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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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Read my latest blog post.
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How to position yourself for promotion

How to position yourself for promotion

If you are thinking that this is going to be your breakthrough year where you finally get that promotion you have been craving, it is time to start positioning yourself for what you want. Staying silent, flying under the radar, purely working hard and doing a good job simply will not work.

Gone are the days you can wait to be “tapped on the shoulder.” I know it has possibly worked for you in the past. I hear it all the time from smart, successful women. They tell me their career success, up to this point, has come to them purely through hard work and good luck.

But to get the more senior leadership roles, a new way of thinking is required. You need to be more strategic, more intentional and position yourself to be considered for the best opportunities.

To do this effectively, the most important question of all is….

Do you know where you want your career to head?

If you don’t have the answer to this question… it’s pretty difficult to position yourself for it.

Many of my Inner Circle clients have come along with their career at a crossroads. They had experienced success and had been given many great opportunities along the way. Until one day they found themselves in a place where they knew they wanted something different but lacked clarity and direction of what that looked like.

Through learning how to position themselves effectively, these women have snapped up new and exciting opportunities – often much more quickly than they thought would be possible.

So how ready are you for promotion and what are you doing now to position yourself for that next step?

It’s your career – it’s time to take the reins and manage it!

Here are 7 keys to position yourself for promotion

1. Get career clarity. Without clarity of where you are going, it is very likely you will end up some place you would rather not be. If you are not sure about the specifics, then start with what you do know for certain. Things like; do you want to lead a big team or just a few highly skilled people? What type of products or service is of most interest to you? What new skills or experience do you ideally want to be exposed to in the next position?

2.  Do Great Work. This might seem obvious, but still needs to be said. You will only get promoted if you do great work. Why on earth would anyone trust you to do a bigger role if you aren’t doing this one well… all of the time!

3.  Stay on the radar. It is time to be seen, heard and recognised for the good work you do. No more flying under the radar. Speak up in meetings. Let your opinion be heard.

Get involved in the high profile projects where you can showcase your skills to a broader group of people. Let others know of your accomplishments – in an authentic non-sales-y way.

4.  Build positive relationships. Relationships are everything when it comes to stepping into the next phase of your career. Taking time out to meet up with key people, either within your organisation or externally, is a critical step towards positioning for your next promotion. Who do you know who could assist you to secure your next position? Do they know what your career ambitions actually are??

5.  Balance short term and long term thinking. Too often I see smart, successful women get caught up in the day to day actions and forgetting to flex their long term, strategic muscle. It is important you keep an eye on the organisation’s top priorities and longer term goals and make sure you are seen to be contributing to the achievement of those goals.

6.  Develop your executive presence. To be considered for an executive position, you must be seen as an executive. The way you show up around the office, in meetings, in the tea room matters. This might mean giving your wardrobe an overhaul, dropping the desire to gossip and learning how to work smarter not harder so you appear calm and in control of your workload.

7.  Be intentional and stay focused. It is time to get strategic and focused on what you want. Yes… it may even be time to create a plan. Get clear on what actions you will take and what changes you will implement to fast track your way to positioning yourself for promotion.

Need to do some work to position yourself for your next promotion? 

Check out The Leadership Connection, an exclusive results focused program and community, designed for smart professional women.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

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Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

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Massive change ahead. Are you ready for the ride?

Massive change ahead. Are you ready for the ride?

Massive change is ahead (or maybe it is already here.) Change in our workplaces, change in our society, change in how we live our life, change in how business operates, change in the type of jobs that we will be doing. You name it … we are living within a time of massive change.

We have a choice; to get on board and reap the rewards that are available to us by being part of this change… or resist and be left behind.

This is the primary message I took from the Wired For Wonder conference held in Melbourne last week.

My brain is tingling from the fresh ideas, the innovation and out of the box thinking, from taking a peak into the future and from the fabulous conversations with many forward thinking people.

The team at Wired For Wonder fired up my wonderings from the moment I stepped into the reception area of the venue.   They had set the scene with a team of white coat clad mad scientist types serving tomato infused tea amidst the theatre of smoking dry ice. At morning tea there were gorgeous flavoured donuts on plates suspended from the ceiling. And a magical table laden with sweet treats of all types that resembled a fairy’s garden greeted us at afternoon tea.

Clearly this was not going to be any ordinary conference.

Here are just a few of the ideas that have remained swimming in my mind over the last few days

1. Don’t be a zombie  Technology pioneer, Nolan Bushnell warned us not to be part of the “zombie apocalypse,” that is taking over many workplaces. He reminded us that we were all once creative, curious and willing to give things a go but somewhere along the way we have been trained to regurgitate the “right” answers and follow the status quo.

Innovative employers such as Apple and Google are regularly hiring people straight from high school who are passionate, self taught and making things happen. They are hiring on credentials, experience and merit rather than university degrees and marks.

2.  Embrace Entrepreneurial Thinking. Successful 21st Century leaders will be those people who can develop entrepreneurial thinking. To get ahead and stand out from the crowd, leaders must develop the ability to innovate, create and engage teams. Most importantly they must have clarity of vision and always be striving to do great work, focused on building trust with their community of customers.

Rachel Botsman made this clear in her presentation on the power of collaboration and sharing. The leaders of both Uber and Airbnb have done this brilliantly, rallying a tidal wave of loyal followers to their businesses. Regardless of the resistance from the traditional players in these industries, “the genie is now out of the bottle” with customers embracing this new way of business. There is clearly no going back from here.

3.  Persistence. Failure and rejection is the norm. The awe inspiringly brilliant Jack Andraka who at only 15 invented an inexpensive early detection test for pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers had his request for lab space rejected by dozens of institutions before convincing an eminent cancer researcher to let him use his lab to develop his theory.

What a great reminder. If we want to achieve great things we must be prepared to back ourselves and to persist in the face of rejection and failure.

You will win some. You will loose some… that’s life.

And then there was Cindy Gallop who is on a mission to disrupt the way we view sex with her Make Love Not porn Website. Given that this website is all about showcasing real sex (rather than sanitized, commercialized and acted out porn sex) she has encounter a range of obstacles; including difficulty securing funding, finding a video platform that would allow her to show adult material and identifying a payment system that was prepared to be associated with her product.

This is a great example of new business thinking bumping up against old world standards and rules. Persistence will definitely be required to find new world solutions!

4.  Focus your mind. Within our mind is untapped potential. Tapping into that potential is ever so simple…. but not at all easy in the busyness of our world.

Aleks Krotosk shared with us that we do our best work when we are in “flow.” But more often than not we get into the state of flow not with important work but with responding to the constant disruption of emails. She asked “Are you focusing on emails because it is useful and productive or because you have been drawn into the vortex through trance?”

We all know that exercise is important. The fabulously high octane Libby Babet bounced onto the stage to get us out of our seats and moving. After 90 minutes of sitting our minds were starting to wander. But did you know that just 20 minutes of walking will increase your focus? And that a 20 minute nap will increase our effectiveness by up to 30%?

And one of my personal favourite moments of the day was being guided through a meditation by Hindu Priest and Mind Coach; Dandapani. Meditation has recently become a regular part of my day. Dandapani reaffirmed that meditation is not something we will get instantaneous gratification from, but the positive effects will come over time, through consistently including as part of our lifestyle.

The challenge from here….

We have no choice. Change is upon us and resistance will be fruitless. Lets embrace the new world and get on board for the ride. I know for one, I am excited about what the future holds.

Thank you Women In Focus for the opportunity to attend this event that has changed the way I think and see the world as it now is.

NEXT STEPS?

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LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

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

Similar Blog Posts

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston