<![CDATA[Albany Lane]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/ Sun, 26 May 2019 19:01:54 GMT Sun, 26 May 2019 19:01:54 GMT LemonStand <![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

<![CDATA[Ever woken up and realised you don't want to go to work - not just today but ever again.]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/ever-woken-up http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/ever-woken-up Mon, 15 Oct 2018 00:00:00 GMT Kasey Edwards described this experience in her very funny and insightful memoir - Thirty-Something and Over It. Her experience led her to reconnect to her love of writing and making a new path into that and other worlds.

Others hide the feeling as a momentary blip and keep working through - needing to pay bills, mortgages and keep eating is a motivating force. But the physical and mental energy of forcing yourself to work for 20,30 or 40 years will be taking a toll.   

I know I dreamt of the day I could take some time out from work...and at the age of 45 a few things aligned financially and I got that chance. It took a few steps through part-time work, interim contracts etc - but finally, I had my chance to just be me ..... on a weekday. 

The steps were an incredibly important part for me - going from 110kph to zero with no direction set can send you spinning. So I gradually geared down by reducing my old work commitments over 12 months or more, whilst I worked on developing some new steps into a different working life.

For me, this new working life was retraining in transpersonal coaching (a journey in itself) and establishing my own company. This took a good 18 months to work out, and I have been continuing to shape Albany Lane over the last five years to be of value to the community and sustain me financially. 

It has been a series of experiments, including some detours and a few dead-ends. But when I look back this has been the longest "job" I have ever held and one that will take me into my next stage of working life. 

I know I was fortunate to have the financial window to not work for six months or more - but having worked since I was 15, I needed that time to re-energise and reconnect to my sense of purpose in the world. 

So if you feel that you need to change things fundamentally in your working life, particularly if you are moving one stage to another, consider taking a step back, sideways or even out of your current working life so that you have the time to look around you. 

Even if it just saying NO to one opportunity, role or project, carve out some space for yourself before you reach the point of burnout and your future is narrowed to a dark place of survival. 

Not wanting to get out of bed is fine for one day - but please ask for help before making it a permanent lifestyle choice. 

Judith Bowtell of Albany Lane is an executive, emerging leader and career coach based in Sydney Australia.

She is an expert in supporting the development of people, at any age and at any stage, using a values-centred approach to professional and career development.

If you want to know about what I do go to and how it can help you have the working life of your dreams: check out www.albanylane.com.au

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

<![CDATA[Spring is time to reconnect with what is important to you]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/spring-is-time-to-reconnect-with-what-is-important-to-you http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/spring-is-time-to-reconnect-with-what-is-important-to-you Wed, 05 Sept 2018 00:00:00 GMT One of the things I love most about my work is the variety of projects that I partner with diverse clients on. Here are a few of my favourite engagements over the past month:

  • Staff development workshops with newly formed team at major performing arts company
  • Bringing some light to the "elephants in the room" by facilitating discussions on risk management and financial planning with smaller arts and community organisations
  • One-to-one coaching with emerging leaders in brand-name commercial companies, developing strength-based strategies for career advancement. 

Spring is a wonderful time of the year to reconnect with what is most important to you, and make a start on what it is you want to create or change in your life.  It is also a great time to review what may be working or not working in your life.

Working one-on-one with a qualified coach may be the most effective way for you to “rearrange the furniture” in your mind, so you can create what you truly want in life.

Today, we are participating in the world of work in new and exciting ways. Yet many of us feel uncertain or overwhelmed by the many roles we play in society. Finding balance is elusive, yet a foundation for a thriving and flourishing life.

At Albany Lane our coaching is founded on the values of compassion and courage: we will support you and challenge you to find an authentic way of being, especially in the world of work.

Unlike other coaching programs, Albany Lane does not tell you what to do or how to do it.

Working in partnership, we identify your dreams and goals, see where you are stuck, and work together to uncover new resources to get you moving forward.

Change does not always work in the way we expected.  Sometimes you need to clear out some habits or beliefs that are holding you back. Sometimes you need longer to integrate what you have discovered, before you are ready to move on. We might get a long way down a path, and then need to pause for a while to see what is the next step.

Therefore Albany Lane’s coaching is as flexible as possible, whilst still holding a framework for your commitment to change.

