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Pulling together when the going gets tough

Yesterday I had lunch with two girlfriends and I’m still buoyed from the experience.  You know how it goes:  one by one we shared the wins and challenges that had transpired since we last met; we sought the advice of each other on whether we were making the right choices and decisions on career moves; and of course we talked about what’s going on outside of work.  It’s such a cathartic experience.

Within the safety of our friendship, we chatted for over an hour.  As one relayed her scenario, invariably the other two offered encouragement, advice and – more importantly – a good shot of confidence.  Sound familiar?  Doesn’t it feel great!

Yet in many of the women’s forums I run in organisations, I see women in overwhelm.  The busier they get, juggling all the balls of their work and home commitments, the more they disengage and bear the weight of the world on their shoulders.

They stop going for the coffee meetings, thinking it will save them time.  Dinners with friends lapse, and they skip the networking event, cause its too hard to organize a babysitter.  Or they simply decide they don’t want to play office politics.

And before long, they’re out of the loops.  So they cycle has begun:  they withdraw and try to go it alone.  Then when they most need a helping hand as the going gets tough, there’s no one around.  In a work perspective, they feel isolated and alone.  And they often end up leaving the organisation altogether.  On the personal front, friendships and girlfriends are lost along the way too.

Life these days is too big for any of us to go it alone.  Dr Nikki Williams, CEO of the NSW Minerals Council, shared some of her success stories with sphinxx members last week.  One of her top tips is to have a support person or people to share your war stories with – inside or outside the organisation.  Sometimes you’ll want advice; and sometimes you’ll want validation.  Either way, it takes two to tango.

So when was the last time you organised lunch with the girls?

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