leadership

Is perfect the enemy of progress?

It's a progress not a perfect for executive womem with Amanda Blesing Executive Coach.jpg

CONFESSIONS OF A RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST

"If you can't do something properly, then don't do it at all."

This principle ruled my life for years.

  •  If I couldn't do a 90 minute workout at the gym, it wasn't worth going.

  •  If I wouldn't easily pass the exam near the top of the class, I couldn't be bothered participating.

  • If I didn't meet all the criteria, then I wouldn't throw my hat in the ring.

  •  If I wouldn't likely win a prize, it wasn't worth doing at all.

It’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.
— Carol S. Dweck

It was exhausting. All the mental anguish involved in pre-emptively measuring, judging and comparing ensured that I rarely got out of my comfort zone but was incredibly envious of those who did.

It was also incredibly limiting.

There was not a lot of flying by the seat of my pants, having a crack at things, or colouring outside the lines.  Which left me not trying, not giving thing a shot and ..... and not going anywhere anytime soon.

DOUBLE STANDARDS AND A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD

Research tells me that I'm not alone; that women in the corporate world are more likely to be perfectionists and more self-critical than their male counterparts, holding themselves back from opportunities until they’re sure they can predict the outcome.  

Where an attitude of taking advantage of opportunities that come your way (whether you can easily predict the outcome or not) is the smarter play, we're still focused on doing things really, really well.

Yes, there are still double standards for women in the workplace with the burden of over proof. There are expectations of us needing to jump through extra hoops and do things better, to prove our worth over again. Then again, the perfectionist also has that additional double standard for themselves - over proving, over polishing, over and over again.

High standards are one thing, but perfectionism definitely becomes a double edged sword.

WHAT GETS MEASURED GETS DONE

Tim Ferriss, in his book Four Hour Body, writes about how people who measure and track their weight regularly, get far better weight loss results over time, than those who don't. It's as though their motivation is higher and they are more resilient because they had more data, and subsequently understood how to navigate the peaks and troughs along the way towards their long term weight loss goal.

There was even a case study about a guy who lost a significant amount of weight, not by (intentionally) changing his diet or exercise regime, but by simply weighing, measuring and keeping track.  (Go figure!)

While I recently heard a story about a group of male colleagues who tracked the progress of their male MBA cohort (yes, they ran Excel spreadsheets), so they could see how they were measuring up against each other, I suspect this is unusual, and more about competition than progress.  

I don't think many of us track and measure progress in our daily lives, and certainly we don't do it much with our career.  We tend to celebrate the big wins, the rockstar moments, but rarely the smaller milestones along the way.

TRACK PROGRESS, DON'T JUST WAIT FOR BIG WINS

So what would happen if we tracked progress, not perfect?  What would happen if we still kept our eye on the prize, but tracked and rewarded in smaller increments along the way?

This month as a trial, I've implemented a new initiative for my clients. No more Friday Achievement Formula for us (even though I love it). Instead I'm replacing it with the Friday Progress Report. 

Every Friday for the next month, list five things, where you've seen progress, where the dial has shifted and you've moved closer to your end goal, where you've learned something new that will help you achieve your end goal, or where you've improved.

This will require measuring, strategy and prioritisation. It will also require keeping a journal, a spreadsheet or a whiteboard visual reminder.

There is something very rewarding about ticking off a checklist. There is something even more rewarding and motivating when you systematically and regularly track your progress towards your big goals.

Why? When a recovering perfectionist is only focused on the big goals, big achievements, big end results all the time, we run the risk of losing sight of how far we have come then becoming disheartened or disengaged.

Key to success?

  • Regular checking in on your goal and tracking towards it

  • Celebrating progress along the way  

  • Reward yourself for trying new things even if they don't return much initially

  • Acknowledging failure or mis-steps as a learning opportunities.