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

<![CDATA[Positive Stress]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/positive-stress http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/positive-stress Tue, 07 Aug 2018 00:00:00 GMT As we head deeper into Winter, the long dark nights draw us inward to look at what really matters to us: ask yourself - "How much does my internal compass direct my outward lives: career, finances, family, social life and play?"

Now is a good time to take stock, and reflect on how much time is spent "doing something", rather than doing something worthwhile.  It’s a trap many of us fall into, being busy but not productive can lead to stress, which stifles our creative thinking, rather than positive tension which helps propel you to a new and exciting outcome.

The realisation that there is a key difference between tension and stress is critical when making decisions about your career.  At just the right amount of stress, in the form of positive tension, performance is optimal. There is a ‘comfort zone’ where you are coping well with the stressors you are experiencing.

A little bit of stress is good for you, however, there is a point at which the stressors start to have a negative effect: you are no longer coping well and fatigue sets in.

Beyond this point, stress increases, and results in reduced performance and if allowed to continue, it will lead to exhaustion, ill health, and eventually breakdown in both your workplace activities and your wellbeing.

The best way to avoid this is to increase your capacity for positive tension, do things both professionally and personally that aligns with your core values, seek our collaborations and projects that matter to you and get a supportive team around you.

If you strive to be a happy, fulfilled, honest, confident, empowered and principled person, surround yourself with people who are the same. Energies like this are contagious!  Go where the energy is - if something feels sticky and stagnant - walk away - if it feels like you are sailing or dancing - stick with it. Experiment and have fun, try new things, but if they feel wrong, don’t be shy about walking away!

So for the rest of 2018 - we say - bring it on!! Challenge us with your problems, issues and inspire us with your passions and dreams. We want to support you to have the best creative working life you can.

One of the pillars of wellbeing is having a sense of purpose, most often experienced in our working life. If you feel that this area has been neglected for a while, or needs some fine-tuning, please drop us a line, so we can help you create positive tension and maximum joy!

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

<![CDATA[Five important points to consider when establishing a career in the Arts]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-important-points-to-consider-when-establishing-a-career-in-the-arts http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/five-important-points-to-consider-when-establishing-a-career-in-the-arts Sat, 16 Jun 2018 00:00:00 GMT One of my favourite questions is to ask is: what advice you would give to your younger self? 

Be brave, ask questions, and trust your instincts are often top of the list. Get support, practice self-care and remember to breathe are also common answers.

It seems that we oldies would have valued someone kind saying, 'Go for your dreams, but don’t be too hard on yourself if things fail, because somehow, you’ll survive'.

And for the most part that’s true – things do have a way of working out. You will get a new job, you will develop supportive relationships, and you will even recover in some way from that injury or other health issue that threatens to hold you back. 

But is being optimistic enough when you are starting your journey working in the arts and creative sector, in a world where the average worker will have 17 employers by the time they retire?  

Where are the practical tips that could help you now: to get your foot in the door or make the most of your qualifications and experience?

From an oldie who has watched a lot of people move forward in their careers, here are some tips that will really help.


While recruitment is changing, and many jobs are by word of mouth, your first impression can still be a CV or résumé. Keep it short, make it authentic and never lie. Keep in mind that the person reading it is likely to be busy, reading lots of similar documents, and, if they're like me, hates doing recruitment. Make their job as easy as possible: speak in the first person, use everyday language, avoid jargon and only include what is relevant for the job at hand.



Your referees are gold at any stage of your career, but especially when starting out. You don’t need a long list of people, but you do need a couple with whom you have a positive working relationship and who can speak to your work ethic and personality. as well as outline your job skills. Keep them up to date with your professional development, thank them for their support and always let them know when you are applying for new work or using their name.


You need them now and you will need them later, doubly or even triply when working in the arts and creative sectors. Jobs and opportunities are rarely advertised and often come through word of mouth and referrals. So, forget being discovered for your genius and make a commitment to being seen and heard – at events, in online conversations, and in asking for and giving advice. Your network is only as strong as what you put into it, so be generous if someone asks you for help.


My career started before the internet was a “thing”, so my profile was limited to people I had met and knew. Your profile is an open book to anyone with a smart phone and your social media will be checked. So be smart, keep it clean and keep it relevant. Imagine your future ideal employer is watching – and work back from there.


