Dealing with Making Mistakes: Advice for the Young Professional Who Wants to Be Good at Everything

Lifestyle |

Yesterday I made a mistake, at work, what a way to start a Monday. As someone who is extremely hard on herself, trying to be good at everything, dealing with making mistakes and learning from experience is a significant area of development for me. Starting out as a young professional, my resilience skills were extremely low. I found (and still do find – although I am getting increasingly stronger at this) it hard to bounce back from a bad situation, a mistake, to pick myself up when something goes wrong. Evidently this can have a significant impact on your day and even your week, with the danger of impacting upon delivery.

I have been working on strengthening my resilience skills for the last 18 months, focusing on being action orientated to turn situations around, as opposed to losing myself in the black hole of worry, stress and overthinking. I try to have a wider perspective on situations, considering them in the grand scheme of the world and really nailing down on how severe the impact actually is, rather than than what I think it is. I can see a real difference and a real growth in myself in this area therefore thought it would be appropriate to share some tips.

[Determine the Scale of Your Mistake Before Creating a Plan]

So on Friday afternoon I sent out some information, in the completely wrong format, making the document unreadable and quite frankly, of no use to anyone – not the biggest mistake in the world. However, when your CRO is on the list of recipients, this mistake carries some precedence. With regards to creating a plan, I had a few options; break down and cry [tempting], leave work and never come back [also potentially tempting], recall the email,  personally proceed to every recipient’s desk grovelling at their feet  or simply, fix the problem – resend the information with an accompanying apology that it was not sent correctly the first time.

I could have recalled the email, but that may have taken just as much time and hassle as simply re-sending the information. I could have grovelled at all recipient’s feet, but was the mistake really that severe that merited a personal apology? I didn’t think so. Make sure your resulting actions are appropriate to the severity of the situation.

[Confide in Someone You Trust]

Worrying about something alone is never helpful. Being the world’s biggest extrovert I like and need to externalise my feelings to feel better. Having someone reassure you not only makes you feel better, but provides an objective perspective on the situation.

[Don’t Panic]

This one is important. We all make mistakes, we cannot be [no matter how hard some of us try] perfect, things can and do go wrong.  A leader is someone than remains calm under pressure, maintaining credibility and reliability, even when the proverbial shit hits the fan. Better decisions will be made when emotion is removed and problems looked at objectively, removing the potential for knee jerk reactions and rash decisioning. Take time to process what has happened, consider your options carefully and proceed to mitigate. If it has been a significant mistake that does have severe impact  upon someone or something, it can be incredibly hard to stay calm but what is key to remember is that what has happened, has happened and you cannot change that, however you may be able to  better the situation and the more calmly you can do so the better.

[Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice]

An oldie but a goodie. Don’t make the same mistake twice.
“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error”
Learn from experience, every day is a learning day and If you treat your mistakes as lessons – you will improve time and time again.

[Have Perspective]

Again, this can be hard, especially when we hold such pride in our work, our personal brands and our reputations. However, one must have perspective, will it bring your organisation to its knees? Most likely not, are you going to lose your job? Probably not. Will the world end? Most definitely not.

Will you potentially have to apologise for slipping up, being negligent or not paying enough attention? Potentially, but that’s OK – for the most part, people are kind – and they are empathetic, they will know what it feels like and as long as your apology is genuine – I can guarantee they will accept it.

JK Rowling on perspective after experiencing significant failure
[or what society would deem to call failure] at an early stage in her life;
‘My greatest fear had been realised, yet I was still alive’ 
Watch her Ted Talk on the Benefits of Failure and Making Mistakes here

Be Resilient | Be Strong

Be #AllergictoAverage

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Liven Up Your Black Work Trousers: Styling That’s True to You

Fashion |, Uncategorized

 

So, I posted a picture of my #AllergictoAverage [Tuesday-Get-Up] on Instagram and wow, people LOVED these trousers. The amount of comments I got on them, people asking where they were from, where did I find them etc. Well; you find them here and the best news is – THEY. ARE. ON. SALE.
All sizes up to an 18, go now. [Go – go!]

trousersred

[ps –  are you following me on Instagram? Get Following! @_nicoleperry]

One person did say to me however,
‘I love your trousers – I wish people more wore more colour in my office…’
Well, if you want to wear colour – you can – and you should!
But, if going in full pelt with fire engine trousers is a bit much, here’s a few suggestions to spice up your bottom half without going TOO wild.

