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.



Join me as I bring you Part 2 of my 10 steps to a better career.

To recap, in Part 1 we talked about not getting stuck in wanting perfection, limiting yourself to three priorities, focusing on importance not urgency, creating an environment you can thrive in, and finally, not making the assumption that people know what you want.

In this episode, I'll be sharing the remaining five steps.

If you haven’t listened to the first 5, that's okay, listen to this episode and then go back. The order is not critical to getting the most of out this topic.

I hope this episode fuels lots of new thought and ways to achieve more in your career.

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


Links we talked about on the podcast include:

RISE Accelerate program

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

Like this episode? Please leave a short review on your podcast platform so we can rise in the rankings and reach more women.

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 written review!


Your transcript

[00:00:00] Gillian: When thinking about career progression, conventional wisdom often offers straightforward advice: set goals, seek mentors, build networks. But what if we delved deeper into the practical career-specific strategies that can significantly elevate your professional life? Today, I'm continuing to unveil a behind the scenes look at the less discussed, but what I consider highly effective rules for navigating a successful career. Let’s dive in.
[00:01:16] We are back. Hello. This is part two of my series, 10 steps to progress your career. I've had so much fun doing these episodes for you, and I hope they fuel lots of new thoughts and ways to achieve more in your career. Now, if you haven't listened to the first five, which is the previous episode, that's okay.
[00:01:40] It is fine to listen to this one and then go back. Before we dive in, I have a formal request to make. If you do enjoy this podcast, would you do me the great honour of leaving a short review? I receive so many messages and verbal feedback from people about the podcast, how much they like the podcast, the practical tips, and all this lovely feedback, which I absolutely cherish.
[00:02:07] But written reviews are crucial. They really help us reach more women and climb in the ratings. So I have popped a link in the show notes that will take you directly to where you can write just a few lines about what you like about the podcast. I would so appreciate it if you just took a couple of minutes to do that.
[00:02:30] We haven't had a lot of reviews lately and the reviews make such a difference, and your support would be Immensely appreciated. So a big thank you a big. Thank you.
[00:02:43] Okey dokey, let's dive in, because I know we have a lot to get through here We've got five more points to get through and I want to share as much as I can.
[00:02:50] We are going from number six today to progressing your career. The point is this – you don’t just keep your head down at work. And let me introduce this analogy to you. Have you ever watched a duck as it dips its head into the water? Its tail is sticking up into the air. Like you can just see its little tail and paddling feet. That's probably the only two things that are visible. Now, when we bury ourselves in our work at our desks, we end up much like that duck. All that others see is our back, not quite our tail, but close enough. But this metaphor highlights an important point when you're so focused downward, your view of a broader business environment is severely limited. Now, if you're only looking down, think about all the critical conversations and opportunities you might be missing out on around you. And I'm talking about the conversations that shape the business, the political landscape. Keeping your head up and engaging with your surroundings is crucial to seeing and seizing these opportunities.
[00:04:03] Don't underestimate that. My Mum was a great advocate of the term, put your head down and your tail up, darling, to get through those tough moments. And I know it is a well-intentioned piece of advice, but in hindsight, it didn't support me. In fact, I'll have to share this little side note. A few years ago, I had a weekly column in The Weekend Australian.
[00:04:28] And in one of the stories that were published, I shared this belief and Mum read it. She was straight on the phone calling me. And, uh, say I didn't mean to give you bad advice, but the good news about mum is she's not one to hang onto drama. We had a bit of a laugh about it. I assured her that she was not responsible for any career mishaps with that advice.
[00:04:51] But head down and tail up is not the thing that propels women forward in their careers. And this is, this is a message I want for you, putting your head down at this stage of your career, it’s just not the thing to do because your career is more complex at this point. And more is expected of you than just putting your head down.
[00:05:12] It’s almost a misplaced thinking. And I know it's what got you here, but it's not what's going to get you there. And I think for the super hardworking women that are attracted to my programs, they care a lot. Many experts are putting their head down, but it can be detrimental. And that's my core message to you.
[00:05:33] It can stop you from understanding what's going on in your business environment. It can prevent you from getting the visibility you need. If you're glued to your desk, you're not on the radar. People aren't seeing you. You don't have that visibility. You're not privy to things outside your immediate microcosm and as a result, your thinking is smaller and you're also less strategic. So if you’re head down, tail up, if you're that kind of girl, try to rethink it. Set yourself the challenge of allocating 5 percent of your week to getting up and physically interacting with other people. Okay. They want to see you.
