health & wellbeing

I used to be a crack filler

I used to be a crack filler

  • Do more with less

  • Cram more in

  • Every minute matters

I even took up yoga, not to relax, but so I could fit more in!

If there was a gold medal for efficiency, I would have won it

Until things broke

I was getting worse results despite working harder, leaving me exhausted and demoralised

Then I met a consultant

While everyone was cramming their day, he was un-scheduling so he could have reflection time

  • Not working

  • No meetings

  • Just thinking

WTF!?!

He said “You all got into this mess by doing more and more. You are paying me to think differently so I can get you out”

Ahhhh ...

We all know intuitively that filling up all the cracks of our day is unsustainable - keeping us playing small. But it's now a habit.

The pressures on executive women, in particular, are immense - a cycle of proving our worth over and over again then feeling guilty for having down time.

Getting off this treadmill is an active and deliberate choice - plus you'll need to break the habit.

You decide.

“Your life choices aren’t just about what you want to do; they’re about who you want to be”

My question to you is - Are you human doing, or a human being?

Then - what will you do differently so you can get off this treadmill?

#womenofimpact #dolessbemore #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

How to get more done with less

You know when you have a looming deadline but everyone is pulling you from pillar to post? 

ARGH!!!  😫

Or when you spend so much time in meetings that you secretly wonder “when will I ever get my work done?” 

Combine that with open plan offices and sneaking time on LinkedIn and you have a recipe for disaster for your productivity.

Which leaves some wondering if creating a career that really counts is all it’s cracked up to be!

10 Productivity Hacks to Help you Focus

  1. Turn off your phone notifications during the day

  2. Tackle the hardest stuff first

  3. Set up an "email response time"... and stick to it

  4. Pomodoro technique

  5. Take proper breaks

  6. Get enough sleep

  7. Don't multitask

  8. Set yourself some mini goals during the day

  9. Get competitive

  10. Make a good old fashioned list

>> READ MORE  - I was interviewed by Claire Isaac on TEN DAILY and here is her article


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 the value of a grown up gap year?

In Australia, a Gap Year is usually what teenagers do after high school and before university. It's seen as a rite of passage, coming of age and time to work out what you want to do, or be, when you grow up.

However sometimes, we hit a certain age, and still feel like we don't know what we want to be when we grow up!

I'm happy to tell you, Gap Years are for grown ups too.

When we’re feeling a bit over it, like we need to throw in the towel, or that winning the lottery or that early retirement might be a nice option - why not take a Grown Up Gap Year instead?

I never do my best creative thinking in the face of too much stress, feeling worn out and with a narrow focus.  Most of my best ideas happen in the shower or when walking along the beach.  In fact, if you Google "do my best thinking in the shower" there are 24,100 entries. So I'm not alone!  

So why is it that we think we can make substantive career decisions when stressed and under pressure? 

Taking a strategic break might be the next best thing since sliced bread.

But - and there is always a big but - what happens if you're not wanted when you get back?

Maybe you're worried you won't be perceived as good enough, edgy enough, modern enough, young enough, ambitious enough to come back in with a bang and/or a springboard.

"Age bias is a problem for men and women, but women may face more subconscious discrimination" ~  Ellen Weinreb, Forbes, 2011

I💖Grown_Up_Gap_Year_AmandaBlesing_Executive_Women_Of_Impact.png

Both sexism and agism are alive and well. But perhaps the opportunity to take time and embrace the 5 x R's (reflect, recalibrate, re-envisage, revitalise, redesign) might just be the thing that brings you back with more fire in your belly and rekindle your sense of direction and purpose once more. 

MANAGE THE RISK

If you do decide a Gap Year (or 3, 6 or 9 months) is for you, here are four risk mitigation strategies you want to put in place during your time off

  1. Take charge of the narrative, before it takes charge you - Reframe your break from apologetic to something to be proud of.  You may just find people are envious of your perceived bravery, your adventurousness and your willingness to back yourself.  As we all know, confidence (and honest over confidence) is very much admired.  Clients have even told me that their Gap Year adventures have become fascinating conversation points in interview and their perceived appetite for risk became the differentiator at final selection.
  2. Don’t simply disconnect entirely. After an initial break, reconnect with your old leadership/management team (grab a quarterly coffee, send articles of interest, drop an email, demonstrate you are interested, and interesting). Stay connected with your industry and sector more broadly (attend the odd event or conference, stay abreast of latest developments, put a strategic networking plan in place).
  3. Stay up to date – do some study in new areas (doesn’t have to be expensive), keep reading, listening to podcasts, watching curated video. And don't keep this learning a secret - be sure to let others know. Short courses at prestige universities are a great addition to your CV if you are in a position to afford them. Your results may even be better without the pressure of work deadlines looming at the same time.
  4. Stay visible on LinkedIn (or your professional social networking platform of choice) – once a week or so, share, comment, message with peers and your network on LinkedIn.  I recommend setting an appointment in your calendar

