“Freedom is people realising they are their own leader.” Diane Nash

Leading Your Team Starts WIth Leading Yourself

2 MIN READ

Leading your team well starts with you rising to the challenge of leading yourself. It’s a vital starting point for everyone in leadership, but especially for those running a business. Rates of anxiety, depression and burnout are horrifying for business owners. It’s a fact that 82% of entrepreneurs face burn out at least once in their career.

Leading yourself in strength and autonomy is a life-long mission that will have new mountains unfolding at every step of the journey. We could spend months on why it’s so important to nurture yourself, and how to keep reaching new heights of your own potential. But let’s focus today on some essential reminders to keep you on the straight and narrow of your own self-care. This is the only way you will experience increased success in leading your team.

“Freedom is people realising they are their own leader.” Diane Nash

Establish Routines That Serve You

Take a look around the landscape of your “normal life”. Honestly evaluate how you’re going with managing the areas that are key to fulfilment and well-being. Boldly ask yourself if you’re happy with the state of your health, your relationships, your mindset and mood, your financial management, your business growth, and other areas that are important to you as a person. Build the systems you need to grow your business sustainably.

Build Relationships That Lift You Up

Jim Rohn says we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. I’ve found this to be so literally true that it has made me quite ruthless with the way I manage my calendar. Your friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances all leave a deposit as they move in and out of your life. Make sure you’re filling your mindset bank with ambition, learning and encouragement.

Defend Boundaries For Fulfilment

It’s all too easy to let things slide. To say yes to a small thing when you should have said no. To compromise on choices with your health, time, finances and general well-being. Only you control your choices, and only you have the power to say no when there are more important, valuable things to take care of. Your life will be defined by what you say no to.

Embrace Change With Every Part Of Your Being

If you want to enjoy different outcomes in your business it means moving away from the old into the new. It will take some bold steps to learn new skills and some clever thinking to resolve problems that will arise along the way. But the life you want doesn’t exist in how things were, or even how they are now. Every single thing you have ever wanted can only come when you create change. This is how you can achieve new freedom in business.

Guard Your Outlook

Feeling afraid, pessimistic, unworthy and overwhelmed are all normal human responses to hard times. But none of these feelings are the absolute truth. They’re real because you are feeling them, but they’re also fleeting. They can be dealt with by reminding yourself there are greater truths of success, ambition and empowerment that you can bet on. How you see determines what you see. 

managing your inbox

Managing Your Inbox With These 5 Steps

3 MIN READ

Managing your email inbox means more than simply staying on top of things. With your inbox clutter-free and in control, you and your team will enjoy greater productivity and clarity at work. It might take you a while to get on top of your inbox and bring your emails down to a level that you’re personally happy with. Along the way, developing more productive habits for managing your inbox is the essential step to building sustainable, healthy email habits. 

It’s entirely normal to feel overwhelmed when you open your inbox each day. People spend about 28% of their workweek dealing with emails, which equates to about 13hrs of low level, reactive work that rarely results in progress. Only 38% of the emails in the average inbox are important and relevant to your core business. This means the rest of all that administrative bulk is nothing more than noisy junk that needs to be cleared efficiently before you drown in the quicksand. That feeling is not imaginary. Research has proven that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover from an email interruption, which erodes away your peace and sense of control in your work.   

Let’s simplify this for you by setting up a simple system to respond more decisively to all those messages. The next time you open your inbox, choose which of these five categories apply to each unopened email and respond accordingly. 

Delete

Is this email essentially junk that you simply don’t need or want to read? This is an easy decision to make: Delete that email forever! 

You’re best also to decide this point if you ever want to receive this email again from this sender. If not, take 10 seconds to unsubscribe from this sender, or create a filter to automatically delete the email the next time it hits your inbox.

managing your inbox

Delegate

There will be emails that need to be dealt with, but not by you. Create a simple process to put that email on someone else’s desk. You could forward the email to a team member with a quick message to instruct them on how you want the matter handled. Or, if you’re comfortable with giving someone else access to your inbox, you could create a folder for them inside your email account. Then when they log in they can head straight for the folder with their name on it and get busy dealing with the messages you saved inside. Mastering the fine art of delegation is simple with more tips here.

