I'm Ready Now Book, Positive Motivation

How to stay positive when your boss is crazy AF

Ok, I know that ‘crazy’ is the most misused word against women but sometimes we do just have a CRAZY boss to deal with.  One of the biggest challenges in my career has been dealing with bosses that are unpredictable, irrational, angry and explosive.  This has crossed genders.  Almost all people who have come to me for coaching have been experiencing a ‘crazy’ boss. The impact is loss of confidence, feeling confused, dissatisfaction in job role and industry – leading to questioning everything career wise. Questions that came up for me at this point are:

–          Am I any good at my job anymore? I used to be but now I’m not so sure.
–          Do I want to stay in IT?
–          Is this company the right place for me?
–          How long can I put up with this stress for?

Other feelings are:  not wanting to go to work, closing down and becoming perpetually exhausted.  Negative thinking often took over as well further brining me down. I have seen this with friends, colleagues and coaching clients.   Having a boss that regularly puts you down is a confidence crusher.

So I thought I’d put together my top strategies that I use for managing my mindset during such a stressful period and keeping my energy levels up.  This has made it easier for me to move on, find a new role and get out of there.

  1. Tell someone about it
  2. Get Support
  3. Exercise
  4. Work out an exit plan
  5. Focus on what’s next

These tips could easily fall under an umbrella of stay positive but really having been through this, this is not always possible.  Taking positive action will create space to take a breath and maintain your perspective.  At least aim to buffer the negativity at work, so you can boost your energy enough to move on.

1. Tell Someone about it (who will believe you)

  • Reaching out and validating that you’re not the crazy one is important. Find a friend, partner, family member or mentor to talk through what you are experiencing.  Just being heard will make you feel better

2. Get Support

  • One of my big lessons is that no woman is an island and sometimes I am not my best guru (sadly).  Find a counsellor or some level of professional support to help you through it.  From my experience doing this, is that the recovery period afterwards is always quicker if I’ve had this support during the traumatic event.  Don’t downplay your experience.  Dreading getting out of bed every day is not normal.  There’s a reason you don’t want to go to work, don’t let it impact you years down the track.  Dealing with it as much as possible in the now will mean less of a stress hangover  once you’re in your new role.

3. Exercise

  • Now is the time to maintain or create rituals that keep you balanced. Cardio and resistance exercise is the best.   Commit to doing 30 minutes everyday (yoga, weights, gym, cycling, running, ballet.)
  • Add in or up your meditation practice if you can or something that helps your mental discipline (one of my friends loves running to clear her head). Work out an exit plan

4. Create an exit plan

  • Write down a plan of how you are going to get yourself out of this situation.  Create 2 or 3 options and start pursuing them.  Get out quickly.  Look for internal and external roles, network more, keep engaged in industry events.
  • In the exit plan, write down what you want to be happening in your career  and life in 12 months time. Frame your next step by this vision.
  • Accept that you may need to move laterally and find  a life raft out.  This can be hard if like me, you’re super ambition. Focus on safety first and then get back to climbing that career ladder.

5. Focus on what’s next

  • Focus on that 12 month goal.  If you’re looking at study, start investigating options.  If you want to travel, start subscribing to ticket price alerts and turn your desktop screen saver into a shrine for your dream destination.  Start listening to podcasts, music, tedtalks that will keep you focussed on NEXT.
  • Make NEXT your NOW.

Most of all remember, you don’t deserve crazy. It is not normal to be yelled at every day, to have your boss call you 15 times in 2 minutes at 11pm, to have your boss turn up at your front door on the weekend, to rate you down because they’re jealous of your looks, to publicly humiliate you in front of your team or threaten you in any way.  It is NOT NORMAL.  You deserve normal, to be liked, to look forward to work, to enjoy friendship at work, to be praised, to be rewarded and to feel appreciated.

You are WORTH it.
 
You are enough. 
 
Good luck!

