getting ahead faster

The Importance of Dealing with Stretch when Tackling Big, Audacious Goals

Have you ever noticed that people tackle big challenges and opportunities really differently? I’ve been observing this lately as I hang out with a bunch of entrepreneurs and there appears to be a common approach amongst the entrepreneur set.  When approached with a new idea or big opportunity, they will frequently say "Hell yes, of course I can", then work out how to do it if and when they win the business.  And yet much of the rest of the population (including many women) are far more likely to demure until they feel better prepared.

The “Hell yes!” approach – so what do these people know that others don’t?

#1 They have a growth mindset

Dr Carol Dweck, Stanford University, introduced the concept of fixed and growth mindsets - with a growth mindset meaning those who understand that their abilities, capabilities and IQ are pliable, can expand and increase with challenge and stimulation. This growth mindset means you are far less likely to hesitate than those with a fixed mindset and understand you can do almost anything you put your mind to as long as you are prepared:

  • to make mistakes,
  • to be distinctly uncomfortable and
  • to do the work.

#2 They are agile learners

They understand that just in time learning is equally as valid (if not more) as old school learning. The ability to be agile represents the “ability to respond quickly to the fast pace of change” in your market or area - and to learn from experience without becoming rigid.  According to research by Korn Ferry:

"Companies with the most agile learners among their executive ranks have profit margins 25 percent higher than those of other, similar companies." (bold added)

Interestingly female entrepreneurs and C suite executives score really well in agile learning according to an Inc. article entitled Why Women Entrepreneurs Make the Best Leaders.

 #3 They understand of the “rules of the game”

It's as though these people have been let in on some different rules than others - and they have some innate understanding that this is actually the way the rules of the game are played. According to them, the rules of the success game include putting yourself out there whether you believe you are fully prepared or not.  Tara Sophia Mohr, author of Playing Big, writes about how men and women might interpret the rules of the success game differently with her research into the much quoted statistic from some internal Hewlett Packard research indicating that;

men will apply for roles knowing they only meet 60% of the criteria while women will only apply if they meet 100%.

And while in this instance I'm not writing about the differences between male and female brain biology, according to Mohr's research, it would appear that more men than women understand these rules.

 #4 They realise the importance of stretch

When you stretch, you grow and your brain operates much like your body. It’s an awful lot like training in the gym. When you push yourself a little harder or further each time, you achieve more - becoming stronger, fitter or more flexible. When you stretch your brain i.e. expose yourself to new ways of thinking, tackle new projects or big goals, you actually help your brain grow and your brain loves it - with the reward centres of your brain lighting up like a Xmas tree.  

#5 They understand the success and confidence correlation

These “champions” understand that success correlates equally as closely IF NOT MORE closely to confidence as competence.  It's as though they don't allow feelings of fear an discomfort to distract them from their main goal or trigger a flight back to compliance and competence based thinking - according to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in The Confidence Code.

So what's your style?

So when someone offers you a big opportunity that might be outside of your comfort zone - how do you respond?   

Vive la révolution! 

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

  • I mentor ambitious men and women 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 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

6 Signs That you need to Take your Personal LinkedIn Strategy Far More Seriously

Be aware of what your LinkedIn profile says about you without you even knowing

Did you know that women dominate every social media platform except one? Guess which one. Yes you are right - LinkedIn.

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Did you also know that some organisations are making decisions about whether or not to interview you based solely on your LinkedIn profile?   I heard this interesting (and rather scary) fact as I met with clients from a major corporate in the Melbourne CBD.  And while I was a little taken aback at the supposed “unfairness” i.e. you didn’t even know you were in the running for the role and you were passed over without being able to stun them with your amazing new CV or wow them with your polished interview techniques, I’m actually not surprised.  

So if recruiters and others are able to make assessments about your suitability for a role based solely on your LinkedIn profile - perhaps it's time that you got your house in order and your profile into professional gear.  Here are the big 6 signs that you need to do some work.

1.     No photo 

This says straight up front that you are uncomfortable in a modern social media environment and don't really want to be recognised.   Gone are the days when not having a photo was simply a holdover from not wanting to be identified on RSVP (that "old" dating site - is it still around?).  Basically, if you don’t have a professional photo on your profile it looks like you are timid or trying to hide something.  