 It's not failure, it's data" ~ Dorie Clark

IT'S A PROGRESS, NOT A PERFECT

There is a saying in yoga - it's a practice not a perfect.  This reminds yogis to stop and smell the roses, that the yoga class is about the journey, not the destination and that while the peak poses are fun, that's not the why we do yoga. Instead, yoga asana is about what you learn about yourself along the way to achieving a peak pose.  Then what you do with that insight, how you course correct, adapt and incorporate new things, is what will ultimately help you achieve the peak pose much more easily.

The same goes for our careers and leadership.  It's what you learn along the way that will help you not just win in the career game, but to lead and succeed as well.

YOUR THOUGHTS? Do you regularly track progress? Or do you track only the big wins? What works for you and why? Drop me a note and let me know.

#womenofimpact #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #perfectionism


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Over the years I’ve written a lot about perfectionism – 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

The secret to getting noticed for all the right reasons for executive women

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I was not rescued by a Prince. I was the adminstrator of my own rescue
— Elizabeth Gilbert

A funny thing happened to me on a webinar the other day.  I was in the middle of introducing the Gold Standard of Executive Branded - proactive, intentional, future focused and strategic when someone asked me a question "Isn't it disingenuous to do this? Surely if we're doing great work people will notice us?" 

My heart stopped.  It was such a great question.

I then took a deep breath and thought deeply before I responded, because I knew exactly where she was coming from.

Let me explain.

My new book From Invisible to Invincible - a self-promotion handbook for executive women (advance orders available here) was originally going to be called Noticed: For all the right reasons. 

Oh, how I loved that title. It was punchy. It was going to have a sealed section with all the wrong reasons (and no, not those sort of wrong reasons). This book was about being noticed by the right audience, at the right time, in the right place with the right key messages in the right currency.

But when I reflected on the issues that many women face: a lack of agency or a tendency to rely more on waiting to be noticed than creating the notice, I simply could not go to print with that title. It would convey the wrong message and keep us stuck once again playing small.

THE SECRET

The secret to creating a career that really counts is that success comes soonest to those who create it themselves - deliberately, proactively, strategically and in a future focused manner.  Not to those who wait around for it to happen to them or for someone to hand it to them.

The socialisation of young women and girls is comes from fairy stories and romance novels where the female protagonist waits to be rescued. Even if we didn't consciously buy into that narrative, it was all around us - television, advertising, magazine articles, our mothers, grans, aunties, female cousins, babysitters or childcare workers who reared us with those same stereotypes in mind. 

After all -

  • Men sweat, while women glow

  • Men go on quests and adventures, while women are required to stay at home waiting and keeping the hearth fires warm

Our history is flooded with images of women sitting passively and looking amazing, without a hair out of place as though as though we didn't break a sweat, Mona Lisa style, while imagery of men is all guts and glory, of men riding, lifting, heaving, throwing, running, creating and leading.

This creates a tendency towards a lack of agency for women. We subconsciously end up imagining that someone needs to tap us on the shoulder, for us to wait to be invited, for it to be worthwhile; that being discovered like Australia’s Top Model is the holy grail (thank you NOT Dolly Magazine of the 70's and 80s'); and this somehow perpetuates a mixed up mess of, if you actually create your own success then it isn't as valid.

Logically this doesn’t even make sense, but it’s so ingrained in the thinking of yesteryear that it’s hard to decode or dismiss even now.

In 2015, I was attending an International Women’s Day function and was seated at a table with a mature-aged (75+) business woman renowned in the dispute resolution sector. She had just published her first, much awaited, book. When I asked her why she waited so long to write the book, she replied ‘No-one had invited me to write one before, so I didn’t think it would be the right thing to do’

This exemplifies much of what many of us still hold to be true. We're still waiting to be invited because we think it's the right thing to do. 

But the new rules for women are - if you don't have a seat at the table, BYO chair. 

This takes focus, striving, strategy, influencing others and right effort.

So to answer the question? No this is not disingenuous. We women simply got the wrong memo. This is the secret ingredient that we've only recently stumbled upon. The men and women winning all the glory are quite simply, creating it for themselves.