Delay

Reducing the feelings of desperate urgency that can arise when emails come in is an essential benefit of managing your inbox well. When emails come in they reflect the sender’s agenda, which does not always align with your own. Set up ways to deal with matters when it suits you. You might ‘star’ emails that you plan to deal with later at a set time each week, or put them in their own ‘Later’ folder to be opened at a scheduled time that fits with your schedule. 

Reply

Many emails in your inbox can be cleared with a simple, quick reply. Bounce emails back to the sender with a super short response which keeps things moving and off your desk like a hot potato. Using templates if you can will make this process even quicker for you and your team. 

Keeping these emails short and sweet is key. Don’t be drawn into lengthy, unnecessary stretches of dialogue when replying to emails. The less time you spend typing, the faster you can move on to more important things in your day.

You might also want to think about including a message to explain your preference for brief messages in your email footer. If your core values permit this approach, you can write up a friendly statement like this for your email footer:

Thanks for your email. You might notice my reply is short and sweet. We do this on purpose. It’s not that your message is unimportant. It’s that we just love to keep things moving here at [BUSINESS NAME]. Spending less time in our emails is a big part of that. We appreciate doing business with you and hope you understand. 

Do

The last category of emails is the most important for you to work with. These are the ones that require you to take substantial action. They will be the emails related to ongoing projects, client work, supplier arrangements, business partnerships or other matters central to your business growth. Processing all your other emails quickly and efficiently will give you the time and headspace you need to do this ‘real work’ hidden away inside your inbox. 

Successfully managing your email inbox is a journey, rather than a destination. Be patient with yourself as you get busy clearing the bulk of your email overload. Be realistic about what you can actually achieve. Avoid falling onto the trendy trap of shooting for Inbox Zero. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

email overload can be a thing of the past

The Myth Of Inbox Zero

3 MIN READ

Successful inbox management in business is a modern-day miracle! Gobal business continuing keeps on accelerating its online migration at a rate of knots. So this has left many owners with inbox overload. I struggle to cope with the thought of hundreds of emails sitting there stressing you out. It is completely unfathomable for me to imagine how you could sleep at night with upwards of five, six, ten, twenty thousand emails choking up your inbox. It almost makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. 

Setting a standard you’re happy with, then diligently working that standard as a routine part of your workday is fundamental to your effective business leadership. At Operation Verve, we have a rule of no more than 30 emails being allowed to occupy our inboxes. Implementing this limit in your business will help you too. It keeps your current jobs front of mind without getting lost in the backlog of other messages hiding what’s really important.

The idea of “Inbox Zero” is a trendy ideal you might fantasize about as an owner. If this utopian approach is on your business wishlist, you’re going to love the tips coming up in my next article. Stay tuned! 

However, your inbox management probably falls waaaaay short of this unrealistic goal. There are several reasons to let yourself off the hook by questioning the Inbox Zero ideal:

It’s a misunderstood concept

Inbox Zero is a management concept developed by productivity expert Merlin Mann. The theory aims to allow people to clear their inbox entirely. In its original conception, the Zero in this idea never referred to the number of messages that should be left in an inbox. Instead, it’s about the “amount of time an employee’s brain is in his or her box.” This notable difference casts doubt over the literal way people interpret the Inbox Zero concept. 

successful inbox management is easier than inbox zero

“Good order is the foundation of all things.” Edmund Burke

Unrealistic goals can be detrimental 

To strive for a goal and never achieve it undermines your confidence, motivation and momentum. It’s the depressing feeling of not losing the weight. Blowing the budget.  Staring at the book on your bedside table for a month. When you set a goal and come up short, you risk receiving the destructive message that you’re not capable of success. Chasing the ideal of literally no emails in your inbox can be a pipe dream. You might be setting yourself up for an inevitable failure that was never realistic or valuable in the first place. Successful inbox management for you is about setting goals you can sustainably achieve for the long term.

Out of sight equals out of mind

As a successful business leader, you have lots to manage at once. When you have multiple pots on the boil at any one time, it’s important to keep those pots in plain view. The last thing you need is to be lured into a false sense of security. Avoid the risk of an empty inbox making things look complete in your business. If there are jobs to do in your inbox, keep them where you can see them. Otherwise you risk forgetting important items, or keeping people waiting with projects that need to be done to advance your business. 

