Tag Archives: women@work

Lindsay’s In Business PART 61: All things to all people – stupid me 

What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

I’m back in London and sitting in a café bar with my Business Development Director. We’re soon to meet a well-connected, very insightful contact he’s set up for me. We talk for the first time about the misalignment bonanza between us over the past months.

I realise now that he had held back from opening up his network to Mirror Mirror because the proposition just isn’t right.  It’s not something he feels he can sell. I don’t know how far that was conscious or unconscious, but while I’d been super task and delivery focused with the plan to revamp and sell sell sell, he’d been more people and impact focused. I’d lost trust with him way too quickly and he’d lost the communication with me way too quickly.

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Why do you work?

Feeling disillusioned with your work? Other than the money, not sure why you pitch up at work every day? You’re not alone. Reflecting on their recent State of the Global workplace report, Gallup indicates the 85% of employees around the world are not engaged, or are actively disengaged at work, representing an estimated cost of $7 trillion in lost productivity. The majority of these employees are ‘not engaged’, which doesn’t make them the worst performers in their organizations, but it does suggest that they are indifferent to the organization’s work or success. As Jim Harter points out, this does not equate to employee laziness. The far more probable cause is a lack of recognition of, and investment in, employee motivation and engagement. The result is employees who show up to work and offer their time, but not very much more.

This type of data is more often interpreted from the organizational perspective: what can the business do to increase employee engagement in order to improve results? This is an important question, but there is another obvious perspective that is less often tapped into with real depth: what about the individual? What impact does it have on a person to be spending the majority of her waking hours on work that is not engaging or meaningful to her? What would become available to a disengaged employee if his work became a source of satisfaction and purpose? These questions underlie – consciously or unconsciously – the career moves that many experienced individuals find themselves negotiating. Of course, everyone wants to be paid well or, at least, what they are worth. But beyond that is a more fundamental human drive: to be seen, to be appreciated, to feel of value. Work can either kill that drive or liberate it.

But, as anyone who has experience of holding an ungratifying job knows, changing the game is not as simple as recognizing that you’re unhappy (though, for many people that recognition is itself a major eye-opener). A balance is required between interior reflection and action in the world. Most self-help programs focus on one or the other. In working with clients in such situations I have found it helpful to draw on Ken Wilber’s four quadrant analysis. Essentially, we are all continuously engaged with four quadrants of reality:

  1. Our own individual interior: eg. thoughts, feelings values. As you read this post, for example, you are having some form of emotional and intellectual response that is entirely personal and invisible to anyone around you.
  2. Our own individual exterior: eg. body, actions, physical energy. For example, right now you are involved in the action of reading, but your heart is beating, you are holding a particular posture, neurons are firing in your brain.
  3. Our own collective interior: all humans – even hermits – form part of some kind of collective. And every collective has shared values, cultural norms or common feeling. As you read this, you have a cultural context of which you form a part. You have a perspective on what I am writing that is partly based in your social values.
  4. Our collective exterior: we are all embedded in systems and meta-systems greater than ourselves. As you are reading this online, you are connected to a technological system called the internet; outside your window you witness the manifestation of weather and climate, and in some way or another you are currently paying for data, thus playing a part of a broader economic system.

Though you will have a subtle bias towards one perspective – a ‘native perspective’ – none of these quadrants is more important than the others. They all arise concurrently and with equal value. So, in deciding how to engage with a significant topic like choosing a new career direction, I ask clients to pay attention to all four quadrants. Part of this process requires an evaluation of what is important to that client – basically answering the question ‘Why do you work?’ – and another aspect will be the commitment to action.

Here are some suggestions if you find yourself seeking work that will pay you well enough and provide you with meaning:

  1. Consider the types of things that you are passionate about, the pursuits that energize you or that increase your wellbeing when you are engaged in them. Basically, identify what kind of activities make you happy – don’t think in terms of ‘jobs’, think in terms of enjoyment and gratification. For now, don’t eliminate any of them for being ‘unrealistic’ – this is an exploratory exercise and every contribution is valuable.
  2. Make a list of jobs or work that incorporate these activities or draw on skills or aptitudes that you use in these activities. If you think of a job that correlates with a personal passion but requires a skill that you don’t currently have, identify that missing skill, write down what would be required to acquire it, and find out where you can learn that skill at what cost.
  3. Talk to friends and colleagues who are happy in their work. Ask them to share how they found that work, what guided them to it and how they would go about finding a new job if, for some reason, this one came to an end. Also look back at point 2 and check whether anyone in your current network is involved in one of the lines of work identified in your list. And expand your network by connecting on social media with new contacts in your target areas – LinkedIn, facebook and twitter are great places to start, though each of those platforms have more or less relevance depending on your industry.
  4. Determine how much money you need to make, consider your work experience, explore market opportunities, and come up with a plan. This plan will partly include the steps above as your refine and repeat the process of honing in your dream work and build on network connections. Most importantly, build an image of what your life will look like when you have work that satisfies you and offers you the lifestyle you desire. This vision is your compass – create a physical impression of it if that helps you – and can act as your anchor in the bigger picture as you deal with the practicalities of career change.

