had an opportunity to speak and share her story at an event but felt that it was beyond her. She had an amazingly inspiring story of courage and achievement to tell but felt too scared to step out onto the stage. After a little work to raise her confidence, sense of self worth and belief in her abilities, she accepted the challenge and quite simply must have been brilliant.

By accepting the challenge, she has now been asked to speak at 3 more high profile events. And as you can imagine, opportunities have opened up for her because of that one brave move.

Everything that you want is available to you too. All that is required is for you to do the things that you have not yet done. This is true for my life and for so many of the women I work with. We must be willing to shift the status quo in our own lives, shake things up a little and to step into the unknown, where, yes, there is risk, but also so much more opportunity.

Here are 5 simple questions to ask to help you get unstuck.

1.  Where in your work are you playing safe? Are you shying away from speaking up in meetings? Are you keeping your innovative ideas to yourself out of fear of ridicule or rejection? Have you passed up opportunities or failed to apply for a promotion?

2.  Where have you have been doing the same thing over and over? Are you doing what you have always done and hoping to get a different outcome? Better results come from trying new ways, innovative strategies, extending the boundaries of what has been done before.

3.  What would happen if you began doing the things that felt scary or outside your comfort zone? Imagine if you did muster up the courage to take on a bigger role, greater responsibilities, a challenging project, the opportunity to speak at an event or simply to broaden you network.

4.  If you could not fail, what would you attempt to do? We all have dreams! What are yours? In the busyness of the day to day to do lists, both at work and at home, we get lost in the minutia of the same old same old. But it is for this very reason you have lost the spark for your work. Dig into your past swag of dreams and bring them to life again.

5.  What is it costing you right now to stay stuck? Ok this one might hurt a little, but lets get real for just one moment. What is it costing you to stay stuck? Is it your health, your mood, your connection with those you love, your sense of fulfilment, career progression or is it quite simply that you want more from life and your work than you what you have right now??

The good news is that change can happen quite quickly once you realise you are stuck and begin doing some things differently. Even the smallest changes can create momentum towards a more rewarding career. The only question for you now to answer is “What are you prepared to do to create that change?”

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The 80/20 Rule: Stop Wasting Your Time

The 80/20 Rule: Stop Wasting Your Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can you do to reduce the distractions?

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

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

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

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Who is holding you to a higher standard?

Who is holding you to a higher standard?

Do you hold yourself to a higher standard, where you are constantly pursuing your personal best, taking action and extending beyond your personal comfort zone? Or do you let yourself get away with slacking off, taking the easy road and settling for second best?

Let’s admit it… we all slide into taking the easy road from time to time and that’s ok for a while. But when it becomes our new normal it will quickly lead to little more than mediocre results and ultimately a mediocre life!

And I know that mediocre is not what most of us want out of life or from our career.

Career opportunities and results that get us seen, heard and valued don’t fall out of the sky. They come to those who consistently show up, play a bigger game and strive for excellence

This morning in my quest to meet my standards for health and vitality, the gorgeous girl in the exercise DVD that I was jumping around too (yes I know exercise DVD’s are a little old school and daggy but much more appealing to me than heading out in the cold Melbourne winter mornings) pointed out that we always have a choice regarding to what level of energy we put into the exercise.

We can choose to “just get through it” or we can raise our standards and give it everything we’ve got in that moment and achieve results we have never achieved before.   So this morning I allowed Erin from the SHRINK SESSIONS WORKOUT hold me to a higher standard as I pushed myself a little harder, following her high energy moves mixed with a load of positive affirmations to keep me going. Gosh it felt good … once it was done!

Where in your work are you choosing just to “get through it?”

Our career success is a culmination of the decisions we make, the action we take and the standards we hold ourselves accountable for. If you are merely getting through your days at work, doing what you can do to fly under the radar, stay out of trouble and focusing on ‘just getting job done’… then it is time to ask …. “Is this what you really want?”

In speaking with hundreds of smart professional women across the country, I know that many of you want so much more than that. You want to feel fulfilled, challenged, valued and recognised for the great work you do. You want to make a difference, have an impact and to be involved in work that is meaningful.

To achieve all of this we need to be holding ourselves to a higher standard.

Or have mentors, confidants or friends who will tell us when we are slacking off.