Instead, we need to stop waiting and get on with the business of being great then create a world we want to inhabit.

As television producer Shonda Rhimes famously said ... 'I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don't call me lucky. Call me a badass'.

YOUR THOUGHTS?  Have you had your badass moment yet?  Or deep down, are you still waiting?  Drop me a note and let me know.

#Icreatesheroes #womenofimpact #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

 

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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

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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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

One great technique to help you meditate your way to the top

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I don't think I would have landed, or lasted in, a CEO role if I didn't meditate.  In fact, I know I wouldn't have. Between board responsibilities, ambitious growth targets, staffing, reputation management, AGMs, Awards and audits, life had the potential to be incredibly stressful. 

Meditation kept me clear headed, less reactive and better able to manage the constantly changing demands. 

What’s interesting though, is that I used to hide my meditation and yoga. I was embarrassed that people would think it was light weight and not leaderly enough, not cool or career minded enough, and that I was lacking in some way. 

Spring forward a few years and times have sure changed!  Meditation and mindfulness is considered the new black. It’s not just good for you but it’s uber cool as well.

If Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn, Ariana Huffington, CEO, Huffington Post and Oprah Winfrey, CEO, The Modern World (LOL) can do it, so can the rest of us. 

Multiple research studies have shown that meditation has the potential to decrease anxiety, thereby potentially boosting resilience and performance under pressure.

It has also been shown to

In the attention economy, focus is the currency. Fight for your focus
— Repa Patel
  • reduce stress

  • boost immunity

  • increase concentration and focus

  • improve sleep quality

  • help you make better decisions

  • increase memory and

  • enhance creativity

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....... all of which are highly beneficial to leadership.

Let's nip scarcity mentality in the bud 
It doesn’t have to be complicated or perfect. Tiny two minute meditation moments several times a day are not to be sniffed at. After all, the meditation that you do is far better than the meditation that you think about and don't do.

An abundance meditation is my go to at the moment. Designed to nip scarcity mentality in the bud in a few minutes. Literally. And scarcity mentality is not only one of the biggest barriers to women in leadership, but also to you and your own success.

  • "There won't be enough top jobs to go around"

  • "There won't be enough opportunities for us all"

  • "I'm not good enough"

  • "I'm not confident enough"

  • "There are only a few places so why would they give one to me?"

You've probably heard one of the above. You may have even said something similar to yourself.

The abundance meditation is really simple. When I do it I feel stress melting from my body - like ice-cream on a hot summer day (she pined wistfully). 

It’s great for those days when you have a bucket load of competing priorities, then worry that you won’t have enough time, energy or focus to get there.  

Deep down too, you’re afraid because the person you’ll let down the most is yourself and maybe .... today is the day that others will find out you're a big ol' fraud.

So what do you do?  Instructions below

  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You can be sitting or lying. Rule of thumb - if you accidentally fall asleep, you probably needed it. Don’t get too pedantic.

  • Start breathing and allow your diaphragm to gently expand into your belly as you breathe

  • With a light touch, count how many counts it takes to inhale, pause at the top then count how long it takes to exhale

  • Repeat for about 1 minute and see if you can effortlessly extend your breath count each time

  • Then mentally repeat the following four phrases to yourself with your new slow breathing - about four times through

- "I am safe"

- "I am worthy" 

- "I am loveable"

- "I am enough" 

  • Remember you are not in a rush, take your time

  • If you have the time, or want a variation on a theme, take it one step further and repeat the following different four phrases for a couple of minutes

- "I have plenty of time"

- "I have plenty of energy"

- "I have plenty of focus"

- "I am enough" 

  • Finally, sit in silence for a minute longer and gently bask in the space this creates.

Then get on with your day!  

Remember, some days it's a dance. Other days it’s a juggle. While some days it feels like a tornado hit!

You being able to carve a calm pathway through is going to make all the difference between an indifferent or invincible 'brand you'. 

Let me know how you go. 

And yes, it is possible to meditate your way to the top.

Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!

#executivewomen #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

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The Macedon Retreat is FULLY BOOKED

 
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

Retreat Early Bird date extended - just for you

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It's not too late - early bird pricing extended to 5 July

Are you able to attend?

What would it take for you to create the time and space to focus on "brand you" and attend theWomen of Impact Leadership Retreat?  

Maybe it's an extension of the Early Bird pricing discount to help you make the final decision! 

Finding the balance between tackling ambitious goals and taking downtime can be challenging for those with big career goals and even bigger roles. The Macedon Women of Impact Leadership Retreat will help you create time and space to do just that.

Bookings and details in the link -  Early Bird pricing extended to 5 July  COB

In addition to reflecting on your own leadership brand, your ability to influence and carve out a future focused, positive pathway forwards, you will also hear from three amazing women who will co-facilitate with me.

1. Irene Scott, Copywriter, Marketer, Strategist, Engineer - a civil engineer turned copywriter and marketing strategist, who loves telling other people’s stories and helping them live their passion.  She is already helping several of my clients with prestigious award nominations so I'm very excited to hear how she does it. 

How to Write an Award Winning Application to Showcase Your Expertise… 7 Tips to Boost Your Nomination Success.

If you want more influence, credibility and authority amongst your peers, then being formally acknowledged with an award is key.  But if you’ve ever doubted whether you have the right experience, struggled to find the “right” words to express your accomplishments or been anxious your message sounds flat, then you know writing an award application can be a challenge.  In her presentation she'll share with you 7 tips and strategies you can use immediately to write winning award applications! 

2. Julie Hyne, CEO Stylist and Image Consultant 

Some people think that style and image is frivolous. However, perhaps they've never been on the receiving end of negative judgments or low confidence because you simply didn't have the right look!  
Your confident executive presence is a career tool just like any other and with competence so confused with confidence, a confident presence pays dividends. I've had clients tell me that they've been advised to change their look, straighten their hair and present themselves differently if they were ever going to succeed. And this hurts!  And when that happens, I call Julie.  Julie works with C-level executives around the country and advises on style, image and executive presence to have more impact.  For those attending the Retreat you get to experience her wisdom first hand in a group setting.

3.  Special guest female wine maker, Laura Swallow, winemaker for Rowanston on the Track, will share tasting notes and her career story in the breathtaking views of the Macedon Wine Room. 

If you're still sitting on the fence re the Women of Impact Leadership Retreat - this Early Bird extension may be just the ticket. 

Curious but not sure? Why not grab 30 mins with me to find out more?  Book a Zoom or Phone meeting straight away. Or simply hit reply to this email 

When: 1 - 2 August 2019 (arrival lunch served from 12.00 noon Thursday)
Where: Macedon Ranges Resort, Spa & Conference Centre 
             Just 35 mins from the Melbourne airport and 45 mins from the Melbourne CBD

Who should attend? Ideal for executive women with big goals, bigger drive and even bigger ambitions, or newer consultants wanting to establish their brand with more impact.

What's included?  All meals, sessions, a wine tasting, a fabulous group dinner, a tai chi class, and for those heading to the airport at the end of the Retreat there is a group airport transfer booked for 3.30pm Friday. (estimated arrival time 4.15pm)

Retreat bookings and details here

  • Note 1 - there is a special rate for former and current clients. I know you'll love connecting with each other as you all have so much in common.

  • Note 2 - there is also an amazing offer for those who have yet to work with me, but want to come along and meet others. You receive a 2 hour strategy session with me. I've already delivered 2 of these sessions to women who booked early.  It would be great to get your 2 hour session in before the event.


Drop me a note if you can't decide and need more information.  Happy to help.

Counting down the days ......

Stay visible!

#executivewomen #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

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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 Curious Facts About Decision Making That May Be Holding You Back

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Decision making is something I struggled with as a young woman. I'd agonise and procrastinate, always waiting for a better offer or for a more perfect opportunity to come along. Meanwhile the things I was meant to be deciding on passed me by and life got on without me. 

