Posts Tagged ‘career resilience’

The Bounce Back Factor

February 19th, 2019

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.’ – Lyndon B. Johnson

We’ve all experienced times where we feel we’ve blown it. It might be choosing the wrong hire or job, a failure to act, a slip of the tongue, an emotional outburst, or just a dumb decision when you think you should have known better. The reality is we all make mistakes, but they don’t have to signal irreversible damage or the end of our career. It is how we react and what we choose to do after that sickening moment we realise our error that determines just how big it turns out to be.

Understanding how we view these mistakes and failures is critical to if and how high we bounce back.  When societies, businesses and individuals choose to view failure as experience rather than losing they are setting themselves on a course that is rich in new learning, networks and opportunities. They provide themselves and others with the confidence, clarity and energy to move forward and not remain stuck where they are.

Still the memory of our mistakes can sting for a while and recovering from them is neither inconsequential nor unimportant. If it was we would continue to make them with little regard for the consequences they held in both our immediate and long-term futures.

The reality is over the course of our lives and careers we will make mistakes. If we don’t, we are either playing it way too safe or not playing at all. Our bosses, peers and team members will also make mistakes. Again, how we choose to react will play a part in how big they become. As Alexander Pope wrote nearly three centuries ago ‘To err is human, to forgive divine’. Whether it be forgiving ourselves or those around us, we need to ensure that we are focused on the future and not in the messiness of the mistake.

Developing an inner strength and resiliency to move forward is critical. Without it we further compromise our position and opportunity for future success for those associated with our actions and ourselves. Martin Seligman, an American Psychologist who is well regarded for his work on positive psychology and resilience found that people who recover from setbacks and failure often view it as a temporary, localised and changeable event. Conversely those who struggle to move beyond their mistakes and failure learn to accept their scenarios as something they have no control over and consequently develop a ‘learned helplessness’.

Resiliency brings security. In a world that is characterised by constant change and uncertainty our ability to feel comfortable and move with the changing times, recover from setbacks and navigate the unknown is a critical skill for both personal and professional success. Our lives and careers today require us to be nimble, responsive and adaptable in both the good and not so good times. Anticipating risk, limiting fallout and the ability to ‘bounce back’ are essential skills for today’s leaders. Without it we not only risk our own career but also the performance and abilities of our teams by failing to see the opportunities that lie in front of us.

So how do we learn to think and act constructively rather than react in an emotionally destructive manner following a period of failure?

  1. Own It: To move beyond our mistakes we firstly need to own them by admitting to ourselves that it is our error. Denying responsibility holds us back, creates defensiveness and tends to protract the pain and period of time needed to resolve the issue. It also helps us avoid the blame trap.
  2. Acknowledge It: Whilst our first reaction is to want to hide away there will no doubt be some people who will need to know and who are impacted by your mistakes. Acknowledging our mistakes with honesty, integrity and transparency is also a powerful leadership example to set for those around us.
  3. Manage Your Emotions: Don’t sit on them or in them! Supressing them or dwelling on them prohibits any positive forward thinking or movement. Not only does it hold you back, it also drags you back.
  4. Mitigate The Risk: Invariably there are three immediate courses of action to choose from: Undo, Redo or Make Do. Understanding what your options are will help you to focus on what the next best course of action is to take.
  5. Understand Why: To learn from our mistakes we need to understand how and why they have occurred. It will help us to spot the early signs of reoccurrence, what actions we can take to avoid it and if possible what can be done to eliminate it.
  6. Repair It: Where possible we need to take the necessary actions to repair the damage that has arisen from our mistakes – with projects, with brands and with relationships.
  7. Forgive Yourself: More often than not we are our own harshest critics as our failings leave us feeling overwhelmingly disappointed, vulnerable and ashamed. We need to remind ourselves that ‘we did wrong, not we are wrong’. Continuing to berate ourselves keeps us reliving the moment and stops us from moving forward and learning from our mistakes.
  8. Fail Forward: Learning how to acknowledge, recover and learn from them allows us to grow as individuals and leaders. It helps us build and maintain the skills and relevance required for all that we do in life and in our careers.

Jazz great Miles Davis once said ‘When you hit the wrong note, it’s the next note that makes it good or bad’. When we as individuals and leaders know how to play those next notes and manage our responses to mistakes and failure, we can in turn support the mistakes and failures of those we lead. When we do this we are building and empowering a strong, bright and resilient future for both ourselves and the teams and businesses we lead.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Keys Of Consistency

March 26th, 2018

“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently” – Tony Robbins

We all know that true success does not occur overnight. Behind it sits volumes of effort, belief and action demonstrated consistently over time. Invariably it has meant navigating a sometimes bumpy road that may have seen us fall a couple of times and demanded we get back up, dust ourselves off and go again. Underpinning much of our success though is the sum of the small daily, weekly, monthly decisions and actions we have adopted.

