The burden of guilt for executive women - and how it's keeping us playing small if we let it

The Burden fo guilt for executive women.jpg

Working Women Guilt is a thing. It's well documented and not just limited to working mothers. Executive women the globe over, whether they are parents or not, talk about feeling guilty. A lot.

Anne Marie Slaughter (Why Women Still Can't Have it All) and Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In) have both written about guilt and women. Feeling guilty has become a way of life for many. 

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.
— Gretchen Rubin

Things women tell me they feel guilty about:

  • Sleeping in and not getting a workout in before work

  • Not getting up at 5am to start work early

  • Earning more than male peers or partners (if lucky enough!) 

  • Leaving the office before others  

  • Not being there for kids while working

  • Working out, when you should be at home doing something for the kids

  • Asking working mothers to stay back late at the office

  • Making mistakes at work 

  • Not being thin enough / well dressed enough / good enough - full stop

  • Eating/drinking too much

  • Under/over performing 

  • Choosing to take a significant career break whether you are a parent or not

  • Choosing not to take a significant career break as a parent (working mother guilt)

  • Not having a career strategy

  • Not being ambitious enough

  • Being too ambitious

  • Speaking or laughing too loudly in the office

  • Not cooking proper home cooked meals for the family

And the list goes on .....

It's contradictory, convoluted and complicated. Lots of examples of damned when we do, and doomed when we don't. And then you feel guilty, or possibly even stupid, for having these contradictory feelings of guilt.

The Stereotype Effect is alive and well for executive women and stronger for women than men. When reminded of our femininity we are more prone to performing to the stereotype, or feel guilty if/when we don't.  


There are benefits in feeling guilty. Research demonstrates that guilt helps with empathy and building and maintaining relationships, with one study finding that while shame was linked to personal distress, guilt was linked to perspective taking.   Is this then why "the feminine" is said to be better at emotional intelligence and relationships? 

But when the burden of guilt becomes overwhelming and possibly even for contradictory issues, it runs the risk of becoming a Catch 22 and a waste of energy.  It's distracting, draining and keeps us playing small.

Have you heard the expression "like water off a ducks back" - where hurts and infractions slide right off?  Perhaps we need to embrace that more fully.   

Next time you start to berate yourself for eating that extra Tim Tam, instead of feeling guilty, practice being like Teflon

Remind yourself about the impact of the Stereotype Effect (stronger for women), and then simply get on with the business of being great again!


Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Three interview fails you definitely want to avoid

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Ahhhhh, the dreaded job interview.

It’s funny isn’t it, how we interview so rarely yet it's a critical skill in terms of landing your next big role and getting it right can add 10's or 100's of 1000's of dollars to your career over time?

Investing in interview planning, strategy and role play for those serious about their career, is not just a necessary evil, but a superbly smart play.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I was taken aback by a particularly memorable interview performance.

  • Me:  "Tell us about a time when you've had to handle a difficult customer situation - what did you do and how did you handle it?"

  • Candidate: (standing up, dramatically thrusting their hand out towards me like a stop sign) "Talk to the hand!"

Later during the course of the interview the candidate reflected that maybe they were interviewing for the wrong role.


I didn’t disagree. 

We might not all make that particular mistake. But nerves are cunning, and the stakes are high, so anything could happen. Here are three of the most common mistakes I see, yet I know they are difficult to nip in the bud.  

  1. Treating the interview like a performance.

    You’re so rehearsed, polished and slick that you come off as inauthentic. There are no stumbles (unless deliberately and dramatically placed) and you sound as though you've learned rote responses off by heart. Pauses for dramatic effect, the over animated facial expressions or hand gestures, or the bigger than Ben Hur "presence" as you command attention from the panel are dead giveaways. A dramatic talk to the hand might get you laughs in a drama class, but was really inappropriate in the context of the interview. While rehearsal or role play is good, you aren’t a performing seal. People want to know they can work with you, not necessarily that you have dramatic flair. And while a certain polish and a panache can go a long way, this is not the opportunity to give the performance of lifetime. Keep it real people. Keep it real.

