Want more confidence? 

Yes! Then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for helping you understand yourself more and create more confidence in all areas of your life.

Key Learning Prompts

  • building confidence takes deliberate practice
  • getting feedback from friends, family and colleagues can provide you with some awesome surprises
  • ‘great at’ lists create a foundation for your confidence
  • writing and reflecting helps to embed new learnings about yourself and strengthen confidence further
  • low confidence can lead to poor life and career choices so its impact needs to be managed just like any other ‘project’ risk

 

Warning! Low confidence can lead to poor career choices!

 

The Story – my clients and my own

 

I can pinpoint with minute accuracy when low confidence led me to make poor career and life choices:

  • 2006 –  I was in a crap role with a bully boss and I was offered a Test Manager role on a single project. I didn’t take it because it didn’t fit with my view of being strong at working across multiple projects vs one. I should have taken the role and saved myself another 12 months of bullying.

 

  • 2008 – I lost confidence from the previously mentioned role and began making very reactive decisions about  my job and also who to date.  I felt like I ‘couldn’t progress’, or I needed a relationship to ‘make me feel better/complete’. These internal mantras meant I kept myself down and limited my choices.

 

  • 2013 – I left a great role because I was sick of the office politics because I didn’t think I could ‘take it’.  I really just needed a holiday but the mantra of ‘I cant take it any more’ led me making a not great career choice to start a contract role that was then suddenly cut short (Don’t worry, I was working in a new role 2 weeks later  but that’s another story).

 

 

Being deliberate about maintaining your confidence is essential to a successful and enjoyable career. Bad choices can snowball and are easily made when our confidence ebbing.

Maximising Your Confidence

I work with my clients to help re-set and re-build their confidence. Some clients have this as one of their 3 month goals and others have this as set of supporting actions to make a goal easier to achieve.

The Four Steps !

A great confidence building suite of actions is to complete the following over a fortnight:

(1) List 30 things you do well – (can be anything)

(2) List 6 things you are GREAT AT!

(3) Write as much as as possible about WHY you are great at these 6 things

(4) Ask at least 2 past colleagues and 3 friends or family to describe what you are great at and then create a list, noting which attributes come up more than once

Follow up activity

Read through these lists each morning for 30 days and I’ll guarantee you’ll feel so much more positive and energised. Your confidence and belief in yourself will improve and you might even start noticing more things to add to your lists.

One Final Tip – Decision Making and Confidence

If you know you’re low on confidence then consider how it may impact any important decisions you have coming up. Write these impacts down and then work out (and write down) ways to limit the impact.

This will help save you from making a decision in the following way :

The options available to me are based on what I think of myself,

if I think of myself as a poor candidate for a new role

then I will find 10 reasons why I should apply for a lower paid, lower status position but

if I think of myself as THE BEST CANDIDATE EVER!!

then I will apply for an even more senior position.

 

 

Same person, confidence is the only difference and the impact is HUGE!

 

You’re awesome and I 100% believe that what you want is the right thing for you!!

Go for it!!

Now, I’d love to hear from you….

What makes you confident at work?

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Heart-felt advice for overcoming your anxieties at work

Do you always feel anxious at work?  

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for helping you understand yourself more, you will hear my own personal struggle with anxiety, perfectionism and competitiveness and it will also provide ideas on how to shift your own beliefs to take the temperature down so you can enjoy your job more!

Key Learning Prompts

  • Do you have to be on top of everything ALL the time to be ‘good’ at your job?
  • What core beliefs are driving your anxiety?
  • What would happen if you didn’t answer that email first?

Heart-felt advice for overcoming your anxieties at work

The Story – my clients and my own

One of the biggest career blockers for my coaching clients and it comes up time and time again, is anxiety and confidence. Stress levels can make work feel ‘too much’ and a lack of confidence can feed the feeling of overwhelm.  Clients say things like:

“Its important to ALWAYS be accepted”
“I want (need) to be across EVERYTHING
EVERYTHING I do must be of a high quality”

Words such as always, must, important, everything keep coming up.  These beliefs create pressure.  Pressure to be the perfect, most in integrity, honest, liked super boss ever!  Pressure leads to anxiety and all the implications that has (headaches, migraines, getting colds a lot, frantic thoughts, fight or flight mode engaged, making decisions in a panic). It can also contribute to that feeling of not being in the right job, not feeling good ever (physically or emotionally) or no longer enjoying the job.