Not all jobs are “dreams” and not all experience is life-changing. Sometimes you do need money to pay bills, become independent and build up your resources. Do not be afraid to accept jobs that are less than ideal but which keep you going while you finish training, gain experience, or even work out your next career step. Be grateful for these opportunities and respectful of your colleagues, and these journey jobs may lead you somewhere you may never have imagined. 

Posted in: Career Development, Inspiration, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[Who is responsible for your career?]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/who-is-responsible-for-your-career http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/who-is-responsible-for-your-career Wed, 06 Jun 2018 00:00:00 GMT One of my mantras is that no-one is responsible for your career development except you – not your boss, your mum or your significant other.  Whilst your career can be boosted by the support of coaches, mentors and sponsors, the one driving the bus is always YOU.

Once you accept this, you are ready to increase your chances of securing the type of work you really want to do, with the kind of opportunities you want to experience. However without the core competencies of career development under your belt, professional growth and satisfaction will, without a lot of luck and good karma, stay beyond your reach.

Core competencies of career development for any stage of your working life include: 

Self-awareness –  understanding who you are beyond a job description or creative practice: your core strengths, motivations, values
Resourcefulness – developing confidence to take risks, grow your networks, and find new places to work (and play)
Strategic thinking – setting goals, being adaptable, navigating change and creating opportunities.

The good news is that anyone can develop these core career development skills – be you a recent graduate or a mid-career professional.  

The even better news is that you can develop these skills in a way that best suits you – that aligns with your core values and commitments in life; that supports what is important to you. 

So you don’t need to compromise yourself or “sell-out” to have a great career using your creative or management skills.   But you do need to master the basic skill-set.

Give me a call about how having an experienced coach can help you develop these skills – and transform your working life so that it meets ALL your needs:  purpose, lifestyle, health and financial stability. 

You only have one shot at life – so make the most of all the resources available to you to be happy and make your unique impact in the world.

We all can do it.  We just need to take a first step forward.

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

<![CDATA[How to improve your employability]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-improve-your-employability http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/how-to-improve-your-employability Mon, 28 May 2018 00:00:00 GMT In the era of the gig economy, one of the core skills all artists and arts workers need to master is how to be employable for life

While the rest of the world is waking up to the pros and cons of the “gig-economy”, characterised by short-term contracts and casual employment, the creative sector shrugs its shoulders and asks, 'Hasn’t it always been that way?' 

Well, yes and no – David Throsby’s latest survey for the Australia Council on professional artists’ earnings and work practices, noted that the forces of globalisation and casualisation of employment have also been felt in the arts, with an increasing number of artists reporting moving to a portfolio career.

This is where, instead of being employed by an institution in a linear trajectory of development, a professional artist must navigate a range of contracts, development opportunities and employment to continue their creative practice.[1]

Unfortunately, in the arts as in other sectors, being employable is sometimes equated with being “exploitable”, where you get trapped in a situation that neither supports or values us; instead it keeps us stuck in a situation out of someone playing on our passions and our fears.[2] 

While the employers might own the jobs, no-one is going to be responsible for our career but ourselves. 

Therefore, one of the core skills we need to learn as an emerging or early career artist or creative worker is not just how to get that one specific job, but how to be employable for life, that is:

  • Develop your own personal brand – what you want to be known for as a person as well as an artist.
  • Understand your value in different job "markets” that have need of your skills and experience.
  • Manage your time and resources across commitments, including being responsible for your own self-care.

Some people are naturals at pulling all this together – and we wish them well.

The rest of us can develop our capacity to becoming more employable and valuable in this new world by focusing on the following:

  • Get to know yourself: Understanding your core values and motivations will help you make better choices from the options in front of you at any one time. Stop fitting your square peg self into a series of round holes just because it pays well or the job title looks good. Instead, make choices that align with your values and put you in work environments where you can express your true self and work on projects with meaning and purpose for you.
  • Develop resourcefulness: Become resilient to changes outside your control, confident in making the changes you want to or need, and creative in how you develop new opportunities for your career development. Resourcefulness is critical in any career journey. It is what changes a dead end to a jumping off point and a failure into a learning opportunity
    • Resourcefulness is always grounded in reality – but not held down by the “told you so’s” and fears that will otherwise hold you back.
    • Become strategic: Learn how to put emotional baggage to one side, step back and assess the development of your organisation or sector, as the CEO of your own career. Recognise your reactions and triggers and learn how to give yourself space to make strategic choices about opportunities and options. Develop how to discern between well-meaning interference and actual informed and non-judgemental advice. Be able to trust your gut based on practice of making choices that suit your true self best – and not the narrative others have for your life.

