success

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

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

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

Meditate.png

....... 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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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


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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

Why Executive Women need to learn to speak to their own results, despite feeling icky!

The No. 1 #mistake in #selfpromotion is not what you might imagine

It’s not sounding arrogant - although given the 714,000 Google search results on the topic that’s a big concern.

It’s that we imagine that our results should speak for themselves.

Yet we live in a world that’s increasingly busy, where distraction is everywhere and people are the protagonist in their own movie - so others won’t always naturally see or remember your results unless you remind them.

And because we believe that results should speak for themselves, we then think there is something wrong with us and our achievements when no-one notices, or even remembers.

It’s a bit like getting upset when no-one remembers your birthday - but you didn’t even tell anyone when it was.

And that’s ridiculous.

The best bit? When we use real examples with real stories and real impact and outcomes, that helps you avoid sounding arrogant anyway, plus helps align others with your vision.

#executivewomen #womenofimpact #personalbranding

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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

7 signs you suffer from conditional success - and what you can do about it

Sometimes we treat success like it’s an If This,Then That (IfTTT) piece of software.

  • Awesome when you are focusing on productivity, efficiency or behaviour change (such as if I have a chocolate bar, I have to go to the gym (thanks Matt Church))
  • But lousy when it’s about making your success conditional on something that you may or may not have much control over. and
  • Extremely lousy when the very thing that you are restricting yourself from might actually be the catalyst for big change.

Here are some typical thought patterns that indicate you suffer from conditional success - 

  1. I’ll apply for my dream role after I've proven myself
  2. I'll put my hand up for that opportunity when I feel better prepared
  3. I'll ask for a raise only when I've finished delivering on this project 
  4. I'll change jobs after I finally turn the organisation / department around 
  5. I'll invest in a coach once I get a raise 
  6. I'll take a grownup gap year when I've got enough years under my belt 
  7. I'll hang in a bit longer yet and only take that holiday with my family, once I feel really worn out.

Well tomorrow never comes. And if you’ve done #7 then you probably spent the first week on annual leave recovering from a cold anyway. Plus there is far too much evidence available that supports the notion that successful people do it the other way around. They back themselves and invest in themselves pre-emptively then they become successful. 

So maybe it’s time to rethink your approach. 


WHEN THE CONDITIONAL APPROACH DIDN'T WORK


I heard a story the other day about an executive who waited until after they won a new role before they booked in with an Executive Coach. In their mind, the coaching was a reward for winning the role. Nice.  

However, during the course of salary negotiations for the new role, their new employer had negotiated the package down by a significant amount from the originally advertised offer, with cunning arguments and compelling tactics.   Not so nice.

For the executive, who now feels slightly ripped off but determined to do better at the next opportunity, a more confident, strategic and proactive approach might have been ...

"I've got the opportunity to really springboard here and negotiate the best salary possible for myself.  So instead of trying to puzzle it out myself, why not get support in advance to maximise the amount I'll be able to negotiate for myself in this transaction?"

Yes, it's a risk. But only in the short term. In the long term it is a smart 'n savvy investment in yourself.

FEELING LUCKY?

Sometimes we think that some people are lucky when they are successful. But I dispute that. Maybe instead of lucky they are incredibly focused and invest heavily the right things.  After all, as the old saying goes, luck is what happens when planning meets opportunity. And as Shonda Rhymes famously said - “I’m not lucky ..... call me badass”. 

Success_is_an_inside_job_amandablesingdotcom.jpg


MAKE YOUR SUCCESS UNCONDITIONAL


Don’t make your success conditional. Instead build in mechanisms that support your success preemptively - just like eating healthy, getting lots of sleep or exercising are preemptive support for your wellness and long term good health.  

So next time you hear your own mental rationale of "I'll do this once I've achieved that" start getting curious at your conditional thinking. And quite possibly you'll find you're putting the horse in front of the wrong cart entirely.

And one final point for you to remember, success is an inside job - if you wait until you feel successful enough you'll be waiting a lifetime.