[00:06:18] Just try it. See what you can learn by looking out at that business landscape. Because if you don't understand what's happening in that broader business landscape, how do you know that your work is aligned and relevant to what's important in that business environment? So give it a go. That's our first tip.
[00:06:40] Step seven to progressing your career. Invest in loss. Now you might wonder why anyone would intentionally seek out loss. Well, let me share a fascinating story that really brings this idea to life. And it comes from Benjamin Hardy's book, Be Your Future Self, where he talks about Joshua Waitzkin.
[00:07:04] I hope I've pronounced that correctly. Now, before reading Hardy's book, I hadn't heard of Waitzkin. but he's actually quite famous in his own right is an author himself, but the important background to this story is this. Josh was a champion chess player as a child and he achieved great success at a young age.
[00:07:25] However, he stepped away from chess because he just didn't enjoy the constant spotlight. Later, he discovered martial arts and he excelled in that field as well. And he attributes this success to investing in loss. Now here's why Josh's story is so compelling for anyone looking to grow their career. Now, most people choose comfort, especially when they're already good at something. Now, Josh, he was really good at martial arts, yet he chose, and this is the most important part of the story. He chose to train with partners who were significantly better. So think about that. If you were training with bigger, stronger, more experienced people than you, you are facing loss after loss, like that's the reality. That was his experience, but it was self-imposed.
[00:08:21] But his insight is this, each defeat taught Josh invaluable lessons. So by investing in loss, he made tremendous progress, taking his performance to a whole new level. With his perseverance, he eventually improved so much that he was able to defeat all those opponents who were better than him. Now, why does this matter to your career? It's simple when you're comfortable, you're not growing. If everything you do at work is something you already know you can do well, then you're not really pushing yourself. To evolve effectively, you need to seek out challenges that stretch you beyond your current skills.
[00:09:42 Investing in loss means embracing situations where failure is a real possibility. And I know it sounds risky and frankly, it can be uncomfortable, but here's the payoff. Every time you come up short, you learn something new. You identify gaps in your skills and gain, well, clear directions on what to improve.
[00:10:04] It's not about being reckless. It's about embracing calculated risks. Now this approach does two things. Firstly, it accelerates learning and it builds resilience. So you start to view setbacks, not as failures, but as essential steps in your learning process. It is a game changer for getting perspective. I absolutely love this concept.
[00:10:28] It keeps you moving forward, adapting, growing, instead of getting paralysed by the fear of failure. So here is my coaching question for you related to this point. What could your next extra stretch look like? Like it might be initiating a challenging conversation with a new stakeholder, or maybe it's leading a high stakes meeting to hone your presentation skills, or maybe it's even applying for a job that feels just a bit of a stretch. I mean, you might fail. So what I'm encouraging you to think about here is, what might you be playing too safe? Like, is there an area of your career where it's not that you're in a comfort zone, but you know, you're playing it a bit safe. Is there a project you've been avoiding because it seems too intimidating because maybe now is the time to take that leap.
[00:11:27] Investing in loss isn't just about learning to deal with failure. I think it's about a new perspective. Yep, freeing yourself up to take a chance on yourself and you just might be personally surprised. So, give it a go.
[00:11:41] Okay, Step eight is put yourself out there. Now, I kind of laughed when I wrote down this point because it's a term often associated with dating. You just have to put yourself out there, but let me assure you, I'm no dating expert. I've been married for more than 30 years, so no, here I am talking about putting yourself out there in your career. Putting yourself out there to achieve your professional goals.
[00:12:07] And this concept requires building some mental toughness. Now, one of the most common ways I think women can get a quick win in their career, when it comes to putting themselves out there, is by dialling up their participation in key meetings at work. Now, by that I mean, ensuring that you have a voice and that you contribute to that meeting in a meaningful way.
[00:12:33] Now, I know sometimes that's easier said than done because sometimes I, and I hear this from women when I'm coaching them all the time, it can be intimidating if you're surrounded by these seasoned senior leaders, it can actually be quite intimidating to do that. But the idea I want to plant with you here is to prepare.
[00:12:54] Of course, you know that, but then set yourself the micro goal of contributing to that meeting in a meaningful way. Like really consider how do you want to be seen and experienced? Like what message do you want to convey in that meeting? Instead of saying, sorry, would you mind if I jumped in and added something here? You can interact another way. “I'd like to share an additional perspective on this. Or before we move on, I'd like to add, or I agree with that point. And I think it would be worthwhile to also consider.” Like, think of yourself as an important player at that table. Someone who's earned the right to be there because you have, otherwise you wouldn't have been invited.