 

Extra resources and  links
Previous Blog Posts
Getting support
Information on Employee Entitlements
Standard
I'm Ready Now Book, Positive Motivation, Running a business

Lessons from a year running my own business as a career coach

Hi Fabulous!!

Today marks a year since I began my business as a career coach to women in IT, Science and Engineering.

Its been an awesome experience so far and I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings.  The learnings have been huge.  The sense of satisfaction with my life have been even huger.

If you’re wondering about whether you should go for it – I say GO FOR IT!!!

Just start now.  

There have been big learnings and even bigger growth.  Developing the communications skills necessary to just be with, sit with and be 100% present with a client is a constant work in progress.  To do this means also being able to 100% present with myself.  Its led to some big personal revelations that led me back to counselling and to create a close-out letter for my divorce.  This was a frustrating time because the divorce is 4 years ago and I thought I was ‘over it’.  Found out I wasn’t.   The old me would have denied the pain and got busy suppressing it (busy working, shopping, going out, going to yoga, travelling) but the new me welcomed the gift of truth.  It was scary to confront that I wasn’t ‘over it’, its an ego thing.  Instead I went back to counselling, creating a close-out letter to myself and read it out loud to my counsellor.  It was a very long letter – it was epic.  It was liberating.

The sense of release and energy was invigorating.  Pursuing your truth, your purpose and going for it doesn’t just open the doors you think you want it also helps you move forward with your life in ways you never knew you needed.  Living a whole year in my truth has given me this gift and it is what I hope to help my clients discover too.

The remainder of this blog post is dedicated to some of the bigger learnings I’ve had with clients. Learnings about working in IT, the pressure we place on ourselves and how ambition can drive and control us.  I’m sharing them today to help you with your own self-reflection.  If you like these learnings, please join the Facebook page  where I share prompts 2-3 days per week (mostly) on career, ambition, purpose and faith.

Lesson #1 

Smart, intelligent, driven people still need a cheer leader! 

It is easy to overlook the quiet achiever, the loud ambitious performer thinking they need little in the way of support and encouragement. They may even push back on receiving it.  Lessons from coaching is that working with strong, independent women is that we all still need that motivational support, an encouraging word and a review of achievements.  I know for myself I keep moving the goal posts and when I achieve something I already have a schedule of next achievements to focus on.  For some clients just repeating their achievements, booking in a celebration or breaking down how much has shifted through the coaching series can be their biggest take-away. No one is an island and we all need a hi-5 to know that we are on track and most importantly valued.

Lesson #2

Being heard is powerful

Some people need to speak at length through their ideas and goals, thinking through needs/wants and desires isn’t a quick 5-minute bullet list creation exercise.  Sometimes there are a lot of mindset and energy blocks that get in the way.  There are reasons why a determined ambitious person hasn’t shifted/changed or broken into something new.  These often appear in themes of commitment, loyalty, old stories, beliefs and judgement.  Financial commitments, not wanting to disappoint someone,  getting comfortable with their ambition, focusing on being a provider for their family, not wanting to let themselves down.  These themes can constrain thinking and switching into ‘what do you most want?’ mode isn’t always so easy.  There are a lot of BUTs that get in the way.  Sometimes I will ask: I give you permission to have everything you want – what does that look like?  Another approach is to shift into a a focus on the ‘WHY’ for change.   Both of these approaches allows a client to watch and observe their wants with less or no judgement, so they can safely begin an exploration that isn’t about blowing up their life and family and more of a shift into achieving their needs while maintaining their need to meet existing commitments.

Lesson #3

Emotions are hard work.

Actions are easy but sitting in an emotion and seeing/feeling can be really confronting. When these emotions overwhelm you remember:

You are blessed, you are important, your needs are valuable, be open to receive, be present and be kind to yourself.

Lesson #4

Understanding what we truly want is a skill.

Goals and actions can be set but the client may not truly get to understand  what they most want until session 3-4 – their need/want sometimes needs extra exploration and sometimes their first goal is masking a much deeper goal.  Letting goals evolve and refine through the series has enabled clients to achieve big wins and big shifts in mindset and career.