Instead of shooting for the stars with Inbox Zero, why don’t you set more realistic aims to manage your incoming emails? This will happen by building a more sustainable system for yourself. Successful inbox management in business is just one foundational aspect of getting things pumping overall. In my next article, I will show you 5 simple steps to stay on top of the mayhem in your emails. If you set up a daily routine for working those emails you’ll find your blood pressure returning to normal as you plough through your messages. I can’t wait to share!

How do you protect your business from employees?

3 MIN READ

Protecting your business assets must be a high priority for all owners on a good thing with their products and services. However, when your priority shifts to become focused on guarding against your own employees, you have a problem. This is like a red flag of dysfunctional culture waving an urgent alarm that things are not ok.

This is a question I saw posted on social media recently. A real question from a real business owner. The assumptions implied in the phrasing of this question are a concern to me. If you have a culture based on opposition, suspicion and defensiveness you have a foundation for a very unhealthy company. If you’re asking these questions you won’t get far with ensuring confidence and investment from your team.

This business owner thought they had a problem with their staff. But what they really have is a problem in their culture. Instead of asking the best way of protecting your business assets from your own employees, why not ask:

“How can you create confidence and security for your team whilst harnessing your operational IP?”

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.”
Angela Ahrendts

THIS is a question worth answering! My quick thoughts on the matter:

Protecting Your Business Assets Starts With Establishing Ownership

Of course, the protection of your most valuable assets is essential to business stability. Make sure your team members understand from the outset that all operational knowledge, resources, tools, inventions and developments are ultimately owned by the business. Not by you personally, or by them personally. Documented this in your team employment contracts, signed and dated by you and your staff member. A clause like this does more than protect your company’s operational IP legally. It sends a message to every member of your staff that it’s all for one and one for all at “Team You!”

System Access Should Only Ever Be An Inside Job

Secure all your business logins in an online service which stores sensitive information securely. We use 1Pasword in our team, but LastPass is another popular solution for you as well. Using these encrypted storage tools offers more than the protection of your logins. It guards your staff against the fallout of losing logins or having them fall into the wrong hands. It creates efficiency with faster access procedures, and it creates security for the data being protected. Password software also makes offboarding really efficient in the sad eventuation that a team member needs to leave. You can simply remove their access from the company password service and they’re free to move on.

Build Safe, Accessible Systems On Solid Tech Foundations

I worked with a company in 2019 who still used a local server to store their company business. This old technology is not as secure or efficient as migrating to cloud-based data storage. All your data can be protected by encryption as well as unique logins and access rights for each user. All your data usage can be tracked by many services. This means you see who has been accessing data, when they did it, and exactly what they did. And all data is then made available from anywhere in the world. Storing your company data in the cloud increases efficiency and accountability. Most of all, it celebrates a culture of transparency which keeps people on the same team, without compromising on security for your company.

Protecting Your Business Assets Is A Team Effort

Involving all team members in the development of operational processes is a perfect recipe for engagement. When people are involved in creating the type of workspace they want to work in, their personal investment into the company soars. Make sure they understand just how much the company values their input, and use the task of process documentation as an opportunity to celebrate and reward their knowledge. Then secure this documentation behind encrypted logins, stored centrally in the cloud for fast, safe, shared access.

Above all else, the development of a safe, invested workforce starts with positive leadership coming “from the top”. If leaders at the executive level use language which undermines the positive, invested culture of teamwork and collaboration at work, it will follow that the team will operate in kind. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy you never want to see play out in your company.

Yes, security is important. Especially as time marches on bringing with it new threats and concerns at every turn. But implementing effective security measures does not mean developing a culture of mistrust and fear. Your employees need those security measures just as much as your company does. Just remember the power of your language and the influence that you have as the leader of your company. It’s always the little things that lead to the creation of a healthy, positive company culture.

resilience for business owners

3 Ways Resilience Blocks Business Growth

3 MIN READ

Resilience for business owners is usually something people think of highly. Pushing through hardship to emerge victoriously is celebrated by successful business owners everywhere. It is certainly an asset to be able to battle through challenges in business. Surviving tough times is an essential aspect of business success, but is it always a positive thing?