Whether it has been a commitment to up-skill to maintain relevance; time taken to create and foster purposeful professional networks; or the building of habits that push us out of our comfort zone and extend our learning; the consistency of our actions (or lack there of) has played a major role in where we find ourselves today.

In a time where our ability to navigate change and demonstrate true career resiliency, never have these ‘little things’ counted for so much. These small actions over time compound positively or negatively much like they do in a bank account. Lots of small proactive decisions add up in a positive way like regular savings into a bank account; where as complacency and bad decisions are like small debits eating away at your value over time.

In talking with business leaders I often hear that it is not the big things that keep them awake at night but the little things. Why? Because they know that over time these little ‘things’ have the power to become the big things by eroding efficiencies, outcomes and relationships. It is exactly the same with our careers – if we aren’t careful, failure to action the ‘little’ things will prevent us from reaching our potential and desired levels of success.

Nothing is more frustrating than inconsistency. No doubt many of us are able to recall colleagues and team members who have severely limited their opportunities due to an inability to consistently perform or behave. Where one week they seem to be producing record results and the next they are eroding any progress, momentum or value originally created. Or where they are technically brilliant at what they do but cause so much disruption amongst their team that the overall results are compromised because no one wants to work with them or you going forward.

Whilst the idea of consistency is fairly simple the ability to execute it is often not. More often than not it is due to one of the following three things:

  • Impatience – We want the results NOW! (Think of all those diet and exercise regimes that we have all invariably embarked upon!)
  • Belief – If we don’t believe in what we are doing the only thing that we are most likely to be consistent in is avoidance.
  • Value – Failure to see the benefits of the amount of effort invested.

Consistency is definitely achievable for us all but it does take practice, focus and discipline. Understanding what it is that you do and why is critical but so to is understanding how consistency creates high value and longevity in your career. I would encourage you to take a moment to consider the following career benefits:

  • Consistency establishes belief: The thoughts and actions that we take on a daily and/or regular basis do shape our own self-belief and the belief that others have in us. Not only is it a powerful force for motivating and building trust in others but it also serves as a powerful model for the standards we rise and fall to.
  • Consistency creates relevance: Your customers, clients, organisations and team members are all looking to you as a reliable and informed source of information and service. To remain informed we need to be relevant. What are the latest developments in your industries, your areas of expertise or your regions? Is your level of knowledge and it’s applicability empowering or depowering you and what you do?
  • Consistency allows for measurement: To build meaningful and successful steps of progression we need to understand what it is that is actually working – or not working. What are the results of your consistent efforts, actions and strategies – good or bad? Our ability to measure, assess and realign are crucial skills in our ever-changing world.
  • Consistency creates accountability: Accountability is a critical requirement in high performance and values aligned cultures. Being consistently accountable – in the good and the bad times – is what will set you apart as the consummate professional.
  • Consistency builds stability: Not only does it build stability but it also builds sustainability. When people know what you stand for and where they stand with you, it provides the framework for them to perform at their optimal level.
  • Consistency establishes your reputation: Your track record is your reputation. Building that track record on one that is defined by consistent performance, respectful behaviours and high value relationships is fundamental to both your current and future success.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Margot

Take Courage

October 15th, 2014

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I think I can, I think I can… I know I can! 

– The Little Engine That Could

During a recent meeting with a client we found ourselves laughing about the need for a ‘little engine that could’ mindset. Telling ourselves that ‘Yes I think can, I think I can.… I know I can’, despite the apparent obstacles that lay in the way.

Most of us will recall the much loved childhood story that I am referring to about the train filled with toys for children that breaks down before reaching them. After asking several trains passing by for help over the hill and being derided for doing so, a little blue engine agrees to help. Even though she is small, the blue engine digs deep within herself to find the energy and capability to bring the train carrying the toys to the children on the other side of the hill.We’ve all faced times where we have felt like the train loaded to the hilt with expectations and responsibilities, facing an uphill journey only to find ourselves without the resources to get over the hill. It might be that you are embarking upon a major project, looking to change jobs, streamline systems or managing difficult situations.

It’s normally in these times when there is little opportunity and limited support that the obstacles seem larger than life. It’s in these times that courage is required. Courage to think about alternative solutions, take a risk and step out. Courage to simply say ‘I can’ and not, ‘I can’t’ or ‘it’s too hard’ or ‘what if it doesn’t work’?

Tapping into into your personal courage takes some grit, but when you do, you can overcome uncertainty, intimidation, apathy and doubt. It also helps you move from situations where you find yourself ‘stuck’ to a world of expanded opportunities.

