Posts

Photo of Amanda Heal on stage

Who am I?

“Transition

I thought it was time to let you know a bit about me.

I m totally blind, and have been since birth. I was borne 14 weeks earlier than I should have been, and weight just 750 g (that’s 1 pound 9 ounces on the old scale). They didn’t know about the effects of too much oxygen on the eyes back then, and thought you could never have too much of a good thing. But as we all know, you can. The oxygen saved my life, but caused a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity, which caused abnormal formation of blood vessels at the back of my eyes, which bled, scarred, and caused my retinas to detach.

Thanks to the determination of my parents, I was not sent interstate to a blind school, but had all my education here in the ACT. I studied Commerce and Law at the ANU, and worked for 17 years in the Public Service as a Government Lawyer.

Then, it was announced that the agency I was working for would be downsized, and we would all have to reapply for our jobs. The top 7 applicants would keep their jobs, and the rest wouldn’t. I wasn’t in the top 7, and so was offered a voluntary redundancy, which I took.

I decided to start a business selling skin care products. I had to completely reinvent myself, from being an employee, doing what i was told, to being a completely independent business owner, finding customers, selling products, keeping business records, and maintaining lasting relationships with customers. If I didn’t do the work, it didn’t get done, and I didn’t get paid.

This was a very lonely and difficult time for me. I’d been so used to being an expert, that I hated having to admit that I didn’t know what I was doing, and found it very difficult to ask for help when I needed it. I also felt, that as a blind person, I had to prove that I could do this all by myself, which was completely wrong.

That’s when I met my good friend and colleague, Wendy. She was running personal development training for skin care consultants, to help us grow our businesses. So I signed up.

Over the next year or so, I learned about leadership and personal growth, and how I had to be able to grow myself, and lead myself, before I could expect others to join my business. I learnt that personal growth didn’t just happen like physical growth does, and that I would actually have to do the work to grow. I loved the principles so much, that I started to apply them to my life, and that’s when things really started to change for me.

There was a skin care conference in Las Vegas that I wanted to go to, but no one else I knew was flying there at the time I wanted to go. So, if I wanted to go, I’d have to put all the planning in place to go on my own, which I did. I had to make sure that staff at the airports I’d be passing through were booked and ready to help me get from aircraft to aircraft, and from aircraft to hotel, and that hotel staff were able to assist me once I got there.

My guide dog, at that time, had become unwell and was no longer able to work. Rather than making the easy decision and depending on others to get me around while I waited for a new dog, I decided to make the right decision, and relearn to use a long cane, something I hadn’t done for over 25 years. I had to overcome my fear of getting lost, and learn the skills I needed to travel safely. Finally, I decided it was time to learn to catch busses on my own, and which terrified me. Now I travel all over canberra. I was taking control of my life and independence.

Wendy asked if I’d like to train to be a speaker and coach, and I jumped at the opportunity. What a contrast! I was finally using skills that I had already, rather than trying to take on a completely new set of skills as I had in my previous business. I could just be me, and do what I am good at- listening, talking, writing, and helping others. I suddenly felt that it was OK to ask for help if I needed it, and that I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone.

And how much I’ve learned! If you had told me 12 months ago that I would design and build my own website, I would have laughed at you and said “a blind person can’t do that!” Well, I’ve done it.

If you had told me 12 months ago that I’d be recording the third episode of my new podcast, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you.

And, if you had told me 12 months ago that people would actually pay me their hard earned cash to coach them and to speak to their organisations, I certainly wouldn’t have believed you!

So, why work with me? Well, I’ve survived the redundancy process, and have come out the other side, having transformed myself from disillusioned Government employee to happy business owner. Ive searched until I discovered my dream, and I’ve done what was necessary to gain the skills and the courage to follow my dream and make it a reality!

I’m a career transition coach who passionately believes that no one should be stuck in an unfulfilling job simply because they don’t know what their options are, or are too afraid to follow their dreams. Let me work with you to help you discover what you’d love to do and gain the courage to do it.

It’s easy. Just click here, to book a free 30 minute appointment on my calendar, so we can discuss your goals and needs, and decide whether we’d like to work together.

Putting Your Dream To the Test

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my previous post, I asked if you might be living someone else’s dream. In this post, my question is, do you have a dream of your own? Perhaps it’s something that you’ve put to the back of your mind because you don’t think it is possible. Perhaps it’s a dream you’ve never followed because you’re not sure how to take the first step. Perhaps it’s a dream that you’ve never followed because you don’t want to risk quitting your job, or outlaying a lot of money to make it possible. Perhaps you’ve been discouraged to follow your dream, or have failed in your first attempt.

There is a way to examine your dream, and put it to the test, to see if it really is what you want to do. Putting it to the test in this way has no risk, and is not costly.

In his book, “Put Your Dream To The test”, John Maxwell suggests that if you know the right ten questions to ask yourself, and if you can answer them with a “yes”, you will have an excellent chance of being able to achieve your dreams. The more questions you can answer with a “yes” the greater your chances of success. I have already dealt with one of these questions (the question of ownership) in my previous post, and will cover some of the others in future blog posts.

