Be the youngest person at the board table; build resilience and manage your energy

Be the youngest person at the board table; build resilience and manage your energy

Our GM, Katarina Farrell recently spoke at a PRIA Young Practitioners panel event alongside Chris Savage from The Savage Co., Peter Salt from Salt and Shein and Amy Wagner from Blackmores.

The panel discussed how to ‘Be the Youngest Person at the Board Table’, and Kata shared the five things she’s learnt (the hard way!) about building resilience and managing energy.

  1. Know your tipping point and the signs you’re almost there

Everyone has a tipping point or limit. It took me a while to understand when I’m at my tipping point, but some of my signs include:

  • I prioritise work over exercise, which is my key stress management tool
  • I wake up in the middle of the night worrying about work, and get up super early to go into work
  • I get emotional when people provide me with feedback or ask me to do something difficult
  • I prioritise work over my relationships

Sometimes work is just busy, and you have to do the work and the hours. But, when I see some of those signs I know it’s time for an intervention with myself, and I now make a conscious effort to re-prioritise exercise, good food, my relationships and sleep.

  1. Manage your energy, not your time

One of the most challenging things for people to master, especially early on in their career is time management. It’s the number one thing I see young consultants grapple with year after year.

But what if you thought about managing your energy instead of your time.  If you are conscious of the things that give you energy and the things that suck your energy, you can manage your time in a way that allows you to feel more energized than drained.

The things that energize me include helping my teams grow their careers, doing challenging interesting work and investing time in the things that will make a difference for the business.

  1. Invest in relationships that are mutually beneficial

As communicators, relationships are our greatest ammunition. Our ability to connect with people, clients, teams will see us achieve great things.

I learnt some tough lessons early on about what I now know was an over-investment in my manager-managee relationships. I burnt out from over investing in relationships that were one sided, and I made a promise to myself that I would never do that again.

I’m now more pragmatic and set boundaries with my relationships.  I invest energy where they relationships are mutually beneficial and respectful, and into the things that are important to me personally like my family and friends, my uni studies and health and fitness.

  1. Work (and play) hard, but stay true to your values

If you want to be successful in your career, you’ll have to work hard. And it’s likely you’ll play pretty hard at times too.

But what is really important is that you stay true to your own personal values in whatever you decide to do.

Prioritise things that are important to you when you need to, and don’t feel guilty about staying true to what you value in life – it can be small things like making sure you get to the gym before or after work or finishing work at a reasonable time to make sure you can see your family and friends.

Whatever it is, you should feel empowered to do it to help you manage what can be a stressful and demanding job.

  1. Give yourself a break

If you’re anything like me, you’re incredibly hard on yourself.

You’ll make mistakes, you’ll be disappointed, you’ll be tired and worn down sometimes. And all of those things are totally normal!

If you can’t move past something, write it down to get it out of your head, talk to someone you trust, cry or take a holiday.

Your ability to pick yourself up is the greatest reflection of your character and resilience, and will be a critical part of your career whether it be in agency or somewhere else.

In conclusion…

There is no perfect solution for structuring your career. You live and you learn in this business, often adjusting day by day to find what works best for you.

Often our greatest asset is our instinct. Listen to your body and your mind and they will often help you find the correct path.

Build relationships with some good mentors who will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it.

Be curious, get experience doing lots of different things, make mistakes and learn from them.

In my role, there are days when I fly, and there are days when I stumble.

But ultimately, if you find a way to be passionate about you do most days, you will become unstoppable in your capacity to succeed.

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