Tag Archives: career

Failure and how to recover from it

Recovering from failure

Often we are advised to just pick ourselves up when we’ve fallen down.  It’s easy to say, simple to understand, but can be almost impossible to do when it’s you who has fallen.!

The greatest approach to overcoming failure to have the mindset that failure isn’t actually such a bad thing. As Thomas Edison said: “I didn’t fail 1000 times – I just found 999 ways that it would not work!”

Each failure is one step closer to the success that you are working towards. It’s a humbling notion that if we take time to consider our failure, why we failed, how we can change, and what feedback that failure is giving to us, our next steps improve us and our performance.  Failure is thus a vital step in innovation and growth.

This mindset is true for every aspect of life: Business, relationships, career and self-development. It is through not achieving what we had planned, that our path is enriched and our experience deepened. We are in complete control of how we choose to react or respond in the face of disappointment. We often experience negative emotions because the outcome achieved is incongruent with the result that was anticipated.

Failure is an event, not a person.

Zig Ziglar

How profound to remove the personal from outside occurrences. A human being thus cannot fail – a human being can only grow and develop, and embrace the learning and opportunities which ultimately cement them to stand strong.

Maximise your potential. Speak to a business coach today!  The first session is FREE.


Getting back into the job market


For those who take absence from the job market, for whatever reason, the notion of re-entering the working world can be immensely daunting. One of the reasons is that as humans we tend to habituate ourselves – we get into a different rhythm and going back to work is a different kind of demand to our routine.

Here are some of the things to bear in mind when getting back in the saddle:

  • The experience and skills which you had prior to your break are still of value and can still be applied
  • You may initially have to start on a lower salary because your experience isn’t current – that drop in salary is not a reflection of you capabilities; rather, it is just the way the world of work works

  • You may find yourself unnaturally tired at first, because this kind of work requires a different type of stamina
  • It is possible that some colleagues may try to undervalue you because you haven’t worked recently. You need to be strong enough to ignore that – every day that you do work, you are gaining experience
  • Deciding when to return to work is absolutely critical. Make sure that you are ready and in the right frame of mind
  • Try all sorts of avenues to get yourself employed, not just online adverts, but also word-of-mouth, contact previous colleagues, and even contact companies whose culture or product you like. You can never predict where work opportunities will come from.
  • You may have to upskill yourself in certain areas. That’s a positive thing, not a punishment

  • Think about your past working experiences and focus on these so that your mind recalls the ‘working you’, and is in that context when you apply for positions
  • When asked about your time off work, describe it briefly in positive terms. Do not dwell on it as if it was a huge portion of your career
  • See this as an opportunity to learn new skills
  • Starting a new job is an exciting new phase of life – see it as this and enjoy the experience!


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Must-read books for your career


With the wealth of amazing career-orientated books out there, it’s hard to narrow the list of impactful and inspiring books down to five (there are many more!).  The below books however are a really great place to start (there’s a reason why many of them are bestsellers!).

  1. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki

Probably one of the most influential career books of all time. The message that this book sends goes beyond the principle of earning money with or without an education. The message is fundamental – career and life do not always g according to plan. Sometimes there is a need to take risks, craft your own path, and be present in your own moments.

  1. 100 Conversations for Career Success: Learn to Network, Cold Call, and Tweet Your Way to Your Dream Job, by Laura Labovich and Miriam Salpeter

A down-to-earth and realistic guide to doing the things that do not come naturally to most of us. This book includes many of the difficult and uncomfortable aspects of building your career – often the very things that can make or break you.

  1. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? By Seth Godin

This essential read takes a look at business, society and personal development. It also takes a look at how to promote your skills and abilities, so that you not only establish yourself, but make yourself indispensable.

  1. The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb

When crafting a career there is often the desire to have some level of predictability. In this book, Taleb unpacks the way in which people erroneously depend on the ability to predict as a method of decision making. He demonstrates how it is the most structured systems that are the ones most vulnerable to collapse.

  1. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

Entertaining, stimulating and a fantastic read for a happy and balanced lifestyle, The Power of Habit has great behaviour tips, which you can start implementing immediately.

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Creating a personal brand

Those who had branded themselves were treated according to their branding

A few years ago I was sitting at a lunch listening to a woman who specialised in personal branding. The thought kept coming back to me, “Why would anyone need to brand themselves?” All through her endless rambling I rolled my eyes and wondered why everyone else seemed so interested in what she was saying.

