Are you an Iron Lady? by Lucinda Harlow

Your friends call you stubborn. Your mum sticks to headstrong. You prefer ‘committed’. Careers coach Lucinda Harlow of Uevolve explains why flexibility isn’t always a dirty word…

When you say you are going to do something, you do it. When you commit, crikey do you commit! Setting goals and sticking to your guns is Your Thing. But does Your Thing involve flexibility? Is there room for reflection?

That means you can re-assess your goal when you see how things are panning out. Accept ‘a bit of tweaking’ is not an obscenity. And… brace yourself…  see that ditching the plan altogether might not be a fate worse than death.

I am all for a bit of steely determination. It’s what we Brits are great at – we’ve just said goodbye to our Iron Lady, after all.

Headbangers Ltd

Me, I love a good plan – but only when that plan actually gets you where you want to be! As for repeatedly hitting heads against brick walls under the guise of ‘committed’? That kind of ‘resilience’? Meh.

However, I see a fair few head-bangers in my line of work.  Psychologists refer to this as ‘sunken cost fallacy’. Put simply, when you have committed hours (years, maybe) to a course of action and literally poured your heart and soul into it, walking away is very difficult. Even when you should be running away. It’s cost you enough and no doubt given you some serious migraines.

I know I’ve had a real breakthrough in coaching when a client realises there comes a time to cut their losses and achieve their goal in a different form.

Now that’s resilience.

The fast Uevolve guide to flexible planning

  • When setting goals, put the goal in ink but the sub goals and course of action in pencil. An action plan should be a working document that you can tweak, add to and amend as you go. Seriously peeps – it should be messy!
  • Always plan regular reviews of the action you’ve taken. Check it’s getting you nearer to what you want.
  • Get some perspective from a coach or mentor. If you can’t afford to pay for it, find someone in your network who has been there, done that, to help. This needs to be someone who’ll tell you when you’re off course – without you getting all huffy.
  • Re-frame ‘tenacious’. It is a great attribute when you are pushing on through barriers. It’s not an excuse for refusing to accept you’re way too far down a blind alley.
  • Get interested in how other high achievers have arrived at where they want to be. Study their walk, not their talk. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s no honour in going solo. It just slows you down.



Recognise yourself in any of this? Everyone has a few things that can end up cluttering up a career. Fix it with focused career coaching with Uevolve.

LucindaAbout Lucinda

With a strong corporate background, Lucinda has worked at a senior level with a series of investment houses and blue chip companies in the City and West End. Having built a strong coaching practice Lucinda is in demand for one-to-one coaching and professional presentations and as an expert voice in media interviews.

Lucinda Harlow, Executive Coach
0208 408 1008
07958 943607
[email protected]

About the author

Lucinda is an Executive and Corporate Coach. You can reach Lucinda on: uevolve, LinkedIn, Twitter

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