Sending A Burst Of Positive Energy

3 MIN READ

Today, a moment that taught me a fresh way to practice love and goodness.

We picked my son up the other day to do the grocery shopping. He is 25 and lives a couple of suburbs away with no car. If we are out and about doing our own errands we will often check to see if he needs a lift. It’s a wonderful low-key way to catch up and get things done at the same time.

This was a big day for him. Only one week earlier the beautiful black cat that he has adopted as his own over the last couple of years was moved away. GiGi was never actually his cat, but with my son’s housemates complaining constantly about the cat, the owner had decided to relocate this gorgeous little creature to a more welcoming home.

My son was absolutely devastated. If you have ever lost a pet you know the grief can feel just the same as losing any other family member. He was gutted beyond words and searching to find ways to resolve the heartbreak.

My son is also a typical young man with no girlfriend. As we drove towards the supermarket we happened to pass a beautiful young girl with simply stunning long brown hair. I commented that her hair was to die for. My son agreed. “She is absolutely gorgeous,” he said.

The conversation moved on but as a big thinker, my son was clearly still reflecting on this girl, the universe, and the meaning of existence. He looped back around to the conversation.

“Do you ever send bursts of positive energy to people?” he asks.

“What do you mean?”

“Well like, if you see someone beautiful like that girl, or you’re away from someone you love, do you ever send them a wave of positive energy and hope that it somehow reaches them?”

Oh my!

My eyes instantly filled with tears at the beauty of this practice.

“That is absolutely beautiful!” I say in overwhelm.

“Yeah …” he continues. “Like with GiGi. I can’t see her anymore and I don’t know where she is but whenever I think of her I send her a burst of energy and hope that she feels it.”

“There is only one happiness in life. To love and be loved” Georges Sand

I have a lump in my throat and tears filling my eyes as I reflect this morning.

Regardless of what you believe about God, religion, politics or the meaning of life itself, the power of goodness cannot be understated. The impact that we have on each other can never be denied. Often it is easy to forget just how much effect we can and do have on those around us.

The privilege of connection with others is a humbling honour bestowed upon us all. Whether you are a member of a family, a team at work, a sporting club or a community group, what you do with, and who you are to, the people around you influences the way they experience life. Moreover, the way you approach people actually defines the way you experience your own life. By giving love freely, that gift reflects back to bless your life as much as it does the rest of the world.

You might be devastated by grief, broken by failure, empty with loss, or overwhelmed by anxiety in lockdown.

But love.

I would normally have some short points for you to take away and ponder over the next few days, but today, there is only one message. Simple? Yes … but the most powerful one of all to carry us all through even the most devastating losses or gruelling challenges.

Love.

Love.

Love.

That is all. And it is everything.

 

How You See Determines What You See

3 MIN READ

If there is one word that we could all relate to lately it is change! Our own personal empowerment is being stretched by fluctuating social environments, changing global news, evolving health concerns, shifting lifestyle opportunities. Change has taught me a lot of lessons over the years, but when it comes to your own power this one is pertinent today:

Your words are your greatest power in defining your outlook, and so your future.

What we say is powerful! I know from experience that William Golding was right in the Lord of the Flies: “The greatest ideas are the simplest.” The truth of this concept is such a foundational part of my life now that its thread is easily identified in everything I do, think and say. I continue to invest in my personal empowerment and the empowerment of those around me. I do this by exploring how words can produce the best possible outcome in any and every situation.

Personal empowerment comes with words which reflect a higher vision

“Your words can be powerful, then can hurt or uplift, so think before you speak, as every word you say counts” Leon Brown

Personally Empowered Thinking

How much do you think about the words you use? Like everyone, you think about the things you want, the actions you do, the possessions you have … Do you ever listen to what you’re saying to yourself and those around you? Considering the world you are creating with your words can literally transform your life. This can lead to steadfast empowerment that anchors your very identity.

It’s been said that words are thoughts, and without them, humans can’t think.  We have around 50,000 thoughts per day. Some say up to 70,000 thoughts. But did you know that 95% of those thoughts are simply old ones on repeat? Only 5% of our thoughts are hot off our mental press. This means that the words filling our mind today are almost identical to the ones that were there yesterday. Our brain is the best autopilot around. However, this repeating cycle does nothing for us when we want to change. It also makes it incredibly difficult to respond to a change that comes from out of the blue.

Making More Personally Empowered Choices

The good news is that we can choose the words we say to ourselves, so you can actually start to put this mental repetition to work for us as a tool of your own personal empowerment. As you start to explore who you are by examining the words you think and say, you enter the inner part of yourself that can be changed by choosing new words. It’s important to notice the script that is already there. This will need to be actively discarded and replaced by the new words you choose.

I went through a very humbling journey recently as I listened to the default response I gave when people asked, “How are you?” Without missing a beat I would say I was doing well. Then I would follow up with how hard I had been working and how many trials I was trying to overcome. This response must have been created at some stage of my working-class background, in a society that wears hardship like a badge of honour. As a result, this undermined my own personal empowerment. But then I turned a corner.

