my career

Advice to My (Not So) Younger Self

Posted on August 13, 2017. Filed under: coaching, expectations, Leadership and teams, my career |

Yes you may think you’ve seen this before and perhaps you have. The question is have you acted on the hints, tips and insights gained from others.

You can’t put an old head on young shoulders

That’s not what this is about. What it is about is aiming to help others to not repeat the mistakes that I have made – I’d much prefer it if you learned from mine before forging ahead and making your own mistakes in a new area.


Hence the theme of advice to a younger self.

As you can see from the title of this post, this one is a lesson that I feel that I am still learning.  Like many people I have a tendency to work hard, especially on topics and issues that I am passionate about. In fact I work really hard when I am passionate about something. The question is whether “working hard” is actually the right thing to do.

Anyone who has experienced burn out or the fact of working yourself into ill health will resonate with this idea. There are times when we get really frustrated, burned out or unwell because it feels like “I am the only one who cares about this”

Pinterest popped up this little gem – Everybody Somebody Anybody Nobody

Are you familiar with it? It’s a little story that pops up in all manner of places.

Workplace lunch rooms or kitchens – especially when doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher seems to be done by one person

Meeting rooms of sporting clubs or volunteer organisations – when the committee members are tired of not being able to stand down from a role because there is no-one willing to step up

I admit that in some voluntary organisations there are people who hold onto their roles and don’t offer anyone else any training so they kind of create their own frustration, but let’s move on.

So what is the advice to myself?

If I am doing something because it needs to be done but no-one else is willing to put their hand up to do it.  There may be a good reason!

If something needs to be done an no-one is willing to do it, 1. why does it need to be me who does it and 2. what will really happen if no-one does it


woman-1733891_1920Usually the “worst case scenario” plays out inside my head. Also known as the guilt trip.

The advice is when in this situation what else can be done other than throwing yourself under the bus, or on the hand grenade. (side bar – I thought that was a great scene in Captain America by the way, but I don’t have superhuman powers)

If you are dealing with frustration and burnout or fatigue from taking on too much, then perhaps the piece of advice in this blog is just for you at just the right time.

My lessons learned?

I confess that I am still learning – we are all perfectly imperfect – yet these are my tips

  1. Catch yourself in the act of doing something merely because it needs to be done and no-one else will do it. To avoid frustration and burnout there has to be a meaningful outcome for me in doing that task (the good old WIIFM)
  2. When taking something on be very clear with yourself and others about any terms or conditions. If you are stepping in to an interim position for 6 weeks then make it clear that at the end of that 6 weeks you will stand aside.
  3. Be prepared for the consequences of acting on your “conditions” Learning to let go of things can be as much of a challenge as not taking them on in the first place. We all know examples when someone has started something “just until a replacement is found” and it has hone on as a permanent arrangement.
  4. Be prepared to get a coach or a mentor who can help keep you accountable to yourself. I confess that this is really hard for me as I don’t like to “give up” or to take advice or feedback about what needs to improve – but that is where the power is and where the new insight comes from. So yes I have a coach and yes I take the feedback.

If you enjoyed this or got something out of it, please let me know and please share it with someone who you think may get some benefit.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Working Hard and Getting Nowhere – this could be why

Posted on August 6, 2017. Filed under: my career | Tags: , , |


I’m not sure about you, but when I was little I was always told

Work hard and the results will come

Good things come to those who wait

Just do the right thing and things will work out

Many of my clients say they were told the same or very similar things. I’m guessing you may have been too.

It’s good that this is starting to change yet there is still a long way to go. For those of us who were told this we might be feeling one or more of these

  • frustrated
  • disappointed
  • angry
  • confused
  • burned out

Most of us have had the experience of working hard – really hard – and then being overlooked. Working long hours is not all it’s cracked up to be (for some of my clients working the long hours has been part of the reason they have not been recognised)

So what else can you do?

Working hard is focused on the input – it’s like taking your dirty dishes to a cake baking contest. Showing your work isn’t what the judges can taste – they want to experience the results and how they are presented.

