There’s no such thing AS A

(BUT PREPA­RA­TION, ROU­TINE AND RE­SILIENCE WILL GET YOU FAR)

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - YOUR LIFE -

In her book, The Skills, BBC news pre­sen­ter Mishal Hu­sain busts the myths sur­round­ing suc­cess. Here she shares her top 10 in­sights into how to de­velop the qual­i­ties you’ll need to achieve your best

When I joined the BBC ex­actly 20 years ago, I couldn’t have imag­ined what I do to­day: my work in ra­dio and tele­vi­sion puts me in the priv­i­leged po­si­tion of be­ing able to ques­tion the pow­er­ful, and I’ve been for­tu­nate to travel across the world cov­er­ing break­ing news and mak­ing doc­u­men­taries. It’s a job I love, but one that also tests me in many ways – the con­tent, the scru­tiny and the work­ing hours, which in­volve a 3am alarm.

What made me want to write about women in the work­place was a de­sire to cut out some of the myths, par­tic­u­larly the idea of ‘su­per­women’ seam­lessly com­bin­ing ca­reers and fam­i­lies. I had three chil­dren in two years (my first child was fol­lowed by twins) and life was, for a time, a bit of a blur. I re­mem­ber think­ing I’d never go back to the ca­reer I’d had be­fore, es­pe­cially the in­ter­na­tional travel, but look­ing back now I am so glad I took it one step at a time and didn’t make any far­reach­ing de­ci­sions, be­cause that phase passed.

I also wanted to com­bat com­mon myths in our per­cep­tion of suc­cess­ful peo­ple, es­pe­cially when we see their at­tributes as in­nate rather than honed over time. When I was told 10 years ago that the key qual­ity needed to get to the top of my field was au­thor­ity, I had no idea how to go about de­vel­op­ing it. What I know now is that it comes from ac­quir­ing knowl­edge and be­ing pre­pared to demon­strate it, show­ing those around you the mas­tery you have of ma­te­rial, what­ever your line of work. Sim­i­larly with con­fi­dence – in my ex­pe­ri­ence, prepa­ra­tion, fa­mil­iar­ity and rou­tine are all key el­e­ments, as well as re­silience. There are ways to work at de­vel­op­ing all of these qual­i­ties, and I wanted to be open and hon­est about what has helped me, rather than treat­ing it as a closely guarded se­cret.

1 NOT EV­ERY­ONE NEEDS TO KNOW YOUR DOUBTS

Be­ing ap­pre­hen­sive about your ca­pa­bil­i­ties is nor­mal, at least for those with a healthy aware­ness of their strengths and weak­nesses. But guard against them be­com­ing part of your out­ward per­sona at work. Don’t do your­self down. This doesn’t mean be­ing full of bravado, but sim­ply know­ing that not ev­ery germ, worry or ap­pre­hen­sion needs to be ex­pressed. You may end up plac­ing doubt about your ca­pa­bil­i­ties into the minds of your peers or man­agers.

2 MAIN­TAIN A SENSE OF PUR­POSE IN YOUR WORK­ING LIFE

You may not love what you do, but the job may have im­por­tant ben­e­fits that keep you there: whether that be pay, use­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, CV points that will help you get some­where else or sim­ply a de­cent work-life bal­ance. Stay pos­i­tive about why you are there, or look around for other op­tions.

3 NERVES ARE USE­FUL

I am al­most al­ways ap­pre­hen­sive be­fore go­ing on air, and I think it helps me de­liver. Once you recog­nise that, it takes away some of the fear and turns the ex­pe­ri­ence into some­thing more man­age­able. Rou­tine helps: fig­ure out the or­der in which you tackle a to-do list or set of tasks most ef­fec­tively and fo­cus on them one after an­other.

4 YOU CAN PRE­PARE FOR THE BIG MO­MENTS

Take your­self through what is likely to come up, or how you want to set the agenda if it’s a meet­ing you’ve ini­ti­ated. I was deeply ap­pre­hen­sive about be­com­ing one of the Lon­don 2012 Olympics pre­sen­ters, but I set aside time to learn as much as I could about each sport and com­pe­ti­tion. It wasn’t about try­ing to pass my­self off as a sports broad­caster, but about mak­ing an ef­fort and get­ting to grips with the sub­ject mat­ter. From that, the con­fi­dence and a greater ease flows.

5 WHEN YOU’RE MAK­ING A SPEECH, KEEP IT TIGHT

Many peo­ple go on for longer than they need to or should, while oth­ers are tongue-tied at cru­cial mo­ments. A good rule of thumb is to di­vide what you want to say into three ar­eas or three points. These should be the ab­so­lutely cru­cial ones that you want to make sure you de­liver, and keep­ing them to a num­ber that is easy to re­mem­ber will also help them stay at the fore­front of your mind. You don’t want to walk out of a meet­ing, ap­praisal or in­ter­view and only then re­mem­ber what you wanted to say – and you also don’t want to make a pre­pared speech so long that your au­di­ence drifts off.

6 IF IN DOUBT, ASK A QUES­TION

It’s not only a very use­ful way to keep any kind of con­ver­sa­tion go­ing, but fram­ing a con­tri­bu­tion as a ques­tion can also mask any uncer­tainty you might have at work. Those who are pre­pared to ques­tion the sta­tus quo are also vi­tal for any or­gan­i­sa­tion’s plans or projects to suc­ceed – you need peo­ple who can think through where any gaps might be, point out the is­sues, an­tic­i­pate the prob­lems and ul­ti­mately make the ideas bet­ter, stronger and more likely to come to fruition.

‘Not ev­ery­one needs to know your doubts .... but guard against them be­com­ing part of your out­ward per­sona at work’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.