3 Ways of Adopting a High-Performance Mindset

3 Ways of Adopting a High-Performance Mindset

Learn how you can adopt the high-performance mindset to achieve new levels of growth, innovation and success. 


What is a high-performance mindset? Who’s got it and how do you develop it?


A high-performance mindset is a mental tool for increasing competence and self-improvement to excel in a high-pressure environment.


It’s often said that leaders with a high-performance mindset have no limit on their growth and success. They define success in terms of exceeding potential and pursuing new, unexplored heights of achievement. They’re relentless and daring – staying on-mission through failure and defeat because they view them as great learning opportunities.


Consider Jeff Bezos, for example. He grew Amazon from an online bookstore into a trillion-dollar behemoth that sells everything under the sun and, soon, the promise of space travel for all!


Following Bezos’ quest for world-domination over the years, you can’t help but wonder – how does he do it? It is safe to bet that he practices leadership with a finely tuned high-performance mindset.


You can train yourself to lead with a mindset built for resilience, daring and innovation to achieve new levels of success. Here are 3 ways you can lead with a mindset of high-performance like Bezos –


#1 Master Discipline and Excellence

“You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

The ability to summon Bezos-like intelligence, grace and confidence is developed through rigorous and disciplined training over time. It is the core component of the high-performance mindset – a tough mind with unlimited capacity to deliver under extreme pressure.


#2 Maintain Laser-like Focus

“You need a vision. That’s a touchstone. It’s something you can always come back to if you ever get confused.”

Maintaining focus is one of the reasons why a peak performer like Bezos is powerful. Practice focus by aiming your attention to the right things at the right time and staying on-mission without emotion, bias and distraction.


#3 Dare to Think Differently

“I think frugality drives innovation just like other constraints do. One of the ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.”

High-performing leaders like Bezos win in life by daring to think laterally to solve difficult problems. They consistently excel because they know how to think well – logically and creatively.


Unlocking your capacity for high-performance is critical to your personal and leadership success. 

Sign up for The Leadership Institute Training and Events to learn from the country’s top executives and coaches who will empower you with the knowledge and confidence to take on future business challenges. 

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Changing the Monologue – Susan Martin on Impostor Syndrome

Susan Martin on Impostor Syndrome

The former surgical nurse and now MD of the world’s largest healthcare company, Susan Martin sheds light on impostor syndrome through her leadership success story. 


Ahead of her keynote at The Authentic Leadership Summit on March 19, Susan Martin, Managing Director of Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices in Australia and New Zealand, talks to us to shed some light on impostor syndrome or the self-limiting beliefs that we often tell ourselves. 


As a leader for many years at Johnson & Johnson Medical, Susan has heard women across all stages of their careers pose questions like “what if I can’t do it?” It’s an illustration of how these self-limiting perceptions are ingrained in the minds of emerging female leaders. She knows this only too well because not long ago, this was her inner voice too.  


‘’Am I smart enough? Am I good enough?” All these thoughts were in my head.” 


Early on, Susan knew that she wanted to work in healthcare and travel the world. With that in mind she became a nurse. 


“I was scrubbed up in an operating theater working literally life and death every day. It was a great experience. But I reflect on that and I thought – Why did I not ever become a doctor? I possibly could have done it, it just never dawned on me. Was that an option?” 


From the operating theater, Susan moved to the business side of healthcare when she joined Johnson & Johnson Medical where she steadily grew from an entry level position and into management. 


“I was doing reasonably well. But then what happens? I would tell myself – This can’t be true! Could I go into management? That’s not for me.  Am I smart enough? Am I good enough? Do I have the skills? Do I have the experience?  Would I ever be accepted? – And all these thoughts were in my head. And let me just say, they weren’t in anyone else’s. They were in mine.”


As Susan moved up in her career in Johnson & Johnson the self-doubting inner voice would persist. It took a make-or-break experience for her to realise that what she was telling herself was not playing out there. 


“That (inner) voice was saying something very different and it was limiting myself from my full potential. I realised that I don’t want to be that person. So, I’ve decided to back myself.” 


That idea may sound simple but for Susan it was a major turning point. Flipping the script from it’s not gonna work to the more proactive I will find a way emboldens you to put your hand up for challenges and set yourself up for success. 


“When I started to back myself, I stood with confidence and other people believed it even more than I did.” 


“It’s ok to not have all the answers, or be the smartest person in the room.” 


Susan comes from a clinical background which demands a high level of expertise and having all the information. But moving up in the organisation and leading 900 people made her realise that she needed to be ok with not knowing everything. 


