Category Archives: How To Show Up

Do you show them what you’re made of?

Remember your brilliance so others can reward you for it.

If you’ve ever heard yourself say any of the following, it gives us a sign you’ve forgotten some of the things that you’re really good at or you’ve forgotten some of the key pieces of your career and life journey.

If you ever think these things and then you don’t speak, you’ll know you’re undervaluing yourself or being undervalued or underselling yourself.

  • “I want to be taken more seriously”
  • “I’m often treated like a secretary rather than a director”
  • “I end up undercutting myself – I give people a price for my services or the salary I want and then I undercut myself and backtrack or apologise”

Are you able to hear one or more things you’ve either said or thought in there? I can promise you I’ve heard these phrases so many times in different formats, in different ways and places. I know just like I’m sure you do, that it’s because that person saying those things doesn’t own or express the value, the importance, the difference that their work makes. So, by definition, other people don’t appreciate it, feel how they value it or how valuable it is. how they think about it. It also tells me that they don’t recognise it for themselves. And by definition, they don’t recognise or ‘market’ their worth. Aha.

Now, I never really like to think about marketing myself but, let’s be honest – you do need to be offering yourself and putting yourself forward in the workplace. Showing people what you’re about. So, try this.

If you want to think about it in a marketing sense, think about a four-bedroom house an estate agent is selling and one of the bedrooms is being used as a study. If you’re going to try sell the house, you have to turn that study-style bedroom into a bedroom again because people will look at your house and value it as a three-bedroom house with a study rather than what it is that you’re truly offering which is a four-bedroom house.

They kind of know it on one level, but one of the bedrooms is a study and they’re not seeing it as a four-bedroom house. They have to see it. And an estate agent said to me, “Never underestimate how people need to be shown that fourth bedroom rather than have to imagine it or be told about it.”

It’s the same with you and me.

Never underestimate or assume people get how special and valuable what you do really is. They have to see it or experience it or have it shown to them. Clearly. Don’t assume they can see it for you. They rarely can.

Show them what you’re made of. You owe it to yourself. Why wouldn’t you maximise the opportunities which are so close sometimes you don’t see them? If you help others see your value, they help guide you towards the opportunities too.

My ex-colleague James saw my gifts more clearly than I did and guided me on to the path to where I am now. He asked if I’d heard of coaching back in 2005 when it was virtually unheard of here in the UK. He said I’d always been approachable, smart-thinking, curious and able to connect with people quickly. He guided me to take that first step to what I’m doing now. Pay attention to what people see for you. It’s often pure gold!

Watch Your Pace When Speaking

It affects IF or HOW people listen to you.

Pace, what do I mean by that?

Being used to hosting webinars, tele seminars and Live Events, so much is about your rate and your speed of delivery. So many clients of mine race through their content, their ideas, their input and, the truth is, a lot of the time they’ll be tuned out by those who they need to listen to them most.

People lose interests, they can’t process the information quickly enough so lose your thread, they aren’t given enough time or interest to stay tuned in. It makes a big difference to if or how people listen to you if you take the time – choose to take the time – to vary your pace. Your speed. Your way of delivery.

Now when I’m speaking on stage, on group client calls, I’m very conscious of pacing myself, and in pace also comes your speed of response. Your speed of speaking, your speed of action, and deciding on a non-action. Just as well as how and if you decide to speak or respond.

Here are 5 quick and dirty scenarios and tips to help you pace yourself day-to-day both at work and at home:

  1. When you’re asked a question, wherever you are, take a moment. Draw breath. Don’t just respond as if you’ve had a tennis ball fired at you. Choose what you’ll say. Buy time with “hmm, that’s a great question, in my opinion …” or “tell me more about what you want to know”. Pacing the other person at the same time. Aha!
  2. When you’re telling a story, wherever you are. Pause, speed up with detail and then slow down with the point, the lesson. It adds impact and it gives you a chance to catch up with yourself.
  3. When you’re on a conference call. Know the organiser’s name and use it as you jump in. “John, that’s a great point” not just “err can I just say something?”. Even better, “Hi there John, this is Kay White from London, this is how I think we should go” etc.
  4. From the stage/a presentation. When you’re introduced, take a moment. 2 or 3 seconds to steady yourself, look at people, give them a sign which says, “I’ll start when I’m ready” and it’s amazing the difference it makes. An experienced musician, a pianist for example, sits, looks at the keys, moves on the seat, takes a breath, then starts. Not leaping on stage and starting straight away. The moment needs build up and the pianist knows the audience needs to settle too.
  5. When you’re running a meeting. Rather than feel you have to know everything, ask questions around the table, use people’s names to hook attention and to keep people on track “with 10 minutes left, let’s move on to X” – pacing yourself and your colleagues at the same time.