  2. Feeling as though you need to prove yourself.  

    So you end up coming across like an Eager Beaver or a People Pleaser as you jump through hoops to answer questions - leaning forwards, speaking fast, asking if you gave enough information, or alternatively providing far too much information as you try and demonstrate how great you are for the role. This makes others feel uncomfortable and as though you don't believe in yourself.  Instead, bring some executive equity into the room with you, some confidence, some self belief and a willingness to back yourself as a peer.

  3. Behaving as though it’s a test - enter the Energiser Bunny! 

    Signs you think it’s a test?

    - You respond so fast after you’ve been asked the question, that you barely had time to think

    - You take a deep breath, then grin in a self congratulatory manner at the end of each response

    - The answers come out in a rehearsed even pace, they are word perfect with business speak more suitable for a written report

    - Yet if someone asks you a question that you've not prepared for, you don't know which answer to give, because you didn't prepare for that question

    - You’re poised on the edge of your seat with a bring it on attitude, and

    - Finally, when you provide a particularly good response you then finish with an arm pump and a #nailedit comment. And you’re incredibly scary. (Okay I'm over exaggerating here, but you get the picture.)


  • Back yourself

  • Sell yourself and

  • Express your expertise in language the panel values and understands

Treat the interview like it’s a conversation. The quietly, confident candidate leans back slightly in their chair - they converse, connect, reflect and ask questions that demonstrate their interest in return. They use the three "feminine" super powers of emotional intelligence, active listening and clear communication to find the Goldilocks sweet spot of energy - not too much, not too little, but just right. They provide real and specific examples of where they've done something similar before - based in fact, grounded in context and backed up with impact. This helps them to not only look and sound credible and believable, but also helps the interview panel feel secure in their decision making.

A well-educated mind will always have more questions than answers
— Helen Keller


In case you're feeling bad about yourself, don't.  I once heard a story of a super smart candidate wearing a onesie to a corporate job interview and bringing his mum into the interview room with him to help him negotiate.  But that's a story for another day. 

However, if you identified with any of the three above, the easiest way to improve is to practice with someone who is prepared to give you feedback. The interview might not be a performance, but it is a skill you can develop. And the more you interview the better you'll get.

Thanks to everyone who completed the 2018 Career Strategy Survey last month. I've been working through the responses and will contact you shortly if you asked for more information.  Drop me a note if you missed out and would like to take part.

Feeling frustrated and overlooked?  
Know that you do awesome work but others are taking you for granted?

Why not book in a 30 min one on one  phone call to learn more. 1st in best dressed rules apply.

#interviewfails #interviewpreparation #womenofimpact


Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How making a decision can shift you from feeling invisible to feeling invincible

I was desperately unhappy in my role

Exhausted, feeling like a fraud, and secretly doubting that I had it in me to do much more!

I remember saying to my husband that I thought I only had one big role left in me …..

Little did I know 🤣🤩😂😜

This picture was snapped in an unguarded moment when I had made up my mind (thanks Facebook memories!)


And while I can see the tiredness, I can also see the relief of me taking control of my own destiny again

When you’re feeling stuck or frustrated in the wrong role

  • You’ve outgrown it

  • With a boss who may not “see” you anymore

  • In a culture that doesn’t sustain you

It’s exhausting and deeply unsatisfying

Security is one thing

But taking control of your career and destiny is a whole new exciting and joyful new ball game - and a heck of a lot more rewarding.

From invisible to invincible!

>> COMMENT - When have you taken control of your own destiny? And did it make you happier?

#womenofimpact #daretodream #business #careers

Helping clients shift from #invisibletoinvincible


Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

The Importance of a Career Strategy for Executive Women

“She believed she could, so she set a goal, then made a plan and worked the plan til she did.”
— A J Blesing

Do you remember Susan Colantuono's TED talk The Missing 33%?  In summary she says that "The Missing 33% of the career success equation for women is not because women don't or can't have business, strategic and financial acumen, but because very few women are clearly told how essential these skills are for reaching the top."

Great advice. Finally. A solution that works. 

And doesn't it feel good to be able to pinpoint the problem of lack of women in leadership to one particular issue?


Of course not. It’s an idea, not a silver bullet.

I don't need to tell you that the issue is much more challenging than merely understanding balance sheets - after all there are many superbly financially savvy female executives out there who still struggle.