Recently while on a trip to Bali, my girlfriends who I was traveling with called me out on where I was playing small. They helped me realised that I had been operating within my comfort zone, which ultimately would not see me achieve the goals that I have set for myself.

They called me out on my own s#*t and are now my guiding angels, keeping me accountable to the promises I made to myself to not just take the easy road but to do the things that I had been avoiding and shying away from. Yes some of these actions scare the pants off me… but by staying focused on why I am doing it and the celebrations that will come on the other side, I know that I can stay on track.

The answer is … only you can really hold yourself to a higher standard but your support team is critical to cheer you along, hold you to account and to believe in you even when you don’t fully believe in yourself.

Ask yourself today:

  • Am I proud of the standard of my work and my efforts?
  • Am I letting myself down in any area – eg: managing the team, responding to requests, the quality of my reports, the persistence to always to be improving results etc
  • Am I constantly stretching and growing? When was the last time I did something that was unfamiliar?
  • Am I taking the opportunities that come my way or am I sticking with what feels comfortable?
  • Am I seeking feedback on my performance with an open mind towards performance improvement?
  • Am I challenged, engaged, inspired by my work
  • Who in my network will give me honest feedback and hold me to account if I was to let my standards slip?
  • Who in my network who will support me on my quest for continuous improvement? How can I access more support to hold me accountable?

So go out and set high standards, relentlessly pursue your goals and surround yourself with people who will lift you higher.

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Mindset: How leadership success is an inside job

Mindset: How leadership success is an inside job

So often we think about leadership growth in terms of learning new skills, gaining more experience or expanding technical knowledge. While these are all critically important elements of leadership success, they will only get you so far.

The difference that makes the difference is working on our mindset. There always comes a time when we need to work on our inner game to maximise our outer performance and results.

Our mindset influences our productivity, our courage, our confidence, how we present ourselves, the language we use, the conversations we have, how we respond to the challenges we face, the opportunities we seize, whether we are intimidated or bold or whether we lean in or fade into the background.

Our mindset impacts everything we do everyday and in every part of our lives.

Mindset is….

Mindset is our habitual patterns of thinking combined with our beliefs and values…which determines our actions and ultimately our outcomes and results.

Have you ever wanted to achieve something but felt like you were holding yourself back? I see women getting in the way of their own success every day. We all do it. Me included.

It is a bit like having one foot on the accelerator and one foot on the break!

All that happens is that you end up going no where fast. It leaves you exhausted and frustrated and wondering what you are doing wrong. This chaos is created when what we think we want is not in alignment with our values and beliefs.

I recently worked with an extraordinary leader who was clear about the type of leadership role she wanted to move into but had been unsuccessful in the job hunt for more than 6 months. She was highly skilled, talented and experienced but had created an unconscious belief that she wasn’t worthy of a well paid role, that she wasn’t old enough and was fearing how her relationship with her partner might change if she was “successful.”

These unconscious beliefs were holding her back and sabotaging her performance during job interviews.

Through our work together she reframed some hurtful past experiences, eliminated her fears and changed the way she saw herself. She grew in confidence, developed a strong professional presence and to her delight, soon after, landed the perfect role she had been hoping for, for so long.

Our natural reaction when we hit a career plateau or road block is often to work harder, learn more, do more when really the place to focus in on our mindset.

When we start here and make a transformation in our mindset everything else follows.   The results we achieve on the outside are directly linked to everything we are within.

Here are my tips to get your mindset transformation started….

1.  Recognise Resistance. Resistance to change, growth or new things often relates to an internal struggle. Recognise it for what it is…. a sign alerting you to conflict between your conscious thoughts and your unconscious inner ‘stuff’ getting in your way and needing your attention before you move forward. Pay attention to the resistance and ask yourself; “What is this about?”

2.  Uncover and challenge limiting beliefs. Our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us generally guide our action, behaviours and outcomes. Identify the beliefs you have about yourself that are standing in your way (ie: I’m not good enough, I’m too old, fear of success, fear of failure etc) and question whether theirs beliefs are relevant, real or serving you.

Given that our beliefs are unconscious and usually remain hidden even to ourselves… the very act of identifying and question their validity is enough to transform our thinking, actions and behaviours.

