<![CDATA[Albany Lane]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/ Sun, 18 Apr 2021 09:06:18 GMT Sun, 18 Apr 2021 09:06:18 GMT LemonStand <![CDATA[Learning to be OK with discomfort in ourselves and others is critical if we are going to listen, learn and make changes]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/learning-to-be-ok-with-discomfort-in-ourselves-and-others-is-critical-if-we-are-going-to-listen-learn-and-make-changes http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/learning-to-be-ok-with-discomfort-in-ourselves-and-others-is-critical-if-we-are-going-to-listen-learn-and-make-changes Mon, 27 Jul 2020 00:00:00 GMT Many of us have been following and active in the protests on #BlackLivesMatter and our own history of Indigenous deaths in custody.  

For those of us who benefit from white privilege we have had an opportunity to stop, reflect and learn more about the racially-based injustices in our world.  

This has been challenging and uncomfortable at times, and it is very tempting to run away and distract ourselves with something much more pleasant to think about. 

However, learning to be OK with discomfort in ourselves and others is critical if we are going to listen, learn and make changes for a better world. 

Practicing self-compassion will help you develop the capacity to hear criticism and act on it; to learn from mistakes; to take time to listen to someone telling you that good intentions are not enough.  It allows you to research and learn about inustice that you may have benefited from, and make a choice to be part of changing that situation. 

My door is always open to people who want to make the world a better place, but the first step is listening and learning before speaking out. 

So take care and be kind, but also have courage that the world can change if we make a commitment to be part of that change.

Posted in: Compassion, Inspiration, Leadership, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Self-compassion Tuesdays, find your strength in relaxation and renewal]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/self-compassion-tuesdays-find-your-strength-in-relaxation-and-renewal http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/self-compassion-tuesdays-find-your-strength-in-relaxation-and-renewal Sun, 05 Apr 2020 00:00:00 GMT It may feel like one hurdle after another right now – each one harder than the next.  Bushfires, funding applications, now Covid19.  The world is going through climate, health and economic shake up that was not on anyone’s radar 12 or even six months ago.

It is OK to feel shaken by all of this – but as leaders you may feel the pressure to show a calm face when underneath you are paddling like mad.
I wanted to let you know that we are here at Albany Lane to support you – either through a one-to-one session to sort out your thoughts in a safe, confidential space, plus some targeted resources to come.
If there is anything you think you need at this time – please reach out.  We have networks and contacts that can share their expertise and – this is important – want to help!!!  So please ask.

If you feel like you need a safe space for relaxation and renewal – please join me for Self Compassion Tuesdays – starting March 2020 – 7pm to 8.30pm by zoom (online)

Developing your capacity for self-compassion is one of the single most useful ways to build your resilience, productivity and focus during the weeks ahead.  

Our work here is based on the research by Dr Kirsten Neff and includes three components:

  • Self Kindness V Self Judgement
  • Common Humanity V Isolation
  • Mindfulness V Over Identification


I began running a regular Self-Compassion online group as part of the Front and Centre leadership program, which I developed and ran with Accessible Arts NSW,  from October 2019 to March 2020.   

There were 10 women in this program, with diversity in ages, backgrounds, creative practices and access needs.  Over the 6 months we worked together, there was a  consistent theme of how self-judgement, self-criticism and negative self-talk works against developing the confidence and clarity needed to progress in practice and leadership.  

Alongside one-to-one coaching and webinars on leadership as self-expression, service and disruption – I added the option for participants of exploring how to develop our capacity for Self-Compassion. 

I have been doing this kind of practice for over 10 years, as part of my own career transition from government policy and strategy to working as a coach and facilitator with the arts, creative and community sector.  


Developing self-compassion is critical for any kind of leadership AND creative work.  It balances the inner-critic, supports collaboration, allows for risk-taking and new challenges. 

For me, a practice of self-compassion creates a more reliable relationship with my Self – so that I am less concerned about outside measures of success and the opinions of others, and can focus on what gives me internal satisfaction.  

The women in the leadership program also commented that Self-Compassion was often the missing link in their professional and personal development – we simply are not socialised to be kind to ourselves.  

As one participant put it she had no understanding of self-compassion as she had never experienced it.  Asking her to practice it was like asking her to describe an apple when she had never tasted one.  

So I wanted to share the concepts and skills in developing self-compassion, as well as how it can support you practically in your life, with any sorts of challenges. 

As you can see in these voxpops many of the participants in the program spoke about the importance of self-compassion in the program.    https://www.facebook.com/AccessibleArts/videos/146588716716207/

Self Compassion is NOT self-pity – but a powerful and practical tool to support you as leaders in difficult circumstances and in rebuilding your team and organisation in the future. 

Developing your capacity for self-compassion is one of the single most useful ways to build your resilience, productivity and focus during the weeks ahead.   


You can RSVP here - https://calendly.com/judith-bowtell/self-compassion-tuesdays
AND you can join at - https://zoom.us/j/2606609298

Posted in: Coaching, Compassion, Leadership, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Lean in to your weak spots and make them your new best friends]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/lean-in-to-your-weak-spots http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/lean-in-to-your-weak-spots Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 GMT I was talking to my husband about a job which would push me way outside my comfort zone. As I went back and forth on the pros and cons, and whether I actually had the skills and qualifications to do it he looked up from his ipad and said – “Oh just lean in to your imposter syndrome.” 

For those of you that don’t know, imposter syndrome is when you believe you are a fraud or a pretender in your industry, role or career - often despite evidence to the contrary. It goes beyond false modesty, and can keep you stuck from taking up great opportunities. 