Case in point my recent gobsmacking conversation with a well known male Financial Columnist who told me that women weren't good with money and didn't care about money and that he only knew two financially savvy female leaders (paraphrased - and perhaps he had watched Susan's TED talk but got the wrong end of the stick).  

Other issues in this complex area include:

  • exclusion tactics by those already in positions of leadership leaving some women believing it’s not only not possible, but not something they really want anyway

  • fewer opportunities at the top for both men and women (ergo higher competition)

  • lack of female role models in CEO roles (just 7% female CEO's in S&P/ASX200 in 2018) and 

  • the subsequent high levels of scrutiny and potential for backlash for executive women, sometimes culminating in a fall over the Glass Cliff which deters many others from following in her footsteps. Another case in point - the recent débâcle at the ABC. 

ANOTHER Idea - another MISSING 33% 

I've discovered a startling fact.

Most women don't have a clear career strategy. In fact, they've probably never even heard of the need for one.

According to recent research from the Women CEOs Speak Study (Korn Ferry and The Rockefeller Foundation, published August, 2018), "65% of the female CEOs surveyed said they only realised they could become a CEO after someone told them so. With few .... female CEOs to model after, only 12% of women CEOs said they had aspired to a CEO role for “a long time.”

In a nutshell, many executive women, including those already leading, don't aspire to become the boss - they don't aim for the top job, they don't believe it's a real option for them and they don't plan for the possibility of getting there. 

Someone else told them it was possible.

And I'm not surprised.

After talking with literally hundreds of women about their career plans here's what I notice in the narrative that surrounds women and their career - 

  • "I was lucky"

  • "Someone tapped me on the shoulder"

  • "I didn't know it was possible until my boss suggested I apply, and even then I didn't feel ready"

  • "I was in the right place at the right time" 

  • "My career just unfolded"

I recently facilitated a discussion with a room full of female CEOs and Managing Directors in Sydney where all but one said they had no plan to lead or clearly defined career strategy, and that the opportunities just presented themselves or unfolded. Three of them said they were simply lucky.

Passive language. No agency.  

Don't forget that luck is really what happens when planning meets opportunity - and not passive at all.

Let's not just blame women for yet another issue that they get wrong. Executive women have enough to feel guilty about without adding lack of career strategy to the burden.

  • We teach women about work - and how to do that well, rigorously, thoroughly and appropriately

  • We teach women about the importance having an identity outside of work

  • We're forever reinforcing the need for women to have work life balance and the ubiquitous Women in Leadership Conference panel on said topic is testament to that.

  • But what we don't teach young women and girls is about the importance of having a career strategy.  

    Is it that we educate boys differently? Yes, but not that much. However, the informal education of young men and boys, along with the role modelling from so many more male leaders definitely  includes the possibility that the top job might be for them should they want it and plan for it.

The socialisation of women and girls leaves a lot to be desired.   After all, many still believe it’s better to have effortlessly been discovered than to be perceived as having strived, pushed and manoeuvred to get to the top.

Organisations need help defining and following the necessary steps to maintain a proven pipeline of female leadership candidates .....….and women need help identifying the right career approaches to prepare for CEO roles.
— Jane Stephenson, Korn Ferry

However educators, coaches, mentors, sponsors, L&D professionals, talent acquisition and retention specialists all need to keep this in mind and ensure career strategy is part of talent development from the get go.  

Ensure that the talent you recruit or champion knows where they are aiming for and of the importance of having a clear plan for how they might get there.  

After all, if they don't know where they are going, how will they know when they get there?


Senior level executive women need to ask for support in planning a possible tilt for the top from the moment they're appointed.  It's not over bold, it's simply a strategic play.  Wouldn't you prefer to find out sooner rather than later what the future might hold?

One super talented younger ambitious woman I mentor negotiated her tilt for her new bosses role, prior to her commencement date, with great success. It further enabled her boss to plan his exit strategy and groom her for taking over from the start.

If your career isn't working out for you right now, do something about it. Life's too short to stick in a role going nowhere, with a boss who keeps you playing small, in an organisation that you've out grown.   

You run the risk of becoming a smaller version of yourself and that helps no-one.

So take the time to get back in touch with what's important, where you were heading before you became a square peg in a round hole, and put a plan in action. 