I’ve experienced the crushing need to be the best, to be on top of everything all the time, to be ahead the game, to always have the solution before the problem is identified by others.  But it came at a cost – lots of headaches and not enjoying my job.  Over time and with more senior roles I’ve embraced new habits.  Some of the new habits came from understanding myself better (i.e.: writing a book helped me understand my creativity comes in short intense intervals and so I use that super power at work but know that I need to switch to other people focussed tasks once creativity hour is over otherwise I will burn out.)

Minimising anxiety

Anxieties that I have learnt to manage but used to really impact me and my health include:

  • needing to answer all emails in a certain time frame
  • being across everything, not having surprises
  • not offending anyone ever
  • worries about standing out because of negative impact on relationships with peers
  • being late for anything
  • dealing with all problems in the immediate
  • feeling solely responsible for a project ‘making it over the line’

 

Its not possible to be on top of everything ALL the time, nor is it essential to do a good job. 

Stressful jobs exacerbated these anxieties – fire fighting roles, high profile projects, or managing troubled teams. I really had to ask myself:

“Why do I have to be on top of everything ALL the time to think of myself as ‘good’ at my job”?

The answer came back via a jumbled series of random beliefs and memories:

  • My first management role where I was told ‘no surprises’ was a sign of a good manager
  • A senior manager role where was I told to ‘keep your team silent running’ so my boss could focus on other disaster areas in his department  (I was looking after testing for production support, infrastructure and integrations teams – keeping that silent running was NOT easy!!)
  • Me – not liking looking like I didn’t know something
  • Me – simple competitiveness and a love of ‘winning’

The great unravelling of these anxieties really began when I changed my beliefs and my expectations.

Because doing well at work does mean that:

  • some times people will be offended by your teams achievements, your successes, your ideas
  • being across everything leaves no room for creativity and can come across as controlling to your direct reports
  • if you’re great you’ll stand out (and that is something I’ve had to accept and get used too)
  • being late happens
  • dealing with problems in the immediate means not having time to get perspective, (such as organisation or  potliical context)… relationships aren’t just built in the immmediate, they are built over time… taking time out to consider can mean you make better decisions and get more support for that decision.  Some problems do need an immediate resolution (especially when in an operational role), its just understanding when this is this needed and when a sense of urgency isn’t really necessary and may even be destructive.

 

Techniques and lessons learnt

Techniques and lessons learnt that help me to shift out of anxiety mode and shift some of my beliefs:

  • Meditation
  • Cardio (lots of)
  • Testing different strategies for responsiveness and urgency to create more balance (ie: no longer having to be the first to respond to an email, not always having to be the one that offers to help,  letting email arguments run and then coming in at the end to recommend action vs contributing to the email chain blow-out).
  • Delegation
  • Letting go of detail (appropriately – some roles do need detail even in technical management roles so  this needs to be balanced with job requirements and the culture of the organisation)
  • Trusting your team
  • Perfect isn’t best
  • Valuing creativity
  • Trusting a great job isn’t dependent on always being ‘busy’, booked up with meetings or stressed out
  • Finding ways to deliver without having tight deadlines or other boundaries that are within my control
  • Leave at 5pm some days / take that lunch break / come in later one day a week

Now, I’d love to hear from you!

What makes you anxious at work?

What is one belief you have that needs to change?  

What bad habit have you broken successfully, and how has it changed how you feel about your job & career?

Let me know right here by commenting on this article (I read all the comments and love to hear your ideas 🙂 )

 

Want to work with me?

Are you questioning how you define success? Reflect on your career and ambition and consider how Career Coaching can help you.  Read through some great examples and testimonials of how women have used career coaching to actively change their status quo by clicking on this link now:  Career Coaching

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How to stay positive when your boss is crazy AF

Ok, I know that ‘crazy’ is the most misused word against women but sometimes we do just have a CRAZY boss to deal with.  One of the biggest challenges in my career has been dealing with bosses that are unpredictable, irrational, angry and explosive.  This has crossed genders.  Almost all people who have come to me for coaching have been experiencing a ‘crazy’ boss. The impact is loss of confidence, feeling confused, dissatisfaction in job role and industry – leading to questioning everything career wise. Questions that came up for me at this point are:

–          Am I any good at my job anymore? I used to be but now I’m not so sure.
–          Do I want to stay in IT?
–          Is this company the right place for me?
–          How long can I put up with this stress for?

Other feelings are:  not wanting to go to work, closing down and becoming perpetually exhausted.  Negative thinking often took over as well further brining me down. I have seen this with friends, colleagues and coaching clients.   Having a boss that regularly puts you down is a confidence crusher.

