Tag: "Success"

end of competitive advantage

What does success mean to you?

What does success mean to you? It’s an interesting question to consider as you go through your career and particularly when you are considering your options after a career break.

Conceptions of career success

When we talk about how successful someone is in their career, we still tend to use the obvious external markers. How much are they earning? What level have they reached in an organisation? If you consider that being the CEO earning £1m+ a year is the pinnacle of career success, it’s easy to feel that you have failed in your career once you’ve stepped off the career ladder to the top.

In fact, research has shown that the majority of people tend to judge their own success by more subjective measures. A classic study by Jane Sturges found that factors such as enjoyment, accomplishment, influence, expertise and personal recognition rated highly in a group of managers’ descriptions of what success meant to them. For all of the women in the study, the content of the job was rated as more important than pay or status. Balance criteria were also used by some of the managers – meaning that success for them was how effectively they combined a satisfying home and work life. From my perspective, achieving fulfillment and satisfaction in both home and work life is one of the greatest measures of career success, yet one that is rarely mentioned when we commonly talk or read about successful people.

What does success mean to you?

Developing your own success criteria can help you to feel more positive about the choices you have made to date and to develop clearer objectives for this next stage of your career.

A useful coaching exercise to help with this is to mentally fast-forward to your 70th birthday. To put you in the right frame of mind, imagine who is there with you, where you are, even what you are wearing.  Now imagine you’re giving a speech discussing what you’re proud of having achieved in your career and your life as a whole. What comes to mind? What will make you feel you have succeeded in your life? Write down whatever comes to mind and you’ll have a good starting point for developing your own personal view of success. And that’s what really matters…

julianne&katerinaJulianne Miles, from the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.

Starting your own business? Redefine success

Starting your own business? Redefine success

If you are a working mum and have left a corporate life to start up your own business, have you redefined your criteria of success?

If you were working for a company for many years chances are your success criteria were defined by your role, your departmental objectives and the company’s targets. Or maybe not…..maybe you defined your own success based on job title, salary and benefits package, overseas trips, class of business travel and number of staff reporting to you.

So what happens when the constructs that we defined our success (and sometimes ourselves) by are no longer there?

Does this mean we aren’t successful?

Starting up your own business means redefining many things, finances, working location, tax status but often we forget to redefine how we will judge ourselves to be successful.

From my own experience and working with many Corporate Crossovers®, (women who have left corporate to start their own business) not redefining our success criteria can leave us with that nagging doubt wondering if we made the right decision to leave. And I believe this is even more so for working mothers. If left unchecked, it can also grow into vacillation about whether to stay self-employed or to go and get a ‘real’ job again.

Personally, I went through an 18 month period of wondering if I should ‘get real’ and get a job again and it wasn’t till I took stock and thought about what success meant to me now in my own business, did I realize how successful I was!

Taking stock for me involved:

  • examining what was REALLY important to me about the life I wanted to live (my values)
  • how much time I spent working now vs. before (daily hours and vacation)
  • my income
  • comparing my stress levels with now and before
  • focusing on myself and not comparing myself with former peers

After my period of reflection those years ago – I was stunned! Stunned at how much I was earning with low stress and lots more time. That was the real turning point for me to grab hold of my business with both hands and fully commit!

So whether you have just left corporate to start up your own venture or you have been doing it for some years, take some time to reflect deeply on what your success criteria are for you now.

Your say: I would love to hear how you define success now you have left corporate! Just leave a message in the comment box below.

Author: Wendy Kerr runs Corporate Crossovers, offering mentoring and training to those who have started their own business after a corporate career. Check out her website for more tips, resources and advice for business start-ups

Authentic success - How to make choices that fit who you are?

Authentic success – How to make choices that fit who you are?

Life coach Denise Parker shares her key steps to help working mums and women leaders achieve authentic success. Remember: “If you try and be like everyone else who will be like you?”

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes, or a smart new outfit, and then stepped out and realised that they just didn’t fit properly? And while you’re wearing them you just can’t ignore how they feel, you know something’s not right and the thought of it just keeps distracting you and playing on your mind?

Well just like that ill-fitting suit, or those uncomfortable shoes, success that isn’t authentic doesn’t feel quite right either. And what’s more the consequences can be much longer lasting and far more damaging!

Lack of Authentic success|

  • Feels like hard work
  • You’re not getting the results you want
  • You lack clarity, feel confused or distracted and are not sure what to focus on
  • It’s a struggle to stop your mind racing
  • You feel stressed or nervous and just can’t slow down
  • You’re doing ok but something’s missing
  • Your confidence dips and you start questioning or doubting yourself, especially when it seems like everyone else is doing better than you
  • It starts to affect your relationships and other areas of your life
  • You may be able to tolerate this for a while, but just like those shoes at the end of the night, you can find yourself asking ‘what on earth am i doing?’

