The divisive habit of not rinsing dishes after they have been washed

rinsing dishes.jpg

I have just returned from spending 10 days in San Francisco with my twin sister Josie. For most of the time we just hung out in her back yard by the pool, which felt like a resort, and the weather was incredible.

Trying to be a good guest, I washed the dishes a bit while I was over there. One time, shortly afterwards, I heard someone asking Josie incredulously ‘why doesn’t she rinse the dishes after she’s washed them?’, to which Josie replied ‘oh, it’s a kiwi thing, nobody does in New Zealand’

This intrigued (and admittedly slightly triggered me after I heard mutterings of ‘stupid’ and ‘unhygienic’) so I decided to Google it, and a plethora of results came flooding back. Check out this highly emotional thread from the Guardian (it seems that it’s actually a UK habit which is also practiced in Australia?). Why on earth do people seem so attached to this?

I have said before that a theme for me this this year is fighting against dogma, and specifically shoulds, musts and rules that no longer serve

While I was in US, I crossed something off my bucket list, which was facilitating a workshop at the wonderful Esalen retreat. Josie and I attended the powerful Wisdom 2.0 unconference there, and I offered to facilitate a session on how ‘shoulds’, ‘musts’ and ‘rules’ can really hinder us living our lives as the best version of ourselves. Sure, many rules serve us, and are necessary but how many are ingrained deep into our subconscious and are quite frankly a pain in the arse (eg don’t make a fuss, play it safe under the radar). It was a great session, and the amount of people who turned up to participate was testimony to the frustration levels caused by them.

Going back to ‘Dish-gate’, this appears to be a cultural norm, the shared expectation and rules that guide a group of people, in this case by country.  I was speaking with an ex-pat in the Philippines this week, who said it was quite normal for people in that country to retire before they are 50. In China it’s ok to belch at the dinner table (sign of gratitude). In Vietnam, crossing your fingers is translated as assimilating a certain part of the female body, so it’s certainly not considered good luck!

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could all see things from other points of view, and be a little less attached to our way of viewing the world?

This can be referred to as Dialectical thinking, something Geoff and I are exploring as we find common ground on how we maintain boundaries for our sons. The guts of it is to resolve differences between two views, rather than establish one of them as true.


When I work with clients to show up as the legends that they are, I focus a lot on personal ROI, where they best can spend their time, energy and resources to get the best result for them specifically. I think a great place to start is understanding where we are needlessly spending our energy fighting for a point of view to which we are very attached!

Posted on August 12, 2016 .

Collaboration Genius - The NZ Business Events Industry

I was lucky enough to attend Meetings NZ as a guest of CINZ (Conference Incentives NZ) last week. This industry knows how to host (of course no pressure… holding events for the events industry!) and I always love the energy, the friendliness and the fun that accompanies such events. They really have their act together around why they are there too, with a massive amount of actual meetings (15 minutes each) taking place throughout the day between serious buyers and the various exhibitors.

It really struck me how many switched on parties there are who are jointly committed to showcasing New Zealand as a premier business events destination. At the media briefing, we heard from ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development), Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand, Christchurch Airport, and The New Zealand International Convention Centre.

It’s a perfect example of different bodies collaborating for a shared result.

When I am coaching executives or working with revenue generators in professional services, I challenge them on how they can look at forming partnerships or collaborations with others for shared gain. It is a great way to leverage a broader spectrum of resource and particularly thinking.

There is a caveat here. Some people get too carried away with developing partnerships when they need to be focusing on building their own business first. An example of this might be a newly qualified coach, who spends their time looking at how they can work with complementary coaches or trainers, rather than getting out there themselves and forming their own relationships.

Here are some very cool examples of how these organisations are collaborating to bring more of the lucrative event dollar to our beautiful shores;

  1. Air New Zealand flewin over 140 hosted buyers from Australia, China, US, South East Asia. and India to Meetings NZ
  2. Tourism NZ has set up the Conference Assistance Program to support the events sector to attract more incentives and business events to NZ. This has demonstrated a strong ROI, with the $21 million investment to date generating $238 million of economic impact through additional bid wins.
  3. The Government has introduced business events visas, for countries like China, India, Thailand and Indonesia which have a three day turn around, making it more attractive as a destination.
  4. Air New Zealand has $2.2 billion new fleet on order, and with new routes via Ho Chi Minh, Buenos Aires, Philippines and Houston, have made flying to New Zealand for conferences a more viable option for these countries. Their Koru Lounge upgrade program ($100 million) also helps!
  5. The Auckland Conventions Bureau (through ATEED) are working with the industry to position Auckland as the premium event destination to increase visitation, deliver ROI and leverage events for maximum economic benefit(this is being replicated across NZ)
  6. Christchurch Airport have (just last week) launched the Creative Events Fund, which will provide support for those organisations looking at offering Christchurch as a destination for incentives and business events in the shoulder or off peak season.
  7. The International Convention Centre will provide the infrastructure to attract events that we currently cannot host, and will be an amazing destination with capacity for 3000 (and with a very cool flexible and adaptable layout, check out the video here for more).

CINZ plays a critical part in this, in that they are the ones who keep on top of all this good stuff that people are doing, and share it with the businesses in this industry. This is a key point in collaboration; making sure you know what’s going on to support you! Nothing worse than not taking advantage of an initiative that’s there to help, or recreating something similar! The other very impressive thing about this industry, is that they don’t patch protect; some of the organisations involved could consider that others were ‘trying to do their job for them’ but they all seem to work together well and welcome the collective gain.

The upshot of this, is that there are more people visiting New Zealand than ever before, and with the average delegate spending nearly 6 nights here, that’s a good thing for our economy.

