Monday, November 19, 2012

SMH: Women Struggling With a Need to Please

I'd love to share Cosima Marrimer's article in this weekend's Sydney Morning Herald 'Sunday Life' magazine.

If you'd like to download the link to the article click here. Otherwise, read on!

JUGGLING careers, family and social lives, women feel stretched in all directions but are unable to say no, a Sunday Life magazine survey reveals.

More than 1500 women responded to the What Women Want online survey, discussing their bodies, relationships, careers, their worries and hopes for the future. While most readers report being fairly content with their busy lives, the survey revealed that managing competing demands remains an ongoing challenge.

When asked what personal quality they would most like to nurture, one-fifth said they wanted to be more assertive and confident. A further fifth said they would like to slow down and take the time to appreciate what they have in their lives.
''I am always doing things for others and rushing around like a mad person,'' said Kylee, 42. ''I would like to be able to slow down and smell the roses but life is too busy and [there is] always something to do or someone to see or help.''

Advertisement Leanne, 47, said: ''I would like to nurture the ability to say 'no' without guilt.''

Sabah, 21, felt similarly: ''I always say yes to people. I need to think about myself for a change.''

A quarter of readers said achieving work-life balance was their biggest challenge, compared with 15 per cent who nominated ageing gracefully, 13 per cent who said maintaining relationships and 10 per cent who cited managing a household and/or finances.

Despite the stresses in their lives, readers are more concerned about the sisterhood as a whole. A total of 60 per cent identified violence against women as the female issue that most urgently needs to be addressed, ahead of more support for at-home carers and closing the gender pay gap.

And while Australian women are paid, on average, 20 per cent less than their male peers, two-thirds of readers feel their work doesn't discriminate against them because they are female. Nearly half of working mothers said their careers had progressed since returning to work. Although money ranks third as a motivation for going to work, 81 per cent said they would choose a pay rise over more flexibility in their jobs.

Most women said they were happiest spending time with their partner, children or friends. They report healthy sex lives, 40 per cent having sex at least once a week. But, given a choice between sex, chocolate, a good book or sleep, more women opted for sleep than anything else.

Body image remains a concern for most readers, 70 per cent classifying themselves as overweight. Seven in 10 have been on a diet but less than half felt it helped them lose weight.

The survey revealed frustration with the fashion industry; three-quarters of respondents said they had trouble finding clothes to fit their body shape and hundreds wrote detailed critiques of modern fashion. Yet not many readers have turned to intensive cosmetic surgery to improve their looks, just 11 per cent going under the knife.

Read more:

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Top 4 Reasons Employees Quit

This post, written by Kazim Ladimeji of the Career Cafe, struck a chord with me.

So much so, I wanted to share it word for word with you. It's written with a recruiter in mind but the learnings are just as important for a candidate seeking out a new job.

Here's what Kazim had to say:

"A few years back, PwC published some interesting findings of 19,000 exit interviews within their organization, where one of the key questions that was asked of employees was the simple question, “What was their reason for leaving?” The four most common reasons for leaving their organization were, in order of rank:

1.Limited career/promotion opportunities

2.Supervisor lacked respect/support


4.Job duties boring/no challenge.

These findings resonate well with a later and similarly expansive Gallup Poll, which took into account the views of employees from 44 organizations and 10,600 business units. Gallup found an almost identical top four reasons for employees voluntarily leaving. Between these two substantial surveys we have a fairly good grasp on why good employees leave voluntarily.

Of course, ordinarily staff retention is a key focus of the ‘at work’ HR Business partners and employee relations team. However, upon knowing these top reasons for employees leaving it becomes clear that there are real steps that recruiters can and should be taking to not only hire staff well, but to hire staff in a ‘sticky’ way so they stay for the long term. Thus, putting recruiters in a strong position to be able to say that they make a meaningful contribution not just to staff attraction, but staff retention. This also raises their profile within the organization they work in or serve.

Listed below are the top four reasons that employees leave and four corresponding actions that recruiters can take during the recruiting process to help counteract these issues.

