Archives for category: Success

I am enough (2)

Do you sometimes doubt your abilities and worry that you are not good enough?  Do you feel inadequate even though what you have achieved suggests otherwise?

If so then you could well be suffering from Imposter Syndrome.  It’s something that has probably always been around but it was given a label in the 1970s to describe the phenomenon in which successful people cannot internalise, or ‘own’, their successes.  It is experienced as a sense of inadequacy and ‘not enough’, even when information suggests this not to be true.  And, interestingly, it is more likely to be experienced by women.

First the good news – if you feel this is something you recognise in yourself then you are not alone.  In fact over 70% of people studied report having experienced it at one time or another in their lives.

And a long list of high achievers have all talked about experiencing these feelings too.  It would seem fame, success and prestigious accolades do not make you immune.

Imposter Syndrome is more than just doubting yourself and we have to unpick it further to be able to tackle it.  I would argue that Imposter Syndrome is a function of perfectionism and shame with these being two sides of the same coin.

Putting a spotlight on perfectionism makes sense – it’s a self destructive belief system in which we think that if we just do everything perfectly we can minimise difficult feelings of unworthiness and shame.  The cycle is addictive as perfect is an impossible standard to strive for.  And, when we get things wrong, or when people judge or blame us, we decide to strive even harder rather than acknowledging the impossible standards that have been set.

But, why shame?  Brené Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling that we are flawed and are therefore not worthy of love and belonging.  Maybe you’re surprised to see shame being discussed here.  It isn’t something that is often discussed but it is the driving emotion behind so many of our destructive behaviours in the workplace and, so, can’t be ignored.

I believe Imposter Syndrome is rife in the workplace, particularly for women, due to the masculine workplace culture.  If the workplace rewards ‘masculine’ traits of dominance, control, linear thinking and reason over ‘feminine’ ones such as group decision making, empathy, lateral thinking and intuition, then it’s no wonder women doubt their worthiness.

The lack of senior female roles models who ‘show up’ as themselves does not help.  In the past, and still today perhaps to a lesser extent, women felt that they have to take on masculine workplace characteristics to get ahead and therein lies the issue.  If women continue to bend to that idea that they have to be more ‘male’ to get ahead then that just undermines the value that women can, and should be encouraged to, bring to the workplace.

It’s easy to get caught in a vicious cycle – you don’t show up as yourself because what you bring isn’t valued, and because you’re not showing up as yourself you doubt yourself, and so it goes on.

Look out for our next newsletter in which we show you how to work through Imposter Syndrome.

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Our two day Daring Way™ workshop is now on the 16th and 17th March and is specifically for entrepreneurs. Through the course we will examine what gets in the way of us truly going for it as entrepreneurs, where we hold back and where we hide.  We will look at creativity, innovation, trust and empathy – and what might get in the way. Finally we will work through tools and techniques to support you in truly showing up as a business leader.  This setting also provides you with a support network for living brave in your whole lives beyond the two day workshop. Click here for more information.

AIR-retreat (6)

Thank you for taking an interest in our work this year.  It really has been a phenomenal year for us as a team and also myself on an individual level.

I always encourage people to reflect on the year past before looking forward to the year ahead.

Our 2015 highlights

  • Assisting on Brené Brown’s School of Life workshop this weekend just gone was super exciting (and super tiring).  This was a key highlight along with getting trained in her new Rising Strong curriculum.
  • The Emerging Women conference in 2015 really expanded what’s possible in my mind and has created the inkling of lots of ideas for 2016.  Plus I’m about to book my tickets for next year!
  • Getting published in The Guardian – yay!
  • I’ve also had a great trip to the US, settled my eldest son in school, expanded my professional network and have taken on a number of associates for my business.

What do you want to celebrate about 2015?  Take some time to think about your key achievements and learnings…

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And what do you want to make a commitment to doing in 2016?

We have a Daring Way™ workshop at the beginning of the year to support you in making this your most courageous year ever.  Plus Rising Strong dates bringing the new curriculum to life…
Here’s to being grateful for the year that’s past, and excited about what’s to come in 2016.

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With love, Rox

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How much do you organise your life so as to avoid failure?