There are a myriad of other scenarios and tactics you can use. You get the idea though.

Pacing yourself, slowing it down, positioning and settling yourself before you dive in with your thoughts is strategic. It gets and keeps attention and it helps you be more present to what’s actually happening. Now that really is strategic.

How to Embrace the Challenge of Change

Go with the flow of the opportunities and rise to meet them as they arrive.

It’s one of my go-to books. Each year I read ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Ken Blanchard which reminds me how to recognise change and expect it. Not to sit like a rabbit in the headlights and hold my head saying things aren’t fair.

Well, one of the only things you can rely on is that everything is shifting and changing all the time.

Relationships, market conditions, policies, who’s who, technology and why are we surprised?

When you consider what was important to you when you were 5, 15, 25, 35, 45 and so on – you can tell that for the most part, the key drivers for you have changed.

At 5 you probably wanted to have the newest popular toy, at 15 a boyfriend or girlfriend and good grades, at 25 more money to buy your own place, 35 a child or a partner (or a new partner) and so on. Your landscape changed, your desires changed or, as it says in the book, your cheese naturally moved.

When you take a look then at your workplace or industry these days, where companies have to be nimble and respond to market conditions to be able to stay in business, why would it be any different? One of the things I’ve learned is that there is no ‘job for life’ anymore and on some levels that’s a good thing. Companies can’t offer the certainty of it and nor can we, or should we, rely on it. That, in itself, gives us walk-ability. The essence being keeping your eyes and ears open to what’s going on as well as your mind open to how it works for you. Not if, but how? If you don’t believe you want to make it work then that’s where your opportunities to move your cheese lie. They lie with you.

As it says in the book “Every company wants to survive in the future but also stay competitive. While in the past we may have wanted loyal employees, today we need flexible people who are not possessive about ‘the way we do things around here’”.

Here’s a simple set of incisive questions I ask myself and my clients when we see change (another) on the horizon:

  • Where are the opportunities in here for you?
  • What will you have to let go of to embrace the opportunities?
  • What will be the threats?
  • What’s the worst that can happen and how will you handle it?
  • What would you tell me to do if we swapped places?

We all know intuitively it’s an inside job. Change. It’s an inside job. How you approach it, what you make it mean, how you talk about it, how you embrace it and how you allow it to stretch you so you grow with the flow of it.

When you come up against yourself resisting the flow of change either inside of you or external to you, remind yourself of how much change you’ve encountered, handled and benefitted from. Then remind yourself to choose how to approach it. Choose to approach change. Always. All ways.

 

Ownership – You Must OWN Your Skills & Experience

‘Career progression often depends on taking risks and advocating for oneself – traits that girls are discouraged from exhibiting.’ ~ Sheryl Sandberg

Taking ownership and acknowledging your own part in results is crucial to your visibility, confidence and others’ confidence in you. Along the lines of receiving rewards and putting yourself forward for financial recognition, taking ownership and staking your claim to results is key to your own personal expansion.

Women tend to be very generous to everyone else when talking about and demonstrating the results and levels of success in their team. “The team were amazing on the ABC Project and their commitment to get the job done never waivered” or “Bob really stepped up and made it happen.” Yet, if someone actually tries to acknowledge a woman as the successful contributor, she often brushes it off or accredits the success to someone or something else – a boss, a colleague, team, market conditions, timing or luck.

Do you do this? If so, it is so unfair on you. It is part of our expansion to allow our own success to shine through. You don’t have to be a selfish show-off. Let’s be honest, we all know one or two of those who takes credit for themselves.

However, we can include our input into the feedback, updates and lessons about work we’re involved in without being a show-off. In Principle 3 of my new book ‘It’s Always Your Move’, I’m going to give you structures to be able to say things in a way that is both comfortable and allows your part to shine. For now, just think about how comfortable you are with owning your own success, input and contribution.

I believe a factor which comes into play in owning your own success is the natural tendency women have for collaboration and collaborative relationships. It’s primal, and I love that we’re like this. However, for the purposes of your own career success, you need to be able to toot your own horn without blowing your own trumpet. If you don’t, others will question your ability to operate on your own instincts, produce results and own your skills, experience and wisdom. We want you to be brilliant – not shy away but to show us what you’re capable of doing. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being real. Sometimes the best lessons are when things ‘hit the fan’ …

It can sound like this: “Yes, Project ABC was tough. One of my biggest lessons when we hit a wall on the budgets was to go back to the drawing board. I pulled in a few favours from the finance team to check all our numbers and spending levels and then made the decision to reduce the amount of overtime authorised. It focussed our minds and I’m proud that we brought the project in under budget. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is to constantly check the numbers rather than let the excitement of the project run away with us.” See what I mean. You’re showing up without showing off.