Feminine leadership superpowers + unconditional success = priceless
 


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 Subtle Art of Selling Yourself

A couple of years ago I wrote a series of articles on salary negotiations (for women) - because I was working with a bunch of negotiation experts who were finding it challenging to negotiate great outcomes for themselves (ironically).

Right now I'm working with quite a few extremely talented advertising, marketing and communications executives - on selling the value of their work - ironically because they're struggling to sell themselves.

So if it's tough for them - don't be so hard on yourself when/if you too find it challenging!  And here are some insights to help you sell yourself far more confidently  .... and effectively.

If you want to increase your sales on the outside, you have to stop selling yourself short on the inside!
— Ungenita Prevost

 

The subtle art of selling yourself
 

We’re all selling something whether we think we are or not, whether we like it or not, or whether we want to or not.

In fact, we're pretty good at selling other people in most instances.

"This is Janine - she's great at delivering awesome. You'd be lucky to have her on your team. She's definitely a rockstar." 

However, in career advancement and leadership you're selling brand you -  and your ability to create a future that others will want to inhabit.   

"Err ..... this is me. I'm fairly good at delivering some okay sorts of results (insert nervous giggle). Last month wasn't that good actually but mostly we do great.... You should pick me. Go me!"

Yes, this tends to be far murkier water and we're frequently less skillful - unless we practice. And it all probably comes back to those hilarious, yet painful, years in the schoolyard where the sporty popular kids got picked first in the team and then the teacher had to intervene so as not to destroy the self esteem of some poor kid who would always be picked last. 

The need for subtle

For women the connotations of selling yourself are even more negative. There are lots of words that we use to shame women who don't quite get the self promotion balance right - bold, brassy and a braggart, to name just three. You don't even need a vivid imagination to recall some of the nastier terms you may have heard at the office that are sometimes used to keep ambitious women in their place. Usually followed up with a "Who does she think she is?!?"  type comment.

However, in order to level up in your career or tackle bigger leadership responsibilities you need to be able to sell yourself effectively.

So what can you do?

Over the long term there are three areas for you focus on .......

Your credibility - expertise, evidence and experience

Your influence - persuasiveness and ability to paint a picture that others prefer

Your likability - does your audience warm to, or identify with, you

 

Quick and easy

Or in the short term, you can simply get pitch ready. Yes, the dreaded elevator pitch. Ideal for those moments when you're caught off guard at a networking event, in a meeting, or maybe in that proverbial elevator with the boss. It's as easy as:

  1. The problems you solve - "You know when ....(insert problem)"
  2. The difference you make - "Well what I do is ... (insert 3 ways you make a difference)"
  3. The value that you deliver - "Recently, I  ...... (insert example/case study)"

Voilà!

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Drop me an email and get in contact if you want help.  

Better yet, have a crack at pitching to me with your easy 1.2.3. elevator pitch. I'll let you know how you go. 

And credit where credit is due - Antony Gaddie, a Melbourne marketing expert, was the inspiration behind the methodology.


Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Why 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.

Visibiility

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

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

Strategy

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 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

What's your Productivity Tipping Point?

Or maybe the headline should read "What's Your Productivity Tripping Point?"

Ever wondered why it’s so easy for you to go from "everything's perfect" and "on top of the world" one day, to “woe is me”, “everything is dreadful”, and “I’m not good enough” the next?  
 
I hear you!  It happens to me as well.  My ambitious woman avatar is a tad gungho. She is driven,  motivated and she throws herself into the fray full on - forgetting that she is in it for the long haul and that if she pushes too hard one day she pays the price the next.
 
Tim Ferriss of Four Hour Work Week and Four Hour Body fame refers to finding your the Minimum Effective Dose (MED).  That’s the minimum amount you need to do to get a great result.
 
Well I reckon most of us want to do more than the MED. When you’re on a mission you’re more likely to want to throw yourself in boots and all and give it your best shot.  But that best shot runs the risk of being far closer to your Tipping Point than your MED when you're in the realm of feeling like you need to prove yourself.

