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Tag Archive: Career

Your fear of success is just a myth

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Fear of Success

“ Success increases your freedom, your income, your happiness, your spirituality; but only if you let it.”

If you are anything like me than at some stage in your time on this earth you have feared success. Don’t deny it. You know that fear of success is the excuse you used to not compete in that competition when you were a teenager. A fear of success is the exact reason you still have your novels first draft sitting in the bottom drawer of your desk.

Well lucky for you I am here to call BS on your fear of success.

What the?! I hear you say? How dare I call BS on your biggest fear?

Yep, I call BS on your fear of success; and you want to know why? Because it isn’t real.

There are many self-help guru’s who detailed a fear of success in their self-help books and have made millions of dollars from feeding into your fear of success. Telling you that it’s only natural and charging you thousands of dollars worth of coaching sessions to help you overcome this fear.

The real and honest truth is that a fear of success is just a disguise for what is really going on in your subconscious. If you can tap into your subconscious and really break it down then you can unlock what is really holding you back and allow yourself to move forward in a positive and constructive way.

How oh how is this possible? Well it is simple really. First you need to lock into your subconscious and really listen to what it is trying to tell you with this fear. Are you actually scared that you might lose your freedom once your business takes off the ground? Are you really scared that you won’t get any publishers willing to publish your book? Are you really scared because you don’t know how to deal with male attention and so aren’t sure you are ready to shed all that weight?

If you are really honest with yourself you will be able to drill down and find the real discord between what you want and why you aren’t letting yourself move forward on it.

One of the best ways to unlock these nuggets of wisdom buried deep below your shallow “fear of success” excuse is to spend ten minutes free-writing.  In fact go do that now. I want you to set the alarm on your phone for ten minutes. Open a word document or grab a good old-fashioned pen and paper and start writing. Start with:

I fear succeeding in my goal of … because I am…

Now finish that sentence…I’ll meet you back here in ten.

You’re back? Okay!

Now take a good hard look at what you have written and highlight the key words or themes that have formed on the page. If you group the common themes together and write them out in a list then you have started to unlock what it is you are really afraid of.

Now you can’t get defensive with your subconscious at such a vulnerable time. You have to applaud your ability to uncover these truths. Praise your subconscious for letting you become aware of these personal insights.

The next step is to work towards letting your subconscious mind know that you will never truly allow these fears to come to fruition. Promise yourself that you will never sacrifice your freedom for your business. Promise yourself that your success means having more for your loved ones not leaving them behind. You also need to come up with the relevant affirmation to say to yourself every time you feel that BS fear of success excuse come to press pause on your productivity button. You could even research examples of others who have come before you and reached the goals that you are dreaming of and remind your subconscious that it is possible to reach that success without compromise.

In the comments below I want you to share your results from the 10-minute exercise. Did you find that your Fear of Success is a myth is well? What are the new affirmations you are going to tell yourself to overcome this?

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The ultra simple guide to starting a business

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 All you need to start a business is someone who is willing to  pay for what you have. Make the transaction. Give it your  best service. From there find additional people who are  willing to pay for your service. Business is really that  simple. The more people who want to pay for your service  or product, the bigger your business can become.

 Your business is only going to be limited by your beliefs and your  imagination. If you can imagine that it can become a giant global  sensation then you will do what needs to get done to make it happen. To  allow that to happen though you have to be able to shed any limiting  beliefs you have.

The problem with limiting beliefs is that sometimes you don’t realise that you have them. It can be the difference between you charging what you actually deserve and you charging what you think you deserve. This can only come with experience and a lot of self love and self confidence. It is not arrogance that makes you charge a higher rate it is believe in yourself knowing that you are worth it.

The other thing that a thriving business needs is a product that someone wants. This is where things need to be equal parts realistic and optimistic. If you imagine and believe your business can be huge then that is step one. Step two is ensuring that what you have to give has a market of people that wants to pay for that.

So this is where we come a full circle back to the fact that you can’t get too caught up in all the miniscule details of starting a business. All you need is someone who is willing to pay for what you have.