1. Limited career/promotion opportunities. Recruiters should check that the candidate’s career development and advancement expectations are closely aligned with what the organization is able to offer. That is, can the business meet the career development needs of the candidate? If the answer is no, then this candidate may be a risky hiring prospect who may be likely to leave prematurely.

2. Supervisor lacked/respect support. Recruiters should develop job descriptions with detailed manager profiles so the employee can see their potential supervisor’s management style and team culture – and see if it will be a good fit. Ensure that the candidate’s preferred style of being managed matches up with the manager’s preferred style of management as a mismatch could lead to an early voluntary exit by the employee.

3. Compensation. Be concerned about candidates who are singularly focused on compensation. Why? Because, if, as a subsequent employee, they become dissatisfied with their pay, the fact that they don’t place much value in other areas of the brand offering like culture, training and career development opportunities, means these other perks will not serve as retention devices. This type of ‘money fixated applicant’ will be much more vulnerable to premature departure than a candidate who places value in many of areas of the brand offering.

4. Job duties boring/no challenge. Clearly, recruiters should be encouraging line managers to produce comprehensive job descriptions that accurately reflect the duties, responsibilities, scope of the role, flexibility, and key contacts in order to provide an all-round feel of the role. Also, make use of Realistic Job Previews (RJP) which is a process where you give the employee a view of both the positive and negative aspects of the job. Research shows that use of RJPs means the employee will be better able to cope with the stresses and strains of the job and be more satisfied.

I believe that the modern recruiter or talent acquisition professional can add greater value to the organizations that they serve or work for by placing an emphasis on hiring ‘sticky’ employees who are selected to not only be good, but to actually stay for the longer-term and enable the employer to fully realize the investment they made in the new recruit."

Thanks Kazim!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Personal Branding Quick Tip 6: Leverage Your Brand To Benefit Others

This, for me, is the cleverest part of our approach to Personal Branding.

I firmly believe that you develop a powerful personal brand for a much greater reason than just furthering your own personal agenda.

My approach to personal branding is very much about leverage: now that you understand the power and influence you have already, as well as the power you can generate in the future, how are you going to use that to best effect?

For some people, they may wish to use their credibility to positively impact their children, "What lessons have I learnt about myself that I can pass onto them?" See past tips if you're unsure.

For other people, it might be about how their influence could be used to further the objectives of their organisation, "How can I command greater respect in our industry, thereby furthering the reputation of my company?"

And for others it may be about how they could further a community cause. Think about how some celebrities use their brand power to raise awareness of charities close to their hearts.

When you truly take action to create outcomes far greater than those to fuel your own agenda, the positive repurcussions on your brand are then multiplied - it's a win/win situation!

- Rebecca

Friday, September 28, 2012

Personal Branding Quick Tip 5: Promote Your Value


Now that you have passion for what you do; love who you are; understand what value you offer the world; and accept it too... it's time to market and promote that value to the people who matter.
Why? You might be asking.

Isn't enough for me to know how I make an impact? Surely the key decision makers around me - my manager, the Board - know all this too?
The key to success in life I have found, is to assume nothing.
  • Assume no-one knows anything about you.
  • Assume no-one has noticed you staying at work late.
  • Assume no-one has observed the insights you add in meetings.
  • Assume no-one has a clue who you are...
...and you're off to a great start!

Promoting your value is a more complex process than I can explain in a 'quick tip' such as this. But the basics are these:
Who needs to know about you?
We're talking about people who have decision making capabilities: your manager; a senior partner; your clients; your Board
How can you get in front of them?
Think about coffee meetings, networking opportunities, and social opportunities at work.
What do they need to know?
Go back to earlier tips about understanding and accepting your value.
How can you tell them?
What stops most people from 'promoting their value' is a concern they will come across as arrogant.

You can promote yourself and do it authentically: it's a question of defining how you want to come across in a way that works for you.
- Rebecca

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Personal Branding in Distress: Does Your Email Signature Destroy Your Brand?

I've just received an email from a man who shall remain nameless.

The email was vaguely interesting - I say 'vaguely' because there were numerous typos in the text which automatically gets my back up, makes me lose my train of thought and frankly leads me to judge the sender's professionalism.