I will be running a mastermind on this book at the end of August. Participants will have the chance to exchange thoughts and ideas, learn from each other’s experiences, and put their dreams to the test. I only wish I’d had the opportunity to read this book and participate in a mastermind like this when I was deciding what to do when I took my redundancy!

If you are interested in participating in this mastermind, or would like more information, please contact me. Places are limited, and will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so please act now to avoid disappointment.

Applying for Promotions and Not Getting Them?

Moving from Corporate to Business

When I first started working in the Public Service, I was in a legal job in which the classifications were broadbanded. This meant that the first 7 classifications were banded together into one. It also meant that I didn’t have to do anything to get a promotion. All I had to do was do my job well, and I would progress up through the pay classifications.

Later in my career, I held jobs that didn’t have broadbanded classifications, and I had to apply for every promotion I received.

Because I had spent so long in jobs with broadbanded classifications, I had real trouble gaining promotions, and only got them by changing jobs.

In this post, I want to share with you the traps I fell into. Think of them as my “promotion pitfalls”. If you avoid these, you will have a much greater chance of gaining that promotion that you seek.

Wrong Motivation
In almost every case, I applied for promotions because I wanted the money. I didn’t really think too hard about the extra duties and responsibilities, and so didn’t prepare myself accordingly.

Thankfully though, I also wanted to learn and grow, but this was not my primary focus most of the time.

Poor Self-belief
Whenever I walked into an interview for a job at a higher level, hoping I would get the job, I never got it. But the two most successful job interviews I had were those in which I walked in with the attitude that the job was mine, and if I didn’t convince the panel
accordingly, it was my fault! I really believed that I was the best person for the job.

Unwillingness to Step Up
In the final years of my career, I had become very disillusioned with my job. I thought that I would be happier if I was earning more, so I applied for many promotions.

However, I didn’t realise that, in order to demonstrate my capability to do my job at a higher level, I had to actually step up and work at that level while still being paid at my current level. When I did come to that realisation, I was unwilling to do this, as I felt that I shouldn’t have to do work for which I wasn’t being paid.

Lack of Intentional Relationship Building
While I didn’t have bad relationships with my colleagues, I didn’t go out of my way to build relationships with, or add value to, others who weren’t my friends. One of John C Maxwell’s most often used quotes is: “people don’t care how much you know until they
know how much you care”. Perhaps if I had applied this to my relationships with all my colleagues, they may have been more willing to share advice and information that would have helped advance my career.

Underselling Myself
Another reason why I had difficulty in gaining promotions was that I often undersold myself in job applications and interviews. As I mentioned before, this was probably due to my mistaken belief that I didn’t have to work above my current level prior to promotion, which meant that I had no concrete examples that I could actually do the
I shouldn’t have to do work for which I wasn’t being paid.

Lack of Personal Growth
Like many people, I concentrated on growing my capabilities to do my job, and paid little attention to growing myself as a person.

Through personal growth, it is possible to increase many skills such as self-belief, self-awareness, leadership skills, and influence. If I had paid more attention to developing these skills, I have no doubt that I would have been more successful in applying for, and gaining promotions.

 

So, if you are seeking a promotion:

  • Make sure you are applying for the promotion because you want to do the job, not just because you want the money;
  • Build your belief in yourself that you really are the best person for the job;
  • Before applying for the promotion, do everything you can to demonstrate your ability to do the job;
  • Intentionally, and authentically, build good relationships with your colleagues at all levels;
  • Prepare, prepare prepare, and sell sell sell – go into the application process with your eyes open, and don’t leave the panel guessing about your abilities; and
  • Take every opportunity you can to grow yourself

Good luck!

 

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.

Facing Redundancy – How Do I Keep My Job?

Moving from Corporate to Business

In my last post, I gave my recommendations on the best sources of help and advice when facing redundancy or job loss. My recommendation for this post is, whether you decide that you want to keep your job or go somewhere else, decide and act with your whole heart.

A couple of weeks after I had found out that the agency I had worked for for the past 7 years was going to get rid of half its legislative drafters by way of “spill and fill”, I had to reapply for my job. I really struggled with the injustice of this, as I had applied for and won my job on merit 7 years before, and felt that I had gained 7 years of valuable experience, and was really quite good at my job. I fell into the trap of feeling that I didn’t really need to justify my case for keeping my job.

When I had applied for, and won, jobs in the past, I had always approached the application and interview processes with the attitude that “this job is mine, and if I don’t get it, it’s my fault for not making the panel understand that I am the best person for this job” Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write my application with this attitude. The interview was even worse, and by the end, I almost felt like getting down on my knees and begging to stay. I hadn’t put my whole heart into the process, and this is one of the reasons why I was not successful in keeping my job.

So, if you have to go through a “spill and fill” process as I did, or you decide to apply for another job, apply for it as if your life depended on it. Build up your belief in yourself, and convince yourself, and the panel, that you are the only one who can do this job. Give it your whole heart!

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.