Who was I kidding? I didn't just struggle - I was lousy at it.  

My work around was to schedule my life within an inch of its life so that my calendar and work commitments forced me to make decisions by the very nature of a looming deadline.  

'I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.' ~ Douglas Adams 

Spring forward 25 years and I'm now married to a decision making expert. 

The irony.

The pressure!

Yes, the gods must truly be laughing.

But things have definitely changed. With the wisdom of age I now practice the art of defencelessness, letting go of the need to be right. 

As a result I've become far better at decision making, far faster with less agonising and with far more comfort about course correction as needed.  After all, as my resident decision making expert says "any decision, even the wrong decision is better than no decision".  And I've learned he is right.

In fact, one of the reasons I'm really interested in gender diversity came from my own struggle with decision making. This drove an interest in male and female brain biology which, combined with data that demonstrates that organisations make better long term decisions with equal numbers of men and women on the leadership team, has shaped this significant part of my career.

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?
Many people and organisations struggle with decision making. Despite the negative stereotype that women change their mind more than men, paralysis by analysis is not limited to women.  I'm hoping the following six curious factoids, based in research, will help you make decisions more easily. 

1. Decision overwhelm is a thing. Ever gone onto Airbnb thinking you'd spend a quick 15 mins to book your weekend away, only to give up 60 mins later because there were too many properties to choose from?  That's decision overwhelm, where you are presented with too many options so it's far harder for you to make a decision. 

We live in an era where we're spoiled for choice, but quite possibly it's slowing us down and making us less effective. The fix? Give yourself only a few options to choose from. You'll have your holiday booked in no time, with no regrets as well.  You can thank me later.

2. We make better easier decisions in morning. Yes, we are prone to decision fatigue. It impacts on the quality of our choices as well as our ability to make a decision. That's why it's far easier to make healthier choices in the morning, and far easier to sit on the couch drinking red wine, eating dark chocolate and watching reruns of Jane the Virgin, when you know you should be out working on your networking strategy! 

So what does this mean? If you've got a big decision to make in the evening, make a decision to sleep on it!   Make the big decision the next morning instead. Schedule important decisions or options in the morning when your decision making muscle is stronger and your willpower isn't wilting. You can thank me in the morning when you've slept on it.

3. Gender, decisions and stress - under intense pressure, women tend toward safer decisions and men tend towards riskier decisions.  Fascinating. Two things spring to mind here

  • Proactively manage your stress and wellbeing so you don't have to deal with the impact of stress on your decision making. Prevention is always better than the cure.

  • Keep this in mind next time your significant other makes a decision that appears either outrageously cautious or outrageously risky to you.  It may not be their fault, but the fault of their biology instead.


4. Time limits increase likelihood of making a decision 
- hmmmm, apparently I was onto the right track as a young woman. I've always known I performed well to a deadline.  After all, work expands to fill the time allocated, so when you give yourself time limits you'll be able to make a decision more easily. I love the Pomodoro technique as a tactic to tackle projects far more efficiently. 25 mins on followed by 5 mins rest x 4 cycles. Work. Rest. Rinse. Repeat x 4.  Because when we know time is short we're able to prioritise far more effectively and in just under 2 hours we can get far more done than we might do in a full day with no deadlines. Time limits will help you prioritise. Prioritising will help you make decisions more easily.

5. We tend to throw good after bad if we've already heavily invested - whether that's time, money, energy or ego.  This is called the sunk cost fallacy.  When we're heavily invested, we're more likely to keep going in the direction well past what might be sensible to an outsider. For example, you've already invested heavily in a particular direction in your career (you've told your boss, you've spent money, you've exhausted yourself every weekend doing it and wasted a year already) so you might as well keep going, even though you're desperately unhappy and potentially making a silk purse out of a sows ear. 

The fix? Get another perspective, and practice that defencelessness I mentioned earlier. Being aware of the sunk cost fallacy will help you make better decision anyway. And remember, it's okay to change your mind despite the negative stereotype. Sometimes you simply have to cut your losses and move on. 

