When winging it will only get you so far

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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

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Are you a legend in your own lunchtime? And if not, why not?

Legend_in_your_own_lunchbox by Amanda Blesing.jpg
You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.
— Serena Williams

Is being a legend in your own lunchtime a good or bad thing?

Here in Australia, the expression legend in your own lunchtime is alive and well. For those of us who indulged in school yard trash talk back in the 70's or 80's, you may remember it as legend in your own lunch box. Either, either. They both mean the same thing. The expression is not exactly positive. It's a bit like saying you've got tickets on yourself and that you're too big for your own boots - in fact, a braggart or boastful.

But maybe we got it totally wrong.

Maybe to succeed in corporate or business Australia, we actually do need tickets on ourselves. Quite possibly we need to be a legend in our own lunchtime - because if you don't think you're any good, no-one else will either. 

We know from various studies that executive women struggle with the following

  • Self advocacy 

  • Self promotion 

  • Owning and claiming their expertise

We also know that executive women tend to

  • Downplay their own achievements

  • Underestimate themselves, and 

  • Second guess themselves and hesitate in taking risks with their career.  

Which ultimately leads to other people thinking we're only as good as we're saying we are, which isn't necessarily very good anyway.

For those with leadership aspirations but who are naturally modest or humble, learning to become a legend in your own lunchtime, may just be a prerequisite.

In this era of #selfpromotion, you are your own marketing department, and that requires a healthy dose of positive self belief.

Self belief >> Self confidence >> Self advocacy >> Self promotion >> Legend in your own lunchtime

  • You don’t fly around the globe solo Amelia Earhart style if you don’t believe in yourself

  • You can’t become the most powerful female tennis player of all time, a la Serena Williams, if you don’t have healthy self confidence

  • You wouldn’t become the 1st woman PM in Australia, facing all the trolls, criticism and constant media scrutiny like our own Julia Gillard, if didn’t have positive self belief

And you cannot lead a company if you aren’t prepared to self advocate, self promote and to own, claim and share your expertise. 

In a world that confuses confidence with competence, you’re going to have to fake it til you become it anyway. 

Being a legend in your own lunchtime is simply a prerequisite. 

YOUR THOUGHTS? Have you found positive self belief to be helpful or a hindrance?  Drop me a note and let me know. 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambitionrocks  #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

How to be a Kickass Female Speaker – advice for those considering taking the stage

Three Steps to be a Female KickAss Speaker 

  1. Be female
  2. Kick some ass
  3. Then get onstage and speak!

Last month I interviewed Warwick Merry CSP who is the former President of the Speakers Association.

I asked for his advice for women stepping up, speaking out and taking charge via the speaker circuit.

Well we're in luck. Warwick had lots to say and all of it positive!  Bring it on! 

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

Worried about getting older as an executive woman? Think again!

One less reason to worry about aging with Amanda Blesing resized.png

Are you worried about getting older? Worried about discrimination or that you may simply be “past it” and not able to cut it any more?

Well maybe it's time to stop worrying and start celebrating your maturity, particularly if you are a woman.

Just last month, Jack Zengar, Zengar Folkman, shared stunning insights into age and confidence.  

Women gain in confidence far more as we age.


We may feel less confident in our 20s and 30s, but there is light at the end of the tunnel

  • Our confidence increases (men and women) as we head towards 40
  • As a woman your confidence will increase even more through 50 
  • And then from 50 to 60+ it's all up hill! 

In the words of Helen Reddy “I am woman, hear me roar”

To paraphrase “I am a more mature woman, see me soar!”

Combine this with research that we all get happier with age, we now have two great reasons to be happy about ageing.

For those experiencing age discrimination, let's not dismiss the fact that our society celebrates youth and older women are an invisible segment in our community.  I don't want to dismiss the fact that this happens. So let this confidence research be your secret weapon, to help you get on the front foot and turn your age into a tactical advantage. 

► What about you? Do you feel more confident as you age?  Why not get involved in the conversation on LinkedIn? Have your say.

#MakeABiggerDifference #FeminineAmbitionRocks #WomenOfImpact

Read further:

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

Where are you your own worst enemy?

When I set up my own consultancy, I simply wanted to replace my salary plus craft a career on my own terms.