Benefits of Authentic success

  • It feels completely natural and you’re doing what you love
  • You’re in your flow and things happen more easily
  • Your mind is clear, you know exactly what you want and what needs to happen
  • You remain calm and relaxed, even under pressure
  • You have an inner confidence that allows you to handle new challenges and make decisions that fit for you
  • You’re far more compelling and attract potential clients with ease
  • You value yourself and charge what you’re worth
  • You enjoy more balance and well-being in your life

Sadly, many people I meet, and clients I work with, have lost their true sense of self, forgotten what really matters to them and lost confidence in themselves. And this means that they’re either holding back and not getting the results they would like, or are getting results but not being true to who they really are. And for small business owners who are wearing several different hats, juggling so many balls and being bombarded with information and advice, it can be easy to lose ourselves along the way!

So what can you do if you recognise any of the symptoms mentioned above?

Well, first of all realise that you’re not alone 😉 Secondly, consider the following key steps.

S – Start with yourself

Ensure you have a healthy sense of self. This is essential for developing and maintaining a feeling of confidence, realising your natural gifts and talents and making choices that fit with who YOU are.

P – Prioritise what matters most

Be really clear about what matters most, and what really drives you at a deep level. This allows you to focus more easily, gain greater clarity and enjoy more passion and inspiration in your life.

A – Accept and let go

Release unhelpful habits and conditioning, accept who you are and let go of attachments to things, people and opinions. This is hugely liberating and frees you up to be your natural, authentic self.

And perhaps above all, remember who you really are. You have a unique set of skills, gifts and talents. You bring something unique to the world. And that’s YOU J

So I’ll share with you one of my favourite quotes……..“If you try and be like everyone else who will be like you?”

And if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.

Author: Denise Parker has been helping managers and leaders in organisations, and small business owners, create more Authentic Success since 1997. This means that not only do they get to achieve outstanding results but they also find more enjoyment and meaning in the work that they do AND feel good about themselves too. She knows from her own experience, and the experience of her clients, that reaching our goals is only one aspect of success, how we are feeling is quite another. denise@deniseparker.com

 

Be successful - strengthen your strengths

Be successful – strengthen your strengths

A major key to success at work is to know what your strengths are and to work on strengthening them.

It reminded me of something I heard about Tiger Woods and one of the things that made him such a successful golf player. You can imagine that, if you are a golf player, you would want to make sure that, if your ball lands in the sand, you can hit it out as cleanly as possible. You would probably practise quite a lot, so that you could be confident of doing that. Not Tiger Woods, though. Instead of practising hitting balls out of sand to compensate for the bad shot that landed the ball in the sand, he concentrated on strengthening his strengths of hitting the ball accurately in the first place, to keep it out of the sand.

So often the training and development offered at work focuses on trying to improve weaknesses, rather than looking at what people are good at and helping them to become even better. Peter Honey, one of the world’s leading guru’s in learning and behaviour, emphasises that building on strengths produces bigger gains than overcoming weaknesses. In his book – Strengthen your Strenghths – he describes 8 self-management skills that underpin personal effectiveness – acting with integrity, being a creative thinker, committing to quality, developing yourself, embracing change, managing unwanted stress, managing your time and motivating yourself. The book includes a checklist for each of the skills, so that you can identify what your current strengths are and where to improve or build on them. Even if you do not analyse your strengths against these particular categories, it is worth standing back every now and then to reflect on what your strongest skills are. I often suggest that my clients ask 5 or 6 people, who know them well in different contexts, to tell them what they think their key skills and strengths are. Try asking your boss, colleagues, friends, your partner, and even your children – the results are often surprising and affirming!

Once you have analysed your strengths and got some third party input to make it more objective, you can look at how you are currently using those strengths in your work. If your work plays to your strengths, great – and what else could you do to develop those strengths by further training and using them more in different tasks or projects? If you are not using your strengths to the full, maybe you could see what opportunities there are around and discuss with your boss what you could do. Strengthening your strengths is more likely to bring job satisfaction and success at work.

If you would like to read more, I can certainly recommend his book: ‘Strengthen your Strengths – A Guide to Enhancing your Self-Management Skills’ by Peter Honey.

Author: Anne Williams of  Transforming Health – Using the power of your mind to improve your health and well-being. Anne works as a coach with a focus on Hypnotherapy, and has many years of experience in coaching women and business people. She is also the mother of two teenagers herself.

Pangs of grief, is it normal?

Pangs of grief, is it normal?

Lots of mums that gave up their career, do feel grief for lost status and independence. This became apparent once more when a thread with this title shot to one of the most active discussions on Mumsnet last summer.

Read discussion thread on mumsnet – Mumsnet Talk – Topic: Going back to work – July 2010