Monday, December 26, 2011

Sharing My Birth Experience With You!

It's now Boxing Day and I can't believe how quickly December has gone! Three weeks ago I encountered an entirely new experience: a natural, drug-free hypnobirthing birth. The result: our gorgeous little girl, Elise was born!

Here's a pic of her at 2 weeks old:

Elise was 8 days 'late' but, despite talk from our midwives that they wanted to book me in for an artificial induction to 'get things moving', I was adamant that I wanted our baby to come spontaneously - when she was ready. After all, I had been lucky enough to have a straight forward pregnancy and Elise's heart beat was healthy and strong.

At 4am on 5th December I woke up with my first contractions. Having never been a mum before I wasn't sure what contractions would feel like. All I knew was that this was a different sort of feeling. I was so ready to have my baby that I was ecstatic to be feeling these pangs. I woke Ross to let him know that something was happening -and then, knowing all we could do was wait, we went back to bed.

In the morning, the spasms were still coming so I started listening to my hypnobirthing CDs, doing the specific breathing techniques through each contraction and staying as focused as possible on remaining calm and oxygenating my body.

By 10am it was time to go to hospital: the contractions were 5 minutes apart and strengthening. We left, got half way to hospital and I remembered I'd left a candle burning in the living room. There was no way I could relax and stay focused knowing our house could burn down at any minute (!) so we drove back home to blow it out! Back to hospital again... :)

Our delivery room was much more welcoming than I expected it would be. This would be our 'home' for the next few hours!

I was still comfortable enough chatting with Laura (our midwife) and as I didn't seem distressed she suggested we went home for another couple of hours. To be truthful I didn't fancy the car journey home twice again and anyway, my instinct told me to stay put.

I was linked me up to a machine to monitor the contractions (or 'surges' if you want to use hypnobirthing speak) and the baby's heartbeat.

Within ten minutes the waves of contractions started to come more quickly and harder. They sort of punched down from my mid-stomach and across my lower abdomen.

I was glad I'd listened to my intuition and stayed put. An internal exam revealed that I was already 6cm dilated (you need to be 10cm to birth your baby). I think Laura was surprised I was so far along and still calm!

Throughout my pregnancy I had seen my acupuncturist, Olivia Shurdova (who is exceptionally gifted). Amongst other things Olivia had shown Ross and I key acupressure points on my legs, hands and shoulders that, when pressed, would offer natural pain relief. It was time to apply what we'd learnt! Ross began to apply pressure to these points each time a contraction washed across my belly and it made a significant difference.

By about 1pm the contractions had sort of taken over my body. Every 1 to 2 minutes this tightening would surge across my lower abdomen - from the hips into the centre of my belly. Some women describe it as a strong period pain. My experience was quite localised to the lower part of my belly. From my hypnobirthing classes I knew this was the horizontal muscles at the base of my uterus being pulled open and up as a result of the vertical muscles contracting upwards.

I remembered the advice from our tutor: to imagine these muscles as ribbons (or anything flowing, limp and light... like running water or fabric blowing in the wind).

Any of my clients will know that I am a huge advocate of visualisation and mental preparation - I firmly believe in the power of the mind-body connect. Knowing how my body was naturally working to birth my baby, coupled with these visualisations, enabled me to stay totally focused and manage the situation more easily.

At this stage of labour some women like to stand, others to lie down. Many prefer to work through it hunched over an exercise ball. Quite frankly no position for me was comfortable at this point. The best option was standing with my hands on the end of the bed.

By 2pm I asked for the bath to be filled. "I think you've got another half hour before we do that," Laura said. "Nup," I said, "I need to get in the water!" I wanted the warm water around me to soothe the contractions.

Here's a picture of what a birthing bath looks like:

The warmth of the bath water was delicious. Not only did it ease the ache from each surge, it also helped me to feel weightless. Ross was an absolute godsend too at this point. He had also attended the hypno classes with me and knew what to say and when to say it.

In a hypno birth, the role of your birthing partner is vital. Well let's face it, in any birth it helps to have a birthing partner who is aware of your birthing preferences and to encourage you throughout!

Ross' voice became my main focus and enabled me to filter out all other voices and noise. He reminded me to breathe deeply to a count of ten and out for ten - not only did this saturate my body and uterus with oxygen (thereby keeping the muscles maleable as possible) it also brought calmness to my mind.

Every wave, he reminded me too that we were one more contraction closer to meeting our daughter.

Our baby was well and truly down in my birth canal when Laura suggested I stand up. Although gravity is a natural aid to birthing, standing up was the last thing I fancied attempting!

One of my friends had used 'active birthing' techniques, where you walk and stand as much as possible. It seemed logical - and it worked - as soon as I stood up, our baby started to be visible. Hooray - it was time!

In hypnobirthing terms, this is the point where you switch to 'J' curve breathing. This is where you inhale quickly and deeply and then exhale down hard whilst imagining baby is moving out in a sort of 'j' shape.

For me, this was a technique that went totally out of the window as my body's natural instincts took hold. All I wanted to do was push! I could feel the baby surging forwards each time, only to be sucked back in again! After that occuring twice, I twigged that I needed to make more of a concerted effort whilst still allowing time for my skin to stretch.

Within 20 minutes the baby's head was out. Her shoulders were soon to follow. It was only then that I really heard Laura's voice. "Mum you can reach down and pull baby out if you want." What? I thought. I hadn't imagined I would be able to do that! How amazing!

I opened my eyes, looked down and saw this little head and body in the water. Our baby was almost born! I reached down and clasped her little body. It was truly magical. With the next contraction I delivered our baby girl and lifted her out of the water and onto my chest. I think I was in shock - she was finally here and was absolutely perfect.

Here's another pic just after she was born:

Birthing Elise in a natural way was, as I say, a truly magical experience. It is true that I would have been desperately disappointed if I hadn't been able to bring Elise into the world drug free (I believe the combination of water and hypno birthing without drugs or intervention has resulted in an exceptionally calm and healthy baby).

But I was a very lucky mum and had no complications. So now she is here... the true challenge begins!

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about my experience. I would love to hear other parents' birth stories - feel free to post your comments below!

