Blog RSS
Border Background
  1. What Resilient People Don’t Do

    January 27, 2015 by Jenna

    We all respond to change differently. For some of us it comes naturally and we can go with the flow, as for others, having that sense of security removed can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Regardless of which type of person you are, it is important to develop resilience so that we can continue to move towards our goals regardless of the situation.

    So what does it take to be an emotionally resilient person? Perhaps it is best to start by clarifying what they don’t do in order for us to understand what it takes to be resilient. An article by Brad Waters in Psychology Today will be my inspiration for this week and I have outlined ten of his points below:

    1. They don’t cross their own boundaries – Resilient people understand that there is a separation between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary The stress/trauma might play a part in their current story but it does not overtake their permanent identity.

    2.They don’t surround themselves with bad company– In any environment, your behaviour can be greatly affected by the people you surround yourself with. Resilient people surround themselves with other resilient people who give them space to grieve and work through their emotions. These supporters know when to listen and when to offer enough encouragement without trying to solve the problem, allowing the individual to remain in control of their decisions. Good company will help calm a situation as opposed to adding frustration to it.

    3. They don’t avoid self-awareness – Being ‘blissfully unaware’ can get us through a bad day but it’s not a very wise long term strategy. Self-awareness helps resilient people to know what they need, what they don’t need and when it’s time to reach out for extra help.

    Prideful stubbornness without emotional flexibility or self-awareness can make us emotional glaciers. While strong on the outside to stay afloat, you can get prone to massive stress fractures when experiencing unexpected changes in your environment.

    4. They don’t pretend there isn’t a problem – Pain is painful, stress is stressful and healing takes time. Resilient people understand that stress/pain is a part of living that ebbs and flows. As hard as it is in the moment, it’s better to come to terms with the truth or pain than to ignore it, repress it, or deny it.

    5. They don’t ignore quiet time – Some of us find the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety is to dull out with distractions such as television, eating, drinking too much etc. While not all distractions are bad, you still need to be mindful of the current situation you may be in and not use distractions as a means of avoiding problems. Somewhere in between shutting down or ramping up is mindfulness – being in the presence of the moment without judgement or avoidance. It takes practice, but finding a quiet space to reflect is well renowned for healing and resilience-building.

    6. They don’t presume to have all the answers – Sometimes we try too hard to find answers in the face of stressful or traumatic events, that activity can block the answers from naturally arising in their own due time. Resilient people can find strength in knowing they do not have it all figured out right now. They trust they will gradually find peace when their mind/body is ready.

    7. They don’t put self-care aside – Resilient people have a list of good habits that support them when they need them most. Anyone can build their own list by noticing those things that recharge their batteries and give them a boost.

    8. They don’t underestimate the importance of team input – Being resilient means knowing when to reach out for help from others. It also means knowing who will serve as a listening ear, and who won’t. A supporting team will help you reflect back on issues where you may have been too emotional or overwhelmed to do so at the time they occured.

    9. They don’t overlook other possibilities – Resilient people can train themselves to ask which parts of their current story are permanent and which parts can possibly change. This helps to maintain a realistic understanding that the present situation may be coloured by their current interpretation. Our interpretations of our stories will always change as we grow and mature.

    10. They don’t dwell on issues – When we’re in the midst of stress and overwhelmed, our thoughts can go at a hundred miles an hour. Resilient people can find reprieve accepting the situation and moving on. One technique that works for some people is the write down the issues causing the current stress.

    While writing is one resilience strategy you can keep in your back pocket, there are other ways that resilient people can get out of their head. Examples include healthy distractions like going to the gym or going for a walk, cooking or baking, volunteering or any self-care items as per point #7.

    How have you built resilience in times of change or difficult situations?


  2. Changes to increase happiness at work

    January 16, 2015 by Jenna

    We’re now settling back into our work routines for the New Year and as 2015 is a time to set out new goals and resolutions, why not aim to make changes that benefit your happiness and well-being at work?

    There are some simple steps that you can apply regardless of your role or background, and an article by Catherine Conlan will be my inspiration for this week’s blog. Here are six steps that you can apply below:

    Develop a Structured Routine

    Setting a structured routine gives a better indication of what to expect from your day and prepares you for what lies ahead. Sometimes this will require you to plan the night before, compile a list of priorities etc.

    Setting up a list of tasks and duties for the day can also save on procrastination as you have made yourself aware of what important deadlines need to be achieved. Be specific with what details you set out in your routine and what you want to achieve so that you can maintain it for a long term basis.

    Other routines may also include healthy eating plans and exercise routines which in turn can help improve daily performance.