Then I started watching people in various situations. It was the most remarkable thing:

Those who had branded themselves were treated according to their branding. They looked good, they seemed comfortable with what they displayed, and they stood out from the crowd.

So, it appears as though I was behind the wave, and was only just beginning to see the benefits of personal branding.

Neil Patel and Aaron Agius ask these three pertinent questions when creating a personal brand:

  1. What one action, decision, or choice has the single biggest impact on the growth of your personal brand?
  2. If you were building an online presence from scratch today, what three things would you consider to provide the biggest ROI (return on investment) on your time and money?
  3. For those looking to create a strong online brand, which online influencers would you recommend they follow?

From these questions you can see that establishing a personal brand follows the same logic as a business brand:

You need to establish who your target market is, and what you want to tell them about yourself. Once you have answered these questions, the work begins – you live the brand.

Branding yourself is about how you dress, speak, where you are seen, what topics you discuss, who you associate with, and what others think of you (which is what you want them to think of you). The result is unbelievable: People start to treat you the way you have trained them to.

If you have a need to be seen in a certain way, for any purpose, start your personal branding process now. The ‘you’ that you create becomes an artwork for others to admire.

Elana Siew

Do you need help building your personal brand?  Book a coaching session today (the first session is FREE).

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Mindfulness and leadership


Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Psychology Today

At first glance, the concept of mindfulness in leadership may seem like a paradox.  But actually, if you reflect for a moment, mindfulness should really be at the core of effective leadership, and at the core of instigating massive change in the way organisations run.

Within the business environment, leadership is often seen in a dark suit, behind a boardroom door, with a sullen expression. However, if we return to the true cornerstones of leadership – inspiration, motivation and growth – mindfulness is an intricate part.

Imagine working in an environment where the corporate culture is mindful; where an organisation is a place where the company’s leaders live in the moment and encourage you to do the same.

The concept of mindfulness in leadership has taken business schools by storm, and current curricula boast subjects like yoga, meditation and serving others. Mindfulness practices are on the rise in workplaces, and it’s easy to see why. Simply, staff are happier, leaders are more grounded, and the responsibilities performed are conducted with a greater sense of intention and intelligent prioritisation.

Finally, the World Leadership Summit boasts lecturers from Harvard, neuroscientists and business leaders, and each is promoting the same message:

Leading from the inside out is the most significant evolution in leadership!

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Getting it done: making your to-do list work for you


Creating a to-do list has long been known as an effective tool for getting things done. There are several reasons for this. One is that when you put things into a physical list, you release yourself from the stress of trying to remember all the things you need to do. Another is that when you document the things you need to do, your subconscious mind starts to work through them. And finally, drafting a to-do list creates a system through which you enable yourself to achieve your goals.

So how do you make your to-do list work for you?

  • Take note of your personality type. Do you prefer to work to tight deadlines? Do you do your best work when you have all the details available, or is improvisation your strength? Construct your to-do list accordingly.
  • In how many areas of your life do you have responsibilities to complete? Create sections in your to-do list, so that you compartmentalise your life and then work on one thing at a time.
  • Urgent/important must get done first. We don’t subscribe to the erroneous belief that says do the little things on your to-do list first, so that you can cross them off. Although there is some logic to this, and crossing off items on a to-do list does generate pleasant feelings of accomplishment, always do the most urgent and important tasks first so that you work in an intelligent manner.
  • Know your own personal preferences. Do you prefer to work in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Do you work in long stretches, or do you need a break every 45 minutes? Structure your tasks accordingly.
  • Set time limits. Resolve that no task will remain on your to-do list for x amount of time. This means that you have deadlines, which you actively work toward.
  • Make your to-do list work for you. It is your tool and only you can make it effective. Draw pictures, diagrams, prioritise with numbers, letters or symbols. The principle is if you accomplish one big thing on your list every day, you are moving yourself forward in a deliberate manner.
  • Evaluate and re-evaluate. Remember that the to-do list is only as effective as you are. If it doesn’t work for you, change your approach so that it does!


“Rename your ‘to-do’ list your ‘opportunities’ list. Each day is a treasure chest filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list.”

Steve Maraboli

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Work-life balance and optimising support

What's work-lifebalance?

We’ve heard it said before: “No-one lies on their deathbed and wishes that they’d spent more time at the office.” The irony is that this is often said to those who desperately need to hear it, but although most of us would agree with the sentiment, there is frequently something stronger that drives us and pulls us into working long hours, whether ambition, a sense of responsibility towards our clients and our business, or an overwhelming to-do list.