So I thought I’d put together my top strategies that I use for managing my mindset during such a stressful period and keeping my energy levels up.  This has made it easier for me to move on, find a new role and get out of there.

  1. Tell someone about it
  2. Get Support
  3. Exercise
  4. Work out an exit plan
  5. Focus on what’s next

These tips could easily fall under an umbrella of stay positive but really having been through this, this is not always possible.  Taking positive action will create space to take a breath and maintain your perspective.  At least aim to buffer the negativity at work, so you can boost your energy enough to move on.

1. Tell Someone about it (who will believe you)

  • Reaching out and validating that you’re not the crazy one is important. Find a friend, partner, family member or mentor to talk through what you are experiencing.  Just being heard will make you feel better

2. Get Support

  • One of my big lessons is that no woman is an island and sometimes I am not my best guru (sadly).  Find a counsellor or some level of professional support to help you through it.  From my experience doing this, is that the recovery period afterwards is always quicker if I’ve had this support during the traumatic event.  Don’t downplay your experience.  Dreading getting out of bed every day is not normal.  There’s a reason you don’t want to go to work, don’t let it impact you years down the track.  Dealing with it as much as possible in the now will mean less of a stress hangover  once you’re in your new role.

3. Exercise

  • Now is the time to maintain or create rituals that keep you balanced. Cardio and resistance exercise is the best.   Commit to doing 30 minutes everyday (yoga, weights, gym, cycling, running, ballet.)
  • Add in or up your meditation practice if you can or something that helps your mental discipline (one of my friends loves running to clear her head). Work out an exit plan

4. Create an exit plan

  • Write down a plan of how you are going to get yourself out of this situation.  Create 2 or 3 options and start pursuing them.  Get out quickly.  Look for internal and external roles, network more, keep engaged in industry events.
  • In the exit plan, write down what you want to be happening in your career  and life in 12 months time. Frame your next step by this vision.
  • Accept that you may need to move laterally and find  a life raft out.  This can be hard if like me, you’re super ambition. Focus on safety first and then get back to climbing that career ladder.

5. Focus on what’s next

  • Focus on that 12 month goal.  If you’re looking at study, start investigating options.  If you want to travel, start subscribing to ticket price alerts and turn your desktop screen saver into a shrine for your dream destination.  Start listening to podcasts, music, tedtalks that will keep you focussed on NEXT.
  • Make NEXT your NOW.

Most of all remember, you don’t deserve crazy. It is not normal to be yelled at every day, to have your boss call you 15 times in 2 minutes at 11pm, to have your boss turn up at your front door on the weekend, to rate you down because they’re jealous of your looks, to publicly humiliate you in front of your team or threaten you in any way.  It is NOT NORMAL.  You deserve normal, to be liked, to look forward to work, to enjoy friendship at work, to be praised, to be rewarded and to feel appreciated.

You are WORTH it.
 
You are enough. 
 
Good luck!

 

Extra resources and  links
Previous Blog Posts
Getting support
Information on Employee Entitlements
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Leading your team to feel super safe to super fail a lot

Is your team leading the way?

Is your team disrupting or being disrupted?

If yes, then this learning note is for you!  It will provide you with some great tips for inspiring your team to take more risks, disrupt more, be open to failure and learning?

Key Learning Points

  • nurture talent
  • nurture ideas and change
  • create safety nets
  • encourage
  • focus on learning and achievement
  • create a sense of purpose
  • let go of old stories of punishment
  • create new stories of how failure will be responded to

Fail, fail, fail and then learn!

Failure is the only option when first trying to create something truly awesome!

Learning Prompts

Ask yourself (and your team):

  • What would you like to brainstorm?
  • What other ideas do you have?
  • What does experience teach your about this change / new idea?
  • What does your inner wisdom say about it?
  • How you can unlock that learning?
  • What story are you telling that is holding your team back?
  • What could a new story look like?
  • What needs to change to make this story a reality?
  • What words would you like to use less of to describe your team? (i.e.: ‘dead wood’, ‘cut the fat’, ‘idiots’, ‘lazy’, etc)
  • What words could use more of? (i.e.: ‘untapped talent’, ‘hidden gems’, ‘stars in the making’, ‘genius’, ‘inspired’, ‘open’, ‘fun’, ‘energised’)
  • What would you like to be known for as a team?
  • What behaviours do you want to be known for?

What will you do today to make failure an option?
I’d love to hear from you, how do you encourage your team to take risks and deal with failure positively?

Let me know by commenting here. I love hearing your ideas and read every comment.