Now, after almost four years, I've -

  • spoken at heaps of conferences
  • been interviewed multiple times on radio 
  • been featured by News Corp, The Age and a raft of other high profile publications
  • written a book (with a 2nd in the pipeline)
  • inspired 100's of women to go out & win raises and/or promotions and
  • helped many more to tackle BHAGS well outside their comfort zone.

Plus my consultancy is going gang busters, beyond my wildest dreams.

Want help to become a Woman of Impact?

Want help to become a Woman of Impact?

The problem? I was my own biggest doubter.

"Who on earth was I to aim so high?"

I’m not alone. Research tells us that women start businesses with lower financial targets, frequently aiming merely to replace our salary.

Even when the business does do well, we pay ourselves a lesser salary and don't contribute to superannuation and other benefits as we should.

Typically we also express lower self-confidence, underestimate our expertise, which impacts most on us tackling future stretch opportunities.



Because we’re (still) socialised to play nice, stay safe and be humble.

With the word “ambitious”, even in 2018, seen as pejorative. 

At some point, we all need to get out of our own way, not believe the small voice and to focus on what’s possible.

If other people can do it, so can you.

It’s your ability to keep striving despite self-doubt that’s key.

We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.
— Beyoncé Knowles

So elevate your expectations then keep your eyes on the prize as you - 

  • back yourself
  • sell yourself and
  • express your expertise in language your constituent base values and understands. 

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re categorically, unequivocally, absolutely right.

► Where have you been your own worst enemy & how did you overcome? 

#feminineambitionrocks #executivewomen #executivebranding #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

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 noticed (for the right reasons)

I didn’t know how to express my opinion on LinkedIn.

I was scared.

  • “What if I get it wrong?”
  • “What if I end up with trolls?”
  • “What if people don’t agree with me?“

When I found my sense of purpose ..... something surprising happened.

The more of an authentic position I took, the more my posts resonated, the more my clients and readers messaged me and …. the easier it all became.


I realised that you don’t need to be right, to be the funniest or the best to express your opinion.

But you do need to be able to articulate your position.

Not simply regurgitate the opinion of others.


  • People connect with people
  • People “buy” from people they like and identify with
  • Your unique perspective will resonate with your tribe

One of the most powerful opportunities for busy executives is to brand themselves via LinkedIn.

To help you stand out in a crowd and to ensure you are memorable even when you are head down backside up solving complex business problems.

So embrace your inner expert and work out -

  • What do you stand for?
  • Why is that important?

Then let go of busy, right and perfect … and give yourself permission to have your say.

>> Your thoughts? What’s helped you to express your opinion more confidently in meetings, on LinkedIn or other platforms?

#ExecutiveBranding #ExecutiveWomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambitionrocks

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

Don't listen to anyone else's advice

My favourite piece of advice?

"Don't listen to anyone else's advice. No-body knows what the heck they're doing anyway."

When we're in the mentoring game, sometimes we take ourselves so seriously.  It's critical for me and my clients to remember to not take ourselves so seriously, and it's always up to them.

Here is a brief video that I use to close out one of my keynotes


Vive la révolution!

#ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambitionrocks

#success #career #executivebranding #personalbrand #standout

#leadership  #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

Is your default setting to self select out?

This week's reflection piece was sparked by a discussion with one of my senior level clients.  She had asked for feedback from a trusted advisor in her network and the feedback was summarised as follows:

"It's as though you are doing the hokey pokey dance with your leadership goals and career.  You put one foot in, then you pull it back and retreat for a bit with your concerns about your own abilities. Then you repeat a few times, before you commit."


Tough, but quite possibly one of the most powerful pieces of career advice she will receive. (And she has given me permission to share).

In a nutshell, the feedback was about -

  • on one hand she was asking for challenge and leadership consideration, but on the other hand she didn't always see challenge as an opportunity,
  • on one hand she was ambitious, yet on the other she deferred to others who may be more experienced, and
  • in some circumstances she was supremely confident yet in others, not so much.

And I'm betting she is not alone.

The most referenced example to this can be found in the Hewlett Packard research into the differences in men and women applying for (internal) roles, where women tended to wait until they met all 5 of the 5 criteria, whereas a man would be more likely to apply if he met just 3 out of 5 criteria.  

(My executive recruiter friends tell me that it's not unusual for them to get calls from men demanding interviews, yet they only meet 1 out of 10 criteria.) 

Combine this with a tendency to underestimate and downplay your current abilities, which has a flow on effect to your future performance, and you're beginning to understand why I am passionate about helping people move beyond.