Leading Your Own Empowerment

As an adult now, I am powerful to choose my own outlook. That old response sounded ugly to me. It was like I heard myself for the first time that day. In a strange combination of shame at what I’d found and excitement of what was to come, I decided to change the way I spoke. I was keen to alter those discouraging, defeated words to make them more positive and uplifting. This would result in me deleting the old words from my identity script, forever. I always want to choose words that create encouragement, success and advancement. This is how to develop the language of leadership.

We can all respond by telling people that we are well, then say something wonderful that has happened lately. Then, we can all ask how they are. Typically, you will receive a reply like your own. Your words have set a different pace for the conversation. Everybody wins! There are no excuses for complaining that life is too hard. Even on the toughest days, your friends are kind, the world is genuinely beautiful, and opportunity awaits. The sun is always shining above the darkest storm.

You Choose What You See

The keys to personal empowerment are in your own hands. You are the only person in the entire world who can master the power of your thoughts and language. Only you can choose the words that make a positive shift in your life. To use your words with creative power, you need to deliberately, strategically break into who you are to change what you find. You need to unlock the things you think and the things you say to transform how you see the world. Because How you see determines What you see.

 

Why Your Attention Matters

5 MIN READ

Every day is about creating experiences which make life worth living. If you’re reading this instalment today, I daresay you and I have something incredibly important in common … We want the most out of life!

Many people say their health is their top priority, and of course, no-one could argue this is highly valuable … but for years now I’ve thought that time is my most precious resource. Lately, I’ve been reconsidering this; what if our attention is what matters most to leading a rich, rewarding life?

Don’t get me wrong … I value time highly. Once your time is spent, it can never be gained back. With your time you invest in the things you hold most dear. You spend time with your loved ones, time building your business, and (hopefully) time caring for yourself. If you’re really honest with yourself you can evaluate what is most important to you by examining how you use your time. You might like to think that your well-being is vitally important to you, or your finances, or your family. However, if you haven’t given these things enough time, you will inevitably start to feel the effects. Over time, a lack of investment into those pillars of success will usher in a reality check.

“You become what you give your attention to.”
Epictetus, The Art of Living

These things are all true, but I am not sure they really target the heart of the matter.

In managing rapidly shifting landscapes across multiple fronts, my reflections have lead me to a new perspective. My clients are looking for more straight forward methods of service delivery lately, which has caused me to look at new business models. My family life is moving into different seasons which has brought new approaches into focus. My body is not as young as it used to be, and I’m making the achievement of my goal to run a half marathon a top priority.

You have unique things which consume your thoughts, and your time. You move through shifting seasons constantly learning, adjusting and maneuvering to navigate your days. You make decisions which have the power to change your circumstances and create new outcomes. But all of these don’t “just happen.”

Whether you consider the state of your health, relationships, business, lifestyle, finances, or any other important aspect of life, one thing remains constant. It is your attention which drives your thoughts, behaviours, feelings and results. Take a look at your calendar … your attention drives your schedule! Here are three ways I have found this to be particularly true for business leaders in pursuit of success.

What you see is what you know

You might sit next to your partner on a bright sunshiny day and take in the same view across a grassy parkland. You can both see the same things, but your attention is very different. As a result of that experience, one might come to know that cycling has become increasingly popular of late. They will see cyclists pedalling by, and they will develop a theory about that. Then, as they see more, their theory will be reinforced. It will remind them that they read about this in the news last week. And they will come to know that truth for themselves.

The other will see just how many children are out of schools that have been temporarily closed. They will see children out and about, then they will look for more. They will remember their nephew is homeschooling with their sister, and their evolving knowledge about the effects of closing schools down will be reinforced.

You come to know what you pay attention to. Knowledge can’t be gained any other way.

The only knowledge you will ever possess is that which you have learned. You can only know what you have paid attention to. The internet is full of knowledge that you will never access, and your friends have knowledge you will never share. Your thoughts, beliefs and outlook all stem from what you have been paying attention to.

 

What you see is what you feel

We got stuck in a lift the other day. We needed to get from the Level 2 shops to the Level 1 carpark. Social distancing restrictions meant we couldn’t share the lift with any other shoppers, so we walked our trolley in, pressed the Level 1 button with our knuckle, and watched the doors close. The people on Level 3 had already pressed the button to direct the lift upwards, so we took a ride that way. We awkwardly watched the lift doors open and saw the Level 3 people waiting for access. But all of us knew we couldn’t share the lift, so the doors closed, and we headed downwards. Unfortunately, we only got as far as Level 2 before those lift doors opened again to the people there. They had pressed the button to bring us back. We bounced between Level 2 and Level 3 not once, twice or three times, but FOUR times! Every time the door opened at each level the line of people queueing got longer. And we got more and more embarrassed.

My fiance was good-natured about it as he went into fix-it mode. He saw a social problem that desperately needed solving, and his attention was firmly on doing just that.

My son and I, on the other hand, were in hysterics. We saw how truly absurd the problem was and we were bedside ourselves. I had tears streaming down my face. It was sheer bliss to focus my attention on the hilarity of it all.

Your emotions come from what you pay attention to. Feelings can’t be accessed any other way.