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Tap into you super powers #3: How to be creative when the box just doesn’t fit

Are you super creative and stuck in a super not-creative job?

Do you remember being creative when you were younger – writing scripts, painting, singing, playing the saxophone, making home movies, creating music but can’t remember the last time you got to do it?

Does your job feel like it is crushing your soul and your ‘creative’ outlet involves expletive ridden attempts to get visio arrows and lines to connect!!?

If yes, then this learning note is for you! It won’t help you with visio but it will provide you with some great tips for tapping into that creative energy again whether at work or in your non-work life. It’s time to start embracing creativity again.  Being an artist does not mean having to give up your day job.  This note includes learning prompts and a fun call to act.

The key learning point is to define what creative is for you.

Learning Prompts

Creativity is part of who we are. Don’t keep your creative self hidden, forgotten or pressed down.  Its an important part of  us.  The more I embrace my creativity, the more happy, fulfilled and fun I am.

Ask yourself:

  • Define what creative is for you
  • Write down all the assumptions you had about why it wasn’t a suitable job, outlet or pursuit for you
  • Put a line through them, burn the piece of paper (safely) – those assumptions are gone now
  • Write down all the feelings you can remember having when you expressed your creativity
  • Pick your favourite creative outlet
  • Start doing it today, as in right now!

Some more prompts and suggestions

If you like writing, open up evernote and write down 1 sentence that just comes to mind….. need a prompt:
– describe your first overseas travel tour
– describe the first day in your current job
– describe that time your saw your fave band for the first time ever!! LIVE!!
If you like art:
– book a time to go to the gallery (such as: Heide or NGV, if you’re in Melbourne)
– book a trip to visit MONA in Tasmania
– open up pintrest and create an art based vision board
– find your old paints and draw a circle.

If you like music:
– find your old instrument
– create a top 10 list of music you’d like to learn to play or sing
– book tickets to a local band, festival
– go down to your local to see up and coming bands
– write down 5 ideas for a song
– book into a musical
– sing in the shower – LOUDLY!!!

What you do next is up to you…..
I’d love to hear from you, what you did do next? Did you book something?  Write something? Play something?

Did you sing loudly in the shower?

Let me know by commenting on this post.

For extra reading, I recommend BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert – it’s a game changer!

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Goal Setting Secret #1 – Know What You Want

My name is Beatrice Crocker, and I help women to stand in their power and get ahead of a pack. And I work with women in male dominated professions to get the career that they want. You can find out more about me at beatricecrocker.com

Today’s post is the first in a series of three, which is three secrets to always getting what you want. And today I’m sharing secret number one. 

Watch the video and read more below

 

 

Secret #1 How to know what you want. 

How often do you say this “I know exactly what I want in my life” ?

hmmmm, like never right? 

I know this is something I’ve really struggled with.  Although for a long time I didn’t realise it.  But I was definitely living life according to what I had been told what to do vs what I most wanted.  It wasn’t a conscious thing.  I’d had goals for career and relationships and I achieved them.  I just didn’t have bigger goals or appreciated what I really wanted in my life.  And it didn’t click for me until a great friend and mentor told me ‘You have to have a plan Beatrice, you have to know where you’re heading and WHY you’re pursuing it’.  

It sounds like an easy thing to say but let’s face its not an easy thing to do.  

For a long time I led a life according to shoulds instead of examining what I really wanted. I should have a high paying job, I should have a house, I should get married etc. And although these things are great, I never asked myself what do I really want? And when I did it it was really hard work, because for a long time I had overlaid other people’s wants onto what I thought I wanted. 

I hadn’t done the work.

So I ended up marrying the wrong person, buying the wrong house, and staying in the right job, but for too long until it became the wrong job. And to be quite honest I didn’t even realise I was leading a life of shoulds, but I look back now and I can see I was doing just that. Of course that’s the beauty of hindsight. However, during this period I got sick a lot, I had colds, sinus infections, migraines, nearly lost the eyesight in one eye, and a breast cancer scare (thankfully only a scare). So my body was screaming at me to stop, but I just kept going anyway. 

And so when I found myself single again, no hubby, no baby, no house. That was really when I took the time to self examine and really have a look at what I really wanted in life. And I guess my biggest realisation was that I wasn’t very good at doggedly pursuing what I truly wanted, and I wasn’t very good at knowing what that was either. 

So I’m sharing the secrets that I’ve learnt in terms of getting what you want because now that I have done the work, and I understand my WHY (helping women progress) and WHAT I want to achieve.  I have had the happiest, most satisfying 2 years of my life.  