Imposter Syndrome traverses gender divides.  A recent study looking at gender feedback and responsibility reported that while a greater number of women suffer imposter syndrome, most men suffer it with greater intensity effecting their performance.

Our natural reaction when we realise we have a belief or thinking that holds us back is to try to suppress, forget, avoid and dodge that thought or belief.  We need to get over it, let it go and move on etc. So being encouraged to 'lean in" certainly interrupted my usual way of thinking. At least long enough to throw a cushion at someone's head!

However, after thinking about it maybe being encouraged to 'lean in' to our weak spots, stopping points, underlying assumptions, limiting beliefs (or whatever you call it) could be useful advice.

If the alarm bells are going off, recognize these patterns, like your loved ones were going to find out that you're a fraud? Have you always downplayed your success? You might suffer from imposter syndrome, and can take a quick quiz here to find out or take the Clance IP Test  for a clearer idea on what characteristics are most prevalent to you.

By accepting our 'imposter syndrome' or similar we have a chance to gently challenge this idea from a closer point of view, and maybe a more friendly, light-hearted and even silly way.   

Rather than admonish myself to get over my "imposter syndrome" before I can take up this new opportunity, I can instead accept that my imposter self is going to be at the party for a while. When I become aware that they are trying to take over the conversation in my head, I can sit back and observe what they want to say,  I can laugh at situations that bring it up, and welcome them to join me.  I can keep moving ahead without fighting my own thoughts and fears. 

This is not easy. It takes practice in observation of self and awareness of recurrent thoughts and beliefs that frame our worldview. We also need to rigorously practice self-compassion in all its forms: kindness, mindfulness and common humanity.
Being encouraged to lean in to your weaknesses is an act of courage, so go gently on yourself.

Find where you are and how far you are ready to go.  However, it is a more enticing way of viewing our weak spots as potential allies in our journeys, rather than faults that need to be eradicated and stamped out.

Here's to being powerful, unstoppable and accountable for our own future

Posted in: Career Development, Inspiration, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Collective Actions and Decisions: Making Change]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/collective-actions-and-decisions-making-change http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/collective-actions-and-decisions-making-change Tue, 25 Feb 2020 00:00:00 GMT We have been powerfully reminded this summer in Australia that our world is continually impacted by our collective actions and decisions, and yet it can feel on a day-to-day level that much is actually out of our control.   

However we can make a difference if we really want to, in our lives and those of others 

And I have been hearing more and more from colleagues and friends that NOW is the time for all of us to step up and contribute to making the world we want to live in - and not quietlly accept the one that has been created for us. 

If you have been angry and find yourself yelling even more at the television - perhpas you are actually saying what the we both need to say and hear. 

If you feel helpless, scared or frustrated - can you listen to what you feel needs to be created or changed to make the world a better, healthier and fairer world for us all. 

If you have seen gaps in leadership lately and work that needs to be done - maybe it is the sign that it is YOU that needs to step up and be the one to make this change happen.  

And you can do it your way - true to the values you hold dear and in line with world you want to have for the future.   

If you are interested in doing this work - I am willing to travel that path with you, to guide you in your leadership development and hold you to your commitment to making the world a better place. 

If we have learnt one thing this summer, it is that the time for change is now and we all have a role to play.  

Your role may be more than you ever thought it would be.  Let me know if you want to go on a journey to find out. 

Here's to being powerful, unstoppable and accountable for our own future in 2020.   


Posted in: Compassion, Decision Making, Inspiration, Leading in crisis, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[The hidden costs of focusing on the urgent and not the important]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-hidden-costs-of-focusing-on-the-urgent-and-not-the-important http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-hidden-costs-of-focusing-on-the-urgent-and-not-the-important Mon, 16 Dec 2019 00:00:00 GMT I recently stayed with my sister and my 18 year old niece (M), and offered to help them throw out some clothes that no longer "brought joy".
We started out making good progress, teaching the process of appreciating what you have and letting go of what no longer "serves" you. 
The session was a bit derailed by a little family politics: me encouraging M. to keep some things that annoyed her mum; her mum overruling a few decisions; and a side campaign by M, to hide a few pieces in her older sister's wardrobe. 
Whilst a healthy family dynamic has room for fun and games, there can be a shadow side of power and control: undermining my sister's influence; re-asserting parental values; sneaking t-shirts into someone else's drawer.  
And I did feel a bit of guilt afterwards that what should have been a learning experience for M. got a bit overwritten by her mum's and my agendas.
The same can happen in our workplaces when we interrupt someone's learning or development opportunity for our own purposes or gain.  
Here is the scenario:  a colleague or team member is working on a new project, which requires plenty of curiosity, inquiry, trying out new ways of doing things, and problem solving.  Then a client or stakeholder rings requiring something which sends up the panic signals: this could be because of a changed deadline, a conflicting priority, a new "emergency" that needs attention.  Anything in the "urgent" column of life. 
You pull your team member off their development project due to an "all hands on deck" emergency.  And they lose connection to their learning, growth and development.  This happens time and time again - and your team member eventually puts the new project in the "too hard" basket, abandoned along with the learning and growth to date.  
More importantly, their openness to new ideas, willingness to take risks, embrace and lead change are replaced by cynicism, resentment and hopelessness:  nothing will ever change; other people are always more important; and as I have no agency I no longer need to be accountable or responsible.  They lose ownership over their work and trust in you and the organisation. 
Learning and development more often sits in the "important but not urgent" side of the equation - the place that Stephen Covey* suggested we spend most of our time if we were going to be truly efficient. 
So next time you are tempted to interrupt someone's learning (and that includes your own) by a more "urgent and important" need, remember that you are at risk of losing thrice:  the chance to learn and develop an important skill, the motivation and positive engagement of your team AND the trust that learning and development are truly valued in your life, family or workplace. 
The happy ending to this story is that M. has a well developed sense of self, her wants and needs and has embraced the joy of having less but enjoying more.  
Her mum and I have perhaps a bit further to go. 