Instead, find your Tipping Point and step back from it one step, so you can play your long game. This links right back to the Goldilocks principle: not too much, not too little, but just right.
 
Just because some is good, doesn't mean more is better
So what triggers you tripping over your Tipping Point?  Frequently, not what you might imagine and all stuff you can take responsibility for easily.

Leadershiplonggame
  1. Sleep – is big.  As the book title says “Sleep your Way to the Top”.  Too little and you’re crabby. Too much and you totally lose your motivation and want to do not much all day.  I measure my sleep.  How cool is that? Try it. You might be surprised at what you find out.   
  2. Water - Dehydration = lethargic and impaired mental agility.  Too much has other consequences. Do your research and work out how much fluid is enough for you.
  3. Caffeine – has a half life of about 5-6 hours.  Drink too much in the afternoon and it not only impairs the quality of your sleep, but also makes you jumpy and increases your stress response all while you are unaware.
  4. Exercise – too much and too intense and you tip over into the realm of impaired performance at the gym AND at work - sluggish, drained and tired. And we all know what too little exercise does for you.  Enough said.
  5. Alcohol – and your tipping point might be closer than you really want to know about. Here’s a great article on New Scientist on the benefits of alcohol free for a while.
  6. Work - even if you’re managing all of the above and then work too much, you risk losing your edge.  Your performance diminishes and you potentially lose drive, motivation and ambition.  My tipping point is about 9 hours/day with time off on weekends.  I love my job. I love the people I work with, I love the difference I get to be part of in people’s lives and I love stretching and pushing myself. As a result I can focus intensely for hours on end but …… as soon as I go over 9 hours it tips me over the edge.  As a result, the next day I am once again, sluggish, defensive and unproductive.
  7. Uncertainty - the amplifying factor - if you've got lots of uncertainty going on with home, family or finances, or maybe there's been a leadership/management spill at work, then putting systems and routines in place to keep you just below your tipping point are critical.

Monitor your own productivity and performance

If you were a high performance athlete you’d be training daily with a coach who would provide that third person perspective and help you monitor your productivity and performance. But you’re not, so productivity and performance peaks and troughs will slip through the cracks un-monitored unless you take responsibility. 

Get yourself some wearable tech. Measure, reflect, journal and if you're really into it, keep a spreadsheet. Work out what works for you and what doesn't.  

  • When are you most effective at the office?
  • When are your staff performing best?
  • When do you and your team deliver best results?
  • When do you shine in front of an audience?
  • When are you and your boss performing like a well oiled machine?

And it might be as simple as tweaking one or two of the list above. So take responsibility and do something about it.
 
So what about you? What tips you over the edge?

  • Did setting yourself a challenge of 10 sales meetings per week actually help? Or did it get in the way of servicing existing clients well, with fewer, higher quality, more successful sales meetings?
  • Is that week of long hours really necessary? Or is it in fact keeping you tired and in the realm of never good enough, never enough hours in the day and feeling under confident.
  • Is that extra session at the gym really helpful? Or did it make you 'slangry' at work, rest and play?
  • Does that huge year of nose to the grindstone result, not in a promotion or a pay-rise, but in you wanting to lean out, pick up your bat and ball and go home, or find something else entirely?

Leadership is a long game
Remember, leadership is a long game. Work out your Tipping Point and you are on the way to successfully carving out a career that really counts far more easily.  And if you're feeling down, start creating strategies that help you shift you from wanting to hang up your aspiring leadership boots, to being back in the zone again - today.

 

My goal is that you win the feminine ambition trifecta - earn a great salary, feel like you are being heard and to know you are making an even bigger difference. 

Vive la révolution!
#ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

 

 

My mission in life 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. And don't forget - I love receiving emails from you with your own wins and achievements.