- Rebecca

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hear From Katherine Brandon

Our coaching team at Clear Horizon Coaching is fortunate to work with many extraordinary women, encourage them to them challenge their thinking and fast track their careers.

It's also lovely to receive testimonials! Here are some words from Katherine Brandon, from English Australia, who I coached in 2011:

“Rebecca Wells of Clear Horizon Coaching has provided invaluable support over the few months that she has been coaching me. We always worked towards clear goals that related to my direct needs, but Rebecca was flexible enough to address other issues that arose. She is a great listener and has a wonderful range of strategies and approaches that she applied to my different needs, and the detailed written records of our sessions continue to be extremely useful.

Rebecca has really helped me to focus, to be more organised and to have more courage and confidence in my skills.

I work as part of a small team and all have commented on how much calmer I was recently when organising our annual conference! I’ve been able to share some of the strategies I’ve learnt in my coaching sessions with the team and this has helped all of us with our strategic planning and our services to our members.

Rebecca is perceptive, systematic, extremely knowledgeable and has the highest professional standards. I cannot recommend her highly enough and I am hoping to continue working with her in the future.”

Thank you Katherine for enabling us to publish your testimonial.

If you'd like to read more testimonials click here!

- Rebecca

Gorgeous Quote

"Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it."

- William Feather

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Do You Know Your Strengths?

Just because you can do something doesn't necessarily mean you should do it.

Let me explain. We all have strengths. These are skills that are innate - you were born with natural strengths. Often they are so much a part of who you are, you don't even see them as strengths! But they are!

There will be strengths that you have that you really, really enjoy utilising.

- Maybe you get a real kick out of mediating other people to get an outcome?
- Or you're so organised you can't wait to get back to your desk to tidy it up again?

You should be aware of strengths like these and make it your mission to use them every single day a) because it makes you happy and b)because these strengths come naturally to you.

There is no point however in utilising strengths, however easy they come to you, if you don't enjoy them.

I could...

- paint the wall that needs painting
- write my own marketing copy
- do my own book keeping

...but why would I when I don't enjoy doing any of those things?

Have a think about the tasks on your to-do list. Yes you might be able to complete them all but in doing so, are you playing to your absolute strengths... and most importantly, the strengths you enjoy spending time with?

- Rebecca

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3 Gems Towards Taking Action

Spending much of my time coaching all of my fabulous clients - you know who you are! - it's been an eye-opening 5 days, being on the receiving end of a training myself (by the awesome Ben Harvey, of Authentic Education... that's his picture above!).

With only 11 days to go until my baby's due date, I was thrilled not to have gone into labour early whilst on the course - phew! - could do without my waters breaking anywhere other than in the comfort of my own home!

I've learnt a pile of stuff though, which no doubt I'll be sharing with you all over time. But being on the receiving end of coaching/training always reminds me of how my own clients must feel working with me. Always valuable! :)

Here are some of my own learnings that I'd love to share:

1. When setting actions for yourself stay focused. Set 1 action if possible. If you absolutely must take on more, 3 actions at any one time should be your absolute limit. Any more and you'll overwhelm yourself resulting in inertia ... and no results.

2. Take action now, however small. You may want to have 'everything right' before you'll venture out and take action. This used to be my absolute achilles heel! However, taking immediate action is the way to go if you want to maintain focus, build confidence that you can achieve your result and start building momentum.

3. You do nothing without making a decision first. So if you're stalling to take action on a particular goal, ask yourself what decision you have yet to make.

There you go - three nuggets! And more to come!

- Rebecca

Friday, November 11, 2011

What's Your Big Picture Vision?

I realised today that life satisfaction is actually pretty simple. To be happy and to feel fulfilled all you need is to know what will make you happy and fulfilled... and then take every action under the sun to see those things happen.

To know what you want, you just need a vision. A big picture.

So consider what your life will look like in 12 months time...

- What's different about that picture versus today?
- What outcomes have you achieved?
- What is new or different about you?

With that clarity of your vision and what you want then you can decide on monthly (or more regular) actions to make that vision a reality.

But you do need action too - remember that!

We all know how quickly time flies - before you know it, it WILL be November 2012... and you don't want to be in the same position then as you are now, do you?

What will your life look like in 12 months time?


Persistence is Success

Being eight and a half months pregnant it's probably not advisable to be doing much more than putting your feet up and enjoying a tall glass of iced tea. As it is, I signed up to do a 5 day training a couple of months ago instead. Well I figured it would be easier than doing the course in 2012 whilst breastfeeding! :)

So here I am and already absolutely loving it.

There are so many nuggets I am learning and would love to share some with you. The training has more of a business building focus but much of the approach applies to us all.

My first nugget is this: approach everything you do with an UNTIL mentality.

Most tasks we approach are tackled with 'when...' or 'if...' mindsets which quite frankly, will never do.

When you decide you'll take action UNTIL you get the outcome you're after, you're always destined to be successful.

Apply persistence to all that you do and see how much more you can achieve!

Where and when have you acted UNTIL? I'd love to hear about your successes!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to Stop Diminishing Yourself NOW!

We all suffer from limiting self-talk from time to time.

The difference between people who are successful, and those who are not, is that successful people acknowledge their 'inner gremlins' almost immediately and shout them down before they've had the chance to flex their muscles and gain any momentum.

This month's self-sabotaging self-talk is:

"I'm just / I'm only / I guess..."

Here are some examples:

"I just work on the sales team."

"I'm only the assistant so I don't know."

"I'm really new so ..."

"I kind of manage the project."

"I guess you could say I'm the team head."

You might think that little 'everyday' phrases like this are harmless.

However in reality, when you use limiting language like this it has a profound impact on your inner belief as well as the perception that others will have of you.

People around you might think you sound unsure or, at worst, incompetent.

Diminishing yourself; your contribution; the value you add; and relinquishing any power or position of authority will result in your own downfall.

Here are some tips:

STOP! And listen out for the language you use...

Do you use assertive, direct language when talking about yourself, or do you use excuses and sound uncertain?

The more you train yourself to listen out for (and then correct) any negative or self-diminishing statements, the more readily you will boost your confidence and project the image you wish to the world around you.

- Rebecca

Enjoy Your Power...Dress to Impress!

