Is Fear Holding Back Your Career? How to Identify Where It Is Coming From & Overcome It!

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”  ― Jim Morrison

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As humans, we can be skeptical about new things as we assume that they will negatively impact our lives. For most of us, change represents different degrees of ‘fear’. Fear is a double-edged sword, while it can guarantee our safety as a primal instinct, it can stop us from having wonderful life experiences. This is certainly true when it comes to our work lives.

Throughout my work as a Career & Executive Coach, for nearly all the clients I have worked with, the topic of ‘fear’ in its different guises has arisen. This fear has led to them stuck in jobs and career paths that provide little satisfaction beyond the regular pay cheque.

According to my experience, the sources of the problem can be from fear of:

  • the unknown
  • what others will think or acceptance
  • loss of status
  • loss of income
  • wasted education
  • failure
  • success
  • being a fake

And the list goes on……….

Another area of ‘fear’ in the career context is other’s ‘projecting’ their ‘fear’ onto those who looking to;

  • Take a career break
  • Change careers
  • Engage in further study
  • Start their own business
  • Create a portfolio career

Take a moment to reflect, as you may have experienced this yourself or un-intentionally done this to others.

It is not uncommon for people looking to make career changes, to find those around them (friends, family, colleagues) less supportive than they would have imagined about their career choices. There are certainly many reasons why others do this, however, their comments are more often than not based around their own ‘fears’ which they project onto or transfer to the person looking to make changes.

For example, a son who is taking a career break from his engineering career may find his parents ‘acting’ supportive in some ways, while they also make unsettling comments around the length of time he has been unemployed and the impact it will have on him ever securing another ‘good’ job.   He may also find his friends and colleagues questioning his decision to take a career break for such an extended period of time and what this will do to his career prospects if you’re out of the industry for too long etc. The son, while initially feeling reasonably confident about his decision to take the career break, becomes increasingly unsure about this decision if he listens to other’s fears.

In this case, the parents fear is coming from a place of parental concern about their child. From a desire to protect them.  Or, it may come from a fear of what others will say if their son has a lower status career or is unemployed for a lengthy stretch of time.

The comments from friends and colleagues are often coming from their own fears, which they are projecting. It could be their anxiety levels if they did not have secure employment or what others would think if they were not working. Or it could be a genuine concern for their friend’s / colleague’s welfare. They could also be coming from a place of jealousy, in that while they are not happy in their career, they don’t have the money or confidence to take a career break and potentially make a career transition too.

It is normal to have fears around making major changes in our work lives. What we don’t expect when we decide to make changes, is how much the comments of others who doubt and question us, make us question our decisions.

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3 Steps to Managing Your Fears

  1. Explore fears (see the 2 activities below)
  2. Devise strategies to manage your fears
  3. Seek support to work through key fears

When making any changes in your work life be sure to spend some time reflecting and understanding your own fears or blockers as they are sometimes referred to.

Also, be mindful to monitor the comments of those around you from friends,  family, and colleagues. Don’t take on board their ‘fears’, instead focus on strategies to overcome yours and even call out unhelpful comments and advice.

 

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Homework – for those who dare to look their fears in the eye and move forward!

When it comes to fear holding you back from making a change, below are 4 questions to ask yourself? Grab a pen and paper or your computer and write down your responses.

  1. How much do you want to make this change in your work & life?

o   Is it a burning desire or nice to do! If there is no drive then re-assess what you think you want.

  1. What are you willing to give up, to make it happen?

o   No pain no gain, everything is a trade-off and sacrifices will need to be made.

  1. How uncomfortable are you willing to be in order to make this change?

o   On a scale of 1-10, 10 being willing to walk on hot coals! You need this to be 5+!

  1. Who is going to support you and how do you need them to support you?

o   Who is your support crew? Great things don’t happen alone! Find people who are true supporters.

The answers to these questions can help you create your strategy to look through the fear and focus on your long-term desires or vision.

Fear & Blockers Activity Sheet

We also have a free Diversitas Blockers Activity Sheet you can download in the resources area of the Diversitas  site to help you identify your top fears (what are real and what are perceived) and put in place steps to manage them more effectively.  You will be surprised by how helpful these activities will be to your confidence and overcoming and addressing key fears that are holding back your career and happiness at work.