Posted in: Career Development, Coaching, Decision Making, Intuition, Leadership, Leading in crisis, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Why being “the best” could be your biggest hurdle to a successful working life]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/why-being-the-best-could-be-your-biggest-hurdle-to-a-successful-working-life http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/why-being-the-best-could-be-your-biggest-hurdle-to-a-successful-working-life Mon, 09 Dec 2019 00:00:00 GMT Are you a high achiever, a leader in your sector, an award winner? 

Did you get constant high scores at class and now have glowing performance reviews?

Are you the one people think of when they need an expert?

And…. Do you also feel isolated, exhausted and alone?

Kirsten Neff talks about the importance of self-compassion over self-esteem in her wonderful (and for me game-changing) TedX talk -

Self esteem is based on achieving, winning, being outstanding.

However, there can be only one winner at one time.

In focusing on being outstanding, we are focused on separating ourselves from others, and putting ourselves at risk.

Self-compassion instead is based on three elements:

-        Kindness in how we talk about and treat ourselves

-        Mindfulness and connecting to the here and now

-        Common humanity as an understanding that we are all one with our struggles as well as our achievements

In focusing on how we connect with others, we open ourselves to the healing elements of oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone most commonly associated with falling in love.

The experience is often shared in group meditation and even team-building exercises – that feeling of being on a “high” of happiness and positivity.

However, you can presence that same feeling in the moment by simply turning your focus from what you might be missing out on to what you share – with your colleagues, your peers and even your competitors and adversaries. 

So, consider turning your focus from “being the best” to simply being in the everyday world that we all share, all contribute to and at the end of the day are responsible.

I promise that more will open up for you in that moment than you ever thought possible.


If you want to know more about how practices of self-compassion can transform your working life, book a free 30minute strategy session with Judith Bowtell - https://calendly.com/judith-bowtell/30min


Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Coaching, Decision Making, Inspiration, Intuition, Making change, Mindfulness, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[How to Develop a Career Strategy with Clarity & Confidence]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-develop-a-career-strategy http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-develop-a-career-strategy Fri, 01 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT The course has provided structure, processes and support for a group of creatives of all ages and experiences, who wanted to have more clarity and confidence.  

Over six weeks have explored:  values, goal setting, making changes, skills analysis, motivations and financial models.

At the end of the program, each participant can create a compelling vision for their working life, identify goals, plan and resource strategies and most importantly - get into action. 

No more waiting for the perfect moment, plan or partnership.  

The course program will run as follows:

Intro:  – Tuesday 11 February. 6.30pm (Introduction – group session)

Week 1 - Thursday 13 February, 6.30pm (Presentation LIVE on Week 1 exercise – WHEEL OF LIFE

Tuesday 18 February, 6.30pm (Live group coaching session)

Week 2 - Thursday 20 February, 6.30pm (Presentation LIVE on Week 2 exercise – VALUES

Tuesday 25 February, 6.30pm (Live group coaching session)

Week 3 - Thursday 27 February, 6.30pm (Presentation LIVE on Week 2 exercise – SKILLS AND MOTIVATIONS

Tuesday 3 March, 6.30pm (Live group coaching session)

Week 4 – Thursday 5 March, 6.30pm (Presentation LIVE on Week 2 exercise – FINANCIAL MODELS

Tuesday 10 March, 6.30pm (Live group coaching session)

Week 5 - Thursday 12 March, 6.30pm (Presentation LIVE on Week 2 exercise – MAKING CHANGE AND GETTING STUCK 

Tuesday 17 March, 6.30pm (Live group coaching session)

Week 6 - Thursday 19 March, 6.30pm (Presentation LIVE on Week 2 exercise – CREATING A VISION

Tuesday 24 March, 6.30pm (Live group coaching session 


Post 24 March  – Individual coaching session (30 minutes) included in fee. 


I hope that you can join us for the journey.   We will have an early-bird fee of $295 until 31 December 2019, and full fee will be $330.

Book Tickets here.

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Coaching, Decision Making, Inspiration, Leadership, Making change, New Business, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[Is it that time of the year already?]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/is-it-that-time-of-the-year-already http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/is-it-that-time-of-the-year-already Fri, 01 Nov 2019 00:00:00 GMT Like mince pies at Woollies, the signs of Christmas and the end of the year come earlier and earlier.  Or does it?

Now I'm not a scientist, but I am pretty sure that time works the same ALL THE TIME, so the end of year "speed up" is as much a creation of our minds as the Santa stories we tell our children. 

What changes of course is our relationship to time. Some where about August/September we begin to treat time as a scarcity and so it needs to be grabbed and crammed full of as much activity as we can, so that we can achieve all our goals by the end of the year. 

Life speeds up at a rapid pace until 25 December as we jam in projects and proposals and parties: nothing wrong with that but what starts as a feeling of increased productivity can become counter-productive, and even dangerous, if we dont remember to rest, recover and breathe.  (See new blog piece on my personal experiences of burnout below). 

One thing we can do is observe how we start to describe time as we get int the last quarter of the year. I read recently that a mother noticed her young child saying "my goodness this year has gone fast" and realised that her language and behaviour had taught her that her childhood was quickly disappearing.  