Don’t get me wrong. You should be genuinely proud of the way you have grown your business, holding on with white-knuckled determination to make it through. Like all your peers, things have not always been easy for you in business. But you have prevailed. Every win you’ve enjoyed has been possible because you gritted your teeth and decided to battle through. You chose to forge a pathway of success right through the eye of the storm.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.” Nelson Mandela

Resilience is essential for business owners intent on achieving increasing levels of success. However, there is a risk that the pride you take in your ability to push through could be holding you back. Let me explain …

Resilience focuses on survival instead of growth

When you’re battling it out in the trenches of adversity, making it out alive is the name of the game. You need to harness every resource you have and direct all your efforts towards overcoming the threat. It is vital that when tough times come, you have the strength, tenacity and determination to survive. This approach itself is not a problem, but it can’t draw you on to greater heights.

If you’re a survivor you need resilience, but if you have the visionary aspirations of a leader you will rise from strength to strength to build a legacy others only dream of. This is how you can lead your business away from the battler phase through to wide open spaces of lasting influence. Shifting away from the survival mentality empowers ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results in their business.

A dependency on hardship can become an identity problem

Business owners should take pride in their resilience. In fact, often this resilience becomes a defining attribute of the person themselves. When you pride yourself on being the one who pushes through, others will notice. You will inspire others to keep fighting through their own tough times, and you will likely inspire yourself. These are all good things.

But if the story ends there, you will always be tied to the battle, and you will inadvertently create a model for others to stay tied to their battles too. If you ultimately see yourself as a battler, you will always be drawn to battles. As a result, you will never be free of those battles. You will never rise above to access freedom, abundance, and true wealth. How you see changes what you see. Lift your vision beyond the trenches. Do away with the drama. Don’t look for what you can achieve by winning the fight. Instead, look outside the fight altogether. Imagine what life could be like if you weren’t caught that cycle any more.

Resilience attracts battlers

“It’s great to see you! How have you been?”

“Oh, it’s been tough. I’ve got problems with my staff, delays with my suppliers, and my daughter is 16 going on 35. Need I say more!”

“Yes, I know what you mean. I’ve been working late all month fixing mistakes my staff made, and I’ve got stock stuck on a dock because of a strike. And my son… suspended for two days because he just can’t keep his mouth shut. I’m hearing you.”

Does this type of conversation sound familiar to you? Like attracts like. If you’re wearing your tough times like a badge of honour, chances are you’ll find others who approach life exactly the same way. Jim Rohn says you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Take a look around your circle and honestly evaluate the attitudes your closest people have. Then, pause to consider the effect this might be having on you and your attitude.

At the end of the day, resilience will get you through almost anything, so it is vital for business success. But it is only ever useful amidst hardships. Isn’t life meant to be a little better than that?

How To Achieve Business Freedom

3 MIN READ

Business freedom is a motivating driver for the vast majority of owners. Having the freedom to make choices with your time, relationships, health and finances is a goal that keeps most business leaders pushing through. No matter how much hardship or adversity they face, many owners will keep chasing that pot of freedom goal at the end of the rainbow. Where others would fail, those set on freedom are determined to prevail.

I wonder though … have you thought much about the relationship between freedom and control? As you pursue increasing amounts of freedom, you may have noticed the correlation. It takes dedicated hard work to persist through challenges, and disciplined focus to keep your eyes on the prize. You need to harness all your resources and strategically mobilise them towards the achievement of your aims. Controlling your attitude, schedule, finances, workflow and attention are all essential aspects of gaining freedom.

“Freedom cannot be bestowed — it must be achieved.” Elbert Hubbard

Business freedom allows you to throw off the shackles of obligation, constraint and expectation. However, there is a directly related value in embracing the benefits of control. Working hard at freedom in these five areas will allow you to reap boundless rewards of liberty.

 

Business Freedom Is You At Your Best

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.” Albert Camus

Self-control is foundational to business freedom. Indeed, freedom in all things comes down to your ability to manage yourself and your choices well. Choose who you want to become, then take powerful strides to make that person alive each day. Developing maturity in conflict leads to harmony and positive influence. Growing in your ability to manage your own wellness results in a long life of energised zest. Aspiring to become your best self relies on you making responsible choices. This will allow you to be who you want to become in any given moment.

