Posted on July 22nd, 2012 2 comments
Mondayitis may not be a proper medical condition, but if you suffer from it severely, it is a strong indication you’re in need of a professional check-up. I’m not referring to a visit to the doctor’s office – I mean checking in on your professional life and why you struggle to drag yourself to work each day.
Changing jobs can often inject that much needed invigoration of passion and interest, but what do you do if it’s your career that dissatisfies you? You worked hard to get an education in your field. What else is out there for you?
Career dissatisfaction is a common problem and many people don’t how to improve their situation. It can be a major motivational killer, which can trickle into other parts of life. You can end up coming home each day grumpy and lacking the energy to do anything but watch TV.
Whether you dislike your job or need a career change, there are things you can do to enable you to keeping moving through your low points.
• Focus on the rest of your life – your hobbies, your passions, your playtime. This may seem an obvious method, but the trick is to REALLY focus. This means leaving work at work and controlling your thoughts to hone in on enjoying your evening and weekend activities with friends, family, and pets. Focus on the positive aspects of your life and enjoy how they make you feel. Consciously, stop negative thoughts about work during these times.
• Build your personal brand – don’t wait until you have to apply for another job. Update your resume, refine your Linkedin profile, as you never know if and when you’ll meet an opportunity.
• Focus on your strengths – give credit to yourself and celebrate the things you are good at. It is easy to get into a vicious cycle of negative thinking. Because you lack motivation – it’s likely you underperform and this adds to that cycle. Write down your strengths and the highlights of your career to date. This may help you identify where you can steer your career. It may just help you snap out of that negative cycle and boost your mood and motivation again!
• Think about the things you enjoy in your job – which parts do you like best? Again, this can simply help bring you out of your habit of negative thinking, but it can also reveal hints of where you can take your career next. Is there a niche within your current role you can move into? Can you do more of the parts you like? If you like making a difference to other people’s lives, how can you best take advantage of that?
• Brainstorm your options – don’t just think about it, write it down. Exhaust all of your options by writing them down. It may be to stay in your job and re-focus it. It may be to re-train in your area of expertise. It may be to change careers. Write down 10 or more career options based on your strengths and the things you enjoy doing.
• Take action – you can’t improve your professional life without doing something about it. What is one thing you can do this week, and each week, to move you towards your improved mindset, new job, or new career? Enrol in a course. Update your resume. Talk to you manager about what you can do.
If you need a professional check-up, you may also consider hiring a coach or finding a mentor to help you out of your rut. You can do just that with our Boost Your Career Home Study Course http://boostyourcareer.com.au/?page_id=127 For a tiny $49.50 it’s a cheap way to ensure your sanity!
Posted on May 23rd, 2012 No comments
Our brain is the most powerful tool we have to achieve our goals. It can also be our greatest barrier.
Last century, scientists discovered our ability to physically restructure our brain. No, it’s not as freaky as a Frankenstein-like surgery, but we can do this by feeding our mind with the right information and experiences.
Our brain is like a roadmap and we have the power to manipulate its routes. We can create neural connections that lead to happiness and success, and remove negative pathways linked to feelings of fear and anxiety. This is called neuroplasticity.
My interest in neuroplasticity and the power of the mind began when I completed a Neuro Linguistic Programming Course in Sydney in 2009. It’s a truly fascinating topic. The implications of this discovery are still being unravelled, but it has already revolutionised medicine and psychology. Medically, it is possible for people to overcome learning difficulties, stave off dementia, and recover from brain injury.
One of Australia’s renowned Neuroscientists, Michael Valenzuela, explains it simply, “use it or lose it”. As we age the brain can lose power and wither away. He says the positive message about neuroplasticity is that with the right stimulation we can do something about this. But losing certain neural pathways can be a good thing. As a coach, a part of my job is to help people overcome their barriers and replace unhelpful habits with more supportive ones.