 

What you see is what you get

2019 was a personally challenging year for me. I’d made some poor business decisions which lead to some aspects of my work screaming for closure. My health and fitness goals had been undermined several times by sickness. My tiny apartment increasingly felt like a shrinking shoebox, and I’d worked myself into a tightly wound ball of stress. Every day looked at the mess I had created with hopelessness. I didn’t turn my attention to the resources I did have for business building, the parks I had nearby, or the gym I had just down the road. And I didn’t really savour the loving relationships I enjoyed, the health I had, or my opportunities to create new business outcomes. I was miserable because I paid attention to the lack, rather than my wealth.

Then in December, we moved house. I decided to shift my attention and the results have been truly transformational. I started to focus on my power to change my financial situation. I saw my ability to create a fresh start in business, and I loved taking in the parks and gym nearby. My despair was replaced with hopeful optimism because I started seeing what was there in a new way. This opened new possibilities.

In short, I chose to focus on gratitude and I dedicated myself to progressive improvement. I let go of the gigantic goals that I’d fallen short of in 2019, choosing instead to pay attention to incremental gains. I’m slowly building more success into my business and finances, my health and wellness and my relationships. I’m losing weight, building strength and creating winning business outcomes.

Your outcomes arise from what you pay attention to. New starts and fulfilling results can’t be achieved any other way.

 

The most exciting part about all of this is the power we have to transform our lives by shifting our focus. Do you have goals you are trying to achieve? Knowledge you’d like to acquire? Changes you want to create? Set your sights on paying attention. Be present to seeing the pathway towards those outcomes. Look out for ways to make your attention serve your highest self and lead you to profound fulfilment.

 

Protecting What’s Most Important To You

4 MIN READ

Yesterday began in a most bizarre way. I was lying asleep under my snuggly doona when suddenly, blaring sirens shocked me to alert. At 5am I jumped out of bed to evacuate. I put my dressing gown on, grabbed a few essential things and got down four flights of stairs as quickly as possible. I joined my apartment block neighbours in collective curiosity and confusion on the side of the road. What was going on?

Today is the anniversary of my late husband’s passing. I always dread this day. Yes, the memories of the 14 years I shared with him are a blissful treasure. But on this day, I remember just how gutting it was to find that he had died on our kitchen floor when I was at work. The 28th May will always be a sombre day where the significance of the loss hits me hard.

Leading through loss helps to cope with chaos in crisis

5am Kensington Melbourne. 27th May, 2020.

The experiences of these two days have created a mash-up of me thinking about how we protect the things we hold dearest. I hope my reflections today make you stop and think about how you would fare if the unthinkable actually happened. How well are you set up to deal with unexpected tragedy?

I know it’s a dark question, but every day thousands of people are forced to deal with unpredictable loss. You can’t know what will happen in your life, but you can do some smart things now to minimise the impact of sudden crisis.

Prepare Your Documents

There were easily 50 people who watched the fire engines roar down our street in the early hours of yesterday morning, but I was the only one who had my identification and other documents bundled up in a folder. I’d grabbed that folder, my phone and my wallet on the way out. If our apartment building really had burned down yesterday morning, I don’t know how we would have coped with the loss. But I do know that I would have had my essential documents and ID with me.

FOR YOU: Gather up your papers into one folder and keep it somewhere handy so you can grab it on the way out the door in case of an emergency. Include your original birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, court order docs, your will, and master password to your password software. Also include certified copies of these so they’re ready if you need them for insurance claims or other post-crisis business.

Work In The Cloud

It would have been handy to have grabbed my computer yesterday morning, but this wasn’t essential because all my work is stored in Google Drive. I do have some things stored for convenience on my desktop, so if I lost my computer I would lose those things. However, everything stored on my desktop is also stored in Drive. If I lost everything to a fire or flood, I could still log in to my cloud storage, or my other online accounts and keep working. I would be devastated by the loss, but important things would still function.

FOR YOU: If you don’t have all your personal and professional matters organised well online, you are long overdue for an overhaul. Create folders for each business department to store all your business resources in logical places. Set up spaces to manage your personal things too: photos, health records, contracts and agreements etc. Keep building out the infrastructure you need to create safe, secure places for the information that will keep you afloat, even when the unexpected happens.

… oh! And secure everything with encrypted password protection. We use 1Password.

Insure Well

I don’t own the building I live in, so I would lose my rental home if it burned to the ground. I would also lose my possessions, but I am insured well so I could set myself up again. It would be hugely painful to lose sentimental things that can never be replaced. That would hurt, a lot. But I could buy another car and furnish another home. If something happened to me (heaven forbid), my children would be financially looked after for many years to come. The plans for my funeral are stored in Drive and shared with my 22-year-old daughter.

FOR YOU: Review your insurance policies to make sure they are up to date and your coverage is adequate. Be certain that you will have what you need to pay for new contents, medical care, or even a funeral if it’s needed. Also confirm that your loved ones will not be left with a financial burden in the unexpected event of your death. If you’re not sure, seek advice.

I cannot emphasise just how deeply wounding the loss of a loved one is. It is a painful tragedy that will always hurt. The last thing you need when you are coming to terms with this type of devastation is administrative roadblocks. Set things up now so that the chaos can at least be managed.

I pray you never see the day that this advice made a difference.

But if it does, I want you to know how to cope best.

