Awards

What does Peppa the Pig have to do with a Legal Awards ceremony?

Gabrielle_Guthrie_Amanda_Blesing Women_in_Law_Awards.jpg

Heaps if you are one of the #winning #women doing the #juggle as they deliver excellence in Australian legal services! 

Celebrating and recognising excellence and achievement from women in any industry is a powerful driver towards gender equity.

Absolutely chuffed to support @Gabrielle Guthrie as she was named #Finalist in the Sole Practitioner Category at the Women In Law Awards hosted by Lawyers Weekly at the Sofitel last night. So proud of her results and achievements in just two years of establishing her own practice providing accessible, specialist environment and planning law advice. Phenomenal woman. Phenomenal lawyer. Phenomenal result

The 21 acceptance speeches represented all the richness, value and #diversity that working women provide to society with many reflecting that despite the juggle they were still able to deliver substantive change or results for clients. 

One of the winners shared a vulnerable moment that her Award nomination video accidentally included the Peppa the Pig soundtrack as she juggled childcare duties, work responsibilities and a looming Award nomination deadline. Despite this (or maybe because of this!!!), she won her category (you can’t keep amazing talent down) but it was a great story that highlights the juggle that many women deal with to stay ahead of the curve. The audience loved it.

Kudos to all the 180 finalists in the room and to the 20 women who were named as #winners. 

Keep inspiring others.

Special shout out to the other finalists at my table including Lesley Symons and Harmers Workplace Lawyers

#winningwomen #womenofimpact #leadingwomeninspirechange

Lawyers weekly Women in Law Awards.JPG
46516260_10155930023126186_2196213260313690112_n.jpg
 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com 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

Why some executive women win

Success_Factors_From_Winning_women_Amanda_Blesing_Career_coach.png

In the last couple of months so many of my clients have had seriously big wins. I am so incredibly proud of them as they achieved –

  • BIG salary negotiations, renegotiations on negotiations, or even negotiating for the very first time (did you know that, according to Glassdoor, less than 68% of women negotiate on initial offer?)
  • Tackling bigger projects or career goals than ever before
  • Award nominations and wins
  • First time C-suite and CEO roles
  • $25K-$150K+ salary increases, and
  • Feeling like they are on track with their career again.
You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?
— Rumi

I get goose bumps just thinking about it!

But it made me wonder – why does it appear to be easier for some than others?  

To help everyone who reads my blog, not just the ones who work with me, I’ve examined the commonalities of those kicking major goals.

What is common amongst these women? 

1. They have an attitude of positivity, possibility and optimism. They're able to park their "critic" and the “cynic” at the door, to embrace new ideas and tactics and then simply get on with the business of being great. They also have a YES, AND approach. If I say “jump”, they say, “YES, AND how can I take this even further?”. If I saw "try this", they say, "YES, AND I also want to try this. What do you think?"  Does this mean naïve? Not at all. Does this mean they always win? No again. But action creates momentum and a positive mindset helps build resilience.

2. They are proactive, deliberate and strategic. They take proactive action - with minimal hesitation - and most importantly, in the direction of their choice. When faced with an obstacle they find another way – smarter, simpler, easier. For some this is the first time they've aimed at a role and tried to create/land/win it. Recently, two clients wrote out their ideal Job Description when they first started with me - and now both have created those roles. One created her new role from scratch, the other won an existing role. Either way, this has significant WOW factor.

3. They’re not afraid to ask for help. They ask smart questions to get the right information that will help them with their goals.  And instead of suffering in silence, wondering if they are on track, they reach out for additional support sooner rather than later. A fiercely, independent blueprint might sound good in theory, but definitely has it's downside.  It’s not weak or wrong to ask for more support. It’s human and can also trigger serious momentum.

Own_Your_Own_Awesome_Amanda_Blesing_Executive_Career.jpg

4. They get out of their own way – and don’t sweat the small stuff. They have been able to park the small me that will try and keep then safe. And they only worry about the things that matter most.  The down side of playing a safe game is that it's frequently also a small or comfortable game. And as the saying goes - “worry is like sitting in a rocking chair – simply rocking backwards and forwards going nowhere.”

5. They trust their gut. They’ve learned to trust their own judgment - how to discern the difference between excitement fear v's terrified fear, feedback v’s gaslighting or personal attack and good v’s bad advice, even if the bad advice is delivered by someone who is more mature, more authoritative etc. They know how to navigate through it and get to what's important. 

So excited! So proud.

A Winning Case Study

One wonderful client was feeling overwhelmed, as she prepared to go on holiday. She suggested to me that she would mothball nominating for an Award until 2019.  Others around her were all in agreement, because it was true. She was worn out. 

You can imagine my response.

There had to be a smarter way.   Old thinking such as working hard, brand busy and relentless execution will only get you so far and will keep you worn out. What about a new and easier way of tackling this?