Courage is crucial in our world today. But somehow it always seems easier to recognise, encourage and applaud it in others. Stepping out and applying it in our own lives often requires a great deal of risk and vulnerability, which for some invokes sheer terror and more often than not is regarded as weakness.

BUT (and this is a big but!) when you do recognise, develop and apply the power of personal courage the benefits can be enormous. Not only do you break down the limitations of any situation, you can realize greater job satisfaction, career advancement and experience greater confidence and personal fulfillment.

To support the development of a courageous mindset, I believe that there are six key steps to consider:

  • Be clear on your direction /path

In order to bravely step out and ‘get over that hill’ you need to know that it is where you want and/or need to go. Confidence in your direction will be a solid anchor that supports your decisions.

  • Adopt a solution-oriented mindset

Barriers will always be there whether you look for them or not. Adopting a solution-oriented mindset not only allows you to focus on where you are going but to do so in a more timely and efficient manner.

  • Ask for help

No one can do it alone. Harnessing the energy and talents of others will not only lighten the load but also bring fresh new approaches, ideas and ways to overcome obstacles.

  •  Surround yourself with ‘Can Do People’  

Don’t let the ‘nay-sayers’ derail you! Collaborating with people who also bring a ‘can do attitude’ will see you achieve your desired results and destination faster and with less stress and angst.

  • Focus on one step at a time

Whist it is critical to know your end destination, it is just as important to know what the incremental goal posts are and ensure that they are achieved with quality and purpose. Acknowledging and celebrating these milestones will also build momentum and drive further forward action.

  • Start moving

‘Clarity comes through engagement not thought’ (Marie Forleo). Often we don’t have all the answers at the beginning of the journey but by actively engaging in the process we come to understand what works and what doesn’t. Momentum also builds momentum but it does require a start.

To shift thinking and find solutions in both our businesses and careers we need to embrace courage on a daily basis. When we do so, it provides us with the power, knowledge and strength to take a lead role in solving workplace issues and enhancing both our personal performance and organizational effectiveness.

I for one plan on finishing the journey saying ‘I thought I could, I thought I could’ and not ‘I wish I did, I wish I did’!

Do you have any other tips for adopting a courageous mindset in your workplace? Please share below …

Margot – The Career Diplomat[vcex_divider style=”solid” icon_color=”#000000″ icon_size=”14px” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px”][vc_single_image image=”126″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”none”]If you would like to know more about overcoming obstacles and gaining clarity in your workplace, please contact Margot directly on margot@talentinsight.com.au or +61 3 9866 3842.[vcex_divider style=”solid” icon_color=”#000000″ icon_size=”14px” margin_top=”20px” margin_bottom=”20px”][vc_single_image image=”88″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_self” alignment=”none” link=”http://talentinsight.com.au/contact/”]

Introducing The Career Diplomat

August 28th, 2014

Welcome

Welcome to The Career Diplomat, a blog sharing experiences about building and maintaining great careers and businesses.

My name is Margot and I am the Career Diplomat.

After finally deciding to dip my toe into the world of blogging, I spent a lot of time considering a name and I guess a way of describing what I do to the bloggershpere.

My a-ha moment came after one of my friends used the phrase ‘Career Diplomat’ to describe me when introducing me to one of her colleagues.

The name choice resonated further with me when I looked up the official definition:

Diplomat: “One who represents and protects the interests of individuals who are members of the state and promotes information and friendly relations”

And this is me and my blog in a nut shell in the career space.

Career Diplomat: One who represents and champions the interests of those individuals seeking meaningful careers and leading businesses whilst sharing information about our working world and promoting  the value of our professional networks.

So a bit about me, the woman behind The Career Diplomat:

  • I am the Owner and Director of talentinsight Australia, a career management consultancy in Melbourne, Australia
  • I’ve been a teacher, operations manager, talent and business consultant which means I have made several career transitions myself as well as experiencing leading others through change.
  • I believe that career success means having options to do what you love and the courage to go after opportunities with confidence, clarity and purpose.
  • I am a firm believer in the power of strong relationships and authentic networks to support professional success.
  • I am passionate about:
    • Seeing individuals pursuing careers they genuinely love and reflect their talents
    • Creating great places to work that have a healthy culture, are productive and profitable
    • Transparent and collaborative leadership
    • Supporting successful business and career transition
    • Building career resiliency
    • Creating career ownership

I am hopeful that in sharing my thoughts on how to best manage careers and those of the people that we lead, it will prompt you to consider how you can maximise your opportunities, build greater strength in what you do, or inspire you to embark upon the process of creating something that brings you genuine career fulfilment.

I also hope that you will share your thoughts, for it is through genuine collaboration that I believe we can create a place to debate ideas and build some ‘friendly relations’ that add value to our professional network. If you would like to join the community please take a moment to subscribe below and leave some messages about the topics you are keen to discuss.

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