Our appearance has a huge bearing on how we are perceived by others, but more important perhaps than that, our appearance has a potent impact on how we both consciously and unconsciously view ourselves.

I bet you've got a little black dress, stunning purple heels, a fitted jacket or something similar that when worn, projects you into a world of self-power and confidence.

For me, power comes from wearing colour. I love colour! So much so that I make every effort to inject colour into my daily choices - a zappy red belt to complement a black dress; a green dress with a strong print; a bright blue bag with matching shoes.

I like to make a statement when I dress because for me, that fills my insides with a powerful energy which errupts into my physical energy: how I speak, how I act, how I laugh. I am at my most confident when I am enjoying what I am wearing.

Clothes: some women feel at their strongest when wearing dresses - others in trousers. Find your preference and use it!

Colours: again some of us prefer darker, more corporate colours whilst others like colour or fancy detail. Go with your instinct.

Styles: whatever style you choose make sure it's well fitted!

Accessories: I really believe that quality accessories are a powerful ingredient in a woman's armoury! Get bold with your accessories and make a statement - go on, I dare you!

Use the fact that Christmas is coming as a fabulous reason to go out and buy some new, 'power' clothes to power you through 2012!

What are your thoughts on clothes and colour?

- Rebecca

Do You Find Yourself in the Drama Cycle Too Often?

The 'Drama Cycle' is a fascinating concept.

The idea is that in any drama (or disagreement) each participant adopts a role.

Perhaps in situations like this, you often play 'victim'?

For there to be a victim, there would need to be a 'persecutor' too. And then, we all know of them, there are 'saviors' who try to rescue the situation.

The reason this is called a cycle is because all the roles are interchangeable. Any two people can easily move between each of the 3 roles during the same 5 minute argument.

Here's an example:

Person 1 ('Persecutor'): "I've told you so many times that your whining drives me crazy."

Person 2 ('Victim'): "Well I can't help it!"

Person 1 (now 'Rescuer'): "Jeez, please don't cry; I didn't mean to sound so aggressive."

Person 2 (now 'Persecutor'): "You've got such a nasty temper - I can't bear being near you."

Person 1 (now 'Victim'): "I've had a bad day at work. That's why I'm angry."

This is also called a cycle because it gets you nowhere; you can go round in circles with this one!

In my view the only powerful position to adopt is a 4th position, which I call the Solution Orientated Observer. In this role you don't get sucked into the drama - you simply review the situation neutrally and look for solutions.

What do you think about the drama cycle and the roles you naturally 'play'?


Why Playing 'Victim' Is Killing Your Progress

We all have moments when we 'play victim'. We whinge. We feel sorry for ourselves. We complain.

I 'did' victim just this week. I was looking at the marketing plan I had for next year and started to panic, 'How on earth am I going to juggle all of this when I'm having a baby in 4 weeks' time?!' I thought.

After a little while of paralysing panic, I realised I didn't need to make it happen all at once. If I broke it down into bite sized steps I could manage it all comfortably.

And there it was. In those 2 minutes, I moved from a position of 'doubt and blame' to one of 'excitement and responsibility'.

People who move forwards and get things done still 'go to' victim space but the difference is... they don't stay there for long. They make a conscious choice to take action rather than dwelling in a space they don't want to be.

In the world of work, you may have come across the concept of 'above and below the line' thinking.

If the terms are unfamiliar to you, the basic premise is that 'above the line' thinking is the place of responsibility whilst 'below the line' thinking is the place of blame:



In my view, it comes down to choice. When confronted with an issue do you choose to take responsibility/action or do you choose to blame others or make excuses (or simply hide under your desk)?

Clearly 'below the line' thinking is the choice of someone taking a victim role.

It's such a simple concept and yet profound.

If you think you might have a tendency to adopt roles that don't help you get the best outcomes for you, here are some questions to challenge yourself with:

1. In the main, which position do you choose - Victim or Hero?

2. Is there a particular situation at the moment where you're playing Victim and you know in your heart that it's not serving you?

3. What attitude or behavioural changes do you want to make - right now - to move to a position of responsibility and solution-orientated thinking?

I'd love to hear your experiences around 'victim' orientated thinking... email me any time or post your comments below.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is Income Linked to Fulfilment?

According to Management Today magazine (Oct 2011 issue), the 'magic number', after which job satisfaction and fulfilment are no longer affected by income, is $71, 675.

It's not clear how this number is calculated...

I would have thought that in reality, there is no magic number. Certainly not a number we would all agree to.

What I do think is important however is having clarity of what really gives you satisfaction at work.

Of course income is important but I don't believe it is the most relevant measure.

The Australian Institute of Management (AIM) conducted an Employee Engagement survey last year to understand the impact of monetary incentives. The study showed that employee satisfaction is most heavily dependent on 'being valued and understood' with over 40% of respondents marking this as their primary need. Other key factors included:

'good relationships with co-workers'
'good relationships with my manager'
'new and interesting challenges'
'feeling valued by the organisation'

Pay ranked 10th on the list.

So whether there is a 'magic number' or not, what is apparent is that pay should never be your sole focus.

At the end of the day if you aren't performing tasks that energise you or are not producing an output that you are proud of, what good is more money?

I'd welcome your thoughts as always!

- RW

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Overcome That Limiting Self-Talk! "I Feel Like a Fraud!"

I hear this kind of self-talk in different guises from clients all the time. So if you're feeling 'like a fraud' or are worried that people might 'suss you out eventually' believe me, you are not alone!

I think feelings of fraudulence stem from the fact that many of us are striving for perfection most of the time. Unless you are the most knowledgeable; or the most experienced; or the most qualified person in the room you simply can't compete. Which of course, is poppycock.

I also think, from a feminine perspective, our concept of 'right and wrong' is rooted very deeply. So if you're putting yourself forwards for a promotion that say, you don't believe you're qualified enough for, your sense of right and wrong is likely to stop you from proceeding.

So how can we get over these thoughts?

1. Accept that you have plenty to offer - in terms of your skills, strengths and the value you can - and do - already add.

2. Accept that you might not have all the answers, but then who has?

3. Go for gold! If you do go for a new role, or put yourself forwards to push your comfort zone see it as a huge opportunity. The more you experience and the more your learn, the more marketable and powerful you will become.

