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.



I am super excited to bring you part one of a two-part series on the 10 steps to a better career —I think you are you're going to find the tips I share incredibly valuable. And don't worry, they won't be the uninspiring, generic tips you can find online.

I'll be drawing on personal experience and my expertise in working with women to craft effective and practical strategies for you to achieve a better career in just ten steps.

In this episode, I'll be covering Step 1 to Step 5, so be sure to look out for Episode 58 coming soon, in which I'll be sharing the remaining five.

I hope you'll join me!

✨ Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss an episode! 


Links we talked about on the podcast include:

FREE WEBINAR: How to self-promote (when you don't like to self-promote)

 RISE Accelerate program

FREE GUIDE: Confident, Not Cocky: The Executive Woman's Guide to Strategic Self-Promotion

Inspired? Looking for more?

We are always creating, innovating and sharing at Your Brilliant Career.

Connect with us to stay ahead of the game and if you loved this episode, we would be incredibly grateful if you shared it via your socials or left a review!

Your transcript

[00:00:00] Gillian: Many women say to me, self-promoting makes me cringe. It makes me feel like I'm begging for praise or grandstanding about my achievements in a crass way. I've seen others do it and I don't like it. And that's because the thought of self-promotion makes most women extremely uncomfortable. Even though there's a quiet acknowledgement that it might just need to be done.
[00:00:24] Take Jennifer, an analyst in big pharma. Now, she knew her functional skills were among the best. She held her head high because she believed her strengths and abilities outshone most people in her work. Now, like many, Jennifer believed that if her work was good enough, It should stand out on its own. If she produced the results she is responsible for, then surely she should expect recognition and promotion.
[00:00:49] But that's not always how it plays out. Jennifer had strong functional technical skills. And this will get you through the first couple of promotions or transitions. It certainly did for Jennifer. And I see that is the case for many women, but then things shift. And one of the things you have to learn when those things start to shift is to promote yourself in an engaging, value-driven and authentic way.
[00:01:17] And if you're smart, you realise there comes a point in your career when depending on others to acknowledge your contributions It just isn't enough. It's now up to you to spotlight your achievements, give visibility to your work and support your own career.
[00:01:34] If you're not doing this and you want to learn how to confidently bring attention to your achievements in a credible way, well you're in luck because I am running a free webinar on how to self-promote at work. I want you to learn that focusing on showcasing your work. Rather than just doing the work yields better results.
[00:01:56] I'm so motivated by the idea of you mastering this skill so your contributions today and in the long term, are recognised for their true worth. Now, this is a timely message because the webinar is all about to happen. So, if you're keen, it does require your immediate action, and I really hope you come along because I want to prove to you that self-promotion doesn't have to be daunting. I want to show you how to navigate it with grace and confidence. So, if you are ready to get the recognition you've earned, join me for this free session. The link is in the show notes, or you can just jump on to www.yourbrilliant au.
[00:02:43] So if you're ready to skill up in this area, don't hesitate. Jump in now, before it is too late, and learn how to self-promote effectively at work. I'd love to see you there.
[00:02:53] Hello I am super excited to bring you this episode and the next one. It's a two-part series on the 10 steps to a better career. And I think you're going to find the tips I share incredibly valuable.
[00:03:56] Now, the funny thing is, just a side note here. I googled this topic after I figured it all out and prepared both episodes. The tips I found on the internet were so uninspiring. Communicate well. Take initiative. Who knew? Be ready to learn. Set goals to achieve.
[00:04:18] All too basic, all not helpful. So the 10 I'm going to share with you, half of them today, are different, in my opinion far better, and they're far better because they are specifically for you. Like I draw on my knowledge of working with the women that I work with, which is such a privilege, plus my experience in corporate and the combination, it seems to be a good combination for providing practical insights and strategies to help women navigate their career. I think sometimes the women who join the RISE Accelerate program are surprised at how well I understand their situation and pain points, but it's simply because I'm so plugged into what helps women navigate their career successfully.
[00:05:07] I'm so immersed in that world and want to see you be successful. So coming up with these 10, it was not hard, and I can't wait to share them with you. So, feel free to drop me a line on Instagram at Your Brilliant Career or LinkedIn at Gillian Fox to let me know your faves.
[00:05:29] And I should mention just before we dive into these, that the doors are about to open to RISE Accelerate. So if you've been floating with the idea. I'm doing more with your career, or maybe you've been on the wait list, or you're just curious. Check it out because there will not be another program for months and months and months and months and months.