We construct our realities, so the rush to the end of the year is also an outcome of our language and paradigms. 

If you want more time, just notice how many times you refer to time as a scarce resource and if you can stop yourself and say something else - how beautiful is it that spring is here; I love the warm afternoons and cool mornings; more daylight feels more expansive some how - like anything is possible. 

It may feel awkward to begin with - but notice if something begins to change in your personal and working life. 

In that way maybe we can move a bit easier through these last wonderful months of 2019, and not be stressed and tensed up until January when we give ourselves permission to relax again?

So rather than racing to the end of the year with the rally cry of "didn't the year go fast" - end it with appreciation for the special rhythms of spring and early summer in the southern hemisphere or whatever is going on around you. 

Each day has 24 hours after all - whether it is now or next year.


PS - you can now book a free no-obligation consult or strategy session with Judith on Calendly -
That's 30 minutes just for you for whatever you need.

Click here (or copy the link) - https://calendly.com/judith-bowtell/30min - and if those times don't work let me know at judith.bowtell@albanylane.com.au

Look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Compassion, Inspiration, Intuition, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Burnout– A Personal Experience]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/burnout-a-personal-experience http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/burnout-a-personal-experience Fri, 25 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT Why we need time to hang out, chill out and waste time in our busy lives.

new book Burnout: The Secret to Solving the Stress Cycle suggests that at least 42% of our lives need to be spent in rest and recovery for us to function and more importantly avoid burnout. That's 10 hours a day for sleep, exercise, food and reconnection to ourselves.   

For me that still seems like jamming a lot into my non-sleep self-time. Where is showering and staring at the mirror?  Where's the hours spent in wondering the house picking things up just to put them down, chilling on couch with your kids and/or screen devices, aimless (but not pointless) conversations with family and friends?  Where's the playing tug of war with the dog and worrying if her teeth are starting to fallout and then playing it again? 

However, I do agree with the overarching premise that running your life you are some sort of machine is never going to be a sustainable way of work and life.

Now I am a classic over-achieving, FOMO, A-type personality, who learnt to overcome (ignore?) my fear of failure, rejection and even mental health issues by creating an inner-bully that would drive me to work 10-12 hours a day, never home before 8pm and got me anxious on weekends.

I loved getting involved in new projects, being asked to contribute, having a 100-things on the go, and generally feeling very “busy and important”.

However, the result is that this punishing cycle resulted in zombie like periods of burnout that became harder and harder to overcome as I got older.  Instead of being able to juggle multiple projects I would struggle to complete a simple task, like registering my car as my brain was a fog of doubts, confusion and fear. 

Recovery takes rest – serious rest.  The kind that is boring and depressing and has you feeling valueless. The kind that feels like it will never end because you have no energy (and no confidence) to make any change.

Your personality changes, your friends dis-engage, and your family is patient and loving but also worried when this period will end. 

And all because I thought it was more important to complete some tasks, work until 1am or 2am in the morning then come home, rest, relax and re-connect.

The adage is that no-one ever regretted not spending more time at work on their death beds.

I encourage you not to wait until then, but to take that on every day as you clock off at a sensible time and head home (without your devices).  It is very unlikely that anyone will die from your actions, and others may even learn to respect this change in your behaviour.

Martyrdom after all is highly over-rated.  Leave the late-night office to those having affairs.  


Posted in: Balancing work and life, Inspiration, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[How to make your day last longer]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-make-your-day-last-longer http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-make-your-day-last-longer Thu, 24 Oct 2019 00:00:00 GMT How to make your day last longer

Can you remember a period in your life when, if you look back on it now, time seemed to stretch on forever? When a week seemed like four, or an hour seemed like it went on for days? What were you doing during that period?

Chances are, you were probably doing something (or a whole bunch of something) that was brand new to you and demanded your attention. The funny thing is, when you focus on what you are doing you actually slowed down time or at least how your brain perceived that time. Neuroscientist David Eagleman explains that this is how your brain perceives time.  


 “Brain time,” as Eagleman calls it, is intrinsically subjective. “Try this exercise,” he suggests ,“Put this book down and go look in a mirror. Now move your eyes back and forth, so that you’re looking at your left eye, then at your right eye, then at your left eye again. When your eyes shift from one position to the other, they take time to move and land on the other location. But here’s the kicker: you never see your eyes move.” There’s no evidence of any gaps in your perception—no darkened stretches like bits of blank film—yet much of what you see has been edited out. Your brain has taken a complicated scene of eyes darting back and forth and recuts it as a simple one: your eyes stare straight ahead. Where did the missing moments go?

Before we explain these time-bending powers you didn’t know you had, let’s back up a bit and look at how our brains perceive time normally.

Our ‘sense’ of time not like any of our physical senses i.e. taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing With time, we don’t so much sense it as perceive it. Our brains take a whole bunch of information from our senses and organize it in a way that makes sense to us, before we ever perceive it. So what we think is our sense of time is actually just a whole bunch of information presented to us in a particular way, we can reorganize that data to reframe how our sense of time is perceives and how it effects out work habits, and sense of wellbeing, particularly with work life balance. 

When our brains receive new information, it doesn’t necessarily come in the proper order. This information needs to be reorganized and presented to us in a form we understand. When familiar information is processed, this doesn’t take much time at all. New information, however, is a bit slower and makes time feel elongated.

Even stranger, it isn’t just a single area of the brain that controls our time perception—it’s done by multiple areas of the brain unlike our common five senses, which can each be pinpointed to a single, specific area.

