Rebuilding your confidence after taking time out from your career

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workingmums__largeToday has been a great day. I received a phone call today with some exciting news and I can’t wipe the smile off my face…

When I first went back into the workforce after taking time out to care for our first two children I found it really difficult. For some reason I constantly questioned my expertise, experience and what I had to offer. It was all self-imposed, there was no-one or no particular situation that fuelled these thoughts, but it did take me a long time to re-build my confidence. Looking back, it seems silly, all that energy wasted in wondering whether or not what I had to offer was good enough.

I remember first reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’ and having so many ‘Ah-ha’ moments. Stories I read about others experiences and situations, carbon copies of my own. It was a comfort to learn that other women who take time out from their career to focus on their families often face these same challenges. Not just the juggle of managing your work / life balance, but the constant questioning of yourself and what you can contribute.

To some of you, this probably sounds Continue reading

Lessons from a Sushi Shop

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vegetable-sushi-platterI have in recent years become a fan of sushi.  I love the taste, the fact that it is reasonably healthy, as well as the different varieties that you can have.  I try to have it a couple of times a week as I go out for a walk at lunch time in the city.

As part of this, I often spend time seeking out different sushi venues.  Finding that one sushi store that provides outstanding sushi that makes you want to come back for more.  It has been an enjoyable quest!

A month ago, I found this place.  I was going for my regular walk and stumbled across a sushi store that I had not tried before.  I walked in and selected my sushi and sat down to try their product.  Wow!  Immediately I was struck by Continue reading

Spending time without the technology

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technologyI returned to work yesterday after having three weeks off during the Christmas and New Year’s break.  I have come back more refreshed and focussed than I have for many years which is a great way for me to start 2015.

I spent some time this morning reflecting on why this is the case.   What did I do differently over the break that I had not done previously?  Why was my mind a lot clearer and uncluttered than it had been returning to work in previous years? Continue reading

What’s your motivation?

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3026089-poster-p-1-ask-the-experts-how-do-i-find-the-motivation-to-get-to-the-next-stage-of-myIn reflecting upon the last year, I thought about my achievements, failures and learnings. One thing I reflected on were my motivations throughout the year. My motivations were subject to several fluctuations – there were times when I felt I motivated to run a marathon for no particular reason, and other times when I struggled to find the drive to finish off an email that would have taken me 30 seconds.

It got me thinking – what was the source of my motivation? Was there a common motivation across everything that I do? For me, the answer is Continue reading

How can I make people fill in my survey?

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surveyWell, in short you can’t.  That is the beauty of anonymous surveys – there is no forcing anyone to complete.  And if you do try and force someone to complete a survey, I can pretty much guarantee that their responses won’t be an accurate reflection as they will be completing begrudgingly and more likely to select the same ranking for every question.

There are however a few tips that can help you get a higher response rate and encourage people to participate. Continue reading

How effective people view vulnerability

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Hände fassen sich anA while ago I started to share my findings as I tried to deepen my understanding of vulnerability as a result of a challenge put to me by my mentor. Remember in my first post where I shared the Oxford dictionary’s definition of vulnerability? ‘Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally’.

It would seem that effective people think about the meaning of vulnerability differently.

Perhaps their internal dictionary’s definition goes something like this: Continue reading

Why I believe vulnerability is one of the cornerstones of effectiveness

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targeted-advertising-arrowA while ago I was challenged by my mentor to demonstrate an understanding of vulnerability before our next catch-up. I wrote about his interesting thoughts and my first discoveries here.

As I further explored the subject of vulnerability in preparation for my next chat with the Wise Old Owl a.k.a. my mentor, I thought about this cool little thing called the Circumplex that Dr Clayton Lafferty put together 40 years ago. He did this by using the insights of 20 other wise old owls including Abraham Maslow, Rensis Likert, David McClelland, Carl Rogers and Harry Stack Sullivan. This is not an exhaustive list but you should be impressed by the amount of wisdom Dr Lafferty managed to cram into 1 circle. See the Circumplex here: Continue reading

Having an MBTI “aha” moment

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PersonalityTypesI was recently sitting in a seminar ran by one of our associates on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in which he was explaining the tool and its uses.  I had one of those moments which I can only describe as an “aha” moment towards the end of the session, where we were talking about how dealing with some people can exhaust you more than others.

At BRS, I deal with clients from all our specialised industries of government, infrastructure and resources.  Within those industries I work with quite a few engineers, and have worked with many engineers in different roles in the past as well.  I am by no means an engineer, and those close to me outside of my working life would be surprised to see how much I work with them, and attempt to speak and understand their language and the unique challenges they face.  I should be clear I work in the non-technical areas but have a passion for their industry and seeing individuals improve.  I enjoy working with engineers and all of those in technical roles, but I’ve realised that after planning, engaging, talking or working with them, I feel sapped of energy.  But I never had actually paused to consider why.

The reason?  Well, Continue reading

The power of vulnerability

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how_long_can_we_really_expect_to_live_4376_147917641A child falls over and grazes their knees. The resulting expression of feelings causes their caregivers to come running and tend to the child’s needs. Not long after the fall the child is up and running again like nothing happened. So what just took place? Why are children so resilient and so good at making a comeback? Is it because they are vulnerable?

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of vulnerability is – ‘Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally’.

Wow! That is not a place most would want to be and it is at odds with the basic hard-wired human survival instinct that kicks in when there is a chance of harm making itself known to us.

This dictionary also goes on to say the word comes from the Latin word ‘vulnerare’ that means ‘to wound’. Given what the word means, it’s not surprising that Continue reading

Fail fast to learn quick

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learning-curveOne of the real challenges when you first start work is the ingraining of a culture particularly in corporate environments in the public and private sectors, towards not making mistakes.  You are critiqued on your work and your approach, with a strong focus on your technical expertise being right.  It tends to drive a very risk adverse culture and conditions you to think that you need to slow down and get it perfect before you finalise anything.

This conditioning can often extend further back to your family environment.   Risk adverse, cautious and protective parenting can contribute to this where children grow up thinking that Continue reading