What is your relationship with those face down moments?  Do you put your head in your hands thinking, “I’m obviously a failure, I’ll know not to do that again”? Or do you think “Oh that didn’t work out this time and I know better for next time”.

In truth, failure isn’t failure if you can learn from it.

Brené Brown’s new work, ‘Rising Strong’, is all about those face down moments that we all have.  Her premise is that if we have a process for picking ourselves back up again after a failure then we are able to be more brave, more often.  And if we are truly brave with our lives then we will fail.  (Note: She doesn’t mean you will risk failing more often.  She means you will actually fail more often.)

What is so striking for me about the process is that it starts with getting curious about our emotions.  And how opposed that is to how most of us live our lives.

I go into organisations where people are told they are ‘too emotional’ and that ‘emotion should be kept out of the workplace’.  I coach people who were told as children that they should ‘stop being upset about that as it won’t get you anywhere’ or ‘emotion is a sign of weakness’.

I was an emotional being in the workplace.  I definitely showed emotion in a way that other people weren’t entirely comfortable with. And usually this was the flip side of me really caring about the work that I did and therefore getting frustrated by lengthy processes or people not sharing my vision.   More recently someone observed that I seemed angry* about the way a project was going in a big organisation.  It was taken by me, and I assume it was meant by them, as the opposite of a compliment.  The implication was ‘there is no room for anger in this organisation’.

But what if we could get curious about these emotions?  Instead of feeling them and immediately pushing them away, what if we could hold the space for them, reflect on what is behind the emotions and move through them mindfully? When I was told I seemed angry, I mainly felt incapable and embarrassed.  I subsequently tried to shut the anger away and show up as lovely, kind, jolly Rox to move the project forwards (because nice girls don’t get angry, right? And, more to the point, you “should never show emotion” in the workplace). Reflecting on this now, I was angry because I saw something that really contravened my values being played out.  Too right I was angry – the behaviour I was seeing needed calling out, not passively accepting with a smile on my face.

Let’s be clear, holding the space for our anger does not mean shouting or acting aggressively.  I mean giving ourselves permission for the feeling and getting curious about the cause of it, rather than pushing it away immediately.

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I see the alternative being played out in workplaces and families across the country.  Unexpressed emotion has a habit of building up and either affecting you physically (insomnia, anxiety, stress) or of finding an outlet at an equally unsuitable time (road rage, shouting at your children). I wonder if the passive aggressiveness I see in offices is a symptom of this too.  As I tried to shut my anger away, I found myself on a constant loop in my head having circular conversations with the people involved in this scenario.

It is only through knowing how to rise strong, trusting that we will be able to pick ourselves back up again enhanced rather than diminished by a failure, that we are going to be able to take risks in our careers and in our lives that will move us forwards.  The very first step in this process involves getting curious about our emotions and acknowledging when we are emotionally hooked.

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I am at the very inspiring Emerging Women conference in San Francisco at the moment.  It’s been a huge undertaking to get me here – I was supposed to go last year to the one in New York and felt unable to go at the last minute.  This year I have travelled to California with the whole family for a month of training, work, meet ups and holiday.  It has been AMAZING.

I am feeling so overwhelmed with information, research and inspiration it remains a struggle to try and summarise a story, or a theme to share with you all.  It’s as if there are tectonic plates shifting in my brain.

For the moment, I have the feeling that we are on the edge of something big. That there is a new paradigm that is emerging and that it is reaching critical mass.

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I am hearing women ask – what if we just did things differently?  We weren’t at the table for the creation of so much of our world.  But what if we could be?  What could the world look like when we catalyse feminine energy in this world? What will the revolutions be when we insist on bringing in the feminine paradigm?

Could we show that there is a place for compassion, for empathy and collaboration in every single institution?

Or, perhaps at a higher level still, what if we could escape the concept of trying to compartmentalise and separate the masculine and feminine?  What could true integration look like? What could this mean for humanity?

I don’t know the answers to these questions at the moment but one thing I am hearing loud and clear is that we need to know ourselves, our wanting and our desires in order to get to this. We need to shut down the voices in our heads that tell us we can’t, or we shouldn’t.  We need to reality check the stories that we are making up in the absence of real data.  We need to take time to get out of our heads and in to our hearts.