- RW

Avoid Office Politics at Your Peril!

Believing that you can get ahead in your career whilst ignoring office politics is a mistake and it's a mistake that many people make. What is it about 'office politics' that puts so many of us off?

I remember being in the corporate world and thinking I could avoid the topic all together. To me then, politics were for people who were 'career climbers' and they were snakey, slippery people who would stab you in the back without a moment's thought.

As I've got older I've realised that politics are vital - to both your success and fulfillment. And if you understand how to use it, it can work wonders for you.

The first step is to re-name what you call 'office politics'.

The words themselves make it feel dry, hard-work and unpleasant.

A much better approach in my opinion is to consider the ingredients that go into 'being political':

• Making alliances with other people
• Learning 'useful' information that could help you further your career
• Hearing 'stuff' on the grapevine about your industry and clients
• Asking to be involved in particular projects to help you raise your profile

When you think about it, 'office politics' is simply 'effective career management'.

Think of it this way (or something similar) and all of a sudden it sounds useful, easy and dare I say it, fun!

- RW

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rebecca's Column in emPOWER Magazine Spring 2011 Issue: Raise Your Profile Without Stepping on Toes

Rebecca is a columnist in emPOWER magazine's Spring 2011 issue.

The topic? "Raise Your Profile at Work Without Stepping on Any Toes."

Here's a snippet, just for you!

"What is it about the topic of 'raising your profile' that makes so many people visibly squirm? In my experience it's fear: fear of being different; fear of what other people might think; fear of being isolated by those around you.

This fear can be so overwhelming it can cripple many people from even dipping their toe in the abundance of opportunity that is out there.

And let's face it, maintaining anonymity and hiding in the shadows feels safe, warm and familiar; there are no surprises. The downside of this however is stagnation. Playing it safe means you don't move forwards, sideways, or well... anywhere really.

You stay where you are, possibly in the vain hope that someone somewhere will eventually recognise your value and contribution and reward it handsomely. In reality, that day never comes.

To get anywhere in your career, you need to stick your neck out, be brave and bold.

The irony of taking this kind of action is the more you stand up for what you believe in -your values, your mission and your personal and professional objectives - and push for the outcomes you want, the more you will engage and draw people towards you..."

Read the whole article (pg42) and download the entire magazine here!

I'd love to hear your views on self promotion in the workplace!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Do We Need a Quota to Get More Women onto Executive Boards?

As you may know in 2010 it was announced that, by April 2011, all ASX200 listed companies would have to meet a quota for the number of women on their Boards. To keep track of the companies that are meeting this 'criteria' the ASX intends to make public those companies that exceed the quota and those who fall short.

The question is: do we need a strategy like this to push gender parity or not?

At the Diversity Council Australia's annual diversity debate last week, Danny Gilbert (a solicitor with Gilbert + Tobin), asked this exact question. His view: organisational and cultural change is what is required to address the current imbalance, not a mandated measure.

Carol Schwartz, founder of the Women's Leadership Institute in Australia, was of the view that "tokenistic board members was nothing new. 'Hopefully a few mediocre women will slip in there - just so we can even out all the mediocre men' she quipped." (Financial Review, 23 September 2011).

Here are the stats:

- Women represent only 13% of Board appointments (Ernst & Young report, Women in Leadership: What Will it Take to Get Australia on Target?, September 2011)

- In ASX200 listed companies women comprise only 2.5% of chairs and 3% of chief executives

- Sex Discrimination Commissioner Liz Broderick has a target of 40% female board representation by 2015

What do you think?

Q1 Is a mandated quota the only option? And if so will it work?

Q2 If it's up to the organisations to make changes, to encourage women to get ahead and take those executive positions, what changes do organisations need to make to support women more effectively?

Your thoughts welcome!

- RW

How To Gain Greater Recognition at Work

"I feel my work can at times be overlooked. In what ways can I try to gain recognition at work from my manager and colleagues?" - Susan

Rebecca's Suggestions:

It's your career, remember that.

The direction you go in and the results you achieve are all down to you; how you decide you want your career to be; and how you plan the steps to take you where you want to be.

Everyone in the corporate world is busy and although looking after the people in your team is possibly the most important daily task, most managers often overlook it due to the pressures of client deadlines, meeting personal objectives and adding to the bottom line.

Some managers are better than others at acknowledging the contribution of their team and if you find yourself in a position where this doesn't seem to happen it's vital you take matters into your own hands.

1. Keep a Journal

I know most people groan at the mere thought of keeping a diary but it's really helpful, even if you only do it for 90 days.

How many times have you reached the end of a month and said, 'I really haven't accomplished anything'?

With a journal you have evidence to remind yourself of all the value you are adding in terms of the:

- achievements you have accomplished
- difficult problems you've solved
- relationships you have built
- costs you have saved
- learning you have made

2. Arrange a Regular Catch up with your Manager

Use the information you capture in your journal to discuss your contribution with your manager. Arrange a coffee with him/her every few months. Ask for their input as to where you can continue to add value; which projects you can get involved in; and make your own goals clear.

3. Use your Journal to Keep your CV Up To Date

Being proactive about capturing all your successes and learnings is invaluable when it comes to creating the most marketable CV possible. So try it and let me know how you get on!

- RW

How to Raise Your Profile WITHOUT Arrogance

We all suffer from limiting self-talk from time to time.

One of the most common concerns I hear from clients is the issue of perceived arrogance:

"What if, by raising my profile at work, people start thinking I'm arrogant?"

Let's face it, few of us wants to be thought of as 'arrogant'.

Arrogant people are not usually enjoyable to be around. They tend to hold the view that they know best and seem quite unaware as to how their actions might impact on others or, much worse, simply don't care.

So let's talk instead about 'assertiveness'.

When we assert ourselves, we behave boldly. We take responsibility for both ourselves and our actions and are driven to find solutions wherever possible.

Assertive behaviour, at its best, is also inclusive because people in the 'assertive camp' are much more aware of the people around them and actively assess how their own actions could potentially impact others.

The crucial point is this: assertive people have awareness and that makes them altogether far more likeable and effective leaders.

