Confidence Builders, Positive Motivation

Do you feel trapped by commitments?

Staying in a role that you hate will have a long-term impact.

When I overstayed in my corporate role at ANZ, I would walk to work each day just hating on everything – from the office layout, the state of the toilets, my boss’s messy desk, my messy desk, and the actual work too. I was mentally living in negativity city and it really made me feel really sick – I got a weird contact lens related eye infection, I had a breast cancer scare, I never seemed to be able to catch the bus on time, I was in a perpetual argument with my then husband.  It was just a vicious cycle of ‘everything sux’ (and not in a good funny Kylie Mole* kinda way.)   But I realise now is the one thing that was missing was taking action.  I was so scared about meeting mortgage commitments and getting renovations done, I just couldn’t value my own happiness.  And it wasn’t worth it.  If  I had  just started researching, writing down my thoughts, practicing gratitude and expanding my horizon, my life could have been so much easier (and happier).  This is what I do now when I am in grumpy town and I can not recommend the power of taking action more.

Ask yourself, what will happen if you stay in this situation for the next 3 years?  What impact will that have on how you see yourself, your company and your career?

Start to analyse WHY you are staying. If there is something happening right now that means you have to stay, set a deadline for yourself to start looking for a new job so you know this period of your life will have an end point.  

If there’s nothing holding you back other than YOU MAKING THAT DECISION,  then its time to take action today! 

Yes as in, right now!

You will immediately feel better.  The momentum you build will take the pressure off what is happening at work day to day. Now, the actions you take today don’t have to be scary.  They can take the form of lots of tiny tiny steps, such as: 

  • researching your next job,
  • actively questioning what you want, 
  • writing down your feelings, 
  • writing down your decisions,
  • asking for the support you need to make the move.

If financial commitments are making you feel trapped, work out what your minimum salary level needs to be.  

I always advise that if you’re moving from one permanent role to the next you should be asking for at least a 20% pay rise to make it worthwhile.  

Why?  

Because all the goodwill you have stored up in your current job is worth something. Whether its extra flexibility, no one questioning you if you come in a little late or take a sick day, that build-up of trust and support is worth something.  Make sure you factor this in.  That said, if you have to move FAST because you need a life-raft job to get out of a really bad situation, then I recommend finding something that pays at least as much as your current salary.

Don’t let yourself go backwards financially. Going backwards can take longer to recover from than you think, and its just not worth it. There’s a reason you get paid good money in your current role so don’t back down on your salary because your current role has worn you down.  It took me 5 years to get back to where I was when I was at ANZ – 5 years!!!!  That impacted my savings, super and wardrobe!!  Choose joy and money and don’t accept that you can’t have both because you can! (I do now and its awesome, so it is possible.)

Now, I’d love to hear from you by commenting on this post here. 

What is one thing you can do today to get out of that crappy job? 

And, if you’re currently in a job you love (BIG YAY!!!) – what is one thing you are grateful for in your current role? 

* For those of you unfamiliar with the pure pleasure of Kylie Mole see this clip

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Confidence Builders, Finding your purpose, Get a promotion, Positive Motivation

Is work making you feel like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens? Try this 1 simple trick to re-set!

Is your mindset holding you back?  


If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with an easy way to shift your mindset.  I use it all the time.


Getting crystal clear on what you are aiming to do next is tough if your work and headspace is full of noise and confusion.
 


Use these super simple techniques to help shift into the best possible mindset to get crystal clear on your next career move.

Key Learning Prompts 

  1. Use an open and curious mindset to support you to positively move towards your next job move
  2. Learn ways to create and maintain an open and curious  mindset
  3. Check-in with your inner ‘noise’
  4. Note down when you speak to yourself negatively and ask yourself ‘What is happening for me right now?’
  5. Know your triggers
  6. Create mindset re-sets that work for you when you need a quick shift

My Story

I have had a lot of de-programming to do over the years. Some of this was from family or TV (I’m Gen X, there was no instagram in the ‘90s) and some of it was from companies I worked for.  

Sometimes corporate speak – ‘cut the fat’, ‘lift and shift’, ‘evangelist’, ‘dead wood’, ‘resources’, ‘lackey’, ‘yes-man’, ‘blocker’, ‘master’, ‘servant-leadership’ – when taken out of our context is just kind of creepy (ok, I want to say gothic or colonial or oligarchy but creepy kinda just covers it for now).  

It seeps into our DNA. 

It can be a form of aggression that we are not even aware of.  