I have a somewhat scientific way of helping people achieve their goals. My training at the Australasian Institute of NLP has allowed me to integrate methods in my programs that help to wither the neural pathways that lead to unsupportive behaviours and emotions. In place of these I introduce new thought processes and exercises, forming new connections that lead towards what people want – happiness, passion, and fulfilment. In very simple terms, I use methods to reprogram the brain by:
• identifying and changing unsupportive thinking, behaviour, and emotional responses;
• introducing new activities and stimuli to promote new neural connections;
• encouraging the power of imagination and possibility thinking to stretch, grow and strengthen the new pathways created by new stimuli.
Fellow Canadian Coach, David Kynan, sums up neuroplasticity perfectly. Imagine: every time you learn or experience something new, your brain is being rewired. New connections are forming and old ones are withering away… If you choose what to put in your mind you can decide what to reinforce and what patterns and habits of thinking, emotion and behaviour you will no longer nurture.
It’s time to feed your brain. Choose new habits that work in sync with your strengths to help you reach your goals sooner. Email us at email@example.com to find out about how our programs can help you achieve this.
Renowned Australian Neuroscientist, Michael Valenzuela reveals his three keys to keeping your brain sharp in this video.
Posted on September 29th, 2011 No comments
I read a great article by Forbes Contributor, Adrienne Graham, entitled “No You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much” and found its angle very intriguing, and yet humorous at the same time.
The article draws a line between networking with those who seek advice from peers because they are truly interested in the person and those who simply seek information to solve a problem or get ahead. Adrienne writes that the mission of those who she first thought were simply interested in her, actually were on a “mission to pick my brain to gather as much free intel and knowledge they need to make their jobs easier.”
I do, like Adrienne, find it very flattering to have others turn to me for direction and advice and don’t mind helping others in need; however, I had to start somewhere too. I attended courses, read books, studied and researched my way to where I am today. Nobody’s success is simply handed to them, and that’s the point of this article. I love having coffee with a person and chatting about advice, opinions and experiences, but networking should not be used as a means to overcome a problem. Work hard, research, and learn. Listen to all the advice that is given to you, but don’t rely on others to move you forward in your career. There is a line, and Adrienne outlines it very well.
Have a read of “No You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much” here
Posted on September 16th, 2011 No comments
“The amount of money that we receive will always be in direct ratio to the demand for what we do, our ability to do it, and the difficulty of replacing us.” Earl Nightingale.
Earl’s quote reveals a secret to high pay and job security that is so simple that it can be easily overlooked. But when you stop and think about it, it really is true.
Reread the quote and you will notice it outlines three steps or parts to the success equation - demand, ability and supply.
1- The first step to being highly valued relates to demand – that is you need to learn to be good at something that other people need! It’s no good becoming an expert in balancing a ping pong on your nose if no wants to hire you for that skill!
2- The second step is a basic one that everyone I know can do some more work on and that is once you’ve identified the in-demand skill then you need to work hard on yourself and learn to be the very best you can be at it! Be the very best you can be and yes that may mean coming in early and staying late!
3- The third step is to make yourself a prized resource who is difficult to replace. Learn the difficult skills, build the contacts in the industry, become the irreplaceable expert that will make you stand apart. Go the extra mile to build your personal brand. Go from being ordinary to extraordinary. You will be in demand and your income will reflect it.
Are you ready to get noticed for your skills and creativity? Do you want to land your dream job?
You can. This 30 day Home Study Course will teach you exactly how to build upon your skills, strengths and networks to get known fast as an expert in the communications field and finally secure your career and future. Check it out now at http://boostyourcareer.com.au/?page_id=127
Posted on July 4th, 2011 6 comments
It’s a fact of life that everyone makes mistakes and the busier you are and the more you do, the more mistakes you will make. The important differentiating factor between ordinary people and extraordinary people is how well they deal with these inevitable ups and downs of life.
The circumstances may be out of our control, however we can always choose how we respond. At any moment in time you can choose to be a victim or a victor. Victims take a negative worldview, seeing life as a stream of problems, unfairness and injustice. Their expectations are generally low and in turn they don’t get much.
