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 Award-winning business author and broadcaster

Leadership trainer and coach

Keynote speaker

  • Writer's pictureAudrey Tang

While you're waiting in the wings, start practicing the steps!

I love those films where the understudy who has been waiting patiently in the wings, suddenly gets the chance to shine, and would probably say it was a common secret wish of those who love a particular show where they know all the words and movements that instead of " there a Doctor in the house", the call goes out for "...does anyone know the role of Alexander Hamilton?" ...and who would ever want to miss their shot?

But the key point there is - on the occasion you are called to step up - you need to be prepared. Always focus on building your competence (skill), your character (knowledge) and your integrity because your time will come. While you're in the wings, practice the steps.

I am most commonly hired by forward thinking leaders to support their teams' personal growth, and I have some clients who see me to help them future plan. The students who attend my training workshops when their university has invited me to deliver personal development programmes which supplement the academic courses, although skeptical at first, find much fulfilment in what they learn. The development of personal awareness and soft skills alongside theoretical knowledge, gives you confidence that whatever happens - you will cope.

However, more often as a coach you are brought in at the point of crisis, and while of course we can help, it's much better to build your mental and emotional fitness before you are tested.

So, while you can watch my psychology and coaching masterclasses for practical ways to build resilience, here are my 10 top tips to start getting your mindset into gear for success.

1. Some people spend time comparing themselves to others, getting angry at their success - others get down to it and work - which is more valuable? Try this: Next time you feel envy, think instead about what you can do to get closer to YOUR goal and do it...and remember, the only person you are truly answerable to is YOU.  Your life, your path, your successes are unique - that's special. 2. The best gift you can give is your personal growth Travelling with a companion is one of the most enjoyable things there is - an easy sharing, give and take - an ebb and flow of support and rest as needed - but codependency is not healthy. 

Try this: Learn to validate yourself.  Ask yourself what you need to hear - and learn to SAY it to yourself.  Learn to love you in the way that you need most - and that self-sufficiency will help you recognise your value (knowing it rather than feeling you have to shout about it).  THEN because YOU see it, others will too (otherwise, how can you expect others to value you if you do not value yourself?...really - that's like saying "This milk's off - here, you have it!")  

3. You have ALL the strengths - but sometimes you may be misapplying them By a simple reframing - this may be learning to prioritise; learning to organise; learning to say "no"; learning to love; learning to make friends - and all of it in the way that SUITS YOU is often the best outcome of any form of self development.  You will have methods for all of these, but you may not have learned the most effective one to get the results you want.  A simple recalibration (although there may be a little trial and error) could make all the difference - what worked for you in the past in one role, may not sustain you in another - but that doesn't mean you cannot adapt.

Try this: If you find that you face a repeated problem - write it down and ask yourself "why might this happen?" - you won't find answers straight away, but just by thinking about it, you may realise that there is a pattern leading up to the outcome as well as the outcome itself. 4. It doesn't need to be perfect NOW Especially when this refers to something that you aim to be doing for some time - of course you can put in your very best, but you will continue to evolve, grow, and re-shape...and the world may also reshape - flexibility is the key to longevity.

Try this: This week - just do your best, and remember you can most likely make it better the next time.

5.Having responsibility is not necessarily an achievement

Being given someone's trust is a little badge of honour, but living up to it is the most important.  Saying "yes" to everything but not delivering the goods because you have spread yourself too thinly, or flaking out because you are unable to cope reflects both on how your competency AND your character are perceived. 

Try this: If you are a "people pleaser" - be discerning with whom you are trying to please!   I work to "please" those who recognise, appreciate or acknowledge me for who I am; rather than those who simply want to offload (and don't really care who to!)...those I may choose to do a favour for.

6. Define your values for YOU, but you cannot force others to accept them as theirs

While others, to please you, may go along with you, it is always important to know your values and live them - but appreciate that this is only for you.  Chances are those you love are likely to feel the same, but if they do not, you have no right to force your values onto them...theirs need room to breathe too...and as long as they are not hurtful, the world is big enough for many positive values to co-exist.

Try this: Ask your loved ones what their values are on important subjects such as "Family time" and see how you can collaborate to make things work for all of you. 7. If you don't agree with someone's perception of you, reflect on why they may have that idea It may indeed simply be their own problem, but perhaps you have put something out there that you didn't realise.  In fact sometimes if I feel I have been misunderstood and I reflect and find out it WAS something I was putting out there - I'm actually happier because it means I can do something about it!

Try this: As with point 3 - write down the misconception and reflect on why it might have occured.

8. Learn to RESPOND rather than REACT The former is considered - you can be compassionate, wise, kind; the latter often puts the jerk into knee jerk. Try this: Rather than reacting immediately, make yourself STOP and think first. Ask, why might the situation have occured? Also reflect on your habitual reactions - perhaps discussion is called for instead of apologies? Maybe you need to call someone out rather than ignore? Our reactions are often instinctive and survival driven/individualistic and may not always be the most effective way to reach a collaborative resolution. 9. The world is constantly changing.

Here's a thought from Buddhism - the greatest suffering is holding onto something that is changing, and not believing something can change when it will...the world is fluid - and that is what makes it so full of opportunity.

Try this: Don't just hold on, reach out. 10. A positive affirmation As long as you live - keep learning how to live (Senaca)

Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience For quick tips and tools: click for SKILL PILL and Q&A videos and here for Media appearances. Twitter/IG @draudreyt



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