Of course, the paragraph above is fictitious, but you can sense there’s a level of me and us in there which is comfortable, informative and truthful as far as how you own your part in the success and outcome of something. There’s a level of risk, naturally, of putting yourself squarely in the frame. But I believe the risk is far greater by undervaluing or underplaying your part in things. Your sense of yourself and how rooted you feel in your experience comes from acknowledging you actually have the experience. A lot of it, in fact.

(Extracted from Principle 1 – Embrace Your Expansion from my forthcoming book ‘It’s Always Your Move’ Purposeful Progress for Corporate Career Women, featuring The 8 Principles of Your Career Success CycleTM available from 4th October 2018)

How “Out of the Office” are YOU?

How to show up and sparkle at work – even when you’re on holiday.

“It’s the dilemma that’s so common now – when you’re “Out of the Office” just how “Out” of the office are you?

With the holiday season upon us, this is a timely way to plan your exit strategy and still look after your connections.

Having collected some ‘jaw-droppingly bad’ Out-of-Office bouncebacks over the years (best one: “I’m away from the office so contact me again on my return” – No dates, no alternatives, no clue) I thought it would be useful for you to use a simple structure for your email ‘Out of Office’ bounceback.

The simple-to-follow formula of Acknowledge/Inform/Guide is the most efficient and most helpful to the recipient. It’s also the safest bet to enable you to come across to your clients, customers and colleagues as professional, helpful and thoughtful – even when you’re not there.

Depending on how you’ve decided to manage being away, I suggest doing one of the following:

Read your emails regularly whilst you’re away, twice per day for example.

Have someone read them and then sort out the ones you need to read when you return.

Read them only when you return.

1. Reading your emails regularly while you’re away

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until Month, Date.
  • Inform: I’ll be reading and responding to my emails in the meantime and will do this twice per day.
  • Guide: If your message is urgent and you need immediate assistance, please email John Smith, Title, who will help you. You can email him at — or call him on 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.

2. Someone’s reading them, sorting out the ones you need to read on your return

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m away from the office until August X.
  • Inform: My colleague, Jim Smith, Title will be accessing my emails during my absence and will ensure any requiring urgent attention, are handled while I’m away.
  • Guide: If you want to speak to Jim Smith or call him direct while I’m away, he can be contacted at —– or you can call him on 123 456 7890

3. Read them only when you return

  • Acknowledge: Thanks for your message and I’m out-of-the-office on holiday at the moment.
  • Inform: I will return to the office again on August X and in the meantime have no access to my emails
  • Guide: If you require immediate assistance, please contact Jane Smith, Title, who will be happy to help you. You can email Jane at jane@emailaddress.com ——- or call her direct on: 123 456 7890. Thanks again, Your Name.

There’s always a balance to achieve and to weigh up how your emails impact your time away is a decision you have to make yourself. There’s always a rub!

If you decide to read them and respond to them while you’re away, I suggest you agree you’ll read them and respond to them for a certain period of time, say an hour, every day at the same time. Plans can then be made around that and you can tell people when you’ll get back to them. Managing their and your holiday companions’ expectations too is key.

Help yourself by discussing this first with everyone you’re on holiday with just makes it easy for them to understand and let you get on with it. Trying to do it between trips or sneaking on to your smart-phone between meals just becomes stressful and can antagonise your family and friends. Much easier to manage their and your clients and colleagues’ expectation.

You may, or may not agree but this quote sums up the point here:

“Time for work – yet take much holiday, for art’s and friendship’s sake”. George de Wilde

So, I hope for your own art and friendships, you take much holiday.

Worthiness – Your Sense of Being Enough

“You are enough.” ~ The Universe

This is one of those words, worthy, which can set your teeth jangling.

Am I worthy of this? Who am I to be worthy or deserving of doing this or of having this? It’s a self-reflection moment and a decision that you make for you all about you. Being enough. Smart enough, experienced enough, clever enough, fun enough, kind enough and so it goes.

Worthiness is a tricky one to measure because it’s often a sense you have and no one sits you down and tells you – and even if they do, you don’t believe them. If you say to yourself “I don’t deserve this” or “people will think I’m too big for my boots if…” then this is where your worthiness muscle needs exercising, strengthening.

At the root of worthiness is how comfortable and how deserving you feel for what you attract and make happen in your life, good or not so good. To understand your own sense of worthiness and deserving is to be able to ask yourself “Who, if not me?” and “If not me, why someone else?”

