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  1. Career Advice – Sharing of Wisdom from Great Influencers

    October 7, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to the future of our careers, a little advice can go a long way. We often turn to coaches, mentors and people we trust.

     So what can we learn from successful people that can apply to us? While doing research on the topic, I found an article on career advice from some of the world’s most successful people, and I would like to share this advice with you below:

    Opera Winfrey

    Media Mogul and TV show host

    “Three things”

    Three things that will carry you if you let them:

    1- Know who you are and what you want.

    2- You must find a way to serve. The service and the significance that you bring to your service is that which is lasting.

    3- Always do the right thing. Be excellent, people notice. Let excellence be your brand.

    Jeff Weiner

    CEO of LinkedIn

    “Three pieces”

    Three pieces of advice that changed his life:

    1- You can do anything you set your mind to (from his father). Decide what you want to do (balance for skill and passion) and then start working towards it.

    2- Everything that can be converted from atom to bit will be (from a book “Being Digital”). In other words, everything physical that can be made digital will be as technology advances.

    3- Do you want to push paper around or do you want to build products that change people’s lives? (from then COO of Yahoo, Dan Rosensweig). Focus your energy on things that will have an impact that correlates to your goals in life.

    Eric Schmidt

    Former Google CEO

    “Have a coach”

    Everybody needs a coach. Every famous athlete, every famous performer has somebody who is a coach. Somebody who can watch what they are doing at them Give them perspective. The one thing that people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really really helps.”

    Richard Branson

    Entrepreneur and Founder of Virgin Group

    “Focus on the people”

    Focus on the people. Find the best people to run the company. Make sure they are properly incentivised, properly motivated, and give them freedom to go ahead and make good things.”

    Steve Jobs

    Entrepreneur & Founder of Apple

    “Don’t settle”

    In his Stanford commencement speech, Steve delivered one of the most inspiring speeches of our time. It’s a three part speech:

    Connect the dots: You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.

    Don’t settle: Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

    Death is the best motivator: Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

    Now what advice would I offer to an earlier version of myself based on what I have learned to this point?

    “Adaptability is the key”

    You will never have an exact map with directions of how your future career will pan out. While it is important to set goals and targets, remember to expect the unexpected. Paths change, some choices may not work out as you may have wanted but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to new opportunities and go with the flow. You will be amazed at where life can take you if you are more open and flexible to changing circumstances.

    What career advice has been passed on to you that has led you to where you are today? What advice could you offer to someone else based on what you have learned?

  2. What can we learn from great leaders? By Stephen Crowe

    May 27, 2014 by Jenna

    The world is full of books and articles on leadership. They are written by the leaders themselves, biographers, academics and hacks like you and me. They extol a variety of approaches to the issue of convincing other people to follow a path.

    But the books and articles I’ve read appear to have some common themes that form the foundations of leadership. These themes include:

    Leadership is a fusion of both the heart and the head – great leaders have learnt that although leadership involves analysis, logic and reason, at its heart it is a humanitarian pursuit. So without passion and empathy in combination with logic and reason you will not succeed in the long run.

    Leadership is a learned skill, not a genetic gift – great leaders are not born they earn their stripes through effort and anxiety just like the rest of us.

    Leadership takes discipline – great leadership in any pursuit is not easy, it takes strength and discipline and it’s not necessarily the big decisions that require the discipline (they usually present themselves once you have done your homework). It is the myriad of small turns and forks in the road that are encountered each day that test the resolve; those are the decisions that set the example for others to follow.

    Leadership is different for every leader – there is no one formula for leadership success –how can there be? If leadership is about people and each one of us is different how can there be one correct pattern for success.

    All Leaders make mistakes – as Michael Jordan (maybe not a great leader but a fantastic basketball player) said – “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

    So am I saying that the multi-billion dollar “leadership industry” is a sham? Not at all. Just because our paths are not identical does not mean that we can’t learn from those who have excelled. To the contrary great leaders are always learning from others and applying the lessons to their own unique circumstances.

  3. Time Management Mistakes – Pitfalls to Avoid

    October 1, 2013 by Jenna

    My biggest time management mistake is I can’t say no.

    Outside of work, if you ask anyone, I am always busy! And most of the time I love it, but there has got to be a time to have a rest day or just say no otherwise I crash and burn. If I don’t prioritise my tasks properly to what suits my work, adventure lifestyle and alone time then I can end up letting other people down and also feel disappointed in myself. It’s not a nice feeling, it is so much better to know you have done your best and to feel a sense of achievement!

    This became a reality when I came back from completing the Kokoda Trail and I was skinny and very fatigued. Feeling more tired than usual I was finding it hard to pick up a routine again. I was then advised by a health professional that I was ‘over-training’ and should allow myself to rest for at least three weeks or the fatigue will continue to increase and it could take months to recover! Wow that was a reality check. Of course when I brought this up to my flatmate, she said, ‘And you have only realised this now?’