Too often we self select out because we don't think we meet all the requirements yet, have it all together yet or are good enough yet.

It must be confusing for those around to see that in some instances you are super confident, and the next minute you are leaning out, downplaying or underestimating.  In one instance you say you'd be interested in stepping up and leading, and in the very next sentence you self select out and seem to be asking for additional support.


Self selecting out frequently sounds like the following:

  • "Oh but there're are probably others who are better suited/need it more than me out there."

  • "You must work with others who are far more talented than I am, so maybe I'm not right for it." 

  • "Others in the group have been here longer than me and deserve this more than I do."

  • "The competition is far too strong, I'd never stand a chance so I won't bother."

Just like the humble brag, if this is your default setting, it's got a sting in the tail. Maybe you think you're being polite and humble, but to the outside observer, this sounds like low confidence. And in a society that correlates confidence with competence, this is yet another credibility killer.  Plus you've got the even harder job of making up ground and convincing yourself yet again of your own worthiness.

Self select in consistently instead

Flick the switch!  Back yourself 100% by investing in BRAND YOU; your unique combination of expertise and experience, the things that you are passionate about, along with your ability to learn. 

Back yourself!

Back yourself!

  • Next time you see a role with a price tag that looks higher or lower than you were expecting, but you love the sound of the role, at the very least give it your best shot so you get to have a great conversation with those recruiting. You might be just the talent they are looking for and/or they may just be prepared to meet your highest expectations on salary once they've learned more about the impact you make.
  • Next time you hear about a project coming up in your area that you'd like to lead, instead of assuming  the person with more longevity in the department should have it, why not throw your hat in the ring? You won't know if you don't try.
  • Next time you see a scholarship or award opportunity that you'd normally dismiss, throw yourself into the process 100% and give the nomination your best shot. The process of nominating for these opportunities is incredibly educational, and you can't win it if you're not in it. 
Might as well jump (Jump!), Might as well jump, Go ahead, jump (Jump!), Go ahead, jump.
— Van Halen

Because when you are prepared to back yourself consistently, it's catching. And others are more likely to invest in you as well.

Then instead of doing the career Hokey Pokey, get out your old 80's Van Halen album and  "Jump".  (Too daggy? Yep, I know, but I couldn't resist.)

And do let me know how you go!

Feminine leadership superpowers +  self selecting in = priceless


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 incredibly powerful speaking tips I learned from Jane Caro

When my coach first said to me I'd need to take to the stage and speak I said -

"No way!" "Not me!" "Talk to the hand!".

Three steps to be a kick-ass female speaker -  1. kick some ass, 2. be female & 3. speak!

Three steps to be a kick-ass female speaker -

1. kick some ass, 2. be female & 3. speak!

While I'd booked and briefed more speakers than most people have had hot dinners, the thought of doing it myself was terrifying.

Spring forward a few years and that initial resistance is beginning to dissipate. While I still get incredibly nervous, it's now more manageable - and I know I can make a bigger difference speaking one to many.

AIM Great Debate

Recently I shared the AIM Great Debate stage in Canberra with high profile, advertising and media personality, Jane Caro. Jane is well known for her dry sense of humour, her unique perspective and her ability to get the room comfortable really fast.  She was also the adjudicator for the debate.

Speaking While Female

So we started to chat about some of the challenges women speakers face including:

  1. The audience will critique what you look like, no matter what. And frequently, other women are the harshest critics.
  2. Some of us try and pack our talks full of content to prove we know what we're talking about and give extra value - when the principle of less is more might work better.
  3. Women speakers are still far more prevalent in the female empowerment space than hard data business topics, so finding ways to establish credibility is critical.

Just prior to going on stage Jane gave me three great pieces of advice which I now share with you.

  • #1 - be authentic because the audience will warm to you more. Not the let it all hang out type of authenticity, but the type that connects with real life language, experience and examples. 
  • #2 - don't be afraid to use humour. Humour is the thing that unites us. So smile at the audience, use your regular jokes that you would with peers and colleagues, and win them over with humour.
  • #3 - be confident and own the room. It will help you boost credibility if you look and sound like you know what you are talking about. 

So What Happened Next?

Given my competitive nature, in that moment I mentally dropped the page of stats from my script and stuck to the things that I was far more comfortable with (my skewed way of looking at the world and my irreverent sense of humour). I'd done the preparation, it just helped me to speak from a more authentic place. And the best bit? I rocked the stage for the first time ever. I nailed it. Wish I could bottle it. Looking forward to doing it again.  (Thanks Jane!)