Never forget, don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.

After all, a mediocre plan that you executive is far better than a perfect plan in limbo. And any strategy, even the wrong one, is frequently better than no strategy.

I'd love to know your thoughts - why not have your say?

  • It will only take two minutes and may be just the thing that helps us understand this issue further.

  • Do you attribute your success in your career to luck or planning? 

  • How has your approach worked for you?   

  • Click on the link for this survey to have your say. 

Want help with your career strategy and executive brand?
Why not book in a 30 min one on one  phone call to learn more. 1st in best dressed rules apply.

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How to get more done with less

You know when you have a looming deadline but everyone is pulling you from pillar to post? 

ARGH!!!  😫

Or when you spend so much time in meetings that you secretly wonder “when will I ever get my work done?” 

Combine that with open plan offices and sneaking time on LinkedIn and you have a recipe for disaster for your productivity.

Which leaves some wondering if creating a career that really counts is all it’s cracked up to be!

10 Productivity Hacks to Help you Focus

  1. Turn off your phone notifications during the day

  2. Tackle the hardest stuff first

  3. Set up an "email response time"... and stick to it

  4. Pomodoro technique

  5. Take proper breaks

  6. Get enough sleep

  7. Don't multitask

  8. Set yourself some mini goals during the day

  9. Get competitive

  10. Make a good old fashioned list

>> READ MORE  - I was interviewed by Claire Isaac on TEN DAILY and here is her article

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How to ensure your flex arrangements work for you, not against you

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As the world of work is changing, employees are increasingly working remotely and the four walls of the workplace are evaporating
— Fay Calderone

A 2016 Report by Chief Executive Women (CEW) and Bain & Co entitled ‘The Power of Flexibility’ found that “in order to advance gender equality in the workplace, flexible arrangements must be available to and actively supported for both genders”.  From an individual perspective “where flexible arrangements are widely used, all employees are four times happier”.

Nice! Flexible work arrangements are great for both genders and make us four times happier. What's not to like?

So why is it that many of the women I speak with are hesitant to ask?  Reasons include:

  1. The boss is old fashioned and he or she will never allow it

  2. My organisation doesn’t really accommodate it – the policy is there but we don't make it easy with technology, and we need our people to be visible and on the ground

  3. I’m worried that if I do ask I’ll be perceived as though I'm not ambitious enough any more, and it will be harder to compete for plum assignments and negotiate on salary and future career opportunities.

True - these are all valid concerns, yet times are changing albeit more slowly in some industries than others. However, they are changing as organisations recognise that flexible working arrangements are incredibly helpful as a talent acquisition and retention strategy. 

“You are enabled to really attract the best talent to your organisation. If you are not limited by a specific office location, you can look anywhere in the country or anywhere on the globe.” Nicole McCabe – Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at SAP

To assist you to carve out more flexible arrangements that are a win win for both you and your organisation – here are five issues to consider  

  1. Do ask – if you don’t ask you won’t get.

  2. Mindset - shift from thinking about trading time for money to trading impact or results for money. When you make that shift yourself its easier to see the benefits of your work for what they are which means you can articulate them more clearly to your boss. 

  3. Back yourself - Instead of Abba “take a chance on me”  think far more Kylie “you should be so lucky!” Self confidence combined with self advocacy are very compelling career assets.

  4. Make a plan, don’t just wing it – just like when you negotiate a raise, craft a plan beforehand, and include what you do want, how it helps the organisation and where your line in the sand is.

  5. Don’t accept the first no you get as “no forever” - maybe it’s “no, not right now but let’s revisit in a month” or "not sure? How about a trial for a month?"

If you are successful 

For those who have been successful in navigating this flex conversation you want to put some risk mitigation strategies in place to make sure that people don't side line or forget you exist.  They key theme is don't leave them wondering.   

  1. Proactively manage expectations and set protocols - Make sure your boss, team and customers know how and when to find you - when you are at work and when you’re not; when you’ll respond and when you won’t. 

  2. Be strategic re emailing and communications with your team, staff and boss - timing is everything. I knew a bloke once who took this to the extreme and would deliberately email the boss at 10pm at night every now and then.  It worked a treat for him, but made everyone else who knew about it feel vaguely ill and the boss look incredibly gullible. I'm not recommending that, but if you are worried your boss thinks you are skiving off, email a progress report at the end of your working day. 