The key to achieving a sense of work-life balance is to integrate the meaningful components of your life in such a way that each part of your life can flourish.

We’re not saying that the some parts of people’s lives don’t function independently, but rather that if your family supports and understands your work, they feel more involved, you feel less alone, and you are able to achieve a sense of belonging with your own people. In a way it’s about having your own cheerleading squad who support and sustain you – to include your loved ones in your work life makes absolute sense.

We believe David Rockefeller summed it up perfectly in a sentence:

“I am convinced that material things can contribute a lot to making one’s life pleasant, but, basically, if you do not have very good friends and relatives who matter to you, life will be really empty and sad, and material things cease to be important.”


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Handling stress before it handles you

Stress relief

Every stress management article out there promotes identifying the cause of your stress – treating the source and not the symptom. The problem with this is that for most people who are active in the economy, life in general is the source of stress. Trying to get through what we’ve planned, feeling pressure to constantly up our game, and continually feeling the need to create balance, are just some of the areas that contribute to feelings of stress.

Regardless of the source of your stress, if you resolve it, there is a high likelihood that it will be replaced by something equally, or more, stressful. The principle then is to learn how to manage your stress levels so that you feel in control of your life.

The below are 10 simple stress busting tips that really work and can transform your life:

  1. Learn to say no! If it’s not your responsibility, do not allow someone else to increase your workload and cause distress.
  2. Categorise what matters to you. We can all list our priorities. It’s when clients and colleagues start to pressurise us that we lose sight of what really matters. Keep the vision of what really matters firmly in your mind.
  3. Do what you enjoy doing first. There is a time management principle that promotes getting the work you don’t like doing out of the way first. We advocate that in fact the opposite holds true. Doing what you love and what you’re good at increases your energy levels so that the rest of your day is more fruitful, productive and enjoyable.
  4. Exercise. Whether it’s yoga, running or going for a walk, the human body needs the endorphins that come from physical movement. They are a natural stress reliever, and give us the ability to think clearly.
  5. Breathe. For years we have been told that we slump at our desks and only fill the top 12% of our lungs’ capacity. At least every hour, take a few seconds to have a few really good, deep breaths – inhale for five slow counts, gently hold for five counts, and then exhale for five slow counts.
  6. Cold water. Most of us are slightly dehydrated. By sipping cold water we not only rehydrate, but we also refresh ourselves and keep our bodies, and energy levels, from slumping during the day.
  7. Positive talk. Although stress does not arise from a negative self-perception, how we handle stress can be strongly influenced by how we perceive ourselves and our stress levels. Be kind to yourself and be kind about yourself. Watch your internal dialogue, and if you wouldn’t talk that way to a loved one, don’t talk that way to yourself.

  8. Have fun. So many people get caught up working incredibly hard to build a life that they want, and forget that the process is part of life itself. By the time you’ve achieved your goal, you will probably be too exhausted to enjoy it. Let yourself appreciate all the moments along the way.
  9. Let others help. So often our stress comes from the belief that we have to do everything, and it all has to be done 100% right. Getting another perspective can often offer amazing insights, and realising that imperfect is also good enough is a valuable step in managing feelings of overwhelm and stress.
  10. Rest when you’re resting. When it’s time out, it is not time to discuss, or read, or think about work. It is time to let your body, mind and psyche take a break.  Embrace it.

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Wake up to your passion

passion paycheck

You know what’s amazing? If you look at great inventors, composers or artists, there are always stories detailing how they spent hours as children investigating, growing and cultivating their competencies in one way or another. That passion then grew into an art form, which became integrally and seamlessly part of their lives.

Think about when you were a kid. What did you spend your time doing? What was your greatest pleasure? Did you transform it into your adulthood occupation? Or are you miles away, doing something that makes you count the hours until you can be free from your office? And how is it that some people get it right and love their work?

When it comes down to it, it’s the strength of the passion that ultimately drives people to become fully engaged in what they love doing. They cannot imagine doing anything else, and in many cases, they cannot force themselves to do anything else.

It may sound a cliché, but you really are the captain of your own destiny. It’s up to you to steer the ship of your own path, and chart the waters of circumstance in the direction that you aspire to. When you were a child, if someone asked you what you wanted to spend your time doing, the answer came really easily.

So think about this: What is it that you really love spending your time doing? And how can you make a career of it?

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