What Henry Miller can teach us about professional success

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Aneka Manners, State General Manager, nabbusiness VIC/Tas, NAB

Anneka-MannersThe writer, Henry Miller once said: “Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognise them as our own, as the green shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers……..we are all kings, all poets…...We only have to discover what is already there.”

For every professional success we’ve ever sought or dreamed of, getting out of our own way surely has to be the hardest thing of all.

Being ever-vigilant when you’re already successful and short on quality time feels like a luxury but it sure is better than waking up one day looking back at what could have been and channelling Henry Miller-style melancholy. I’ve a couple of key things that work for me in protecting those green shoots before I’ve completely deprived them of oxygen. Post-it notes on the fridge, well-chosen books on my coffee table and a vision board in my sitting room are all set to remind me of the following:

1. Know when you're doing it: Stifling stuff that is, or standing in the way of your own professional or personal brilliance…getting to know when you're subconsciously self-sabotaging or avoiding the hard work of doing what matters is half the battle.  Procrastination and wine are two of my (and others) classic signs…

2. Get yourself a cheer squad: Perspective is everything and if you are stuck in ‘1.’ you might not see it but for the gentle interventions of a tough but tender cheer squad that want the best for you and are prepared to challenge.

3. Have a way out: If you're stuck in ‘1.’ and your cheer squad is on holidays (it happens!) have a way out of the muck...exercise, music, dancing, theatre, saturated fat, Netflix (even Giorgio Armani uses Netflix apparently)…whatever you need as a temporary bridge….if it's wine then you're generally still in ‘1.’…sorry.

4. Do something every day that moves you forward and closer to what you want: On your good days this ‘something’ will be a big thing because you're on fire; on your bad days it can be as small as an email sent or a page read, just make sure it's something…big achievements are the sum of many small steps.

5. Commit first, then figure out how: Overthinking has been the death of many an awesome professional or personal adventure which is why this is such a great strategy...terrifying yes, but sometimes the only way I've found to push myself where I know I need to go.

If it was easy everyone would do it, and I don’t know about you but there’s something great about knowing you’re working harder on what’s important. So here's to all of our green shoots, to the cheer squads we owe them to and to the best self-inside us waiting to be discovered.

Aneka Manners currently enjoys a challenging and fulfilling role in banking as State General Manager, nabbusiness VIC/Tas at NAB. Some of her green shoots can be found there and some at anekamanners.com.au, an eponymous fashion label she recently launched.

Aneka’s fashion transforms three generations of tailoring expertise and her passion for the art-form into a range of luxury items which inspire the souls of wearers all over the world. This streamlined, beautiful and functional range of clothing for the modern woman is the perfect creative complement to Aneka’s busy corporate role in banking.

Come and hear Aneka present on “Professional success and a satisfied soul: what if you can have both?” at the upcoming FEW Leadership Conference, 6 April 2017

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