[00:05:49] Okay. Let's jump in. Step one to a better career. Release your imperfect work. Now I can feel the perfectionist listening to this episode might be developing a nervous twitch listening to this. You might be thinking, well, I don't like tip number one already. And I get it because, it challenges that natural thought process that we have, that having high standards is a trait of high achievers.
[00:06:19] So imerfect, it’s just not good enough. But part of the problem is, well, when those high standards become perfectionist traits, productivity, turnaround, they both suffer. Career performance also gets diluted because if you're waiting for everything to be just right, if you're spending huge amounts of time refining something, or if you feel you have multiple projects in the air and none are being completed to your standard. Like there's no satisfaction in that. And the progress is slow. And how does that make you feel? And what result does it produce? So I just want to gently challenge you to shift your mindset. Don't wait for perfection. Release your work as it is. And this might be hard to hear, especially if you pride yourself on a high standard and quality of work.
[00:07:14] But believe me, it's a crucial strategy for the next leg of your career. In my book, Woman of Influence, I interviewed 12 inspirational C suite business women. And one of those women, was Jane Huxley, the current CEO of ARE media, Australia's largest magazine publisher.
[00:07:34] Now, Jane is the smartest, the funniest, and the most gorgeous human. she's actually been on the podcast. So you can. Go back and have a look. I can't remember what number episode it was, but it was called, it's Not Personal. And one of the things that Jane shared with me when I interviewed her for the book, was this major realisation that she had, and it was a time in her career when she was stepping into senior leadership and her kids were very young at that stage. She shares that she remembers waking up one day and thinking, I am so sick of feeling bad about everything. And so she decided to do something very few women do, and that was to forgive herself.
[00:08:17] In her own words, forgive myself for being a little bit shit at everything. And she said it was liberating. Like her new mantra was to be happy with 80%. It was her new 100%. Her rationale for this radical shift. Well, again, Jane's hilarious words. I was sick of feeling bad about being a crap mother, sick of being a bad boss.
[00:08:43] I'd look in the mirror and think, God, what happened? I was an ordinary friend. There were never any vegetables in the fridge. The bottom line, Jane was sick of feeling guilty. Now if you've had a tough week, and you're listening to this, you might find this relatable. I know that by Friday my fridge is usually empty, much to the dissatisfaction of my hungry 6 foot 5, 21-year-old son.
[00:09:09] But this epiphany or realisation that Jane had, when she was stepping into this new role, she just made this hardcore decision that she was going to stop feeling bad. She was also going to stop apologising for the things that she wasn't perfecting and her, motivation, if you like for doing this is she reckons we just need to stop feeling bad about ourselves and get on with things.
[00:09:38] So Jane chose the 80 percent is okay route because she felt she wasn't pulling off anything particularly well. And it's true. That's what kind of happens. When you get less attached to having things perfect. You get more done. I know that sounds contrary, but it is the truth. It's the 80 percent rule.
[00:09:58] Done is better than perfect. What a great mantra. Dan Sullivan, he is a strategic coach and author. He says 80 percent gets results while a hundred percent is still thinking about it. The more you make completion a way of being in your career, the more you will progress. I promise. I know many women have a tendency to overwork the presentation, so the deck is perfect, or procrastinate having that conversation with the senior stakeholder because they haven't crafted exactly what they want to say quite yet.
[00:10:35] Or they avoid putting their hand up for something because they're fearful it just won't work out… perfectly. And they'll feel like they've failed and how will that feel? It's too much. Right? So let's not try. Let's revert back to doing things super 100 percent well. If you listen to the very, very, very first episode of the Your Brilliant Career podcast, I talk about perfectionism and how it can paralyse your career. I have personally struggled with perfectionism my entire career. So I say this with both empathy and experience. But my core message is this, don't confuse high achievement with perfectionism. They are completely and utterly different. Start to look at ways to release your imperfect work. I know it challenges you thinking, but in most cases, 80 percent does get results. Let's keep moving.
[00:11:33] Step two to a better career. Stop at three priorities. So in his book, Good to Great, which you may have heard of, Jim Collins explains the differences between most good companies and the few that become incredibly successful.
[00:11:47] Collins found that the majority of companies and individuals simply have too many goals and priorities, which causes them to be unfocused and achieve less. Conversely, companies that succeed at the highest level have no more than three objectives. Colin says, if you have more than three priorities, you don't have any. And I love this theory. As an enthusiastic goal-setter myself, someone who loves striving for more, it's so easy to have a page full of goals and priorities. But what I'm proposing here for you is to consider when it comes to your career, decide on three business priorities and no more than that.