And then I reached the email signature. Now, I'm all for quirky 'job' titles but this one for me went too far. It read:

Joe Bloggs
Head of Crazy Ideas; Wacky Guy; NFP Benefactor; Ladies' Man


This was an email from 'Joe Bloggs' asking me if I'd be interested in doing a joint venture with his company.

Err, no thanks!

It's funny - 'Joe Bloggs' might be a very interesting candidate for a JV but it's incredible how much this email signature irritated me.

For a start, it's not particularly professional.

Secondly, anyone who wishes to publicise their 'not for profit contributions' in such a lewd way, is clearly in it for all the wrong reasons (in my opinion).

And lastly... Ladies' Man? Come on!

The issue with your email signature is that it's short, sweet and 2-dimensional.

In other words you've got 5 seconds to make a good (or terrible, in this case) impression and it's an opportunity to bring you, a 3D individual, to life.

I think it's important to ensure your email signature is reflective of a brand other people would trust and wish to 'do business' with.

What do you think about email signatures? Are they easy to get wrong? Does it really matter? Am I being overly sensitive??

- Rebecca

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Personal Branding Quick Tip 4: Accept Your Value

Last week, we explored what I mean by 'your value' - read that post here.

Understanding what you offer the world - through your innate talents, skills, passions and experience - is only the first step.
Most people, when faced with a list of all their positive qualities, reject it out of hand:
  • "Surely everybody is like that"
  • "Surely everyone can do that"
  • "There's nothing special about me"
Well, here's a news flash for you: you are special and you do have an inordinate amount of value to offer.
The question is: do you believe in yourself enough?
It isn't possible to 'sell' your personal brand (and all the positive qualities and value it contains) to other people if you haven't sold yourself on the prospect first.
The confidence and trust other people have in you are formed from the confidence and trust you have in yourself.
So chances are, if your confidence in 'self' is only a 4/10, their confidence in you will probably be a 4/10 too.
If you have personal objections as to why 'you're not good enough' your absolute first step is to work through those objections with a trained coach.
You truly are the only thing that is holding you back.
- Rebecca 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Personal Branding Quick Tip 3: Understand your Value

What am I talking about, 'value'?

Each of us has an inordinate amount of talent to offer the world whether it's about solving problems; making others feel good; how you think; or bringing more money through the door.

You are sitting on a mountain of value and, to develop clarity of what your personal brand stands for, it's important to understand what exactly you can offer (and are already offering) the people around you.

The key to this is simple: be honest with yourself. Now is not the time to be bashful!

To keep it easy, focus on just one situation for now, such as work.

1. What do you offer your company in terms of your skills, innate talents and experience to date?

2. Which areas are you under-capitalising on?

3. What can you do that no-one else can?

Knowing why you are such an asset is critical!   Read Tip 2 here: Love Yourself or Give Up Now   Read Tip 1 here: Your Personal Brand Relies on Your Happiness

At a Career Crossroads? Define Your 'Meaningful Contribution'...

Fulfillment in life, and at work, often boils down to your contribution. And more particularly, your meaningful contribution.

Both terms 'contribution' and 'meaningful' will mean different things from person to person.

'Contribution' might be about...
... the time you offer to others
... the financial input you give
... the thinking you provide

And 'meaningful' might be about...
... who you help
... how you help them
... or why you choose to make that difference.

What I have discovered, working with hundreds of people now in the areas of career change and career fulfillment, is that 99% of the time, it boils down to needing to feel prouder of the inputs and outputs of your day.

Quite simply most of us are looking to make a more 'meaningful contribution' and feel as though we are adding greater value to the world around us. Perhaps the key to professional happiness is understanding how you would define this idea?

- Rebecca

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Personal Branding Quick Tip 2: Love Yourself or Give Up Now

Now, I know what you're thinking.

You hate the idea that to enjoy a powerful personal brand you need to 'love yourself'. That means being arrogant right? Believe me, this is a very common reaction when I discuss this concept with clients!

It makes sense too that if you feel 'branding' leads to becoming arrogant that the idea of 'loving yourself' would naturally make your stomach turn.