That’s where your focus at work needs to be. Recognition of Result,


When I say recognition of result, let me explain.

As you may know I am accredited in Hogan Profiling Tools and their recently released High Potential Talent Model has three factors:

  • foundations (the skills)
  • effectiveness (the work)
  • emergence (being recognised)

In many instances attention is given to the emergence component because, yes you guessed it, that’s the one that gets the attention.

It may be sad, but it’s true.  There is limited satisfaction in always being the unsung hero or the quiet achiever. Many of my coaching clients have come to me frustrated that they are “doing all the work and getting overlooked for that promotion” . This is the common experience of the quiet achiever.

Before you think that I am encouraging you to change your personality or grab a megaphone and start bragging. Let me finish this thought.

The think you need to start doing is to find your own way to stand out.


Get strategic. Make a plan about how you want to be recognised and what is needed for that to happen. Here’s a few ideas.

  1. Identify the decision makers and influencers  in that key decision
  2. Make the most of the uniqueness that you and only you bring to your workplace
  3. Review other “successes” and learn from them

If you’ve proved that working hard is not getting the results you expect, then remember what Einstein famously said:

Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

If you liked this blog please feel to share it as the majority of my clients find me through referrals and my existing network. If you are wondering if coaching or mentoring is right for you, please drop me an email to and we can explore that decision.


Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Why You Must Never, Ever Lie in an Interview

Posted on October 8, 2014. Filed under: coaching, my career |

I was shocked recently to see an article advising the interview questions that you must lie about. I did not read the article so it may have been an attention grabbing headline – and that certainly worded! (It may be case of the wrong sort of attention however that could be another blog)

What?!?!?!? Why would you tell someone to lie in an interview?

The only thing lying will do is get you offered the wrong job. Think about it, and think it through to the end.

You are asked if you have experience in a certain field and you lie and say that you do.

You are asked about the level of experience you have and you lie and say you have more experience than you do.

You are then offered the job. Where you will be expected to operate certain equipment or deal with issues and situations that are beyond your skill set. There is a strong chance that you will stuff up because you are out of your depth.

And then what?

Could someone get hurt? Maybe you or a co-worker. Or a customer?

You may damage equipment or the reputation of the new employer.

Then what?

Your new boss will be very unimpressed. It will be clear that you lied. Then your employment will be ended as this will probably happen in the probation period.

You are back on the job market. Only this time you have a gap in your employment timeline. You left your last job then went to the one you lied to get. What do you do? Do you include the failed job on your resume? If so, how do you explain why you were there for only a short time? Who from that company would be willing to give you a reference? What will they be saying about you?

OK I have been a bit extreme with that example to make a point. Let me take another one. An employee, say called Pat, wants to move into the HR field and feels stuck in a recruitment role in the current company. Decides to leave and go to a bigger company where recruitment is inside HR and Pat can progressively move into the HR role after gaining some context and observing the HR team in action. Pat goes to the interview for a recruitment role in a larger company and they ask how long Pat intends to stay in the role.

Does Pat tell the truth and say it is a stepping stone to HR or does Pat lie and say the recruitment role is the goal?

Do you see where I am coming from here? If Pat lies and then tries to move out of the recruitment role in 6 months or so then the manager who hired Pat is likely to feel let down. If Pat tells the whole truth then Pat may not be offered the role. Or Pat may be offered the role because that is how the company sees themselves providing career options for staff.

What to do? As a career coach my advice to Pat would be to respond saying that the recruitment role seems to be ideal although in the future Pat hopes for further career opportunities within the company so that Pat can grow and develop while at the same time retaining IP and company knowledge for the employer.

There is never a good time to lie in an interview, because the lie (if effective) will more than likely get you into a situation that is unhealthy and inappropriate for you and the employer.

It’s also worthwhile asking what will happen in the future when the other party finds out about the lie? How will you explain why you lied? How will you explain not coming clean about it sooner?

For professional and practical career advice, including how to phrase or frame an experience in a more positive light, see a career coach. If you would like to work with me, send me a message or call me.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

New Year time for a change?

