This week I caught up with Amanda Blesing, Founder of “The Ambition Revolution, the art and science of amping smart ‘n savvy”. Some of you saw Amanda speak in Sydney in 2017 at one of our events on the topic of “confidence v’s competence – which is more important for career success?”
I for one struggle with the new year and setting goals - particularly around career success. So, I asked Amanda a couple of questions to get her insights for career success for 2018.
Can you tell us about your 2018 focus in particular for the readers who haven’t met you?
Nothing specific has changed in 2018. I’m continuing my work with smart ’n savvy executive women who are newer to leadership roles, or leading in masculine dominated industries, and who want to avoid the pain and frustration that sometimes accompanies those situations. Clients working with me learn a fresh approach to managing their leadership brand so that they can halve their effort and double their impact.
Should I bother with resolutions for my professional life or just personal?
I'm not a fan of New Year's Resolutions per se. I am a bigger fan of the notion of 'off with the old, so you can get on with the bigger, better, bolder, more beautiful, bodacious & brilliant'. After all, if you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got.
Unfortunately, some of us have a tendency to keep on piling on with new ideas, bigger and better goals, maybe an increase in pay or two, along with more and more responsibility ... until the wheels start to fall off. Guilt, feeling exhausted and maybe even feeling like a failure can be pretty undermining. Best avoid if we can.
In our modern, crazy, mixed up world, for many of it’s quite challenging to separate the professional from the personal. That old saying “It’s not personal, it’s business” is a really big phurphy. Of course it’s personal. So here are four activities you can try to help clear house, assess what worked and then create personal and professional plan for 2018.
Write yourself a list of 50 things you are grateful for achieving in the previous year. Personal AND professional. Don't hold back. You may have had the worst year ever, but in between there will be some gold - a new friendship, a significant learning, an opportunity. Many of us have a tendency to really focus on what didn’t worked so this will not only remind you of the wins and achievements, but help you reframe the things that didn't really go your way, and also help you identify opportunities or room for improvement in others.
Do a drain and sustain audit. Grab your journal. Draw a line down the middle of page and on the left hand side list the things that drain you and on the right hand side the things that sustain you. By drain, I mean the things that wear you out – your obligations, activities with emotional baggage attached, or activities that you may simply have outgrown. For example, a few years ago I created a group on Facebook in the yoga teacher community in Melbourne that truly flourished. (BTW I have a side hustle as a yoga teacher). As the group grew and the administrative burden became heavier, and my interest in the ‘administrivia’ diminished, I became increasingly exhausted by and resentful of the activity. After months of angst and denial, I finally pinpointed this activity as something that drained me and found another solution that was better suited for the group. Consider things in your work and personal life that exhaust or drain you, such as:
Reconciling your credit card
Meetings with no agendas or clear outcomes
Cleaning up the office kitchen
Unofficial mentoring/mothering of others at work
Following up on unpaid invoices
Taking calls from staff, clients or customers about FAQs
Feeling guilty about not exercising or not spending enough time with the kids
Once you’ve identified what drains you, work out how to either eliminate those things, do them differently, make them less of a ‘chore’, delegate them entirely or work out how to make them more sustaining.
Don't delay, do it today! And then schedule it again for 6 months’ time.
3. Do set some goals and targets for 2018. But along with your goals, identify how you want to feel when you achieve those goals. Try setting your goals with an abundance mindset, an 'effortless ease' approach with some health, wellness and energy qualifiers attached. Landing a salary of $450K might be a great goal, but is it doing work you love with people you like working with? Is your voice respected and are you making a difference? Don't forget to ditch the old 'hard work' or 'busy is better' mindset so you don't wear yourself out in the process, ensuring you get there fresh as a daisy, or skidding in with a glass of bubbles having the time of your life instead.
4. And finally, ask yourself the BHAG question – If there was one big, hairy, audacious move you could choose to execute that would help you achieve you goals, what would that be? On a scale of 1 - 10 (with 10 being incredibly scary) how much does this scare you? If you answered 8, 9 or 10, then it's big enough. Put it on your list. Don't let the big, hairy, audaciousness of a move scare you. After all, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
How should I keep myself accountable for goals I set?
Accountability is critical. Build in times to reassess your progress. Did you know that a sense of progress is a bigger motivator for many than money? So checking in to track progress (or lack thereof) can be a big motivator in and of itself.
Sometimes progress can be subtle so using an accountability partner, like a coach, is really powerful, especially if you’ve chosen something things that push you outside of your comfort zone. And another great tip is to make sure you break down your goal into bite sized chunks. That way progress will be more obvious.
Just after New Year I got a note from a previous client. She was assessing her progress at the end of the year (as you do) and wanted to let me know how she was going. We started working together in 2015. As a high achiever her list of life goals was pretty amazing and the things on it weren’t designed to fit in a 12 month period either. She told me she had finally achieved all her goals on the list and she was hugely excited. She’d sold her business and created a new life for herself with work in three states, flexible arrangements for herself and her kids and doing work she’d fallen back in love with again. And there is the gold. That’s one of the reasons I do what I do because it can be incredibly rewarding.
Amanda Blesing is a mentor, speaker, trainer and author based in Melbourne. She helps talented women win the remuneration, promotions and recognition they truly deserve. She also helps organisations create empowered female leaders who know how to make a difference. I really encourage you to reach out if you have any questions and challenge yourself with her tips for a great 2018!
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