Monthly Archives: February 2016

Girls: Put your Hand up and Get on a Panel

When I joined the Royal Australian Air Force, women couldn’t be pilots, so I got into logistics. One of the female engineers won the right to fly just after I graduated, by taking the Air Force to the Discrimination courts.  But she could only fly the transport aircraft.  It’s taken nearly three more decades to earn the right for Australian women to support our country (if they wish) by flying fighter jets.

While this is an extreme example, I’m regularly disappointed when I see conference panels with no female face. A recent Talented Women blog by colleague Kiri Stejko reinforces that we want to cheer our female peers when they do something ‘unusual’ like fly a plane, but it would be so much better to consider it normal, not unusual.

I think Sheryl Sandberg has it right. It is our collective responsibility to put our hands up and encourage our female peers to ‘go public’.  We need more women to sit at the table, get on the panel, give a talk, write a book. Show other women it is possible and allow us to hear the views of ‘the other half’ of the working population.

Make sure you attend an International Women’s Day event this March 8th and then challenge yourself to ‘put up your hand’ and make sure your voice is heard or read, sometime during the intervening 364 days of ‘normal’ events.

How to Succeed: Baby Steps and Baby Mind

baby steps

There was a popular movie in the 90’s called “What about Bob?” where the egotistical psychotherapist, played by Richard Dreyfuss, wrote a book entitled “Baby Steps”.

The title represents a brilliantly simple idea, that in order to succeed we need to take baby steps.

And importantly, we need to take those steps with ‘baby mind’.  When babies are learning to walk they aren’t thinking about themselves, only the goal.

Want this. Oops fell over.
Want this. Oops fell over.
Want this. Ahh, did it.

We continue this success pattern until we succeed in walking. And then we learn to run. Or ride a bike. Or write a book.

Somewhere along the line we learn to think about what we are doing.   And our style of thinking has a big impact on what we decide to do.

Instead of the observation “oops fell over”, we learn to make judgments about the action.

Is it good, or not good enough?

And we may pick up messages that mistakes are bad.  That only 100% is acceptable.  That smart people don’t make mistakes.

So our success pattern changes:

I want this. I think I can. Oops mistake.
I want this. I think I can. Oops another mistake.
I want this.  I don’t know if I can do it (perfectly).  Oops another mistake you dummy.
I want this. I don’t think I can. I’m not good enough.  Argghh, I give up.

For example, I embarked on a goal to write a book in the space of a year.

My first four months went like this:
I want this.  I think I can.  Oops my writing is nothing special.
I want this.  I’m not sure if I can.  Oops, I don’t think I have anything original to say.
I want this.  I don’t think  I can.  I’m not good enough…

But luckily, I am with a group of amazing women attempting the same goal. Some are making good progress, writing regularly. Others are struggling with similar thoughts to me.

So this month I delved back into the literature on what makes the difference in learning and achievement, what is the secret to success.

And I’m reminded that a lot of it is about baby steps.  Breaking the goal down into baby steps and taking action again and again. Writing as often as possible. Preferably every day. Even if it doesn’t seem good enough…yet.

I don’t necessarily like this message, but I now know that that if I write often enough I can finish my book this year.

I don’t yet know how well it will turn out, or whether it will sell.

I’m not expecting it to be on the bestseller list, but I am aiming to benefit the people who read it.

If I do so, I will be satisfied. It will be a year well spent.

 

 

 

 

Guilt is Good

Have a look at a great video clip from NLP master trainer Steve Andreas about guilt.

He gives us some really good reframing: If I’m feeling  guilty about something rude I said, I can ask myself “in the moment what was more important – speaking up or being nice?  If I acknowledge that I’ve chosen speaking up for myself as more important, then I must be a person who lives my values.”

So I’ve reframed the thought of violating a value in order to satisfy another value to mean I am a person who lives my values.  Nice.   It’s counterintuitive – an interesting benefit of guilt.

If I”m feeling really guilty about not “being nice” then that means that value is also really important to me.  So a values clash can help to clarify what’s important to me. Another benefit of guilt.

Maybe I haven’t learned how to achieve both together yet, but by knowing that both values are important, I can choose to make amends, to show that I’m also ‘nice’.  And using ‘intelligent regret’, I can reflect on my behaviour and choose to do something different in the future that combines both values.  This gives me problem to solve rather than wallowing in embarrassment. That’s a third benefit of guilt.

In conclusion, guilt is good.  Especially if you do something different as a result of it.

Thanks Steve – very helpful.