Lessons #5

Perfectionism can make us afraid. 

Perfectionism can be a big challenge amongst those of us who are senior, technical and scientific – fear of failure, letting ourselves down, not exploring our worth, not making a difference, not being valued. Together with my clients we explore what value is, what a true expression of their talent really means to them… this often leads to openness in finding satisfaction in different job roles and looking for opportunities not dependent on a single employer or role.  Often we explore their need for connection to their industry and hunger for knowledge and expertise (this can transmute into a variety of expressions from community work, finding the right meet up and experts to share stories with, to starting an MBA, to reading more broadly.)

I love to work with women who are wanting to get their next career move right.  Maybe you’ve got a boss that’s wearing your down, maybe you’ve reached the seniority you wanted to and  want to work out what’s next?

Would you love to work with me?  Find out more here

Standard
I'm Ready Now Book, Lead Your Pack Series, Positive Motivation

Leading your team to feel super safe to super fail a lot

Is your team leading the way?

Is your team disrupting or being disrupted?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for inspiring your team to take more risks, disrupt more, be open to failure and learning?

Key Learning Points

  • nurture talent
  • nurture ideas and change
  • create safety nets
  • encourage
  • focus on learning and achievement
  • create a sense of purpose
  • let go of old stories of punishment
  • create new stories of how failure will be responded to

Fail, fail, fail and then learn!

Failure is the only option when first trying to create something truly awesome!

Learning Prompts

Ask yourself (and your team):

  • What would you like to brainstorm?
  • What other ideas do you have?
  • What does experience teach your about this change / new idea?
  • What does your inner wisdom say about it?
  • How you can unlock that learning?
  • What story are you telling that is holding your team back?
  • What could a new story look like?
  • What needs to change to make this story a reality?
  • What words would you like to use less of to describe your team? (i.e.: ‘dead wood’, ‘cut the fat’, ‘idiots’, ‘lazy’, etc)
  • What words could use more of? (i.e.: ‘untapped talent’, ‘hidden gems’, ‘stars in the making’, ‘genius’, ‘inspired’, ‘open’, ‘fun’, ‘energised’)
  • What would you like to be known for as a team?
  • What behaviours do you want to be known for?

What will you do today to make failure an option?
I’d love to hear from you, how do you encourage your team to take risks and deal with failure positively?

Let me know by commenting here. I love hearing your ideas and read every comment.

Standard
I'm Ready Now Book, Tap into your super powers series

Tap into your super powers #1 – What to do when you keep getting told No

Key Learning point: The key learning point in this article is how to get a YES for your best ideas from your senior stakeholders (especially when you keep hearing a No to your good ideas).

To create this change you will need to create a compelling WHY to motivate a change of mind.  

And, we will also work through a case study on how do you get additional time and funding  approved.

Do your best ideas always get a no?

Do you find it hard to get endorsement for changes to scope, estimates, cost or resource hires?

If yes, then this post will help you do just that by providing you with:

  • learning prompts
  • case study example – going from a NO to a YES
  • ideas on next steps

Learning Prompts

To get a senior stakeholder to say yes (especially to anything involving a change in cost) you need to create a compelling why. A compelling WHY creates the motivation for someone to change their mind.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the biggest problem facing my stakeholder?
  • How does my idea help with this?
  • Can my idea help solve my stakeholder’s problem in someway?
  • What would it mean for this problem to be solved?
  • Who else will benefit?
  • How will it improve business outcomes (profit, strategy, financial, marketing, reputation etc) ?
  • Is my idea aligned to business strategy?
  • Has my idea been tried before?  (And, what happened?)
  • Are there quality reasons for pursuing something that has failed before?
  • What does this idea add or take away from my current role?

Case Study

In one Test Manager role I was in a few years ago, I had inherited an estimate that could be at best described as ‘optimistic’ but I would describe as ‘crazy’.