    Become a Mentor

    If you have experience in your field and are looking for opportunities to share your knowledge and direction with other junior employees or candidates, there is a lot of fulfillment in helping others. You are not only leading someone in the direction of their future career, but you will be challenged by them to provide insight, reflect on what you have learned so far and review your career development up until this point. This can be a rewarding experience.

    Change Your Mindset

    Approaching your job as a daily investment towards your personal development will motivate you to pursue further responsibilities within the role and seek training and development in your career.

    If your daily mindset is going to work because you have to or because of financial gain, you may be limiting your motivation level and ability to perform at your best.

    Seek Out Opportunities To Give Back

    If your employer has a community service program that you can get involved in, why not take the opportunity to do something good for someone else and get away from your workplace for a few hours a week.

    Volunteering your time can allow you to develop different skill sets, and may inspire you to take on different volunteering opportunities in the future.

    Switch Things Up

    As your goals and targets will change throughout the year, make sure in turn that you are creating and adapting your routine to suit these goals. If the routine is not working to meet your personal development goals, you need to take measures to assess what isn’t working and make changes sooner rather than later.

    We also as individuals need to change processes regularly to keep us engaged and motivated, otherwise the routines can become stagnant. It is important to keep reviewing your routine over time and managing it accordingly.

    Keep Learning 

    If management would like to you take a course to further develop a particular skill or to be trained on new database/software, it is important to take up the opportunity.

    If you also feel that taking on some new training will benefit the organisations’ success, present it to the manager and don’t feel that you need to wait for training to be offered to you first. Pitch why you think the training would be beneficial and review with management to see if now is the right time to pursue it, or if there is an opportunity to pursue options in the future.

    What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? What measures will you take to develop your career and reach daily satisfaction?


  3. Resilience without discipline or perseverance achieves nothing

    October 29, 2013 by Jenna

    Anyone can say that they are flexible and adaptable when it comes to change, but when push comes to shove is it really true? When the going gets tough, do you hold yourself accountable and push forward?

    I follow a lot of people that I consider to be ‘inspirational’. I find that the quotes they post, the experiences and blogs that they share and what they have achieved continue to guide me in the direction of the goals that I would like to achieve.

    But it is not as simple as setting out the path and walking in that direction – there will be storms, there will be obstacles and there will be setbacks. And that is why when I reflect on the stories of those that have achieved great things; I am most inspired by the times when they faced trials, and what they had to do to overcome these.

    Anything that you are passionate about takes work, it’s inevitable, and that is what makes the experience worth it when you get to the finish line.

    This year alone has been an incredible journey for me personally. Just after new year’s day I was standing at the base of Mount Everest looking upon where some many other climbers and explorers have traveled before me and in August I encountered war history walking along the Kokoda Trail where many Australians fought and lost their lives. These were not only physical challenges but emotional, with experiences I have taken back with me that I will never forget.

    While this was all planned way in advance and I was as thorough as I could possibly be with my planning, this did not mean that I wasn’t going to face challenges along the way. I also had to discipline myself in the following areas:

    Financially – Preparing for vaccinations, travel insurance, flights, meals, guides, porter fees, emergency spending money, gear lists, training fees etc. I had to budget and arrange payment plans well in advance to make this work.

    Physically – Taking extra time out of my ‘personal time’ (mornings and evenings) to physically prepare myself for the journey. I had joined an altitude training gym, bushwalking groups and  regular gym appointments to make this happen, and sometimes the appointment locations were at least an hour away from where I lived. I also had to discipline myself to not turn down appointments for social plans or compromise my training goals or else I would have struggled when it came to doing these treks.

    Emotionally – Often the mind will not agree with what is beneficial for the body to prepare for these kinds of goals. Yes my body and mind were tired, yes I could create many convincing excuses as to why I shouldn’t do something, yes I could convince myself to eat that pepperoni pizza instead of salads or healthy foods. This was probably the biggest battle of all when it comes to changing your lifestyle for a goal is wanting to resort back to creature comforts!

    Time – Sometimes it is hard enough planning what you are going to achieve in a week let alone six months ahead or more! I had to diarise my time like you wouldn’t believe, and it made it so much easier to balance my work and personal life around this schedule leading up to my goals and also reminding myself of what was to come as there are often distractions or unpredictable situations that can temporarily take you off course.

    You are probably reading this and thinking, ‘How did she stay with it? How could she have not made mistakes or broken her routine along the way?’ Of course I made mistakes! I am human after all. I would sleep in, eat that pizza and even whine or cry my way out of doing something because I was frustrated and tired. The point of discipline however, was that it made me more aware of what I was doing and if I slipped up I would have to make up for it, plain and simple.