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

Five ninja success techniques to help you hit your straps more easily

The last couple of months have seen a bunch of my clients win some seriously big wins. (Go team Ambition!!) And it got me curious. Are there any common themes?

Ninja.com
  • Was is their age?
  • Was it the organisations they work for?
  • Or was it they work in masculine or feminine dominated industries?

And while it’s easy to put success down to IQ, luck or timing, that’s not what I can see is really happening. In fact, not at all.
 

So to help you achieve your own Big Hairy Audacious Goals more easily, here are some of the key themes in their approaches ......
 

1. A really clearly defined big goal or vision - with room to manoeuvre.

  • A vision of wanting to be CEO of an ASX listed organisation in 10 years time - means that the immediate short term tactics and timeframes around leadership, promotions and career progression are simple.
  • A vision around wanting to be "Head of .." – helps you define a clear pathway along which to travel – what to study, who to connect with, which peak bodies to be part of or what substantive work projects you need to put your hand up for

A study of a Harvard Business School class, demonstrated that people who wrote down their goals earned on average 10 times more than any of their classmates. This is big. Learn more here.

 2. A willingness to do what it takes - even if that made them feel uncomfortable.

  • If that meant late nights, weekend work in preparation and finding time between the cracks to craft an approach or to prepare for their session with me - then that's what they did.
  • If that meant six interview rehearsal sessions with me, then they booked six rehearsal sessions with me. And turned up for each one with a willingness to hear feedback, refine and improve.
  • If that meant letting go of attitudes, mindsets or beliefs that were getting in the way, then they simply let go. And yes, getting out of your comfort zone does feel uncomfortable. But remember, that’s where the magic happens!
I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.
— Estee Lauder

 
3. Zero excuses -  In fact excuses don’t figure in their vocabulary

And while that might sound a bit trite, it’s true.
For example:

  • “I’m too busy” translated into “How can I make this happen despite being busy?”
  • “My boss won’t let me” translated into “What do I need to do to get my boss to hear me?" or "Is there a way to to approach this?”
  • “My husband/partner doesn’t think I need this” translated into “I think I need to do this, so I made it happen. My husband/partner will thank me later when I land my next promotion or come home with a pay rise or am not whinging about work any more.”

 
4. #justdoitnow - Immediacy and urgency

They all had an approach of immediacy and a sense of urgency – rather than leave things til the last minute.  One big thing I noticed was that after a session with me, those who have been more immediately successful, have all done their actions within a few days of seeing me – despite having a 2 week window of opportunity. They simply made it happen as soon as they could.

One of the benefits of this is that they nearly always come back and ask for feedback on what they’ve done so we can fine tune and refine their approach between sessions and not waste another session waiting for progress.   If leadership is a priority for you, then prioritise leadership, and yourself.
 
5. And finally - Buoyancy - Conversations with these women are incredibly upbeat and buoyant.

They all have strategies that help them stay afloat, so to speak, even when the proverbial hits the fan.

Dan Pink in To Sell is Human talks about the critical nature of buoyancy in a sales process. Let's face it. When you're tackling your next big career goal, you are definitely selling. You are selling yourself and the value of your work up the business, or into a new business. Buoyancy is absolutely, categorically, critical.

So buoyancy is how do you remain buoyant on the notion of rejection? What do you do before? What do you do during? What do you do after?
— Dan Pink

Helping you hit your straps

FemAmbitionTrifecta

So if you're feeling like you haven't hit your straps yet, or your own goals feel a long way out of reach - then I'd suggest start adopting some of the principles above.  As always, remember:

  1. Hope is not a strategy
  2. Be prepared to make mistakes
  3. Be prepared to be uncomfortable, and
  4. Be prepared to do the work.

And I'm looking forward to hearing about your next wins and achievements!

My mission in life 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.

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

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

A powerful formula for selling brand [insert your name]

Subtitle: How to sell yourself more effectively!