For young children, it’s easy to see how this would work in reverse, since the majority of information their brains are processing would be brand new, and require more time to process.

According to the research, if we feed our brains more new information, the extra processing time required will make us feel like time is moving more slowly. Here are five ways you could put this into practice immediately. If you have more ideas, I’d love to hear them!

1. Keep learning

Learning new things is a pretty obvious way to pass your brain new information on a regular basis. If you’re constantly reading, trying new activities or taking courses to learn new skills, you’ll have a wealth of ‘newness’ at your fingertips to help you slow down time.

2. Visit new places

A new environment can send a mass of information rushing to your brain—smells, sounds, people, colors, textures. Your brain has to interpret all of this. Exposing your brain to new environments regularly will give it plenty of work to do, letting you enjoy longer-seeming days.

3. Meet new people

We all know how much energy we put into interactions with other people. Unlike objects, people are complex and take more effort to ‘process’ and understand. Meeting new people, then, is a good workout for our brains. That kind of interaction offers us lots of new information to make sense of, like names, voices, accents, facial features and body language.

4. Try new activities

Doing new stuff means you have to pay attention. Your brain is on high alert and your senses are heightened, because concentrating on new sensations, information and feelings at a rapid rate. As your brain takes in and notices every little detail, that period of time seems to stretch out longer and longer in your mind.

5. Be spontaneous

Surprises are like new activities: they make us pay attention and heighten our senses. Anyone who hates surprises can attest to that.

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Coaching, Inspiration, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Join us for Strategic Planning for Solo Entrepreneurs]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/join-us-for-strategic-planning-for-solo-entrepreneurs http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/join-us-for-strategic-planning-for-solo-entrepreneurs Thu, 04 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT Strategic Planning for Solo Entrepreneurs
For more clarity and increased confidence in your working life.

Who is it for?
- Sole traders, entrepreneurs, including independent artists
- Hobbyists and side hustlers, wanting to take their passion project full-time
- Anyone who wants to do less, but achieve more
- Anyone trying to break old habits in their working life, which hold them back
- Anyone who is trying to make decisions about resources and outsourcing
- Anyone who wants to increase how much they make in the next financial year
Why do this program?

Being overwhelmed, overworked and overtired is the common state of being for solo entrepreneurs, particularly working in creative practice. However, it does not need to be that way.

I have developed a set of simple yet effective tools to help you unpack your business, at whatever stage it is, and allow you to step back and see it objectively.
The tools are especially effective for creative workers, as they use visualisation, imagery and break down business development concepts for non-business brains.
That doesn’t mean we just skim the surface – if anything they allow you to go deeper as it takes away the jargon and barriers to really making the most out of your business.

What will you achieve?

My aim is that everyone in the six week program will better understand their business or practice, and will understand and clarify:
- Your motivations for doing your own work and what you love about it
- Your strengths, resources and areas for development
- Your weaknesses, blind-spots or areas for outsourcing
- Your goals for next 12 months (financial year 2019-2020)
- Your underlying financial model
- Your priority areas for change in next 6-12 months, and strategies for success
How does it work?

Each week on Wednesday, I will present a new tool or concept that will help you better understand and unpack your business or practice. You will have time to ask questions in our online discussion group on the Thursday and then we will have a group coaching session, later the following week on the Tuesday. You will have a weekend to ingest and complete any exercises.

The online presentations and group discussions will be scheduled Tuesday and Thursday, 1pm to 2pm – however it will all be recorded and available for the online group.

Find the course & payment details via the Albany Lane events page on facebook.


Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Coaching, Decision Making, Inspiration, Making change, New Business, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[Albany Lane’s top 10 hacks to better networking.]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/albany-lanes-top-10-hacks-to-better-networking http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/albany-lanes-top-10-hacks-to-better-networking Mon, 01 Jul 2019 00:00:00 GMT When you next attend and industry event or conference, prepare yourself for networking and making the most of authentic connections you can build on.  It can often feel overwhelming, and the urge to sell yourself and your projects can add pressure that makes you, well not quite you. Here’s out top ten check list to get under your belt before you arrive.

  1. Introduce yourself. Use your full name and remember you're not just promoting your project, but yourself. Half of communication is actually in the expression, tone, eye contact, be natural and engaging. Be present.
  2. Like a boy scout, be Prepared - Google the people you're interested in meeting. Look them up on Linked In.  It's respectful and smart, and it's expected. It’s not stalking its business.
  3. Be Positive. Speak positively about your projects, without hard selling them.
  4. Share your passion. The Arts are an industry that doesn't do beige.
  5. Put your phone away. Have courage and confidence. Get out of your comfort zone.
  6. Notice when something's working, and pull back when it's not. Match and mirror the other person's communication style.
  7. Don't be afraid to move on when an interaction is finished. Graciously excuse yourself when you want to talk to someone else. Have your glass half full so you can always go to refill it.
  8. Persistence is key. Remember rejection is just the universe redirecting you.
  9. Practise your elevator pitch. This involves introducing yourself and your project. Rehearse and refine. Like an actor, you can perfect this so it's smooth and effortless.
  10. Write on the back of business cards and follow up. Make notes and follow up, along with connecting on Linked in, this opens up further networks for you to engage with, which ultimately means more opportunity to engage.

Posted in: Career Development, Decision Making, Making change, Mindfulness, New Business, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[Five warning signs you have a “brilliant jerk” to deal with…. And what to do before it’s too late.]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-warning-signs-you-have-a-brilliant-jerk-to-deal-with http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-warning-signs-you-have-a-brilliant-jerk-to-deal-with Thu, 25 Apr 2019 00:00:00 GMT A brilliant jerk has been defined as a high performer with a bad attitude.  The type of person who can bring results, make high level connections, be a creative genius – but no one really wants to be around for any length of time. 

