Your Brilliant Career Podcast

The go-to resource for getting the most out of your career

This podcast provides an injection of energy and practical insights to women who are committed to their career. I share tactics, tools and stories that inspire capable women to think bigger and unapologetically achieve the success they deserve.

One of my early realisations was that there are many unwritten rules about career success that no one tells you. Smart women are tired of generic career tips. They want accessible, relevant and practical tips. Each episode includes content that inspires women to step up in their career and experience the energy and reward of being more.

Your Brilliant Career is a podcast that aims to help more women rise and reach new heights in their career.



In this episode, you can consider me your flashlight-wielding career guide. That’s right. I am going to show you how to get out of your career darkness and demonstrate how you are one step away from realising your power and capabilities, and creating a career you love.

I'm loving what I have in store for you and I'm looking forward to sharing some new ideas with you to help you to think about your career just that little bit more strategically. 

Links we talked about on the podcast include:

RISE Accelerate program:

Episode 40 - A personal stylist's tips for amping up your work wardrobe with Caitlin Stewart:

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Your transcript

Okay, imagine this: you're in a pitch-black room, and you know there's a treasure chest somewhere. Problem is, you can't see a thing. What do you do? Fumble around blindly hoping to stumble upon it? Or would you rather have someone hand you a flashlight and guide you straight to the loot?

In today’s episode …. you can consider me your flashlight-wielding career guide. That’s right. I am going to show you how to get out of your career darkness and demonstrate how you are one step away from realising your power and capabilities and creating a career you love.  

Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of the Your Brilliant Career Podcast. I'm loving what I have in store for you today and I'm looking forward to sharing some new ideas with you to help you to think about your career just that little bit more strategically. 

But before we dive in, I'm going to make mention of the last episode. We had personal stylist Caitlin Stewart join us and it was a fabulous conversation. She shared some incredible tips for amping your work wardrobe. So, all about getting some more style and really just thinking about what you're doing in terms of creating your professional look and building your wardrobe. There were so many great tips and the feedback has been phenomenal. I had no idea that you loved style so much. I have mentally catalogued that now and will ensure that we bring more style into future episodes. I've already got a few ideas percolating. This is right up my alley. And if you haven't had a chance to listen to my conversation with Caitlin, you can go back after this episode.

Okay…now we need to get back to the darkness. Metaphorically speaking of course. That place where you know there is some magic – I referred to it as the treasure chest – but you can’t quite find it at this moment in your career. You feel your potential, like there’s an opportunity in the wings for you to shine more brightly, get recognised or achieve more. 

It's not that anything has derailed- in fact, others observing you – would probably say she’s got it all together – even though behind the scenes you might feel like you’re fudging a few things and feigning your confidence.

We all need a flashlight at times for the simple reason that the business landscape is more complex, and unpredictable. While we do our best, it can be hard. We can feel like we are operating in the shadows – pretending we have it all under control.

So many of the women that I meet in the RISE programs feel they have more to offer – it's like there’s an underlying frustration that their hidden potential can’t be accessed. Not that they ever articulate it like that. But they do readily say that they have HUGE workloads and feel stuck in the busyness and the day-to-day grind – and don’t feel like they are progressing the way they have in the past.

I honestly feel that if this is something you are experiencing now – consider coming to a program like RISE Accelerate – it will help you beyond any of your expectations. Truly.

But for now, let me share a personal story. 

Going back a few years - to my early thirties. Pretty much out of the blue or so it felt – I was offered a new job and I wasn’t looking for one – but this job was too good to ignore. It was a senior role in media with a new organisation. 

It was a step-up opportunity with a bigger team, P&L responsibility, and a chance to be part of the senior executive leadership team. It was a very exciting time in my career. 

Up until this period, I already had a successful career with another media company and I got promoted roughly every 3years. I was used to succeeding and being acknowledged with step-up opportunities – which I think is pretty common for someone who considers themselves a high performer in their 20s and early thirties. 

When I landed in this new – a more senior role - things felt very different quickly. I’d come from an environment where I was valued, and it was an environment that I knew how to navigate… but not now… everything was new and I was starting from scratch. I understood this was the reason for the discomfort that I was feeling, but it was probably harder than I expected. 

On the flip side… I felt extremely grateful and proud to get offered this job. It was to lead the largest department in the second-largest magazine publisher in Australia. I inherited a team of 120 people, twelve magazines – some wonderful brands that you'd be familiar with - and I wanted to shine. And I imagine like you and many of my loyal listeners – I was not afraid of hard work. 

But those early days were interesting for me. I felt challenged by the new stakeholders… by the intensity of the politics – yes magazines were exactly like The Devil Wears Prada – that movie Is not built on fiction. It was not for the faint-hearted. 

So, the culture was very different from what I'd come from and the expectations in this new role were put simply – HUGE. 