People with a victor mentality on the other hand, have positive worldview and continually see opportunities and possibilities. They believe that everything happens for a reason. They approach their lives, their work, and their relationships with optimism, joy, and a general attitude of positive expectations. They expect success and in turn, are seldom disappointed.
Mistakes are a big part of everyday life business, but it’s how you react to them that will determine your destiny. If you fear mistakes and hiccups to the extent that you never take risks, you’ll never grow. If you choose to learn from them, you become the kind of person who welcomes obstacles and setbacks as opportunities to flex your mental muscles and move ahead.
Feedback comes in many forms. Not progressing in your career in the way that you desire? Then review where your focus has been. Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action:
1 - think of your biggest problem or challenge in life at the moment. Imagine it has been sent to help you, to teach you something valuable. What could it be?
2 - be willing to cut your losses and walk away if you have made a mistake or a bad choice. Accept that you are not perfect, you can’t be right all the time, and then just get on with life.
3 - learn from your hiccups. Write down the lessons they contain. Use your mistakes in the present as a hand-up to even greater success in the future.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEBSITE?
You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Coach, author, speaker, trainer and online entrepreneur, Heidi Alexandra Pollard, The Communicators’ Coach publishes Value Ad a free monthly ezine for smart, savvy professionals who want more prosperity, passion and purpose in life. If you’re ready to jump start your personal and professional life, make more money, boost your career and have more fun then get your FREE tips now at www.leadingvalue.net
Posted on May 16th, 2011 No comments
The recent news of the death of Osama bin Laden got me thinking. Although Australia has troops assigned in Afghanistan and other areas, relatively speaking here in the Southern hemisphere we experience a degree of separation and distance from the news of the Middle East. Although the elimination of bin Laden received a lot of air play and online discussion I found it amazing that the lead up to the mission was kept so quiet.
Perhaps I have been living under a mushroom so correct me if I am wrong, but I found there was hardly any coverage in the mass media or online about the regular meetings and progress being made by military officials with regard to a possible target in Pakistan. It appears that for once not even the twitterverse reported and breached security during the lead up.
So how does a company, movement or leader keep their people’s eye on the big prize over such a long period of time without breaching confidentiality? Was this evidence of President Obama’s ability to keep a big, varied team focused on the big picture? How does one create a vault of confidentiality such as this in a world where information is power and flows freely and rapidly?
Sure the stakes in this were high - national security and billions of dollars invested – but my take away was more about the fact that there were many people involved who therefore were loyal to a cause far greater than themselves. .
What does this mean for you as the leader of your team, company or tribe?
Granted you’re probably not facing a task as onerous as national security, but no matter what your company cause or vision, you can strive to instill a sense of shared purpose and keep your people’s eye on the big prize by keeping them motivated and loyal.
In my work as a leadership coach I see many business and community leaders make the mistake of demanding loyalty to them as a leader due to their position, title, reputation or experience. I tell them, ‘don’t kid yourself or your ego. People will support the goal or vision if they believe in it, sees is value and you communicate it with conviction, honesty and clarity.’
It’s a simple fact: you can’t demand loyalty and trust – it must be earned. Most people follow leaders they admire and are loyal to them and the mission because of shared values, not because it is the right thing to do or something they’re told to do.
The leader’s I see who engender commitment and support are the ones who practice servant leadership – that is as Robert Greenleaf suggests they ‘have a natural feeling to serve first…the difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant - first to make sure that other people’s needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer is: Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wise, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?’ In short, a leader of this style allows their followers to channel their commitment, energy and resources toward focusing on the big prize and getting the job done.
Whether your company is large or small, people will want to work for a leader where they are made to feel like co-creators and contributors, not just a employee number or hired hand on the books.