In my view, 'loving yourself' in this context is quite different. Personal branding is about celebrating you: your assets; your talents; and the value you offer the world. And unless you believe you have any of the above, why would you think you could convince anyone else of the fact?

What I've found, working with many clients now on this topic, is that it's fear that really stops anyone from accepting themselves. And what is fear really? It doesn't really exist - and it only gains any fuel when you think about things you're fearful of.

So, here's the challenge: get a pad of paper and write down everything that you love about yourself. It could be how you communicate with others. It might be that you make people laugh. Perhaps you love that you're adventurous. Or that you're a great listener. Really get in touch with everything you believe is special about you. I'd love to hear what you all come up with!

Life Is Too Short To Focus on Weaknesses

The world is obsessed with 'fixing weakness'. Children get their school reports back and instead of focusing on the 3 'As', the parent might focus on 'fixing' the 'F' instead (which would have been in maths no doubt)... :) Then, as adults, we go to work and performance reviews are structured exactly the same way: let's fix the weaknesses. Marcus Buckingham, in his best selling book, "Now, discover your strengths" talks about the idea of 'well roundedness'. Why do we try to be excellent 'all rounders' when we each have natural strengths we should be capitalising on. He says investing time developing your weaknesses is merely offering 'damage control' - but you'll never truly excel if that's all you're ever able to do. So how about celebrating your strengths instead? Here's a challenge: think about a talent you have that you do so well, you don't even consider it to be a talent. Maybe you're really organised. Maybe you're brilliant socially. Maybe you're highly analytical. Spend 5 minutes, right now, working out how you should use that strength more every single day... and then do it. - Rebecca

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

4 Steps To Building a Stronger Personal Brand

It actually only takes 1 step to get clearer about what your personal brand can do for you (and for others). So pick your favourite idea from the list below or set yourself a two week challenge and tackle all 4 - go on, why not?! 1. Get clarity about yourself and what matters to you. What do you believe in? What is important to you? What is absolutely non-negotiable? Think about work situations. Personal situations. Consider how you want to be treated by those around you. 2. Know what you are really, really good at. We all have specialties. We all have strengths and innate talents. What are yours? 3. Become proud of your contribution! We all add value both at home and professionally; what value do you add? If you are dissatisfied with your outputs, what needs to change for the fruits of your labour to bring you joy? 4. When you’re ready, it’s important to let others know about you. Life’s crowded and it’s easy to pale into anonymity. Share your opinions with others. And most importantly perhaps: demonstrate your skills, your talents and your value by taking action. What are your thoughts on personal branding? - Rebecca

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Neon Zebra facebook page too!

And if you're into facebook, like our Neon Zebra Personal Branding page! I am posting all sorts of resources - blogposts from other coaches and consultants; interesting stats about getting ahead in your career; interviews; photos and more... Click here to get to facebook and LIKE us! - Rebecca

New Neon Zebra Linkedin Group

If you want to join our discussion on Linkedin, our new group Neon Zebra Group Personal Branding is up and running! Search for us and join in! - Rebecca

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Personal Branding Quick Tip 1: Your Personal Brand Depends On Your Happiness

When we look at personal branding strategy for a client, who wishes to raise his or her profile at work, one of the most important factors to understand is whether or not they like what they do for a living. Imagine standing infront of an audience of 500 people - their eyes fixed on you, waiting for you to speak. I am sure you'd agree that task would be a whole lot easier if you were about to speak on a topic you were passionate about. All too often people are looking for quick fixes: ways to bring fulfilment to their work without addressing the biggest question of all: "Am I happy in my job?" Effective personal branding starts when you feel aligned with the goals you are setting; enjoy the environments you find yourself in; get energy from the people you work with; and love the outputs of your day. So before embarking on a personal branding journey ask yourself how happy and fulfilled you are at work. And if you're struggling to find anything positive to say, your first step should be to understand your personal and professional values to see what really matters most to you. - Rebecca

