When winging it will only get you so far

x800Winning not winning with Amanda Blesing executive coach executive women.png

Winning, but not winging it

We’ve all heard that confidence trumps competence when it comes to success.

We may not like it, but it’s hard to dispute.  

Picture this. 

An emergency alarm sounds in your building. Everyone is looking around wondering frantically what to do next.  Who are you more likely to follow?

  1. The person who tentatively appears to be in charge, maybe hesitating, maybe with a quiet voice, or

  2. The person who stands up, grabs attention and says “follow me” confidently, even if they're making it up as they go along?

Unfortunately, we’d rather follow a seemingly confident person, than the under confident person who may be better informed but doesn't shout it out from the rooftops.   It’s human nature and an important point for leaders.

We have a great example right now in politics in the current leader of the free world (whose name I shall not mention). He’s winging it and everyone knows it. He is making it up on the fly, even changing the rules as he goes along, yet still people follow.

However for the rest of us, winging it will only get us so far and preparation is the answer.

Every day I speak with executive women who are winning but not winging it in their careers. I'm coaching them through presentations and interviews along with influence and negotiation plans.  I frequently ask them the following question -
“When was the last time you got a great result doing this? And what was it that helped you get that great result?”

"Doing the work and preparing. It's just that I've learned to make it look easy" is their answer.

There will come a time in your career when winging it won’t work any more because it leaves far too much room for: 

  • Making mistakes that have considerable negative impact on others

  • Making half assed attempts with excuses for failing ("it wasn't meant to be ....")

  • Imposter Syndrome to take hold with the very real threat of being caught out.

Preparation will mitigate those risks.

Winging it might get you a seat at the table, but it won’t keep you there. You’ll need to do the work. 

Does this mean you never wing it? 

Heck no! There will still be ample opportunities for winning winging tactics. Sometimes my best ideas come out of conversations where I was making it up on the fly.

But if you’re serious about your career and leadership aspirations be sure to only wing it on the things that can’t derail you. 

Then prioritise your preparation on the things that matter most.

#womenofimpact #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #winningnotwinging

Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!



Want a copy of my book "From Invisible to Invincible”?

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

Four Big Lessons for Women about Success

If not you, who? If not now, when?

Multiple sources of research now tell us that organisations with gender diversity at a senior level are highly productive and profitable, evaluate risk well, plus perform well on a range of other performance indicators including customer and staff satisfaction. My mission in this is to help women to step up, speak out and take charge - and as a result I've created The Ambition Revolution mentoring program - boosting both confidence and accountability as we stretch. The definition of an Ambition Revolutionary is someone who embraces all aspects of being a woman in the workplace and then steps up, speaks out and takes charge to create a new reality for herself and others.

Recently I’ve been able to validate this definition while attending three simply awe inspiring events, spoken at solely by incredibly interesting women - entrepreneurs, social activists, bloggers, athletes, business owners, publishers and authors.

As a result of attending and listening to this quite phenomenal collection of inspiring female speakers - here are my four key takeaways.

1. It’s okay to listen to your intuition - Frequently in our modern western society we praise left brain thinking (rational and logical and said to be more masculine) and look down upon right brain thinking (emotionally intelligent, intuitive and allegedly more feminine). Many of the women speaking at the above events referred to gut instinct and intuition as instrumental in their success. Perhaps it's a little like an early warning systems plugged directly into your subconscious, constantly providing you with great information. I’ve certainly felt the pressure not to let intuition and instinct rule. But in this new modern arena with realms of data and analytics, intuition and gut instinct has been argued to as good an indicator as many others as a part of a good decision making toolkit.  So while I will continue to test my intuition with hard data and reporting, I’m also going to give my (feminine) intuition the credit it deserves.

2. Just do it 

“Is better die trying than living without doing nothing” 
― Rudzani
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”
― Erma Bombeck
“Screw it. Let’s do it.” 
- Richard Branson

We’ve all heard this maxim time and time again, yet most of us don’t actually live this way. Stop running all the what if scenarios in your head for days, weeks and months yet doing nothing about it. Instead, test it out, or simply execute straight away and you will know whether or not your idea going to work.

As women we've been socialised to do things properly and correctly. We might have even bought into the notion that competence trumps confidence. We are frequently (recovering) perfectionists despite knowing that this behaviour holds us back. But finding out that something works (or doesn't work) really fast is a great way to get started on something. Agonising over it for days is simply ....... agonising!

3. Don’t underestimate the power of confidence. 

Listening to the stories told by these female entrepreneurs, athletes, business leaders and social activists was, quite simply, awe inspiring. If I thought I was on the right track before well I’m totally confident (pun intended) that delivering a mentoring program that builds confidence in women is not only a great idea, but is also the right thing to do.

“Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.” - Katty Kay and Claire Shipman for The Atlantic.

4. Get used to discomfort and do it anyway.

You will feel uncomfortable, and yet it is an integral part of the journey. To paraphrase a recent episode of Tim Ferris TV while discomfort feels ….. well …… uncomfortable – it is where the growth, learning and magic happens. Each of the speakers at each event shared authentically and honestly about down times, despair and learning from failure in their desire to share openly and honestly with the audience and ensure that we understood that success doesn't come overnight and will feel distinctly uncomfortable most of the time.  Want to learn more about the power of discomfort? Read The Discomfort Zone by Marcia Reynolds.

And for those of you who are time poor but want a little inspiration - here is a selection of Twitter highlights.

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