Having them on your team – as an artistic director, adviser, fundraiser - can lift your efforts exponentially. 

However, having someone who is solely driven by ego and self-interest will undermine the collective efforts of any organisation.  The company becomes about upholding the vision of one individual – and loses the flexibility and agility needed to survive in today’s rapidly changing work and economic environment. 

The problem of the “brilliant jerk” can be most obvious in the arts, charity and community sector, where “founder syndrome” can hold organisations hostage to the will of one individual.  Or it can become an issue when the organisation has a culture of tolerating and even enabling ego-driven and high-risk decision-making  - the big (un-funded) development, the “game-changing” but un-researched innovation, the costly performances – above considered organisational strategy. 

Their behaviour can become so toxic that you experience major issues in your staff wellbeing: from bullying to absenteeism to increasing staff turnover.  These internal issues can then spill into your external reputation – a slow kiss of death for organisations responsive to public good will and support. 

So how can you quickly identify a “jerk” (brilliant or not), deal with them quickly, and limit the impact on yourself and your team.  


IDENTIFYING THE BRILLIANT JERK – 5 early warning signs that look good on the surface. 

  1. They stand out

Brilliant jerks are just that – brilliant.  So they shine in their environment.  

They may be physically intimidating – taller, stronger, louder – than those around them.  Their clothes may call attention to themselves.  Or they can use techniques such as always being late, being first to speak on any topic, being decisive even when the decision is not theirs to make. 

Whatever it is – they find a way to be memorable and overshadow anyone else around them. 

  1. They are charming

Most brilliant jerks are “life of the party” types.  They can tell a joke well, relate a funny story, attract and hold attention.  They can make you feel like the most important person in the room, flatter you, make you feel special.  

They can also use paying attention as a way of attracting others to them.  Especially those that are younger or less experienced.  Giving attention is a way of gaining loyalty and support.  

  1. They can be amazingly talented and productive

In the arts it may be a “star” that attracts new audiences: in the community sector, someone who can connect you to new and lucrative donors.  They can bring media attention, drive up the profile of the organisation and generally set you on a path to growth and development that simply was not possible.  

One brilliant jerk can make a major difference to a team – positively and negatively – this is often the problem.  Your brilliant jerk may also be your best performer: what would you do if they resigned or left?  

  1. They seek positions of power

Not surprisingly your brilliant jerk may have a slightly different title to the rest of the team. They may seek to be spokesperson or similar, to play a prominent role in any presentations or public profile.  And if they do not get that role, they can diminish the work of others by undermining their talents, authority and contributions. 

  1. They know secrets

In the first days of knowing a brilliant jerk, you may be so won over by their attention and charm that you may disclose something you later regret telling them.  They make friends with those in power or hold information.  

They want to know what is going on – knowledge is power. 



Getting rid of the brilliant jerk may seem like a backwards decision for the organisation – why would you want to lose your star performer.  However, once you are clear that you have an individual who is unhealthily self-interested or even self-obsessed, as a leader in your team you need to take steps.  This can include:

  • Identifying the issues and the risk this individual poses to your organisation
  • Providing clear examples, and if possible previous attempts to mitigate the issue
  • Gaining support from your CEO, board etc to take the actions needed
  • Planning a strategy that gives you support (an extra person in the room etc) and ensures you own wellbeing.

Jerks in your team can undermine your authority, your reason and even self-belief.  They sail close to the wind of impropriety but don’t step over. They create a narrative that supports their world-view. They can have strong allies to back their position, including within your own support network. 

Before you can tackle an undermining individual or member of your team – you need to re-establish and connect with your own power.  

Strategies like understanding your strengths and values are essential before you start to tackle the problem.  This will provide a strong platform from which you can have the conversations that you need to have – that take patience, planning and courage. 



Once you have got rid of the brilliant jerk – how do you rebuild your organisation and team.  

The first is to ensure that there is clear communication about why the “jerk” left and what happens next.  That is establish a new narrative that makes it clear that the vision and mission of this company is more than one individual.  If you do this with integrity, the atmosphere should change from one of fear to one of relief, freedom and self-expression.  The pressure valve has been released. 

The next is to build on this positive energy to establish clear messages about your values, your principles, what is and what is not tolerated.  Invite your team into an “adult to adult” conversation about what contributes to positive work culture and what does not.  

And finally, do something specific, meaningful and practical that underpins these values in your organisation.  If you stand for wellbeing first – introduce an EAP program to support your teams’ mental health.  If you stand for creative freedom – have a program ready to incubate new ideas.  

Even if the action is small, inexpensive and a time-limited test – make it a visible statement that the world has changed, and you no longer support those who are purely egotistical and self-centred.  

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Compassion, Decision Making, Facilitation, Intuition, Leadership, Leading in crisis, Mindfulness, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[Five years can seem like a long time when you are creating a vision for the future]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-years-can-seem-like-a-long-time-when-you-are-creating-a-vision-for-the-future http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-years-can-seem-like-a-long-time-when-you-are-creating-a-vision-for-the-future Wed, 20 Mar 2019 00:00:00 GMT Five years can seem like a long time when you are creating a vision for the future - yet it can seem like just yesterday that I started on the journey that is Albany Lane. 

Five years ago, I started with the idea of sharing a bit of inspiration with a few colleagues and friends, and now we have a monthly newsletter for clients and the Albany Lane community.  

