05 Jul 2022

You don’t need a new job! 5 ways to boost your career success & happiness.

It’s winter for many of us, the half-year mark has rolled around again. Some of us bounce into the back end of the year brimming with can-do, but for many it can also feel a hard ask to supercharge our energy and keep the work and life momentum strong.


A dear friend recently gave me a copy of Gail Kelly’s (retired Westpac CEO) new book called ‘Live Lead Learn: My stories of life and leadership’. It’s a fabulous read.


Personally, I have always admired Gail’s leadership. Beyond her near decade career success at the helm of Australia’s first major bank and oldest company, it was always her authentic human side that I admired most. Gail led with compassion and empathy first, she prioritised the care of people; her team, customers, and always her family number one. Gail eluded generosity of spirit, yet with a measured and wildly resilient approach, which she attests was built from the value she placed on building deep human connections with others.


So. coming back to the half year winter lull, what can we take from leaders like Gail Kelly to help supercharge our work and life momentum, performance, and happiness? Sometimes it need not be a change of job or a fresh employer.


For the most part, when the enthusiasm feels like its slowed, our careers and jobs don’t always need an overhaul, sometimes it’s simply a conscious effort to reflect on what we need to be able to show up as our best selves.


When we define what makes us tick, and then allow ourselves to wholeheartedly live this, our #performance and #happiness naturally follows. We are also one big step closer to enabling all those around us the same fortune, especially those we have the privilege to lead.


Here are some simple ideas I hope optimise your July-Dec 22 career and life enjoyment too.


Choose positivity

Work and life are unpredictable, forever changing and often complex. One thing stands true through all this; if you have a positive attitude to life, you will be happier. Others around you will be happier too. Gail Kelly talks about her father, when she reflects on who brought her life an abundance of positivity.

Think about the people who you work with, and in your life. Who brings you an abundance of positivity? Surround yourself with these people. We are a by-product after all of the 5 people we choose to spend the most time with. There is much in our working and personal lives we cannot control, but one thing we forever can, is the attitude and outlook we choose to adopt. Choose positivity.


Love what you do

Love what you do. In simple terms, it really matters. We only live once, and we need to find meaning in whatever we choose to do. in her book, Gail wisely says ‘if you love what you do, you will grow in confidence, your skill sets with strengthen and you will deliver.’

If you feel unmotivated in your current role, what new experiences can you create within your role? If you feel unsupported by management, then who within your organisation do you admire? Observe, reach out to and learn from these people. Sometimes it’s a simple shift in our own attitudes that allows us to step up out of the negativity we may feel at work or towards others. Is your job role playing to your strengths? Do you find flow in your tasks every week? Or do you need to prioritise some changes, be aware of others strengths, and together delegate the work that plays to everyone’s talents? Don’t wait for others to make decisions for you. Make a call on what you need, then do it.


Be courageous. Back yourself

As a senior female leader, having been on the corporate ladder myself for 15+ years, I recall endless moments of doubt and uncertainty, a daunting fear of failure and worry that I wasn’t good enough. You ask any senior executive in any company, men and women, and a near 100% will tell you they have felt fear, doubt, and insecurity too. In Shery Sandberg’s book Lean In, she poses the question ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid?’. The question strikes a chord…maybe, just maybe, would you just have a go? Gail Kelly speaks of staring hard at her fears and pushing hard to get beyond them. It was terrifying she explains at times, but she can’t remember a time where being courageous and backing herself didn’t pay off.

Women particularly, as the research proves time and time again, are harder on themselves in terms of their readiness for a step up in responsibility or role. So next time you are thinking about making a courageous decision, ask yourself ‘what is the worst thing that could happen?’. Then back yourself and do it.


Generously connect with others, every single day

Human connection is our greatest gift to one another. As leaders in any areas of our work and life we hold the privilege of making a difference to other people’s lives. From a personal perspective how do we live our lives? Are we intolerant of difference, insensitive of others concerns, selfish in pursuit of our own goals to the detriment of all those around us? Are we quick to judge and to dismiss ideas? Or do we bring a kinder more empathetic leadership and way of engaging with the people around us?

Our connections with others need only be small day to day, but they must be genuine. Acknowledging others, recognising others achievements, stopping to say hello how are you and listening deeply to the response. No matter the challenge at hand, or the workload to get through, it is our small every day human connections that will lead to the most rewarding and biggest successes in work and life.


Welcome tough challenges

 Resilience is often described as our ability to bounce back from setback. We often talk about this without enough focus on teaching how to get the resilience in the first place. The parachute jumper may be able to jump, but they were taught how to land before they jumped. Stepping into building resilience takes bravery. If we want to step up in our careers, maybe we need to put our hand up to present at the Board meeting? Most people want to run a mile from any sort of stress inducing and anxiety provoking situation, however exposing ourselves to stressors (with some control and time to recover) is the best way we can build our long-term mental fitness. Cold water swimmers are physiologically conditioning their bodies to stress. Their adrenaline levels spike when their body faces the duress of the cold. Over time when faced with other stress inducing situations the body mimics this adrenaline spike and performance is enhanced.

The more we welcome the ‘uncomfortable stress’, the more we adapt and can conceptualise these stressors as challenges rather than threat. This idea comes to life when, as leaders at work, we risk failure, we show vulnerability, or we ask for help. Every time, we do this, we are giving permission to others to do the same. This is a fast-tracked way to build enduring human resilience.


#careercoaching #leadership #wellbeing #resilience #purpose #positivity #humanskills


Poppy Griffiths is a professional coach and Director of UnlimitU a high-performance consultancy which supports the inclusion of working parents, women in leadership and the mental wellbeing of teams. If you are interested in private or organisational coaching, workshops, or speaker programs, please get in touch. poppy@unlimitu.com.au  


Poppy is UnlimitU's founder and principal success coach. "Every human has more potential, hidden, held back or in the making"