Posted on January 2, 2013. Filed under: my career, personal leadership |

New Year new ideas?

New Year new ideas?

Happy 2013 – well that’s usually how we start a new year isn’t it?

Feeling happy about the opportunity for a fresh start.

Excited at the prospect of new beginnings.

Inspired to put a year behind us that perhaps did not work out the way we planned or hoped.

Feeling t hat this year is going to be your year!

Well, I think that all sounds great.

One question though – if we want change, we must be prepared to do something different. Because if we keep doing the same things and expecting different results, well I think I’ve quoted Einstein on that one before! 🙂

And that is, I believe, where many of us stumble – we know what we want as the end goal, yet we may not be entirely clear on how to get there or what we need to do to get there. That’s usually where a coach comes in handy by helping us to plan out what we need to do in order to achieve our goals.

In fact, sometimes a coach has a different role – to tell us what we need to do differently rather than just what needs to be done.

You see there are times where people are doing the right thing, just going about it in a way that is not going to generate the desired result for them.

It is what you do and how you do it that counts

It is what you do and how you do it that counts

Let me use an example.

Most of us have been through a gym or fitness program that incorporated weights. And one of the first things that a good coach/trainer/instructor teaches is the “form” or technique to use – so you work the targeted muscle groups and do it in a way that does not injure you or create undesired results.

And that is one reason that group programs work well – because you have a cost effective way of seeing how it should be done (by watching the instructore) as well as how others are doing it. For some people this is precisely why group coaching does not work because they watch others rather than the instructor and get distracted by the technique or questions of other people. Or the pace and weight use dby others – for those of you who have a competitive streak I’m sure you’ll understand exactly what I mean!

Returning to my New Year new idea/time for a change theme – if you have decided that you want more or different things from your work (whether it be your business or your career) in 2013, then you need to think about how you are going to make that happen.

Do you need to do new things?

Do you need to stop doing some things? (anyone who has looked at the “new year, new body” articles that seem to be everywhere you’ll be thinking of stopping or cutting down on your alcohol intake. And in fact that may not be a bad thing career wise either – too many people have drunk too much at a business function and later regretted something they said or did.

Do you need a coach to help you clarify what you need to keep doing, although in a slightly different way?

Some of my coaching clients have been doing the right things – just not quite enough of them – or (more often) not quite doing the right things. One of my clients decided that having an active  social media profile would be a good thing. Trouble is she got a little cuaght up in the social side of things and started to blur the lines between her work and social life.

Once it's said, or typed, the words can't be taken back

Once it’s said, or typed, the words can’t be taken back

Please understand that I’m saying here that social media is good – it’s just like any tool and needs to be used with thought.

This client had built a good range of followers – some influential people and good relationships – but she also had

followers of a social nature. As you can imagine the type of posts made by friends are very different to those made by work colleagues.

And it started to have a negative effect on her career. Because the sort of things that friends discuss are often not appropriate to be discussed in front of or with work colleagues. Let alone senior people who you are trying to influence in order to take your career to the next level. Or ideal prospective business associates.

There have been some recent blunders made in business terms – think of the sponsorship that was refused from Energy Watch because of their CEOs comments. What about the CEO of GoDaddy who lost some business because of his hunting of edangered species? Sure, both of those examples were of comments that would not really be acceptable to friends either.

As you plan ahead for how to make 2013 your year – consider who may be able to help you along the way.

Do you know someone who can give you some finesse and fine points on making better choices?

Do you know someone who will say to you what others may shy away from saying even though it will help your career? I once worked with a young lady who dressed quite provocatively and could not understand why she was unable to get a role in her desired area of audit. It was one of those “everyone knows why” situations yet I was the only person able to say it to her – and in a professional way – so that she understood that the dress code for a professional office environment needed to be different to that of a social outing.

If you want 2013 to be your year, and you’d like some support please give me a call. We can chat briefly about your goals and if I can help, because I just may be able to assist you to fast track your career success. And wouldn’t that be a great way to start the year?

fast track your career in 2013

fast track your career in 2013

career fast track men

fast track your career in 2013

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...