[00:12:29] If you have too many competing business goals or objectives, you get lost in the forest. You forget to lead. You become the doer, not the leader, and it impacts your reputation at work. When I started my business many years ago now, everyone told me to read Traction, a great book for any entrepreneur. It talks about simplifying processes and goals and ultimately, gaining traction in your business.
[00:12:58] One of the key points in this book is, putting enthusiasm aside for getting everything done. And it is, there is this massive amount of enthusiasm for getting all the things done as an entrepreneur. It's kind of a natural desire that's there. But the point is, if you are a company with multiple, you know, like 10-plus goals, it's unlikely that you'll grow.
[00:13:22] Because your focus is diluted and you're not driving key commercial outcomes, but with three goals, you amplify your focus and drive cohesion and real commercial outcomes. Now I see exactly the same challenge with many of the women I work with. They simply take on too many competing priorities. You know, there's an enthusiasm driving it.
[00:13:44] It comes from a good place, but here's the thing I want you to know. It is so hard to shine at anything with this approach. So hard to shine. because you're not pulling off big things. So my advice, get intentional. Decide on your three priorities and stick to them and see the results you can pull off.
[00:14:06] Step three to a better career. Focus on what's important, not what's urgent. And let me start by asking you, do you get to the end of any work day and feel that you've met your most pressing deadlines, but you haven't accomplished anything that's fundamentally important?
[00:15:00] And if the answer is yes, you're not alone, but it's not ideal. When you tackle the urgent tasks that demand immediate attention, you find that at the end of the day, the really important projects, the ones that could significantly move your career forward, they're still untouched. And this pattern can be frustrating and may feel like you're running on a treadmill, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, but not progressing toward your long-term goals.
[00:15:32] And this feeling, I think it comes from the nature of urgent tasks. I think about it, urgent tasks, they're almost a little bit irresistible. And I know that sounds strange, but I say they're irresistible in many ways because they're often visible, they're pressing, they're demanding immediate attention, like they kind of scream for attention, they're pushing the important tasks down the line.
[00:15:58] And what's curious is the important tasks are typically quieter. they're kind of in the background, percolating along or just sitting there, nothing happening to them. However, these important tasks are crucial for career growth. So to shift your focus from the urgent, to the important, here are two tips. The first one, the very simple method of time blocking. Now this involves dedicating specific blocks of time in your schedule. Exclusively to tasks that contribute to your business priorities. And you have three, don't you? So the things you want to hang your hat on, the strategic imperatives that are valued and aligned with the business that you want to be known for.
[00:16:46] Now I want you to treat these time blocks as non-negotiable appointments with yourself. So you ensure they get the attention they deserve. It's a very practical method, right? Nothing new, but it does take discipline to do this. So, it's highly effective. So if you're willing, give it a go. There is one idea for you.
[00:17:06] Another simple but very effective strategy is to start your day with the most important task. And this is based on the principle that your energy levels, your willpower are highest in the morning. So by tackling, your most important work very first upfront, you ensure that it gets the best effort before the day's urgent tasks creep in.
[00:17:28] Step four to a better career is to create an environment that fuels you. It's fascinating how much our environment impacts our productivity, isn't it? I recently read that Hemingway, he wrote standing up facing a chest-high bookshelf with a typewriter on top.
[00:17:48] I mean, it doesn't sound very snazzy, does it? But it worked for him. Like he created an environment that helped his writing process and he did it repeatedly because it worked. Environment is something we often forget in today's digital age, where we have so many online meetings. We can even blur our real backgrounds out on zoom, yet our unconscious minds are very much impacted by our surroundings and it can trigger our senses and our emotions. So some environments can make us feel more productive and others can make us feel agitated or even uninspired. I've found basic things, like reducing clutter, adding personal touches, really changed the game for me, as simple as that sounds.
[00:18:35] Like I know this is a personal perspective, but I regularly buy flowers for my office. It's an aesthetic. It creates a mood and space that I like to operate in. On the flip side, when I come back from working in the city, I have coaching slips, I have workshop materials, I have cords and tech stuff everywhere and my room just looks like a bomb. It's just such a mess. I feel so out of sorts because for me, I love my office to be tidy and to look nice. I have pictures in front of me that no one sees that inspire me. I have a few artifacts from travel on my shelves behind me. I have books I love, a plant. You know, it's my space. I've created it and it makes me perform well. Environment definitely helps me, and it can help you become the person you want to be. And I want to elaborate on that point in a moment, because I think it's fascinating how environment can influence who we want to be.