It is not necessarily the external world that is stopping us from progressing.  We are just as culpable.  It is our responsibility to work through this and figure out what could happen in our lives and the world if we truly showed up.

Today I want to introduce you to another new associate coach here at The Hobbs Consultancy, Sonia Calvo:-

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Sonia is a challenging, curious, intuitive and versatile coach.  She works with executives in global corporations to develop potential, increase performance, enhance leadership skills and create sustainable change. 

Sonia is fascinated in exploring what makes people tick, bringing out the best in them and discovering what they have to offer. She is passionate about working with people who want to have a bigger impact in their lives and supporting them in finding ways to have that impact.

It is my pleasure to hand over to Sonia to share her wisdom…

We are all leaders in our lives and we all lead in different ways. How we lead at work may be different from how we lead at home. The one true factor, is that in the middle of it all, is US.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are” – Brené Brown

A powerful quote from Brené Brown and so true. And how are we supposed to embrace who we are? Some of us don’t really know who that person is or allow that person to come alive.

A challenge I often see in the corporate world is when we compare ourselves to others, to our bosses, to our peers and we sometimes forget just because we are different, handle situations differently, think differently, does not mean we do it wrong or are not good enough.

Unfortunately when we compare ourselves, it’s an uphill battle. When we try to be like someone else, we are not being authentic and hide our abilities and ourselves.

I had a client recently who was given the responsibility of leading their quarterly shareholder meetings, a role which their boss had been doing for a long time and did incredibly well. (The ‘incredibly well’ bit, was my clients perspective…)

The internal voices my client was getting were… ‘how can I do as good a job, I am not as experienced, the shareholders wont listen to me, I will freeze, I might not have all the answers, I will look unprofessional’.  And so on.

From this perspective, my client was setting herself up for failure.

What’s the impact you could have if you dropped comparison and quieted the voices? If instead you focused on:

What do I bring which is different?

What are my strengths?

What do I know to be true right now which will serve me?

How do I want to show up at the meeting?

How do I want to be when I don’t have the answer?

By focusing my client’s attention to these questions, she was able to explore and be curious about what she had to offer, what she brought to the table and allow herself to step into this new opportunity.

By exploring who we are and how we want to show up, we make it possible to find our authentic selves and lead from this place.

3 x authentic leadership coaching sessions (2)

 

Vantage Points (1)

The IPA have recently announced that they will publish a comprehensive agency employee league table listing measures such as gender and diversity versus department and seniority. ‘This table will be part of positioning the industry as enlightened and progressive in order to attract and retain the best talent.’ This comes at a time when clients are also demanding information on diversity as part of the RFP on a pitch brief.

The Hobbs Consultancy welcomes this move on a number of levels.  It positions diversity as a key metric for business success – via the attraction and retention of the best talent. And clearly what gets measured tends to get done – without data we simply don’t know the extent of our business challenges and whether we’re moving in the right direction.

Many diversity initiatives focus on the push factors – identifying what barriers can be removed or what additional support can be provided to individuals to encourage and enable their success.  Examples of this kind of diversity intervention would be mentoring and coaching.

What the IPA are doing is creating a PULL factor.  This is something that is going to create traction and energy at the very top of organisations – creating a stimulus for change. Understanding the business case for diversity is a pull factor and recent research by EY found that ‘companies that say they are good at ensuring that teams are comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences tend to have higher EBITDA* growth rates’. (*EBITDA : Earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation)

And the publication of positive statistics in itself brings clear business benefits. When Daren Rubins (CEO of PHD) recently said, ‘We’re 40 per cent female on our board and at Exec level there are four of us and two of those are women.  So a 50/50 split exec team..’, women all over the industry sat up and listened.  When we shared his comments on our facebook page, one industry female commented, ‘Great article Daren Rubins, when can I come and work for you again?!’

Clients may well also be sitting up and paying attention to any published statistics – in addition to the emotional appeal of the ethical case, it may be that agencies who get this right are going to be better at understanding clients target audiences.

The Hobbs Consultancy offers a data audit to support companies in the lead up to the publication of the IPA league table, helping you to understand where you are now in terms of diversity.