  • I won points for the dubious honour of being the first person to swear on stage (mum would be so proud),
  • I got points for getting the audience to try manspreading and extrapolating to corridors of power in Canberra,
  • I got points for sucking up to the adjudicator by closing the argument with one of Jane's frequently quoted statements on gender equity, 
  • I even got points for working Trump into my argument on the cost of hair care products for women, and
  • Our team won! 
Gender equality will be achieved when we have as many incompetent women leading as we do incompetent men
— Jane Caro

So why is this important to you?

When we're in the realm of feeling like we're not quite good enough, or that we need to prove our worth, we tend to over prepare, over analyse or run the risk of being overwhelmed. It triggers socialised responses of conscientiousness, compliance and competence. 

In some scenarios, conscientiousness, compliance and being competent are suitable. But when you are in speak out mode - making a point, pitching to win, creating compelling arguments, then channelling your confident and more competitive self will be far better.

So get out there and invite yourself onto a speaker panel or something - and rock the stage with your own authentic compelling and confident style.

Remember - smart and savvy truly is the name of this game! 

Vive la révolution!  #ambitionrevolution #executivebrand

Book in for a free 45 min phone call if you want help with that.  Limited times available in the link.



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

What would your future leadership personal brand do?

In Australia there is an extremely witty television series on the ABC called Gruen which lifts the lid on the world of advertising, spin and marketing. As an aside, and as a glowing testament to the IQ of the viewing public, the show's ratings beat both The Block and The Bachelor in 2016.

What would your future self do?

What would your future self do?

Each week they have a segment that features a particularly dominant world personality. This season that was Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada - a self confessed feminist and driver of change.  With tongue firmly planted in cheek the host, Will Anderson, poses the question "What would Justin do?" with a graphic of a superhero ripping open his/her shirt to expose a superhero chest and then flick to a clip of Mr Trudeau doing something pretty amazing or unusual somewhere in the world.

But what about your personal brand?

So now it's your turn. When was the last time you clearly defined your future leadership personal brand?  Never? Well why not try now? Go on. Grab your 'confidence journal' and start describing.

  • What work would your future leadership self be doing?
  • What would you stand for?
  • What do you believe in?
  • What difference would you be making?
  • How would you behave or react?
  • What language and voice would you be using?
  • What would you be wearing?
  • How would you turn up to work every day?
  • What would be your leadership style?
  • What difference would you be making?
  • How much money would you be making?
  • Who would you be hanging out with?
  • How would you respond to criticism?
  • How would you respond to compliments?
  • What things would you share on Social?
  • What conversations are you having (and with whom)?
  • What decisions would you be making? and
  • Who, or what ,are you leading?

Your answers to these questions (and more) become your blueprint, or even a road map, to help you navigate more successfuly as you head into leadership territory. Your answers will also help others work out how to interact with you and what to expect from you plus keep you one step ahead of your competition. After all people are inspired by leaders who look like they know where they are going. 

Pro-active personal brand development is not as common as it should be

According to Glenn Llopis on Forbes

"less than 15% of leaders have defined their personal brand and only 5% are living it every day."

Yet with success and and a clearly defined personal brand so closely correlated I wonder why this is?

By doing this work pre-emptively are already well ahead of the pack. This becomes your competitive advantage - and makes tough decisions far easier.

Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.
— Toni Morrison


Use your leadership self to help Solve problems

So in the same Gruen vein, I suggest that any time you come up with a dilemma that you can't solve via the usual channels, you rip open your metaphorical superhero leadership shirt and ask yourself, what would your future leadership brand do? And solve it that way.

Decisions are far easier when you bring your biggest, best and most leaderly self to work every day.

We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.
— Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Don't listen to the itty bitty shitty committee

When it comes to a situation at work that you don't prefer, or a dilemma you can't solve easily then you want to approach it with your leadership personal brand front and centre. Don't listen to the itty bitty shitty committee, or the scared weird little guys who frequently sit on your shoulder and give you small and safe advice.  Simply approach the situation with your future leadership personal brand blueprint, along with the those three feminine super powers (active listening, clear communication and emotional intelligence) and work your way through. You'll thank yourself later.