Give people a reason
The cause needn’t be grandiose, whatever it is, as the leader, it falls to you to live and breathe the purpose and uphold the vision. You must lead by example by doing what is necessary to keep everything aligned and moving towards the desired result. Which means you must put people first, not simply pay lip service but in all your actions and deeds. You must learn to coach, mentor, support and develop as well as challenge and question your people. This means believing the best of your people, giving them roles where their strengths and skills match the job so they can do their best work. And then trust them to get the job done.
I’m not suggesting for one minute that keeping everyone’s eye on the big prize is easy, but no matter whether the stakes are national security, increasing market share or landing a big client or project, the rewards are worth the effort.
What have you done to inspire loyalty to big prize in your team or company? What’s worked well for you?
Posted on May 9th, 2011 No comments
Ever since childhood I have been an avid reader and been fascinated by words. From the creative delights of Land of the Faraway Tree to the complexity of The Hobbit I loved losing myself in a narrative.
I also remember being delighted with a movie called The Glass Slipper which presented a new twist on the Cinderella. In particular the character of the fairy godmother had a great impact and was what I connected with most. During one scene the fairy godmother lists her favourite words ‘apple dumpling,’ ‘windowsill,’ ‘pickle relish’ and ‘elbow’. As a child this movie taught me not to just take words at face value but to listen with more than my ears to the intention behind those words.
Later in life, after reading my first copy of Think and Grow Rich, I began an even deeper appreciation and delving into the power of words. When words are read not just as a collection of symbols or characters, but as thoughts, emotions, or sentiments, the real power of words can help, inspire, encourage, motivate and move us. In just the same way words can also move people, teams, communities and countries.
Think for a moment about a handwritten note you’ve received, perhaps it included words of love, of friendship, or an apology. Remember how you felt reading the words and feeling the sentiment behind them.
As leaders in your life and organisations you must understand the power of your words if you truly wish to be successful. An effective leader must be a competent story teller and one who can use their oral communication skills to create vivid narratives, to engage people in their vision and to paint the picture of what success looks like in order to create a team that puts their strengths to work. As they saying goes “The bigger the dream, the more important the team.”
The importance of words comes in the form of a shared language and shared meaning. To become an exceptional leader you must be aware of the power of story and metaphor to convey your ideas and steer the change process. “Effective leaders…create communities out of words.” Warren Bennis.
Take for example one of the greatest speeches of our modern time, one that inspired and motivated people- delivered by Martin Luther King. He didn’t just have a dream, he described that dream in words, clever words, descriptive words, stories and metaphors that were so powerful they catalysed a social movement.
A leader can have a powerful vision for positive change but if it is not well communicated and people can’t ’see’ it, they may findit has little impact.
What words are you using in your life, business and career, what do they reflect about who you are and where you are going?
Posted on April 11th, 2011 No comments
Check out the wonderful articles in this latest magazine from Michelle Bowden for tips, techniques and power words that will help you boost your career!
Posted on March 21st, 2011 No comments
In marketing speak USP means ‘unique selling proposition’. In layman’s terms your USP is a sentence you share with others that tells them about what makes you or your business special.
In my early career days I avoided any formulaic USPs as much as possible feeling they were too canned, cliched and false. However as I have grown my career, business and personal brand I have found myself turning more and more to the need for a short, sharp, snappy way to describe what I do and for who.
What I found as I attended many networking events and participated in my international mastermind was that the people who were most memorable, those who stood out from the crowd and made an impression on myself and on others in the room were those people who in a single sentence, could sum up their unique selling proposition.
Why? Because by sharing with you simply what makes them special and how they help others you got a real sense of understanding and it made it easier to relate and see whether they could help me with something specific or if I knew someone who could use their services.
True, nailing your USP can be a tricky, messy process, and will probably be something you find yourself revisiting to refocus over time. But don’t let that hold you back – getting started is critical and crafting a draft USP that you can start testing out on others will help you to hone your message and see what lands with your audience or if they are left looking puzzled.
An easy way to start is to ask yourself:
Q: What makes me (or my business) different from everyone else? (Yes this also means knowing what others in your market are doing so you may need to do a little research).