1. Build your personal brand by acting assertively.

2. Use an assertive tone of voice when you speak.

3. Listen to others' perspectives without necessarily agreeing with them all.

4. Stay true to yourself and your values, which means knowing what behaviours are important to you and that reflect the kind of person you want others to see.

- RW

Career Checklist - Are You On Track?

It's easy to stick your head in the sand. Safe even. There are few things to challenge you down there. The problem with this though is that you also don't progress...

It's time to ask yourself some hard questions:

1. Is my career shaping up as I want it to?

2. Do the right people know about me and the contribution I make to the organisation?

3. Are my clients and managers raving about me?

4. What stops me from making this the career I want it to be?

5. What knowledge do I need to acquire?

6. Who needs to know about me?

7. What do they need to know about me?

8. What assumptions am I making?

9. What behaviours could I change tomorrow?

10. What attitudes need to change now?

Ask yourself these questions every 6 months or so and be really honest with yourself. It's incredible how much positive change can happen when we just spend 30 minutes like this challenging our current situation.

- RW

Monday, August 29, 2011

Asking For a Raise - A Tip from Suze Orman

Suze Orman is the Finance Coach featured on Oprah. She wears snazzy zebra print jackets and has a smile that could dazzle anyone. She also speaks a lot of sense.

In her recent article, "The Smart Woman's Guide to Asking for a Raise", Suze says the following:

"Women have a very bad habit of putting themselves on sale. But tough economic times mean there is little chance your employer will offer a sizable raise — no matter how terrific you are— unless you force the issue a bit. A negotiating tip:

Stand Tall in Your TruthBe confident when you make your case for a raise. If you're tentative and apologetic, you're signaling ambivalence about your own worth."

I like this a lot.

It speaks to me because I firmly believe your mindset has a profound impact on your results. It's vital that you believe in your own value and worth before approaching the question of a salary increase.

If you don't value your own self-worth, how can you expect anyone else to?

- RW

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How to Avoid Self-Sabotage When You Land a New Promotion

We all suffer from limiting self-talk from time to time.

The difference between people who are successful, and those who are not, is that successful people acknowledge their 'inner gremlins' almost immediately and shout them down before they've had the chance to flex their muscles and gain any momentum.

This month's self-sabotaging self-talk is:

"What if I get that promotion and then make a mess of it?"

Isn't that funny? You proactively bust your guts to make a solid impression on the decision makers around you, are rewarded with a promotion and then immediately doubt whether you're up to the task.

Fear is a projection that you make into the future. It isn't real. It exists only in your mind. And you, like many of us, are very capable of conjuring up a multitude of possible outcomes, that may or may not ever eventuate in the future.

So for starters, stop making assumptions about the unhelpful things that might happen!

Any new opportunity poses new challenges. There are unknowns. There are questions. There is a lack of total certainty. And that's okay; you're pushing your boundaries and seeing what you're capable of. It's exciting!

Look at a new situation, like a promotion, as an opportunity for growth and learning. Expecting yourself to get everything right all of the time only sets yourself up for trouble.

See it as a step-by-step journey. You can methodically plan your steps to ensure you make all that you want happen in your new role. The key is not to overwhelm yourself - or to second-guess what the people around you are thinking of you as you commit to the journey.

Look for support. Ask for help. Seek a mentor. And if you also believe in your own experience and ability, you'll soar. Enjoy the journey!


Tip to Raise Your Profile at Work: Surround Yourself with Positive People

We've all met them: energy-sucking vampires.

These people are 'natural doubters'. They are negative, in both their thinking and behaviours. They avoid challenge. They question and criticise. They look for reasons why things can not be done. And they sleep in crypts. Well, maybe not that last one...

If you have anyone like this around you, whether at home, work or socially, my suggestion is to pat yourself on the back for not allowing them to do any more damage and then make your exit.

The problem with energy-sucking vampires is they are totally self-absorbed. They don't have your best interests at heart; all they want is to put you off going for anything even half-enjoyable or fulfilling, whether personally or professionally.

They'll dissuade you from asking for a promotion or pay rise. They'll profess that everything is a 'risk'. They'll even tell you that you aren't good enough to pursue a particular goal.

Whether you know it or not, the people you choose to hang around have a profound impact on you: on how you think about yourself and your abilities; on how you conduct yourself; on the decisions you make; and your results... need I go on?

There is simply no room for people in your life who are not wholly supportive of you and your journey.

Here are some tips to take action today:

1. Review your friends and business colleagues. Are they vampires or supportive people who actively encourage you?

2. Make some decisions. Who do you want to spend time with? If you feel certain people bring you down, ask if that's acceptable to you any more. If it's not, take action. It might be a conversation you've been meaning to have for a while...

3. Actively surround yourself with only the most supportive of people. It will have a profound, positive impact on how you feel about yourself and the outcomes you get in your life and career.

- RW

Stop Indecision and Allowing Other People to Sway Your Views!

Here's a mini-questionnaire for you:

A) Do you find it difficult to make decisions without first consulting others for their opinions?


B) Do you 'just know' when you are making the right decision?

A) Do you find that you are easily swayed by other people and readily change your mind when they disagree with you?


B) Do you accept that other people have different opinions to you and know that you don't need to agree with their views?

If you answered A) to both questions this implies that you have an 'external' perspective, meaning that you rely on external feedback before feeling comfortable reaching a decision.

If you answered B) to both questions you are more 'internal' i.e. you look inside to find your solutions and answers.

Both perspectives have benefits and costs.

In terms of the latter, overly 'internal' people can be regarded as arrogant, with no desire to listen to any alternative viewpoints whilst extreme 'external' people can take forever to get anything done and drive everyone nuts in the process!

When building a strong personal brand in the workplace it is vital that you work on your ability to 'look inside' to find the answers to your challenges. Know why you have chosen a particular option without feeling the need to justify it. Listen to other people if you wish to - it doesn't mean they are right and you are wrong. You could both be right.

Appearing decisive and holding firm are both very important as you grow as a leader. And who knows - perhaps you'll sway others along the way!

- RW

What My Pregnancy Is Teaching Me About Personal Branding

I am now 26 weeks pregnant. And it's a very funny thing.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about it - those who are mothers; those who never want to be mothers; and those who, for anatomical reasons, will never be mothers. :)

What I find most interesting is how so many of the people I come across - both personally and professionally - want to share their own fears of pregnancy and childbirth; or recount their wives' horrific 20-hour labour stories; or even laugh as they relay a particularly gruesome episode of ER with me...