    But it took me practice to gain the right mindset in order to persevere with my goals. What I mean by that is, the natural response your mind will often have when you choose to follow those creature comforts instead of following your set out plan is to condemn yourself. That negativity then expands into feelings of doubt and your mind starts thinking, ‘What are you doing? If you screw up here how will you get to where you need to go? Give up now, there is no use…’ and so on. I become frustrated when I hear this being expressed from people that I care about because I know this mindset can be a hard one to shake, especially if you repeat it enough that you have convinced yourself that this negativity is true.

    You will regret more however by not seeing what you are truly capable of. You will start seeing results once you start changing and adapting yourself to achieve goals, otherwise if you were to quit and never look back you will never know what could have been.

    I recently looked up the definition of resilience: ‘the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched…’ Now isn’t that a great description of what change can do to us? It will place us outside of our comfort zone and put us in uncomfortable situations to the point where we sometimes think we can’t take it. But you will find more often than not that you can take it (with ups and downs along the way!), and you will know that you have grown once you have seen what you are capable of. I know I have.

    When have you experienced resilience in times of change? What methods did you follow to discipline yourself and to persevere to get ahead?


  4. Three lessons I learnt from my mentor

    June 25, 2013 by Jenna

    You will find that even the most successful people in the world have someone that they look up to for inspiration and guidance.

    ‘Mentoring is always one step removed and is concerned with the longer-term acquisition of skills in a developing career by a form of advising and counselling’ – Eric Parsloe, J “Coaching for Performance” Nicholas Brealey, Publishing London 2002.

    For many having a mentor can be extremely valuable. Whether that mentor is your current manager, or someone in your family, or someone who trained you at work, we are always more compelled to achieve more when we have someone encouraging us to take the next step in our career.

    When I was just beginning my career in the events industry I took advantage of a mentoring program organised by Meeting and Events Australia (MEA) professional association.  As the mentee I was responsible for:

    • Attending the briefing workshop with fellow Mentees (a networking opportunity with other young professionals)

    • Attending the program launch to meet my Mentor

    • Coordinating meetings with my allocated Mentor a minimum of 4 times at a mutually agreed venue and time.

    • Communicating with the designated MEA personnel twice a month throughout the program

    • Attend a debrief workshop at the completion of the program to provide feedback for the development of future programs

    From the moment I met my mentor I was at complete ease and was able to openly communicate with him. I understand that this does not happen as easily for everyone. However, I would recommend if you have not found the right fit with your mentor, do not give up but rather continue to search for the right mentor partnership that can help you develop your own career.

    For mentoring to be successful the most important aspect is to show commitment to the mentoring program. The hardest part of the program for me was to arrange and commit to face-to-face meetings with both my and my mentor’s busy work schedule. Email would often be an easy fall-back position, however, I needed to show a level of discipline in setting meeting times and committing to deadlines so that I could gain the most value out of this program and time with my mentor.

    Each mentoring meeting I allocated an hour, whether that was at my office or a local coffee shop, I always ensured I took a notepad and made notes during the discussion and confirmed specific action plan items. I learnt that if I postponed meetings, the more the connection separates and the important information shared can be put aside instead of being utilised for career development. For mentoring to be successful the other key skills I had to develop were:

    1. Active listening – for many listening is a skill that we think comes naturally, but when we are being provided feedback on ourselves, we usually immediately go to a defensive frame of mind. I had to be open to the information that my mentor was sharing and asking open questions to elicit more information and increase my understanding of the feedback.

    2. Goal setting ¬ the mentoring program was a specific period of time, so as to get the most out of the six months, I had to set clear goals and commit to achieving the action plan that I developed with my mentor. I also had to personally take responsibility for my own professional development.

    3. Personal reflection – I had to reflect on my experiences and learn from the challenges I faced.

    4. Delivering results – understanding that while my Mentor would provide feedback on how to deal with issues it is still my responsibility to take action and make the decisions.

    5. Curiosity and enthusiasm – showing that I was interested in the program by turning up on time for meetings, responding with positive body language, building trust and rapport with my mentor.

    So what did I gain from my mentoring experience?

    As a young professional in the industry I was afraid of having a voice. I was afraid to speak up because I knew my expertise in the events field was limited compared to most and I was the youngest professional working in my department. My mentor helped me gain the confidence be able to express myself within my working environment not only to share ideas but to speak-up to address any issues within the workplace. By giving myself a ‘voice’ I was able to achieve results and progress in my career a lot faster than sitting on the sidelines and waiting for others to make decisions.

    I also had the opportunity to complete the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which looked at my personality preferences. By understanding my personality type I was able to better understand how and why I manage my work and communicate the way I do. I also learnt more about the opposite personality preferences and developed strategies on how I could most effectively work with other personality types. I shared this information with my manager at the time and it helped both of us to better understand how to work most effectively together. If you haven’t had the chance to complete the MBTI, I would recommend it as a great way to find out more about yourself and your key strengths and blind spots.