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Coaching Support

If you find you need further support with identifying and managing your fears or Career & Executive Coaching support, please give us a call or email to discuss your situation and how we can help you in achieving your goals.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”  ― Nelson Mandela

How to Write a Great Personal Pitch!

You are the product! We are all in the business of Marketing Us!

Most of us are familiar with the Elevator Pitch concept, which was developed as a 30 second (an elevator ride) pitch on your business idea to a potential investor. However, many of us neglect to have our own compelling introduction about who we are (our ‘Personal Pitch’) so that the audience knows who they are engaging with.

The Personal Pitch can be more challenging. Rather than being a business idea, which is somewhat removed from us, the Personal Pitch is about us. Most people do not like talking about themselves. However, to build trust we need to show them our authentic self.

‘Your Personal Pitch is Your Amazing Succinct Career Story’

Your Personal Pitch is a summary of your story about the impact you have made in the world to date, your gifts, and talents, your career dreams and the impact you want to have on the world.  It’s about your core skills, personal attributes, values, achievements and it is important and sometimes hard stuff to share, particularly in 30 seconds! This technique is often adapted to personal introductions when networking, introductions in meetings and interviews.

Sometimes people fail to share because they have not considered it important or relevant. Others know their story well and how they want their story to unfold, yet, lack the confidence to share this with others. Both result in the audience missing out on learning about your ‘value add’ to them. We often forget that the audience needs to know who we are to build trust and assess our competence.

‘Don’t be afraid to capture the magic of who you are, & share it in your pitch’

Here’s an example of a CFO’s Personal Pitch used to introduce themselves to a company who is looking to resolve a problem with data accuracy in their business systems.

Hi, my name is John. For the past 15 years, I have worked with dynamic start- ups in healthcare and helped them commercialize and grow sustainable businesses. Currently, I am a CFO of a dynamic healthcare technology company where I am heavily involved in the Accounting, Strategy and Technology system development. Recently, working with our IT team we have created a new technology to improve the healthcare data accuracy within the public healthcare system by 50%. I am excited about the improved healthcare outcomes it offers as well as the time saved in problem-solving.

Crafting Your Personal Pitch

Crafting your Personal Pitch will take a little bit of time and practice. If done well, it will be instrumental in helping you create wonderful career opportunities. Everyone has an amazing career story to share.  You will be surprised how people are interested to hear your story too. The key is to capture your career story in a succinct engaging manner keeping in mind your audience. If your audience is engaged, they will want to find out more about you.  Which is why you need to take into account every audience. Your Personal Pitch may differ at a casual social networking event, to that of an industry conference.

It is important to remember that your Personal Pitch is your amazing succinct career story.   Do not fall into the trap of letting your education, job title or employers brand overshadow you. For example, when networking in person or on their LinkedIn profile (online business networking) most people state their name, occupation and employer! Avoid this at all costs. Own your Personal Brand and your Personal Pitch.

Below is a template to help you start to craft your own amazing Personal Pitch and capture the magic of you and what you offer to the world of work. It will take a few attempts to get it right and deliver it authentically. The secret to a great personal pitch is that is delivered with confidence, authentic and consistent to your personal brand. We recommend that you practice your pitch to gain confidence. Then see the difference it makes in your engagement with your audience.

Your Personal Pitch Template

Imagine you are going to an event. Think about the specific audience at the event and how you want to position yourself. What outcomes are you seeking? What do you want to share with this audience in your pitch to make your personal brand clear & achieve your outcomes?

  1. Introducing you and your background – name, relevant work experience and education that positions you for the career you have or are looking to have.
  2. The value you bring? – skills & talents, key achievements, personal attributes, networks.
  3. Who you are focused on added value to or fixing problems for? types of problems you have solved in the past, or want to be solving, industries or companies you want to help.

Your Personal Pitch              Now summarize 1+2+3 into a short paragraph (see example above)

 


Personal Branding Coaching Support

Crafting an engaging Personal Pitch is a part of building and sharing your Personal Brand with the right audiences. If you are seeking support around developing your personal brand, contact our Career & Executive Coaches at Diversitas to learn more about how we can help you.

