• Sara Broadhurst

When you're learning to run you have to learn to resist the urge to walk. Being able to run over any distance means being able to recover in the run.

This is a great way to approach work also. Sometimes, we feel tired, overwhelmed... undervalued... and that's when the urge to walk comes in. By walk, we mean give less than your best - stop contributing to meetings, engage less with your People Leader, don't double check those numbers. After all, who cares? Well... you should. It's your life, your work, you want to create something of which you can be proud.

So, how to resist the urge to walk? In running, here are our three tips we use that also (of course) convert easily to work:

  1. Focus on your breathing. If you want to quickly address your stress, while still staying in the moment at work, check out the Physiological Sigh and this post where neurobiologist Andrew Huberman (who we stan at Fortis St) explains how to do it and what it does to your stress levels. In running, when we focus on our breathing, it gets us out of our head and into the rhythm of the work;

  2. Focus on your goals - why are you at this work today? Let's not pretend that you're forced to be there. You're not a tree, you can leave if you want. You've made a choice to work for this business today, so what are those goals you want to achieve by being there? Reminding yourself of your goals, writing them down and then using those as a mantra will help you push through that temptation to be less than you could. In running, when we focus on running to the next lamppost, the next corner, up the next hill, we constantly surprise ourselves about what we can achieve; and

  3. Focus on your body - in running, this means doing a check on each component of our body, from our toes to our head, noting how they're feeling and checking whether we can do something differently, (slide those shoulder blades down, land on the ball of our feet) to be more successful. At work, this means checking in on the components you can control - Am I being organised? Am I delivering things on time? Am I taking regular breaks? Have I helped someone today? Check in on the body of your work and see if there is something simple you can tweak to make you more successful at work.


At Fortis St, we coach for success at work. But for success in fitness, we go to people who know what they're talking about - here's a shout out to our PTs, spin trainers, run coaches, pilates instructors, yoga gurus - you inspire us to be better, every day!

  • Sara Broadhurst

Well... maybe a tweaked version of you.

Given how dynamic the employment market is, there is a very strong chance you will be moving to a new role, new team or an entirely new company this year.

We have a very quick exercise that takes a notebook, $6 and an hour of your time, so you can prepare yourself to be a freakin' superstar in your new situation.

Take yourself off to a café, use your $6 to buy that coffee, find some space and give yourself the opportunity to stop and think.

We suggest three key questions to ask yourself:

1. What did I do well in my last role, team, company?

There will be many things at work that you do really well. As humans, it's not the moments of handling it, doing well, things under control that we tend to remember. It's the criticisms, the embarrassments, the imposter syndrome moments that clang in our brains like a big old bell.

However, by stepping back regularly and making time to recognise the things you do well, you build self-confidence, clarity about what work you actually want to be doing and provide yourself with a fundamental human need for recognition. Don't rely on others to give you the pat on the back, you can and should do that for yourself. It's not about being big-headed, it's about taking the time to grow your self-awareness, an absolutely fundamental criteria for success at work (and in life, but that's another post).

So, write a list of the things you did well in your last role, team, company - think about the compliments from others but also the times you were in the flow, enjoying your work so much the time was flying by. Looking at that list, what's your go-to move? What's the thing that if you weren't good at anything else you would want to be good at and spend your time doing? It's almost certainly the thing that gives you the most pleasure at work and people come to you for. Highlight, bold, or whatever you need to do to make your go-to move stand out in your list of things you are good at.

Identifying and knowing this for yourself means you are more likely to pull your go-to move out more frequently, helping you to establish your place in your new role, team, company faster.

2. Where could I have been better?

As humans, we're inclined to point the finger somewhere else - my colleagues were too busy, my boss didn't listen to me, my company didn't give me any opportunities... However, you can't control any of that, so don't worry about it. What you can control is your own behaviour, that's the thing you want to think about. Consider yourself an athlete - everyone makes mistakes, but athletes take action to minimise how often they drop the ball, miss the tackle or react too slow.

Think about a recent situation at work where you weren't at your best and try imagining that you are observing yourself across the meeting room table. Be kind but firm with yourself, we are all imperfect. The trick is to be prepared to examine what you did in that situation and what you might have done differently to get a better outcome. Note down all of the options that were available to you in that situation.