It’s not failure, it’s data
— Dorie Clark


6. Things that are undecided take up mental ram and emotional energy - yes this sounds a little woo woo, but those who make more rapid decisions, move on more rapidly too. They're already scaling the next mountain, and we haven't yet bought a ticket to Katmandu because we couldn't work out which airline to go on! 

When we procrastinate on undecided items, it causes friction and slows us down, personally and professionally. The freedom of a freefall, that comes from making rapid decisions, is liberating. Because it provides more data that helps you progress far more easily. You can always course correct later as you need.

There is an old saying - action precedes clarity.  Combine this with the fact that success is really closely correlated with more rapid decision making and you begin to get the picture.  When we replace perfecting, proving, pleasing and polishing with purpose, passion and progress, life becomes a whole heap easier anyway.

And that success you are searching for?  A whole heap closer.

Your thoughts? What helps you make more effective decisions?  Drop me a note and let me know.

PS you might have noticed I've had a fabulous new photoshoot. The header image features "the bees knees" and other fun ways of reminding yourself that you're actually doing okay. Looking forward to sharing more with you in coming months. Why not follow me on Instagram as well?

#executiveimpact #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes


Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!

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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

How comfortable are you taking a position?

What do you stand for Amanda Blesing.jpg
When you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.

When it comes to self promotion, it's much easier when you have a platform to stand on.

No, I don't mean your soapbox, or your high horse. I'm talking about a cause, a purpose or a mission.

Research tells us that, for women in particular, when we self promote around a cause, a purpose or a mission, we more easily depress the impact of the modesty norm which normally makes us feel self conscious. 

Additionally others are far more forgiving of us if we get it slightly wrong or if the activity is perceived to be not as per the feminine stereotype. This means we more effectively circumnavigate negative judgments and social penalties or even the backlash effect.

A definite win win!

In a nutshell, we're more likely to get out of our own way and flagrantly self promote when it's for a cause, a purpose or a mission. 

Your UVP
Another way to self promote is around your unique value proposition - and that means you need to be able to take a position. You need to back yourself and your own ideas and claim that unique space between your experience, your expertise and those things you are most passionate about.

So my question to you is - how comfortable are you in taking a position?  

Most of us cringe remembering the uncomfortable conversation at a dinner party once where someone dominated the conversation with their dogmatic "position".  

Let's not even go there. Simply remember the Buddhist principle of care deeply, hold lightly and you'll be fine.

Although, at the other end of the spectrum there is the person who is almost like wallpaper, fading into the background, and people wonder why they are in the room.  

As a leader, or aspiring leader, being able to stake a claim in the sand and to take a position, is part and parcel of your journey because it will help set the vision and bring others along on the journey. 

How can I work out my position?
Here are my four go to questions that help you work out what your position is on any issue

  • What do you stand for?

  • Why is this important? 

  • How does this add value? 

  • What's in it for the intended listener/audience?

In fact, you could even create a presentation or a LinkedIn post around those four bullet points alone, and it would go a long way to helping others remember you! 

Once you are comfortable articulating all four, self promotion becomes a breeze.

Is it even worth it? Surely there are no new ideas left
Yes it is worth it. Remember it's not what you know or even who you know, but it's who knows what you know.  You cannot sell a secret so you do have to share your ideas with others.

Sometimes a new voice can bring a fresh perspective and helps to solve old problems in new ways.  Diversity works, because of diversity - of ideas, of thinking, of approaches, so don't even begin to think your position doesn't have any value.  

Digging deep into your sense of why will help you do this. Why do you turn up to work every day? Why do you work in this industry? Why do you do good work? Why is this work important? Why is this perspective important?  

Asking yourself why is nearly always a game changer.

Letting go of the need to be right
Another key element of position taking, is the practice of defencelessness. When you let go of the need to be right, or even letting go of the need to know everything, expressing your opinion is far easier.  