Are Your Saboteurs Holding Back Your Career?

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At the Australian Psychological Type Conference (AusAPT) this month, we were fortunate to have some fantastic speakers from Australia, the US, NZ and the UK. Two of the speakers, Jane Kise and Ann Holm, presented an engaging and theatrical demonstration of their Saboteurs, which are self-driven thoughts that hold us back. This presentation was based on the work of Shirzad Chamine, the author of the New York Times bestselling book ‘Positive Intelligence’ and designer of the Positive Intelligence assessments on Saboteurs.

“The Judge is the universal Saboteur that afflicts everyone. It is the one that beats you up repeatedly over mistakes or shortcomings, warns you obsessively about future risks, wakes you up in the middle of the night worrying, gets you fixated on what is wrong with others or your life, etc. Your Judge is your greatest internal enemy, activates your other top Saboteurs, causes you much of your stress and unhappiness, and reduces your effectiveness.”  Source: https://www.positiveintelligence.com/assessments/

I think we can all relate to the Judge saboteur and how it can hold us back from getting on track in our careers. You may refer to it as the internal critic or those negative voices in your head. The one’s that hold you back, cause you to slip up, worry or just bring unnecessary negativity into your life.  There are 9 Self Saboteurs in this tool: Stickler: Pleaser; Hyper-Vigilant; Restless; Controller; Avoider; Hyper-Achiever; Victim and Hyper-Rational.

If you are ready to increase your self-awareness, discover your top 3 Saboteurs and engage and strengthen your inner Sage to fight back then I would encourage you to invest the time to do the assessment and read the comprehensive report.

You may or may not be surprised with the results. I know for me, one was a bit of a shock. However, when I reflected on it, it made sense and I identified several situations where my saboteur has held me back in the past! You may discover some of the answers to why your career is not on track?

To complete this free assessment and read an insightful report on your saboteurs go to https://www.positiveintelligence.com/assessments/

 

How to be Be Happier At Work (and life…)

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Last month I had the good fortune to do a podcast with The Wellness Collective girls, Cecelia Ramsdale & Nat Kringoudis and spoke about our types and how we can be happier at work.

Perception is everything but if we are unaware of ourselves and how other people see us, we can find ourselves miscommunication and certainly not getting to where we want in life. When we know about our own personality type as well as others, we can use this as powerful information to help us get what we want in life.

On The Wellness Collective, Nat & Ceceliachat with me about how we can find out more about ourselves and use it to our advantage in life!

Click to listen to the Podcast.

To find out more you can visit The Wellness Collective 

For coaching support & MBTI personality profiling visit us at  Diversitas

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How Organisations Can Leverage Cognitive Diversity to Benefit Their Culture & Decision Making

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“there is now considerable scientific evidence for the idea that cognitive or deep diversity – that is, diversity in how people feel, think, and act – has significant benefits for organizations” source  Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic  

 

While there are many great interventions within organisations to increase awareness and drive change around social, gender and cultural diversity,  one area that seems to be neglected is cognitive diversity, which looks at the deeper psychological functions of each individual.

As a coach, I wonder why organisations only look at diversity at one level.  Maybe it is all too hard to factor in the time and effort or is the organisation lacking in expertise in People & Culture function within HR? Interestingly, there are really effective tools to help organisations understand the cognitive diversity of their employees.

One tool that has been around since the 1940’s, the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), which defines and measure cognitive diversity around our four preferences for gathering information (Sensing Vs Intuition) and making decisions (Thinking Vs Feeling).  It stands to reason to achieve a good well-considered decision making you need to factor in all four of the preferences as shown in the Z model image below. Which is very hard for one person to do effectively!

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Yet within many organisational groups we see a lot of ‘group think’ – people who share the same cognitive style, which can at times be a positive thing for collaboration, but does not necessarily position the team for growth!  Particularly if those making the decisions have not developed their self-awareness and effectively used their non-preferred cognitive functions. For example, if a dominant decision-making style is ‘Thinking’, leveraging their logic, yet they fail to tap into their ‘Feeling’ preference and consider the needs of the people around them when making important decisions.

