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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.

 

business leaders inspiring their staff

Why Business Leaders Shift From Inspired to Inspiring

4 MIN READ

Like most of us, business leaders all over the world are looking for inspiration. Billions of dollars are generated each year in sales related to self-help. People spend money on life coaches, motivational speakers, and courses or events which inspire attendees to achieve new greatness. It is a massive consumer industry on the rise. Soul searching millennials, stressed-out parents, and ambitious career builders are all on the hunt for the next way to elevate themselves and enhance their futures.

To participate in this trend is easy. Social media provides access to the promotion of resources that never end. The internet delivers materials right to your inbox or Zoom screen. Your global community joins you in celebrating the learning and development. They cheer you on as you advance towards your potential.

It feels great too! Who wouldn’t want to join an army of optimistic people on a mission to achieve more, be better, pursue their own personal greatness? Sharing with others as they come into their own is uplifting; doing that yourself can be euphoric.

But today, a question for business leaders:

Are you merely inspired yourself, or do you inspire others?

“A boss has the title, a leader has the people,” Simon Sinek

There is a massive difference between sitting in the crowd and presenting from the stage. When you’re building a business, it’s all about commanding that leadership role.

Inspiration is not conveyed by mere osmosis. Simply being positive and optimistic about how things are going in your business will not make your team automatically positive and optimistic too. Influential business leaders know it’s vital to shift from being inspired yourself, to inspiring others with your business mission. You need to strategically communicate the vision you have for your team, your clients, and your community. This does not happen by accident. Here are three ways you can master the art of harnessing your own inspiration to go on and inspire others.

 

Business Visionaries Have Consistent Messaging

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos

You started your business to achieve one main thing. Clarify exactly what that mission is to make it short and sweet so it is easy for others to capture that vision.

Think tagline!

Then plaster that short, sweet mission statement everywhere: on your website, in your company email footers, on your signage and in the tea room. Print it on T-shirts, open your team meetings with reminders, put it in your team position descriptions. Put it on your company header, tell your team members in their quarterly review, make it the centrepiece of your advertising and marketing.

Do not waver. Do not deviate. Do not become distracted. Shout that one message from the rooftops so everyone can join the inspiration you have for your business mission.

 

Business Leaders Set Achievable Goals

“Process drives culture, not the other way around, so you can’t just change the culture, you have to change the system.” Eric Ries

It may not seem as romantic as your original vision, but leading others to their own inspiration starts with taking a systematic approach. The inspiration you have needs to inform not only what people believe about the business, but how they operate each day.

Think systems and processes!

Lead your team in building out the procedures that get everyone working towards that vision with momentum and confidence. Empower your team to find the most effective, efficient way to work. Then  make that way the new normal. Set up regular reviews for your team so you routinely check in with them to offer support and celebrate their progress each quarter. Have systems in place to ensure that you can help your team get back on track even when standards might start to slip at work.

Everyone in your team will be inspired when you find ways to celebrate the vision being brought to life through achievement and increase.

 

Business Mentors Build Personal Connections

“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing” W. Edwards Deming

You can talk all you like about how your business is growing and your team is expanding. But taking others with you on the journey of business inspiration relies on you building a system to lead them. When you connect with other business leaders, you should be able to describe exactly what you’re doing to build the visionary leaders in your company.

Establishing ways to facilitate a sense of personal ownership, belonging and success for your team is foundational to your success. Your staff don’t only want to be acknowledged and rewarded. They actually need it. 79% of people who quit their job cite lack of appreciation as the reason, so actively demonstrating you care is vital to the long term health of your company.

Think mentorship!

When you were just starting out on your own, your job was to just keep going! With so much to do and so little time, your own inspiration was the fuel you burned to get that business off the ground. But building a business to expand and scale requires a paradigm shift. Inspiring your team to build your business for you means maintaining routines which make your staff know just how much you value their contribution. Take them under your wing. Connect with them regularly. Set them up for success with clearly defined expectations and rewards for achievement. Ask them what they want to achieve, and give them what they need to make that happen. As a business leader, you can make their days count for something more significant than their salary.

Watch what happens in your company when you shift from being inspired yourself to inspiring others.

 

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?

 

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?