I've met people who have not only come back to work with a new enthusiasm, but have managed to recalibrate their finances while away so the pressure was off, plus come back into brand new exciting roles that were perceived as a promotion or a stretch and with an increase of salary at the same time.  That sounds like my kind of winning the lottery - and more likely.

Plus everyone you know will be envious of you. .

Why? Because things look different when you’re not looking down the barrel of stress, stretch targets and KPIs all the time.  You never know, you just might like it!

#grownupgapyear #perspective #revitalise #recalibrate #renew #rebrand #refresh

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life — and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
— Georgia O’Keefe

Feeling like you're reliving Groundhog Day over and over again?   Maybe it's your time to truly work out what it is you want to be when you grow up!

Why not book in a 30 min one on one  phone call to learn how more?

1st in best dressed rules apply.

Stay strategic - after all, smart AND savvy is the name of this game 

 

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 a GSOH may just be a sign of a higher IQ

Yesterday on the tram I got caught laughing and chuckling out loud (chortle)

I was intrigued by a recent article on the link between humour & intelligence

Yes - funny people are allegedly smarter!!   ROFLOL 🤣😂

Researchers recently discovered that funny people have higher IQs than their less funny peers. Apparently it takes both cognitive & emotional ability to process and produce humour and that funny people have higher verbal and non-verbal intelligence, plus they score lower in mood disturbance and aggressiveness.

Other benefits - funny people are -

  • Nice to be around

  • More self aware

  • More flexible & creative in our thinking and

  • Better at solving problems.

Laugher also boosts your working memory.

Feedback tells me I’m a far better executive coach and public speaker when I remember to be funny and to laugh. Even though it seems counterintuitive.  But I'm more relaxed, more easily able to recall research and detail, and my stress response (when on stage) is far more manageable - ergo better result.

So instead of staying back late at the office

Maybe the smarter thing to do would be to head on out to see some comedy instead! 

You may just solve those complex business problems far more easily.

>> Your thoughts? Has laughter helped you be more successful? 

If you're interested in learning more, here's the article 

ROFLOL 🤣😂  🤣😂 

 

#feminineambitionrocks #leadingwomen #worksmarternotharder 

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

Who said leading was comfortable anyway?

If it doesn't make you feel fabulous, don't do it!"

  • Fact?
  • Or furphy?


While I love this meme (and the pic is gorgeous), I reckon it's a truthism - something that we take to be true ..... but it's not. 

Sometimes we land a big role and ..... it's not easy.  In fact it can be downright uncomfortable and we wonder if we've made the right decision.

Remember, you always have a choice -

  1. Stay and do what ever it takes to not just survive, but thrive
  2. Leave and find something better
  3. Or anywhere in between

But the notion that big, important work, truly making a difference is somehow "easy" is a myth.  

Who says that leading was supposed to be easy or comfortable anyway?

THE WAY WE DO ANYTHING IS THE WAY WE DO EVERYTHING

There is a saying in the yoga world "the way we do anything is the way we do everything", which refers to the way we tackle challenges on the yoga mat mirroring the way we tackle real life challenges out there in the real world.

For example

  • a handstand is a just the next step on a journey for some, an exciting proposition to learn for others, and a scary no can do situation for many,
  • and you'll probably react in the same way in a new role that's a stretch or challenge.

How about you?

Every one has their comfort zone and it varies person to person.

But where are the edges of yours and how can you learn to sit with discomfort for a little longer?

Because we all know that that's where the magic truly happens.

GROWTH MINDSET, JITL & SENSE OF PURPOSE ARE KEY

A growth mindset along with Just In Time Learning (JITL), are powerful approaches to tackling big, hairy, scary and audacious goals - and making them happen despite discomfort.

However, when we adopt a growth mindset there are three provisos:

  1. Be prepared to make mistakes
  2. Be prepared to be uncomfortable
  3. Be prepared to do the work.

Not exactly the stuff of feeling fabulous, that's for sure.

Another powerful tactic is to align with a sense of purpose. When we connect with a deeper sense of "why", when we can see the bigger picture, we are far more motivated, and able, to make a far bigger difference, despite tough times.