To write a book, to start a business was to overcome a lifetime of programming –  being taught a government job was safest, that the way to get ahead was to wear a power suit and have super BIG hair (hello 80’s ladies!!) while working for a CORPORATION and that speaking up is a CLM (Career Limiting Move). 

I have lots of techniques I use to ‘trick’ myself out of these robotic ways of operating and to help me be more open and curious.  

This is the key mindset that helps me to be creative and stay true to myself.   It helps me to apply for jobs, ask for a promotion, ask for a pay rise, build a business and write a book (and so much more!!)

Keep reading below for some simple prompts to help you with your own de-programming.  This will help you to stay open so that you can get crystal clear on what YOU MOST WANT to do next.  

Activity – Create your own beautiful Mindset Re-set list

What you say in your head matters. 

Create a list of five positives to read through when your old negative thoughts and stories are overwhelming you. 

Can’t think of five positives? 

Here are some ideas to prompt you:

  • List down 5 of your top strengths
  • Write down 3 reasons why you are great at your job
  • Reflect on all of your achievements and create a best of list
  • Note down any affirmations that always shift your mood instantly
  • Contemplate what you are most grateful for, write it down!

Choose five of the best AND WRITE THEM DOWN!  

Have it handy when you need it most.  (Tip: Add it into your notes app or write them on a post-it and stick the post-it on your mirror.)

If you add to this list weekly (especially with any positive feedback you get) you will create something that is truly beautiful and 100% just for you.

Good Luck!  

You deserve to be happy! 

You are worth so much more!

I believe in you!

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Confidence Builders, Positive Motivation

Heart-felt advice for overcoming your anxieties at work

Do you always feel anxious at work?  

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for helping you understand yourself more, you will hear my own personal struggle with anxiety, perfectionism and competitiveness and it will also provide ideas on how to shift your own beliefs to take the temperature down so you can enjoy your job more!

Key Learning Prompts

  • Do you have to be on top of everything ALL the time to be ‘good’ at your job?
  • What core beliefs are driving your anxiety?
  • What would happen if you didn’t answer that email first?

Heart-felt advice for overcoming your anxieties at work

The Story – my clients and my own

One of the biggest career blockers for my coaching clients and it comes up time and time again, is anxiety and confidence. Stress levels can make work feel ‘too much’ and a lack of confidence can feed the feeling of overwhelm.  Clients say things like:

“Its important to ALWAYS be accepted”
“I want (need) to be across EVERYTHING
EVERYTHING I do must be of a high quality”

Words such as always, must, important, everything keep coming up.  These beliefs create pressure.  Pressure to be the perfect, most in integrity, honest, liked super boss ever!  Pressure leads to anxiety and all the implications that has (headaches, migraines, getting colds a lot, frantic thoughts, fight or flight mode engaged, making decisions in a panic). It can also contribute to that feeling of not being in the right job, not feeling good ever (physically or emotionally) or no longer enjoying the job.

I’ve experienced the crushing need to be the best, to be on top of everything all the time, to be ahead the game, to always have the solution before the problem is identified by others.  But it came at a cost – lots of headaches and not enjoying my job.  Over time and with more senior roles I’ve embraced new habits.  Some of the new habits came from understanding myself better (i.e.: writing a book helped me understand my creativity comes in short intense intervals and so I use that super power at work but know that I need to switch to other people focussed tasks once creativity hour is over otherwise I will burn out.)

Minimising anxiety

Anxieties that I have learnt to manage but used to really impact me and my health include:

  • needing to answer all emails in a certain time frame
  • being across everything, not having surprises
  • not offending anyone ever
  • worries about standing out because of negative impact on relationships with peers
  • being late for anything
  • dealing with all problems in the immediate
  • feeling solely responsible for a project ‘making it over the line’
Its not possible to be on top of everything ALL the time, nor is it essential to do a good job. 

Stressful jobs exacerbated these anxieties – fire fighting roles, high profile projects, or managing troubled teams. I really had to ask myself:

“Why do I have to be on top of everything ALL the time to think of myself as ‘good’ at my job”?

The answer came back via a jumbled series of random beliefs and memories:

  • My first management role where I was told ‘no surprises’ was a sign of a good manager
  • A senior manager role where was I told to ‘keep your team silent running’ so my boss could focus on other disaster areas in his department  (I was looking after testing for production support, infrastructure and integrations teams – keeping that silent running was NOT easy!!)
  • Me – not liking looking like I didn’t know something
  • Me – simple competitiveness and a love of ‘winning’

The great unravelling of these anxieties really began when I changed my beliefs and my expectations.