    So I guess what I have gained out of that experience is that in order to be my best I need to effectively rest. I can still enjoy the aspects of planning and doing many outdoor activities and working but I need to be in touch with my limits in order to continue to stretch and grow further in the future. And of course, occasionally say ‘no’.

    That’s not to say that is my only time management mistake, however, the more I start to make myself aware of these pitfalls, the easier I can avoid them. The other key time management mistakes I need to focus on, and some of you might relate to these as well, are:

    1. Failing to keep a to-do list

    Not only are to-do lists helpful for your memory with important tasks and deadlines, it also helps you prioritise the way in which you will complete each task. You can order them in terms of priority, by time period to complete them etc. It’s providing a written account of what you are responsible for, and if it’s written down you’ll have fewer excuses as to why you didn’t complete the task (it saves you procrastinating!).

    2. Not setting personal goals

    Goals give you a destination and vision to work towards. You will manage your time more effectively if you know the difference between what is a priority (something that drives you) or what is merely a distraction.

    3. Not prioritising

    What links to point number one, it is important to take note of timeframes for the high priority tasks to those that can be put on the backburner until a later time. There will be circumstances where you are taking on many tasks at once and may be unsure as to which one is more important. Make sure to communicate and confirm your priorities. Your manager may not realise that you are doing two other projects on the side before he/she walks over and hands over something else. Nothing looks worse than to accept a task and then fail to deliver because you didn’t ask enough questions. When you take on a task you are accountable.

    4. Not taking breaks

    While you may feel you are ‘saving time’ by working through your lunch break or sitting in front of your computer for long hours of the day, you could actually be doing yourself more harm than good. Just as the billboards advise when you have been driving on the road for many hours, ‘Stop, Revive, Survive’. The body needs time to recover, and it can be anything from a ten minute walk, having lunch outside away from your desk, having a five minute stretch or having a snack. Look after yourself so that you in turn can provide better results. Working like a robot will only leave you looking and behaving like a zombie!

    What time management mistakes are you guilty of? What advice have you given to someone on managing their time effectively?

  4. I Wish I Was One Of The Lucky Few – By Narelle Hess

    July 10, 2012 by Jenna

    Stephen Bradbury was a four-time winter Olympian whose story may have ended there had it not been for luck. In a race where he seemingly had no chance he won the gold medal. Not any old gold medal, Australia’s first gold medal at a winter Olympics. How many opportunities are you creating for luck in your career?

    It turns out the luck of Stephen Bradbury is not the exception. So often I hear from clients “I just wish I was one of those people who know what they want to be, like nurses, or doctors, or teachers”. Personally I have had many moments when I too wished I was one of those people. It turns out that while these people may seem to be in the minority we are all in fact just as lucky. Over the last decade empirical research has consistently shown across populations, age, socio-economic backgrounds, race, and gender that upwards of 80% of us state that chance or luck has paid a significant part in our career .

    So I took this question to you, our cross-section of the Australian population and you replicated this finding, with more than half of you stating that your career was decided by chance:

    • “I was temping and only supposed to fill in for one day. I was asked to stay on and apply for the full time position which has taken my career from strength to strength.”
    • “I originally wanted to be a hairdresser, and then decided to become a teacher! Neither of those careers worked out so I was looking for a job and started as a call centre rep, working my way up and am now Program Ops Manager 15 years later – and in finance no less. A career that was never on my radar!”

    Of course it is not luck alone that leads to career success. Stephen Bradbury didn’t get to that dais purely by chance! Stephen Bradbury represented his country at four winter Olympics because he worked extraordinarily hard and made many personal sacrifices. This hard work was what led him to that day where luck played him a card. He owned his role in creating that luck:

    • “Life can take you in many directions, circumstances and plans change, unexpected opportunities arise.”
    • “Patience, resilience, dedication, seizing on-job courses opportunities, diligence but above all great relationship building skills.”
    • “I was employed by this firm in 1963– I’m still here — I now own it!”

    Stephen Bradbury didn’t idly stroll across that finish line; he raised his arms in the air and owned his success, owned his hard work, and owned the part he played in that lucky day. Isn’t it time you too owned your career success – the chance, the luck, and all the hard work?

    We would love to hear your career stories – how has chance, luck, and hard work played its role in your career success?

    Did you know that Challenge Consulting helps clients with Career Guidance? Contact Susan Kealy at [email protected] or 02 9221 6422 or visit the website to find out more.


    Bright, J. E., Pryor, R. G., Chan, E. W. M., & Rijanto, J. (2009). Chance events in career development: Influence, control and multiplicity. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 75, 14-25.

    Chen, C. P. (2005). Understanding career chance. International Journal of Educational and Vocational Guidance, 5, 251-270.

    Guindon, M. H., & Hanna, F. J. (2002). Coincidence, happenstance, serendipity, fate, or the hand of God: Case studies in synchronicity. Career Development Quarterly, 50, 195-209.

