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8 people carrying an arrow with a 9th standing on the tip pointing ahead

5 Things You Never Knew About Leadership

This is the first in a series of podcasts that I’m calling from Management to Leadership.

    1. Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.

Leadership is not dependent on whether you:

    • hold a title or position;
    • are a manager;
    • are an entrepreneur;
    • are highly intelligent and knowledgeable;
    • are a pioneer or trend setter.
  1. Your potential can never exceed your leadership ability
  2. Leadership must be built on a foundation of trust and respect
  3. Leaders must be able to connect with others.
  4. Leadership can be learnt.

If you would like to learn more about leadership or how to improve your leadership skills, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you would like to be added to my email list, please visit http://amandaheal.com.au and enter your name and email address in the box. As a thank you, you’ll receive a copy of a podcast I did on the things that I recommend that you do before even thinking about changing your job, and you’ll also get a checklist that you can tick off while you’re doing them.

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.

I’ve discovered the secret to success – connection and communication

Personal Development for Career Professionals

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to lead a charmed life? Success in everything they do seems to come to them with little or no effort. It’s almost as if everything they touch turns to gold, and their communication with others is effortless.

I’ve certainly wondered why this happens to some people and not to others, especially me. However, I think I’ve just discovered the secret to their success. It’s the way they connect with others in their communication.

In his book “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect”, John C Maxwell says that people who seem to live a charmed life are usually those who have learned to connect with others. He goes on to say:

“When you connect with others, you position yourself to make the most of your skills and talents. When you don’t connect, you have a lot to overcome just to get to average, a neutral starting position.”

When I read this, I stopped to think about some of the successful people in my life – my cousin, who gets any job she applies for in any country; my school friend who, with no tertiary education, has never been without a well-paying job; and my business colleague who is so successful in her business that she can afford to live her life between 2 countries, despite only being in her 20’s. I thought about these people, and realised that the one thing they have in common is their extraordinary ability to connect with others.

John C Maxwell says that one way to connect with others is to make everything about them. Thinking back to the people I mentioned above, they all do this. They genuinely care for people, and always make the conversation about the person they’re talking to rather than about themselves. When I’m with any of them I always feel specially cared for, and that I’m the centre of their attention.

I’ve always felt that I’ve had to struggle for my successes in life. I rarely got promoted during my Government career, particularly when I was competing against people with equal qualifications. Also, I’m not someone who has ever been good at making, and keeping, friends.

I’ve come to realise that this is because I’m not particularly good at connecting with people. I can certainly talk, but I’m ashamed to say that I’m usually the topic of the conversation, or the conversation is about something that interests me. This has probably stemmed from being an only child, and having a disability. as a child, I’ was usually the centre of everyone else’s attention, and I don’t think I’ve ever really grown out of taking this for granted.

Recently, I attended a book launch and decided, as an experiment, to make every conversation I had focus entirely on the person I was talking to. I decided not to volunteer any information about myself unless I was asked, and to make a particular effort to find out as much as I could about each person I met. It was quite hard work, but ended up being a lot of fun! I met a number of really interesting people, and really enjoyed finding out all about them. This is something I’m definitely going to do a lot more of in my communication with others in the future. My aim is to become like the 3 people mentioned earlier in this post, and become a great connector.

Has anyone ever really connected with you? how did that make you feel? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, contact me directly.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to accomplish your life’s dream alone

Personal Development for Career Professionals

In my last few posts, I’ve been covering the questions you need to ask about your dream to see if it is worth following. My question for this post is, have you included the people you need to realise your dream?

“It marks a big step in your development when you come to realise that other people can help you do a better job than you can do alone” – Andrew Carnegie

“A dream is a compelling vision you see in your heart that’s too big to accomplish without the help of others” – Chris Hodges.

I think that, one of the hardest things for some people to do is ask for help in achieving their dreams. It’s certainly the case with me.

When I started my first business, I was surrounded by a wonderful community of people who were very ready and willing to help me. But I rarely called on them, and only asked for help when I was really stuck. For some reason, I felt that I had to build my business all by myself.

When I started my current business, there were a number of things that I had to do which I found difficult, including dealing with the visual side of social media, and building a website. Being totally blind, pictures pose quite a challenge for me. I’d waste hours trying to get a picture the right size for a particular purpose, such as for use in a twitter or Facebook header, and then find out that I’d posted it sideways or upside-down!

I decided I needed some coaching on this with a good friend and mentor. She helped me realise that there was no shame in asking for help, particularly in an area in which I didn’t have the skill required for the task. After some discussion, I realised that many people, both blind and sighted, call upon others to help them do things that they may not have the skill or the time to do themselves. My friend pointed out that I had no trouble having a cleaner clean my house, as I’m not good at it, and it takes me a long time. So what was the difference in asking someone to help me with the visual side of my website, or resize pictures for posting on twitter?

This invaluable coaching session has now saved me much wasted time, which is much better used on doing things that I am good at in my business. I still occasionally fall into the trap of wanting to do picture-related things by myself, as the problem solving part of my brain kicks in and says “surely, there must be a way”. However, I’m only wasting minutes now, instead of hours, before I realise that I need to ask for help.

I am blessed to have wonderful friends and mentors who are willing to help me in achieving my dream, and am so grateful that I was open to learning the lesson of asking for help. Who do you need to include in realising your dream? Please let me know in the comments section, or if you prefer, please contact me directly.

I will be running a mastermind on “Put Your Dream To the Test” 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.

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.