Jane Caro, media commentator, comedian and speaker taught me this as I was about to head on stage one day and debate against some extremely clever PhDs and journalists on the topic of gender salary. The best bit? Her advice was fabulous. My team won the day ... by being funny, not necessarily by being right. 

Quick and Easy Wins
Some quick and easy tactics for you to try once you've worked out what you stand for ...

  • Take a stand and express your opinion in meeting where you normally let others do all the talking

  • Craft a compelling argument in an online forum

  • Providing smart and persuasive commentary at an event or ask a smart question from the back of the room

  • Comment "on brand" on LinkedIn on other people's posts

  • Publish or share "on brand" on LinkedIn 

  • And does your leadership team and/or Board, not just know about you, but know what you represent and how that adds value to the organisation?  If not, go create an opportunity for decision makers to see that you have value to add. 

When the rubber hits the road
Now that you've worked out what you stand for and have a roadmap for helping yourself to stand out for all the right reasons, go and put an appointment with yourself in your calendar to make sure it starts happening today.  Practice makes perfect and you have to start somewhere. 

Then remember Avril Henry's rallying cry ....
"No-one cares as much about your career as you do. So do something about it"

YOUR THOUGHTS?  When do you find self promotion easiest?  What challenges you the most about self promotion?  What have you wished you could be given the opportunity for but no-one else knows and you haven't told them about it either? What can you do differently?
Drop me a note and let me know how you're going - ablesing@amandablesing

AND SHARE IF YOU DARE TO INSPIRE A WOMAN SOMEWHERE

#executivewomen

#womenofimpact

#executiveimpact

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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

Is it possible to lead and be “nice” at the same time? More on Nice Girl leadership

Is it possible to lead and be “nice” at the same time?

Dr. Lois Frankel wrote a book on this topic back in the early 2000's, but did we all get the wrong end of the stick by simply focusing on the book title? "Nice Girls Can't Get the Corner Office"

Reflections on “nice girl” leadership for those struggling to carve to a leadership brand that’s congruent and authentic - not just brash, bolshy and competitive because you’ve been told you need to be that way. 

After all organisations don't need more of the same style. Diversity works because of diversity - of thought, ideas, styles and perspectives.

No more "big hair, big shoulder pads, go hard or go home".  

Have the confidence to lead leading authentically.

#LeadLikeaLeadingWoman

#WomenOfImpact

#LeadingWomen

#NiceGirlLeadership

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

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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

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

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PALM COVE WOMEN OF IMPACT LEADERSHIP RETREAT
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 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

Nice Girls Can Indeed Get the Corner Office

What a great evening in #Melbourne on 14 June.

Thanks also to Mary Anne Waldren for sharing her insights at Work Club for my Women of Impact program.

Event photography thanks to Luis Ferreiro

Event photography thanks to Luis Ferreiro

Key takeaways and insights

  • Nice is not naïve
  • Nice does not mean being compliant, complicit or even capitulating
  • Nice doesn’t preclude being direct, assertive and highly competitive
  • Nice also can mean being willing to have tough conversations, or even sometimes using tough love principals to help someone move forward
  • Nice means being kind, generous and gracious - graciousness goes a long way in business and is hugely underestimated
  • Nice and likeable aren't necessarily the same and definitely not to be confused with needing to be liked

As one motivated attendee emailed after the event

"Being nice means being true to yourself and the situation by setting appropriate boundaries without aggression, anger, hatred or resentment. It’s about being strong and steadfast in your convictions whilst opening your heart to show kindness, compassion and gentleness towards others." 

>> Your thoughts? Can we keep it nice and still lead effectively?

#womenofimpact #leadership #feminineambitionrocks #careerfutureproofing

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

I need your help - CEO SleepOut 2018

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Brrrrr!  It's cold and miserable outside this winter in Melbourne!

I need your help .... as do those who find themselves homeless.

With the winter weather well and truly set in, it's a great time to talk about the Vinnies CEO Sleepout to help break the cycle of homelessness in Victoria. 