The idea was always to inspire us to approach our working lives with courage and compassion - to be open to new opportunities and gentle on ourselves as we found our ways down new and different paths.  

To speak with an authentic voice, to focus on our strengths and true loves, to give up the "shoulds" of career development and instead tune into what inspires you to get out of bed in the morning. 

To take a risk, to reach out to new people, to seek support and challenge any of those self-sabotaging thoughts that want to keep you stuck.  

I hope that you have found some confidence in knowing that there are many others finding their ways in the world, that none of us have the "magic formula", but most of us are willing to share and give a helping hand.  

I am filled with gratitude for everyone that has commented, shared, clicked and appreciated having some Inspiration in your Inbox.   I thank all of my many clients over the five years - individuals and organisations.  I have learnt so much that I could write a book (and maybe I will!) 

I liken coaching to making some bubbles in your unconscious world so that you can see what is sitting there to be uncovered.  So let's share some bubbles and celebrate your own journey over the past five years - and here's cheers to the next five. 

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Coaching, Inspiration, Leadership, Making change, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[TheWheel 2019]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/thewheel-2019 http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/thewheel-2019 Thu, 28 Feb 2019 00:00:00 GMT When working out what you want to get from coaching, it is great to first review your entire life and see what’s working for you now and what needs a bit of attention.   

Make 10-15 minutes for yourself, with cup of tea or similar, some of your favourite music if you want, and a pen or pencil to capture your findings.   

This is your time – so make it personal and special. 

Look at the wheel and consider each of the 10 domains in turn.  

As you do – check in how you are feeling about each domain RIGHT NOW IN THIS MOMENT and give yourself a rating out of 10. 

When rating remember that  0 is the feeling of “nada, zilch, zero, valley of death etc”  – 10 is “this is great, could not be happier, woohoo” feeling.   

Remember – be gentle and suspend judgement for this bit.  Nothing is “wrong”.  We are just collecting information.  

Then join up the dots and consider the ‘shape’ of your wheel.  You are more than likely going to see a few kinks, which might explain why life is feeling a bit bumpy right now. 

If an area looks full and happy – give thanks and appreciation for that and everyone and thing that contributes to that feeling.   

If an area looks a bit empty or not where you want it to be – give thanks and appreciation for that information and allow that space to just rest for now. 


Then take a moment and consider these questions about each domain where you want something new or changed. 

  • If I could wave a magic wand and have something changed or new in my life tomorrow, what would it be?  That is if change or new things could happen in your life with no cost, time or effort on your behalf, with no negative impact on anyone you care about, and even if it is something you have long thought impossible or impractical – what would it make possible in your life.   
  • What would my life look like if that happened?  Think about this in full technicolour detail to create a rich and resonating vision. 
  • What would my life look like 3 months from now if nothing happened, 6 months, 12 months, 2 years etc?  Don’t freak out but really consider the benefit of doing something for yourself (and your loved ones) NOW rather than in the future. 
  • What is getting in the way of making that change?  Make a list and then look at each reason individually.  
  • Then, finally and this is the most important bit – ask yourself honestly and truthfully, are the reasons that stop you making change worth holding on to in your life, what do they give to you that you do not want to lose?  Then, what are they costing you and is it perhaps time to explore how to move on?


Making change can be hard and scary – especially when it means giving up something old that has been holding you back.   So make sure you have support around you to hold your vision with you and gently challenge you to create the life you choose to live.

Download the pdf here to complete the exercise

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Coaching, Decision Making, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Confidence Training]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/confidence-training http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/confidence-training Thu, 14 Feb 2019 00:00:00 GMT We stumbled on a great piece this week about confidence and  how  the perception of your confidence, can effect promotions and opportunities coming your way.

Nearly half of all new female employees aspire to top management but, within five years, only 16 per cent still hold that ambition; this compares with 34 per cent of men who begin their careers with aspirations that they will reach the top and remain so after two or more years of experience.

Women, on average, experience lower levels of professional confidence compared with men.  women are ofte women hesitant to speak up at work,  or have a reluctance to put themselves forward for promotions or stretch assignments, or worry that they will fail,  they speak of their insecurities regarding being not ‘good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, strong enough’......

Head over to Incude-Empower.com to read the article. 

Posted in: Career Development, Coaching, Decision Making, Inspiration, Intuition, Making change

<![CDATA[3 Sure Fire Steps To Gaining Confidence]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/3-sure-fire-steps-to-gaining-confidence http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/3-sure-fire-steps-to-gaining-confidence Tue, 12 Feb 2019 00:00:00 GMT If I had one wish, it would be that I could wave a magic wand and give people who tend to doubt themselves, all the confidence they deserve. Unfortunately life doesn't work like that and confidence is earned by taking risks and learning new skills. 

Your confidence can also gain a boost from getting some honest feedback from those around you. Whether it be by directly asking or by noticing the way others work with you and value your contribution. 

If you feel that your confidence has fallen a little bit lately, here are three sure fire ways to give you enough, to re-energise you and to move forward with your goals.  

1.  Stop the comparisons:  One sure way to lose confidence is to compare yourself to those around you or to where you think you should be in your career, business and life.  If you find yourself looking around you for validation, take a break from social media and other sources that reflect a life you think you should be leaving.  Be it your siblings, friends or professional peers, no one else is living your life and should be used as a yardstick for who you are and who you want to be.  