P.S. Just so you know, the entire affair turned out to be a false alarm. There’s a faulty sensor in our basement that needs to be fixed. I hope they do it soon. Not keen on repeating this experience any time soon.

 

business leadership starts with managing your daily habits

5 Sweet Spots Of Explosive High Impact Leadership

4 MIN READ

Business leaders have a high calling to manage themselves well. Their personal integrity, resilience, and perception allow them to step up and lead their staff, clients, community, and even loved ones. Building a company that makes a genuine difference to people starts with the choices you make day by day.

Self Care Nurtures Your Priorities

I’ve been doing a lot of work on my daily habits lately. I’m dedicated to the mastery of my own self-care. I’m intent on creating strong foundations for lasting fulfilment in my life. My close relationships have always been the centre of my “Why”. They’re getting a boost from the work I’ve been doing in my daily routines. I’m more present, more connected, and more authentic now than ever before, because of some little actions I’ve been committed to each day.

No More Rollercoaster

My health and well-being are becoming increasingly important to me. I’ve put them at the top of my to-do list, and I’m seeing some incredible results. The work I’ve been doing is different from the efforts I’ve made at any other time in my life. I’ve done the speed diets, the fitness bursts, and the “get healthy fast” programs. They work when they’re on, but they stop soon after. Can you relate to that roller coaster?

On December 15, 2019, I made a decision to change my approach for good.

I will make time for self-care every single day, for the rest of my life.

No more band-aid solutions. I’m stopping knee-jerk reactions. I’m moving away from reactionary management.

This will be the last time I make the decision to care for myself first.

Instead of explosive bursts that hit with a big bang then burn out, I’ve started working a more sustainable approach:

HABITS

I’ve found the habits which empower strong business leadership are a little like fairy floss. Let me explain …

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habits are what keeps you going” Jim Rohn

1. Habits Start As Almost Nothing

The starting point of fairy floss is underwhelming. It begins with a few ingredients ready to be mixed and worked into something impressive. I’m reminded of the bible verse: “Do not despise the day of small beginnings”.

Don’t let the insignificance of the early days fool you. The humble beginnings of making new habits stick are exactly why they’re so effective. To develop new habits requires very little time and effort. It’s almost like you’re doing nothing … which is what makes this approach so accessible for busy leaders. There is no excuse for not fitting your habits in. It’s never about time. It’s always about dedication to making the recipe work for you.

2. Habits Feel Like Almost Nothing

It doesn’t matter how much fairy floss you can stuff into your mouth. It dissolves away to almost nothing very quickly. It looks so gigantic and substantial. But it is actually a big ball of sugary nothing. It disappears before you know it.

When you’re doing your habits every day, there’s very little experience of change, especially in the first few weeks. You set the intention to check off each tiny item on the list, then you do that every day. The tiny bit of time that passes is hardly missed, because it’s too short. The effort that you consume is so incidental that it barely exists. The headspace that you use becomes less than nothing, because you quickly find that you’re not even thinking about doing it! Your habits dissolve into your days and almost disappear.

3. Habits Become Comforting & Enjoyable

It’s a treat to have fairy floss, right? There’s something comforting and nostalgic about lining up at the show and watching that big ball of sugary fluff rolling around that stick. There’s a child-like burst of happiness that explodes when that sweet bundle becomes yours.

It doesn’t take too long before your habits become a daily happy place for you to delight in. Managing yourself with short, simple routines each day gives you a burst of pride that carries you through. If it was a larger investment, it might feel like an indulgence. But a few minutes here and there is just so easy to sustain. That indulgent feeling is more about your own self-respect. When you watch yourself being dedicated to your personal growth, health and wellness, it lights you up.

4. Habits Grow Into Something Powerfully Significant

If you looked at the meagre ingredients required to make fairy floss before it was made, you could very easily doubt the grandeur of the final result. The final performance of the fairy floss is a show stopper as it struts its way through to the main stage.

Habits are so utterly powerful because they work around your brain’s natural “defend and protect” mode. It can be overwhelming to think about expanding your team, tripling your revenue, taking your business global, moving your services online. But habits make it simple to avoid the binds of exhausting workload, the old “imposter syndrome”, or the “flight, fight or freeze” response. Focus all your business ambitions into the tiny actions you do each day. Create significant outcomes with small sustainable steps. Build a lasting legacy by laying one small brick at a time.

5. Habits Create Explosive Impact

The final thing about fairy floss that stands out to me is the massive zing you get from all that sugar! Now, I’m not recommending we take this metaphor so far that daily consumption of fairy floss goes onto our habit list. But still, there are lessons to be learned when we think about the powerful effects of habits over time.

You’d never imagine the impact a few well-chosen habits can make when you follow through daily. It’s the sort of difference experienced by inventors of vaccines. Winners of gold medals. Parents of healthy children. Builders of business empires. You can’t possibly achieve a life-changing difference in a short burst. But you can make a powerful impact when you embrace incremental improvement. I won’t bore you with quotes from history-making leaders, but I will ask you to Google “quotes about good habits”. Let the results speak for themselves.

 

How Boundaries Are Essential For Growth

4 MIN READ

Each year I choose a word to represent a theme that I work towards. I put the word on my phone screensaver to remind myself every day of my goals. Over the past five years I’ve guided myself to Consolidate (twice … it was a big clean up that took ages 😉), Charge, Balance, and Leverage. This little strategy has profoundly improved my life with the clarity, focus and action that comes from always being intentional, on the front foot with my aims.