Plus by doing the work and unpacking your future personal brand pre-emptively you're already one step ahead of the curve so when a difficult situation occurs in the future, you'll feel far more clear, confident and certain far sooner.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

My mission is to help women to play a much bigger game – change the world if you will – and do so with big ideas, big vision and big, audacious bucket loads of confidence.


If you enjoyed this please spread the word! Let's inspire women everywhere to keep their eye on the prize


  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy
  • I mentor busy professional women to ensure they remain smart, strategic and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but are struggling to do so.


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

Why executive women need to create a visibility strategy

Gone are the days when you turned up to work and put in the time, and in return got

  • a pat on the back,
  • a promotion, and
  • a payrise ... then waited a while longer while you marched towards the sweet release of retirement.

It simply doesn't work that way anymore - but neither do I think we really want it to. We all love stories such as the 90+ year old nurse still working and flourishing. I used to work with a 92 yo consultant who came into the office every day and advised on policy and protocol - an area where he had considerably more experience and expertise than the rest of the team put together.


However with the rise of the portfolio career, and where brand development is both for companies and for people, plus an era of self promotion you need to develop a few more powerful tactics.


Visibility is a cool tool.  Staying ahead of the visibility curve is great for both you and for your business.  And here's the kicker - even if you don't do it particularly well, it's still better than not doing it at all.

Well executed visibility - rising to the top

Averagely executed visibility - staying afloat

No visibility - sinking


I'm taking this one step further and saying we need to be strategic about this.  It's not enough to simply spread yourself thin at networking functions and golf games any more. You need to focus on what's most effective - separate busy from strategic and focus on the areas that are going to give you the most bang for you buck and deliver on the results you need. 

And in this day and age whether you are a business owner, a professional in a firm, or maybe on a fast track to corporate C-suite ascendancy - any strategy, even the wrong strategy, is better than no strategy.

Four rules of thumb to remember:

  • Work is not school - you won't get the corner office by being good or quiet
  • No-one promotes the stressed out, worn out and flustered looking executive with their head down up the back of the office
  • Results no longer speak for themselves
  • Stop being busy, start being strategic

Visibility and Strategy Unpacked

When you cross reference busy v's strategic and low visibility v's high visibility - you begin to see the picture.

Busy & low visibility (going nowhere) - head down, tail up, doing the job because it's the right thing to do. Historically this may have worked, but not any more. You will be bypassed and overlooked despite working hard and best intentions on your part.

High visibility but busy (going crazy) - leaves you worn out, overworked and potentially resentful as you feel like you've been hung out to dry for things that weren't even in your remit. When you're worn out and overworked, you are far more likely to lean out, pick up your bat and ball and go play elsewhere. And remember how after just two years in a business women lose their ambition more than men and are more likely to lean out? I wonder if this contributes.

Low visibility but strategic (going somewhere slowly) - you're being strategic about the approaches you make, very considered and highly professional. Quite possibly you're feeling a little frustrated as you see other younger players head on past you far more easily or you're simply bypassed by those who do know how to sell themselves.  Maybe you've turned down opportunities to tackle different projects, to speak, to write whitepapers or be quoted in the press until you feel better prepared or more certain. You tell yourself that it's better to have have more substance than flash, but can't help but wondering if you are doing something wrong. Sound familiar? 

High visibility AND strategic (the sweet spot) - where visibility meets strategy and sees you leading a team, tackling big substantive work or creating enterprise/industry wide change far sooner than you might possibly imagine. You'll have fine tuned a nuanced approach to talking up the problems you solve, the difference you in particular make and the value you are adding.

What needs to be in your visibility strategy?

Here are 13 ideas to get you started. The list consists of basically anything that aligns with your goals, dreams or ambitions that is going to see you shine or draw attention to you and your contribution. For women, we walk a perilous knife edge between flying our own flag and flagrant self promotion - so keep the need for nuance in mind as you go.  Nuance, not to be confused with retiring. Nuance - subtle, effective and (in this case) really smart 'n savvy.

1. Define what you want - work out what it is you want to be when you grow up. Don't panic!  In a world where careers are morphing and changing in more cyclical and circular ways, vertical career strategy is a thing of the past, so maybe work out what's next for right now and start there.

2. Accept responsibility - let go of notions of my work should speak for itself or others should be able to see the good work I do because it simply doesn't happen any more. Stakeholders in your career success are busy themselves. As Avril Henry said at the Women World Changers event in Sydney in October -

"The only person who is as interested in your career as you - is you! So do something about it."