[A Slim Belt for A Slim Silhouette]

I was lucky enough to be sent this amazing little belt from GANT, via Betty and Bee. It is the perfect addition to my corporate wardrobe, brightening up any pair of black trousers. The soft tone of the pink means it’s not garish or brash and blends nicely with any neautralised colours. It’s great quality with lovely attention to detail on the stitching and a beautifully shaped clasp.

Skinny belts are ideal for adding a sophisticated feel to a pair of relatively casual trousers. The trousers from Zara are great but they’re neither high nor low waisted, and being 5ft4, they have the potential to make me look a bit dumpy.
Adding a belt helps keep them in right area around your waist constructing a slim silhouette and a well dressed look.

Skinny Pink Gant Belt 2

I wore it with last season Black Zara Slacks and one of  my new favourites;
Hawes and Curtis Beige and Navy Floral Shirts.

Hawes and Curtis Floral Shirt3

I wore this to the media preview of ‘Hello My Name is Paul Smith’ which is currently showcasing at the Lighthouse Glasgow – review up next week.

Hawes and Curtis Floral Shirt2

Perhaps a blog post on ‘How to Stand Out Against A Wall of Thousands of Buttons’ would be appropriate.

Hawes and Curtis Floral Shirt

As you can see, the belt is suuuuper subtle, an understated presence on the outfit, it definitely creates a clean split between black trouser and shirt.

Originally trained as a collar-sewing specialist,  GANT’s founder Bernard Gantmacher original values and aspirations of quality and class are still prominent today; making it an attractive offering for young professionals.

Unfortunately, this belt is no longer in stock [yeah, it was that popular], however I’ve picked out two that are just as elegant and versatile.
201601161138175_fv_pimcore_494587_flat

 

 

 

 

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At only £32.50 each [down from £65 – God, I bloody love sale season] they’re a steal.

Black Patent
Red Patent

 

[A Belted Loop Waist]

If the colour red is too much for you, but you liked the belted loop around the waist of the Lavish Alice trouser, these might be a real compromise. With a slight sheen to the fabric, these trousers are the perfect hybrid of style and professionalism.

Belted Waist Trouser.jpg

What’s even better, the tapered cigarette ankle finish means they could easily transform from working day to evenings drinks, or even be the basis for a Saturday night out.
At £38, a great investment.

Belted Waist Trouser 2

 

Culotte [Got] To Have

If you want to ramp up the adventure on the style front, but not particularly the colour, these culottes are a must-buy. Pair with a white collared shirt and hair clean back for an androgynous look. #GirlBoss swag instantly.

Oh wait – I forgot to tell you the best bit. [They’re only £9.99]
Yeah, you can thank me later.
Shop Now.

 

Make Great Choices | Ones That Feel Like You

Be #AllergictoAverage

Top Ten Tips for [The Company Conference]

#AllergictoAverage, Business, Corporate Wear, Dresses, Fashion, Notebooks, OOTD, What to Wear to Work, WIWT, Women in Business, workwear

[The Company Conference]

[The Company Conference] is a minefield of networking, opportunities, faces you do know – that don’t know you – and faces you should know – but have no clue…

Having attended my company’s conference last week at the Hilton Dunblane Hydro [Scotland], it prompted me to think about how how much is going on in your head before you go: ‘What will I wear?’ ‘Who’s table will I be sat at?’ ‘Should I ask a question?’ ‘Do I know the numbers?’ ‘How much should I drink!?’