I’ve been blessed with abundant growth over recent times. More invitations. More clients. More people. More relationships. More learning. More opportunities than ever before. This has been so wonderful, especially because it has highlighted the need to manage things with a focus on what matters most. My family. My health. My loved ones. My business growth.

Me time.

My ability to sustain all this goodness in ways that allow me to continue to pass on the abundance I’ve been given to others.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘No’ to almost everything” Warren Buffet

My word for this year is Boundaries. I spent the last couple of months of last year preparing for this new focus, and at this point, I have built up some serious momentum. I’ve been implementing some winning strategies to activate the best ways to maximise the good things in my life. The trick is working strategies which prevent you from being overwhelmed or derailed by the sheer magnitude of it all.

Boundaries Require Clarity

I’ve already realised that setting and maintaining healthy boundaries requires crystal clear insight on my goals and preferences. Choosing the boundaries of my life means being certain about what I need and want, and what I don’t. Establishing boundaries is about knowing what I want to keep, which then shows me the things that I am best to let go of. Activating those boundaries is about finding the language to explicitly define what I choose, and politely decline the rest.

The challenge of this word has proven itself to be my toughest yet. It means I am saying ‘No’ a lot. It means I’m being more disciplined with my lifestyle choices. And it has certainly meant putting on my protector hat for the things (and people) I love most. Already, there have been times where this has felt ruthless. Practising being firm with my boundaries has already meant saying no to things I would have previously gone along with because it was easier. It’s also meant being firm with myself and my habits, creating new personal routines that carve out space for a more rewarding way of life.

Handy Tips For Your Own Boundaries

To make things straight forward, I thought I would share some tips for maintaining healthy boundaries in your own life.

Define Your Values

If you are uncertain about the things that are the most important to you, it’s going to be very difficult for you to establish boundaries in your life. Knowing what you stand for, what you exist for, and what you want in life will be the strength that you need to make strong decisions. Your core values are the very foundation of your ability to hold your ground. Knowing your purpose and making it your first priority will give you the confidence and conviction to stand firm. Get some help to define these, then protect them as if your life depends on it!

Set Clear Goals

Knowing your purpose is highly important, but if you don’t turn that mission into goals you work towards each day you will leave too much space for distractions and interruptions. This will undermine your ability to maintain healthy boundaries more than any other factor. If you develop projects with deadlines that are set in stone, you will be so busy that you won’t have time to say ‘Yes’ to things you should be saying ‘No’ to. Make your days count for something you invest deeply into. Create boundaries to protect your time and headspace from the influence of distractions. You have a legacy to build and a difference to make. Give it everything you’ve got!

Write New Scripts

When someone invites you to join their group, attend their event, sign up to their newsletter, or help with their problem, it can be flattering. But setting boundaries depends on you seeing those invitations as a red flag of distraction. If the invitation will interrupt the achievement of your goals, you simply must say ‘No’. Find ways of saying ‘Thank you but I’m busy that day’ or ‘Thank you for thinking of me but I’m working other deadlines this month/quarter/year’, or ‘I appreciate the invitation but I need to double-check how it fits with my other plans.’ Practising ways of politely declining will let you protect healthy boundaries without getting caught up in the moment.

Get Thicker Skin

The most difficult thing I find with maintaining boundaries is dealing with the feeling that I’ve let someone down or fallen short of their expectations. If this sounds like you too, I get it! We both need to remind ourselves that their needs or wants are not our responsibility. It is not up to you to make their thing work, and certainly not at the expense of your own well being. Even your children need you to maintain strict boundaries with how much they rely on you. If the people you’re saying no to are hurt, disappointed or even angry, the best you can do is be polite, explain your position, then walk away … and don’t apologise! You have nothing to apologise for. Standing your ground with your boundaries will empower you to new strength.

Celebrate Your Wins

When you do the right thing and say ‘No’, give yourself a pat on the back. When you achieve a goal because you made it your first priority, reward yourself. Establish daily routines that you celebrate following. Work towards important goals that really matter. Mark the success of achievement with some kind of celebration. YOu might reward your success by taking time off. Buying new shoes. Giving an hour to your favourite book or TV show. Having a night out with your loved ones. Whatever you do, make sure that you motivate yourself to conquer the challenges of setting boundaries by rewarding your victories.

 

I’m expecting my focus on boundaries will progressively clear the way for more abundance than I’ve ever experienced. Because like all great management projects, it will clean out all the ordinary or even good things in my life that have actually prevented me from accessing the BEST things.

I wonder what your focus is for this year? How are you going with it? It’s a new year … a new decade. A chance to take everything you have now and turn it into something spectacular. What will it be?

 

Home Truths About Business Leadership

3 MIN READ

With all of us in isolation lately, we’ve been spending vastly less time around others than our usual schedules would require. It’s got me to thinking about the person we are when nobody is looking. I’ve been reflecting on how to make the most of the extra time we have to spend with ourselves at the moment. My thoughts lead me to realise a powerful key to personal growth. Today, I wanted to share it with you:

Who you are in private determines what people see in public.