3.  New Level, New Devil. Regardless of how much work you have done on your mindset in the past, there is always more. As one of my mentors once said to me… “New level, new devil!” And she was right. Every time we raise our expectations of ourselves and look to play a bigger game there is a new layer of “gunk” to work through.

So next time you hit a speed hump in your pursuit of career and leadership success… take some time to work on up levelling your mindset. It will not only pay dividends with your career but also in your personal life.

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7 Simple Ways To Supercharge Your Creative Thinking

7 Simple Ways To Supercharge Your Creative Thinking

Innovation, creative thinking and problems solving is becoming an increasingly important skill for all leaders to foster.   Organisations are hungry for employees who can see things from a new perspective, solve long-standing problems with simple changes and really drive progress within the business.

Being able to think creatively, solve problems and create new and innovative ideas will have you stand out in the crowd and put you in a powerful position.

I once thought that I wasn’t creative, able to think strategically or to come up with innovative ideas. I now recognise that actually I am … I just hadn’t nurtured these skills or learnt how to create the best environments for me to allow my creative juices to run free.

 

Here are 7 surprisingly simple ways to supercharge your creativity.

1.  Create thinking time. It is nigh on impossible to be creativity let alone productive when we are surrounded by distraction or you are on high alert for the detractions that are likely to come your way.

Put aside a chunk of time in your calendar each week dedicated for work that requires clear thinking or creatively such are specific project work, big picture planning or nutting out a problem.   Turn off your phone, shut down your emails and shut your office door if you are lucky enough to have one.

2.  Manage your mood. Research has found that we do our best creative work when we feel positive. We tend to be bolder and more focused on solutions and what is possible when we feel good. So think about what gets you in a positive mood? Is it heading out for a quick coffee with colleagues, is it meditating in the mornings before work or hitting the gym?

3.  Find your creative space. One leader I was working with some years ago was struggling to come up with a business strategy that was innovative or inspiring. She felt bogged down and void of new ideas. Not surprising really… she was working in a classified area of the Defence Force requiring her to conduct all her work in a windowless bunker!

Our work environment plays a huge part in our creativity. All my best creative work is done sitting in one of my favourite café’s. Yes the coffee is good but I think it is the ambient noise and the hustle and bustle around me that allows me to focus, create and come up with new ideas.

I wonder where your creative space is? Is it a café, sitting on a park bench or your kitchen bench after the kids have gone to bed? Wherever it is … plan to spend more time there. Not only will it be good for your creativity, you will also see your productivity take off.

4.  Get exercising. We know exercise is good for us for lots of reasons and here’s another … studies have shown that exercise can improve our ability to think creatively.

I love the way it’s explained in this Psychology Today article:

“Sweat is like WD-40 for your mind—it lubricates the rusty hinges of your brain and makes your thinking more fluid. Exercise allows your conscious mind to access fresh ideas that are buried in the subconscious.”

So … head out for a walk at lunch time to clear the mind and expand your thinking. On countless occasions I have been mulling over a problem all morning only to find the moment I step outside for a walk, the answer appears simply and easily even before I get to the end of the street.

5.  Extend your boundaries. There is a very good reason why training programs usually involve butchers paper and colour textas. It is to encourage us to return to our child like exploration of ideas and to remove the limits and linear thinking that comes with lined paper or the standard work document.

To get ideas flowing ditch the computer and map out your thoughts on flip paper or a white board. This is the time for out of the box thinking. Believe no idea is a crazy one because it is from these crazy ideas that the gems appear. You can always amend them later to mould them into workable ideas… but for now just go with the ideas.

6.  Find some friends. You are no doubt smart. It may be your responsibility … but you don’t have all the answers. Very often the best solutions and ideas happen through collaboration. Reach out to your team, colleagues and mentors to bounce ideas around with. Ladies, we are known for our strength as collaborators so lets put that skill to work. Stop believing you need to do it all. You don’t!

7.  Be Inspired. We do not find new solutions or become more creative by maintaining the status quo. New ideas come when we step outside what we already know and experience new things.   Explore new places, seek out new experiences, visit places of inspiration, engage in wild and crazy conversations to extend your thinking of what is possible and expand your horizons by immersing in the works of the brightest thought leaders of today.