 

Freedom Relies On Independent Thought

“To find yourself, think for yourself.” Socrates

You cannot possibly enjoy freedom is your mind is not your own. In this way, empowering yourself to increasing liberty is about finding your own highest thoughts. When you dedicate yourself to learning you gain a stream of sharp insights to make wise decisions. Surrounding yourself with intelligent, empowered people who share your values will help with this too. Setting clear boundaries in your social life, and making firm commitments to your own improvement will enhance your freedom as nothing else can.

 

You Can Choose Freedom Responses

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” Vicktor Emil Frankl

I urge you to read “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. The pages of this book show you how to make freedom choices better than any other I have read. You will see truths that continue to become evident in daily life. Your freedom starts with your mindset, which creates the attitudes you bring to your daily life. Regardless of hardship, opposition or deficit, you can respond to every situation with a freedom mindset. It won’t always be easy, but the journey will define you. If you get it right, you will access untold power to make positive impacts on all those around you, simply by being truly free.

 

Business Freedom Comes From Hard Work

“Shovel today’s challenges for your tomorrow’s freedom” Aniekee Ezekiel

Yes, life is tough. Today might be one of the toughest you have faced so far. You may feel like you are facing limitations and setbacks at every turn. But the only way out of these constraints is working right through them. Decide to engage your full self in resolving conflicts, developing strength and advancing your position. Avoidance only takes you off track. Even amidst the most overwhelming adversity is the opportunity to breakthrough in resilience. Work hard to be your best, learn better ways, and make positive choices. This is the key to freedom.

 

Discipline Is Key To Freedom

“Discipline will put you on the path to strength and health and intelligence and happiness. And most important, discipline will put you on the path to FREEDOM” Jocko Willink

Being disciplined is not a trendy habit or a sexy concept. Ideas of self-control, strict self-management and regimented routines are rarely connected with conversations of freedom. However, real freedom relies on discipline, and this is especially true in business. You might know the experience of working hard to increase your sales, expand your workforce, or finally get some long-overdue time off. In my experience, I have found that freedom in business does not magically appear. Business freedom is the reward that comes from a ruthless dedication to being consistent in the little things which lead to big results.

 

Why busienss leaders must work less

Why Leaders Simply Must Work Less

3 MIN READ

Self care for business owners is often conceived as an “indulgent luxury” that many believe they can’t afford. Are you like the average business leader wearing your long work hours like a badge of honour? Many owners pour blood sweat and tears into building their company with the pride of a martyr. Have you stopped to consider the price you are really paying?

I’m a big fan of hard work. However, if all that effort is not actually bringing you the results you want, maybe it’s time to look for a better way. There are several reasons that looking after yourself equates to preserving the best interests of your company. Self care for business owners comes down to realising that business health and personal health go hand in hand.

A Tired Body Can’t Work Well

Did you know the average person spends 649,401 hours sleeping during their lifetime? I bet there are some days you’d love to stack up 10 or 20 of those hours and enjoy them all in one go! Caring for yourself does not only come down to managing a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. SleepFoundation.org tells us that sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.

Crafting a lifestyle that allows you to go to bed early most nights of the week will work wonders for your personal health. As a result, your performance at work will be more energised, focused and productive. Set up some firm boundaries around how you manage your schedule to make sure you are in the driver’s seat of your sleep pattern.

A Tired Brain Can’t Solve Problems

Exhaustion will always lead you quickly to survival mode. As a result, your vision narrows to focus only on perceived threats. Your ability to reason progressively shuts down. Reactivity replaces deliberation. A real or even perceived threat can help mobilise your attention. However, this is not the approach of a well-balanced leader. When it comes to solving complex problems that have multiple variables, you need your highest cognitive resources.

Real-life has certainly shown us that threats can come out of the blue. A clear, well-rested brain can gauge multiple factors of any given challenge much more effectively than one that is tired and overwhelmed. Set aside time each week for thinking. Yoga might suit you, or meditation. Perhaps you’re more like me and love getting your heart rate up with some exercise. Do whatever you need to do to clear your mind so you can approach challenges with your best foot forward.

A Tired Heart Can’t Connect

I’ve never met a business owner who was not motivated by the desire to spend more time with the people they love. Being your own boss always involves the freedom to enjoy healthy fulfilling relationships with those you hold dear. When we’re looking at ways to increase levels of self care for business owners, this must be overtly connected to enhancing intimate connections.