There is the exception to the rule – social media stalkers are real. For those in roles where protecting your identity is an issue then please disregard my suggestion re a photo.  However, if its purely because you are shy or nervous around social media – then its probably time to take a teaspoon full of cement and get with the program.

2.     Photo looks like a laptop selfie or that you’d rather be anywhere else but at work

With a few exceptions such as creative types, outdoor types and entertainers (where a creative photo actually sells "brand you") then remember that the following types of images are better suited to Facebook:

  • the home job selfie,
  • the pic of you holding a fish you just caught on holidays, or maybe
  • the glamour shot you had taken for your hubby last year.

  Think of this as your professional CV summary. Your photo should represent you - professionally.

3.     Too few contacts

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Many sources say that the magic number for contacts on LinkedIn is 500+. I suspect this is purely for mechanical reasons (LinkedIn doesn’t publish the specific number once you bypass 500) and it means you are perceived as "well connected"

For those selling services and utilising LinkedIn as a leverage point commercially I’ve heard that the “magic number” is 3000+

Whatever the actual sweet spot is,  if you’re in a regular role that’s not about sales, my best guess is it needs to be more than 400 but less than 2000 – especially if you have been in business for 10 years or so.  

Contacts correlates with your ability to network in a social online environment. In this modern era with information and connection as valued currencies, then your number of contacts says a lot about you.   But unless you are selling stuff to people then you don’t want it to look like you spend all day on LinkedIn either.  It's actually pretty easy to load your email contacts these days. Just be sure to personalise your contact note (unless you know someone really well) and you'll be fine.

4.     Too few endorsements

If you want to connect with me and send me an invitation - imagine for a moment that I can’t remember exactly when I met you so I open your profile to check you out and jog my memory. Your credibility drops to zilch if you have no endorsements.  How do you grow endorsements? Networking of course. And making sure that your settings allow endorsements. If you are connected with someone on LinkedIn and you know they do good work around Stakeholder Management –why not endorse them?  And it's highly likely they’ll return the favour and endorse you for something you've got listed in your endorsement settings.

5.      No current recommendations  

Now this might be because you are busy, but when you remember that your profile is in someway the modern shop-front, public version of your resume, then keep it up to date. As soon as you finish a big project or significant piece of work, ask for a recommendation. Don’t wait til you are changing roles when you want to update your CV. Get it done while the quality of your work is front of mind.  That way when you do get to update your CV you are on the front foot with remembering what it was that was a significant achievement in the past year.  By the way – quarterly or half yearly updates of your CV are highly recommended in any case.

6.     Not active

Remember, social networking is social. It's just on a different platform.  You need to be active to be ranked by LinkedIn and "float" to the top of search criteria. LinkedIn even provide rankings for you to see how you are doing in terms of activity.  

Share, like, comment, connect and email away  - and here is a basic plan to get you started.

  • Work out what it is you stand for professionally - great customer service, strategy, leadership, wellness and/or success,
  • Like what others in your network share - as a way of connecting socially or as a way to enhance what you stand for,
  • Share links to articles  that inspire you professionally (with your own summary for time poor colleagues) once or twice a week,
  • Get involved in a discussion once a week - so comment and acknowledge you value wha't others have shared, add your insights,
  • Build your network - once a week get online and actively look for others in your network to connect with, 
  •  Don’t be shy. You won’t break the internet if you make a mistake.  Go on! You know you want to.

There are many more things you can do but this LinkedIn top tidy will stand you in good stead and keep you on the front foot.    LinkedIn is simply a tool in your professional tool kit that you will want to keep up to date. Given it dovetails really nicely in with your CV development and professional connection keeping, it won’t be a waste of time, especially when you do change roles.

One proviso – cat photos or videos or pics of friends and family are not really suited for this forum just yet. I’m sure the lines will be blurred one day, but right now, LinkedIn represents a platform you can professionally leverage and position yourself.  Don’t mix the personal and professional too much, too soon.

But most importantly, have fun. I call it the LinkedIn game. What about you?

Vive la révolution! 

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

  • I mentor ambitious 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.

 

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