3. Always be linking back to the strategy - your own, or your organisation's. Anything and everything you do should connect back to a why that underpins the reason you are at work. If you don't know what the strategic objectives are for your department or your organisation, or you haven't worked them out for your own personal brand, then go do that now. Turning up to simply pass the time and get a paycheck is not for those who have leadership goals or ambitions.

4. Put your hand up before you feel ready - don't wait to be asked or until you feel prepared to do anything on this list. Ever had the experience of trying something new only for it to become your new normal? Give it a crack and you might find

5. Don't hide your light under a bushel - let go of shy and demure, it doesn't serve anyone. If Susan Cain's Quiet taught us anything it was that introverts can indeed lead - and indeed, lead better than many in times of trouble such as the GFC.  So stand up straight, walk with purpose and confidence, develop a voice that can be heard in meetings, dress in colours that draw attention (well ...... maybe not purple but who am I to judge!), stop apologising and own your own stuff.

6. Develop your leadership personal brand on social media - once again help people to help you - if people can work out who you are and what you stand for by what you like, share, comment or write about on social it makes it far easier to help you.

7. Regularly report on what you do - make sure that you get a regular spot in your department/division meeting to report on the progress of the project or BHAG. Don't hide it. Don't wait to be asked. Volunteer.

8. Write up a case study - the beauty of volunteering for special projects is that it gives you material to reflect on and possibly teach others. Write up a case study and share in your team meeting, AND with your manager, AND on the intranet, AND on LinkedIn (with your disclaimer about views expressed etc), AND on Twitter, PLUS with other departments who are keen to motivate younger team members or who might be tackling the same issue themselves - or share even with your peak body. Find ways to spread the word.

9. Be proactive with your peak body or professional association. Again - don't wait to be asked. Volunteer to help. Many associations run on the smell of an oily rag and are keen to have proactive contributors or volunteers on special projects to help them maintain their momentum. In my time as CEO of SOCAP our volunteer committees rewrote the industry Standard for Australia and New Zealand and created an industry wide Core Competency Framework that became the go to reference point for anyone in industry. Several of the committee members then went onto consult on the International Standard. Make sure you get credited for the work in some way whether that's a listing on the website, in the magazine, the report, or even a more active role at the industry conference. And then share the results of your work back into your business.

10. Learn to pitch or speak in public - yes I know that most people that many people rate public speaking as their #1 fear (above dying in fact). But as part of a modern and successful career you need to learn to speak and also pitch ideas well. The flip side of leadership is followership - and if you can pitch or speak, creating a followership is far easier.  If you can't speak already, then sign up for public speaking training or send yourself to Toastmasters, but do get started. Make it a priority.

11. Be seen with the movers and shakers - make time to mix, mingle and network with senior level decision makers inside and outside of your business. You need to go to where they are if they don't normally come to you. Find ways to make sure you are included in discussions both formal and informal that happen about the future of industry or your business. Don't be shy. Volunteer an opinion whether you think you know the right answer or not. You need to be heard in addition to being visible.

12. Consistency trumps frequency - Establish a maintenance schedule for your leadership personal brand - it's not enough to speak on a panel once and then tick it off your list as having been there done that. It's not enough to write an article once and think that one article will do the job. You need to be flying your own flag over and over again. Repeatedly. It takes time. Your visibility strategy needs to be ritualised and feature as a regular appointment in your calendar. But beware, you don't want to become the the squeaky wheel whereby you saturate the airwaves with brand you. Once again, be strategic. Find the Goldilocks sweet spot - that balance between too little and too much - and stick with it until you get a chance to reassess.

13. Reassess every 6 months - start at the top and work your way down to make sure that your plan doesn't need tweaking and refining.

So there you have it. 13 tactics to try to help you build a Visibility Strategy. If this looks like too much simply start at the beginning and work your way through over the period of a year.  Or you could sign up for Executive Coaching where brand you is dealt with front and centre. 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

Comments? I'm sure there are other things that you might be doing that may help others, so email me (or comment below) and let me know your thoughts.



If you enjoyed this please spread the word! Let's inspire women everywhere to keep their eye on the prize


  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy
  • I mentor busy professional women to ensure they remain smart, strategic and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but are struggling to do so.
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

Flicking the switch to "You should Be So Lucky"

You might have read that women tend to underestimate their performance while men tend to overestimate theirs.  Yet when researchers measure actual performance, we perform the same.