As a result she has now not only effortlessly nominated for one Award, but found another Award opportunity while she was away, and felt so good about herself after the process that she created two more Award nomination opportunities upon her return.  All this while lying poolside on a drop and flop holiday!

I’ll keep you posted on how she goes. Wish her luck!

Here's the Twist - These Attitudes Also Keep you Younger Longer

These attitudes that my clients are displaying may also keep them younger longer. Researchers are finding that your mental patterns could be harming, or helping, your telomeres — essential parts of the cell’s DNA — and effecting your life and health, according to Nobel-winning scientist Elizabeth Blackburn and health psychologist Elissa Epel.

The tops three issues that that damage your telomeres and contribute to you aging faster?

  • Cynical hostility 
  • Pessimism 
  • Worrying 

Not only will all three take years off your life, but they will also keep you playing small.

So ditch the negativity and rumination and adopt a more positive approach and you win hands down. And to borrow a phrase from a catchy ditty from the 80’s – “Don’t worry, be happy”.

And if it hasn't happened to you yet, it will. Keep the faith.

► YOUR THOUGHTS?  Have you noticed a more positive mindset helps with your career, health and happiness? And what do you do to maintain that positivity? 

 

#MakeABiggerDifference #FeminineAmbitionRocks #WomenOfImpact 

Read further:

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com 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

#1 Advice for Women Nominating for Awards

How to craft a winning Award nomination and why you (yes you) should be nominating.

One way to stand out in a crowd is to win, or be nominated for, an Award.

"Easier said than done" you say.

WomenShouldntWaitExecutiveCareer

And you could be right some of the time - but not others.

For the uninitiated you might imagine you need to wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder. It simply doesn’t work that way!  

In fact, you need to do much of the work yourself including putting your hand up to be in it to win it, getting out of your own way and talking up your own wins and achievements in delivering turnaround results or programs that make a bigger difference.

Why is this challenging?

We know from research that many women struggle with self promotion, self advocating and expressing their expertise.  We have a tendency to downplay our part in the wins and achievements of our departments. While we willingly and enthusiastically write nominations for our junior staff members, we hesitate to do the same for ourselves. And worse? We're far more likely to 'not want to waste anyone's time' (including our own) not necessarily seeing the big picture about the value and benefit of nominating in the longer term for both ourselves and the business.

In a nutshell, nominating yourself for an Award will require you to knock a bunch of stereotypical and socialised tendencies on the head and to:

  • back yourself,
  • sell yourself, and
  • articulate your 'special sauce' in a very public way.

Why is this important?

Because organisations with more women in the leadership team not only perform better overall with larger returns to shareholders, increases in performance, productivity and better risk management – but the men and women who work there are frequently better off as well.

"research with the Peterson Institute for International Economics recently found that companies with at least 30% female leaders can add as much as 6% to their net margins." Mark Weinberger,
Global Chairman & CEO, EY

 
But why Awards?

One of the issues that gets in the way for women applying for senior leadership opportunities is not being seen. Not being seen as ideal (traditional) leadership potential, as fitting in, or as having what it takes to make tough decisions. Women are also frequently in enablement type functions that are not perceived as essential to performance, nor as visible.

Forward thinking, progressive organisations are beginning to acknowledge this hidden talent issue and to bring in programs that help uncover and tap into non traditional talent as we saw in MckInsey's January 2017 article Finding Hidden Leaders.

Winning an Award (or even making the finalists list) helps your leadership potential to be seen - to get you (the difference you make, the problems you solve and the value you add) out of the wings and onto centre stage.

And even if your bid is unsuccessful, the process of nominating helps you;

  • build a great support network around your leadership aspirations,
  • to craft winning arguments that will boost your credibility and confidence, 
  • highlight the amazing results you deliver that are sometimes taken for granted.

Most importantly the process of gathering the evidence of wins and achievements can be re-purposed easily and skilfully for your next tilt at the C-suite.

'How to' advice for women from four experts on writing winning Award nominations

So to help you with your next nomination I've asked four experts to come to contribute with their #1 advice for women nominating for Awards.  Thanks to Janita, Kate, Kimberly and Michelle!

Janita Friend

Meet Janita a Corporate Communications Strategist and Consultant.  As you might imagine, Janita has a bunch of experience writing Awards nominations and has generously offered 5 tips for women writing award nominations

  • Spend quality time reading and considering all the questions so you can give the best and most relevant answers.   Give yourself plenty of time and be prepared to do several drafts to get it right – understanding what the award criteria are is a crucial element of the process.

  • Speak to a person close to you – a partner or colleague/manager -  about your career highlights.  If possible, ask someone to interview you to draw out some of your finest moments.