  3. Be strategically visible on a regular basis so you don’t get forgotten -  When you do get into the office - stay visibile. 

One of my clients is a senior level executive, with young children and an overseas client in a very different time zone. The demands on her personally and professionally are high including spending much of her time working late nights on the client portfolio. She has flex arrangements. However, she noticed that head office staff started to bypass her in important decisions because she wasn’t perceived asbeing around. She was becoming invisible. So she came up with a plan that included making sure to stop in and have conversations with key decision makers before she headed to her own division area on the days she did come into the office. At the end of her stint in the office she would then revisit the C-level decision makers for ad-hoc visits and corridor chats before she left to work from home.  Highly visible. Highly sought after. Much more satisfied.

Drop me an email if you've got any tactics that might help others navigate flexible arrangements. 
And do get in touch if you want help with that.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolutionrocks #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #success #career #standout #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing


Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

🌺 9 compelling reasons why you need to attend the Palm Cove Women of Impact Retreat 🌺

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1 - 3 November 2018

Bookings and information in the link.

The grass is greener where you water it.
— Emily Culp, Chief Marketing Officer, Keds

Finding the balance between tackling big, hairy, ambitious plans and taking downtime to reflect, can be challenging for those with big career goals and even bigger roles. 

To help you make a better decision about whether this retreat is right for you here are nine compelling reasons why you need to make time to attend.

1. Priority #1 is YOU. Not in a self indulgent, lie around the pool, drop and flop way (although there will be time for that too), but in a way that helps you let go of the old, and get on with the new. It can be hard to find time when juggling perfectionism, likability and hard work along with family, friends and fitness!  Research tells us that women in particular are very good at making others look good, but forget to do the same for themselves.  This is the perfect opportunity to make you your #1 priority. 

2. Stop being busy, start being strategic. Did you know that only 12% of executive women in CEO or MD roles say they have a career strategy according to Korn Ferry? We'll take time to map out a plan for you, so you've got some idea of where you are going in 2019 and beyond. After all, if you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?  

3. The amazing Alessandra Edwards is joining the facilitation team. Alessandra is in demand with medical professionals, C-suite Executives and high flyers locally and internationally. She is an expert in the DNA of Performance and she'll be helping us unlock the core elements of energy and focus to keep you firing at your best.  She works at the cutting edge of tailored health and wellness programs. This is truly the way of the future, and we are privileged to have access to her on the program.

4. Another amazing addition to our team is ABC Journo, Penny Terry, an expert in powerful communication. Penny will show us how good storytelling and communication skills are critical along the path to influence and can change conversations from outrage to empathy and inspire collaboration over competition, helping you cut through the clutter around a Boardroom table, in meetings, in presentations or in the media.

5. It's Palm Cove!  You'll have to relax and take time out, because you simply won't be able to help yourself. Why not stay a few extra days and chill?

6. The 5 Star Award Winning Alamanda Suites - on the beach and at the quiet end of town. Enough said. 

7. All your meals catered for by the famous Nu Nu Restaurant voted the 2015 Australian Gourmet Traveller and 2017 Good Food Guide Queensland Regional Restaurant of the Year.  Did I mention dinner under the stars on the beach one evening?

8. You'll make great connections with likeminded executive women. A great location to exchange ideas, inspire and be inspired and simply learn from others in similar situations. There is a saying "your network is your net worth".  But it's not about the number of connections, but the quality of your connections. You'll have time to invest in quality relationships while at Palm Cove.

9. Because you're worth it!  

10. Bonus tip - If you live in Melbourne, it will get you out of town for that pesky horse race.  Why not stay on a few extra days? It's an unofficial long weekend in Melbourne anyway and the Alamanda is holding the room rate for you for 3 days either side. 

Bookings via Eventbrite

  • Current clients and former clients receive a significant discount (or included in your 12 month agreement).

  • New clients most welcome - and the best bit? The full Retreat fee includes a 2 hour coaching session with me. Book in a 30 min one on one  phone call to learn more.