[00:19:34] I know that when you're at work in the office, you have less choice to create an environment, especially in those open floor plans, you might not have a lot of choices, but there are still, there are still small decisions you can make.
[00:19:49] Choosing a desk by a window can bring in that much-needed natural light, or if you're someone who prefers a quieter space, maybe picking a spot that's a bit more secluded, having your favourite pens, a notepad, handbag, drink bottle, whatever it is around you, like just making a conscious choice about how you curate that setting. Create something that resonates and inspires you.
[00:20:16] So Tonya Lee is a successful US based life coach. And she says this, your surroundings influence your self-image. Everything that surrounds you is a choice and these small daily choices are affirming who you believe yourself to be.
[00:20:34] So my closing question is this, do you like what you're choosing? And if you don't, and you want to elevate yourself in your career, change it up, create an environment that fuels you, that reflects who you want to become, and make those shifts.
[00:20:54] Finally, step number five to a better career. Don't assume people know what's important to you. Like what are you communicating to people? You see it is a high-risk strategy thinking that your hard work and terrific track record will speak for itself because truth bomb, it probably won't. There's something truly liberating when a woman from my programs chooses to have a well thought out conversation with their boss or senior stakeholders about her career goals and ambitions.
[00:21:21] It truly delights me because they get traction. And when you learn how to articulate your desires and put a sound business case on the table, those people sitting opposite you will come to admire your courage, your clarity, your capacity to present yourself in this way. It will set you apart. But if you sit there assuming they know, because maybe you've hinted at wanting more during your performance review, then you have no one to blame but yourself if things plateau off in your career.
[00:21:56] And I know that sounds harsh, but I want this point to land. Because I see so many women miss out because they fail to ask for what they want effectively. You know, when people don't help you, it's often not because they don't want to help you, it's just that they make assumptions. That you're fine where you are, you're happy, no support needed, and they get caught up in their own agendas.
[00:22:19] So you need to step into the big arena and learn how to have well-constructed conversations and make the ask. And we learn how to do this in the RISE Accelerate program. If you're not sure how to tackle this, get your name on the waitlist. Like don't sit there pondering this for the rest of your career.
[00:22:37] Honestly, the more I look to the market. and speak with women. RISE Accelerate is the best bang for your buck. It's under a thousand bucks. The sessions are live group sessions. Any other program at that price, it's a set of video recordings, but this program gives you access to a fantastic community of women to hang out with and to develop relationships.
[00:23:03] I also deliver it. So I have a team of coaches and trainers. If you look at my corporate website, the Gillian Fox Group, you will see a collection of, I think of about 10 coaches and trainers, but I lead this program and no one cares more than the business owner. And I truly do care, because honestly, it gives me great pleasure to see the women on RISE have these incredible aha moments, like just to go and try new things, and have these powerful conversations with people in business, up their games with their goals, elevate their goals, and I get to see them transform. Don't assume people know what's important to you, like learning how to communicate with influence, impact. in a compelling way is always going to be a superpower in your career.
[00:23:54] Now, let me wrap this all up right now. I have shared five out of the 10 ways to be better in your career. So today we talked about one… release your imperfect work. And just get moving, like achieve more faster, versus getting stuck in wanting perfection.
[00:24:11] Number two, stop at three priorities. You dilute the process with too many. Jim Collins said, if you have more than three priorities, you don't have any.
[00:24:25] And number three, focus on what's important, not just what's urgent. So, start to differentiate the two when you're at work and get excited by the idea of being known as the person who pulls off the important work.
[00:24:39] Number four, create an environment that fuels you, elevates you, inspires you to be your best, who you want to be.
[00:24:49] And finally, stop assuming people know and ask for what you want. Okay.
[00:24:55] So there you have it. If you're not on the waiting list for RISE, do it now. The doors are about to open literally any moment. I would genuinely love to see you there. So many women join the program after listening to the podcast. It is always such a pleasure meeting them, getting to know them. The link to do this is in the show notes, so check it out. And also you've got, the webinar. So until then, take care and I'll be back in a fortnight with the next five ways to progress your career. Thanks for listening.