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Was Aleksandra right to quit the Apprentice?

Are you a fan of the BBC’s The Apprentice? Did you watch last night’s show. What was your take on Aleksandra King’s decision to quit the process? Is she weak and ineffective? Not strong enough? Couldn’t handle the pressure?

Or is she a woman of integrity and conviction, who knows her values?

Interesting that Mukai’s first reaction (good riddance by the way) was “we’re just starting a task, it’s not exactly the ideal moment“. Immediately, I disagreed. No, it’s the perfect time to quit. Quit now, before you get into the task, rather than halfway through the day.

“She’s not strong enough”

Both Grainne and Lord Sugar felt sure that Aleksandra’s decision was because “she’s not strong enough”. I disagree.

In the previous week’s episode, Aleksandra showed herself to be strong, competent and confident. She runs her own business consultancy. As a former business performance consultant myself, I know that requires strength of mind and strength of character. She tells her teammates that she’s finding the process “overwhelming, stressful and really intense.”

I imagine that sitting at home on your sofa watching this process is VERY different to being IN it.

Outside the room, she tells the camera “I just want to go home to my kids and my husband now.

That proves her strength of mind and strength of character. It’s a strong person who makes a decision that you know will be unpopular. To my mind, it underlines that she is clear on what is most important to her.

Aleksandra is absolutely clear

We all have values – even those people you think have ‘no values’. It’s just that theirs are different to yours.

Values are those intangible nouns such as loyalty, independence, freedom, stability, security, success, happiness, integrity or love. They affect everything that we do: how we behave, how we think, and how we feel. They are the unspoken rules and regulations; the terms and conditions by which you live your life. I’d loved this article by Caroline Flanagan on how your values can affect your motivation at work.

Our values are partly cultural, partly upbringing, partly just you. When  you understand your values i.e. what is most important to you, you are empowered to make more informed decisions. When you get clear on who you are and what’s really important to you, you will have the confidence to make the decisions that are right for you.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, we might compromise our values. If you do this unknowingly (because you have not yet taken the time to get clear on your values), this may be reflected in how you feel about life or work or being a parent. In turn this may affect how you behave.

It’s essential to understand your values if you want to confidently balance work and life.

And that’s why I think quitting shows that Aleksandra IS strong. She is absolutely clear on what is most important to her and she made a decision that took courage.

Want to get clear on your values?

Not sure what your values are – grab a copy of this activity which I do at all my workshops. Getting clear on your values will help you to understand what’s most important to you in your work-life-balance: Discover your Core Values in 5 Easy Steps. Maybe this will give you the confidence to make the right decision like Aleksandra. And if you need some help with that process, let’s talk.

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Sherry Bevan

It can be hard to balance career and family. Sherry helps ambitious women get clear on what they really want, then find the confidence to do it.
If today's the day, you want to put your head in your hands and cry, know you are not alone. Why not check out these tips on how to cope with overwhelm.

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