Etsy is a perfect example of crafty people starting their businesses. They have something – something pretty, or awesome or practical or creative – and people are paying for what they have. This means they have a business – no matter how small the turnover.

ALL YOU NEED IS SOMEONE WHO IS WILLING TO PAY FOR WHAT YOU HAVE…BUSINESS IS REALLY THAT SIMPLE

Getting caught up in the nitty gritty details can potentially cause paralysis by analysis…but more on that later.

For now just forget about a logo, a website or a marketing campaign and social media accounts. Just find someone who is willing to pay for what you have to offer and make the transaction.

Image Credit: Sunshine-D
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Receptionists: the key to business success

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receptionist

As a specialist recruiter for office Support staff (among other things) I am able to see on a regular basis just how much of a difference good receptionists can make to a business, in particular for the SME market.

Sometimes the title of “receptionist” or “admin trainee” can receive negative connotations as the lowest of all possible roles and in the large scope of things it is possibly the lowest income earner – with the most important business impact!

There is nothing worse than calling up a business with a receptionist who seems annoyed at the fact you distracted her from whatever it was that she was doing (possibly the same type of candidate who was actually checking Facebook or Snapchat at the time). It is rude and unnecessary and often makes me not want to do business with that company.

On the other hand if I ring a company either for business reasons or for my own personal service needs I am quite pleased and impressed with those receptionist or customer service staff that make the effort.

You can hear their happiness in answering the phone; you can sense the professionalism of their word choice in the phone answering; and you believe they really are both pleased and capable of assisting you further.

A dear friend who was previously a temporary office support candidate of mine recently told me some feedback she received from her current boss. He said that although he was happy for her to be taking on additional tasks as she began to progress from a receptionist position, he wanted to keep her answering the phones where possible. Why? Because he liked the professional way she answered the phones and wanted his customers to continue to be exposed to that level of service.

Once upon a time when I worked in magazines I was one of those people who scorned at the role of reception. What do you mean I have to cover reception at lunchtime once a week – don’t you know I went to uni and am in editorial teams? Since working in recruitment I have come to understand the benefits and purpose of having a warm, professional, helpful and positive personality at the other end of the line for customers.

To keep those receptionists happy enough on the desk you also need to give them a variety of other administration tasks to complete. From the basics of keeping an office organised, a great receptionist is also an excellent communicator, can provide excellent customer service and knows the ins and outs of the business once they have being there long enough. Allowing them to help in other functions of the business can often help keep these savvy professionals in these roles for longer – but only if you pay a salary relative to the extra work they are doing. It is a worthy investment for longevity in your staff at that entry level.

So before you dismiss someone’s role as receptionist or treat them with contempt, remember that businesses often couldn’t survive without a very switched on individual who has the potential to move their way through that business and help perpetuate business success due to exceptional customer service and professional presentation on the surface of many other skills.

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Women: Too hot for the workplace

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“What other people think of you is none of your business”

Recently a large tech firm had their job advertisements banned from networking giant LinkedIn. It seemed that if they were to advertise their positions with advertisements they had to feature realistic people for these positions. Read more here.

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Turns out that they ad featured a real-life female Argentinean web developer Florencia Antara. But why should that be surprising?

According to LinkedIn it was an error. According to numerous people who have commented it was too suggestive to be realistic for a job ad and appeared “spammy” like “an ad for a dating website”.

So not only is a woman slighted because society deems she wouldn’t realistically be in that career field, but now she realistically wouldn’t look that good doing her job.

To me this seemed like one of those damned if you do damned if you don’t situations. While a lot has changed in the workplace for women and sexual equality; we are still fighting for the pettiest of occurrences.

A job ad featuring a real-life good looking female web developer gets a company banned temporarily from LinkedIn and then slammed by critics because she is too suggestive in her pose.

“The text sounds scammy and the photos of attractive women just give the entire thing a ‘spam’ feel. It’s not a slight against female engineers”

It astounds me that this double standard could even occur. If it is not a slight against female engineers then it is a slight against women’s attractiveness in the workplace.

