Diana Ryall, Founder of Xplore for Success on the importance of focus

Leaders in Heels recently caught up with Diana Ryall, founder of Xplore for Success and founding supporter of Dress for Success Sydney, to talk about which key areas of your life need attention to ensure personal growth and success. Diana is no stranger to these words, her career moving from a role as Managing Director at Apple Computer, Australia from 1997 to 2001 followed by diverse roles since which support the success of women in the workplace. Diana says,”The importance of ensuring you retain focus on 8 key areas – career, environment, finance, fun & recreation, health & fitness, personal growth, relationships and spirituality cannot be overestimated”. According to Diana, these areas make up the core of what’s important and need to be evaluated constantly to ensure a happy and fulfilled life.

On Careers

Your career is your responsibility. Take the time to consider what you want out of your career during the next year.

  • Is it a new job?
  • A new role in your current organisation?
  • An increase in responsibility?
  • More organisational profile?
  • More connection with those around you?
  • A better understanding of your organisation’s priorities?
  • More flexibility?

All of the above would be valid areas to consider as a goal and I am sure there are many more. However, if you don’t make the effort to identify what your goal is and write it down, it is unlikely that you will retain your focus and achieve the outcome.

On Environment

This may be your environment at work, at home or at play. It makes a difference to your general outlook to life if you feel each of these places supports you to achieve your best, feel calm and relaxed or enjoy your times of relaxation. It may be as simple as de-cluttering a wardrobe or a work area. It may be hanging photos and pictures in your home or painting a wall that makes you feel comfortable.

On Finance

It is amazing to me how many people don’t take the time to consider the financial areas that are important to their lives. Simple things like planning for savings, mortgage payments, management of credit and tax returns are important to feeling in control of your life.

On Fun & Recreation

Relaxation and fun reduce stress and make us more positive about life. Consider the things that make you feel relaxed and happy as they will help you release the endorphins and build your resilience to tough times. What makes you laugh? What helps you relax? Do you build in enough of these things in your week, month or year to allow your body to rebuild?

On Health & Fitness

People often comment how important they consider their health is to them but don’t put in place the actions to support their words. Your body needs good fuels to operate effectively and exercise to retain good health. What is your health plan? When does it get lost and how can you get it back on track? Are there things that you need to plan to ensure you are in charge again and ready for all the challenges of work and life?

On achieving Personal Growth

Whatever role we hold at work or what we do outside of work, personal growth is important. Learning new skills, taking on new ideas and building our recreation activities provides enormous return. Identify what there is for you that you want to learn and don’t limit your thinking to the workplace.


On Relationships

Too often our relationships get lost in the hustle and bustle of life and yet those relationships with family and friends provide support in tough times. In our global lifestyle we need to find the small things that build stronger relationships with those who matter. Have you told these people how much they add to your life? Are you really ‘present’ when you are with them? Are you comfortable with the strength of these relationships? Consider Martin Seligman’s gratitude activity: Generating Gratitude and Gratitude Visits.

On Spirituality

The last area is spirituality and this area is key to contentment. I particularly like the lives that Martin Seligman talks about and the importance of a meaningful life. We can have money, health and a great career and still feel that we don’t have a meaningful life. When you consider the life you lead, is it the speech at your wake that you want to hear? If not, now is the time to consider what would make your life meaningful. Here are some more useful links for you to browse at your leisure:

Martin Seligman video on positive psychology

Martin Seligman’s positive psychology presentation download

Big Questions online

About Xplore for Success

At Xplore we’re committed to supporting women in their career, and so looking at your life as a whole is important to be able to identify areas where there may be roadblocks to your success. We believe that sharing common roadblocks is enlightening and can help you to see more clearly, and visualise your career goals. Listening to others, taking advice and learning from others’ experiences can really make a difference to the way that you handle situations that may be causing you stress and anxiety.

Xplore’s Senior Resiliency program encourages you to share your experiences and enables you to develop strategies to build on your existing skills. Celebrating your successes and giving you the tools to recognise when you are at your best. Xplore wants to encourage you to take ownership of your career and seek out opportunities to be successful. If you take a proactive approach to your career you can define what you want and achieve it. If you don’t, then you are at risk of someone else determining the direction of your career, which may not take you where you want to go. Read some of the past participants’ career journeys and how Xplore played a part in their success. Get in touch with us to have a chat if you want to take charge of your career.

Do you sometimes feel that the only barrier to your success is you? You’re not alone, a recent report by Chief Executive Women (CEW) and Bain & Company, revealed that many women in junior/middle management positions perceive their style may be viewed as a barrier to progression. Being aware of your style is important as it affects they way that you interact and communicate with others in your organisation.

The report also highlights that women want to see other women being successful, otherwise they find it hard to push past barriers to promotion. Being able to see a clear career path makes you more confident to reach your potential. During, and after, the Xplore Senior Resiliency program women inspire each other to ignite their ambition and achieve their goals. Women mentoring women is a valuable part of the program.

Xplore’s Senior Resiliency is now available as a public program. Registrations are now open for the March public programs in Sydney and Melbourne. Download the brochure for more information and register today!

Diana Ryall


Diana Ryall AM is the Founder and CEO of Xplore for Success which offers services that support inspiring leadership, inclusive workplace cultures and support of women. The services include programs, seminars, presentations, coaching, diversity audits and networking events. Key areas for Xplore are talent development and gender diversity. www.xplore.net.au