One of the biggest challenges that many people face is selling.  Most of us view selling and sales as a necessary evil that other people do. It's an arcane art and hard to define.  Some people seem to have a natural gift, yet most of us feel like a fish out of water with dire consequences if we get it wrong.

And yet ....

Most of us spend about 40% of our work time selling something.
— according to Dan Pink in To Sell is Human
Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.
formula

Then there is the added complexity of having to sell ourselves, which makes us shy away in horror and is seen right up there with bragging, taking credit for others work or being manipulative.  Your inner voice probably leans more towards .....

Can't they see how well I do my job? Why should I be the one to have to tell them? If they were doing their job properly they'd notice.

Add into the mix that delicate tightrope than many women walk between nice girl and hard nosed b*tch when heading towards the C-suite - it's no wonder we get nervous.

But if you don’t sell yourself, who else will?

You need to learn to sell brand you and it's nobody's job but yours. You need to sell the benefit of your results and personality to recruiters, future employers, bosses, C-suites and boards just to name a few. And you need to do it all the time not just at critical moments. No-one gets an internal promotion by the way they turn up at the job interview. Those decisions have been made long before and are based on your ability to sell brand you in the previous six months or so.

A powerful formula to help people take more notice of you

So if you have trouble selling yourself here’s a powerful formula to get you started and I call it Selling Yourself 101 - focusing on:

  • The problems you solve,
  • The difference you make, and
  • The value you add.

1. The problems you solve

The sort of work you enjoy might include untangling complex business problems, wrangling out of control spread sheets or data into producing meaningful insights, managing people more effectively, creating order out of chaos, creating dynamic change in a stagnant situation, providing emergency solutions to maintain BAU and then providing preventative measures to ensure the issue doesn’t happen again.  We’re all in the business of solving problems. It’s what we call work. So identify what the problem is that you solve and learn to articulate that.

2. The difference you make

The difference you make might include your expertise, your specific focus, your ability to see things differently, your years of experience, your gender, your emotional intelligence, your communication skills,  your people focused leadership, insights from different industries/organisations or a combination of any or all of the above.   What is different about your approach?  Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are just like other people. Work out what makes your approach different - and own it.

3. The value you add

Possibly the best way to talk about value is to remember that the C-suite wants to hear about things in their language and you need to communicate that along with results and measures. Quantify, quantify, quantify. Include examples around profitability, turn around time, efficiency,  risk, governance, customer satisfaction, staff engagement, strategic agenda items and things that might keep the leadership team awake at night.  Dig deep and find specific examples where you’ve used your expertise, focus and energy to solve a problem that had real benefits to the organisation you were working on behalf of.

Where can you use this formula?

  • Your CV front page
  • LinkedIn profile summary
  • Professional bio for reading out at conferences
  • In the elevator/taxi with someone more senior
  • In a sales presentation
  • At a networking function
  • Around a board room table when meeting people for the first time
  • At a training event when you need to introduce yourself
  • In an interview

and the list goes on .....

Why should you?

Because people don’t buy products. They buy solutions to problems. So if you can find a way of articulating yourself well enough to demonstrate how brand you solves problems and delivers results, then you are in front of most other people.

Your turn in the comments below

  • What problems do you solve?
  • What difference do you make? and
  • What value do you add?

Go on, you know you want to .......

 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

AmandaBlesing
  •  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 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

Eight insights to help you negotiate the divide between "nice girl" and "hard nosed b*tch"

“Well-behaved women seldom make history.”
― Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Over the past few months nearly every single one of my clients has asked for advice on negotiation and the irony is that several of my clients are negotiation experts in and of their own right!   

This got me thinking. Why is it that these women don’t like negotiating? It can’t be that they aren’t good at it because these particular women are highly sought after dispute resolution experts  and do really well advocating for others.  What else might be going on?

Is it because there is a social stigma attached to negotiating for yourself? Is it because women are perceived as greedy if and when we do, and greed is associated with appetite?

Possibly and probably. Anyone who is anyone knows that appetite and women are two words that don’t go together comfortably in a sentence even in this day and age.