You’ll often find there isn’t anyone else you know who should be doing or contributing or handling what you are, it’s just you need to get used to the feeling. The sense of it. The sense of you being enough, more than enough, to handle it. Imperfections and all.

You are already enough. Now, decide to believe it and act on it. That’s where the magic is!

Extracted from Principle 1 ”Your Expansion” from my new book.

Release date: 4th October 2018

How Often Are You Up Close – and Personal?

There’s no substitute for the ‘LIVE’ or personalised version of You

It’s easy to get lulled into this false sense of reality isn’t it?

Instead of picking up the phone to speak to someone, you drop them an email or send them a message or a text. Instead of dropping someone a note, you can instant message, Skype message or send them an eCard. Instead of going to a networking event, social gathering, exhibition or event, you can show up online. All of these ways of being in touch, of showing up on the radar, are virtually instant and take very little effort. They work too, to an extent. There’s also a darker side too, a sense of disconnectedness.

What I also know to be true is this. There is nothing like being there in-person, in-the-room and pressing the flesh with other people. The energy, the sense of connectedness, the opportunity to take yourself out of your environment and put yourself in another, all adds to the mix and what comes out of that is so very different than being ‘virtual’.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m the first to enjoy, leverage and actively revel in all the gizmos and ways of working with people virtually. It’s something I’ve come to love about working in this ‘small world’ way. Working with a client who was based in Melbourne and mentoring her to navigate herself successfully to a promotion proved the point. We never met and are unlikely to.

What is often underestimated though is how disconnected we can feel and be perceived, when we take ourselves, our personalised selves, out of the mix too much and too regularly – often without necessarily being conscious of it.

Let me ask you a few quick questions.

  • Have you ever emailed someone who’s in the same room/office as you because you can’t face or make time to go across and speak to them?
  • Have you ever emailed someone instead of calling them as an easy ‘get out’?
  • Have you ever texted someone a ‘round robin’ Thank You note instead of either calling or writing them a personal note?
  • Do you find yourself sending an ‘Apologies’ meeting alert rather than calling the person to say you can’t attend?
  • Have you ever wished you’d met up with someone in person sooner rather than wasting time going back/forth on email?

I know, like me, some – or all – of your answers will be a ‘Yes’. I ask myself, just before sending an email or text, is this the best way to be in touch today?

Clients constantly tell me that they can’t “get people to do what they want them to” or they struggle to get people to respond to them. When pressed, it’s often because they lack connection with the other person/s. That’s where the secret of ‘pressing the flesh’ or personalising can change things in an instant.

You don’t have to spend your life bouncing around the world on planes or being so busy going to meetings or writing notes you never give yourself time to implement or think. No, of course not. I don’t either.

Here are a few starters for you if you decide to show up ‘personally’ more than you are.

  • When you go to email someone, pick up the phone and call instead. Even if you leave a voicemail and send an email afterwards, you connected, you made the effort. They hear your ‘real life’ voice. It means something, to them.
  • Instead of sending an RSVP by email – call or drop a personal, hand-written note instead. Your voice, your writing all counts more as you being ‘in person’.
  • When you look at an invitation and think “No, too busy” – just ask yourself “How can I make it work so I can go?” so you let people see you and be with you, even for some of the time if not all of it, as you with them.
  • When you do decide to show up in person, instead of hanging with people you know, challenge yourself to meet and greet at least 5 people you’ve never met before. You only have to be open to asking them a few questions and, off you go!
  • When you’re with other people, be more interested in them, rather than being interested in them being interested in you. That’s where the true magic is – they magically become more interested in you anyway – aha!

Daniel Goleman who wrote the transformational – and much quoted – book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ says “When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”

I believe he’s right. A big piece of that is coming forward to make a personalised – not impersonalised – connection. Go on, I dare you.

 

Research & Be Curious

Cast Your Net W-i-d-e

Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” ~ Zora Heale Hurston

It does help, of course, if you know what you’re looking for. In any situation – from a shop to a dating site, from a holiday to a car; the more specific you can be about what you do – and what you don’t – want, the easier it is to hone in on.

Let’s say you’ve decided it’s time to branch out, to find a new role or a new industry – you know it’s time.

When you know the part of the business or industry that you want to focus on, the easier it is for others to help you. If you, for example, know that you want to work for ABC Banking Company because you see how well they’re doing in the press; you know from your colleague that they’re recruiting and they have a salary scale that is attractive, then I recommend focusing on that company like a laser beam.

Read up about them in the press, cross-reference your network on LinkedIn, focus on them via recruiters and speak to friends and colleagues and let them know you want to find a way in.