New ideas and solutions do not always come from brand new thinking … often it is from repurposing, redefining and reshaping the bright ideas of others.

Building your creativity is just like building any muscle. It takes persistence, practice and perseverance. We were all born creative but somewhere along the way it gets beaten out of us. We are told to colour between the lines, to be like everyone else and to follow the rules.

If you want to create innovating marketing ideas, develop game changing strategies or to solve the challenges that are thrown your way day in day out, you must flex your creative muscle. See this as a critical skill you can develop. Be bold. Be brave and have some fun.

Next Steps?

If you like what you have read, Click HERE  and pop your name and email into the boxes and come join this growing community of extraordinary, passionate, down to earth women just like you who are committed to finding their place at the leadership table.

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3 things to let go of in pursuit of career success

3 things to let go of in pursuit of career success

So often when we think about getting ahead in our career we think about what we need to do more of or be better at or what new action we must take, but very often the place to start has more to do with what we must let go of. The path to a career that is meaningful and fulfilling is often not a path of adding to or gaining something, but of removal or letting go.

I hear it all the time from the women I work with who are at a crossroads and are searching for direction and clarity about the next phase in their career. Yes there are absolutely actions that are instrumental to creating the momentum to move towards that next promotion, change of career direction or even taking the leap out of the corporate world and into a new business venture.

But… there are always things we need to give up and let go of first.

Deciding to let go of the thinking, beliefs, emotions, things and other “baggage” that are holding us back – is often a hidden key to moving towards that next big thing in our career.  It is all about clearing out the junk and clutter and making room for the new.

3 Things To LET GO Of In Pursuit Of Career Success  

1.  Let go of the status quo. The one thing that I can guarantee is that change is inevitable and the more we hold on tight to the status quo the harder life will seem. Holding onto the status quo is like swimming against the tide… it is hard work and you ultimately end up somewhere you don’t actually want to be.

Many of us have an unconscious obsession with holding onto what seems certain and predictable even when what we have is not bringing joy and fulfilment.

The status quo, miserable or unsatisfying as it may be, is known and so can seem easier to navigate through, knowing at least what to expect, even if it is not great.  However if we disrupt the status quo, the future is completely unknown and for many people this can be unnerving and feels incredibly scary.

I am speaking from experience on this one! I held onto a job for almost 2 years even though I hated it (and yes … I really did hate it!) The fear of the unknown seemed far worse than the unpleasantness of what I had…. when really all I needed to do was let go of the status quo and have faith in myself.

2.  Let go the fear of risk. A recruitment consultant told me yesterday that the greatest challenge she sees amongst female job candidates securing ideal roles was their tendency to be risk adverse. We hold onto the perceived safety and security that comes with tenure within an organisation such as long service and annual leave entitlements, possible bonus and the like.

These are valid considerations but just that … a consideration. I love Richard Branson’s question around taking risk. Ask yourself “What is the worse thing that could happen and if that was to happen could you handle it?” In most cases the answer is yes. We are far stronger and more resilient than we think.

Moving onto something new always involves some risk. I hear you asking … What if I fail? What if I don’t like it? What if it isn’t what I think it is?

Yes but what if by taking a little risk you move onto the perfect role for you that gives you all the flexibility, meaning, fulfillment and joy that you could ever imagine? 

3.  Let go of Negative Nelly’s.  Think about the people who you spend time with. Are they supporting you and cheering you on? Or are you hanging out with the Nay Sayers and the Negative Nelly’s.

The attitude, thinking and aspirations of others are highly contagious, so choose who you spend time with wisely. This might mean spending less time with people who you love or people who have been in your world for a long time. It doesn’t necessarily mean ditching them all together … but it might.

Letting go of the Negative Nelly’s allows space in your life for those that expect even more of you than you do? Imagine spending time with people who believe in you when your confidence takes a hit and who champion you, advocate for you and show you the way towards the next big thing in your career.

Just last week my partner challenged me to stop playing safe and to take the next step in the development of my business. It was done with love and with sincere belief in me. It shook me out of my own complacency and comfort zone and was exactly the type of support I needed.

Who do you have in your corner?

Take a moment to reflect on what you will need to let go of in order to have what you really want.

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