From a workplace culture perspective, given so much of the miscommunication, conflict, and stress can be caused by different cognitive styles, providing employees with an awareness of their preferences and those around them can only be a positive thing.

Rather than simply taking in information and making decisions leveraging their dominant cognitive functions, which provides one perspective only, they can start to gain an awareness and appreciation of the other preferences, all of which are equally as valid as their own. Steering away from the mentality of ‘I am right’ and ‘you are wrong’, that there are various equally valid diverse solutions. Yet in organisations where employees are so often under stress, this can be forgotten (even if it was once known).

Take a moment to reflect on your own cognitive style?  Then consider the dominant cognitive style of those in your management and leadership groups?  It may be time for your organisation to consider adding cognitive diversity to its mix of diversity initiatives and professional development. This training will also give leaders an awareness of a fantastic tool that will help them understand the preferences of their team, colleagues and clients too.

For organisations, leaders, and managers interested in learning more about cognitive diversity and training & development options to develop this please visit us at Diversitas or contact us to discuss your needs.

Kelly Magowan is a Career & Executive Coach, Leadership Development Facilitator, and runs MBTI® Training programs for organisations through Diversitas.   She has built a reputation as a thought leader in the careers space, regularly appearing on ABC Radio.

Cultural Chemistry – Book Review

Cultural Chemistry is a wonderfully engaging and insightful book by Patti McCarthy who is an expert on the topic of culture. Patti has lived and worked across the globe and has assisted many an expat in her career. I have seen Patti speak and found her to be wonderfully passionate and knowledgeable on the subject of culture.

While having worked in a HR and Careers capacity with many an expat, I have found that there is always more we can learn about cultural engagement. Patti’s book is wonderfully rich in real life experiences with many tangible pieces of information that can make all our workplaces more harmonious.

It is also a valuable read for MBA students looking to work and or study abroad, as well as though who may even be finding some friction in their syndicate groups due to cultural differences.

As the title suggests, Cultural Chemistry is a terrific book for bridging cultural gaps which are ever present in our work and places of study.

To learn more about the book or purchase online visit the Cultural Chemistry site.

So, you want to be a leader? Find out how to transition successfully into a leadership role!

02A15HS9When my coaching clients come to me and say that they want to be a leader. I automatically start to explore the driver for this desire. What actually do they mean by ‘leader’? Is it power to make decision for others, or have authority over others? Is it a title (noun) or a change agent (an adjective) they seek? Or is it just a trend – to be successful you must be a leader?

In the exploration with my clients on this topic I also did some research on the term ‘leader’, ‘executive’ and ‘manager’, producing interesting results. There is no simple descriptor for each of these titles. Therein lies the challenge, or possibly the reason for the confusion. Whilst we speak of leaders do we mean their title/responsibility or do we mean the act of leading (adjective).

Leadership is often misunderstood as being the same as management. Leaders in an organisation need to be able to set strategy for their team/organisation. These roles are there to motivate others and create the organisational culture. Whereas Managers have functional responsibility such as completing a technical task or managing a budget. They may have a team reporting to them who follow instructions set by the manager, who follows the organisational culture.

An Executive role is usually another term for a leadership role or a management role. Executives can be in several roles in an organisation and every organisation tends to have their own language on the hierarchy. Using names like Director, Associates, Senior… etc.

No wonder, the constant demand for new leaders is not satisfied as we are unclear on what we want these ‘leaders’ to do.

If you are seeking a leadership role I suggest that you qualify what you want to achieve as the leader/manager/executive and make sure it agrees with the hiring organisation’s definition before embarking on the role. That way you will be defining your role consistent with the expectations of the organisation.

For those looking to transition into a leadership or executive role, Diversitas offer a comprehensive worksheet to help you define your personal style and create your strategy.

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Author:
Sue Daniels is a Director of a Career Consulting business and has extensive experience of designing innovative career development programs in the university sector at Melbourne Business School and for the London Business School.  Sue has served seven years on a not for profit board and has a background in international investment management.