Well, here to help are my [Top Ten Tips] for feeling at your best at
The Company Conference.

Number 1: Know Your Shit. 

Know your shit, at the business level, at your team level and on a personal level. No one respects someone in the business who is completely oblivious to the macro environment.

Have a good idea of the business performance, if the purpose of your conference [like mine] was to reflect on the last year before looking forward to the next, get a handle on some of the high level numbers before you go (if you don’t know them already). It will prepare you for more educated conversations and enhanced understanding of why things are the way they are. It also shows insight and genuine interest, differentiating you when talking to senior stakeholders.

Number 2: First Impressions Count

It’s a phrase well known, but how much does it actually matter? Well, our conscious minds can handle roughly 40 bits of information a second. [So What?] you say –  That sounds like a lot until you realise our unconscious minds can handle 11 million per second. It is our unconscious mind that creates judgement in the first instance therefore it is important to manipulate as much as that as is possible.
How do we do this? Dress well, be well groomed and follow the #AllergictoAverage philosophy: Stand Out | Stand Tall.

Here’s one of the outfits I wore for the evening part of my conference:

allergic to average

Refer to earlier posts for guides on nailing corporate wear.

Number 3: Take Notes

First and Foremost, research says our brains can  only maintain true focus for a maximum of 45 minutes, before it begins to lose steam. Taking notes will help guide that focus, but also act as a reminder to look back on when we inevitably forget that one piece of information we told ourselves we have to remember…

Number 4: Take your own Pad

Take your own notebook. Hotel/Conference notebooks are shit. I have not yet came across one that stays together after 1 hour of use.

Number 5: Ask questions

‘Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers’ [Tony Robbins]

If we’re going with the #AllergictoAverage mantra (which obviously, we are) wanting to stand out is a great thing. Asking questions is a sure-fire way to get noticed and be remembered, if you’re a quick thinker like me, just rely on thoughts springing into your head as and when subject matter provokes you. Write these down. You don’t want to forget them when the opportunity presents itself. If you need a little more time to think, check the agenda in advance, anticipate the speaker’s topics and their stance on the issues being discussed; take prepared questions along with you. Remember, no question is a silly question and by having the confidence to ask you’ve made bigger steps than if you hadn’t asked at all.

Number 6: The Bar

Now, this tip could have a full blog post dedicated of its own! [The Bar] is for celebration, clinking of glasses congratulating success aaaaand multiple cocktails and shots. Enjoy it! But pace yourself, no one wants to be the one chaperoned to bed at 9.30pm or with the extremely red face in the office come Monday morning (not that would EVER happen of course). Depending on what time the drinks start, if like my conference pre-dinner drinks were scheduled for 6.30pm and if, like me, you’re a bit of a lightweight… drink water in between your drinks up until dinner. It will set you in better stead for the evening. Additionally, [Beware of the Bubbles] I know if I want to keep my dignity I can only have a few glasses. Once dinner is over, everyone starts to relax and the party kicks in – from this point on please feel free to sample every spirit on the bar and potentially ramp up to doubles come 10pm, assuming you will [drink responsibly].

Number 7. [Always] Pack an Outfit Change.

Yes, one too many box splits on the dancefloor [or maybe just an overindulgence on the chocolate caramel dessert] will result in trousers splitting, at the crotch, not ideal.

av3

Thankfully one of my wonderful colleagues and friends had a spare change – which I didn’t have – which she so kindly lent to me, even if this did make us like the dancing twin emojis
[ ] it was surely better than everyone seeing a snippet of my VS underwear…

av 2

Lesson Learned

Number 8: Exert Caution at the Photobooth

A few glasses of bubbles down we hit the photobooth. [Yes] it is likely the photos will be hosted on a giant screen behind the dancefloor and [Yes] it is likely all colleagues will be given access to the photos post conference…

av 1

Number 9: Your Best Friend Berocca

If your conference is over 2/3 days and you have had a little tipple the evening before, make sure you have Berocca! Thankfully at our conference, there was Berocca on the tables for our morning sessions. A proven mix of vitamins and minerals it helps you stay energised for the day and could keep that sore head at bay.