When you focus like this based on what you sense or know, you start to do two things quickly. First, you become more of an expert in that company and what they stand for, who’s who in the zoo, and what their results look like. These days so much information is available on the internet that there’s no excuse to say you don’t know anyone. We are all one or two clicks away from information or introductions; if we search or ask for it.

Second, you start to notice things, which refer to that company or industry or you start to attract conversations, which involve them. In the Law of Attraction premise, what you focus on expands and, just as when you decide to buy, for example, a Black Audi TT, you start to notice them more than ever before. Your attention is tuned towards seeing them. The same happens when you focus on a company or an industry.

If you don’t have a clue which company or you don’t necessarily know which industry you want to direct your attention to, you can still hone in on some of the details which will support your research.

Researching and profiling something is what we do naturally. When we’re thinking of going to a certain location for a holiday, we cross-reference the hotels and the recommendations. We use recognised feedback sites like TripAdvisor™ to find out what others think or have experienced. It’s just the same for your career. It’s just that it’s so much more important.

Extracted from Kay White’s 2nd Book – Title: TBA.

Launch Date: Thursday 4th October 2018

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Rolling the dice on your career moves

It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

The multi-million dollar question, as is said – should I stay or should I go? How do we ever know if what we’re doing is the right thing until we’ve done it and got going enough to find out? The question I would counter this particular enquiry with is this. “How will you feel if you are where you are in 12 months time and things are the same and you’re another year older?” You might counter this with “You know what, with all I’ve got going on, actually it will be alright for me. I just need to get more out of what I’m doing” or that kind of thinking and if that’s you, then I agree too.

I’m not an advocate of moving roles, organisations or industries for the sake of it or to prove the point that you can, it’s about what feels right for you. It’s about you knowing how you feel about what you’re doing, how long you can see yourself doing it for and your appetite to take a chance on yourself, to back yourself and to roll the dice on your career progress.

If you think of any big move you’ve made in your life – getting married, having a child, changing roles so far, buying a home, selling a home – all big moves which affect all areas of your life. These decisions were made with the same conscious and sub-conscious influences which you use to decide if or when you’ll make a career move. You’ve followed that guidance and then rolled the dice. See what I mean below, I know I look at things through these lenses.

  • What will this do for me?
  • How do I know I’m ready and feel right about it?
  • What are the benefits to doing this?
  • What are the risks and how will I handle them?
  • How will this decision affect others?
  • Can I see myself being happy with things as they are?
  • What would I tell someone else to do if they asked me for advice?

Once you’ve sense-checked yourself and taken a good look at your responses to the above questions you’ll know if it’s time to roll the dice again and take that leap of faith.

It’s not always the time – in fact rarely ever – the perfect time. Most of the time though, it’s worth really closely considering.

(Extracted from Kay White’s 2nd Book – Title, TBA)

Caring For Yourself, First

Being more self-ish is good for everyone

If, or how you care for yourself or indeed if you put yourself first is something so many women struggle with. Women, in general, expect to be towards the back of the queue when it comes to looking after ourselves. This is a false economy. In our eagerness to please and be ‘perfect’ we tend to put others’ needs and wants first, ensuring as far as we can that others are cared for and happy and then, if there’s a shred of energy or attention left, we look at what it is we want and need.

This attitude leads to exhaustion and also leads to unhappiness and frustration. To allow yourself to be important enough to go for what you need – exercise, nutrition, enough sleep, family time, time off, more interesting projects and promotion opportunities – all these and more, only become important and on the radar for others when you make them important.

To allow yourself to let go of being a version of some super-human woman who doesn’t want to cause a fuss or wants to avoid showing others what she needs is self-defeating and dangerous. Instead, be prepared to look at what you need and want to be effective, to discuss it rather than hint or moan about it to others, is to accept you’re fallibility and your own needs. It’s to be, as I say, more self-ish. Not selfish but to care a little less about everyone else and to care a little more about yourself.

When you’re on a plane and the crew runs through the safety procedures, one of the instructions is to ‘put your oxygen mask on first’. How can you help those around you if you’re starving of oxygen yourself? The irony is often that by forgetting to look after ourselves, we end up needing to be looked after by others. The last thing we were wanting.

So, try to be more clear about what it is you need to feel good, to be healthy and to allow your own precious life-force energy to be as important – no, more important – than others’. How can you do what you want to do and contribute like you know you can if you’re empty of energy and inspiration because you’ve poured it all away to others?

Stop. You serve no-one, least of all yourself.

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.”~ Deborah Day

(Extracted from Kay White’s 2nd Book – Title, TBA)