The reality for most of us is that we are good at many things but we tend to repeat the things we are not so great at. The definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. Let's try doing something different. Of all the things you could have done differently, pick one and commit to a different action or behaviour you will take for the next month. For example, if you tend to deal with conflict by sending emails, commit that you will get up and go and talk to the person you are disagreeing with. See what happens as a consequence of taking a different action. It will feel uncomfortable, because you're not reacting, you're choosing. And that is where the growth comes from.

3. What's my brand?

Think about yourself as a brand. When people are talking about you (and people talk about you) what are three words you would like people to describe you as? If you're not sure, use some of that free café wifi and check out Martin Seligman's Values in Actions for ideas. Once you have worked out those three words you want to be associated with brand-you, list down the actions you take, the things you do that will demonstrate those words and build your brand. People like to have confidence that they know what they are going to get when they interact with their colleagues. When you are starting in a new role, team or company, helping your colleagues to work out who you are faster means that you also establish your place in role, team or company faster. Knowing your brand means you also know what you fundamentally, at the heart of you, contribute to your role, team and employer.

At the end of this exercise you should have three things listed:

  1. My go-to move;

  2. My athlete move; and

  3. My three-word brand.

Type it up, draw it up in a notebook - it doesn't matter, just make sure it is somewhere that you will see all the time. We have short attention spans and we need frequent reminders. Finally, before you pack up and leave the café, pop a booking in your diary for a month's time, come back to these reflections and work out where you're making a difference to your success.

Careers are a 50 year road-trip and every now and again, we need to pull over, check the map and reset the journey.

  • Sara Broadhurst

The "Great Resignation"? We've all heard and some have panicked about it. Words like "shock waves", "alarming" and "devastating" are used as click bait in the articles we're all reading.

Why do people resign?

  1. Because they see more growth in taking their career elsewhere - it's true that for many employees, actually, they would see much more career and skill growth by experiencing a different environment;

  2. They feel undervalued, overworked or the culture doesn't fit where they are - in which case, they are not respecting themselves by staying; or

  3. The mechanics don't work - they can get paid more, work fewer hours, work from home more somewhere else. One of work's uncomfortable truths is that generally the most likely means to change these things is to go to a different employer who operates in a different way. And that's ok.

What to do?

The expert suggestions always land on retention strategies as a first defence and these all feel a bit same ol' same ol'. Leadership, relationships, development, culture, remuneration and benefits - we've heard it all before. At Fortis St, we absolutely agree all of these things are important to do well. The bad news is if that's your strategy, that's just table stakes because everyone else is already doing it. Doing those things won't differentiate you from another employer nor necessarily meet the fundamental impetus that is causing the employee to look for another role.

What about if we turned the idea of resignation on its head? Radical idea we know - but maybe it's actually a good thing - for the employee, the company, business and society in general.

Let's step away from the short-term thinking of change aversion and productivity concerns and take a medium-term view where organisations and individuals continuously evolve and develop into better versions of themselves. To evolve, change and discomfort must happen.

For the employee, it's an opportunity to grow skills and experience, develop their resilience further by putting themselves outside of their place of comfort and to grow personally in their work and life satisfaction. Taking a new job is a step towards self-actualisation.

For their employer, it's sad when great people go. However, it's also the opportunity to bring people with different perspectives and views into the business, to challenge the ways of working and to find new paths to walk along. If you do it right, your leaver will want to come back in three years' time with all of their freshly developed skills and ideas. Maybe all of that money we've been spending on trying to retain people, almost treating people like pets we don't want to stray, would be better spent on retaining great relationships, building genuine alumni and networks and finding opportunities to work together again in the future.

More broadly, seeing talent, skills and capability move around industries and geographically around the country has to be great for a rising tide of capability everywhere. This change dynamic drives growth, innovation and career and life satisfaction which contribute to business and societal potential being optimised.

We suggest the next time one of your team resigns, don't panic. Think about the possibilities, thank them sincerely for all their contributions, book in your first coffee catch-up a month after they have left and keep them warm to get them back in three years' time (or into the new business you've moved into...) with all their new capabilities and motivation. Find that little superstar that will bring challenge, momentum and ideas into your team and business.

Start with the possibilities and instead of seeing resignations as challenge, we might just see growth.