Fact or furphy? 

Fact or furphy? 

Discomfort is the price of admission for a meaningful life
— Susan David

Hear from TED Women speaker, psychologist Susan David, as she shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility.

Join the conversation on LinkedIn

YOUR LINE IN THE SAND

There is a line in the sand that you do not want to cross despite the right mindset or a great sense of purpose. Knowing where your line is, and having an exit strategy or a risk mitigation plan in place if you cross that line will help.  

Because there is nothing quite like that deep sense of reward that comes from emerging from tough times.

And with your new sense of achievement and growth, anything might be possible.

My take? Get comfortable with discomfort – it’s part and parcel of a difference worth making.

After all, a diamond isn’t created overnight or without pressure is it?

And I'm aiming for diamond status - you?
 

#DiamondsAreaGirlsBestFriend #BeaDifferenceMaker

 

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambitionrocks

#success #career #executivebranding #personalbrand

#standout #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

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

There has to be another way ....

There   had   to   be   another   way.

I was imagining the worst all the time and I wasn’t sleeping.

I was almost ready to throw it all in and get another job!

But that would have been quitting far too soon.

It was in early 2015, just a few months after I launched my own business.

My life was high on volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, and low on safety, security & comfort zone.

Then something shifted.

I adopted a morning gratitude practice. 

Of all the things I do to support wellbeing, physical & mental health (and I do a lot) ….

this was a game changer 

-    keeping me focused on possibility rather than fear or what wasn’t working. 

Now I've added this to my evening rituals as well plus my husband Russ plays along too. 

Most of us have a lot to be grateful for in our lives life and it's handy to remind ourselves. 

The punishment for thinking negatively is thinking negatively.

Change_Your_Mindset_Gratitude_Amanda_Blesing_Career_advice_For_Women.jpg

The reward for thinking positively is thinking positively. 

I’d far rather be the one who has already finished the champers, while everyone else was debating whether the glass was 1/2 empty or 1/2 full! 

Wouldn’t you?

When you’re in the middle of executing bold, bodacious & brilliant career moves 

An attitude of gratitude delivers a huge ROI.

Here’s to a bold, bodacious, gratitude filled & brilliant 2018! 

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

Time to D.E.C.O.M.P.R.E.S.S.

Yesterday I saw a guy in a suit, singing on the beach.

He was walking along, headset in and belting out a tune with not a worry in the world.

He seemed happy, relaxed and he didn’t care what other people think.

After my initial response wondering if he was OK, I realised that I want some of that relaxed, not a care in the world sensation too

Thank goodness for holidays!

When you operate in a state of constant high alert, pressure & stress, it triggers a fight or flight response.

Just like fear.

Chemical signals that wash through your brain and body - the same as if you had to run from a sabre toothed tiger!

But you didn’t

Instead, you’re wrestling with a cocktail that’s far more deadly - deadlines, KPIs, office politics, reputation management, expectations, disappointment, guilt, fear and comparisons.

The impact? 

You risk becoming small - invisible & dismissible - far less likely to belt out Broadway tunes on a  the beach.

Time to decompress!

Wisdom traditions teach us to decompress regularly.

Breathe_Decompress_Amanda_Blesing_Career_advice_women.jpg

Modern neuroscience teaches us the same.

This holiday period reflect on the following

"your best ideas rarely happen in front of the computer"

Then unplug, get grounded, laugh, hug, spend time with people who matter most, get outdoors and take a break

Decompress.

Here’s to a big, bold, bodacious & brilliant 2018!

If you enjoyed this read on ....

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

Are you working on the right things?

“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” - Caterina Fake

 

I love this quote, and during the holiday period is a great time to reflect.

- Are you tired, exhausted and wondering if it’s all worthwhile? 

- Maybe it’s as simple as you've been working hard on the wrong things.

- Or is working on the right things more important?

- How easy is it to find the right things anyway?

- Can you find ways to redirect your efforts to the right things?

Rise_above_busy_Amanda_Blesing_Career_advice_for_Women.jpg

- Or at the very least, how can you remove friction so that working on the right things happens more effortlessly?

Would love to know your thoughts - comments below 

#worksmarternotharder 

#playastrategicgame

#riseabovebusy 

#leadingwomeninspirechange

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

112 million reasons why doing less might be far better for executive women

Slow_Down_To_Speed_Up_AmandaBlesing.jpg

Melanie Whelan is the CEO of Soulycle in the USA - an incredibly successful spin studio business that has taken the industry by storm, yet started just 10 years ago in a candle lit basement.  