The Hobbs Consultancy Diversity Data Audit

What is it:- A deep dive in to your company’s data to build a picture of your key diversity metrics, key areas to focus on and position vs industry norms.  The audit will also include a confidential, short all staff survey to measure the correlation between diversity and inclusivity in your organisation.  The audit will provide a detailed report pulling out the key statistics, stories, hypotheses and recommendations that can be shared at a senior level. A powerpoint version will also be supplied that can be shared more widely within the company, suggested to be used to on board key stakeholders or as part of wider training.

Key outputs:-

  1. A summary of your company’s performance vs a number of key, pre agreed, diversity metrics
  2. An understanding of where you don’t have meaningful data and recommendations as to how you can start measurement
  3. A summary of how you perform versus industry norms and benchmarks, other sector benchmarks and UK population
  4. An understanding of the correlation between diversity and inclusivity, i.e. how engaged and included people feel in your organisation sorted by gender and ethnic background.
  5. An understanding of the story behind the numbers (for example – is a low number of senior women driven by female leavers, or females stalling in their careers?).
  6. Recommendations for next steps.

Cost: from £2500 + VAT

This includes three key milestones – a briefing meeting, a data request session and a findings meeting.  The length of the project will depend on how readily accessible your data is, but it can typically be completed in 4-6 weeks.


Testimonial

“Roxanne completed an audit of our data so that we could see how we performed on various diversity measures versus both industry norms and the wider population.  This enabled us to identify where we wanted to focus our efforts and also showed us where meaningful data was currently not available.  Most importantly it has given us a benchmark so that we can now track progress over time”. Tracy de Groose, CEO Dentsu Aegis

Contact blog 4

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Growing up, success to me was all about getting the A grade. Yes, looking back, the perfectionist tendencies took a hold around exam time when getting a B would be perceived as a failure.

Moving to London, success became about financial independence – being able to afford to buy a flat (well – a dodgy studio flat in Oval), to have an annual holiday and to pay for dinners out with friends. Pretty quickly, success was framed in terms of the amount of money I was earning and how I was progressing up a linear career hierarchy. I doggedly pursued a Managing Partner position as a critical milestone in my career success.

Having children changed things for me somewhat. If I was going to leave my children to go to the workplace, I wanted to be making a difference. A second paradigm of success became available to me. What if my work could truly make a difference alongside being a present Mother? What if success was being able to pick my children up from nursery early each day whilst pursuing a meaningful career? I quit the Managing Partner role and started working for myself, meaning that my time was my own and that I could do the work that really mattered to me – supporting women in showing up and being seen in the workplace.

I confess it took a while to feel this new perspective in my bones, rather than just in my head. I would still get a pang of jealousy seeing peers being promoted, and realising the salary I could have been on. Practicing gratitude was always my way through this. It became a mantra – I am grateful for the opportunity to see my children every afternoon. I am grateful for being able to do meaningful work. I am grateful that my time is my own. And a couple of years later, I realised it had really landed for me. No longer did I look wistfully at the ‘big’ jobs in the workplace. In fact, I was offered a role recently and it was pretty easy to turn down as soon as I realised it was only my ego that was attracted to the pay and the title.

More recently, I find myself tentatively playing with a new paradigm, inspired by Gabrielle Bernstein – ‘I measure my success by how much fun I’m having’. This has been eye opening for me. Sometimes when I am engaged in the work I really care about, it isn’t fun. Sometimes the passion for creating change equals frustration when things change too slowly for an impatient type like myself. Other parts of my work – The Daring Way™, the group coaching – are always fun. I look forward to them and relish being at the front of the room. Equally some of the time I’m present with my children isn’t ‘fun’. As any parent knows, that time between picking them up from childcare and getting them to bed in the evening can be an exhausting battle of the wills.

So I am giving myself permission to explore this new paradigm and see how integrated I can make it for my life. It feels out of reach just now, just like the second one did a few years back. I am going to write myself beautiful reminders by my bed and by my computer to prompt me to make different choices. This morning, the children went to nursery and I went to yoga, had a walk in the park and a Mediterranean brunch at a local café. Writing this I have a much bigger smile on my face than if I had spent the morning engaged in admin and paperwork. I haven’t knocked anything off my to do list, but I suspect I’ve had a more successful day.