Friday, July 6, 2012

Why Superior Leaders Make The Worst Leaders

Watch this tip on VIDEO! I want to talk to you about shadows. More on that in a bit... To make sense of this, we must first recap on 'values'. Values are factors, issues, objects and outcomes that are important to you. Good examples are 'success', 'happiness', 'family', 'wealth', 'health' and 'achievement'. Values are often aspirational. Counter to this you will also have, as we all do, what I call 'shadow values'. These are factors, issues and outcomes that you still value but would be less likely to admit to! Excellent examples are 'superiority', or 'always needing to be right'. Leaders who prioritise 'superiority' highly often make poor leaders. This shadow value is a greedy show boater, always wanting airtime. When it is in full flow, it has a profound negative effect on your behaviour: you will cut people off; hijack their ideas; and always try to trump their suggestions so that you can showcase your own expertise. Allowing these behaviours to repeat can quickly lead to you having a disengaged team - so it's time to decide: can you truly nurture and develop your team members if you need to feel superior all the time? - Rebecca

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

VIDEO: Feeling Stuck? A Big Picture Goal Is What You Need!

All too often we get too focused on our immediate goals, forgetting the bigger picture... or even if our immediate goals fit into that bigger picture. The result? Going round in circles and never really seeming to get anywhere. Watch my 1 minute video to help you get unstuck! - Rebecca

Monday, May 14, 2012

Emotions: The Way To Ruin a Good Relationship

Isn't it interesting how raw emotions can be tasted in a room? Say you entered a room where two other people had just had an argument - you'd probably subconsciously 'sense' the tension in the air and get a gut feeling that something wasn't quite right. Emotions - both happy and negative - can have a profound effect on the energy in the room. I'm sure there's some science to explain that... I don't know what it is, but I'm sure there is some! I'd welcome your feedback and ideas on that one... Think of the grumpiest person you know. Got one? Right... I bet you that being around them, when they're being overtly negative, has a dulling effect on you. You probably feel uncomfortable - maybe like you're treading on eggshells? At worst, their behaviour could make you feel sad. As children we used emotion to get what we wanted. Babies and toddlers cry for attention, or throw a tantrum to try and get their own way. Most of us learn that negative emotion isn't enjoyable to others and develop new ways to influence people and retain our friends. Some adults however stick to their guns and continue to allow grumpiness to take over. And it's ugly. If you're keen to see your relationships last another 10 years+ and to know that people enjoy being around you, it's worth asking yourself these questions: * Do you allow your emotions to negatively effect others? * If so, what do you gain? What are you losing? * And most importantly, what are you prepared to do about it? Take action and enjoy the outcome! - Rebecca

The Power of Authentic Behaviour

Authenticity is about being 'true' or 'real' to yourself and to those around you. What happens when you are inauthentic is essentially a values clash. What am I talking about, a values clash? Well you have a set of values that sit in your subconscious. These values are a reflection of your true self. When you act inauthentically, you act against your own values which will inevitably result in your feeling uncomfortable. You might even reprimand yourself: "Why did I just say that?" "Why did I just do that?" In a corporate environment it is easy to act inauthentically. You might behave in a particular way because you believe it is expected of you. You might act inauthentically because you wish to protect yourself from showing what you truly think or feel. This is all perfectly natural but I do believe you can behave authentically, in a way that does not create an inner conflict or that does not make you feel uncomfortable. The first step that a Neon Zebra would take is to know her own values. Here is a starting point - ask yourself these questions: 1. What is important to me about how I behave at work towards others? 2. What is important to me about how others behave towards me? 3. What will I absolutely not stand for? 4. How do I wish others to perceive me? 'Values' are not as complicated as they might appear at first and once you've got a better understanding of what yours are, I guarantee you'll feel stronger and more certain about yourself, freeing up valuable thinking space to help propel you forwards. - Rebecca

Are You Compromising Your Personal Brand?