  • For anyone wanting help with a Twin Share room buddy, get in touch now. Accommodation rates held to 21 September 2018.

Bookings and information in the link.

#thrivenotsurvive #2018andBeyond #feminineambitionrocks #womenofimpact #womenofworthwin

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Leadership lessons from a hip hop dance competition? You betcha'!

Leadership lessons for #leadingwomen from a hip hop dance competition? You betcha’!

Don’t imitate the men. 

Toni Basil, best known for her multi-million-selling worldwide 1982 hit "Mickey", which reached No 1 in several countries, reminds female hip hop artists to not forget their femininity. 

  • It doesn’t take away your strength
  • You can be as strong as you want
  • I’m talking about women accepting the femininity within them and adding it to their “dance”

Love this as a lesson in leadership for women! 

Gone are the old days of “big hair, big shoulder pads, go hard or go home”.  

And to women reading this - let’s lead like a leading woman not like a man. 

“I haven’t found myself constrained by the male models of leadership because I haven’t found them particularly inspiring, so why copy something you didn’t like?” ~ Ann Sherry AO, Carnival Australia

And Toni Basil?  At 75yo you truly inspire and not just because of your amazing dance moves. For the groovers reading this post? Check out the video - this will make your day.

#business #branding #leadership

(Video - Youtube HHI's "Real Talk”)


Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

When sexist comments make your blood boil ..... go postal!

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When did it become a zero sum game of being good at managing money or good at relationships? I’m pretty good at walking and chewing gum at the same time.

A funny thing happened on the way to Brisbane the other day.  I was sitting on the plane, when a man sat down next to me.  We exchanged details (him: financial columnist, me: executive coach for executive women).  The ensuing conversation (documented below), ended with me feeling frustrated, flabbergasted ..... and angry.

Oh no.  I'm "that angry woman"

The Angry Woman Stereotype

The stereotype of an angry woman is  ...... emotional, out of control, less logical and less credible. We all saw the way that Hillary Clinton was portrayed when she displayed anger.  It's a tough gig to remain credible as a woman when you are known for being angry.

What the Research Says

Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago looked at the differences in the way we perceive angry men or women and highlighted the double standard.

They found that "women's anger worked against them, while men's anger served as a "powerful" tool of persuasion. When the holdout was a male who expressed anger, participants significantly doubted their own opinion, even when they were in the majority. But if the holdout was a woman who expressed anger, she actually had less influence over participants -so much so that it was the only scenario in the study in which participants became more confident in their own opinion that opposed that of the woman."

The alternatives for women are pretty limited - grace and poise under pressure still come to mind.

Then that's it. Nada.

Going Postal

So what recourse did I have? How could I do something, express my outrage yet stay credible? 

So I created a (semi) viral LinkedIn Post. I call it "going postal". 

  • Going Postal - normally refers to out of control anger. Definitely a career limiting move (CLM) for leading women and men.

  • "going postal" (note lower case and yes this is my new definition) - creating a LinkedIn viral Post to drive awareness and change.

Jane Anderson, Influencer and blogging expert, in a recent blog talks about staying above the line.  

  • Below the line = criticising, negative, using fear.

  • Above the line =. drawing attention and proposing a positive solution
    So my definition of "going postal" also includes an element of positivity.

So what got my dander up? 

Read the blog below - then head over to LinkedIn and tag a financially savvy woman somewhere! 

The above the line action? After a week, I'll be emailing my flight buddy with a list of fabulously financially savvy women for him to refer to in his next column! 

Let's kick this stereotype to the curb (yet again).

Read on .... and be prepared to be flabbergasted  ...

I was shocked  by a sexist comment yesterday on a flight. “#Women simply can’t manage money as well as men”, he said. 

This wasn't just any sexist guy, it was  #Financial columnist for a well known publication 

“Women don’t care about money - they care more about people“ he went onto say.

WTF??? 🤯 

A total insult to most of the women in my circle of friends and colleagues if not all women everywhere! 

You’d think I was back in the 1950's   

I can't even excuse his age because my grandma (even older than he) was AWESOME at #financialmanagement. 

I nearly had an apoplexy! 

Bias and stereotypes are rampant in our business world. And with so few women visibly leading the financial space, it’s no wonder. 

