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How to Refresh Your Career – Reflect, Re-energise and Refocus

by Leanne Yong on June 22, 2015

It’s easy to go through life simply going from one job to another, doing the same thing over and over again. Perhaps you don’t feel fulfilled in your career, but you don’t know what to do next. Perhaps you’ve never taken the time to step back and look at how your life and career are progressing. You’re just spinning your wheels and getting through each day as it happens, or you’re standing at the crossroads of your career and don’t know where to go from here.

So, what can you do to make changes in your life and refresh your career?

Xplore for Success is an organisation dedicated to Driving Gender Equality. They do this by delivering Career Resiliency programs for women within corporations who want to step up into leadership positions. Xplore are holding their first ever Career Retreat for Women, from Friday 31 July to Sunday 2 August. The aim of the retreat is for women to take time out of their lives and reflect on what’s important to them, so they can come back re-energised and refocused— with practical steps they can start to implement in their lives.

The retreat is focused around three key concepts: Reflect, Re-energise, Refocus. You can use these concepts to transform both your life and career, and ensure that you’re moving in a direction where you are firmly in the driver’s seat and feeling alive each day.

Ozlem from Xplore explains the basics behind each concept, and offers some practical tips you can apply in your life right now.


On its own, reflection is a very powerful tool. It’s how we learn; how we join the dots and realise how we could have done better or done things differently, and how we integrate the key learnings we’ve gained along the way. It enables us to make changes in our habits and patterns. Without reflection, we just keep going on autopilot and doing the same thing.

Everyone has a to-do list, but no one has a stop-doing list. We can’t do everything at the same time. We need to stop doing some things in order to make room for the things we truly want to do. Reflection is crucial in working out what those important things are. If we take care of the things that are important, there will be far less ‘urgency’ in our lives, less scrambling to put out fires each day.

If we take care of the things that are important, there will be far less ‘urgency’ in our lives, less scrambling to put out fires each day.

Ask yourself: What do I need to do more of? What do I need to do less of? What do I need to do differently in order to get where I want to go?

A practical step you can implement immediately:

Give yourself some quiet time in the morning for some reflection. It might be no longer than five minutes. It might be over a cup of tea. The important thing is to have that moment of silence and think about how you want your day to go. Decide on the one thing you need to focus on that day that will make you feel proud at the end of it. Then go out and do it!


We all have a limited amount of time in a day, but how much we can achieve in that time comes down to our energy level. You probably know one or two people in your life who are always on the go, who seem almost superhuman—well, it all comes down to their energy levels.

An article published by the Harvard Business Review a few years back stated that “time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story.” Energy is not finite, and it is up to us to manage our energy so we have a greater capacity to perform at our highest possible level. If we learn to manage our energy, we will get better work done, contribute more, become more innovative and creative, and most importantly, we won’t come home feeling burnt out.

If we learn to manage our energy, we will get better work done, contribute more, become more innovative and creative, and most importantly, we won’t come home feeling burnt out.

Many people talk about balancing your life, which is another way for women to feel guilty about themselves. Sometimes it’s simply not possible to balance everything. There are times when we will need to give more focus and energy on certain aspect of our work or our lives.

A practical step you can implement immediately:

Reduce the number of decisions you make for the routine stuff. Studies indicate if you have some robust procedures and processes in place, or rituals when you get up so you don’t need to make decisions in the morning, you actually have more energy and decision-making ability later in the day.

Start to cultivate routines and rituals that set you up to perform your best in the day. Ask yourself what do you need in order to achieve that. It could be getting up early to do exercise, or giving yourself 15 minutes of extra time to have a proper breakfast. It could be sitting down and looking over your diary or calendar so you know what you have coming up and what you have to do to achieve your goals. It’s about owning the time in your day, rather than being owned by it.

It’s about owning the time in your day, rather than being owned by it.

Set up the routines that work for you. Stick to them. You might be surprised at how much it helps your energy levels later in the day!


Refocusing is about getting clear on where you’re going. It’s about knowing which direction you’re heading, and why. The ‘why’ is important because we’re all busy and our days get clogged up. The ‘why’ factor will motivate you and keep you on track. It’s a reminder of what’s meaningful to you.

Having the ‘why’ helps you to take those purposeful and deliberate steps in the direction you want to go. It allows you to consider the actions you’re taking. Just like any other roadmap, once you know where you’re headed, you also know what choices and decisions you have to make to get there. Without the ‘why’, without that final destination, it’s pretty hard to know what choices you need to make!

A practical step you can implement immediately:

Take a step back and start asking yourself the questions that will determine your destination. Where do you want to be six months from now, and what will that look like? How will you know you’ve gotten there—not just wishy-washy feelings, but definitive indicators or success factors that will tell you that you’ve arrived?

If you’re looking to develop your career, look at what projects you’re on and the level of responsibility you have. What’s your career vision? For example, if you want to move to a managerial role but have never had direct reports, what are some things you can do to learn to support someone else and be a guide to them? Are there any opportunities for you to take up mentoring?

In the end, it’s too easy for your destination to be about the dollars instead of about feeling fulfilled. What kind of work do you want to do where you feel you’re in your thriving zone? What kinds of things do you care about, or are passionate about?

Take a step back and refocus your life. Sheryl Sandburg recently quoted in a post about her recently deceased husband, “Let me not die while I am still alive.” Don’t let yourself go through each day without considering the path that will let you feel challenged, valued, as though you’re making a difference and most importantly, that will let you feel alive.


If you want to spend a weekend with like-minded women and experienced mentors exploring how the mantra of “Reflect, Re-energise and Refocus” can  transform your life, consider attending the Xplore Career Retreat held from Friday 31 July to Sunday 2 August. The goal is to give women time to slow down and listen to their inner wisdom—to discover what is true for them. You’ll come away not just with a fresh view on your career and life, but also practical strategies and tools to make the changes in your life.

It’s held on a weekend so you won’t be juggling work, and you’ll be put up in an air-conditioned private cabin overlooking the Hawkesbury River. You’ll be 90 minutes out of Sydney–far enough to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, but not too far out that you’ll be even more tired when you get home.

xploreThe earlybird tickets are $1800(+GST), for all bookings by June 30. Otherwise, standard tickets are $2000(+GST). It’s tax-deductible, and it’s worth asking your employer if they will pay for this as part of your professional development. You can find the brochure here, with details on how to register.

This article was sponsored by and written in collaboration with Xplore.

photo credit: You Make Your Own Choices by Simon & His Camera (Alnwick Castle Gardens)

Welcome to Leaders in Heels

Leanne Yong
Leanne Yong is the Leaders in Heels Managing Editor, and a Games Master for an escape room (Next Level Escape). She loves stories and puzzles, and has written four novels.
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