Our ultimate coaching program, Neon Zebra, has a unique focus. As well as exploring a range of leadership, personal and professional goal setting strategies (amongst other things!) it also has a strong element of personal branding strategy included in it. I am a huge advocate of authentic personal branding. What do I mean by that? In a nutshell it is about uncovering what is unique and special about you and what value you have to offer - from both a personal and professional perspective. I have found, over the years of coaching many professional women, that one of the issues so many women struggle with is understanding what their value is and, possibly more importantly, being able to communicate that value with total confidence. This is what makes Neon Zebra so special because it is the only career coaching program that delves so deeply into this essential area of personal development. So let's talk about it some more. Authentic personal branding is about being true to yourself. This means the strategies are unique to you and what matters most to you (your values). For example we don't advocate any one particular style of leadership to clients because each and every client has a unique approach to leadership that works most effectively for her. So the question I'd like you to ponder is this: Are you being your Authentic Self at work? - Rebecca

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Does 'Beauty' Matter in Getting Ahead?

Human Capital Magazine has just published an article linking beauty to employability.

The question is, do looks matter?

The resounding response is that 'yes they do': ..."a growing body of research indicates that Australian, UK and US employers view aesthetic factors such as voice, grooming, and personal style as ‘skills’ – and they’re willing to pay a premium to get it."

Read the full article here.

According to Professor Warhurst at the University of Sydney, "people who are perceived to be better looking command pay premiums of between 10-16% over those who are less blessed in the looks department, and are in fact two to five times more likely to be employed in the first place".

I'd like to discuss this from a psychological perspective and then from a personal branding viewpoint.

Subconsciously we all make decisions phenomenally quickly. And when it comes to making positive or negative judgments about other people, we do it in the blink of an eye.

It might be the case that another person's beauty - or rather how attractive you find them - affects that judgment. When I talk about 'attractive' here, I am not referring to a physical or sexual attraction - more, that you simply like that person.

When you are attracted to another person I believe there are a number of things going on:

1. It is likely that you enjoy their energy - you like being around them.

2. They probably make you feel good about yourself.

3. They might have a subtle confidence that reassures you.

4. There is a consistency between what they are saying and how they are saying it (their tone of voice and body language are true to their words).

I don't think employability is so much linked to beauty, but rather to likeability.

From a personal branding perspective, there is a great deal you can do to cement your image further.

As well as mastering the four skills listed above there are some additional things you might try:

1. Adopt a personal style and grooming that fits your personal brand.

2. Understand and know what your value is - I believe that people who can confidently communicate their value, say in a job interview, are far more likely to be successful than those who can not.

3. Be assertive when you communicate - that is about what you say, how you say it, how you walk, your posture and a myriad of other factors (but that's enough for now)!

What do you think?

- Rebecca

Monday, March 5, 2012

Falling at the First Hurdle? How Resilient Are You?

Resilience is vital to get ahead in life.

It's what pushes you successfully through the tough times, both in your personal and professional experiences.

I believe that most women need a special kind of resilience in the workplace. Why? Because we are regularly faced with challenging circumstances that test both our patience and ability to respond unemotionally.

I'm sure you'd agree that we all make better decisions, and are able to maintain focus, when we have control over our emotions.

A client I worked with recently was finding her boss to be particularly demanding and by the end of the week, my client was finding her own stress levels rocketing.

Resilience is essential here. It's about standing firm when things get tough, brushing yourself off when things get even harder and being determined to see through the situation towards a brighter future.

Resilience is all about bouncing back and doing it all with a smile on your face.

Easier said than done?

Here are some tips to help:

1. Identify the challenging relationships you have with the people you work with...

2. Where possible, speak to them if they are overstepping your boundaries and explain how you would prefer the situation to be.

3. Think quickly: what 3 things could you potentially do here to find a solution? Choose the best idea.

4. Remember to laugh; there's nothing like a drop of humour to lighten a situation.

What are your tips?
What are your proudest examples of showing resilience?

- Rebecca

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Passion Could Damage Your Personal Brand

I am not what I would call a particular fan of 'celebrity' but I do find celebrity fascinating.

Just like you and me, celebrities have personal brands. Some even have two: one for the stage and another for when they're at home on the sofa drinking Milo, wearing ill-matching socks.

Where personal branding is of special interest to me, is when a so-called celebrity deviates from his or her usual guise.

Adele, a usually well-behaved and feminine singer, was 'caught out' yesterday making an obscene one fingered gesture at the Brit Awards.

On the face of it, such a mistake could be quickly forgotten and her 'brand' remain untarnished. Yet undoubtedly, a simple slip like this could also come back to haunt her.