Now with 60+ studios, thousands of full and part time employees and revenues that exceed USD$112 million/annum, plus a company culture that is shattering expectations and standards in the USA, she is a role model for many. 

The demands on her in her day are endless and relentless and this is one of her strategies for keeping focused and strategic is to disconnect from her day in order to let the priorities settle.

"I play mental Tetris to let the pieces of my day fall into place, so I can come out and really prioritise ...... I can be busy with a million things, but to have impact, it’s got to be a couple things and without the disconnection for me, I’m not able to see where that is.”  - Melanie Whelan, CEO Soulcycle


Sometimes we imagine we need to be busy and productive all the time in order to be successful and have impact, when quite the opposite is true. Research tells us time and time again that downtime and recalibration are invaluable - allowing us to regroup, reenergise and course correct if we need.

So try it.  Take a moment, disconnect and allow your priorities to recalibrate once again.

Feminine leadership superpowers + downtime & recalibration = priceless
 

Feeling like it's your time to put yourself first? Book in a 45 min one on one  phone call with me to learn more.


Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition

#success #career #executivebranding #leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

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 passion for work all it's cracked up to be?

Is passion at work all it's cracked up to be?

Is passion at work all it's cracked up to be?

We're told from a pretty young age that if you follow your passion then you'll more than likely be successful. There is a whole movement of positive affirmation dedicated to the concept. New exciting entrepreneurial ventures, flounder or flourish based on this very principle. People who find themselves unhappy at work, want to give up their day job to go do something that lights their fire.

Then there the skeptics among us, who deep down believe that those things that truly light your fire, couldn't possibly pay well.  And hand on heart, after struggling as a dancer many years ago in a declining arts sector, I can't dispute this truth either.  

Is wanting to find your sense of passion at work simply a first world problem?

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame certainly thinks so, and his TED NPR Radio Hour interview on the same topic is certainly eye opening as he shares stories of those who have some of the dirtiest jobs in the world, picking up after the rest of us, who are some of the most successful and happy people he knows.  He himself spent eight years invested in a career as an opera singer, which he loved, but it barely paid the bills and he wasn't particularly happy. He has since ditched that passion as a career goal, and created an empire interviewing people who don't follow their passion. In fact, quite the reverse - yet are considerably happier than most.

Passion - a double edged sword?

However, passion at work can be a driving force for both good and evil even if you are on a great wicket. 

On the plus side - passion can keep you focused and results oriented long after others have dropped by the wayside. Passion for work is not just 'woo woo' pop psychology. In fact, it is part of a deeper search for meaning and significance, can move mountains, ignite enthusiasm and drive change.

On the minus? It can make you stressed, wear you out emotionally and physically, causing you to doubt you are the right person for the job, or even question your entire career path. 

And here's the kicker - if you are young and a woman, you get the double whammy. According to research women tend to be more stressed at work than men, and, according to the American Psychological Association, the millennial generation is apparently the most stressed out generation ever.  I'm confident that expectations around finding your sense of purpose and passion, along with making a whole heap of money, are part of the mix that contributes to this stress.

So what can you do instead?

Care deeply & hold lightly. A Buddhist concept that allows you to balance passion with perspective. 

Do be passionate about the work you do, but temper your passion with reflective moments that allow you to step back, review and course correct as necessary.  It's great to wake up in the morning and race off to do good work every day, because you are passionate about your cause. But you'll burn out fast if you don't create mechanisms to help you check reality.

Do set a career path in an industry you love, but also keep your ears, eyes and networks open to opportunities that might emerge along the way where you can leverage experience, expertise and your ability to learn and grow to springboard into something new entirely - allowing room for others (also passionate) to follow in your footsteps.

Do pursue a cause that drives change, but ensure that you know when it's appropriate to fit your own mask before you fit those of others, so you can leave an even longer lasting legacy.

If you can find that intersection between your passion, your values and commercial reality, along with a positive environment to work in, then you are far more likely to experience that elusive career success and happiness that you're looking for.

After all, this is a long game you're playing, where you want to thrive, not merely survive. You don't want to become so stressed or worn out that you lean out and become disenfranchised with a role or career where you truly could have made a bigger difference. And remember, no-one promotes the stressed, worn out, flustered executive up the back of the office, no-matter how passionate they are for the cause. 

Give it a try sometime. Let me know how you go.