What really throws them, is when I talk about the preparation I am making for a natural, drug-free, Hypnobirthing birth. If you don't know what Hypnobirthing is all about, essentially it is a calm method of birthing using specific breathing and visualisation techniques to enable your body to do what it was built to do naturally.

People scoff. People's eyes widen with fear. What? You're just going to breathe the baby out?! No pain relief? No going purple from pushing for half a day?

What this truly exciting period in my life is teaching me (amongst a whole lot of other things) is the importance of standing up for what you believe in and not allowing other peoples' fears to sway my decisions or to put doubt in my mind.

Building a strong personal brand is really no different: it's all about being true to yourself and standing up for your own convictions.

- RW

Monday, August 1, 2011

Are You Repeating The Same Year or Enjoying New Experiences?

Have you been repeating the same year at work over the last 2-3 years or has every year during that period brought you new opportunities, learnings and growth?

Too many people get stuck in a rut professionally, doing jobs or tasks they could perform in their sleep. Where's the fun in that?

In my view, a much better use of your time is to use every month and every year as opportunities to grow; to challenge yourself; to seek new experiences; build new networks; and take on different responsibilities.

With every new opportunity, your self-esteem and confidence both enjoy a huge boost and you enhance your employability ten fold.

- RW

3 Tips to Build a Simple Career Plan

Do any of the comments below resonate with your current way of thinking?
 "I don't enjoy my career."

 "I don't know what I want from my career; but I do know it's not this."

 "I am due a promotion; it's sure to be offered to me this year."

 "No-one seems to know I exist at work."

One thing in life is certain. Time passes by every, well... minute.

Are you spending your minutes as you wish to? Are you enjoying a fulfilling career that meets both your short and long term objectives?

If not, then it's time to get serious about how you want your career to be. Waiting around for someone else to take charge (or for divine intervention) won't get you any closer to leading a career that fulfills you.

So here are some quick tips to get the ball rolling:

1. A Career Plan can be as simple as a list of goals that you wish to attain in the next 6-12 months (or further if you are able to plan further ahead).

2. It should include all that you want to achieve during that time such as: projects you want to work on; skills you want to learn or refresh; training you want to undertake; people you want to build relationships with; financial or status goals you want to attain.

3. For each item you list, write a series of objectives to give some detail as to what each goal requires and establish some key dates whereby these objectives must be met.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You Said WHAT? Tips to Overcome Limiting Self Talk

We all suffer from limiting self-talk from time to time.

The difference between people who are successful, and those who are not, is that successful people acknowledge their 'inner gremlins' almost immediately and shout them down before they've had the chance to flex their muscles and gain any momentum.

Today's self-sabotaging self-talk is:

"I don't know enough."

Statements like these are relative. The question is, "When will you EVER know enough?"

I am sure you've heard the phrase: life is a journey, not a destination.

Quite frankly, if we all knew 'enough' from birth, the world would be a very boring place; there would be nothing new to learn.

What the word 'enough' implies is that in comparison to - everyone else on the earth, in your company, in a particular meeting - you do not know as much as them.

Well, I guess that's possible. Maybe they've been in the job for 10 years more than you. Or even 2 years more.

Maybe they have lived longer and therefore (possibly... and only possibly) have experienced more than you. Perhaps they have swum with sharks or have 3 grandchildren... perhaps.

The point is, it doesn't really matter. We are all here to learn. Even when you're 65years old, you should still be learning.

None of us, even Albert Einstein, have all the answers. We are all still learning - that's what makes life so fascinating.

Here's a suggestion. Instead of questionning whether you know 'enough' ask yourself what you do know.

What experience do you have?

What value can you add?

What ideas or opinions can you share?

See every experience as an opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions; listen to alternative perspectives; offer value; and learn... and you won't go far wrong.


Do People Have A Perception of You That You Are Proud Of?

Companies invest a fortune in their brands. Why do they do this? Because they know and understand that the brand is not a tangible thing, but rather, it is a mental construct that exists purely in the minds of its consumers.

What companies invest their marketing dollar in is the opportunity to build a perception that their brand is:

a) superior to its competition

b) differentiated in some beneficial way and

c) is the most desirous product of its kind on the shelf.

People-brands, just like consumer brands, take time and investment to establish in the minds of the people around them.

Do the people around you - whether at work or socially - have a perception of you that you are proud of? And if not, why not?

Your personal brand is a vital part of your armoury. And you have the power to create a phenomenally powerful personal brand if you choose to.

What is important to note is that it is not neccesarily what you think you are projecting, but what the people around you see and experience of you for themselves that matters.

Here are some questions to help you:

1. How do you want people to regard you? As a strong decision maker? An office gossip? A solution-orientated thinker? A strategic visionary? A dictator? What you say is only part of the story... your actions say much, much more to the people around you.

2. So decide on the actions that are needed to support you. You may need to change some behaviours if the image people have of you is not the one you want.

3. Review your consistency. None of us would buy Coca Cola if every time we bought a can it tasted different. Consistency matters.

Be really honest about how your emotions; moods; or day of the week might affect your consistency. Being inconsistent will make the people around you feel uneasy, which is not a positive feeling to instill in others.

- RW

You Said WHAT? Tips to Overcome Limiting Self Talk

We all suffer from limiting self-talk from time to time.

The difference between people who are successful, and those who are not, is that successful people acknowledge their 'inner gremlins' almost immediately and shout them down before they've had the chance to flex their muscles and gain any momentum.

This month's self-sabotaging self-talk is:

"I'm not old enough to be taken seriously."

Age, like many things, is relative. Whilst some people see themselves as too young, others see themselves as too old. Or too fat. Or too intelligent. Or not having enough education. Or not being good enough...

The list is endless.

One thing is certain: if you run a belief like this it will continually hold you back. Well, at least until you're old enough not to have to worry about it any more :)

But life's there for the taking and so simply biding time to get to the 'right' age (whatever that may be) could mean wasting a lifetime.

Consider this. How old do you have to be to be 'taken seriously'?