Number 10: Map Your Network

Before you go, identify who you need or want to talk to. In a large corporation sometimes it’s hard to get time with the people you need. Whether it’s on a personal/career level or for getting attention or insight for a specific idea you have – use the environment of the conference to do it. Catch someone while they’re filling up their coffee, in the ladies loo  [if it’s a woman of course] or whilst they’re waiting at the bar. Introduce yourself with confidence and deliver your elevator pitch. This should be no more than 60 seconds which incorpates key messages. For example: if it’s on a personal development level, you may start with [Hello, can I introduce myself? It’s great to be able to get a chance to speak to you! My name’s Nicole – I’m really enjoying the conference – it’s great to meet so many new people that you don’t get the chance to meet day-to-day. I’m trying to build my network within the organisation so this is brilliant for doing so’] Not only have you established yourself with confidence, you’ve brought attention to the fact you’re aware of your personal development and the importance of networking; hence why you may have approached the person in the first place.

Map out the opportunities the conference presents and create a bit of a mini strategy on how to achieve these. Identify others who could help you on this journey – perhaps someone you know who is a mutual tie to the person you want to speak to. Approach with the right balance of confidence and subtlety and you’ll have nailed it.

Now, to really seal the deal, follow up on Monday morning with an email; make reference to your conversation, thank them for their time and if you’re feeling confident – ask for a follow up. Boom; consider your network expanded.

Be Prepared | Take It On

Be #AllergictoAverage

 Black and White Trouser Suit | Zara

Blue Lace Up Heels | Zara

Both Black Dresses | Topshop.

Dress [to] Success Glasgow

Burberry, Business, Christian Louboutin, Corporate Wear, Events |, Fashion, Marks and Spencer, New Look, Pointed Heel, What to Wear to Work, Women in Business, workwear

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Last week I was absolutely delighted and so privileged to be asked to host ‘Dress to Success Glasgow’ in the most stunning venue; The Hummingbird Penthouse.

What an audience it was! Receptive, engaging and inquisitive, and let’s not forget – ambitious. This was a room full of individuals who realised the potential and the power of first impressions and who wanted to learn more.

I covered [Your Base Collection] to highlight the absolute essentials for your corporate wardrobe, which you can see in one of my most earliest blog posts.

#AllergictoAverage

I then went on to discuss [Top to Toe for Interview] which covered attention to detail in preparing for your interview.

I took the audience through considerations – starting with style of hair, right down to the tidiness of your handbag and what pens you take. Using personal opinion and research conducted, I gave the audience an insight into employer perception; a critical consideration with most being at an early stage of their careers; soon to be on the blog;
Watch This Space. 


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Following that, I took my wonderful audience through the [why]. The core of everything I do with #AllergictoAverage is about empowerment. Empowering women in the corporate world to Stand Up and Stand Tall; by exploring how we can Be At Our Best; More of Time, through fashion and lifestyle. I want to educate and support them to make better choices with their clothing in the corporate world and leave them feeling like they can take on the world.

Recently I watched a Ted Talk [Start with Why] and it was one of the most thought provoking Ted Talks I have watched. Since watching it is crucial for me to always consider your WHY and I wanted to communicate that to my audience.

I won’t spoil it for you, watch it here:
Start with Why
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE

Finally, I took them through some examples of my favourite power dressers. A modernisation of the traditional 80s fashion style that allowed woman to establish authority in typically male-dominated fields – but we’ll keep that for another time.

[What Did I Wear?] 

I went with a neutralised palette for the evening, wearing 2 pieces from [Your Base Collection] with some camel tones thrown in too.