I really want this for you as well.   

So if you’ve gone for a long time without being clear on what you want, this series will help you get crystal clear. 

What do you really want? 

1. Let instinct be your best friend.

It’s time to practice letting instinct guide you. The best way to tap into instinct is to focus on your emotional and physical reactions. 

  • How do certain events make you feel ? 
  • How do people make you feel physically and emotionally? 
  • Do you feel relaxed, energised, happy, at ease?
  • Do you feel tight, contracting, anxious, uncomfortable? 
  • When you feel most relaxed? 
  • When do you feel most energised ? 
  • When do you feel super healthy? 
  • When do you feel on edge? 
  • What gives you an instant headache? 
  • When does that injury play up again? 

All these reactions are giving you clues to what you want and love and what you don’t.  

Action: 

1. Take notes on how people, events, ideas, make you feel and act. 

2. Take note of any recurring themes. 

2.  Embrace variety

Try lots of new and different things in your life. 

Say YES more. 

So if you’ve sort of dropped some hobbies, go back to old hobbies, find some new hobbies and activities. 

Action:

  1. Write down what makes you happy, sad, passive, excited, joyful, tired. 
  2. Is something draining your life force? Then, stop doing it. 
  3. Invest more time in the activity that boost your energy and make you feel good.   

3. Turn a negative into a postiive

 

Write down a list of things that you don’t like, at work, in terms of a partner, in terms of your home. They don’t have to be current things, they could just be things you know you don’t love, 

Action:  

Reverse it. 

So if you’re like look I don’t like being in roles that require high detail and little human interaction, then the  reverse of that is I like being in strategic creative roles with lots of time spent face to face with people. And so if you haven’t really had a lot of time recently where you’ve really been happy doing something, write down all the things like are really bugging you, and then reverse it. And it will give you the keys to what will make you really happy. 

4. Feel it out

Don’t expect too much too quickly. If you’re out of practice with knowing and feeling what you want then it will take time. So start off small and build up. And if you’re working on big life changes focus on changing one thing at a time not everything. If that’s a choice. 

After getting divorced I lived in three different houses, made three different job changes – all in 18 months. It was way too much change!!! Some of this was definitely avoidable and it happened because I just didn’t take the time to listen to myself and give myself some breathing room to feel it all out. 

Action: 

1. Take all the time you need. 

                    

Getting instinct back into your life takes practice. 

Good luck!  

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Rituals for openness

“Please grant me coffee to change the things I can, and yoga to accept the things I can’t”

It just makes me feel ready for work when I’ve had a cup of really good coffee before leaving the house.

Each morning I start with a cup of coffee (sometimes with ghee, sometimes black) ground and brewed fresh in my french press. I usually drink Market Lane coffee because they have that magic combination of quality, community and beauty in their coffee. I love how each bag of coffee arrives with a little card telling me about the people who work to make such beautiful coffee. I also love their subscription service so I am never at risk of running out of coffee. I use a Bodium coffee grinder (a red one) to grind fresh coffee to create that perfect cup.

Meditation and yoga work for me a bit like coffee, it creates a gap in doing things.

Each Sunday afternoon, I finish my weekend at Warrior One with a combined Yin Yoga and meditation practice. This is a really peaceful way to end the weekend and start the week. When I am in high pressure mode at work I practice yoga or meditation in the morning for 10 minutes to start off feeling open for the day ahead. When I’m less busy, my practice becomes less habitual but I find regular meditation and yoga keeps me mentally open, ready and quiet mindeded which I love.

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

What do you love to do to keep positive and open for the day and week ahead?

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“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together”

When things are difficult, I often find it is because I am heading in the wrong direction.

Maybe I am pushing too hard to make a relationship something more than it can be, maybe my expectations are not realistic for the work I have asked to be performed, maybe I just thought one way of doing things was better than another and I was wrong.

Being able to pivot, change course and accept that there are better paths available to us, can make us into a better boss, friend, colleague, partner and neighbour.

What have you needed to pivot on lately to find a better path?
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One bad chapter does not mean your story is over

Don’t let a bad boss, a bad role or bad employer make you give up on your ambition!
Go for it anyway!
PS – and move on as quickly as possible, don’t linger in a bad role so long you lose your ambition or will to live.
PPS –  and if you have a bully for a boss, colleague or your direct reports are ganging up on you, just get the hell out of there and don’t look back!!
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
Have you ever had a ‘bad’ work experience and how did you overcome this?
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