“As your span of control increases, you need to be comfortable with ambiguity. Ask the questions, be curious, listen to the answers and be comfortable that you do not know at all. The good thing about leading 900 people is that chances are, someone does.” 


“All this time I was waiting for someone else to give me permission to succeed. And all I really needed was my own.” 


Almost 2 years into her role as Managing Director, Susan shares her leadership journey at the Authentic Leadership Summit hoping to help others change the self-doubting monologue. Her experience will teach us that whatever you may be going through in your career while taking care of others and your ambitions – you can do it if you stay true to yourself and back yourself for success.


Our key speakers have achieved new levels of success by being their true selves at work and having a shared purpose with their organisation and its people.  


Sign up for The Authentic Leadership Summit and learn how you too can support, engage and empower your teams to succeed. 


Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 - March 17 to 20

How to Build and Maintain Optimism at Work

Learn the 7 mindsets to build and maintain optimism and gain the mental strength to power through any difficult situation at work.


When everything is going great in business, optimism is easy. You’re pumped, you’re achieving something, you’re doing it on your own terms, and you are your own boss.


But 60% of small businesses fail in the first three years so the flip side of that excitement and optimism  is fear, stress, pressure and the overwhelming dread that you are not the captain winning the city to Hobart yacht race, but in fact the captain of the Titanic – and you’re on a collision course for the iceberg.


I could not find any reliable data on suicide or depression statistics for business owners. But it stands to reasons that the high stress role which includes uncertainty, loneliness and the ongoing anxiety of impending public failure would lend itself to increased risk of mental health issues and depression. Along with the excitement, joy and sense of accomplishment mentioned above, entrepreneurship can leave you feeling isolated and alone. It brings cash flow and financial issues, the requirement to perform roles with multiple hats and sometimes overwhelming feelings of responsibility to your family and employees to know the right answer and make the right choices.


Late last year in my own company, a series of poor decisions on my behalf lead to high expenses and a drastic loss of revenue. The looming decision to cut staff was put off for as long as possible, but the debts were mounting, and the stress was becoming untenable. Eventually I was forced to make that decision, to cut our biggest expense, the staff, and run a lean ship until we were back in the black. It was devastating. I cared about these people, I enjoyed their input and commitment and most of all they were good at what they did. I’d failed both myself and my expectations and I’d failed those around me. I also lived in fear all the time, one more bill could push us over the edge.


Prior to starting the business, I did work on my mindset and came to the conclusion that happiness is a choice and a choice that I would commit to making every day. However, in my current environment I was struggling to carry out that commitment and I battled the urge to lull into depression and apathy. I felt anything but optimistic.


But happiness is a choice and I choose it every day. Here is how I do it:


1. I believe in myself

Things aren’t great now, they’re stressful and I sometimes wake up feeling the enormous pressure beating down on me but I know I have the skills to bounce back from this, I know I’m equally as smart and talented as the next guy and I believe in my ability to get through this. When I feel stressed, I just say to myself, “you’ve got this mate” and I feel better.


2. I am in the arena

To quote Theodore Roosevelt, in his famous Man in the Arena speech,

“It is not the critic who counts…. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena… who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly

In the end I might fail and that will be enormously disappointing and damaging to my ego but at least I had a go. I got in the arena and gave it a shot and for 7 years (and counting) I built a business and I made it into something successful. That is something to be proud of.


3. Nothing lasts forever

Bad times come and go. When you’re in the moment, experiencing the pain, the stress and the pressure, it’s easy to forget that in a year this will be a distant memory. All you have to do is get through one day. After that one day you just have to through the next day. And all of the days until you’re through. When you’re through you’ll take strength in knowing nothing like this will ever floor you again.


4. “They” are not on my square squad

Brene Brown in her book “Daring Greatly” has an exercise in which you take a small 1 inch square post-it and you write on the post it everyone in your life whose opinion of you really matters. It’s small so you keep it tight, those few that really care about you. This is called a square squad. My post-it is stuck to my monitor where I can see it all the time. If I worry about idle gossip or the real or perceived opinions of people who do not know me and do not matter to me, it will bring me down. If they’re not on my post-it, part of my “square squad”, they don’t matter.


5. There is more to life than work

When things are tough and you feel hemmed in by the business and the thoughts that if you fail, you’ll lose everything, and that failure will be very public.  I try to list all of the things outside of work and the business that I am grateful for. My kids, my health, the house I live in and the neighbourhood I get to experience every day, the beauty of the harbour as I ride the ferry to work, my friends and my family. As a person, I am not the sum total of a career. So, if the business goes, I will still have all of these things and they are a lot.