Unfortunately there is a flow on effect of underestimation in that we frequently don’t stretch as far or as high as might be possible, which goes some way to precluding us from meatier and more substantive opportunities.

Tara Mohr, Playing Big, challenged the assumption that low confidence was behind this.  Her own research found that women were less likely to apply if we didn't think we'd be in the running. 

Now a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan found that women tend to shy away from opportunities where there is more competition.

When applying for a job or college, women seek positions with fewer applicants than men.

Now part of me thinks this is purely smart.


But then I'm a woman so it's highly likely I would. 

And maybe this is yet another factor cutting us out of the running for leadership opportunities where we might really have a greater impact.

Fire up your winning streak

I’ve written before about learning the rules of the career game.   We need to learn the rules so we can either play by them or possibly bend them when we need. We also need to learn the unwritten ground rules, so we can at the least be on the same playing field. If a competitive nature and a winning streak are a pre-requisite, then we need to understand our tendency to avoid it, so we do get access to those meatier more substantive opportunities.

It’s just like a game of Snakes and Ladders:

  • There are times when ladder opportunities will come your way, you will put your hand up before you feel ready and say “hell yes” then puzzle out the solution afterwards.
  • There will also be times when you don’t see one of those unwritten ground rules, maybe to do with competitive nature, playing to win, or bias, and you'll slide down a the board on a snake.
  • But the ultimate goal is not to worry too much about the individuals ladders and snakes, but to win at the game. And the game is leading or creating a career that really counts.

Don’t play a defensive game - take control instead

Given that those who are more confident appear to “win”  at work, rest and play, maybe it’s time for us to flick this switch. We want to switch from Abba’s “take a chance on me” to Kylie’s (paraphrased) “I [you] should be so lucky” to have me! Even if we feel as though we're faking it til we make it, it's the way the game is played.

Remember when we’re confident we’ve switched from defensive to self assured


Some examples of what taking control might look like when applying for roles

1.   When assessing a role when considering whether or not to apply for it instead of passively relying on job adverts and position descriptions to help you make your decision, get on the front foot and do your research.  What’s written in the documentation is such a subjective, narrow definition and interpretation of an actual role and frequently doesn't paint an accurate picture.  Your interpretation of "exciting social media presence" might be very different to someone else's interpretation.  So do your homework and ask questions and never assume.

2.     When preparing your application take control and focus on how to “win” the interview, rather than relying passively on recruiters or the process like everyone else. Reach out to others in the organisation who you might know what the hot spots are. Is their strategic agenda visible on their website or social media presence and what does it tell you about the organisation as a whole? Get on the front foot, colour outside the lines a little and be proactive with your approach and preparation.

3.    In response to interview questions -

  • If someone says “so why should we pick you for the role?” - instead of fumbling for an answer and feeling like you a scene from Oliver Twist begging for more, flip it on it’s head.  Smile confidently and ask the interviewer back “maybe I should ask you - why I should come and work for you?”
  • If someone asks if you have children (unethical, not legal but yes it still happens) - respond with a question instead. "Are you asking me about my time management?"  Take control of the situation confidently.
  • if a potential employer presses you for how much you are currently earning (low, I know), take control and instead propose that it’s really important that you get to know each other first. Have a back up plan. In case they don't accept your initial response, plan with a ballpark response with what you'd like to earn, but reiterate that you're keen to work out if you're the right fit first. 
  • When asked if you have questions, make sure that you are prepared with questions about the performance of the organisation over all - reference the annual report, recent media, the departmental links to the strategic agenda. Ask questions that position you as someone who has done their homework, as confident and who sees the bigger picture. Take control of that perception.

Let's not confuse less willing to compete with unambitious

You've probably heard the myth that women aren't as ambitious as men.  I call bullsh*t on that. Yet it might have something to do with this bias towards less competitiveness.  

What I have found is a bunch of research that indicates that while men tend to correlate success and ambition with financial gain, women also want to know that we're being heard and making a difference. And our perception might just be that it's harder to be heard and harder to make a difference in more competitive environments.

The trifecta - you should be so lucky

So my ambition for you should be so lucky to get the trifecta - whether you're a man or a woman. I'd like you to be remunerated well for the results you help to deliver, to have a voice in the organisation, plus make a bigger difference every single day you turn up. But you're going to have to Step Up, Speak Out and Take Charge in order to do that.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes


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



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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