It’s far easer to accept the old narrative and stereotyped norms as a version of the truth. Hang out with enough people who think the same as you, and you’ll end up with a bad case of confirmation bias to boot! 

Three financially savvy women I admire -

  • Sally Krawcheck, Ellevest

  • Christine Lagarde, IMF - and closer to home

  • Gail Kelly, 1st female CEO of a major Australian bank

 >> COMMENT - Which women do you know who are AWESOME at finances and who care about #finance and #people?  TAG a financially savvy woman somewhere.

Let’s kick this stereotype to the curb (yet again).    

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (vale Aretha)  

HAVE YOUR SAY - Don't forget to tag in the comments on LinkedIn (or send me the names) of fabulously financially savvy women. I'll be sending my new friend a list.

#feminineambitionrocks #womenofimpact #linkedInlove

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3 Signs You’ll Struggle With A Career Change

1.  You always have excuses - It’s someone else’s fault, the timing isn’t right, there isn’t anything out there, I’ll never be good enough, I’ll never earn enough money.


Enough said.

2.  You have kept your professional development to technical skills within the narrow band of your current expertise.

If you imagine that in 10 years you may be bored and want to do something different (highly likely as the norm is now about 5 - 7 career changes in the course of a career) you’ll also want to develop other things such as communication, negotiation, decision making, dealing with ambiguity & emotional intelligence.

3.  You have a low appetite for risk.  Yes, it can feel risky changing careers - at any age.

Is there a better age to change careers?  Not according to many. I’ve met people who have transitioned super successfully at any age - from 25 to 55.

There is a Chinese proverb “Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it.”

Don’t let your age stop you from doing the things you really want to do.

CURIOUS?  I was interviewed by Gillian Wolski, Lifestyle Reporter from Ten Daily.  You can read more here

>> YOUR THOUGHTS? Is there ever a good time to change careers?

#career#careertransition  #ZeroExcuses

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How to win with your professional photo shoot

How to win with your professional photo shoot_Amanda_Blesing.png

We all know that people make split second judgments (4 seconds or less).  With CVs and recruitment moving more and more to online platforms like LinkedIn, your photo is one of the things that really matters.  It's a door opener, a trust and credibility builder, and has the potential to add 10s of 1000s of $$ onto your earnings over the course of your career. 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

The flip side is also true. A bad photo keeps you missing out time and time again, for opportunities that you never even got to hear about. And never will.  

There's an old saying "dress for the job you want, not the job you have". The same goes for your professional headshot.  Your photo should position you for the role of your dreams, and not be something you were lucky to cut out from the previous year's Xmas party snaps. 

My US Celebrity Photoshoot

Four years ago I had my first professional photoshoot done. I was in the USA attending a speaker training week with Michael Port and he had brought a celebrity speaker photographer onsite for us to take advantage of.  It was an eye opening experience to say the least!  David (photographer) was hilarious with his "yeah baby, work it" comments bouncing off the walls as we posed and draped uncomfortably (we had been warned). But the results were phenomenal and we all felt a million bucks! In fact, I'm still using the shots he took then, and would do it again in a heartbeat if I got the chance.

I know many of my clients still feel uncomfortable with this idea. That it's somehow big-noting yourself at worst and unnecessary at best.   So to help feel more comfortable and to make the most of your next photoshoot, here are my nine tips for executive women and busy experts with big, hairy, audacious career goals.

I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her
— Kaci Diane


Nine Nifty Notes for Preparing for a Successful Photoshoot!

1. Think “successful leader” and “future personal brand” in your industry as you prepare - the role you want, not the role you have.  If you're aiming for a leadership role in a mining company, wear a suit, not the fluro. If you're aiming for a leadership role in education, dress yourself appropriately again. Ask yourself "What do the leaders in my industry typically wear on a good day?"  

2. Bring a change of jacket (or have a top which you could wear with a jacket or without) so you an get advice (and perspective) about what works best. This also means you can have two different looks in your allotted time slot. Head and shoulders is all that's required for LinkedIn.


3. Don't be afraid of wearing colour - avoid all black and charcoal gray is definitely out for most women.  Note my own photo has a black jacket but I have a white top underneath for a bit of a highlight. If I had my shoot again (and I will) I'll definitely be adding some colour or highlights. 