When you miss out on sleep you become snappy, irritable and stressed. A recent study from the National Sleep Foundation found that 25% of participating couples were too sleep-deprived to even have sex. Exhaustion and burnout were never the aims you set out to achieve in your business. If you have been too busy to change this situation for yourself, perhaps you would consider adjusting your lifestyle for the sake of the relationships you have with your family and friends.

Why busienss leaders must work less

“Leaders live by choice, not by accident.” ~ Mark Gorman

A Tired Mind Can’t Create

Your business growth relies first and foremost upon creativity, innovation, and mastery of change. Prioritising time to rest and recharge will not only create space for more of your brilliant ideas. It will also a ignite the leader in you so your team are also encouraged to bring their best innovations and ideas.

Overworking suffocates your business growth. Far too many owners spend too long in video conferences and phone calls, too much time in front of your computer, and too many hours running the hamster wheel of business life. This results in you inadvertently wasting the very resource your business needs to remain vibrant and alive: creativity. Nurture your inventive self, and show up at work fresh for your team to champion their creativity as well.

A Tired Spirit Can’t Imagine

Effective self care for business owners celebrates you as the inspired genius who conceived this entire operation in the first place. It was your big idea that got this business off the ground. Things have continued to move forward because of your insight and your creative flair. The one thing that only you can offer your growing company is the inspiration of a leader.

Perhaps it would be wise to pause and ask yourself about the life you want to create moving forward. With so much up in the air right now, it is the perfect time to conduct a bit of an overhaul. At the end of the day, you may as well pursue the life you actually want, right?

 

time management tips that work

The Little Things Make Big Things Happen

4 MIN READ

Time management is a term so overly used that it has come to mean almost nothing. In our supremely fast-paced society, we dedicate our days to grand projects and pressing deadlines. We set goals and push through daily pressures, resistance and obstacles to achieve them. Sometimes it is easy to become so focussed on the elusive rewards of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we become disconnected from the here and now. 

If your aim is to become the master of time management, it’s time to grab hold of one simple truth:

It’s the little things that make big things happen. 

On their own, most of the little jobs and activities you do each day don’t amount to much. Even if you had constantly clean workplaces, crystal clear filing and record-breaking levels of output, they wouldn’t make that much of a difference in themselves.

time management tips that work

“Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.” Lord Chesterfield

Lasting impact is made when each small part of your business system flows freely. This is the only way any organisation can consistently generate positive change. Effective time management comes down to these five simple principles:

Leaders Maximise Their Time

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Michael Altshuler

When it comes to making the most of your time, it’s all too easy to fall into the victim trap without even realising it. With your overfull schedule this week you might wonder how you will get anything done. The phone rings and you need to attend to someone else’s urgent priority. Then there are your family, friends and team members who seem to need you constantly.

If your schedule is too busy you are the only one who can change that. Regardless of the demands on your time or the pressures around you, you do have the capability to carve out the time you need. Block out No Go Zones that are reserved for the achievement of your aims without negotiation.

 

Effective Planning Is Foundational To Time Management

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

Jumping headlong into the first task that pops into your mind without mapping out a plan is a recipe for time-wasting. Develop a system which reminds you of the routine tasks you need to complete regularly, and schedule time for these. Then set up a notes system to get all those work thoughts out of your head and recorded somewhere for reference. I love my Rocketbook for this (and so does the environment 😉  ).

Once you have all those tasks and projects out of your head and in front of you, it’s time to map out a plan. Larger projects are best managed with software such as Trello, Asana or Monday.com. Work that can be completed in one sitting should be set as daily goals. The message here is to plan your work then work your plan.

 

Managing Time Means Forget About Multi-Tasking

“The shorter way to do many things is to only do one thing at a time.” Mozart

Slipping into old habits of distraction is a perfectly normal challenge to overcome when mastering the use of your time. You might find your self with 20 browser tabs open at any given time. Perhaps you have three emails drafts that can’t be sent until you complete them. Maybe you have shiny new tech tools that you bought but never got around to installing or implementing. You might even tell yourself your brain works best with multiple pots on the boil.

If increasing your output whilst reducing stress is your aim, this has to stop. You can’t argue with science. Your brain is not capable of giving high-level attention and focus to more than one task at one time. Set up one task, work on it until it is done, then focus on switching quickly between tasks. If you need to capture those runaway thoughts that spring up while you’re working, make a habit of working with a notebook beside you.