A Time For Reflection

There’s a significant reduction in the amount of face time many have with their staff, their friends, and even their family and loved ones right now. Many are working from home, pushing through the distractions that come from children, pets, partners and even deliveries. Some are struggling through at their dining tables or makeshift work stations without a dedicated space to get stuff done. Others, like myself, have adult children living out of home now, so isolation brings the sadness of not being able to visit them or other loved ones.

I bet all of us are missing the comfort of our old routines, and the familiarity of how things were. Despite the massive changes we’ve been forced to navigate lately, all of us have been gifted with a unique opportunity to dig down deep to explore more of what we’re really made of in this season of isolation.

I’d love to invite you to join me in this special time of reflection by having a “heart to heart” with yourself. Who we are now is everything. How we respond in ourselves will make a defining difference to the outcomes we experience on the other side of the crisis.

“The empires of the future are empires of the mind” Winston Churchill

Do Your Routines Serve You?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

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.

The physical distance you need to keep right now might just be a blessing. It may well give you the space to conduct a lifestyle audit you’ve never had the opportunity to do before. Take advantage of the viewpoint you have right now to create some healthy new habits in your life. Match your intentions and ambitions with the little actions that will progressively create ease and flow across every area of your life.

Are You Getting Where You Want To Go?

“Long term success is a direct result of what you achieve every day. Goals provide your daily routine” Rick Pitino

For many business leaders, this lifestyle audit has been long overdue. The small things you do each day lead directly to the circumstances experienced by your family, your staff, and of course by you! If you’ve become stuck in a rut now is the time to acknowledge where you are and plan to turn the corner. The insights you uncover and plans you devise now in isolation may change the very future of your company.

Have the courage to think about how things actually run in your business. Will the way routine work is managed actually lead you to the achievement of your goals? Are your staff engaged and productive at work? Is everyone clear on exactly what they need to do, how it needs to be done, and why they are doing the work at all? Business success relies on clear vision being activated in tight workplace routines.

Do You Feel Free And Empowered?

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

I’ve never met a business owner who started their business because they wanted to work long hours and get stuck at work fixing other people’s mistakes. Every owner I know, plus all those in the research, says they are in business because they want to make a real difference. They want to be their own boss and enjoy freedoms in their lifestyle, their finances, and their relationships.

If you cannot confidently say that your daily routines at home and at work have created a lifestyle of freedom and empowerment for you and yours, it is time for a change. The entire world is in transition! You have the chance now to prepare for new outcomes. Set up new ways of working which liberate you from the burden of business growth. Develop systems which elevate your team and increase their performance at work. Create new boundaries for your life which lock away time for the things that matter most.

Now you can work in private to make a big difference in public. Now it is time to focus only on building a business that can make an impact that lasts.

 

Let’s Tell Our Own Story About Crisis

3 MIN READ

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been resolving a conflict inside of me. This conflict has been a leadership one. Working out how to manage myself well has been challenging, at times to the point of overwhelming. The circumstances we’ve all been experiencing from the impacts of the virus are some of the most restrictive I’ve ever encountered. The abrupt changes and global uncertainty have been immense to take on.

Dealing With The Changes

It’s been really strange to face days where I can’t go out to an event or enjoy breakfast at a cafe. Walking down quiet streets has been surreal. Navigating crowded footpaths whilst trying to keep my distance has been frustrating and even scary.

Reading the news has been a rollercoaster ride for me. I want to stay informed, to comply with the latest rules, and to get the information I need to make decisions. I want to keep doing well with managing my health, my relationships, my business, my day-to-day plans. But the news has been harrowing. Stories of global lockdown, sickness and death … Some days the human vulnerability I saw was just so confronting that I needed to take a break altogether.

The Power Of Questioning Assumptions

I was out walking recently, reflecting on just how invasive all of it has been. News of the virus and its impacts on our lives has become the story we’ve all been telling. Progressively, I’ve noticed that I’ve been tempted to tell myself a story of restriction, hardship and poverty. And I’ve generalised this story too, imagining it might even apply to everyone else too. It’s become a really hard story to deal with. Trying to keep moving through the days is a burden under the weight of a story like that.

Then I listened to myself and I realised there were massive problems with the things I was thinking. The conflict I was experiencing wasn’t coming from the stress of the outside world. It was coming from inside me! I hope that by sharing these thoughts you might develop some new ways to respond to the hardships you’re facing too.

“Watch what you tell yourself, you’re likely to believe it.” Russ Kyle

Disempowerment Doesn’t Suit You

When you listen to a story that makes you feel trapped and hopeless, and you start to believe that story, you forget that you’re powerful to create new outcomes. Following requirements to stay home as much as possible and keep your distance if you need to go out is how things are right now. But this still leaves so much room for you to make choices for yourself across every area of your life.

Above all else, it is vital to keep this truth at the front of your mind in all things: You are the only one who controls your thoughts and feelings. Regardless of how powerless you might feel, you are always the only one with the power to be you!

 

You Can Tell Your Own Story

The story that’s being told through the media is only one side of the story. If you quickly pop your head up out of the trenches you’ll see evidence everywhere that people can, and are, bouncing back with new ideas and creative improvements. They’re still going where they want to go. In fact, many have found better ways of making progress because they had to adjust to the circumstances.