To quote Joseph Campbell: 

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”

2.  Take a step today you would not normally do: Confidence comes from the little changes you make that take you just outside your comfort zone. When you make a small step, you give yourself time to adjust to the new situation without overloading your "hot-wiring" that wants to keep you safe. Starting to move out of your comfort zone is best done in small, manageable and achieveable steps. So even if it is just a little change, like going to work a diffferent way then usual or buying your coffee from someone new, challenge yourself gently to get out of your rut and see what life could be like from a different point of view. 

3.  Be grateful: When we connect to feelings of gratitude, our fears and anxieties are naturally calmed.  So at those times when you feel yourself less confident - starting a project, meeting someone new - take a moment to remember something in your life for which you are grateful in that moment. It does not need to be big or momentous or what you "should" feel thankful. It may just be the fit of your shoes or that you had fresh fruit for breakfast. It's something that confirms that in this moment you have and are "enough" before going on.   


Posted in: Career Development, Coaching, Decision Making, Inspiration, Intuition, Leadership, New Business

<![CDATA[Accelerate your Career with Clarity and Confidence]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/accelerate-your-career-retreat http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/accelerate-your-career-retreat Tue, 29 Jan 2019 00:00:00 GMT
Accelerate your Career with Clarity and Confidence with Albany Lane's Weekend Career Retreat a short 1.5 hours from Sydney at the wonderful Berida Hotel in Bowral this June 15th & 16th.

In one weekend, you will gain the insights that will empower you to make the changes in your working life, including going for that job you really want.
Working with a small supportive group, you will uncover your values, strengths, and motivations. Creating a vision and underlying strategy to have the working life, flexibility and remuneration that you deserve.

Start by taking action today that will get you closer to the career that you desire, you have the resources and opportunities to make anything possible in your career change. So what are you waiting for?

Maybe you feel scared to change your career and you’re not confident enough to do it yet? 

We hear that a lot, and this weekend career retreat will give you the tools to dispel that fear and step into that space of change, with the added bonus of new insights and understanding how you tick, and strategies for getting out there and making it happen. 

We all know that the biggest rewards come with risk and sometimes you just need to take a leap. So we invite you to leap in and join us to discover clarity and confidence in relation to your career goals, and strategies to activate them. 

Register now at sacha@albanylane.com.au for the weekend 15 & 16 June 2019, as spaces are limited.

Price includes:

Two days of engaging insightful workshops, exercises, and assessments. 

Lunch, teas and coffees, morning and afternoon tea.

Plus each delegate also receives a one to one follow up session with Judith Bowtell to make sure that are fully supported in their embracing of new directions.

*accommodation can be booked on site with special delegate rates.

Early bird bookings: $890.00 Registered and 50% deposit paid by March 1st. 

Workshop Investment: $950.00

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Coaching, Decision Making, Intuition, Leadership, Making change, Mindfulness, New Business, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[The Struggle is Real, and Valuable]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-struggle-is-real-and-valuable http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-struggle-is-real-and-valuable Sun, 06 Jan 2019 00:00:00 GMT Nietzsche’s claim that “what does not kill me makes me stronger” has great intuitive appeal, and many of us believe that experiencing hardship and troubles can leave us in a better place than we were before. Scientists have become increasingly interested in studying the positive life changes that people report in the aftermath of highly stressful life events. This notion has been referred to with many different names, but the construct is most commonly referred to by scientists as adversarial growth, post traumatic growth, stress-related growth, altruism born of suffering and benefit finding. 

With the end of the year insight, now is the time to take stock of what matters most to you and your career, and how you can find balance and reward in harnessing your strenths and bolstering  your skills in the employment market place. Vision setting and support can help you achieve greater heights in 2019. 

If you are interested in coaching as a way to support you in your life and work, and wanted to work with Albany Lane this year, please get in touch about new packages, including a one-off vision setting workshop to inspire you to change. 


Posted in: Career Development, Coaching, Inspiration, Intuition, Leadership, Leading in crisis, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[What Makes You Tick?]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/what-makes-you-tick http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/what-makes-you-tick Tue, 01 Jan 2019 00:00:00 GMT
The rewards of living a life in line with your values and character strengths are in: using your strengths on a daily basis improves your quality of life 3x and your engagement at work by 8x.
Finding new ways to express yourself, in line with your core values and character strengths, positively impacts your life even more.
Understanding if you are motivated more by honesty, creativity, adventure or happiness is the first step to finding a working life that works for you AND for developing new paradigms of working and leading, and means we all work better!
In 2019, take some time to identify your strengths and values, reflect on how much you spent this year in line with your strengths, and take a trip to the future about how you could find new ways to express these qualities.
Our values and strengths really are our superpowers - and the more you see this reflection of yourself - the more confidence and courage you will have to change, and the more of the good stuff in life will be yours.
That's a promise.....for everyone, at every age and every stage.
And to help you find this path, we here at Albany Lane are upping our game in 2019 and will be running more and more flexible coaching programs for you including:

Seasonal weekend retreats in the most beautiful parts of NSW and Victoria, where you can take the time to relax, re-focus and create a personal development strategy that works for you.
Group coaching with your peers and one-to-one follow up with me to keep you on your path.
One-to-one coaching for career and leadership development to have you succeed in your current role as well as your next role.
Our programs will be supported by experts in all fields of career and personal development, allowing a creative approach that is unique to Albany Lane.

And as always they are evidence-based, including our own research into what makes a fulfilling life - and what gets in our way.

If you are interested in our retreats or group coaching, please send an email to sacha@albanylane.com.au to register for more information, including early bird registration details.

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Coaching, Inspiration, Leadership, Leading in crisis, Making change, Mindfulness