I decided to ask not for the 23 days (which had been approved) estimated but instead ask for approval of a 288 day estimate.

The Delivery Manager’s response: “You’d have to get the CIO to approve that’

My response: “Ok, I will get that!’

And… I did.

How?

  1. I researched what had happened in the past (the project had been tried and failed 3 times over 10 years due to a lack of or poor testing)
  2. I researched what a poor quality delivery would actually mean if implemented in production. The impact I found was : catastrophic business failure, regulatory breaches and huge (newspaper story worthy) customer financial loss
  3. I put a succinct options paper together – this was a 3 page slide pack with 3-4 bullet point per slide which succinctly stated option, risk, cost and recommendation (yes/no)
  4. I got the business sponsor to publicly back the best estimate to his General Manager  (this took some time to influence)
  5. I then presented the options paper to the steering committee which consisted of the CIO and the CEO’s direct reports
  6. And, the CIO approved the new estimate – in fact the whole committee did

How did I ‘win’ the argument?

I pitched every risk with a direct (yet implied) statement which if that risk came true would directly lead to the CIO losing his job. 

Because the risk that poor quality would create in a production environment was so great to the company, any realisation of this risk would mean business failure (or close too) and that would mean no more jobs for the CIO or the other members of the committee.

Extra context

For some context, I have well over 10 years technical estimation experience and I had the most experienced person on the programme run the numbers as well.  I knew the estimate was right.

I also knew to pursue the other estimate would lead to project failure or even (if the project actually got into production) potentially business failure. I had 100% faith in myself and my team that we were the best people to deliver this work and I had 100% belief that I could get the CIO’s approval with a fair argument for the new estimate.

Take Action

Next time you get a No, ask yourself – do I 100% believe in my proposal? And if the answer is yes, then ask the person who said No:

“What needs to happen to get a YES?”  

And then?

GO FOR IT!

Standard
I'm Ready Now Book, Positive Motivation

Goal Setting Secret #3 Taking Action

Secret #3 – Keys to successfully taking action

How often do you say this:

“I keep going no matter what!”

Secrets to successfully taking action

1. Schedule it
2. Allow enough time for each action
3. Get Support
4. Keep it super positive.

Pro tip: Use your project management and organisational powers that you use everyday at work and apply them to your personal goals and projects.

  1. Schedule in time each week to work exclusively on your goal and actions
  2. Book in enough time to one action done at a time
  3. Use tools like a spreadsheet or project management tool like ASANA to prioritise your actions and work through them in a logical order
  4. Get Support – find a career coach to support you, find an accountability partner to check-in with weekly,join a mastermind or find a mentor. Get the right level of support for the goal you are progressing with to help create your own cheersquad that is always on your side and keeping you accountable to getting those actions done.
  5. Keep it super positive.Celebrate small wins and surround yourself with positive inspiration.
    • What is the first thing you see or hear in the morning?
    • What is the first thing you see when you walk in the door?
    • What is the first thing you do when you get to your desk?

Create a routine that incorporates positivity from podcasts to the music you listen to, the art work at your home, the inspirational quote on a sticky-note at your desk or the gratitude journal you write in every morning.  Find little ways to shift and support your mood and keep you in the best frame of mind to achieving your goal.

Want more on goal setting, watch this Facebook live to get more thoughts on how to progress your goal and close out those actions.

Standard
I'm Ready Now Book, Positive Motivation

Goal Setting Secret #2 How to Get What You Want

1. Ask for advice  

Emulate, look around you at work and in your life, and look to find people that are just getting stuff done. 

Take inspiration and copy how they’re going about getting what they want done.

Ask for their advice.

Apply that advice to how you go about getting goals and actions done.  

2.  Test

Test out lots of different approaches until you find something that works for you. 

If you want to start studying again, test out studying on a small course and work out what kind of schedule you need if you’re going to combine full-time work with part-time study. 