  • Don’t be shy – this is about promoting yourself, your talents and results – be bold and aim to hit them with the dazzling highlights up front.  Make it simple for the judges to read through and identify you as a contender.

  • Ensure you use the criteria outlined and use key words that relate (sound familiar?)

  • A good story gains attention.   Include any interesting parts of your personal life journey which may show adversity you may have had to overcome to gain your results.  For example, being a single mother, a widow, dyslexic etc. – although you may not wish to draw attention tothese things, they will provide a richer story which may give you the edge over other candidates.
    Want to know more about Janita?  Check out her website

Kimberly Palmer

Kimberly is a Marketing Expert with her own company, Brazen Productions. Kimberly has helped craft winning award entries for clients for Telstra Business Womens Award and also used to run the Business Award programs for the City of Port Phillip and City of Moonee Valley.

She’s even been successful with achieving funding via winning a Churchill Fellowship for herself so is well qualified in understanding the challenges you might experience when it comes to self promotion.

 Her #1 Tip is Quantify your achievements - with personality

Your first aim to grab the judges attention. Most judges are usually volunteers and reviewing award entries in very limited time. So don't take too long to get to the point!

Open your entry with what's special about your achievements - relative to your own journey but also relative to others in the space. Then remember, don't make it too dry, or too full of jargon. You want to get across your enthusiasm, personality - and even why you'd make a good ambassador for the awards program should you be a winner.”

She also says - spend time getting it right. Don't leave it till deadline day - or worse, after deadline day! Your first draft will be just that. If you're being judged on this work, give it the time and effort it deserves.

And finally - try to have more than one person proof read it - there's nothing worse than poor spelling or grammar, it's distracting from what you're really trying to say.

Connect with Kimberly via LinkedIn or her website

Kate, Janita, Kimberly & Michelle

Kate, Janita, Kimberly & Michelle

Kate Duckworth

Kate is Marketing Manager at Buzinga; An Award Winning Mobile Design and Development Company.  Her claim to fame when it comes to writing award nominations is that she has constructed and written multiple award winning nominations for Buzinga to be acknowledged for excellence in company culture, product design and innovation, resulting in a streak of 7 wins out of 8 nominations (!) including:

  • Top 100 Australian Fast Starter, BRW 2015

  • 9th Coolest Tech Company, Job Advisor, 2016

  • 4th Coolest Tech Company - Job Advisor 2015

  • Top 100 Cool Companies, Anthill 2016. 

  • Coolest Mobile Business, Anthill 2015

  • Best Australian Startup, Top 5, Startup Smart 2015.

  • Best App Design, 2 Apps, App Design Awards 2016. (Buzinga, 2016)

Kate's #1 Tip: Write with creative flair and engaging copy... Like you would a website or a blog post. 

 "People have an enormous emotional or impulse appeal that transcends logic and basic needs" - Dan S. Kennedy. 

Individuals who are vetoing your award applications are humans, with a job that you can imagine is a lengthy, repetitive and snoozy.

In my applications, I write with the intent to ignite emotion, whether it's a laugh, a smile or an engaging story they can relate to. 

And please, don't be vanilla... Leave that to the profit and loss section!  (Go Kate!)

 Connect with Kate on LinkedIn

Michelle Devanny

Michelle is the Communications Manager at Kiandra IT and has been involved and/or written many award nominations for both individuals and companies.

Michelle's #1 tip?  Answer the question using evidence (where appropriate …. which is most of the time!) and allocate the appropriate amount of time and effort to your submission.

Awards are an incredible marketing tool which can build reputation, validate capability and make you (and those that work for you) feel nice and fuzzy but participating in reputable awards programs usually involve a fairly in-depth process. Do not underestimate the time taken to articulate who you are, and what you’re about. If you’ve decided to enter an awards program do yourself/your business justice, and be prepared to do it properly. You don’t want to be skipping corners, rushing to meet the 5pm Friday deadline when everyone else is scrambling to get their submission in, which crashes the awards site!

Most importantly make sure you actually answer the question. The judges read a lot of submissions and they can tell the difference between marketing guff and substance, so where possible you should back up your answers with evidence. Independent evidence is invaluable — whether it is press mentions, customer testimonials or social media mentions — use real examples wherever possible.

Why not connect with Michelle on LinkedIn?

My advice?  After running, hosting or being part of various award processes over 8+ years I notice that sometimes nominees choose the hard row to hoe, doing it all for themselves. Instead, why not get some help from the experts?  Ask the comms, PR or marketing department in your organisation to get involved and help you with crafting your nomination.

It's a little known secret, but some organisations even have entire teams dedicated to helping other staff become recognised through external Awards processes. They may simply not know that you have an Award you are eligible to nominate for. So get out of your own way and get expert advice from someone in your business with a third person expert perspective. After all, it's not just great for you if you win, it's a business win as well!