    In this way, the path to becoming employable is the same path to a satisfying and fulfilling career.

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

<![CDATA[The Myths Of Self Care]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-myths-of-self-care http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-myths-of-self-care Sat, 12 May 2018 00:00:00 GMT  

For most of April, I have been running on less than a full tank due to a lingering cold that arrived at Easter and stayed around until Anzac Day. 

With all the symptoms of headache, congestion, fever and fatigue, I had to take a few days off and take it easy to recuperate. What is challenging when you are in a paid role can seem insurmountable when you are self-employed. Not only do you have to allow yourself time to rest and relax, but also keep the anxiety bugs at bay.

So this month I have been reflecting on self-care and how it fits with the world of creativity, leadership and business. What I have found is what it is not:

  • Self care is NOT beating yourself up about all the things you have not done – which includes what you should and should not eat, how much you should exercise, or when and how you should sleep
  • Self care is NOT holding yourself up to standards of high-achievement – sometimes good enough is just that and doing more is waste of time and resources
  • Self care is NOT being in competition with your friends, colleagues or siblings –  rather it is developing connection to mind and body and discovering what you personally need at this point of time
  • Finally self care is NOT to be found in a book or a program – it is found in the moment when you hear the need of your “self” to put down the phone, ignore your emails, ring your mum, sister, friend and listen (really listen) to your partner and family. It is found in moments when you give in to the urge to sleep, eat, move at whatever time of day it happens to be. It is also found when you hear your inner self saying you may be ready for a new challenge or adventure, that your current world is safe but a bit boring, and it is time to take a few steps out of your comfort zone and find a new way.

Posted in: Balancing work and life

<![CDATA[Understanding yourself: stop holding back and become a better leader]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/understanding-yourself-stop-holding-back-and-become-a-better-leader http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/understanding-yourself-stop-holding-back-and-become-a-better-leader Wed, 14 Mar 2018 00:00:00 GMT
When women come to me wanting to develop their leadership potential, the first thing I ask is, do I have permission to challenge them. 
This is a fundamental precept of coaching - a willingness to be open to feedback.
Step 1 in developing your career or role in an organisation - is to understand yourself. This includes how others see you, and even more importantly how you see yourself. 
Many people speak of experiencing "imposter syndrome" when they step out of their comfort zone and take on new challenges.  We feel exposed to criticism from others, and even more strongly from ourselves. This can erode our confidence, and have us reluctant to take risks at work and in life.  
Being unwilling to take risks, undermines our confidence and capacity to lead change: in our working life, our organisations and our community.  It stops us from applying for new roles and opportunities, from implementing new policies and strategies, from challenging the status quo.   
Our fear keeps us small, feeling undervalued and unappreciated.  It stops us speaking up in a meeting, from getting the resources to pursue our ideas.  Ultimately, it stops us following our dreams and standing up for what is right. 
However, understanding and appreciating yourself, your values and strengths, provides a foundation from which you can step forward and lead change. 
In coaching, there are moments of vulnerability - when something new is learnt or uncovered.  In this safe space, you develop the capacity to be OK with these discoveries, and develop small, modest tests to allow others to see this new you. 
By understanding our "self", we have a new capacity to navigate the various roles we play in work, home and life.  
One of the best compliments I ever received as CEO at Milk Crate Theatre - was from a community member who said they liked that "what you saw is what you get". 
When others see and appreciate your authenticity, you begin to develop a culture of trust, from which we can communicate and make change in partnership with those around us.  
We can stop holding back, afraid of what others will think, and do what needs to be done.  

Posted in: Coaching, Leadership, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[What is your Super Power]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/what-is-your-super-power http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/what-is-your-super-power Fri, 23 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT Everyone is born with  a specific set of character strengths that makes us unique, some we learn, some we harness. And at one point or another, you’ve probably been told what your unique strengths are. You may have been  praised for your creativity or told how good of a leader you are when it comes to collaborative work. Now imagine being able to use these attributes as superpowers to create a happier life for you and the people around you.