 

Prioritise Your Efforts To Make The Most Of Your Time

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent, and not enough time on what is important.” Steven Covey

Setting boundaries around your life’s most vital priorities, then maintaining these boundaries ruthlessly is key. This is the only way to succeed in making the most of your time. Not everything you are tasked with is urgent. Indeed not everything you have on your plate right now is important. Some of the things on your to-do list are probably not even relevant to where you’re headed. If you’re struggling with knowing what to invest your time and effort into, your first step to managing your time well is to sort that out.

I realised long ago that true success is about choosing what you want, then choosing what you are willing to give up to get it. Dedicate yourself to clarifying exactly what you want out of your life. Commit to finding what you want to give back. Purchase some personal development books to focus your vision. You might even reach out to a coach or mentor to help you find your purpose.

 

What Does Your Time Really Mean?

At the end of the day, the big things in your life rely on the little things to work. Mastering each moment is the only way to truly create the impact you’re looking for. Functioning smoothly in wide open workspaces elevates your performance. Quickly accessing quality resources fuels transformational outcomes. Producing exemplary results every time turns your workers into leaders. All of this comes back to their ability to make the most of their time.

Becoming empowered with skills and strategies to master your time, means the energy you spend on the little things feeds the achievement of the big thing. When companies function this way, every effort contributes to the delivery of solutions which change your clients’ world.  

 

Power Doesn’t Come From Within

3 MIN READ

Empowering yourself as a leader starts with connecting your personal capacity with the opportunities you can find in the world. Facing upheaval often causes many of us to question how much control we really have in our lives. There are so many things we simply have no power over in life. However, it’s important to remember that even amidst the most brutal circumstances, we are powerful to withstand and even affect dramatic change.

Quite simply, we do not lack power. But sometimes, it’s easy to become confused about how to activate that power to face everyday challenges. Massive problems arise when you try to empower yourself as a leader by trying to manufacture a power you can’t actually believe.

You Need To Prove Your Capacity To Believe It

You are a smart person. You’re intelligent, thoughtful, and reflective about yourself and the difference you want to make. As a result, you need evidence for your beliefs. A motivational seminar will make you feel great, but it won’t necessarily prove that you are powerful. Positive affirmations will help you, but they won’t allow you to actually demonstrate your capacity. Even when you visualise yourself rising to new heights, you still lack the experiential evidence that your highly evolved brain needs to be convinced that you can really reach those peaks.

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I’d like to suggest that the journey of empowering yourself as a leader relies on you putting your own power into action. Like all of us, you have a unique power primed for activation within yourself. To realise your unique capacity, you need to embrace the reality that empowerment can only be situational.

The opportunities we need to empower ourselves as leaders come from the world around us

I lost my voice in 2009 after working through a sinus infection I developed while teaching. The effects of the injury sent me into a spiral of powerlessness which lasted a total of eighteen gruelling months of isolation. Progressively, I developed a very healthy depression complete with flourishing drinking habit. I was a mess, emotionally, physically, spiritually and socially. It was the most disempowered I have ever felt.

Making positive progress through this dark time depended on me proving to myself that I really was in control of myself.  To stop drinking and start to win over the depression, I had to go without the drink. Then I had to start performing the actions of a happy person: running, laughing, dancing, loving my friends and family actively. This season taught me lessons that have helped me ever since. It just might help you muster up your own fullness as well:

TODAY’S BEST IS TOMORROW’S BENCHMARK:

Following a pathway of genuine improvement is the only way to empower yourself as a leader, because this provides daily proof that you can withstand and even create change. This means taking on a lifestyle of constant increase, always pursuing new heights. You get to enjoy the rewards of this moment while taking in the panoramic views of the bright future ahead.

Living this way means that you can resist backing down or making compromises, even when tough times come. This mindset means this part of your life is better than it has ever been before, and it can only get better from here.

NEVER BREAK A DEAL WITH YOURSELF:

You will never believe you are powerful if you watch yourself fail at commitments. Honestly, you are better to never make the commitment in the first place than make one and break it. This is because your self-respect is the central pillar of your power. Once you make a promise to yourself, you must keep it if you want to succeed in empowering yourself as a leader.