Consider this. Are there fabulously successful, wealthy, happy people who are in fact very young?

As with many limiting decisions we make, this kind of belief focuses on what we feel we are lacking.

Which is completely unhelpful.

So let's focus on what you do have to be taken seriously. What skills, attributes, attitudes, behaviours do you have in your arsenal of tools that will help you to be taken completely seriously?

Once you know, go and put all your energies into those skills and act the age you want other people to regard you as.

- RW

Raise Your Profile - Connect with Connectors!

They say it's not what you know, but who you know.

The reality is, you need both! However the kinds of people you choose to socialise with, both personally and professionally, can have a profound effect on you and your opportunities - both from a detrimental stand point and a hugely positive one.

Ideal people to know are 'Connectors'. These people know people. But more importantly, the most effective ones also like people.

So why is that so important?

If you take a genuine interest in people, it naturally attracts more people to you: people like being in your company because they feel wanted and special.

So seeking Connectors who just know a lot of people isn't enough. You need to seek Connectors whose 'following' really like being around that individual.

So what can Connectors like this do for you?

Well firstly they'll be interested in you and what you want to achieve. Which is always nice! Secondly they'll do what they can to help (if they like you) and thirdly, opportunities will flow because people will be keen to help you... as ultimately, their actions will help out their Connector too.

Take action now and think about the Connectors you have around you!

- RW

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why Pride is Vital to Success

What does 'pride' mean to you? For me, 'pride' can be summed up by the All Blacks rugby team performing The Haka at the start of a match. It always sends chills down my spine.

There is a yearning. A mad passion. A fever that runs through their veins.

The eyes of every single player in that line up burns with a pride for their sport, their country and themselves as individuals. It's not every day that you are able to represent your nation, after all.

In my view, there isn't enough pride in the world. Outwardly at least.

What is it about human beings that makes us so quick to deride our talents, contribution and value?

If you'd like a surge of pride ripping through your veins here are a couple of tips:

1. Write down every instance that you can remember when someone important to you (friend, family, manager, colleague) complimented you or your work.

2. Think about instances when you were really proud of yourself and write them down. Perhaps...

- You over-delivered on a project at work.
- It was the day your child was born.
- You got a promotion.
- You showed tremendous courage.
- Perhaps you made a difference to someone else's life.
- Maybe you tried something new....

Pride is a phenomenally powerful feeling. And powerful positive feelings help us behave at our most resourceful and achieve our best outcomes.

And the key to pride is to have goals to aim for so that when you achieve them you have something to be proud about.

Take action today, in the next 24 hours, and think about the two tasks above. You'll be amazed at what you come up with!

- RW

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Have Your Voice Heard in Meetings

Isn’t it interesting how, when many people are in meetings, they shut down and yet in social situations, they are able to chat away about any topic brought to the table?

I have found, over many years of coaching clients to get ahead in their careers, that three little voices, that pop up in our heads, are the main causes of this fear. I think these thoughts can be summed up here:

- ‘What if… I say something stupid?’
- ‘What if… I say the wrong thing?’
- ‘What if… people think I’m an idiot?’

The reality is, no-one in any meeting will ever have the absolute truth to offer up. Because truth does not exist. All any of us has in a meeting is an opinion.

Even when it comes to statistics (apparently factual, black and white data), two people can skew the numbers to suit their own perspectives and support their points - and therefore have different opinions.

So if you struggle to voice your opinion in meetings, here are some tips to help you make a solid first impression:

1. Spend time thinking about the meeting. Consider the agenda. Who will be there and what might their agendas might be? Think about areas where you are already knowledgeable. Think about the questions you might ask. The stats or facts you could offer.

2. Assess where the Energy Centre is. What on earth am I banging on about, ‘energy centre‘?? There are always people in a room where the energy naturally gravitates. Who are they? Is it the CEO? A client? A Partner? Sit near them. The conversation will naturally centre around them and it is much easier to add your opinion if you are nearby than from the other end of a 12-seater table.

3. Make a point early in the conversation and lean forwards as you speak. It will give your point some added weight and naturally bring you into the conversation.

4. The most important tip of all is: to start. The longer you allow your voice to go unheard in meetings, the harder it will be to build credibility in the group.

If you’d like some help to increase your confidence in meeting environments, speak to Rebecca.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Simple Tip to Influence Those Around You

I went to a fantastic networking event this morning hosted by Kim McGuinness (Network Central). One of the speakers, Mariette Rups Donnelly, was presenting on the topic of 'presence'.

What an interesting subject this is! To get ahead we must each be seen and heard and of course, there are good ways and not so good ways to achieve this.

Many women whom I coach express concern that 'presence' could be misconstrued by others as downright 'arrogance' - certainly this extreme way of being seen is something most people would wish to avoid.

There are a number of techniques to help you establish greater presence in your meetings, with your clients, and around people 'who matter' - and I'd love to share one of Mariette's today.

Mariette explained that to have presence requires you to be present.

This is simple yet highly thought provoking.

Being present implies you are behaving actively. You are consciously making the effort to connect with the people around you and listening (not just hearing) what they have to say.

To raise your profile, a simple action you could take is to work on living in the moment. And giving your full attention.

And one thing that I have certainly learnt: it is much easier to share your view and be heard once your counterpart genuinely feels that you have listened to all they have to say first!

What are your experiences?

- RW

Monday, March 7, 2011

Do You Feel Intimidated By Confident Women?

An illuminating psychological study, conducted by child behaviouralist Deborah Tannen, revealed some noticeable differences between young girls and boys. In summary, the research found that little boys tend to regard confident, alpha boys as ‘leaders’ whereas little girls tend to see confident, alpha girls as ‘bossy’.

Isn’t that a fascinating perceptual difference?

‘Confidence’ to boys is seen as a strength; being self-assertive is a skill to aspire to have. Girls, on the other hand, seem to find confidence in their own kind a real turn off and, from what this research implies, a negative way to be perceived by others.

The media continues to be saturated with comment about blatant gender imbalance in the workplace. You have probably seen some of the statistics: at senior management level women represent only 30% of roles in Australia; women hold fewer than 5% of senior executive positions; across the board, women earn 18% less than men...

The blame is often placed on ‘antiquated organisational structures’ and the view that ‘men only promote other men'.

