Celebrating Ordinary People


28856194655-25336498-17I’ve always thought that there’s too much emphasis in the world on highly talented, intelligent and accomplished people.  Sure, it’s important to recognise and revere them – after all, these are the people who keep notching the progress dial forward for all of us.

But I’m also a great believer in the fact that each one of us is capable of incredible things and that we should all be encouraged and celebrated to do more.

Consider the following example:

Meet Sajda Mughal, MBE – a young Muslim woman who turned a dreadful experience into a force of good.  Sajda is a 7/7 attack survivor.  Setting out on an ordinary day at work, Sajda experienced her worst nightmare by being caught on one of the Underground trains at King’s Cross that was subject to the attacks on 7 July 2005.  Having survived and picked up the pieces, Sajda set out to use her experience to change the world.  She leads JAN Trust, a charity that aims to break down barriers to social inclusion for women, providing women from under-represented groups with a voice, combatting violence against women and providing young people the tools they may need to achieve their ambitions.

An ordinary woman who took matters into her own hands and is making a huge difference.

We all have it within us to accomplish extraordinary achievements.  How many people do you know who run marathons, trek to the North Pole, write blogs, bake incredible cakes, sing like an angel or play the piano like Liberace?  Ordinary people with extraordinary talents and achievements.  Imagine if all these people – like you - used these rare skills not only for their own enrichment but to contribute to their communities or professional organisations.  Imagine if companies learned how to tap into these hidden talent morsels and invite each one of us to contribute fully and authentically.  Both the contributors and the companies would benefit.

But how do we do that?  How do we as individuals channel our hidden talents into our professional lives? How do we as leaders empower colleagues to bring out what lingers behind the facade?  How do we nurture and celebrate ordinary people with extraordinary contributions?

Find out on 21 June 2017 at Voice At The Table’s Flagship Conference: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Contributions.  Featuring speakers who are walking the walk, you can be inspired by these role models who have found strength to share their hidden talents. You will learn how to encourage and nurture extraordinary contributions from colleagues and team members.  You will meet the law firm partner who founded Inspiring Women, the athlete who is now helping other retired athletes to integrate into ordinary life.  Find out how the man who calls himself a feminist is using his influence to help professional women get ahead and be moved by some extraordinary charities – run by ordinary people, like Sajda – who are changing the world, one person at a time.

Click here to find out how you can be a part of this movement!


Feeling Burnt Out? You May Not Be Playing to Your Strengths!

strengthsWritten by Ros Toynbee.

The old adage “play to your strengths” is one we are familiar with. And twenty years of research in the field of positive psychology provides us with a body of evidence that confirms that leaders who do are happier, more confident, have higher levels of energy and perform better at work.

But what is a “strength”? Most people will say “it’s something I’m good at”. But they miss what strengths are really about, which is energy. Strengths are underlying qualities that energise us and we are great at. In other words when you are using a true strength, you get that buzz, that feeling of the “real me” coming through. You leap out of bed in the morning excited to go to work. There’s that sense of “this is what I was born to do”.

Compare this to competencies or skills. If you’re good at something but it bores you, it sucks the energy from you, it’s not a strength, it’s a “learned behaviour”. We develop them because we get rewarded at work for doing them – the pat on the head, the promotion, the pay rise. And our performance might be good enough. However, used excessively, and over time, we can and will burn out.

Many clients come to me to clarify what their next career move should be. They know they are super capable people who can turn their hands to many different things, yet there is a huge difference between knowing what you have to offer (your learned behaviour often) and what you would like to, or what would be most energising to you to offer, in your next role. The key is always in knowing what your top seven strengths are, and the combination in which you would like to use them, to maximise your personal fulfilment and performance going forwards.

There are many ways in which you can identify Strengths and in our “Find Your Strengths for Career Success” Masterclass on 02 December 2015 we’ll be using the world’s leading Strengths tool, Strengthscope™ to accurately identify yours. But you can start by reflecting on the activities that give you the most buzz, the places where you feel the “real you” and the tasks that come most effortlessly to you.

The key to avoiding burnout? To know your strengths, but more importantly to use them well. This means finding or shaping roles that play to your natural strengths and allow you to play to the ones you haven’t used lately, as well as harnessing the strengths of your team and others which complement yours.