6. Do something every day that’s just for you

It’s easy to forget the habits that are important to you when you’re stressed. In this state you might feel the need to work harder and longer. You may wish to skip the lunch break or your early morning gym session and just get to work. But every day you need something that’s just for you, that clears your head and helps you focus. For me it’s the gym and I go every morning without fail. I favour high impact cardio workouts where I’m too breathless to think. It clears my head, gets endorphins pumping and I walk away feeling pumped and ready for the day. If I’m feeling frustrated or down during the day, I’ll go to for a walk to clear my head. Time out gives you something to focus on things other than your responsibilities and pressures.


7. Take joy from others

One of the great advantages of running your own company is being able to choose the people around you. I work with people I genuinely like and respect and we enjoy each other’s company. Even with the trimmed down staff we still have our company rituals and we still laugh with and at each other every day. I take pride and joy in the fact that even when things are down, I have surrounded myself with people who bring me up.



I don’t for a minute take away from the struggles of mental health issues, they are real, and they are not to be taken lightly. While I feel pressure and stress and the weight of responsibility as acutely as the next person the difference is, I have the capacity and mental bandwidth to choose not to let it bring me down. I will not let myself sink into full depression. Some days I’m better at it than others and I try to remember if my mindset fails me one day, there is always tomorrow. As Monty Python would say, always look on the bright side of life.





6 Types of Motivation Fails (and how you can solve them!)

Are your employees suffering from lack of motivation? Learn how to get them fired-up and running again with the right diagnosis and intervention.


Even the most talented and diligent employees can become negligent and indifferent after a prolonged period of doing the same job.


Research on motivation suggests that employees who succeed have managers who apply the right kind of motivation to encourage them to consistently give their best. It is therefore key for managers to understand the reasons for their employees’ dwindling motivation in order to apply the right cure and re-energise them.


Managers must first examine or diagnose employees who are showing signs of lack of motivation before taking action. This is crucial because applying the wrong intervention could backfire. For example – pushing the employee to simply do a better job when they don’t know how and why they are failing could erode their motivation even further.


Here are the 6 common types of Motivation Fails according to experts and the corresponding interventions to get employees fired-up and running again.


#1 Values-Fail

Motivation Fail #1 Values

Signs and Symptoms:
When employees judge the job as either “not interesting”, “not useful” or “not important”, to their own self-development, the team or the company at-large.

Manager Intervention:
Managers often assume that what motivates them is also true for their employees. Find out what your employee cares about and connect it with the job. Here are a few questions you can start with —
(1) Rate your tasks from least to most interesting
(2) How important is it to you to do well on the job?
(3) Is the effort worthwhile to you?


#2 Self-Confidence-Fail

Motivation Fail # 2 Self-Confidence

Signs and Symptoms:
Employees who believe that they don’t have the time, ability, or energy required to succeed in the job.

Manager Intervention:
Build employee’s self- confidence and competence by —
(1) Citing similar challenges in the past where they have succeeded
(2) Building their capacity by gradually increasing job-difficulty
(3) Breaking down enormous tasks into smaller, more manageable bits

#3 Emotional-Fail

Motivation Fail #3 Emotional

Signs and Symptoms:
Employees who are overcome with negative emotion, e.g. fear, anxiety, anger or depression when confronted with a difficult job.

Manager Intervention:
Engage the employee in a heart-to-heart conversation to understand what’s upsetting them. Here are a few suggestions on how to handle a conversation with an emotionally volatile employee –
(1) Listen actively, ask how are you feeling and why do you feel the way you feel?
(2) Do not judge
(3) Do not agree nor disagree
(4) Offer advice – ask how you can help


#4 Attribution-Fail

Motivation Fail #4 Attribution

Signs and Symptoms:
Employees who struggle with this type of motivation-fail are finding excuses for their poor performance – citing reasons that are “out of their control”, e.g. blaming their teammates, the technology, the weather, anyone but themselves.

Manager Intervention:
Understand what’s really causing their struggle then assess how you can help them adopt more ownership and responsibility. For example – if you arrive at the diagnosis that the workflow is bogging the employee down, shifting the focus on their output and allowing them to manage their own process might do the trick.