Because doing well at work does mean that:

  • some times people will be offended by your teams achievements, your successes, your ideas
  • being across everything leaves no room for creativity and can come across as controlling to your direct reports
  • if you’re great you’ll stand out (and that is something I’ve had to accept and get used too)
  • being late happens
  • dealing with problems in the immediate means not having time to get perspective, (such as organisation or  potliical context)… relationships aren’t just built in the immmediate, they are built over time… taking time out to consider can mean you make better decisions and get more support for that decision.  Some problems do need an immediate resolution (especially when in an operational role), its just understanding when this is this needed and when a sense of urgency isn’t really necessary and may even be destructive.

Techniques and lessons learnt

Techniques and lessons learnt that help me to shift out of anxiety mode and shift some of my beliefs:

  • Meditation
  • Cardio (lots of)
  • Testing different strategies for responsiveness and urgency to create more balance (ie: no longer having to be the first to respond to an email, not always having to be the one that offers to help,  letting email arguments run and then coming in at the end to recommend action vs contributing to the email chain blow-out).
  • Delegation
  • Letting go of detail (appropriately – some roles do need detail even in technical management roles so  this needs to be balanced with job requirements and the culture of the organisation)
  • Trusting your team
  • Perfect isn’t best
  • Valuing creativity
  • Trusting a great job isn’t dependent on always being ‘busy’, booked up with meetings or stressed out
  • Finding ways to deliver without having tight deadlines or other boundaries that are within my control
  • Leave at 5pm some days / take that lunch break / come in later one day a week

Now, I’d love to hear from you!

What makes you anxious at work?

What is one belief you have that needs to change?  

What bad habit have you broken successfully, and how has it changed how you feel about your job & career?

Let me know right here by commenting on this article (I read all the comments and love to hear your ideas 🙂 )

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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
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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

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Interview Series, Lead Your Pack Series, Positive Motivation

Just Believe In Yourself

Annick Inna Interview – Book Doula

“Just believe in yourself.” Annick Ina is a Book Doula, Business Strategist and Project Catalyst. We met via Marie Forleo‘s B-School community and Annick gave me some amazing advice when I was in the early stages of writing my book ‘I’m Ready Now – A Guide To Getting a Promotion‘.

Annick is always generous with her time and I offer this interview to you as an insight into career flexibility, creativity, living a purposeful life and just going for it!

Now, I would love to hear from you by leaving a comment right here on this page.

What is you biggest takeaway from this interview?  

What would happen if you chose to believe in yourself everyday?

 

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Lead Your Pack Series

Leading when you don’t have the direct status or power to lead

Being an influencer sounds cool but in a big organisation its easy to get lost and feel like you’re a nobody.

To thrive you will need to adopt a customer focus centred on relationships, build trust and credibility through small wins, practice patience and perseverance

I work in a role where I need to lead change, coach people in agile testing strategies and get agreement from very senior manager across business and technology teams. I have no direct power, no direct reports yet I’ve been successful by focussing on small wins, persistence and always being visible.  Its definitely tricky and not always good for the ego (especially when I’m used to running large team when that explicit power in just therein the role.)  I think its made me a better advocate for change though because I always need to be humble and demonstrate that I’ve heard what my stakeholders want, not just put my opinion over the top.  Its a style I hope to use whether I’m in an influencing role or manager role in future.

If you are in an influencer role, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for helping you overcome the power dynamic and build indirect power through your relationships.

Key Learning Points

  • Accept that you don’t have direct power
  • Understand that your style will have to change to adapt to this
  • Relationships are now a focus
  • Be easy to deal with
  • Focus on being a positive and fun force for driving change
  • Build credibility
  • Patience is the key, along with being a consistent presence and contributor
  • Focus on goals not expectations
  • Ask, don’t tell

Be visible, approachable and easy to work with.

 

Prompts

Use the prompts to help ask great questions and find out more information when meeting with your team:

  • What relationships are key to getting decisions made?
  • Who are my key influencers?
  • What type of communication works best with my stakeholders?
  • Who are the best influencers in the organisation? What works for them? Can I pick up their style ?
  • What areas do I need to change in my style?
  • How quickly can I work on my projects when it is just me?
  • What will build credibility the easiest?
  • What is the the path of least resistance?
  • What small wins can I get quickly that will help build my credibility?
  • Who can best mentor and advise me?
  • What assumptions do I have?  How can I test these?
  • What can help me be more patient?

 

Where can you be more patient? What will you do today to create great relationships?

I’d love to hear from you, what will you do today to create great relationships? 

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