Research has shown that identifying your character strengths can help you develop better relationships, at work and at home and  impact your wellbeing. This is because when you focus on your best qualities rather than your weaknesses, you develop more self-confidence and feel happier in general.

According to Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Christopher Peterson, two pioneers of positive psychology, we all possess 24 character strengths to various degrees. These strengths fall into six different categories: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence.

If you are not sure what your character strengths are, take the VIA Character Survey. This scientific survey will help you discover your best qualities in less than 15 minutes.

Another great way to find out what your character strengths are is by simply asking your closest friends and family.  On top of that, you’ll probably learn something new about yourself as well.

Posted in: Career Development, Making change

<![CDATA[New Year, New Opportunities, New Career? Event 15.2.18]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/new-year-new-opportunities-new-career http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/new-year-new-opportunities-new-career Wed, 24 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT Changing jobs in now a regular part of life. Today the national average tenure in a job is 3.3 years, with expectation that we will have up to five careers in our lifetime. Jobs are also more likely to be temporary or contract based and these trends impact the way we manage our working life.
Judith Bowtell and Albany Lane invite you to join us for breakfast and hear from individuals who have mastered major career changes: from Big Business to Solo Entrepreneur, and from Small Arts and community organisations to major corporates.
So if you are contemplating change in your working life now or in the future ( and you will!) come and join us for breakfast and hear from those who have made the jump, survived and thrived!

Cassy Sutherland, Senior Change Manager .
Managing complex change programs and single change initiatives, Cassy's career has moved from management roles in the arts and community sector, into senior roles in major financial companies: Westpac, BT Financial Group and most recently IAG.

Paul Lyons, CEO Mental Thoughness Partners
With 25 years as a business leader, adviser and coach, Paul has enjoyed a diverse career across Australia and Asia Pacific. Paul was co-founder of recruitment firm Ambition and now co-founder and managing partner for Mental Toughness Partners - a group of HR practitioners and coaches delivering programs in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Megan Barlow, Director The Acting Experience (note Megan has new photo on LinkedIn)
Following a career in corporate and business world and retraining as a drama teacher, Megan founded The Acting Experience in 2010 as a place for young people to connect to their creativity and be empowered. She now runs multiple classes for young people each week, from primary to HSC, plus classes for adults. Her Youth Theatre Ensemble recently performed The Crucible at Parramatta Riverside, directed and produced by Megan.

Judith Bowtell, Founder Albany Lane Consulting
After 25 years in screen and arts management, policy and strategy development, Judith established Albany Lane in 2012 to support professionals in the arts and cultural sector, through executive coaching and strategic support, to develop their working lives and leadership potential. She has worked with people in creative companies, government agencies and small to medium arts sector, as well as individuals establishing solo or freelance careers. 

Thursday 15 February 2018. 7.30am- 9am 
House Bistrot 32-34 Kellet St. Potts Point
tickets $30+bf @ eventbrite

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Making change, Mindfulness

<![CDATA[Why breaking resolutions is the best thing you can do.]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/why-breaking-resolutions-is-the-best-thing-you-can-do http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/why-breaking-resolutions-is-the-best-thing-you-can-do Sun, 21 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT Welcome to 2018

Did you start your year with a bang and a promise to:

-        Declutter your house/office/car/life

-        Finish that diploma/renovation/other project

-        Get a new job/new house/new partner/new life

-        Detox/go green/reduce waste/be better

Congrats if you have and well done if you have fallen at the first, second or third steps. 

Because research has proven, that failure is the best way to maintain a lasting change in your life. 

The Immunity to Change is a theory by researchers in psychology and adult learning, Robert Keegan and Lisa Laskow. 

In this model our “immunity” to change is a hard-wired mechanism to preserve the status quo, and thereby limit our exposure to anxiety and fear – emotions that prompt the “fight, flee, freeze” responses in ourselves.

When we are stuck making a change in our behaviour that we believe will benefit us, it is due to an underlying contradictory thought pattern or belief.  Until this belief is challenged and resolved, we will constantly come up against it, leading us at risk of seeing ourselves as “failures” in this area of our life. 

One way of resolving these long-held beliefs, is to create SMART goals – small, modest, actionable, research-based tests - that will allow us to collect experience and data that creates a different world view to our belief, but does not trigger our anxiety buttons.