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A special night calls for some special shoes.

So Kate Nude Patent with signature red sole.

Joni

On my bottom half, I wore one of my favourite wardrobe items
[both personal and corporate wardrobe]:
The Topshop Joni High Waisted Jean in Black.

Why? Because they fit my body well, they are stylish, they are versatile.  But most of all they make me feel good;
they make me feel confident and I stand tall.

As you can see in the above picture I’m wearing a camel coloured waist coat, teamed with a tailored white shirt and Burberry neckerchief for an eye-catching look.

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Obviously, I wore my signature beehive and ponytail, teamed with natural makeup and a Velvet Teddy lip.

A fantastic event, with great feedback from my audience, giving me the confidence to keep doing what I’m doing. Thank you to any one that attended – I truly believe this won’t be the last.

Nicole.

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Reach Out | Connect

Be #AllergictoAverage

Shoes | Christian Louboutin | So Kate 120mm Nude Patent |
http://uk.christianlouboutin.com/us_en/shop/women/so-kate-4.html

Waistcoat | New Look
http://www.newlook.com/shop/womens/jackets-and-coats/cameo-rose-camel-sleeveless-jacket-_349723217

High Waisted Jean | Topshop ‘Joni’
http://www.topshop.com/en/tsuk/product/clothing-427/jeans-446/joni-super-high-waisted-jeans-1108/moto-holding-power-joni-jeans-4025131?refinements=category~%5b941191%7c208527%5d&bi=1&ps=20

Shirt | Marks and Spencer

Neckerchief | Vintage Burberry

An Evening with Michelle Mone [The Mitchell Library]

Business, Corporate Wear, Fashion, Scotland, What to Wear to Work, Women in Business

Tonight I was privileged enough to be part of an intimate audience to hear Michelle Mone OBE tell her story. A Scottish entrepreneur and founder of Ultimo, a company estimated to be worth £20m and a brand that’s irrepressible.

Michelle told her story, from growing up in the east end of Glasgow to recently releasing her book ‘My Fight to the Top. I was never sure of my opinion of Michelle, but after reading her book and hearing her speak tonight, I’ve found a profound respect for her after learning about the struggles she faced as a child but also for the majority of her adult life.

I feel it can be quite cliche to talk about ‘obstacles’ overcame when building a business, it seems to be one of those tick box sections that has to be included to make your story interesting, and of course, everything is relative to each individual, however it appears Michelle has genuinely had more than her fair share. Facing challenge after challenge, hardship after hardship, hurt, distrust, disrespect and at times just…. sheer bad luck; yet she has managed to power through and deliver.

Whatever your opinion of her, I would encourage anyone to read her book. Yes, at times it seems dramatised and of course you never know how biased it is, but it’s a example of with sheer grit you can do what you set out to do.  As much as I don’t agree with some of her actions, some things she’s said or some of the stories you hear from the business community; you cannot deny the strength of her resilience.

___________________

Tonight I wore a more casual outfit than normal, as today I finished a 2-day Risk Masterclass in my full-time banking job – where it was a more relaxed environment – before rushing to the event.

michelle mone

I’m wearing the cutest little dress – a fave in my wardrobe – a navy blue number from… Primark! My shoes are also Primark – which I grabbed last week from Edinburgh’s Princes St store when my feet were a little sore after some drinks in the city! Not the greatest quality but they’re an easy choice. Dress is complimented by a beautiful red, navy and cream vintage Jean de Bahrein scarf.

Being one of the most iconic buildings in Glasgow and one of Europe’s biggest public libraries, the Mitchell Library, with it’s distinctive green dome, was the perfect location to hear Michelle in her home city.