4. Show your throat - don't wear a high neckline or collar. According to research this signifies trust. I guess the exception to the rule here would be if you were interviewing for a ski resort where the turtle neck is ubiquitous with style.

5. Aim for a V neckline shape - so if you are wearing a round/square top, pop a structured jacket over the top. The current shape of the LinkedIn photo window doesn't flatter the round neckline much, plus the stereotypes around leadership lend themselves to a more V shaped neckline.

6. Blend the feminine with the masculine - a structured masculine business shirt is also not recommended for most women pitching into leadership - blend the masculine with the feminine (structure & flow/yin & yang).

7. Accessorise with your role (and stereotypes) in mind - a little jewellery is perfect but nothing too dominating. The focus is on you, your leadership cred and building connection.

8. KISS - Steer clear of too much patterning or clutter. It can be distracting. It's you we want to get to know.

9. Makeup is highly recommended - and dress your hair before you go. Although, obviously you can use the facilities onsite if you need.  Don't forget to ask the photographer to photoshop your pick of the images. Blemishes, spots, flyaway hair etc can all be managed for a price. If the celebrities do it, why can't you? 

Bonus tip #10  -  Be a poser - Angle yourself so your shoulders are on a diagonal, you are looking back at the camera and smiling. Smiling is great, likability is important. Don't be a afraid to try a range of poses. The pose that felt the most awkward  and uncomfortable for me, was the one I ended up liking the best.  It's not stupid. It's not egotistical. Everyone is a different shape and we all have different goals, so different poses suit different people.

My personal favourite is the arm folded/crossed. It works for me and has worked for a few of my clients.   

Check out Helen and Kathryn in their before and after shots.  Phenomenal. (Well done to both!) 

Helen new.jpeg
Kathryn Vosper.jpg
Kathryn Vosper.jpeg

Here are a couple of great examples for your to check out on LinkedIn.  

BEFORE YOU GO - Women of Impact go on tour!

We're heading on Retreat to Palm Cove from 1 - 3 November.    Limited places.

If you're interested in learning more about the program, drop us a note. Click on the button to register your interest and we'll send you the pricing and details. Early Bird Pricing to Mid September.



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Are you leaving money on the table by not doing this one thing?

Not following up …… is the same as filling up your bathtub without first putting the stopper in the drain.
— Michelle Moore

To follow up, or not? That is the question.

When you move into the realm of the Gold Standard of Executive Branded, you definitely follow up.

In fact, some might say that your future depends on your ability to follow up.

Not in a needy, desperate, scarcity mindset way.

But confidently, deliberately, proactively and professionally.

Q: When should you follow up? 
A: At almost any step of the process. See why below.

1. After you send off an application? If via email, yes, follow up. It's far more challenging with online systems so do your best. But definitely follow up, if you are applying via email, or via a recruiter. 

2. After interview? Yes, definitely follow up. You may be able to address any perceived gaps with what you find out i.e. you find out via a recruiter that the panel wondered if you had enough X,Y,Z experience, so you then counter that misperception by sending a one pager with a few tangible examples in a proactive, professional and helpful way.

You should also reiterate your enthusiasm for the role. Plus, make sure you say thank you. Gratitude and graciousness go a long way.

3. After the "thanks, but no thanks"? Yes, follow up. Ask for feedback on your performance because you are keen on improving your interview skills.

A couple of my clients are experts at using the follow up, and fast tracking or furthering their application at each phase of the process. 

  • Follow up at #1 got their application to the top of the pile. 
  • Follow up at #2 reminded the interviewer that they existed. 
  • Follow up at point #3 got them great insight as to future improvement areas in interview performance and refining their ideal role landing skills. It’s rare that people give feedback, but not unheard of. And it might just be the very thing you needed to hear.

One client found out that people were a bit put off by her spiral bound notebook. Small issue for sure. But people make snap judgements about you in a split second. And missing out on a role because of a notebook is so petty - yet easily fixed.

Finally, follow up at any of the stages could get you more information about a bigger, better or more suitable opportunity that you didn't even know about yet.

And to quote the fabulous Avril Henry

"Nobody cares as much about your career as you do. So do something about it!"

#career #followup #interview

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