Working in a corporate role myself I always have to present my best self with our company policy for men and women to “be better dressed then your best-dressed clients”. This means corporate attire complete with stockings, neat hair and for me – full face of makeup when applicable. While I am lucky enough to work for an employer who has won the Australian Employer of Choice for Women qualification for more than ten years in a row, other women are not so lucky.

If we live in a world where we are bombarded with celebrity perfect images that supposedly can damage the self-esteem of so many teenage girls, why is that women are then dismissed as not being able to look that good in their workplace.

While it seems to be fine to put women on a pedestal to look at, those same good-looking women don’t realistically have to work for a living. And if they do work for a living they are deemed too good-looking and either discriminated against as a distraction or sexually harassed in the workplace. What lesson does that teach these girls?

As someone who has being blessed with bodacious breasts I have over the years being told to “cover up” on numerous occasions because of what people might think. During my teenage years I was oblivious and naive to how the world idolised a women’s figure but I soon came to learn that to cover up your body and beauty was necessary because “people might look” and “men might get the wrong idea”.

I think that until women are allowed to step down off the idol pedestals as objects to gaze upon that they we seem to get put on from time to time then we are unable to have equality in the workplace.

The message women should take from this is the compliment that we are good looking enough to be considered a distraction but go about our workplace whether it is as an IT engineer or a receptionist as if it isn’t our problem – because in all honesty it isn’t. If we continue on with our hard work while men are distracted with blinding good-looks we may just get ahead and bridge that misconception that good-looking women can’t or don’t need to work hard.

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Workplace bullying & harassment is not okay

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In my experience as a recruitment consultant I have the pleasure of speaking with numerous business women (and man) throughout the Illawarra region and get to hear the most amazing stories from a wide variety of different types of people.

Sadly I also get to hear the not so good work stories that involve a long pause after I ask the question “so why did you leave this role?”

Workplace bullying and harassment is sadly rampant in all types of organisations in this country and due to the red tape surrounding the need for proof it becomes almost a waste of energy to stand up and put a claim in. The stories I hear come from a wide range of sectors as well…council, public sector, small business, construction, media.

In Australia to actually succeed at a case in workplace bullying and harassment you usually have to have compiled a diary of incidences as they happen to build up a case. There is a lot of paperwork and headaches involves in the process. While sometimes this does work, in some instances the bullying can be less obvious and harder to document. It isn’t just the “effort” involved with lodging a case against workplace bullying and harassment that is the problem.

I was recently in discussion with a male acquaintance who was considering applying for a role within an organisation who I knew has one department that couldn’t hold a staff member in the role for longer than 3-6 months. It wasn’t the role that was the problem it was the manager in charge of the role that caused so many to just give up on the job and get out of the situation. I politely gave a warning without discussing any particulars and his response proved that sometimes it is others incorrect perceptions that can stop people speaking out about their situations. This guy was adamant that he wouldn’t put up with it, he would slam the rule right back down on her desk instead, he wouldn’t let her put him down because it “just wouldn’t affect him like that, she was probably just “too weak to stand up for herself”.

This angered me deeply for I knew the candidate that got bullied and she was in no way a weak personality. She was a strong woman who got broken down due to constant and unnecessary belittling, discrimination and criticism. She herself was made to feel weak and finally quit her role when at 37 years old she got home and cried after a particular worse day of workplace harassment.

If ignorant people who have never experienced this type of workplace can look at someone else and assume them as weak then where do these people get the support to stand up for what they shouldn’t have to put up with in the first place.

There are many unfair things in society that won’t change until there is a change in attitude and perception. Without support someone who has being belittled constantly for years on end is never going to feel strong enough to make a stand.

While I normally try to keep things on this blog positive and upbeat I believe that this a really important issue that people need to speak up about. I am thankful I have never been in the position where I have being bullied in the workplace. While I have being at the receiving end of bitchiness in a female dominated working environment it is nothing compared to the stories that I have been told in confidence. This isn’t even touching on the sexual harassment in the workplace that also occurs.

It is often the mental scars that take the longest to heal and bottom line is that it is real, it happens more than everyone realises and it is not okay. If you are currently or previously been subjected to workplace bullying and harassment please speak up about it to the Fairwork Ombudsman or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you are experiencing deteriorating mental health as a result.