In itself, a two second one fingered 'salute' might not damage Adele's image but the subconscious residue that lingers very well might.

When doubt is thrown over a current perception you have it means you question whether you 'had it right' in the first place. It also leads you to be on the lookout for further evidence to support the new perception.

What are your thoughts?

- Have you made a comment or gesture you later regretted?
- Or perhaps a comment or gesture that was out of character?
- What was the result?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why Your Current Career Plan is Failing You

Watch this tip on video!

If you want to get ahead in your career in 2012 it's vital that you have a plan. It shouldn't be complicated - this is actually why most plans fail.

In fact it's far better if it's not. Here's a 4 Step process sure to take you to the top!

First up, think about your BHAG for the year. What's a BHAG? A Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

Your BHAG might have nothing to do with work. Perhaps your BHAG, like my friend Lisa, is to run a marathon in 2012.

Maybe you want to be promoted at work.

Whatever your BHAG, think BIG and think AUDACIOUS!


Next, ask yourself what 3 outcomes you absolutely need to ensure to see your BHAG is met. Say your goal, as it is for many of our clients, is to get promoted this year. Your three outcomes might be to:

1. Ensure I am known to key senior decision makers

2. Have an opinion and make sure it is heard in meetings

3. Find out what POs (performance outcomes) I need to meet to enable me to argue my case for a promotion


Create a table with your three outcomes in the left column. Then divide your table into 4 columns with each one representing a quarter (January-March for example).


Lastly, decide on what actions you need to take each quarter to ensure each of your outcomes is met... and stick your plan somewhere obvious, where you'll see it every day.

And then TAKE ACTION! Without that, you have nothing!

Is Your Gut Taking a Back Row Seat in Your Decision Making?

Intuition is something we all have. It could be described as a 'gut feeling' or 'a natural instinct'. It's what makes you feel uncomfortable when you're in the company of someone you really can't stand!

Okay, so now we all agree as to what intuition is we now all need to agree to use it more often!

A Neon Zebra is an individual who stands firm. She is committed to defending her own opinion and trusting her gut feel.

Think about the situations where you trust your intuition and consider too the times when you don't.

* Is there a pattern?

* Do you question yourself more around particular people for instance?

* Do you buckle more easily under pressure or greater stress?

* Notice when you are more likely to hesitate or procrastinate about making a decision. What are the patterns here too?

The greater awareness you have about how you do things means you can make a choice to 'do things' differently next time!

- Rebecca

Friday, February 3, 2012

Do You Need Technology To Be Successful?

I am what you might call a 'technological laggard': I am super slow to adopt anything new.

I was buying a Discman (for CDs) when the Mini-disc Player came out.

I was buying a Mini-disc Player when the iPod came out.

I never bothered getting an iPod; I am still satisfied playing CDs on my ghetto blaster.

An interesting survey I recently read points out that women who embrace technology are 'more likely to be highly successful'.

I suppose this means that technology makes life easier and allows us women to get even more done, even more efficiently than we would do without it.

I don't have an iPhone (go figure) but I do have a Blackberry... which I adore. And I must say, it does enable me to get more done... and makes me even more efficient than I was before the said smartphone graced my world.

But perhaps success isn't about 'productivity' or 'efficiency'. Perhaps it's about having more time to spend doing all the other stuff in my life once I've got all my work done.

What do you think?
Does technology make you more 'successful'?
And what does 'success' mean here?

All comments welcome!

- Rebecca

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Roger Federer Is Not A Champion

There you go - I said I wasn't an avid Australian Open fan and here I am posting comment on it for the second time in a week. Perhaps these late night viewings are helped by the fact that I've now got a newborn in the house?! Yes, you read it correctly... I am posting this at 425am!

You've got to hand it to them - Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal certainly know how to put on a show.

The point I want to make here echoes the observations I made a couple of days ago about the Li Na vs Clijsters fixture...

Mental toughness is what wins you matches.

Federer is without a doubt the most gifted technical tennis player the world has ever seen. His achilles heel? His mind.

