“I am so thankful that a friend recommended to me the services of Samantha and the team at Challenge”

Danny Chung
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For more information:
Stephen Crowe

Managing Director

Ph: 02 8042 8907

[email protected]


gold star

Keeping your skills up to date is one of the key requirements for career progression, but it is only one piece of the puzzle.  Here are 8 more ways, outlined in WomansDay.com to get ahead at work:

1.       Take on diverse assignments

How often do you offer your assistance or ownership to new tasks? Letting fear of failure prevent you from doing a task will not help stretch you any further than where you are now.

Perhaps there is an area of work that you are not familiar with or have not been trained on before. Why not take the opportunity to pair up with someone who is experienced in that field on a task and learn new skills? Management will appreciate your initiative to pursue new directions and learn about different sections of the organisation and roles of your team members.

The more that you can get involved in at work, the more you are showcasing what you are capable of, and you never know what opportunities can open up as a result.

 2.       Put out fires before they start

If you notice any potential conflict or errors on the horizon do not be afraid to speak up or use your initiative to try and solve the issue. This shows management that you can use good judgement in stressful situations and can be reliable in events when they may require an extra pair of hands.

3.       Ask questions

Many of us perceive the idea of asking too many questions as a sign of weakness or lacking the ability to follow instructions. In fact, you can save yourself a lot of heartache and potential problems occurring if you ask a lot of questions early on, especially when it comes to taking on new tasks or responsibilities. It is the role of management to train and guide you in the right direction, and if it appears that management may being going through a busy period find a point of contact within your organisation who may be able to steer you in the right direction.

4.       Find-and learn from-a mentor

While your manager can coach you on a current task, you can receive an incredible drive by directing your long term goals with someone. It is also a good motivator knowing that you have someone to be accountable to, who will follow up on your progress, whom you can receive advice from. A mentor can be anyone – a friend, colleague, or someone by mutual acquaintance (This links to a previous Challenge Consulting blog: Lessons I have learned from my mentor).

5.       Get to the point

Make sure when you are putting forward a new idea, proposal, and reason behind why you may want more responsibility that you keep to the point. Be confident with what you put forward and don’t waffle on. Management and colleagues will have other tasks that they also need to attend to, so they will appreciate it if you are a sharp shooter and don’t beat around the bush. Being more direct also shows that you taking the matter seriously and that you are looking for a more direct response.

6.       Take control of your career path

If you want advice on where to take the next step in terms of responsibilities and your career path, have you actively gone out to seek direction? Is management aware of your plans, motives, and goals? Have you set out a timeframe, follow up meetings, what training may be required? And are you following through on any feedback or advice that you may have been provided?

Write things down, put reminders in your calendar, find your daily source of motivation and discipline yourself to follow through on what you have set out for yourself. After all, it is your life, only you can complete what you have started.

7.       Mind your attitude

Keeping an open mind to participate in any group or individual activity (or at least approach it with a smile) people will be more inclined to want to work with you or for you. Being proactive is much more beneficial than being a naysayer or complainer. You can use positivity to motivate others around you as well because having a positive working environment can be just as important as a positive mindset.

There could also be a situation where you may not see eye to eye with a colleague or management on an issue at work. Instead of getting into an argument over the situation, address it sooner rather than later and try to collectively work together to find a solution. It is important in these cases to keep an open-mind and try to see the other person’s point of view.

8.       Don’t boast about your accomplishments

While it is important to inform management of your successes (and often we can be excited and wrapped up in the accomplishment) try not to extend every detail or repeat the same story over and over again.

Accomplishments are important to take note of and keep on record, especially when times of review are approaching and you can specify what you have contributed to the company. Make sure you have a strong case if you are putting this forward to be considered for a promotion or salary increase. If management does not considered this a strong enough case at that point in time, make sure to ask the appropriate questions on how to get there, and if you can have a follow up meeting to discuss further opportunities.

Have you followed any of these steps when it came to moving up in your career? If so, what direction did it take you? Was it where you expected it to go?


Whether it is in our personal lives or careers we all face stress at some stage. I tend to find it happens the more responsibilities pile up and the more you take on new challenges. While greater responsibilities often help us grow, we also need to find that balance as stress should not be something that rules our lives.

Negative effects of stress to physical and mental health

While you may not even realise that you are suffering from stress, I have found from personal experience the following symptoms can occur:

• You begin to isolate yourself from those around you and interact less with others

• You experience fatigue due to lack of sleep

• Decreased morale and lack of enthusiasm to complete tasks – which in turn can result in poor results at work

• Increased headaches, aches and pains in the body and additional health problems over time

• Becoming emotionally sensitive or over-reactive about the slightest mishaps

I tend to find that I experience stress the most when I am trying to plan an event and I take on the role of ‘organiser’. While I can set out a plan in advance for a team or work project and feel like I am 100% on top of things, one can never be completely prepared for the unexpected. This includes setbacks, delays, emergency situations, individuals dropping out of projects, something going wrong etc.

Trying to do this on top of my daily routine, it can appear impossible sometimes. If I don’t try to deal with it appropriately I am now aware that I start to show signs of the symptoms above. I’m sure that most of you can relate, and sometimes that easy alternative is to switch off or even give up.