These modest “tests” or steps to change are simply that – an experiment in what might happen if we do something different today then we did yesterday.  

Examples might include:

-        DECLUTTER: Have a box or bag at the front door where you place unwanted object each day/week and when full take it to the op shop.

-        NEW JOB: Contact one person from your work network you have not spoken to for over 12 months and invite them to coffee

-        REDUCE WASTE: Keep reusable shopping bags in the boot of your car

Now you may or may not do this – and that does not matter as achieving is not the aim of the test.  What we are aiming to do is learn what works for you. 

Without the freedom to fail, we become fearful. Life becomes a place of pass/fail judgement – rather than a series of experiments and learnings.

Change and moving forward will take risks – small, modest risks to do something new with the outcome unknown. 

If you can embrace this view your resolutions become pathways to self-discovery, rather than yet another “failure” we can use to convince ourselves we are not good enough and beat ourselves up.

Take another look at where you stopped in your promise to yourself, with a compassionate heart not a judgemental head. 

See what information you have learnt about your tactics and strategies, and see what you could do differently.  

Read, research, ask experts in that area – and then start again – maybe a smaller step this time so you can check in earlier and see how this is working for you. 

Keep going step by step by step, adjusting as you go, with patience and self-compassion and something new will emerge.  Maybe what you thought you wanted, maybe something altogether different and even better than what you thought was possible.


If you want to know about managing change in your life, with compassion please contact Albany Lane for a free 20-minute chat.


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

<![CDATA[I really want this job…. But the pay really sucks.]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/iwantthisjobbutthepaysucks http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/iwantthisjobbutthepaysucks Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT Has this ever happened to you?  You see a job you would love to do and would be fantastic opportunity; it highlights all your key skills and seems to be made for you to shine; you admire the company, resonate with its values, and have great rapport with the team.   You apply, are made an offer and the reality sinks in when you see the figure on the page.   It is much lower than you expected or had previously earnt, and takes you back a step.  

However, by this time you are emotionally invested in the company.  You may have seen your new workspace, have started imagining a future working there, and begun (at least in your mind) to detach yourself from your current role. 

What do you do?  Do you take the job as is?  Do you try to negotiate a slightly better rate?  Do you hold out as a deal breaker and risk losing it all?

And what do you do about the disappointment and possible offence and hurt at being valued below your worth?

Arts Hub recently published a report on salaries in the arts, Salary Survey reveals Hard facts about our Sector.  

The findings were that salaries in the Arts sector are:

-        Lower than average

-        Women lower again

-        No real change expected

So in this environment – how do you progress your career and take care of your financial needs.

Financial wellbeing is one of the four pillars of wellness, which include, Career, Heath, Wealth and lifestyle. Andrea Warr, founder of WiserLife,  an agency that follows a Whole Life approach to wellbeing, with companies and individuals, states in a recent article,  “What is Well Being?” . “Wellbeing is unique to each individual and has added complexities based on life phase or age or gender or ethnicity or personality traits. Wellbeing can be about fixing a problem created by a trigger event that highlights an aspect of life that needs to be addressed. Wellbeing is also about prevention and building the foundations of a more healthy and productive longer life.”

The Japanese believe that practicing selfcare is a duty of each citizen to a well working society. Even the youngest children in Japan learn from the family, school, community, and nation how to be members of Japanese society. In each group, a child learns the self-discipline and commitment expected to be a supportive and responsible group member. The family, school, and nation all take on important roles in teaching the child the rules and norms of society. A child in Japan is a member of the "national family." All Japanese children are cared for by the whole society, and all Japanese adults help teach the norms and customs of the society. Children learn that the group is more important than the individual, and that the individual should not stand out, however, a strong sense of wellbeing and contribution to the whole creates a better functioning nation.

It therefore makes sense that good selfcare is the duty of arts workers if they are to contribute to the success of their practice, their careers and their companies.  

But what do you do, when the employment practices (including remuneration) of the company or organisation (or the sector as a whole) work against you taking care of one fundamental tenet – financial security and self management?

I believe the issue of appropriate remuneration and opportunities for career progression is one that the sector has to take up as a whole as part of its promotion of wellbeing and safe work practices. Initiatives such as How Can the Show Go On and Melbourne Arts Collective  – all specifically tailored to the needs of the arts sector, incorporating tools and strategies from positive psychology, as well as resources from clinical psychology to help improve understanding of mental health issues, their prevention and treatment.