You’ll always have unique aspirations for the future to activate. Even amidst change, you’re are the writer of your story and the creator of your future. Lead yourself forward with a tenacious dedication to achieving your aims. Embrace flexibility and responsiveness as essential to success.

 

You Have Abundant Resources To Fuel Growth

The opportunities available to you right now far outweigh the limitations being imposed. In telling a new story, I’ve been marvelling at the privileges afforded to everyone by the internet. You can still stay up to date online, so most of the time the big stuff won’t happen without you knowing. You can still stay in touch online, so isolation does not have to be so isolating. You can still do business online, with the chance to make your business more efficient, streamlined and scalable than it ever has been before.

Instead of focusing on what can’t be done right now, cast your vision over the things you can do. It doesn’t suit anyone to tell a story of scarcity because the truth is that we always have everything we need to move forward. Harness the power you have to create new outcomes, map out a pathway towards that outcome, then mobilise what you need to embark on the journey. There’s nothing stopping you!

 

Thinking About Identity In Times Of Change

4 MIN READ

If you’re anything like me you’ve been riding a personal and professional roller coaster lately. The world has been turned upside down, so it can be difficult to feel confident that you know which way is up. I have invested heavily in my self-care to continue making progress through this time. I’m dedicated to keeping my head above water by anchoring into the core values and beliefs that make me who I am. These never change … and if you commit to unearthing more of those treasures in yourself you can hone them and polish them up to a brilliant shine, even in seasons like this where the world is locked down. Especially in these seasons!

“Success is a journey, not a destination” Arthur Ashe

We’ve all heard the quotes. They become tired pretty quickly. It’s not that their truth doesn’t remain … it’s just that they get boring!

So now, I am going to brave the challenge of attempting to shed new light on this journey of Becoming that we’re all facing right now … Without going down the path of cliches and platitudes!  I’m hoping that the timing of my thoughts might just cut through the craziness of the world at the moment. Our perspective is everything right now.

“We are the hero of our own story.” Mary McCarthy

How you see changes what you see” Kerry Anne Nelson

Thought #1: The World Does Not Happen AT You

I’m betting I’m not the only one who has slipped into victimhood lately. “I don’t deserve this.” “This is not fair.”

Get ready … brace yourself … I’m about to sting you with a slap of reality.

Life does not owe you anything other than what you have.

The market has never promised to do you any favours. You are no more special than anyone else battling it out in the trenches of this global Lockdown. Your customers will not spend with you just because “they should”.

Ouch!

But let’s pause for a second … because this harsh reality actually has the power to make your experience of life itself truly authentic and completely invigorating if you can flip it around.  The switch comes when you change the underlying assumption here. Move away from disempowerment through to embrace the truth that you have everything you need to move forward.

Instead of looking at what has happened TO you over this past while, start looking for the things that have happened FOR you. What new opportunities exist right now that could not have happened if things had followed the old path of your life? You might have more time to yourself, increased flexibility with your work,  greater opportunities to create and build, or a sharper focus on the things that really matter in life. Get busy making the most of the gifts that have landed right at your feet! If you look for them, you will find them, without a doubt.

 

Thought #2: You’ve Only Really Had One Real Power

“There’s nothing I can do to make a difference here.” “I’m drowning here!”

You feel powerless to fix this situation, like we all do … but the absolute truth of the matter is that you do have the power to choose how you respond in any given moment, even this one … regardless of how overwhelming or pointy it may feel. In fact, it is the only power you’ve ever had … REALLY.

You might have tried to convince yourself that you were in control of your world and in charge of everything that happened in your life. Now life is proving that this is not true. It has never been true.

But here’s the rub. Having the chance to learn this, or remember it fresh in this season really is a gift. It’s possibly the most empowering, transformational lesson you can and will ever learn. You are powerful to choose.

Don’t get me wrong here. Despite your powerlessness to dictate what happens with other people, events and circumstances, your power to create significant change cannot be underestimated. It is with this human power that entire worlds have been transformed throughout history. The same power demonstrated by heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Edith Cowan, and Amelia Earhart have possessed … that power exists in you!

I can hear some of your objections right now … “But what about when She did this to me, or He said that?” “What about when THAT happened?”

The same applies. Even in the rare times when a person is overtly attacking you or seeking to undermine your happiness. Even when the world has been shut down to avoid a virus that millions have caught and hundreds of thousands have been killed by. Even when your government is telling you and everyone else to stay home, shut up shop and stay away from the people you love. You still have the power to choose your response.

The real question is, how will you choose to capitalise on the gifts that have been put right at your feet?

 

Thought #3: Growth Has Always Been Situational

I’m a big fan of personal development. I take a lot of pride and reward in being the person who reflects deeply and honestly about who and how I am in any given moment. I often marvel at how endless this process of reflection is for all of us. It literally never ends! While there is breath in your lungs there will always be something new to learn about yourself and others.

This lockdown period might feel like you’ve been sucked into a vortex of devastating loss. So it would be understandable that personal growth is not at the top of your priority list right now. Like a gigantic wave, you might have the impression that the world has dumped you facedown into the ocean floor. This is a shocking situation that came from nowhere.