But when we are going after big career or entrepreneurial goals our appetites will show whether we like it or not. If we want something hard enough it’s difficult to hide it! And neither we should.

“Victor Ciam of Remington fame - he liked the razor so much he bought the company. Big goals require big appetites!”

My expertise is in decoding the differences between male and female brain biology and interpreting how that may play out in a work environment. For example, in general women are more risk averse, which plays out with many entrepreneurial women starting with lower goals and those in corporates wanting to see more evidence of risk mitigation strategies or research done. 

The benefit of having a brain that scans for risk is obvious – it’s a survival, "playing it safe" mechanism - and frequently good for business. But the down side of having a brain that constantly scans for risk is exactly that. When we feel uncertain, underprepared or under threat, the risk part of our brain will kick into overdrive and slow things down, keep us playing small, and keep us in the “comfort zone” of safe.

So here are eight interesting insights about women, perception and negotiation that might just blow your mind or at least help you navigate the divide far more easily.

1.     Take ownership

We need to take ownership of the fact that we avoid negotiating for ourselves.

Men negotiate four times more frequently and when we do negotiate we ask for 30% less than men – according to Linda Babcock, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of Women Don’t Ask

Wow!  Really? Yes really. 

In the past year I’ve spoken with many an HR manager and recruiter. They definitely agree with this observation that women ask for raises less frequently and also ask for less when they do ask. Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In refers to this research along with Katty Kay and Claire Shipman in The Confidence Code.

We need to own this piece of the puzzle when reflecting on getting ahead - and do something about it.

2.     It’s easier and possibly more beneficial to have someone else do your negotiation for you. 

Hannah Riley Bowles, a professor at the Center for Public Leadership and Faculty Director of Women & Power at the Harvard Kennedy School, says that

"Women do substantially better negotiating for others than for themselves,"

"It's got to do with social stereotypes."

And the reality, according to Bowles, is that when we as women do negotiate hard for ourselves, there is a social cost as we come out looking less likeable.  And once again we’re back to navigating that double edged sword between “nice girl” and “hard nosed b*tch”. 

And while it’s not always possible to have a salary broker advocating on your behalf, maybe we need to accept the social cost in the short term, because the very real cost in dollars is undermining us later in life with ANZ recently calculating that the gap in salary over the span of a career equates to $700K. When you weigh it up like that, maybe likability is a small price to pay.

3.     Stop talking up how well you do the job – and start talking up your value

Last week I wrote about the issue of communicating value. As women we frequently get stuck in the mode of doing the job properly and well. We imagine that "doing the job well" is a fast track to success and we polish up “doing the job” as if  it were the end result. But when something new comes along or we start dreaming of something better, all we have is the language and experience of doing the job well and that won't get you very far, very fast.

Carrie Gallant, negotiation expert, talks about leveraging value. Be sure to bring the value of what you offer to the table – context and big picture thinking – and communicate that clearly and articulately.

“Leverage is essentially what you bring that is valuable to someone else, plus your ability to help them see that value.” Carrie Gallant, Goop

 

4.     Change what you believe about good negotiation skills

Tara Mohr, Playing Big, writes about a really interesting study where men and women were paired in mock negotiation. Some of the pairs of negotiators were told that traits frequently associated with women were great for negotiation:

  • Good listening,
  • Emotional intelligence, and
  • Good communication skills

Guess what - in the pairs who were given this information the women outperformed the men!

So instead of heading into a negotiation worrying that you aren’t good at it, focus instead on the skills that you do have (listening, emotional intelligence and communication) and leverage those for beneficial outcomes.

5.     Don’t think of yourself as a woman negotiating

I’m extrapolating here and making assumptions but the following research may throw some light on it.  In 1999 Margaret Shih conducted a study at Harvard of 46 undergraduate Asian women.  They were asked to sit a maths test (traditionally thought of as a weakness in women’s abilities). When the women were reminded of their gender prior to the test, their test scores dropped compared to a control group.  Interestingly when the women were reminded of their Asian heritage they didn’t perform as poorly.

