Is time your excuse?

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If only I received a dollar for every time I heard this phrase. I am too busy and don’t have the time. If you don’t have the time what do you have? Where is your time going? How are you spending it? Are you making excuses about why you can’t get something done or why you haven’t made your budget or finished that project?

This is a big trap to get into and if you hear yourself complaining about everything from time, systems, colleagues, tools of trade, etc as the reason you are not getting results – you need an advocate. Oh, but I don’t have time for an Advocate!

Really, if you don’t have time to meet with an Advocate who is more experienced than you and willing to volunteer their time to help you, then you need an Advocate more than anyone. Your Advocate will be a fresh eye and more than likely will be able to see what you are doing or not doing. You may not like what you hear, but the truth often hurts. After the shock of reality, you will thank them for their honesty.

We know from the constant feedback we receive from members who are paired with Advocates, that their help has been instrumental in helping them focus on what is important, get rid of the time wasters, and improve their skill level. They have also been instrumental in providing a confidential sounding board during stressful times. Family and friends are great to have in your corner, but you need a fresh eye who is not bias and will look at things differently.

Don’t put your career on hold because you are too busy. Prioritise you first. I am sure there are lots of other things you can put on hold to make space for an Advocate. This is not a one meeting exercise either. Typically, you would meet with an Advocate once per quarter for coffee (how hard is that?). Your Advocate is there for your journey, and you should also be looking at building an Advocate network of at least 7 to 10. Most men by the time they are in Senior level positions have 7 to 10 Advocates in their corner. Advocate networks are a key reason on how they achieved their senior positions. This doesn’t happen by accident; it is deliberate and part of the plan.

Some of the attributes of the best Advocates are:

• They are in a role at least two levels higher than you
• They are outside your current organisation so there is no bias
• They are frank and open with you
• They are willing to meet with you once per quarter and take calls during critical times

You can try to do it alone, but it will be very hard, so why not accept help?

Judith Beck

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