Tonight he played Nadal in the semi-final and at 9pm the fireworks (to mark Australia Day) erupted over the Rod Laver stadium. There was a break in play.

Having won the first set 7-6, Federer came back after the break a different player.

His focus was off. His famous backhand (and equally famous forehand) were failing him and as fate would have it, all the luck was going Nadal's way.

Whilst Nadal loudly celebrated every point he won (even the ones at 15 love), Federer became even more silent and brooding.

It wasn't his game that led Federer to lose the match, it was his mind.

Mindsets win matches.

Your mindset is no different. It can be a phenomenal asset or a devastating hindrance. And here's the really interesting part:

- There may be a limit to the level of skill you can attain (let's face it, we can't all be as good as Federer)
- But you have TOTAL control of your mindset

The difference between Federer and Nadal is simple:

- Federer values 'skill set' most highly.
- Nadal values 'positive mindset no matter what' most highly. The result? His competitive advantage.

In my view, Nadal's got it right.

What do you think?

- Rebecca

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Lesson from Tennis: Believe in Your Own Convictions

For the first time ever, I've been quite engrossed by the Australian Open, watching a number of matches over the last few days (I'm more of a Wimbledon-once-a-year sort of tennis viewer).

But last night, there was a gripper.

All the hopes of China rested on Li Na, the only professional tennis player ever to have represented China and her opponent, Kim Clijsters was back from retirement and also battling a serious ankle injury.

By the end of the second set it looked like Li had it in the bag, achieving four consecutive match points.

Having been behind throughout the entire match, Clijsters surprised everyone by defending each of those points before going on to breaking Li's serve twice and then convincingly winning the next set and therefore the match.

So where did it all go wrong for Li?

Well to sum it up in two words, she had a mental meltdown.

Li speedily transitioned from being comfortably ahead; acting decisively; and going for difficult shots to questioning her judgment and making a series of unforced errors.

Noticeably she also began to listen to the advice shouted to her from the sidelines - her husband (who doubles up as her coach) began encouraging her to challenge line calls which she wouldn't normally have queried.

His judgment was proven wrong twice and, due to the fact a player has a limited number of valuable challenges they can make, this only added to Li's frustration and dwindling focus.

Isn't it interesting how people question theiur own judgment more readily when under pressure?

'Are other people right and therefore I am wrong?'
'Am I on the right track?'

Having presence of mind is vital when building your powerful personal brand and learning to trust your own intuition - whatever the pressure - is a skill that will absolutely help your self-certainty soar.

When have you stood firm and trusted your intuition under testing cirumcumstances? I'd love to see your comments!

- Rebecca

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I'm in the midst of reading Timothy Ferriss' "The 4 Hour Workweek" full of ideas and strategies to live life and run a business more efficiently.

The word 'experiment' comes up often. I like it. I think it should be used more often in conversation.

When coaching, the concept of having 'the' right answer rears its ugly head time and time again with different clients:

"What if I don't have the right answer? I'll sound stupid."
"What if I say the wrong thing? I'll look like a monkey."

Fears like these are commonplace so if you see yourself saying either of the above, you can rest safe in the knowledge that you're not alone. That said, it doesn't mean that either statement is likely to propel you forwards.

Let's re-wind the clock.

Think back to being young. Remember how wonderful it was to have no woes. At age 5 the biggest worry you'll have had was whether or not to wear blue or white shoes.

These were days of play. Of experience. Of learning. At this age we were content seeing how things worked, how they could be broken and put back together again.

- We were okay if the building blocks fell over. We just built them up again.

- We were okay if we said the wrong word. We just saw it as an opportunity to learn.

- We were okay if we made chocolate chip cookies with pink icing on top. We just saw it as a means to get more sugar in our bellies.

We were EXPERIMENTING. And not only was it 'okay' - it was also a heap of fun.

Here's a thought: give yourself permission to experiment. To play. To get things 'wrong' and see the funny side.

Life and work are so much more fun when we get curious and choose to experiment rather than seeking the truth or the 'right' answer. Who knows? You might uncover something even better.

Mmmm ... Choc chips cookies with pink icing ... I could be onto something!

- Rebecca