Go at your own PACE says Bec Development MD Helen Tiffany
Friday, March 8th 2019 marks International Women’s Day and this year’s theme #BalanceforBetter. The premise is that a balanced world is a better world and we should all be doing what we can to create greater gender-balance, celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
Here at Bec Development we also believe in nurturing the essential components for creating balance within the individual. It was over 3 year’s ago that I came up with the acronym PACE to help enable this. PACE stands for Professional, Authentic, Confident, Energised.
Get these components right and it will help you achieve balance. A balanced individual is more likely to make the right choices, adopt good values and function optimally. It also puts them in the best place to foster gender-balance, enable achievement in others, be more aware of bias and take steps to address and take action for equality.
Fast-paced work environments place great demands on female managers and leaders
Fast-paced work environments place ever greater demands on female managers and leaders (and would-be managers and leaders). Organisations are increasingly navigating another acronym – VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) conditions and they expect individuals to be up to this task. Is it any wonder that our confidence in our abilities (along with our perceptions of how others rate those abilities) may sometimes falter?
Being your best self
PACE helps you focus on being your best self; what to do when the going gets tough and how to use what you already know to the best advantage.
I’ve delivered PACE sessions within organisations in small, single-gender groups; allowing participants the to explore issues with colleagues who may be facing similar challenges. But you can also use PACE as a self-diagnostic and International Women’s Day seems like a good time to talk about this.
According to iconic American First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt: “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realised how seldom they do.” Yet, so many outwardly assured women view this professional aspect of themselves from the above perspective.
Professional Brand isn’t defined what other people think
Our Professional Brand shouldn’t be defined what we think other people think about us, so take time to understand how other people experience you. For example, what do you regard as your core values and how do you demonstrate them? If honesty is a core value for you, how do you communicate that to other people, your boss, or members of your team?
Your brand also needs to be congruent. Is there a fit between how you look and how you are? Do you shoot informally from the hip, while buttoned up in two-piece Chanel or Armani, or is your formal style of delivery underpinned (or undermined) by jeans and trainers?
When it comes to authenticity, there may be a need to adjust the controls, dialing up or dialing down depending on your audience. For example, humour may be one of your strengths but you may need to underplay this in a situation where you might run the risk of being thought lightweight, or lacking in concern. For example, a corporate crisis may not be the best time for irony, or a double entendre.
Dial up or dial down for your audience
Lack of Confidence is like an insidious voice that is as likely to whisper in the ear of a high flyer as in the ear somebody at the foot of the corporate ladder. But as Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead author Sheryl Sandberg puts it: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” Yet, faltering confidence may lead us to de-select ourselves, to take a chair far away from the pointy end at that all-important launch meeting. Woman, particularly, may reaffirm their position on the sidelines simply through this self-positioning.
Nobody’s confident about everything
You need to recognise and utilise those things that make you feel confident. Nobody’s confident about everything. When someone talks to me about being “found out”, when they’re actually holding down a top job and working 70 hours a week at it, I invite them to show me the evidence that somehow everybody is secretly convinced they’re not all that good. That evidence is never forthcoming.
Tim Gallwey, creator of the The Inner Game methodology of coaching, has an equation for this: P=(P-I) or Performance equals Potential minus Interference. Sometimes that Interference is actually self-sabotage? All those voices in your head telling you you’re not very good. Those voices are loudest when we don’t acknowledge that everybody makes mistakes and that things sometimes go wrong. It happens to all of us. We make corrections. We learn. We move on.
Batteries need to be recharged
We may need to work on being Professional, Authentic and Confident at various stages during our careers; as we meet the next challenge, or take on the next role. This is where Energy comes in. Our energy levels need topping up in the same way batteries need to be recharged at various stages on the journey.
How do you like to recharge and do you recharge? Do you run, go to the gym, read a good book, turn off your phone? Watch out for turning downtime into another target or quest for a personal best EG if you enjoy jogging round the park with the dog, do you really want to challenge yourself by running 3 marathons in 3 months? If you do – go for it. But don’t set downtime challenges with a reluctant heart. It’s worth exploring why as well as how you recharge your batteries – whether it’s lying on the sofa in a onesie, or running a marathon.
But always go at your own PACE.
Helen Tiffany originally wrote on this topic for LinkedIn in January 2016.