Life itself is a lesson and every moment is a teacher. The only way any type of growth occurs is within a situation. No-one could ever have known how they would fare in the face of a global pandemic, because it has never happened before. None of us could have predicted how the world would change, or how they would deal with it, because it was unheard of! It has been quite a surreal turn of events, yes.

Nonetheless, being faced with this kind of upheaval can remind us again that growth always comes right in the heart of the circumstance. Your breaking point is your making point. What are you going to make of this?

If I was going to run with an old saying to wrap up my thoughts today, I would say this:

It’s time to rally your intentions, beliefs and personal capacity to rise to the challenge of making a fresh new batch of lemonade with the lemons you’ve been handed!

But I want to keep my promise to avoid cliche’s and platitudes, so I will simply sign off with a reminder that how you see really does determine what you see. Always.

 

Leaders Step To The Side

4 MIN READ

I went for a walk the other day, keen to stretch my legs and enjoy the wide-open spaces of Footscray Gardens at the Maribyrnong River. It’s been a couple of weeks of the COVID-19 isolation period, so I’m increasingly valuing the wonderful opportunities I have to exercise  … perhaps more now than I ever have before.

It was busy at the river. It seemed lots of people had the same idea as me. Get outside. Go for a walk. Enjoy a jog. Walk your dogs and give your kids a run in the fresh air. This is normally a lovely shared experience. That sense of community is blissful. Enjoying the same experiences at the same time with people you don’t know often inspires a sense of camaraderie in me as I do life alongside my neighbours.

On This Day It Felt Threatening

But when I am dedicated to remaining at least 1.5m away from my peers, that river walk quickly started feeling like I was walking through a field of landmines. It’s not that I have a personal problem with any of the people at the river. I literally don’t know them. It’s that unless they’ve been tested, no-one can guarantee that their lack of symptoms means lack of the dreaded virus. We’re in a privileged spot in the world. Our island country has witnessed what has happened in other places, and we have the power to change outcomes here at home if we would just follow the rules and maintain a safe physical distance.

To be honest, I’m a fit and healthy middle-aged woman. I’m not too concerned about catching the virus and suffering a fatal end myself. But I am very concerned that I could catch it then inadvertently pass it on to others. It’s this concern that prompted my irritation when my fellow river walkers took up the entire path, pausing in the middle of the walkway to tend to their kids or their pets, with little consideration of maintaining that social distance that we all need to stay safe.

I really was annoyed. “How hard is it for that family to step to the side of the path to make way for others if they need to stop?” I thought to myself. To have to walk around those people who didn’t give me a second thought was frustrating. It felt rude and inconsiderate. Which really, when I am honest with myself, made me feel overlooked and unimportant.

Taking An Honest Look In The Mirror

There’s something very powerful that happens when you admit your true motives to yourself. It is humbling, yes. But it’s also hugely liberating and wonderfully empowering. Listening to my own thoughts inside my head made me realise that something as trivial as an awkward footpath moment with a stranger had pressed an ugly button inside me. More than that, I had chosen to give away my power in that moment. Crazy!

This realisation did not happen on the walk, but when I got home. There I am, thinking about those annoying footpath moments as I’m making dinner and taking my makeup off, and it hit me! I could have responded differently. I could have acted like a leader!

“Your rewards in life will be in direct proportion to the value of your service to others.” Brian Tracy

The Makeover Scene

The next time I was out was for my run a few days later. Same river. Same crowded paths. Save physical distancing requirements.

But different attitude.

On this run, I took pride in adopting the mindset of a leader. Today I wanted to share some of the ways I shifted. these are the lessons I continue to learn as a business leader and a difference-maker in my community. I hope they’re encouraging for you at this time:

“Serving others prepares you to lead others.” Jim George

A leader raises others up

It’s a stark contrast in this competitive world where everyone is looking for that “edge” to give them an advantage. But when you lead by putting others first, they are raised along with you. When you make it a priority to champion the success of others, you build a life of success for all. It is so wonderfully rewarding to celebrate victories you helped create.

A leader takes pride in going the extra mile

This is the business owner working up late to prepare for their team to work the next day. It’s the parent rising early to set their families up with the things they need for the day ahead. It’s the scientists working night and day to find a cure to a virus that has treated the world. Breakthroughs come when leaders dedicate to achieving them with everything they’ve got.

A leader sets the pace with integrity

The power of authenticity, morality and honesty cannot be underestimated. When your personal code is strong it inspires trust, rapport and connection. And from this place lives can be touched, differences can be made, and worlds can be changed. This is what people need from their leaders.

A leader invests in self-reflection

The leader knows this one simple fact: who they are in private determines what people see in public. This is a prerequisite of influence often overlooked by many. Honesty has always been the best policy, but this needs to start with you being honest with you. Challenging who you really are, what you really think, and how you really feel is the fastest way to personal growth that leads to increased capacity for change.

The Moral Of The Story

Walking or running around those who have stopped in the middle of the pathway is not a curse but a blessing. Choosing to create that space for others before it is even required is the decision of a leader invested in making the world a better place, one river walk at a time. Maybe my reflections will help you make it through the challenges of the lockdown. Maybe they will help you rise to be an even better you. It’s all about growing together, right?