AN INTERVIEW WITH KYLEE STONE - TEAM WOMEN AUSTRALIA
Kylee is one of the most inspiring, kick-ass women we've ever had the privilege of meeting and working with. Both Arianne and I recently went through Kylee's coaching program, 'Unleash the Leader Within.' This program has been absolutely transformational for us both in our jobs, in the launch of our business and in our lives. We can't thank her enough for her amazingness.
Why did you start your business?
While there was an underlying desire to do something more meaningful with my life, it got started because I wasn't fulfilled in the role I was in.
This is going back to 2011 when I returned to work after having three kids in three years. I wanted to work part-time so I could balance my life with taking care of my kids; but there were no flexible options for people in senior leadership positions.
I took a part-time role but within months I was frustrated. I wanted a role where I could actively contribute as a leader and at the same time feel like I could take care of my kids and still have time for myself.
There were a lot of women who, like myself, we're frustrated in not being able to retain a leadership role unless they worked full-time. At that point, I'd had 15 years of experience in coaching and developing leaders so I decided to start a small mentoring group. Within two months we'd grown from 6 to 55 women, all with the desire to advance as a leader while taking care of their kids and doing something more meaningful.
We had great success and created some really amazing events and, while on the one hand, that's why I got started, it was the news I got on March 5 2014 - the same day as my son's 7th birthday and my husbands business going into administration; that a colleague I'd known for almost 20 years died from suicide - that's actually what got me off my backside to create something new.
I realised "life is too short" to complain about really insignificant issues - like not liking my job. It started with working out what I wanted the next phase of my life to be about, and once I got clear about that I started making some decisions to create it - including removing everything in my life that was no longer consistent with what I wanted.
A year later, I quit my job and in the world of not knowing anything about what it takes to start a business, I simply put one foot in front of the other. While I now have what's called a diverse portfolio career, I have one single-minded intention to empower and enable people to realise their own self-expression as a leader.
What inspires you to get out of bed in the mornings?
A burning desire to make a contribution.
What's been the biggest lesson you've learned in your career and in business?
- Always acknowledge the accomplishments. We live in a world where people are in a rush to go bigger, do more and get further ahead without making time to acknowledge to the amazing things we're doing right now. Not recognising accomplishments is one of the biggest contributors to hidden resentment, doubt and disengagement. If we want the people around us to succeed, if we want to succeed, we must always acknowledge the accomplishments.
- The only person accountable for how our career or business turns out is us. Far too many of us get caught up in blaming the company, our boss, our clients or other people for why we don't have what we want in our career or our business. When I failed it was always when I was blaming someone else. When I won, even in the toughest of circumstances, it was always when I was holding myself accountable. If we want to advance in our career or business, we must realise the only person who can do anything about it is us...
- Take action despite how you feel. It sounds simple, too simple, but its not because many of us get stuck for days, months or years not taking action. I'm not talking about getting out of bed and going to work, I'm talking about taking action on the things we said we would do and the things we know to do. All those things that keep us at night. We must learn to take action despite what we think, how we feel or what we believe will or will not happen. Only then do we realise we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
- Slow down. We live in a society that values doing more and getting to the top of some ivory tower with wealth, fame and success as quick as we can. While there's no problem with getting to the top, being a great leader and earning a lot of money, it doesn't help when you finally get to the top and you realise you didn't enjoy the ride. Ironically, it turns out we're far more productive, creative and innovative when we slow down.
- My final points are more like rules than lessons - Never gossip and Never get drunk at a work function.
What does the future look like for you?
Women realising their greatest potential and thriving in their careers, business and entrepreneurial paths. I'd love to see more women sharing their personal stories of success, in showing what it actually takes to realise their potential as a leader so we're not left with the illusion that success is easy, but rather success takes a lot of effort, hard work and persistence.
What's one piece of advice you'd give other women in business and in their careers?
Back yourself, be honest and don't do it alone. No-one expects you to have it all handled, and at the same time, you have everything you need to be successful. Whatever you don't know, you can always learn or outsource.
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