Be Open Minded | Learn More 

Be #AllergictoAverage

 ‘My Fight to the Top’ | £12 | Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Fight-Top-Michelle-Mone-ebook/dp/B00R2WGHN8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429652290&sr=1-1&keywords=my+fight+to+the+top

Dress | £12 | Primark | Oxford St LDN Branch | 2013

Shoes | Primark | £6 | Princes St Branch | 2015

Scarf | £8 | ElephantJuiceVintage
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/321710932412?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Top 5 [Sexy] Stationary Picks

Business, Corporate Wear, Lifestyle |, Notebooks, Organisation, Quirky Stationary, Success, Women in Business

One thing I absolutely love is Sexy stationary.

I love having stationary that people notice, whether that’s when it’s sitting on your desk or in a meeting. It’s another excuse to show off your personality.

I started Monday right by putting to use my new notebook I got at the weekend. From someone who sees a One Way Street as ‘just a rule’ that you can obey when you like as opposed to an actual law, I feel this quote was made for me….whoops.
I’m sure my passengers will vouch for this.

Seriously though – where’s all the fun in following the rules? Some of life’s greatest inventions and greatest entrepreneurs were established by bending and breaking rules. Disruption is a very powerful thing.

notebook 3

My Top 5 Sexy Stationary Picks

1. The Filofax

notebook 2

Everyone needs a Filofax in their life: seriously, you are missing out if you don’t own one. I don’t know how I would keep my life in order without it.

This little red number is fashionable and chic and bright enough to prompt you to remember to always put it in your handbag. A diary, separate sections for notes, figures, doodles and ideas, an address book and places to write your to-do’s – what more do you need!?

If I had a £ for everytime someone said to me ‘you do know you have all that on your iPhone…’ I’d be a millionaire. I like paper and pen; leave me alone.

2. You Can’t Stop the Beat [The Doodle] Pen

pen 1 pen 2

This little pen is cute as can be. You’ll always know it’s yours (no more pesky pen pinchers!) and plus – it’s been said doodling improves concentration – so Doodle away to your heart’s content; guilt free.

3. The Motivating Notebook

notebook 4

This notebook is brilliant for the entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs among us. [What’s an intrapreneur] you say? It’s someone who acts entrepreneurially within a large organisation; someone who explores ideas, challenges the norm and takes risks. Many famous entrepreneurs have said how they have kept a notebook by their bedside to ‘mind-dump’ any ideas they come up with during the night. With Half lined/Half blank pages this notebook is perfect for exploring your creativity – day or night.

4. The Forceful Post It

post it 1

Need a bit of a kick up the ar*se? Use these post-its. Self explanatory really.

5. The Procrastination Fighter | The Mind Dump

a5

This A5 pad is what I need on a day where I feel overwhelmed with every thing I have to do – there’s never enough hours in the day, never enough days in the week. This A5 helps separate what is really important and helps prioritise; helping you take a more strategic approach to firing through that to-do list.

Also – the satisfaction of ripping the page out the pad when you’ve completed all those to-do’s is as wonderful as the feeling of whipping your bra off at the end of day.

Be Prepared | Embrace the Day

Be #AllergictoAverage

Break the Rules Notebook | £8 | Paperchase:
http://www.paperchase.co.uk/stationery/notebooks/a5-obey-wiro-notebook.html

The Filofax | £30 | Paperchase:
http://www.paperchase.co.uk/stationery/diaries-organisers/filofax/patent-red-pocket.html

Can’t Stop the Doodle Pen | £9.95 | Happy Jackson
http://www.nottheusual.co.uk/happy-jackson-cant-stop-the-doodle-pen/

Great Ideas Notebook | £9.95 | Happy Jackson
http://www.nottheusual.co.uk/happy-jackson-a5-notebook-great-ideas/

Get Shit Done Post Its | £3.50 | Ohh Deer
http://ohhdeer.com/stationery/post-it-notes/let-s-get-shit-done-post-it-notes

Stop Procrastinating Pad | £4.95 | Ohh Deer
http://ohhdeer.com/stationery/notebooks/stop-procrastinating-notepad