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Career mentors and women

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It doesn’t matter what role you hold in your career-life path, it is important to find mentors along the way who can both assist and guide you, someone you can admire and learn from and help you connect the right dots. Finding a mentor doesn’t have to be difficult either. It can be anyone from any company: it could be your boss; it could be a manager at the company you want to work for; it could be a fantastic business person you admire.

Mentors don’t have to be forced relationships either. It can be as natural as meeting someone at a networking event and then getting in contact with them to let them know you admire their work. This actually happened in my life recently. At the Illawarra Women In Business awards 2013, the keynote speaker was a female CEO from a Wollongong-based organisation and I was so moved and felt fired up from hearing your presentation that I decided to get in contact with her and ask for a mere 15 minutes of her time to learn from her achievements on the corporate ladder. She gave me more than an hour of her time! I definitely got a lot out of what she had to say and I will have more of that to come.

If you are a woman looking to climb the corporate ladder in particular, it is important to have both female and male mentors. In fact, there is a lot you can learn from either of the sexes as both bring different things to the business table.

Recently I met Deborah Hutton at the Illawarra Women’s Inspire Conference and one thing she mentioned about mentors was that you have to be prepared to both be mentored and mentor others. As women she said, we have to be prepared to leave the trapdoor open behind us. The more successful you become as a woman the more important it is for you to be open to mentoring others to help other women come up the career ladder behind you. Deborah Hutton made a fantastic point – how can women continue to carve pathways into the executive level roles if when we make it, we stop other women from making it for fear of competition.

There are two things that are necessary to ensure a positive mentor relationship. Firstly, you need to be a sponge. You need to listen to what they have to say. You need to learn from what they tell you. We don’t live long enough in this life to make all the mistakes ourselves so what you know you can learn from others lessons – take this on board. The second thing is two-fold – you need to know when to listen or not and when it is time to let go. Not all mentors are going to be your mentors for the rest of your life and not everything they tell you is going to be right for your situation. Trust your instincts on things they tell you that you are unsure of. When there is risk involved ensure it is your decision that is final but take advice on board as necessary. As far as letting go, there just comes a point where you may have outgrown what you can learn from that person. It may be that you finally end up on the same level so you end up as equals or simply they served their purpose on that particular leg of your career journey.

Keeping in touch with your career mentor without seeming like you are hounding them or taking up too much time is a fine balance. If your mentor doesn’t seem to be interested in your career trajectory at all then perhaps it is time to move on. Always thank them for time when it is an extraordinary meeting that was arranged and follow up with them from time to time with congratulations when you see them or their company winning awards or when you see something in the newspaper you suspect they would be interested in. The type of business etiquette usually reserved for basic networking, is definitely important to bring into the mentor relationship.

Have you ever had a career mentor? Have you ever wanted to approach someone who you met or heard speak at a conference and regretted not following up? Wish you knew what to say in the follow up email or in person at a networking event? If you have any questions surrounding mentors and how to build up a mentor relationship then leave your comments below and I will do my best to answer those in a follow up piece.

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How to make sure your job application is relevant

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The job market is much more competitive than it ever used to be. With companies in both the private and public sector handing out redundancies like gaming tokens, there is a need to make sure that every step of your job application process is relevant to the job that is advertised. If you are convinced that you have the skill set but still didn’t get called for an interview, it is time to look at what you have put in front of the recruiter or hiring manager and take responsibility for your own application.

If you are out of work, you know that it can be really tough to keep applying for job after job without the smile on your face fading with each rejection or no call back. It is hard to stay motivated and put 100% into each and every job application. You find yourself just sending through your generic resume and cover letter for all the different jobs.

I’ve got some news for you – this will not get you a job.

A relevant and often specialised resume and cover letter will however increase your chances of been seen as highly suitable for the job. All you need to do is tailor your resume and cover letter for every single job application that you send out.

You heard me. You must tailor your resume and cover letter for each and every job application you send out.

How will the hiring manager know that you meet all the exact criteria they are looking for if you haven’t inserted and highlighted it in your skills descriptions or in your job descriptions and achievements?