Yes, I’m extrapolating here – but perhaps by focusing on gender all the time, we are making things worse. Focus instead on gender neutrality.

7. Reframe your language from “negotiating” to “asking” and you’ll more likely ask for a payrise

Apparently the word “negotiation” has negative connotations for many women. Another study conducted, once again with Linda Babcock involved in the research indicated that by using language such as “asking” which is perceived as less intimidating, more polite and more role consistent, women were more likely to initiate negotiations.

“Consequently, gender differences in initiating negotiations persisted when situations were framed as opportunities for negotiation yet were eliminated when situations were framed as opportunities to ask.”

Ah the power of language.  Ask, don't negotiate. 

8.    You are not likely to be any more or any less successful than men

In a recent Harvard Business Review article by Margaret a. Neale and Thomas Z Lys they write:

“When both men and women have similar expectations about compensation packages, there is no difference in their likelihood to negotiate. Empirical evidence also shows that when women do negotiate, they’re no more or less successful than their male counterparts.”

So in a nutshell

  •  Do ask. Find ways to ask formally, informally, light heartedly and seriously. But do ask.
  • Instead of avoiding the issue or preparing by reading articles about why women don’t negotiate as well as men, simply go into the “asking” with an understanding that women do negotiate well. 
  • Do prepare - it will help mitigate your hypersensitive risk antennae triggers of under preparing, uncertainty and feeling like you are under threat - and more on preparation next week.
  • Remember that when we’re reminded of our gender we are more likely to underperform, yet when we focus on the traits and skills that are great in a negotiation, we do really well.
  • And finally – there is never a good time for a tough conversation. 
"The right time, while not perfect, is now. "

It’s your career and your future – and your ability to navigate that double edged sword between "nice girl" and "hard nosed b*tch", will be in part what differentiates you as a leader.

“If you just set out to be liked, you will be prepared to compromise on anything at anytime, and would achieve nothing. ” ― Margaret Thatcher


Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution

 If you missed it - The F Word that Keeps Us Playing Small

  •  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

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 F Word that Keeps us Playing Small

BiggerbetterStrategic.pg

Got big dreams, aspirations or maybe even a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) in mind that needs a degree of fearlessness in order to execute?  

Maybe your plans are on hold while you doggedly work through that bunch of really good reasons for not going ahead.

Maybe you are still justifying the energy required to be fearless so you can tackle those big plans that might just change your world as you know it.

Maybe you are simply feeling fear - and all you know is that it doesn't feel good.

  • Is that really the case that you need to be fearless?
  • Is it merely that getting out of a rut is more difficult than you imagine? 
  •  Or is it simply that discomfort with the thought of being uncomfortable gets in the way?

Fear is irrational

FEAR.jpeg

Let’s look at fear as a starting place and here are some fun (or maybe scary) statistics from Statistics Brain, Fear and Phobias:

  • Did you know that more people are scared of public speaking (74%) than they are of dying (68%)? 
  • Did you know that 60 % of things that you are scared of that will never take place?
  • Did you also know that 90 % off things feared are considered to be insignificant issues?

When our fear response is triggered we literally are not able to think (i.e. fight, flight or freeze) - ergo it's irrational and designed to be that way. So when we’re stressed, anxious or fearful we are actually bypassing the more rational parts of our brains making it more challenging to make great decisions about our future plans and what is in fact likely or even possible. 

Perception appears to be the key

The brain doesn’t really discern much of a difference between threat of pain to person and threat of pain to ego. The pain centres of the brain light up in the same place when you hurt yourself or when someone “unfriends” you on Facebook.   We even avoid threats to ego with as much energy as we avoid threats to physical self - perhaps explaining (Seinfeld style) why more of us are afraid of giving the eulogy at a funeral than being in the casket.