Further, I reported directly to the CEO, and I didn’t have anyone in my corner in those early days to support or guide me. Everyone in the senior ranks was hustling for power and there was a lack of trust. It was a lot for someone so young. 

Talk about darkness and needing a flashlight – that was me. I needed a high beam!!! I felt vulnerable and the uncertainty made me lose a lot of self-confidence. It was a tough time. 

But I powered on because I thought that’s what you do. I fronted up every day ‘frocked up’ pretending I was on top of things.

My mum always said to me that when the going gets tough – ‘put your head down and your tail up’ – such an Aussie expression – maybe you’ve heard of it – but it means put your nose to the grindstone and work hard and then hopefully everything will be okay. So that’s what I did – I put my head down and my tail up and hoped my hard work would pay off in this new job.

But the truth is… the results weren’t pouring in. 

One day I was invited to a finance meeting where there was a bigger conversation about the commercial performances of some of the titles – the core message in that meeting was that they wanted to see more growth, innovation and results from my team.

Then there was this moment in the meeting where one of the more influential editors turned to me and said – so Gillian, what are YOU going to do differently to turn this around?

This question scared the living daylights out of me because I didn’t know the answer. I was very successful in my last job and company, and my approach for this new gig was to do what I've always done – my approach to date had enabled my success and got me to this point… So why do anything differently?  Whatever I did got me to land this fabulous new and unexpected career opportunity with a leading media organisation. 

I considered myself to be good at several things – as I’m sure you do right – but I wasn’t getting the desired results and I could see that if I didn’t do things differently… it could all turn pear-shaped for me very quickly.

After a short moment of panic and a bit of thinking… I realised maybe it didn’t matter that I was good at certain things in the past. Because this is a new role with new requirements and expectations. I realised I needed to lead differently in this role – after all I had a much bigger team, and I needed new skills and ways of doing things to influence, and to be more strategic.

That saying… what got you here, won’t get you there – could not have been truer for me at that moment.

I had to figure out how to approach this role differently. I had some tough stakeholders.

I really leaned into this challenge over the ensuing months and things did evolve for me. It wasn’t easy but I did slowly improve the results in the business – and with time on the ground, delivered the innovation and revenue growth that my stakeholders wanted and expected. 

But it wasn’t easy – I felt very battered and bruised by the end because I had to figure out so much by myself and didn’t have any support.

I don’t know if you relate to any part of my story. I’m sure you will if you have been challenged at some point in your career and wondered why you’re not getting the desired results when you’ve done what you’ve always done. Or why you are not shining the way you have in the past. It’s confusing at first – and it defies logical thinking.

If I had someone in my corner with a spotlight – a big, beautiful torch to guide me in those early days - I’m sure they would have said to me…

“Gil, you’re going to be great – but this opportunity is the next phase of your career, and it is going to demand different things from you. Don’t assume that all the things that made you successful to date – will allow you to be great in this role. Quite the contrary - the next six months are going to be about transitioning yourself into this elevated role. It will require letting go of some of the skills and building new skills. It will be an exciting next phase for you. “

I would have loved that advice – and I've given similar feedback to others. I know my story is not that unique. Careers need different things from you at different times. You have to evolve because if you don’t, you won't stay relevant. Put simply - What got you here... won't get you there!

When you realise this simple fact – and acquire new capabilities and behaviour that elevate you – you won’t need a flashlight. 

So let me step into coaching mode for a moment and ask you – 

What is it about my story that resonates with you? Is it my realisation that I needed to lead with more influence or that I had to build my strategic acumen? What was it for you?

Then think about where you are today and the leader that you want to be. Where do you think you need to evolve?

What do you need to do differently? If there were one or two things you’d like to do differently or acquire the skills to do – what would they be? Be specific as you can here. 

For example, I’d like to say YES to fewer things and manage my time better, so I feel less frenetic and like I’m leading more purposefully. Another example, I need to deliver my point of view in meetings more convincingly. I feel I just give updates – but now I want to offer my opinion on some things and be compelling in doing so.

What is it for you? Take some time today to think about this. Because the truth is you are one step away from realising your power and capabilities and creating a career you love. 

This is the work we do in the RISE Accelerate program. I give you the practical tools and insights that show you how to evolve and step up at different points in your career so that you are valued, relevant and contemporary.

That’s a wrap for today. Feel free to DM on Instagram at Your Brilliant Career with your reflections around this – what got you here… won't get you there – so what are you going to do differently?

Have a great week. I’ll be back in a fortnight.

If this episode has helped you or supported you in any way, I would so appreciate it if you would write a short review. It really does help the show climb the ratings and get on the radar of other women wanting to progress in their careers. Just a few words or sentences on what you enjoyed most about the podcast. Thank you so very much.