Feminine leadership superpowers + passion = priceless

Vive la révolution! #ambitionrevolution

And send me an email if you have a story about managing your sense of passion and purpose for work.

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

Yet another powerful F word - to boost your productivity

Feeling scattered, flustered or a little out of control? Maybe you're working flexibly/remotely, juggling a major project deadline along with kids on school holidays?  

Or maybe you don't have kids but you're picking up on a flustered, guilty sort of vibe anyway as you make like you're a swan smoothly gliding on a lake, when really you're paddling like crazy underneath wondering if you're getting this career and leadership thing right.

Don't worry. I hear you!!! Being a woman in business takes multitasking and juggling to a whole new level.

Your best work?

Firstly we need to get over the notion that our best work is done in the office, in a meeting or at your computer. We all know it, but we haven't ditched it yet.   Most likely your best thinking time is done when you're looking at a view from your 40 story building, or walking by the beach or even taking a shower.

One of my connections on LinkedIn is currently making headlines as she travels Australia with her kids (for a year) and submits substantive work remotely with the connectivity, support and trust of an enlightened employer. Her best working time? Sight seeing. Yes, really.

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And secondly, we need to create ways to prioritise focus.  

  • Focus. When you give a staff member your full attention, tuning into the words they say as well as the body language and the nuance that lies between.
  • Focus. When you create space for intense small project milestones (like bricks in a wall) that enable you to harness the sense of progress without becoming over-whelmed.
  • Focus. When you prioritise the things that are really important and do those things in the quiet time of the morning when your brain is fresh and your attention is less scattered.

Easier said than done

We all know that focus is important, yet regaining control of it is almost impossible. So here is my go to technique for those who want something new. As some of you know, I teach yoga. In fact I've been practicing yoga for around 16 years.  Many of the practices and disciplines of ancient wisdom traditions are now becoming far more mainstream and accepted in the business world. My go to practice when I need to refocus is breath work. Breathing.  In fact I use the 4-7-8 breath technique. It's a super fast, super effective re-calibration tool that works - every time.

  • Inhale for 4 counts
  • Hold for 7 counts
  • Exhale for 8 counts
  • Repeat for 4-5 rounds only. And NEVER do it while driving or operating heavy equipment.

Try it now.
And let me know how much better you feel!
Short and sweet this week, because I know you've got a lot on your plate and you need to focus.
 
#Feminineleadershipsuperpowers+ #focus = #priceless

Vive la révolution! Ambition Revolution.


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

Where are you getting in your own way?

Ground Hog day

I have a confession to make: Remember Bill Murray in Groundhog day? Where he keeps on having to relive the same moment in time, over and over again, until he learns the lesson?  Well I've recently had to acknowledge my groundhog day moment. And it's this: if I simply get out of my own way I achieve far greater results for both myself AND my clients. 

I'm exactly like Bill Murray and I keep having to learn this lesson, over and over again. 

So what does "getting out of your own way" mean? 

Here are some examples that might resonate for you:

  • You're too busy just now to finalise that Award nomination - despite this being exactly what needs to be done
  • You couldn't possibly finish publishing that VLOG because your hair isn't sitting perfectly today - despite the output being a key milestone on your business plan
  • You simply can't get up in the morning and exercise, despite your doctor telling you you need to do more exercise
  • You never make it to your evening yoga class (because you simply don't do mornings) because you're tired and have to work late
  • You're too busy and too indispensable to schedule annual leave - and yet somehow others around you get to go on that European cycling holiday or Balinese yoga retreat without any seeming penalty
  • You work late nights and on weekends week on week, despite noticing that it's impacting on your creativity, health and friendships - and despite you knowing better (oh yes that's me!)
  • You don't set up regular schedules for business development activities, despite knowing that your success depends on it, because you feel a bit uncomfortable. 
  • You approach an expert to help you set up your business but then don't follow the process because, of course, you know better.

It's procrastination pure and simple

Getting in your own way, tripping yourself up or slowing yourself down is a form of procrastination.  You're delaying on doing things that are about your success or that you know are good for you because you think you know better or that things might work out in the wash. The reality check is that if you were to ask someone's advice it would be a no-brainer, yet we still don't act.

So how can you get out of your own way?

Try these three questions. Ask yourself:

  1. What would your future leadership self do in this situation?
  2. What's the worst thing that could happen if you do?
  3. What's the worst thing that could happen if you don't?

All of a sudden your way forward is a whole heap easier - you have clarity, purpose and strategy all rolled into one.

Vive la révolution!  #ambitionrevolution #feminineambition #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

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.

 

 

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