I'm asking for donations (see link below).

Did you know that women are the invisible majority?  Not only do we see more and more mature women retiring under the poverty line despite working hard for most of their career, but women are particularly vulnerable if they do find themselves in this situation.

My contribution to doing something about it is to participate in the sleepout - which means sleeping rough and cold on the cement in Melbourne with a cardboard box and a cup of soup for company.

>> DONATE: If you would like to help - you can donate to the fund. https://www.ceosleepout.org.au/fundraisers/amandablesing/melbourne 

>> Or take part! Vinnies is hosting these CEO Sleepouts to raise awareness and funding all around the country. Get on board.

Special thanks to all the fabulous contributors already. At time of posting my fund was almost $5K. Watch this space.

THANK YOU!

POST EVENT REPORT - thanks to everyone for your generous support. Together we raised $10.6K which goes a long way.  

 
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

Can nice girls get the corner office? Reflections on likability and leadership

Leading while being female can be joyous, exciting, challenging, hard work and plain awful all in one.  Add into the mix that female leaders are still thin on the ground so those who do lead are highly visible and under intense scrutiny - ergo highly vulnerable. One woman appears to mis-step and all women are criticised everywhere. What a burden!

No-one said it would be easy, and they were right.

However for many, once you get past a few of the hurdles, there is no other choice. Leadership is the only viable option.

How we lead is another story.  Historically women have embraced, and been rewarded for, more masculine traits in order to fit in and be successful. You know - big hair, big shoulder pads, go hard or go home - assertive, competitive and/or combative. This not only doesn’t work any more, but society and business miss out on the various benefits that diversity of leadership styles bring.

In the early 2000s Lois Frankel wrote a book called Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office. It was a page turner. I read it cover to cover and bought the CD set to listen to in my car. 

The inference is that you can’t lead and be liked at the same time.

But is that true anymore?

Last week, Hillary Rodham Clinton in conversation with our former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, at the Melbourne Convention Centre, provided some interesting reflections on the topic of likability - and let's face it, if there were ever two women who have been harrangued for not being liked it's these two.

- The more successful a man is, the more likable he becomes

- The more successful a woman is, the less people like her

- When women advocate for ourselves, we lose in likability

- Instead, women run the risk of labelled by men and women alike as whiney, witchy and worthless when they challenge the status quo and dabble in anything other than women's arenas - all labels low on the likability scale.

And that's a double standard if I ever heard of one.

To paraphrase Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison AO - "the double standards we walk past are the double standards we accept". 

(Note: both women received standing ovations in Melbourne, so must have been doing something right.)

If recent history of female leadership is to be believed, then leading and being liked is still challenging, but not impossible. So don't give up

One thing needs to change. And that's the personal criticisms of leading women that we all engage in. When women challenge the status quo, their differentness and femaleness is critiqued, rather than their performance in the role.

Let's stop with the witchy, whiney and worthless labels. Stick to the facts instead.

And maybe replace with those labels with wise, world class and wonderful!

Thanks to two wise, world class and wonderful women who inspired this blog - Hillary Rodham Clinton and Julia Gillard.

Special mention also goes to Annabel Crabb for her superb emcee performance. It was an inspiring evening and I trust that talented younger women are now seeing a leadership pathway as a viable option to aspire to, rather than something to be avoided.

Want to explore this more? Three Actions


1. Live/work in Melbourne?  Join us for an event on 14 June - Nice Girls Can Get the Corner Office with Mary Anne Waldren and myself as we explore the issue of likability as an asset in your career toolkit.  Mary Anne has made a career out of likability and getting on with people. I'll be asking her how. Register now. Places limited.

2. Have your say on likability and leading while female on LinkedIn - here's my recent post with a snippet from Hillary's opening speech. Is it possible to be a likable leader?

 

 

3. Want to shift your personal brand from feeling worthless to world class?   

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

Take charge of the narrative before it takes charge of you!

 

 

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