#5 Leadership-Fail

Motivation Fail #5 Leadership

Signs and Symptoms:
When there is no clear line of authority or leadership responsibility, employees find it difficult to know what to do, whom to listen or turn to for support. And this can lead to issues with underperformance.

Manager Intervention:
You don’t have to be a senior level manager to lead. If you see this type of poor motivation in your team and you know you can help, put your hand up and take charge – just be sure you’re behaving in a positive way for the team, and not adding to the confusion!


#6 Culture-Fail

Motivation Fail #6 Culture

Signs and Symptoms:
Employees who don’t believe in what they do for the company are just in it for the money. On the other hand, employees who share the company’s purpose believe that the job is its own reward. Everything else is gravy.

Manager Intervention:
Lead a highly-motivating company culture by explaining the “why” behind the work of your employees. And be specific – paint a picture of how their work is adding value to the lives of your customers. Don’t just say “because it’s your job.”


The best leaders can turn around unmotivated and uninspired employees into consistent achievers. Sign up for any of our Leadership Training and Events to learn from the best global management practitioners and coaches with proven success for leading and engaging high-performing teams.


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We’ve All Suffered from Impostor Syndrome – Here’s How to Overcome It

Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Australia’s leading women executives who have battled with impostor syndrome, offer some advice on how you can overcome it.


One of the hardest things to overcome when moving outside your comfort zone is negative self-talk. Telling yourself “I am not worthy” or “I am not qualified” for whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish, is the paralyzing fear that strikes most of us – impostor syndrome.


In the workplace, more women than men are self-described impostors.  


Impostor syndrome affects everyone. But more women than men have self-described as “intellectual phonies” according to a study  called “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women.” It theorizes that women are feeling predisposed to experiencing impostor syndrome , “since success for women is contraindicated by societal expectations and their own internalized self-evaluations.”


What can you do to overcome irrational feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy that so many of us experience?  


Nicola Grayson

Take an outsider’s perspective

“I can’t honestly say that I’ve overcome impostor syndrome in every circumstance. There’s always someone that I want to be when I grow up! I can ask them questions that haven’t been asked before or approach problems in ways others haven’t thought of. “


Claire Rogers 

Learn by doing

“If you don’t have enough experience, go and discover that you have got some capability and some things to learn! And I meet impostor phenomenon all the time in others. My job is to debunk that and to look at it objectively and not emotionally. “


Angela Mentis

Check in with yourself

“I recognised the only thing holding me back was myself. It was at that point I told myself to get over it, recognise the value of my perspectives and to believe in myself. I have not looked back. “


Marnie Baker

Fake it ‘til you make it 

“Regardless of your personal situation, rising to the opportunity is as much of a test as any challenge is. The difference is how you approach the opportunity and how you apply your attitude and ability, to not let it overwhelm and to have the confidence and resilience to back yourself.” 



Overcoming impostor syndrome may not be easy, but it’s possible. Take any opportunity to also learn from the experience of others – women leaders who have gone through a similar struggle and have emerged victorious.

Reserve your spot for 
The Empowered Woman and join our growing global community of leadership learners and teachers.  


The Empowered Woman 2020

Do You Have a Growth Mindset?

Do you have a Growth Mindset?

Learn the difference between Fixed and Growth Mindset and figure out where your perceptions, beliefs and attitudes about success land.   


Mindset informs our perceptions which determine our actions and decisions. In short, mindset is everything! It shapes how we experience the world.   


In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessStanford Professor Carol Dweck identifies two opposite mindsets – Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset. 


Success belongs to those who adopt the Growth Mindset. But if you feel that your mindset leans on the fixed side, the good news from Dweck is, you can recalibrate your thinking –  


“Mindsets are an important part of your personality, but you can change them. Just by knowing about the two mindsets, you can start thinking and reacting in new ways.”


Refer to the guide below to understand the difference and to figure out where your perceptions, beliefs and attitudes about success land.   


Fixed vs Growth Mindset - Comparative Table


We have lined up trainings and events all-year-round featuring globally recognized leadership and management thought leaders. Sign up for any of our Professional Development Events to learn the success formula for leadership.  


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Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

Over the years of my career and personal life to date, I have heard many words of wisdom. From inspiring advice, raw and moving, interesting to whacky, and everything in between. There are two quotes in particular from two incredible Australian businesswomen leaders that has really stuck with me and I now live by, definitely the best advice I’ve ever been given.

