17 years ago I started on a journey of self-discovery. At the time, I had acquired my Medical Science Degree and Masters both qualified with Honours. I wanted to be a Medical Researcher and Cure Disease! I worked long hours in a lab, with minimal results, had minimal funding and minimal resources, hardly interacting with anyone except for my lab rats, as Scientists tend to do. But then, I wanted to do more!
I then transitioned into Clinical Research within various Hospitals around Sydney, working on Pharmaceutically Sponsored Trials where I got to see firsthand the benefits of cutting edge medications making a difference in those that were being treated. Of course, there were times especially working within the Oncology space that 9 out of 10 were losses and on that odd occasion, there was a WIN! I loved those wins when the drug miraculously against all odds worked for someone who was Stage IV of their terminal disease. But then, I wanted to do more!
I transitioned into the Pharmaceutical Industry as a Junior Clinical Research Associate where I got to manage multiple trial sites across Australia and New Zealand. Ensuring that the Protocol was followed with integrity, patient safety was assured, problems resolved in a timely manner, quality of the data collected. But then, I wanted do to more!
Time and Time again, proved my abilities and stretched myself out of my comfort zone daily to deliver my work in high quality, on-time and on-budget. I progressed into Leadership Role as a Project Manager where I started leading teams across Australia, NZ then as I increased my capabilities, so did my responsibilities. I ended up managing and leading virtual teams across the entire APAC. But then, I wanted do to more!
One of my Passions is developing people and bringing out the best versions of themselves. It was evident through my team performance within my projects where I was able to influence Virtual Teams across the globe, across different time zones and cultures to reach a common goal. But then I wanted do to more!
I transitioned into Frontline Management where I could really focus my attention on the new and emerging leaders in my industry. But everything I had learned to this point had equipped me for the rise into Executive Leadership. However, what I know that I needed to be an exceptional Leader was to compliment my skillset with critical life skills to navigate this highly dynamic and ever changing corporate platform.
You see, I saw the disruption happening early on in my Career and knew back then, that to stay viable, employable and competitive in this market in the future was to work on these “Critical Life Skills”. Whilst everyone was signing up for MBAs, I decided to go down a different less travelled path within my industry. Personal Development and Life Coaching! Yes! You heard correctly…..I’ll say it again, LIFE COACHING! Why? Plain and simple, you cannot be a great leader of others if you can’t lead yourself!
I learned this many years ago. The more certain you are about yourself and I mean YOURSELF, the good, the bad and the ugly. The more honest you can be about your Strengths, Weaknesses and Blind spots. How can you help others when you can’t help yourself? When you illuminate yourself on the inside out, there is no time or tolerance for derailing behaviours (eg. taking credit for others ideas, only supporting direct reports that make you look good), bullying or game playing tactics. All these behaviours are used as survival mechanisms and deflections to protect ourselves from external harm (consequences). I’ve seen and experienced first hand at how destructive these behaviours are in Leadership Positions.
How many Leaders can you recall within your industry that you can really say inspired you to greatness or allowed you to shine within your organization? Sadly, for me I can recall a mere few. But what if, our Leaders could create a position of deep self-actualisation and unlock their true authentic selves and potential for greatness. How different the workplace would become? Why be average when you can be a Limited Edition Leader!
Paula Dunn is the Founder of No Limits Consulting who creates Limited Edition Leaders. Life was not meant to be lived in a Box, nor should you be expected to. To learn more about Paula visit her at www.nolimitsconsulting.com.au and sign up to her Newsletter to keep up to date with the latest information, workshops and upcoming MeetUp Groups in and around Sydney.