Why is this important? If your fear response is triggered in some way when thinking about a BHAG or big change, you may not be perceiving the situation accurately or rationally. So let's get some of the most common fears out in the open so you can recognise them and let them go when you start moving past dreams into execution phase.

1. Fear of failure

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
— Winston Churchill

Many of us appear to imagine that failure is fatal. And yet our society revers stories of the invention of the “post it” note, Thomas Edison inventing the light globe - and the good old fashioned "try, try again" approach.   When was the last time you tried something you were bound to fail at? Probably not since you were a kid.  We've been socialised to play it safe, get it right, do it properly (women in particular). So why not try something really out of the box that you are bound to fail at?  Go do something that you know that you'll be lousy at and just see how it actually feels (not what you might imagine it feels like). Instead of running excuses and justifications through your brain afterwards, just let it happen. Accept it. Enjoy the "experience" of not being perfect and move on. 

2. Fear that people will find out that you are a fraud – Imposter Syndrome

“Any moment someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud – I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am.”
— Emma Watson

If Emma Watson can experience it, then it must be okay for the rest of us mere mortals to experience it. Certainly if you are worn down, worn out and under pressure, your Imposter Syndrome is highly likely to kick in.  Once you've heard of it, there's no going back. It's a real syndrome but once again, not fatal. Nearly every one experiences it at some stage. Identify it. Move through it. Just to be clear, apparently men and women experience it differently but it's still fixable.

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

3. Fear that you won’t like it when you get there

Embedded in this one is the idea that there is a “there” or end point. Surely life, success, career, adventures are just one big continuum?  If perception is everything why not extend your end point so that you've still got something enjoyable to aim for? Then refer back to point 1.

 “Success is not final.” Winston Churchill

In my article How Will You Know if You've Made It  I talk about a bunch of serial entrepreneurs who all agree that the path of fearlessness, entrepreneurialism and leadership is not easy. So be clear about what are you looking for. Easy? Challenge? To make a difference?  Do your homework. What is important to you about work? Once you are clear about that, it will be far easier to like when you get there.

4. Fear of being great

Did you get to see Marianne Williamson in her recent Australian tour? If not, click through for a visual update on highlights of both Melbourne and Sydney.  She knows people, and I don’t mean big name people (although she actually does). Rather, she knows the human spirit intimately.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”
— Marianne Williamson

I’ve had clients share with me that they are worried that they might change if and when they “shine” and that it will change their relationship with their family or significant other -hence hesitation or stalling of goals.  Why not stop worrying about it, and work it though instead?  Journal it, have a conversation with your significant other. Work it through with the “5 why’s” or similar process, and put some plans, routines and certainty in place to nurture those relationships in advance.  To paraphrase an old proverb: 

Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you sometime to do but it doesn't get you anywhere. 

5. Fear that you won’t be enough

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t - you’re right
— Henry Ford

The ailment and the remedy in one wise statement above. If you think you are enough or you think you aren't enough, you will be right. You decide. Change your mindset pure and simple.

6. Fear that it won't work and you'll have wasted your time and energy 

This idea is predicated on a model of scarcity. That time, energy and confidence will run out if you don’t shepherd them carefully. I know this one intimately. I’ve lived with this for half a decade (possibly more). It keeps you at home on the couch ostensibly restoring but in actual fact that's depleting.  But what if you believe instead that energy breeds energy, that action boosts confidence and that time feels endless as soon as you allow yourself to realise it's not running out?

At some level we know deep down that these fears are irrational. We also know that when we are overwhelmed, overworked and feeling stressed, perceived fear has far more impact. So be sure to keep your eye on the prize and focused on the end goal.  Put systems, processes and routines in place that keep you supported physically and mentally allowing you to tackle big, important career and entrepreneurial goals while managing your perceptions of fear more easily.

“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.”
— Brian Tracy

What are you afraid of? What holds you back? What stops you from executing big, audacious goals? What can we learn so that others don't need to go through the same?

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution

If you missed it- 10 game changing practices to keep you firing at your best 

  • 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.

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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