“Your children aren’t comparing the amount of time you spend with them to other kids in the playground. Their normal is normal.” – Erica Berchtold, The Iconic

What does this mean to me? Well, as a mother of twins under the age of 5, this one really got me. At our Women in Leadership Summit (WILS) last year, Erica spoke a lot about creating your own normal, and this resonated with me in so many ways.

Stop comparing yourself to other people, create your own narrative and live life your way. I know it’s hard but try not to compare your parenting and the time you have with your children to other parents – you do you. You have to work full time to support your children, you need pay off your mortgage, you want to continue your successful career, whatever it is! Who cares what anyone else thinks.

Quit the guilt! The amount of time you spend with your children is what it is – they don’t know any better, their normal is normal.

Don’t get caught up in the ‘what ifs’ or ‘should haves’, just do what’s best for you and your family. Let’s face it, you’re the only person who has your best interests at heart.

“You have an obligation to other women to support and mentor them, but not just that, to recommend them to others that might help them up.” – Angela Mentis BNZ

What an inspirational lady. Honestly, she says it how it is. She’s right. As a woman in business, you absolutely have that obligation. You need to do your bit to support other women and offer mentorship to bring out the best in them. You need to show up, show your real self, and own it. Lead by example and offer wisdom.

There’s no such thing as having too many mentors. If you know someone who aligns with the values and vision of other female leaders you’re connected with, why not leverage your relationships? You never know, this female leader could relate to situations this individual may be facing, they could learn so much and put learning into action with the right support. A simple introduction could make a huge difference. By doing this, you could play a major part in their future leadership potential!

Now I would love to know, what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

If you want to learn what it takes to be a leader from Australia’s leading businesswomen, be inspired by personal stories of success and learn from intimate tales of failure – The Empowered Woman is the place to be. To be held in Sydney on 26 March 2020, the inaugural one-day event will feature keynote speakers including Sarah-Jane Clarke, Colleen Calander and Suzy Nicoletti to name a few. Book your tickets now.

What would I tell 22 year old me

The whole “Dear 22-year-old me” where you write a letter to your younger self is popular because it provides insight and wisdom from the best source possible: yourself!

If I picture myself as a 22-year-old, fresh faced young graduate full of enthusiasm, un-earned confidence in my abilities and ready to take on the world. The realities of the harsh world ‘out there’ not yet affecting my optimism or my bravado. When I think back, I think ‘you’re an idiot’ and, ‘oh sweet pea, some hard lessons are heading your way’.

If I could grab that idiot, shake her and tell her anything, this is what I would say:

  • Don’t waste your time on dead end jobs. Yes, I know there are gap years, and times in between jobs when you are genuinely finding yourself but spending time in a job where you know it is simply not for you and you are not happy is not worth the anxiety. Just remember to show gratitude and exit in a graceful, respectful manner when you resign, and fulfil your last days properly.
  • Invest in yourself – you are your #1 asset. This means do those courses, take the time to sharpen your skills and keep being the employable, engaged person you know yourself to be. And yes, we know this about you already. This is why you are reading this blog post to start with.
  • Be proud of who you are. Be really proud. If you don’t gel with every single person, it’s okay. I’m not saying you fly that freak flag high in a corporate environment, but don’t diminish who you are, either. You are you as a sum total of your life experiences, your values and your beliefs. Be proud you’ve weathered the storms, and here you are.
  • Save 20% of what you earn. This is a big one. You know you need to do this. I know you are “only young once”. But your older self is here to tell you that bills wait for nobody and you can never predict when you might need the cash. You might not want to give up smashed avo and lattes and you don’t have to completely. Just put some coin aside for the just-in-case. There is no self-respect in borrowing from the bank of mum and dad.
  • If you back yourself, you can achieve more than you think. If you dare to dream, you will likely shock yourself with just how much you can achieve. There are a million Instagram shots of sunsets with clichés on dreams and fulfilment. This is bullsh*t. Dreams don’t achieve results, smart calculated risks do, and they all start with backing yourself. Who knows what you can achieve!

Want to set your 22-year-old self, now residing in a (slightly!) older body on the right work and life path?

If you want your inner 22-year-old to get some advice from some amazing women whose life lessons will change your life, you need to register for the Empowered Woman 2020 is imperative. It’s a one-day experience to ignite your passion for business and success in all its forms – so your 22 (or 32, 42, 52…) year old self have the skills to achieve the dream career.

During this event you will be inspired by personal stories of success, learn from intimate tales of failure, harness your ambition to make it happen. As you know, purpose alone is not enough. Once you’ve found it, The Empowered Woman will give you the tools to realise your ambitions.

For more information, go here.