Could it be possible however, that this imbalance is partly due to the fact that women halt their own progression for fear of what other people, particularly other women, might think of them?

If any of this rings true, here are some tips to overcome this perceived obstacle:

1. Acknowledge that there is a big difference between ‘assertion’ and ‘arrogance’ - when we are confident in an assertive way, we demonstrate leadership. We take charge whilst taking other people into account. People who behave with arrogance make poor leaders. They trample over others and in turn alienate them. Note: arrogance is often an indication that the individual is struggling internally with a lack of confidence.

2. It is essential to be authentic and find a tone of voice that best suits you and your personal brand. If you want to find out more about 'personal branding' join us on our teleseminars and workshops!

3. Seek out the strengths of your work first, before scouring it for weaknesses. All too often we women pinpoint the one thing that is out of place, rather than acknowledging all the 534 things that are not!

4. Avoid mind-reading at all costs... unless you ask, you won't know for sure what anyone else thinks of you.

If we women assert ourselves, actively self-promote our value and behave with a confident air we will inadvertently win the respect of others.

For surely, the real reason why so many little girls, and grown women alike, sneer at the confident women around them, is because they secretly wish they could have the nerve to act that confidently themselves.

What are your thoughts?

- RW

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wake up! Why Perfectionism Is a Load of Twaddle

Have you ever looked at something – a task you just completed; a cake you just baked; a hairstyle you created - and then asked yourself what was wrong with it?

What is that?

I did it the other day – I was talking to a SEO company about optimising my LinkedIn profile. All they needed was my password so they could do the work.

I knew there were certain bits on the profile that weren’t up to date and asked them to hold fire until I’d done it. God forbid; the SEO would work, bring more people to my LinkedIn page and it wasn’t already perfect!

The sad reality is, we often look for what is wrong with a situation before we look for all the reasons it is right.

Let’s think about 3 scenarios where this could hold us back:

Applying for a job:
Only applying if we have 100% of the skills requested in the job description.

Fear: “I can’t apply for a job fraudulently / I will get found out / I need to be ready.”
Cost to self: Wasted time and energy
Solution: Focus on the skills you do have and sell yourself based on them.

Doing your hair:
Only going out on a date if our hair is absolutely, positively, 100% perfect.

Fear: “I can’t be seen out without every hair in place / What will he/they think of me?”
Cost to self: Wasted time and energy
Solution: Focus on getting your hair done to the best of your ability… then go out and enjoy yourself!

Employing a cleaner:
Only getting a cleaner in when you have already cleaned the house from top to toe.

Fear: “What if the cleaner thinks we’re dirty or have a dirty house?”
Cost to self: Wasted time and energy
Solution: Ask the cleaner to do her/his job and get over it.


1. Life is too short to be seeking perfection in everything we do.

2. We learn ‘on the job’ anyway – if we don’t have all the knowledge right now, if we want it, we will obtain it.

3. There is a whole lot more that is right about our outputs than is wrong – choose which you wish to focus on.

4. Give yourself the respect you deserve – focusing on the negatives will wittle your confidence and esteem away… what use is that to anyone?

5. We have limited time and energy and it would be better spending both in ways that enrich our lives, rather than wasting either worrying about a load of twaddle.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – how does perfectionism help or hinder you?
- RW

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Words of Wisdom: Catherine McDowell, MD of ANZ Private Banking

Today I read an interesting interview in a recent issue of 'inFinance' with Catherine McDowell, who is the Managing Director of ANZ Private Banking.

In it, she talks of her experiences - she says,

"I learnt at an early stage that a lot of your career progression is based on a couple of fundamental tenets: always be good at what you do; make sure that you've got the training and you are performing. And network. You've got to manage your own career and plan."

She goes on to say, "Having a mentor or coach for me was absolutely critical ... I was very committed once I decided I wanted a full blown career."

Here are my learnings from this:

1. To be good at what you do, it's important to know what you do really really well... and then do it.

2. Assess gap areas: for example skills you know you need to develop or knowledge you need to expand - then set a simple action plan for how you want to attack these areas in the next 90 days.

3. It's not necessarily what you know, but who you know. Networking is vital. I'll be sharing some top tips on this soon.

If you need help getting clarity for yourself on any of the 3 tips above, get in contact with me at any time.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Comfort Zones Are There To Be Broken

- Does fear get in your way?

- Do you waste energy conjuring 'what if...' scenarios in your head?

- Does the idea of trying something new freak you out?

Your comfort zone is 'comfortable' because everything within it is known to you. Here, there are no surprises.

Goals, by their very nature, are outside of your comfort zone. Trying new things, or testing yourself, are also beyond these boundaries.

Although it feels warm and fuzzy and safe in 'your zone' it also means you're potentially operating on auto-pilot: in a constant state of mere existence. Which, although easy, is not really all that fun.

As human beings, we have masses of potential and true fulfilment only comes from testing that potential.

As adults we teach ourselves to stop testing those limits because 'fear' creeps in. We start questionning whether 'we should' and 'what might others think of us'.

Here's a thing: set yourself a mini goal. Nothing too outrageous! Decide what you could do in the next 24-48 hours to get on with it and start making it happen. Already you're out of your comfort zone.

- Maybe you need to ask someone's advice
- Maybe you need to make a phone call
- Maybe you need to start doing some research

Whatever it is, go for it. Every single step you take expands your 'zone' so that you become 'comfortable' with so much more. This has a profound effect on your confidence and esteem - what else are you capable of?


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Make 2011 Your Year - Work with Rebecca!

Happy New Year! It's so exciting to have a fresh year ahead of us and I can really taste the winds of change. 2010 was a very hard year for many people. It's now time to look with fresh eyes upon the plethora of opportunities out there for us all.

If you are looking to take your career into a different stratosphere this year, you'll love everything that is going on at Clear Horizon Coaching.

If you :- Feel stuck in your current career
- Want to get promoted or enjoy a pay rise in 2011
- Know you need to raise your profile at work and get ahead
- Want some help to develop a simple yet powerful Career Plan for the next 12 months and beyond...

...then I am exactly who you need!

Check out the many testimonials on my website
Explore the ways in which I can help you
Book an introductory session today and enjoy new results!