This is something I have done – I found ways to use lunch times really efficiently. Even 20 minutes can be used effectively if you plan it out well.  (I also sometimes do work at 4:00am in the morning because for me that’s when inspiration strikes – scarily!).

Start off with something small and then work to level up as your skills and confidence grows. 

Try not to overwhelming yourself with a full-time course straight off.  

3. Experts

Find experts in what you want and get their advice. 

Listen to some really good podcasts to get inspiration (I’m a podcast junkie and can recommend Marie Forleo, The Good Life Project, Melissa Ambrosini, Tony Robbins, Becoming Fearless, For the Love of Money, The Amber Lilyestom Show, The Priestess Podcast.)

It could be going to workshops (like my goal setting workshop in May – hint!) or it could be going to meetups, networking events or organising your own. 

Find people that you value what they have to say and who have the wisdom and experience to share and learn from.

4. Plan it

Make the time to plan out what you want and create space and time to practice getting it. I guess this is an expectation-setting thing as well. If you’re someone that has got out of practice of getting what you want done, then you’ve got to practice. And it’s going to be a bit crap for a while, because you’re not going to be very good at it. So it’s really about understanding that you’re in that practice/learning phase and not to be too focused on doing things perfectly.

You don’t need to be awesome and an expert at this stage because you can grow into that, right? 

5. Create a Learning Log

The other thing is, what I really like doing is when I’m really struggling with something I keep my own kind of learnings log. I did this particularly when I started doing a lot more networking which I found a little bit challenging at times, because it was a very full-on extroverted thing to do. Although I love people after a full day of work I actually just found big networking events a bit overwhelming (sooo manny people!!).  

I created a roster of events, and then I’d take down notes on which ones I really enjoyed and got a lot of energy from, events that I didn’t, events that really helped me from a career perspective, and one’s where I met people that I loved being with. Then, I could really focus my time and energy on the networking events that I knew I really enjoyed. 

I kept those notes because those events could become a bit of a blur.  You don’t have to making some big life decision or change to take deliverable and careful action like keeping a log. 

You can use this for something where you want to tweak or change something. 

By taking notes and taking deliberate action and practicing, you’ll embed these changes more quickly and easily.  

Final bit of advice

If I chose only one of these things to do it is  to get advice from the people around you. There’s nothing like saying to people, “Hey, I’m trying to do this, what do you think?.” 

I did this a lot last year. I was like, “I’m going to write a book, help!.” And so the people around me really supported me in writing that book. They gave me advice. They lined up interviews, they let me take extra time off work. It felt like my people were on the journey with me. So don’t think that you just have to present yourself as some perfectly done, formed, “Hey I’m an author now.”  Let the people around you go on the journey with you and let them help you.  Be open to receiving that help and remember to say YES even if its not ‘perfect’ help. 

I have a goal-setting workshop coming up in May**, so would love you to be there. It’s a live event, and it’s for up to five women (there are 4 spots left). It’s being held at St. Martin’s Café in Brighton. I really encourage you to join in if you’re in the area as it would be so lovely to meet you and hear your story.  

**Note: This workshop was held in May 2018 (and yes, it was awesome).

Standard
I'm Ready Now Book, Positive Motivation

Goal Setting Secret #1 – Know What You Want

My name is Beatrice Crocker, and I help women to stand in their power and get ahead of a pack. And I work with women in male dominated professions to get the career that they want. You can find out more about me at beatricecrocker.com

Today’s post is the first in a series of three, which is three secrets to always getting what you want. And today I’m sharing secret number one. 

Watch the video and read more below

 

 

Secret #1 How to know what you want. 

How often do you say this “I know exactly what I want in my life” ?

hmmmm, like never right? 

I know this is something I’ve really struggled with.  Although for a long time I didn’t realise it.  But I was definitely living life according to what I had been told what to do vs what I most wanted.  It wasn’t a conscious thing.  I’d had goals for career and relationships and I achieved them.  I just didn’t have bigger goals or appreciated what I really wanted in my life.  And it didn’t click for me until a great friend and mentor told me ‘You have to have a plan Beatrice, you have to know where you’re heading and WHY you’re pursuing it’.  