    Hirschi, A. (2010). The role of chance events in the school-to-work transition: The influence of demographic, personality and career development variables. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77, 39-49


  5. Are more people today settling for any job as opposed to finding their dream job?

    May 23, 2012 by Jenna

    Having the job of your dreams. Is that where you are at today? Or do you often find your mind drifting off and you think to yourself, ‘Is there something more than this?’

    I brought up this particular topic because I often find that I am the ‘go to’ person for advice from friends of mine that are either looking for work, or have been in a role with a company for a while and are not particularly happy.

    I remember times when I have been unemployed, and I have to admit, when a source of income is lacking and having the reality of bills coming in, living expenses, and those unplanned emergency spendings, you begin to feel anxious and sometimes desperate to get back on track.

    When I am taking calls and passing on the details of candidates to our recruitment consultants, I often find that applicants are even applying for positions to which they do not have the qualifications for. This often makes me wonder if it is the job market that is so competative out there that candidates are willing to try something outside of their comfort zone, or whether the candidate is just wanting to fill any role that is available, regardless of what the role requirements are because they need it right now!

    I was amazed at the honesty of your responses as 75% of respondents said that they are happy to settle for a job that pays the bills whereas only 12.5% said they are striving for the job that they love. Your responses were also very honest:

    I believe they are definately settling, as times are tough at the moment, and it’s not really the best time to be going out on a ledge, and making that leap. It’s better to be safe at the moment, and I think that is the perspective of most employees and individuals finding their dream jobs etc.

    So is it just money that is preventing us from persuing our dream job? I tend to think that while money is a major factor, a lot of the time what prevents us from taking the steps that we want career wise is usually psychological barriers.

    A website called outlines the barriers in which we can often create that prevents us from persuing our dream jobs:

    Barriers are most often imaginary obstacles that seem very real at the moment. When trying to find your dream job, these barriers seem very real and scary. We come up with practical, realistic reasons why something won’t work. What you must realize is whenever you find yourself resisting anything during this dream job process, make sure you realize it is fear talking in most cases… A barrier rises up and we second-guess ourselves with self-doubt. Your subconscious whispers how much easier it would be to stay with the familiar and avoid taking a chance on that unknown. But if we listen to the siren song of self-doubt, we will forever flounder on the becalmed sea of indecision.

    I think fear of the unknown is a very common feeling amoung individuals, and I think the more responsibilities you take on the more you can feel at risk of losing what you have worked hard to achieve. Or you may just be very comfortable with the way your job is going that you would rather stay in that ‘bubble’ so to speak as long as you can. The reality is however, that often life doesn’t stay the same, times change, work structures change and adapt, companies flourish or fail, and if we get caught up believing that we are always ‘safe and secure’, will we ever be prepared for life’s little surprises?

    Every cross-road that we face in life has some element of risk, the only thing is, we often won’t know if it is ‘good risk’ or ‘bad risk’ until after we have made that choice. As much as we would always like to be in control of everything we do there is always going to be some level of unpredictability. And you will usually find that the things we want the most are often the things we need to work the hardest for.

    With that said, I’m sure some of you have faced the road less traveled to follow a dream and it may not have gone according to plan. However, how can we ever learn and grow if some of the decisions we make are not meant to be? The biggest mistake I tend to think we make is not doing anything at all!

    Settling for a job less satisfying can also result in the following behavior according to a website called

    • You procrastinate
    • You spend Sunday night worrying about Monday morning
    • You’re really competitive about salary and titles
    • You don’t feel like helping co-workers
    • Work days feel looooong
    • You have no friends at work
    • You don’t care. About anything.
    • Small things bug you
    • You’re suspicious of other people’s motives
    • Physical symptoms – insomnia, headaches, low energy, muscle tension etc.

    I have seen on many occasions how a dissatisfying job can effect someone in a negative way. If responses are fairly negative towards work and you are not often finding the time to see your friends or family due to the hours you work, it may be time to start looking into something more suited to your needs before the bitterness bug gets the better of you.

    Does any of the above sound like your current situation or relatively close? Well, an article on gives some very simple steps to finding your passion and how to best pursue your dream job:

    1. Understand that it will take time to discover your passion and shape your vision – Do not look at your circumstances but look forward to your vision and future.
    2. Do your research and explore – You cannot expect to discover anything without exploring different options.
    3. Establish a plan with main goals. Include items that can hinder you – Life happens and brings about many unexpected issues to handle, when this happens… adjust accordingly and keep working towards your goal.
    4. Take action based on your planNow that you have a plan it is time to use it.
    5. Track your progress – It is important to track your progress; document and remember your small successes.

    Well I hope you have found some of this information to be useful, and if you know anyone who may be experiencing the above this may be something worth sending through for a bit of encouragement. As some of us would be happy to dip our feet in the water, why not take the plunge and see what happens?

    Haven’t had your say? We would love to hear from you, otherwise you can participate in this week’s online poll: Do you prefer to drive to work or catch public transport? You never know, your participation could win you a Hoyts Cinema Double Pass!

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