Some actionable things that you can do to improve your chances of making the cut:

♥ Read the job description carefully and highlight each separate skill or experience required. Ensure that these or equivalent are in your resume.

♥ Use the same terminology as the job ad for both job titles and skills. If they call it Director of First Impressions then change any job titles from Receptionist to ensure it reads Director of First Impressions. If they call it Interpersonal Skills then change it from Customer Service Skills.

♥If you have the skills that transfer from a different job altogether then highlight this in a skills summary. A functional resume will describe skills and examples of where these skills were utilised rather than a full chronological work history. This skills summary gives you a chance to highlight the transferable skills relevant to the job description in the advertisement.

♥ Don’t use the word BUT in your cover letter. Never state that you don’t have XYZ experience BUT you have…this will not get you forward. This only highlights that you don’t have a requested experience and it would be best to highlight you strengths instead.

♥Be specific with numbers. Don’t just write that you did accounts payable or processed invoices. Actually list the exact number that you would process in a week or a day. It is this kind of detail that will stand out and inform the hiring manager whether you have done high-volume as they requested or not.

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Take action in your work life

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IWIB

When faced with a problem or a stepping stone or a new venture or opportunity in your career you can do one of two things. Do nothing, which in essence means that you do not grow and become nothing. That is nothing more than you currently are. If you are happy with this than continue your life this way, but don’t expect to live the extraordinary life of your dreams.

The second option is to take action.

Pretty basic concept that one isn’t it. If you see opportunity or seek to overcome and grow in your career you need to ask yourself three questions:

What should you do?

What could you do?

What will you do?

It is this third step that incites action. If you find that in answering these questions that there are actionable items at the end then it is time to take action and just do them. If you don’t then like discussed above nothing will come of nothing. But if you dare to take the opportunity and DO SOMETHING then that is what will make a difference in your career, in your life and possibly someone else’s life.

I had the very fortunate opportunity to be present at the Illawarra Women In Business Awards for 2013 and was blown away with the level of drive and determination by the winners in each category. It was great to see so many local woman truly making an individual difference. How are they making a difference you ask?

Well they saw that there was something that should be done, they realised that they could do it and so they did!

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7 organisation tips for everyday living

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1. For busy over-achieving career girls who are juggling more than they think they can handle it is essential to do everything while looking your best. Sometimes though time proves so short that on some mornings you either don’t go for your run, end up doing your makeup on the train or get to work sans jewellery because you couldn’t find the right top for that suit or the right jacket for those pants. Solution: On a Sunday afternoon while prepping your food for the week take some time to prep your outfits for the week complete with accessories and shoes and have them lined up at the end of your wardrobe ready to go. It can feel unusual at first but once you get used to it you will never mismatch an accessory or cardigan while in a rush again.

2. This one will get a cringe out of most people if their filing system involves piling all bills and paperwork on top of the filing cabinet like I do, BUT – file your bills and paperwork immediately. Feels weird to even think about being this organised but think about how good those times you actually filed it all felt? Was good wasn’t it? Now think about how good it will feel if you never have to take an hour and a half just to get through the pile. All it takes is a regular tiny commitment to open the mail and file immediately on a consistent basis.

3. Get rid of clutter! Just throw it all out…yes you heard me right. Chances are you are never going to need that old charger/uni assignments/school books/insert any bunch of crap lying around your office desk or house. It is an ingrained human habit to hoard objects however without going all minimalist on you I can assure you that when you clean out the clutter your mind will feel clearer and you will always be able to find what you are looking for.

4. Keep your daily beauty products separate from everything else. If like me you accumulate beauty products like an addiction then you know how annoying it can be when you can’t find the eyeliner that you usually use in amongst the draw of eye makeup that is really only suitable for after hours – not the workplace. When you keep your daily beauty products in their own section in the most easily accessible place you will never be scrounging through the drawers in amongst everything else. Effective and no longer frustrating!

