ORGANIZATIONAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING FOR ASSISTANTS·THURSDAY, 29 AUGUST 2019·
I’m so excited to share my interview with Julia Schmidt of the amazing Organizational Health & Wellbeing for Assistants! This is my story of transforming my mindset and subsequently my career – and the birth of Exec Angels. Read on…
Organizational Health and Wellbeing for Assistants is a Facebook community page dedicated to creating awareness about our responsibility in becoming agents of change to proactively build and maintain healthy workplaces. Let’s start with ourselves and then spread our engagement to have more people onboard.
Are you one of these persons who underestimate the impact of their career on their overall wellbeing? It is time to take ownership and do your part in achieving your Career Wellbeing. If you do not do that, who else will do?
Career Wellbeing is feeling good about the work you do. In our work, we want to feel pride, excitement, happiness, satisfaction, inspired, energized, and valued. Positive work experiences that produce these feelings strengthen our overall state of health and wellbeing.
In this series of interviews, we are asking Executive Assistants and experts to share their thoughts about Career Wellbeing and how to build sustainable careers. This time I interviewed Michelle Gibson. She is an experienced Executive Assistant committed to excel, take care of her team, and create arenas where other peers can share knowledge and support each other. Michelle loves to look after people and motivate them.
In 2017 Michelle founded Exec Angels® – a global online network of administrative professionals, with the mission of empowering, motivating, and inspiring everybody in this vital industry to excel in their careers.
JULIA: People with high Career Wellbeing are more than twice as likely to be thriving in their lives overall. To what extent is your career helping you succeed in life?
MICHELLE: For me, my career has always provided me with a sense of purpose and drive. I’m constantly seeking new challenges, and each time I overcome something, it feels like a little ‘personal win’. The more those small wins build up, the more successful you feel at life in general.The role of an Executive Assistant is ever-changing, and I’m extremely fortunate in that my employers actively encourage me to take on new projects and push me outside my comfort zone. But launching my online network Exec Angels has really made the biggest impact on my life. Every time someone resonates with something I post, or someone obtains some valuable advice from the Facebook group, I feel an enormous sense of pride and gratitude.
For me, my career has always provided me with a sense of purpose and drive.
JULIA: One of the essentials to having fun at work is getting the opportunity to use our strengths every day. When we build on our strengths and daily accomplishments, we simply learn more. How do you ensure that you have the opportunity to use your strengths every day at work?
MICHELLE: You really have to know your own strengths – and weaknesses – and be comfortable with them. I’ve always been the “mum” of the office. I am looking after everybody, making sure they’re okay and using my emotional intelligence to work out when someone needs some support. I love to look after people and motivate them. I just show up every single day doing what I know best.
JULIA: A 1958 study conducted by the late George Gallup found that Career Wellbeing is one of the major differentiators that help us live into our 90s. A more recent study shows that people with high Career Wellbeing wake up every morning with something to look forward to doing that day. Which advice would you give to a colleague who has become a disengaged worker and is experiencing dramatic drops in happiness and interest at work?
MICHELLE: This happens to us all at some point in our career. Some years ago, I fell into a real depression about my career, my life, and where I was going. I found it hard to get out of bed on a morning, and I cried – a lot! Mindset is EVERYTHING here. Firstly, and most importantly, you need to work on yourself and completely transforming your mindset. If you feel negative, you will only attract more negativity to you.
To change how I felt, I read positive affirmations morning, noon, and night. I only read strong and positive books, and I stopped watching rubbish on TV. I took my sorry ass out for long walks and exercised (just a tiny bit each day at first). It was good for the soul.
Then I looked at my work life – was I happy? No. I had choices to make. You don’t have to stay somewhere where you don’t feel valued or happy. See what else is out there – you may need a change of job to work somewhere you feel more respected. I didn’t leave my workplace, but I talked to HR, and I changed my role and responsibilities there. As I began to feel better, I took on some new training courses to improve my personal development. I launched Exec Angels to help other people in my position. My employers began to notice. They gave me new exciting projects – the more I believed in myself, the more they believed in me. Within a couple of years, I had transformed my role – and my entire outlook on my life.
To anyone feeling disengaged, I would say focus on YOU first and foremost, then look at how you can make changes to your current work environment. Take little steps each day to empower yourself. You got this!
You don’t have to stay somewhere where you don’t feel valued or happy.
JULIA: Those with thriving Career Wellbeing have a deep purpose in life and a plan to attain their goals. In most cases, they have a leader or manager who makes them enthusiastic about the future and friends who share their passion. Who are the people encouraging your career growth?
MICHELLE: I recently had an appraisal with my manager – the CEO of the company. He asked me how the company could help me to succeed in my career. I was blown away with gratitude. No other manager would ever have dreamed of asking me that! I’m lucky, I appreciate not everybody has that. My family and partner Ryan are incredibly supportive, though sometimes I’m sure they roll their eyes at my grand plans! And my network of Exec Angels all over the world, who support me and each other every day. What would I do without you, an awesome bunch of superstars?
JULIA: I believe that Management Assistants and Executive Assistants with a high Career Wellbeing are also ensuring themselves a sustainable career and increasing the value they provide to their company. How do you connect Career Wellbeing to sustainability?
MICHELLE: If you really work on looking after yourself, believing in yourself and achieving career wellbeing, you can’t not succeed. Your career will be enduring and fruitful. Simple as that.
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing with us your passion for our profession. Thank you for showing us that we can create our happiness.
More about Michelle Gibson: She has a BA (Hons) degree in Business Management and is currently undertaking a Chartered Secretary qualification, with a focus on corporate law. Michelle lives in Yorkshire, England with her partner Ryan and four daughters.
Website: https://www.execangels.orgFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ExecAngelsNetworkInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/exec_angels/Email: email@example.com
About Julia Schmidt: She is an award-winning Executive Assistant with over 20 years of experience working in different industries. She is known for being a passionate advocate for people development and in helping others succeed and embrace their leadership skills. Julia is an active networker, mentor, and the author of The Executive Secretary Guide to Building a Successful Career Strategy, available now on Amazon. Julia is a proud member of IMA – International Management Assistants.