Finally -

You've got to be in it to win it and sometimes more than once.  I heard on the grapevine that one of the 2016 Telstra Business Women of the Year Award winners announced she had nominated each year for seven years and finally won after seven attempts. And if that story doesn't give you the kcik up the butt you need to nominate yourself for an Award, then I don't know what will. 

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

#success #career #visibility #standout #leadership#executivewomen #careerfutureproofing


Keen to read more? ... 

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com 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 Smart Ways to Create Your Own Reality that Aren't "Woo Woo"

"Create your own new reality."

I hate the phrase. It jars, it sounds a little woo woo and  ........... (here's the kicker) -  you not only can, but probably should.

But for those of us who have been raised on a steady diet of waiting -

creating  your own new reality might be something that you believe is suitable for entrepreneurial types, extroverts and other people.  So  perhaps the following examples will show you that it's also right for you.

Women, socialisation and why it might hold us back

Creating your own reality -  takes energy and time and a propensity for thinking out side the square. It requires people to regularly not do things the way they've always been done. It requires a tendency to bend the rules, deal with uncertainty and cross over blurred lines. As women though, we've got a bunch of socialisation that sometimes gets in the way of thinking this way. 

“Both men and women suffer from it in different ways, but it does affect both sexes .......... With women they are more likely to be afraid of success – as well as failure – because they sense there will be a price to pay in other parts of their life. ...........  With men it is more ‘fake it, until you make it’. They think the syndrome is part and parcel of work life and they tend to push through it.” According to behavioural change consultant Suzanne Mercier

It doesn't have to be this way

In recent years I’ve come across three instances of highly successful women creating their own new reality.  Not only were they also successful in achieving their goals but the strategies are realistic, practical and provide us new ways of solving old problems. Each of them challenged my own beliefs about what was probable and what was appropriate. Yet each of these ideas excited me about what was possible.  In fact, these examples were part of a critical turing point in my own thinking -  that taking an active and participatory role in creating your own success, is not boasting, is not only desirable but in fact, mandatory for anyone with a skerrick of ambition.

  • Example 1:  I met a Life Coach and she had just been integral in winning one of her clients the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award.  You guessed it. This super smart client in the wellness sector wasn’t leaving things up to chance but decided to tackle the rather daunting process with a coach who focused on confidence, accountability and the language of the business world to keep her in the running and make the effort worthwhile.  
  • Example 2:  Some years back a peer was appointed in a marketing capacity for an organisation -  and her main responsibilities for the year were to ………… (wait for it)...... help the female CEO win the Telstra Business Woman of the Year Award.  Once again, this smart and strategic CEO acknowledged that her skill set lay in running a company, not winning awards or objectively talking about her own great work.  Therefore she employed someone to tackle the task on her behalf.  
  • Example 3: I met an author in the final stages of publishing her first book.  Her strategy included forsaking her speaker fee at several rather large conferences in return for the organisation who had booked her to speak, purchasing books for all delegates – as presales.  And the purpose?  To help this smart and strategic new author reach #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list more easily.

For a list of possible Awards for you to nominate for, click here (as at 24 July 2015)

Stopbeingbusy.jpg

Stop being busy and start being strategic

My best ideas never happen when I'm busy at work in front of the computer. In fact they always happens when I'm relaxed and taking a break from work.  If organisations were smart they'd realise this and instead of keeping their staff so busy running in and out of meetings, they'd insist on quiet time, reflective time or reading time. But I guess that the productivity of quiet time is hard to measure and introduces a whole new topic of trust (or lack there of) ...... and that's a subject for another day.  

There's a bunch of science on the immense power of down time, reflective time and mindfulness,  so I can't emphasise how important it is for us to stop valuing being incredibly busy and instead start working smarter -  allowing space and opportunity for creating your own reality.

Here are a few really easy examples you might try in the first instance:

  • Find a mentor or coach to help you work out what's important to you and to keep you accountable and focused on big audacious goals,
  • Pay an expert to write of your CV or LinkedIn profile,
  • Pay a marketing expert to write your media kit, or do your web strategy,
  • Many business leaders use ghost writers when they publish or have staff who handle their personal social media platforms.

Let's see the wood between the trees

So if you’re feeling stuck or frustrated in your role,  maybe you’ve been pidgeon holed in a career path and can’t see the woods for the trees. Possibly you’re even wondering why no one has noticed how well you’ve been working or why no one has pointed out that your inner potential runneth over.  You could wrestle with the issue all on your own, or you might choose to hire a mentor or a career coach to help you get there faster and more easily.

Vive la révolution!  #ambitionrevolution

  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and  art of amping smart and savvy. 

  • I mentor ambitious women and men to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game. 

  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so.

  • Not already signed up?  Click here.

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com 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