5. Sometimes it is hard to sort through the influx of emails in the business world when it seems that everyone wants an answer that only you can provide. Left to build up this can cause fault lines in business relationships and frustration on your part as it then becomes an overwhelming task. Solution: Spend half hour dedicated time each day emailing back as many queries as you can. If you are a fast typist and the queries are information that isn’t too hard to provide then you could easily make it a self competition to see how many replies you can send back within a set timeframe. This gets your external business communication a little more organised and will also mean more happy clients.

6. While on the topic of emails – divide your inbox into a number of folders for relevant topic areas or regular contact and set the rule for outlook to automatically send those emails to that folder. For example I have separate emails for each staff member in my office, for each of the specialities I recruit for, others from payroll, another for skills testing results. The best part about this tip is once it is set up you won’t need to redo it and your inbox anxiety will be calmed somewhat as it is already all organised for you. Much easier to find past emailed information as well.

7. Be consistent. Sometimes being consistent is mistaken for routine but that is not what I mean. The more consistent we keep our regular daily tasks the more effective they become in our lives to assist us in keeping things running smoothly and effectively. If you can be consistent with cleaning out junk as you receive it rather than storing it away then chances are you won’t accumulate junk. If you are consistent with filing all paperwork right away – chances are that looming pile won’t build up. So if you are consistent you will stay organised!

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It is okay to have your sh*t together

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Media seems to propel the idea that we shouldn’t aim to be perfectionists as that could be detrimental and cause us to strive for extreme ideals that cannot be reached. Sometimes (and I cringe every time I see this) I also see media perpetuating the idea that women can’t have it all – at least not at the same time. For me what this does is create a typecast that if a woman has her sh*t together (whether that includes bf/husband/kids/no kids/career/fitness/hobby) there must be something wrong.

Some might call this an ingrained fear of success but I think it goes a little deeper than this for some women. As women we too often have words and stereotypes thrown every which way at us that it has got to the point where it is hard to keep up with what is applicable or not. It can cause you to feel that if everything is going right in your life and you feel on top of the world – you must have forgotten your place because that is entirely not possible! At least this is how I sometimes feel.

I can liken it to my monthly budget. I don’t get paid monthly as such but every four weeks exactly, which can, in fact, be even harder to keep track of sometimes. The point is that part way through those four weeks I realise I am tracking really well and seem t have loads of money and I go shopping and buy something pretty that I “totally needed” and it turns out a few days later I had forgotten about a bill that was direct debited and not included on the budget plan. The rest of my month I spend scrounging for pennies in my hand bag trying not to touch any of the savings I had put aside that pay. Just when everything is tracking along nicely there is something that I forgot to factor into the equation and boom the stack of cards falls down.

Sometimes this happens in my life in general as well – and I am sure I am not alone with this either! Everything is going great in my relationships; my career and fitness are all on track. It seems I have it all at that very point in time. However, despite everything going so well and my feeling so secure with everything, something in the back of my head is trying to tell me that I may have forgotten to factor in something important. How can I possibly be happy right now, with everything? No one ever gets everything they wanted…

I am here to call BULLSH*T!!!

Why can a woman not have everything she wants at that point in time and be content in this fact?

A woman should not be made to feel like something else that society deems important is necessary for her to feel fulfilled. A boyfriend, a husband, a job, a baby, a hobby, a slimmer waist line, a pair of shoes, a boob job – these things are not going to make you anymore fulfilled than you choose to feel inside.

You need to be content with what you have. And be content in your ability to get what you want. You need to tell yourself it is okay to be blissfully happy with everything in your life and accept that nothing is missing. You are allowed to feel like you have all your sh*t together.

If you want to start a family and continue in your successful career path – it is okay to tell yourself that YOU can have both. Even if others tell you it isn’t possible.

If you are 30 and have a successful career and do not want to get married or have kids for a few years yet – well it is entirely up to you when you choose for this to change. You should never let anyone make you feel insecure about this extremely personal decision.

If you want to get super fit and balance this goal with running a family household – don’t listen to anyone tell you that you have bitten off more than you can chew. If you want it you can and will make it happen. And you are allowed to feel really good when you do.

See what I mean ladies? It is up to us to show the world that we have our sh*t together and that it feels altogether Fabulous!

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