For too long, the sector has worked in a culture of self-sacrifice to a vision or cause, and neglected the base needs of artists and workers.   This change will not come if we rely on the policy makers and leaders to do it for us – because they are not the ones feeling this pain.

We need to make choices that support our own wellbeing – changing our mindset from a world of scarcity to one of adequacy.  That is that we deserve to be adequately remunerated for our efforts and accepting anything less is doing a disservice to ourselves and others.

Of course this higher mind state is difficult to maintain when you really, really, want that job and know you will be happy there.  However I suggest you take a step back and check what the impact will be on your four pillars of wellbeing and will it throw you out of balance. 

Because as soon as one pillar is knocked sideways, your house will start to feel shaky and will be at risk at falling down.  Is any one job really worth that and do you really want to work for an organisation that undervalues its workers: their skills, knowledge and contribution.   

Posted in: Balancing work and life, Career Development, Making change, Strategic Planning

<![CDATA[The Courage To Be Disliked]]> http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-courage-to-be-disliked http://www.albanylane.com.au/blog/post/the-courage-to-be-disliked Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT Last time I was in Melbourne I bought two great books:  one about the joys of minimalism which I brought home and promptly lost in the precarious piles of books and magazines that is our kitchen table.   The other was about The Courage to be Disliked – a dialogue between philosopher and student that unpacks Adlerian psychology and gently guides us to move beyond our perceived limits. 

Written by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga it challenges our instincts of seeking approval and chasing recognition.  It challenges us to choose a life for ourselves – rather than one shaped by the actions and views of others.  It asks us “who’s life are we living” and at what cost.  It encourages us to give up being liked as an end goal and see what we are really seeking.

As a professional and ex-government bureaucrat, there are probably a few people out there who do not like me – people I have said No to, people I have refused jobs and opportunities, people who have disagreed with me and the organisations I have represent.  There are probably a few who are downright angry at me – and a few that probably do not remember my name but do recall not getting what they wanted.  So, I have grown to be kind of comfortable with being disliked – as long as that dislike is in a contained and distant place.

What I am not as comfortable with is the ability to be disliked in the moment: the ability to face someone’s anger and disappointment head on; to accept the projections of other experiences of rejection being thrown in my face; to carry the emotional burden of frustration that the world does not always go the way they want. 

The adult part accepts that there will inevitably be conflict somewhere in my working life – and I need to toughen up and deal with it as professionally as possible.  My training as a coach has also had a steady practice in being non-judgemental of ‘difficult’ emotions.  I can now sit with someone in sadness and grief, and honour their ability to manage that state.  But when the yelling starts – I still run for cover.  

The parent part of used to take on others aggression as somehow my fault, and start to soothe everyone down with apologies and promises of better things to come.  This often left me compromised and powerless, a people-pleaser not a great “relationship manager”.

Nowadays the parent gets a bit fed up with that – and at the first sign that someone is trying to manipulate me – it is a swift reminder that it’s my house, my rules – and don’t come back unless you have thought about it missus.  (I must admit I like this parent sometimes!)

But the child part just feels bewildered and scared when someone starts yelling or not listening or imposing their view.  She feels uncomfortable because she does not feel safe anymore and wants to run away and hide.  Not being liked can become not being accepted, wanted or safe to a child – and that is a scary place to be.

And if I ignore this child part she won’t let up – late night ruminations, ranting to loved ones and being consumed by an issue that has long past - are all signs that inner security has yet to be restored.  It takes quiet and understanding and listening to soothe this child, and bring myself back to equilibrium.

So, it does take courage to be disliked. To face conflict with an adult’s understanding of both yourself and others.  To accept emotional “spillage” as part of the process and to be confident in drawing your boundaries of acceptable and non-acceptable behaviours.  

Unfortunately, we are more likely to be taught to appease or deflect conflict, to ignore or avoid it.  We may have been taught to go “toe to toe” in any battle and never give up until the last person was down.  To fight, flight or fade in the face of being disliked.  

But if we have courage – the heart-centred approach – to being disliked as a moment in time – then we can be with a conflict in a more objective, satisfying and adult way.  By choosing not to respond to the dislike, but instead stay curious and listening no matter how hard, we will find a better way.


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