[00:13:41] So as you think about your next meeting or your professional interactions, whatever it might be, whatever that stretch is, consider what putting yourself out there means to you. You can only make your value more visible when people get to see your value. That's the truth.
[00:14:01] Okay, step nine, we're almost there. And this one's a gem. And it's this – no workplace is perfect. Just like family. Every workplace has its quirks and its eccentricities. It's important to feel culturally aligned with where we work, undoubtedly, but chasing this mythical perfect job is like hunting for unicorns.
[00:14:29] Imagine this, one company won't mention any names, celebrates Tim Tam Tuesday, which you think is so daggy, while another obsesses over the massive explanation over office supplies. Now they're peculiarities, aren't they? They're just quirky things. I mean, they're no different than having a quirky aunt or uncle, you know, someone who always overdoes it at the family gatherings.
[00:14:56] And my point is, you know, every family, even the ones that seem flawless from the outside, they have oddities, you know? And if they tell you otherwise, I'm telling you, they are definitely fibbing. So instead of hunting for the perfect job, why not embrace the quirks of your current workplace?
[00:15:14] Like learn to tell the difference between the harmless customs and the red flags that genuinely impact your work life. Like embrace the quirks they make for great stories at dinner parties and just remember that no company is perfect, but with the right attitude, you can still enjoy success quirks and all.
[00:15:38] Okay. We are at step 10 to progressing your career. This is a very important one and I do talk about this in my coaching and sometimes my programs, and it is this. Use compelling WHY frames.
[00:15:54] So let's imagine you're at work and your boss comes over with a new project for you. You're already piled high with work. So you look at this request and your immediate question isn't about logistics, but it's about how you'll squeeze in the extra hours to actually pull this off. Because your big thinking when this whole request lands on you is why, why add this to my plate?
[00:16:23] Why give me this now? that's probably going to be your thought process. And this natural quest for a reason “why” it's not just about pushing back. It's about understanding and we all need a compelling reason to change our routine or tackle something different or take on a new task or whatever it might be.
[00:16:45] And this is exactly the same for your team, your stakeholders, when you're lodging a request. They don't just want the what or the how of things, which is what most people do. They want, and they really need the why. Because it is the why that will compel them to actually take action and your why it needs to be compelling.
[00:17:11] And my experience is this is so often overlooked. Leaders default to laying out the facts and the figures, the strategies, the plans. They think the reason for the change is obvious. But they miss the mark doing that. You've got to make the why clear and personally impactful. That's right. That the “what's in it for me” has to be apparent. And then you get a good crack at it.
[00:17:39] Let's say, you know, a strategy that could help your company improve a process that could lead to greater efficiency and financial return. Nice, huh? So you share your idea with the team, you lay down the steps clearly in a meeting. It's all detailed. It's clear. You're excited. That's right. And you even get a nice round of applause at the end of your presentation.
[00:17:58] They can see you're so enthusiastic about this. It would appear from that experience that everyone is on board with you. But then as the weeks transpire, nothing happens. Why? Nothing happens because your team didn't see the personal or immediate value in making those things happen. So they didn't prioritise it. To make your why resonate.
[00:18:22] One of my biggest tips is to tie it directly to a benefit that matters to your listener. Like what's in it for them? Create the context. And build that “why” frame before you launch into the what and the why. And we do this in Session Five in the RISE Accelerate program. It is such a powerful communication tool.
[00:18:43] It just helps you assert more influence and have more gravitas at work. Learning how to frame your “why” in a way that speaks directly to your listeners concerns and aspirations, you can make your message much more than an instruction. You turn it into a compelling call to action. And that's what you want to do.
[00:19:04] Wow. That is the 10. So much fun. Let me recap the 10 from the top. So first we talked about release your imperfect work. Secondly, we talked about stop at three priorities. Next – important over urgent, get the important stuff done, get known for that. Number four, create an environment that fuels you.
[00:19:30] Number five, ask for what you want. Don't assume, and then do it well. Number six, don't just keep your head down at work. You need more than the old head town, tail up approach these days. Number seven, invest in loss. Go for that stretch. Be vulnerable. Embrace situations where failure is a real possibility.
[00:19:53] Number eight, put yourself out there. At the end, it is up to you how you want to be seen and experienced at work. Number nine, no workplace is perfect. They all have their quirks. And finally, use compelling why frames. Influencing, getting results through others, it all starts here.
[00:20:16] Okay. Well, that is a wrap. As always, thank you so much for listening. Take a few things from these episodes that resonate with you. Do something that supports you. Drop me a DM on Instagram at Your Brilliant Career. I would love to know your thoughts. Like, what are you doing? What was helpful? Even like, what would you like to know more about? Like, I'd love to hear all of that. I will leave that with you stay well, and I will see you in a few weeks.