Start by defining what you do as best you can (eg: marketing strategist), then define the people you do it for (for small businesses in NSW, Australia). Lastly Google those terms (ie: marketing strategist, small business, NSW, Australia) to find out how others like you promote what they do. In particular look for any gaps in the market that aren’t currently being offered such as a guarantee, in-house, or a done for you service offering.
If you are stuck on this first step try taking our 3 minute Leading Ladies Quiz at the top right of this page – it will help you discover what type of leading lady you are and provide you a list of your strengths that may help you highlight your unique qualities.
Q: Why should they care?
What does your ideal client care about? Is reliability or affordability their key care factor? Is it that you’ve worked specifically in their industry and understand their market? Is that you come well recommended by a well known industry expert?
You need to say all the things that are important to your clients AND you also need to consider what else makes you unique and stand out. Needless to say you must also have a useful website, marketing collaterall, sales and service that backs up your USP promise or the disconnect will work against you.
The point is that nailing your USP so you are memorable, unique and relatable is just the first step – the toe in the door – you then have to work out the most effective way to leverage and market it to your target audience.
What’s your USP? Love you to share and practice on us here!
Posted on February 28th, 2011 1 comment
Most businesses understand the tremendous value associated with growing a base of loyal customers. However the old loyalty program model is getting a little tired and a little too same old, same old.
Unfortunately for many businesses, any advantage that was originally gained through loyal programs has probably evaporated. While airlines, hotel chains and stores started mainstream loyalty programs, other businesses were quick to follow and jump on the bandwagon. The result is that today every cafe, video shop and pet store has some form of loyalty card. If you kept them all your wallet would never close!
Some programs miss the point entirely and can actually drive customers away rather than attract them. Many hotel chains, for example, have loyalty programs where you accumulate points for every night you stay, unfortunately for many people though if you don’t stay during a 12 month period you lose all the points you’ve gained! The customer may have been a good word of mouth advocate for the hotel but this penalisation for lack of activity could damage any good will they may have had.
If you really want to reap the benefits of true customer loyalty - it’s time to rethink what customer loyalty really means. Customer loyalty is not obtained by holding a card, accumulating points, or redeeming rewards, nor is it a one-way street.
Instead of just considering what a customer has done for you or bought from you - try turning the tables to live your legacy and be of service. How could you measure your companies loyalty in terms of the degree to which your company is the loyal one - loyal to your customers? How do you remember repeat customers, address them as individuals, call them by their name, and treat them as the very special people they are?
On my return to the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey last month, the staff knew from their database that I had been a guest before, they welcomed me by name, thanked me for returning and informed me that they had delivered extra feather pillows to my room as per my last visit. Nice to feel remembered. Not only that but upon returning to my room one evening after a full business agenda, the room attendant had left a hand written note that she had packed away my water and apples in the fridge so they keep cold and fresh. Not only this but she mentioned noticing I had used all the milk so she had brought me extra. Excellent, personalised service.
Think about the simple lesson of customer loyalty that is demonstrated by these actions. In order to create a competitive differentiation, start rethinking how you treat your customers:
Traditional model: “What has the customer done for me lately?”
Relationship model: “What have I done lately for my most loyal customers?”
How can you provide better individual customer loyalty in your business? Consider all your touchpoints, channels, and markets. Instead of treating people like a number, find out how they want to be treated as a person and start building your business relationship based on that.
Here’s a radical idea to get you started. Spend a day at their place of business and help them in any way you can. Give your actions a memorable name like “Good Will Day” or as we call it here at Leading Value - a ”Random Act of Value”. The most important rule for this action - expect nothing in return - just help them out and be of genuine service.
I recently spent several days helping out a local Dental Surgery as my Random Act of Value. As well as sharing my skills and boosting their morale, I found myself inspired by their inventiveness, teamwork and creativity and learnt a lot of great business ideas from them too about follow up and customer care. Not only did spending the time in the dental surgery help me build a better relationship with them, I also left with that great feeling that being of service creates in your soul.
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Why not give it a go?