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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.

 

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.

 

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!

 

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?