It sounds like an easy thing to say but let’s face its not an easy thing to do.  

For a long time I led a life according to shoulds instead of examining what I really wanted. I should have a high paying job, I should have a house, I should get married etc. And although these things are great, I never asked myself what do I really want? And when I did it it was really hard work, because for a long time I had overlaid other people’s wants onto what I thought I wanted. 

I hadn’t done the work.

So I ended up marrying the wrong person, buying the wrong house, and staying in the right job, but for too long until it became the wrong job. And to be quite honest I didn’t even realise I was leading a life of shoulds, but I look back now and I can see I was doing just that. Of course that’s the beauty of hindsight. However, during this period I got sick a lot, I had colds, sinus infections, migraines, nearly lost the eyesight in one eye, and a breast cancer scare (thankfully only a scare). So my body was screaming at me to stop, but I just kept going anyway. 

And so when I found myself single again, no hubby, no baby, no house. That was really when I took the time to self examine and really have a look at what I really wanted in life. And I guess my biggest realisation was that I wasn’t very good at doggedly pursuing what I truly wanted, and I wasn’t very good at knowing what that was either. 

So I’m sharing the secrets that I’ve learnt in terms of getting what you want because now that I have done the work, and I understand my WHY (helping women progress) and WHAT I want to achieve.  I have had the happiest, most satisfying 2 years of my life.  

I really want this for you as well.   

So if you’ve gone for a long time without being clear on what you want, this series will help you get crystal clear. 

What do you really want? 

1. Let instinct be your best friend.

It’s time to practice letting instinct guide you. The best way to tap into instinct is to focus on your emotional and physical reactions. 

  • How do certain events make you feel ? 
  • How do people make you feel physically and emotionally? 
  • Do you feel relaxed, energised, happy, at ease?
  • Do you feel tight, contracting, anxious, uncomfortable? 
  • When you feel most relaxed? 
  • When do you feel most energised ? 
  • When do you feel super healthy? 
  • When do you feel on edge? 
  • What gives you an instant headache? 
  • When does that injury play up again? 

All these reactions are giving you clues to what you want and love and what you don’t.  

Action: 

1. Take notes on how people, events, ideas, make you feel and act. 

2. Take note of any recurring themes. 

2.  Embrace variety

Try lots of new and different things in your life. 

Say YES more. 

So if you’ve sort of dropped some hobbies, go back to old hobbies, find some new hobbies and activities. 

Action:

  1. Write down what makes you happy, sad, passive, excited, joyful, tired. 
  2. Is something draining your life force? Then, stop doing it. 
  3. Invest more time in the activity that boost your energy and make you feel good.   

3. Turn a negative into a postiive

 

Write down a list of things that you don’t like, at work, in terms of a partner, in terms of your home. They don’t have to be current things, they could just be things you know you don’t love, 

Action:  

Reverse it. 

So if you’re like look I don’t like being in roles that require high detail and little human interaction, then the  reverse of that is I like being in strategic creative roles with lots of time spent face to face with people. And so if you haven’t really had a lot of time recently where you’ve really been happy doing something, write down all the things like are really bugging you, and then reverse it. And it will give you the keys to what will make you really happy. 

4. Feel it out

Don’t expect too much too quickly. If you’re out of practice with knowing and feeling what you want then it will take time. So start off small and build up. And if you’re working on big life changes focus on changing one thing at a time not everything. If that’s a choice. 

After getting divorced I lived in three different houses, made three different job changes – all in 18 months. It was way too much change!!! Some of this was definitely avoidable and it happened because I just didn’t take the time to listen to myself and give myself some breathing room to feel it all out. 

Action: 

1. Take all the time you need. 

                    

Getting instinct back into your life takes practice. 

Good luck!  

Standard