This process may sound simple, but the challenges involved are many and unique to every person. It will not always be easy, which is why I always recommend working with a coach or mentor of some kind, but I truly believe that happiness at work is your right. Claim it.

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Visit Koach.net to discover how our coaches can help you find clarity at work and at home, and can lead you to a more successful and fulfilled you.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

Get an attitude

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I tried to be a boy

I tried to be a girl

I tried to be a mess

I tried to be the best

I guess I got it wrong

(Madonna)

The person we bully the most is ourselves. This already starts at the age of six! We are in the midst of a self bullying epidemic.

Most of us are unaware that the self sabotaging actions we take, the negative thoughts we think and the pressure we feel is coming from ourselves. Do you sometimes get down on yourself for not measuring up to the expectations you or others have for your body, career, children, finances or relationships? Do you feel you are not accomplishing enough, no matter how? Do you play it safe and small? Do you feel like the whole world is on your shoulders? Do you feel never good enough – always average?

I have never met an average woman. Not a single one!

What I have met though, is too many women who thought they were average; who felt they were ordinary because some one, or many some-ones, taught them they were.

Self sabotage block your success by working against your own self interests.

The only limits that you face are the limits of your own ambition, talent and dedication. Acknowledge yourself. Appreciate yourself. See yourself through a more honest, more realistic lens.

Get an attitude!

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

 

Lateral job move

massBy: Angie Falls

Since I am already six year with the current company I decided to make a lateral job change within my organization to gain experience and to increase the potential for advancement. Often I am being asked maybe its time to move on. You have been already so long with the company. A way too traditional mindset. I am all for thinking out of the box and exploring new ideas and different mindsets.  A job in a different department offers greater responsibilities and challenges. I can stay at the same location and be transferred laterally in another area. I choose this path instead of moving on and search for a challenge in a new company.

Reflecting on this choice makes me more determined to invest in this new function. I get the opportunity to learn new disciplines in the same branch. It gives me a new perspective with my current 20 years experience. When you have spend 2 decades in a specific discipline you develop skills which extends beyond the technical knowledge. Due to globalization and fast paced technological progress  It is more and more evident that soft skills need to be enriched along the way. One of the most important soft skill is the ability to see from another perspective than your own. Empathy is a skill to be strongly illuminated. It offers us a chance to gain insight in a topic or situation from another angle. If excersized from different angles this skill will enable us to make profound decissions. Self reflection another essential soft skill which if not possesed will restrain you. The lack of these skills can decrease employee productivity. Which soft skill are desired by companies depends on the cultural fit. In my opinion ownership is one of the soft skills which I feel the majority needs to focus on. Once I got the advice which sounds like this. In your profession you are the CEO of something whatever you’re responsible for.

Taking ownership of your work means assuming responsibility for helping the organization as a whole to succeed. I invest in the outcomes of my work, implementing ways to do things better and holding myself accountable when there is a negative outcome. I analyze, find solutions and perform on those solutions. This also gives me pride in my work and energizes me. Too often I meet people who do not enjoy their profession. Have lost passion in what they do or didn’t have the passion in the beginning. When the foundation is not solid how can we expect it will flourish. There was no ground to start with.

One of my personal challenges is my strong assertive personality. Too much assertiveness can become domineering. I am working on polite assertiveness. It helps addressing problems calmly and forthrightly and not shying away from difficult or cumbersome conversations.

To conclude my favorite list of soft skills;

  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Ownership
  • Staying Calm
  • Openness to Feedback
  • Polite Assertiveness
  • Decency
  • Integrity

Putting effort on a daily basis to develop and operate based on this soft skill set.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com

For more content visit our website http://www.femflection.com

 

Lindsay’s In Business: PART 55. An emotional journey

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What happens when you realise your path is entrepreneurship rather than employment? Lindsay takes up the challenge and shares an account of her journey as it unfolds…

It’s getting so exciting because the idea I last blogged about, to launch a free online team effectiveness test, is going to happen and who knows where it will lead! We aim to launch it in October and run it for 10 months. I’m going to get it promoted ALL OVER social media and it will disrupt the ‘command and control’ leaders when their team members initiate this without their knowledge. It could just generate some interesting leads and data – it could catch on, become shared, and reach our goal of 1,000 participating teams. Great PR stories to come!

It’s getting exciting because a prestigious management school has asked me to run a short version of Mirror Mirror for 100 of their students to teach them about teamwork and leadership, and to help them in innovation challenges with leading global organizations.

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STOICISM

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By: Angie Falls

Once in a while my attention is attracted by icons in history. I strongly believe that there is always a lesson to be learned. Currently I am fascinated by Marcus Aurelius.

He was the last of the so-called FiveGoodEmperors.

He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations, is a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy.

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WELL DONE!

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Accepting a compliment gracefully is a challenge for many women. Somehow we have been socialised to believe there is shame in feeling good about ourselves. Such a pity!

Our biggest fear is that, by accepting the compliment we will appear arrogant.

However, when you downplay a compliment, you may feel you are showing humility,  but you may make the person who gave the compliment feel personally rejected.

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