I encourage you to pause before you make a commitment because failing to achieve them can have a damaging and even destructive effect. Instead, try this approach to goal setting:

SET UP WINS, NOT GOALS:

Rather than being set in stone, your goals can function more as an expectation of the sequence of wins you have set yourself up for. You will always get better at being your best if you simply practice being that person in your daily life. To pursue any goal you must first let go of it. This relief from striving will prevent you from the burnout that comes from chasing big goals that seem unobtainable. And it will allow you to take new risks in business without the pressure of being tied to the outcome.

Remember your most reliable source of empowerment comes from the small smaller wins you achieve consistently. The greatest endeavour is making a life that allows you to string these wins together.

 

You can take each of these three approaches into every area of your life when empowering yourself as a leader. The attributes of self-respect, constant improvement, persistence, and celebrating wins will always offer more lasting reward than finite, limited progress. These attributes give us the lasting proof you need to believe that you are able to make a lasting difference.  Watch your own successful performance in the world, then transform that evidence into the belief that you can turn any disaster into an opportunity for growth and achievement.

 

Who Are The Real Influencers?

3 MIN READ

Who are your influencers? Who are the people who have shaped who you are and how you do business and life?

Sounds like a simple question,  right? … Try answering!

It’s a really tough question. I have a few heroes that I’ve read about and admire, so I am certain they would have influenced me in some ways. Oprah Winfrey, Anita Roddick, Brendon Burchard, Zig Ziglar, Nelson Mandela, Celeste Barber … these are all high profile people I look up to and think they have made the world a better place.

Your Influencers Are Close To You

But when I look at the person I am becoming, and my own journey of personal growth, I know my influencers are people closer to home.

My mum is someone who shaped my development immensely until I left home at 17. Her love was pure and she always encouraged me and believed in me, even though our family was quite a volatile place.

My late husband Alec has probably had more of a direct influence on who I am now than any other person in the world. He taught me how to love with a perfect balance of freedom and security. He taught me that business is not only possible but the best way to create freedom for yourself and others.

My children, and the delight of mothering them, have played a defining role in me coming into my own fullness in love and care for them. This continues to be the toughest yet most rewarding challenge of my life ever.

Your Influencers Are Those You Rub Shoulders With Each Day

Your professional circle create a culture of aspiration and growth which is the perfect stage for creating an abundant life. For me, this circle includes Aveline Clarke, Linda Wilson, Brenda Thomson, Annemarie Cross, Iris Du, Natasa Denman, sales coach Darcy Smyth, Joy Fairhall, Renee Hasseldine, the late Louisa Tew. These are some key members in a long list of business people that I know personally. They are close enough to invite to my home for dinner or spend a night out at a restaurant. These are people who have influenced my attitude and understandings of what’s possible in business and in life at an everyday, real level.

Then there’s my teaching friends Toni Watts and Marianne Mitchell, two of the most inspirational women I have ever met literally changing the world at the coal face of regional NSW.

For me personally the idea of influencers taps into a pop culture that I’ve always been on the fringe of. Maybe I think in different ways to others, but I’m not a name-dropper and I’ve never been a fangirl of anyone. I want something much more organic and personally relevant to my life. I want to be influenced by people who know me and understand my situation. As I get older I realise in a very organic way that the people in my direct circle are those who actually make the difference in my life.

My reflections have gifted me with new clarity about the best ways to move forward in business. This might be helpful for you too…

“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with” Jim Rohn

Your Influencers Are Ordinary People Like You

If this is how I want to be influenced, then surely I can be this for others, right? I’m sure this is what people REALLY want in this postmodern age of the internet and social distancing. I think my target market are those who feel this way too. It’s one thing to have celebrity heroes to look up to. Its another to have someone who resonates at a deeply personal level who connects with you where you’re at. Who speaks to you in ways you understand, and walks with you to help get you where you want to go.

This is the new age of connection and authenticity. People don’t want distant superstars as much as they want close mentors who share their life. Even the big names now must have a personal following to be successful. Can you imagine trying to be a celebrity without a Twitter account and Facebook profile where people can connect with you? Your followers are looking out for you on Instagram where they can share the pictures and stories that make up the everyday aspects of your oh-so-human lifestyle?

The walls are tumbling down around it’s the rise of the ordinary to the extraordinary.