    Most importantly I developed a strong connection with a valued and trusted advisor. Through this partnership I confirmed how important achieving a work-life balance was to me. My mentor was living, breathing proof that you could have a successful career, have a loving family and enjoy your personal interests and have them all co-exist to create a well-balanced life. I found it quite inspiring.

    If you maintain a good relationship with your mentor, you can keep in touch with them for years, and as we are always changing and developing in our roles, the pursuit of knowledge and guidance is ongoing and essential.

    Is there anyone in your life that you consider to be a mentor? If not, is there anyone that you look up to that you would like to connect to as a mentee? There is no time like the present to start making those connections, just remember it takes time and commitment to make it work.


  5. Should I stay or should I go?

    February 26, 2013 by Jenna

    To follow on with a blog that I wrote earlier this month on ‘choosing between making money and following the career that you love’, have you reached that point of career where you are debating whether to leave your job?

    It is first important to consider the reasons why you would want to move jobs and assess if this is enough reason to take the plunge and hand in your resignation. Common factors could be, but are not limited to the following:

    • You aren’t performing to the best of your ability – sometimes lack of motivation or challenges within the role can cause you to take a less attentive approach to your daily tasks.
    • You can’t picture your future with your current employer
    • The cons of the job outweigh the pros
    • Your skills are lagging and your position offers no opportunities to update them – this can apply to individuals who have been in the same role for many years without the prospect of progression
    • Your company or work situation has changed radically since you were hired
    • Your salary isn’t enough
    • You want to live somewhere else
    • Difficulty connecting with management or members of your team

    Are all of these ringing true for you?  Well you are not alone. As individuals we crave knowledge and challenges as part of career growth. Even as a manager you have to face many different challenges and changes the more the industry or economy changes around you. So naturally if you are feeling like you are stuck in the same routine role with no recognition or chance for progression, will you still continue to be performing at your best? Or will your eyes glaze over and you find your passion for the role begins to diminish more and more?

    The next thing to consider is what opportunities are available for you in the current employment market. According to Greg Savage, blogger for The Savage Truth, this is what he had to say about the current employment market in Sydney:

    The Australian economy is in much worse shape than the politicians would have us believe, relying so heavily as it does on the resources sector (which clouds recession in other sectors) and facing the very real impact of the carbon tax. Hiring was subdued throughout 2011 and indeed, the latest surveys of hiring intent show sentiment to be at its lowest point since 2008. However it is also true that some companies are hiring specific skills sets. Indeed, we see many employers laying people off, while hiring at the same time, as they re-calibrate their skills balance sheet.

    Even so, we describe the Sydney market as cautiously optimistic, and we are seeing more orders, albeit in very niche areas such as PR Account Managers with health care experience, UX designers and Social Media Community Managers.

    While there may be a high level of competition out there at the moment for positions, I think it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of your current situation and ask yourself, does this make me happy? Does this job just get me through the day or do I go home feeling pleased with my accomplishments? Am I learning new things? Does it give me the balance I need on a day-to-day basis?

    No one should compromise happiness for a job, nor should they let any aspect of their current role prevent them from performing at their best.

    In order to make this change happen the decision has to be yours. And if you want to move on or are seeking something badly enough, then you will do your planning and preparations and work hard for it. Even in your current role, if you are finding lack of inspiration, have you stepped up to management and asked them for more responsibility? It’s always important to look at all avenues, and remember attitude can affect the outcomes of situations as well, so try to take every step and situation as optimistically as you can.

    But often we see this as either or situation, but at any point in your career, you have up to 10 options – not just 2.

    1) Remain in Current Role – No content change

    Recognition that your current role provides you with your desired level of challenge and development at the moment.

    2) Enrichment – Develop current job

    Considering what job tasks you wish to do more of and negotiating with others to take over those which no longer motivate you.

    3) Vertical – Seek promotion

    Considering what would be the real gain for you in seeking increased responsibilities.

    4) Exploration – Test out options

    Seeking project work, or deputising in another job function to test out how you like it.

    5) Lateral – Sideways move

    Moving to a similar level of job task difficulty but with different job content.

    6) Realignment – Moving down

    Downshifting to less responsibility for a short- or long-term period.

    7) Relocation – Change business unit

    Deciding that work of a different nature from your current business unit is more appropriate for your career future.

    8) Redirection – Change career field

    Changing the career stream or field of work with your current employer.

    9) Proposal – Create new job

    Submitting a proposal for creating a new job which would meet the needs of your employer and you.

    10) External – Change employer

    Deciding that work of a nature different from your current employer is more appropriate for your needs and career future. (Source: Paul Stevens, Worklife).

    Which choice are you going to make with your career?




SUBSCRIBE Join Our Mail List
Border Background