This option does not often result in a positive outcome, and since I don’t believe in quitters, I have developed stress busters to try and tackle what I am struggling with head on.

What you can do differently to help overcome stress

• Don’t sweat the small stuff – I remember reading this in a workshop that I attended recently thinking ‘easy for you to say’, but it really does help if you change your thinking slightly. It can be very common to worry when things are not going exactly to plan, but if we spend time worrying about all of the little things, how will you be able to cope with more challenging situations? You will be too exhausted! Have a back-up plan if need be or find alternative solutions and even if you have to tweak or change your plans slightly it is often worth it. But also keep calm and collected in the process, this will allow you to be able to react more clearly instead of letting stress cloud your judgement.

• Healthy mind and body – When people are stressed they tend to find that they have less time to do some of the things that can truly benefit their productivity.

• Putting healthy eating and exercise on the back-burner will often leave you feeling even more ‘burnt out’. Sometimes I struggle combining the two as I enjoy exercise but I love food, and often it can be bad habits like takeaway or sugar products. What have I learned from this? Well these foods result in constant highs and lows but I need a continual balance to be performing at my best. Find those super foods that are good for your body and also make you feel good, if this means taking the time to prepare meals in advance then do it, this will save you resorting to eating last minute fatty foods that leave you feeling sluggish.

• If you’re not a gym junkie then go for a walk or do some yoga at home. Clear your mind every now and again and this will result in better sleep patterns. I like to go for long walks sometimes after work or on weekends and I find when I come back I am so refreshed because I just needed that little bit of ‘me time’.

• The art of delegation – Most people consider this to be a weakness to ask someone else for help so they try to take on everything themselves which can result in stress levels going through the roof. Not only that but deadlines are sometimes not met and it can leave you feeling more like a failure. If you have others involved in projects that you are working on, ask them if they could assist, even if it may seem like a simple task to pass on it could end up freeing your time just enough to get other deadlines completed. Work together as a team and if times get quieter for you, offer your friends or colleagues a hand in return.

• Develop a hobby or read a book – If you find it hard to ‘wind down’ right away after work, keep your mind stimulated with something that you enjoy doing and you can eventually relax and calm yourself enough to rest. I enjoy writing in my spare time, painting or reading books by inspirational authors to motivate me daily. If you feel like perhaps you have lost touch with your hobbies, it is never too late to get back on track.

• Prioritising tasks – I have outlined this previously in my time management blog, but the more you organise your tasks in order of priority, the less you will often feel stressed or worry that you haven’t finished what you needed to do in a day. Don’t be afraid to communicate what you are doing as well to others so that they are not adding additional tasks to your workload if you don’t believe you will be able to achieve this at the time.

• Communicate to someone – Believe it or not bottling up stress can in fact create further stress and anxiety. Make it clear if you are struggling so that someone can help you overcome this. A lot of the time others will not be aware of what is going on if you keep it to yourself, the sooner you communicate, the sooner you can find resolve.

How have you learned to cope with stress over the years? Do you still apply certain principles today?


Have you ever looked up your name in Google to see what comes up in the search results? There may be more information about you floating out there than you may think. Or perhaps even more information on your Googleganger than what you may even know. Your Googleganger is of course that person who has the same name as you and whose life and details are presented when you Google search your own name. So what have you and your Googleganger been up to online lately? And is it the professional image you want your current or future employer to know you for?

I use this photo as an example: when I searched my name on Google, this image appeared from a corporate Christmas Party that I had attended two years ago! While the image is completely harmless, in the social media world that we live in, personal privacy seems to be diminishing more and more with the general public being able to access a lot more than previous generations.

So what are you currently promoting to the world online? When you are applying for a new position, do you often consider that your employer may look you up on Facebook before they meet you face-to-face? What topics do you post on Twitter? Does your LinkedIn profile reflect your professional background accurately?

What does your current Facebook or LinkedIn profile picture say about you? What embarrassing photos have your friends tagged you in that come up in your Google search? How many future employers have made a judgement based on that party pose you have on your Facebook profile picture rather than the skills and experience listed on your resume? And what kind of photos are floating around for the general public to view?

Of course it’s not just companies that are searching for you. You are also searching for insight into a future employer. What stories have been written that help you decide that this is the company for you?
Media stories can often be a battle especially when it comes to large corporations, and some of the news being published about the company may not always be positive. My question for employers would be what do potential candidates find at the top of their Google search when they are researching your company? What information do you disclose to potential candidates who ask questions about any media coverage that they have read about or seen regarding your organisation?

As a candidate you may find the information that you look up on Google to be advantageous when it comes to looking for an organisation that has good credibility and that you will enjoy working for.
Naturally not all the information you find about yourself online is negative. Besides the image above, I also found sponsor pages for charity events and sporting races I participated. I hope if anyone were to view that they would believe I am a driven individual in my personal life and have a passion for adventure and helping others.

It is up to each of us to create an online presence that reflects our offline presence. But especially important when in the job search game. What has your Googleganger been up to lately? Why don’t you do a search now, you know you want to, and you never know what will come up!