What’s possible when we put our heads together, and look at how we can collectively work towards a shared vision? If you are used to ‘doing it alone’, then think about how you can enlist the support of others to increase the chances of success. And do the research; you never know what resources might be available to make your job easier!

Posted on June 29, 2016 .

Stop reading boring business books (video blog)

I attended Thought Leader's Business School last week, and came back from it (as usual!) a little scrambled. When you spend three days percolating in an intense environment with another 150 people who want to change the world, it's hardly surprising. The big revelation for me was...

I find books on sales training quite boring!

I have really tried to read the classics, you know the ones that so many people quote (I do wonder how many who quote them have actually read them!), but I end up avoiding them or worse, making myself try to read them.

Recently I subscribed to Audible, which means I can listen to books in the car, and chose to be diligent and read a best seller sales book, but I ended up dreading car journeys! There is something wrong here. This year, one of my decision mechanisms is to check in to how I feel about something. If it feels right, then it probably is, if it doesn't well, have a think about what that means. Of course it may mean that you are just out of your comfort zone, and that what you are contemplating is the right thing, but in the case of my Audible experience, I don't think we are talking challenging stuff here.

On the other hand, two books that I have read, which have totally lit up my soul are 1. Big Magic by Liz Gilbert and 2. LIght is the new Black by Rebecca Campbell. I have read them cover to cover, taken loads of notes, and bought copies for friends (and thanks to my gorgeous friends who told me about it them the first place).

It is not just limited to books of course. The same goes for Ted Talks and other media. Something that has absolutely blown me away recently, has been the documentary 'Why Am I?' which screened on TVNZ this week. It is based on the amazing longitudinal study of over 1000 participants who have been observed and tracked for over 40 years! I said to my mum this morning, that it makes me proud to hail from Dunedin, where the study is conducted from. Just a couple of gems from it...

  1. They now know that five personality types which are evident from pre-school years, which largely determine how you will will develop in terms of health, wealth and happiness. Early intervention is critical, as you can change the behaviour, not the personality.
  2. Originally it was dismissed as irrelevant for the rest of the world (back in the '70's, thanks to some schmick marketing from the tourism board of the time, everyone seemed to think we ran around in grass skirts!), but recent research shows that the same patterns are occurring in other similar nations. The awful exception to this, is that the homicide rate in Pittsburgh is way higher, even though assault rates are identical. The reason???... more assaults end up being homicide due solely to the lack of gun control over there (don't get me started).

Have a think about how your book and Ted Talk preferences reflect your own thought leadership

Don't try and pretend to be something you aren't. Here's a wee tip; if you get to about page 42 and you aren't hooked, give it up! Google a synopsis on the book title, and learn the key take outs. I have realised it isn't actually the craft of sales that lights me up, it's who people are being, their energy and their drivers that result in massively increased sales. We all have something, our own wee illuminator. Focus on that!

Posted on June 8, 2016 .

From movie trailer to award winning movie maker - The extraordinary story of Susan Parker

 

A few months ago, I profiled a wonderful colleague of mine Jasmine Platt, who is truly living a life by design.

Someone else who truly deserves a blog dedicated to her is Susan Parker, a very talented film and TV producer I met around two years ago (She has worked on the likes of In my Father's Den and Vertical Limit).

We met at the amazing Paulus Romijn’s Presenters Platform course in early 2014. At the time she had left the unpredictable world of free lance producing (the film industry had kind of flipped out a bit) and had set herself up as Popgun Films, where she was planning to apply her well honed skills to the corporate world, and create corporate videos for them.

But she had this niggle that kept on distracting her, a love story about a Kiwi boy, Hap and a US girl, Mandy who were navigating a nightmare journey through immigration. She had met the kiwi boy at a documentary event, and discovered he had hundreds of hours of self filmed footage of their travels biking around Africa, and supporting Bikes for Humanity , a very cool Melbourne based charity which collects old bikes, refurbishes them, then sends them off in container loads to villages in developing countries, along with a few bike mechanics (including Hap).

Susan knew what made a great story, and this had all the makings – drama, a ludicrous bureaucracy system, love, a break up, amazing scenery and incredibly powerful back stories. But there was only one problem, there was no money or funding to spend on the project to bring it to life.

When you have a vision, create the trailer and pretend it exists already!!

That’s exactly what Susan did. I first found out about the film was when she showed our presentation group the trailer. We were blown away, and couldn’t wait to see the movie...until she told us that it actually hadn’t been created yet. I love the old perception creates reality adage, and here it was in action – we could all see the movie in our heads, and wanted to see it for real!

Suddenly, this project became bigger than her. Liz Gilbert in her stunning book Big Magic talks about Eudaimonia, the exhilarating encounter between a human being and divine creative inspiration and that’s certainly what happened to Susan.

She realised that her true calling was the film industry, not the corporate world, and decided to fight for this little movie to be made! It involved one failed Kick-Starter project, one resigning director (so Susan stepped up!), continuing immigration dramas and an amazing example of sacrifice and kiwi ingenuity; the movie was created on a shoe string and Susan invested significantly personally herself. I was personally coaching Susan at the time and experienced many of the highs and lows as they occurred, it was almost a movie in itself!

Fast forward two years, the movie is completed and last week Susan won Best NZ Feature Film and Best NZ Director at the Doc Edge awards. I had the privilege of seeing it this week at the Fan screening, and was totally absorbed. With incredible rawness, amazing cinematography, and riveting back stories of HIV inAfrican villages and Mandy’s own back story of a massively challenging childhood, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a screenplay, not actual real life.

There are two reasonsI am sharing this with you (over and above celebrating a friend who I am truly proud of)

  1. If you are in Auckland, I thoroughly recommend you go along next week and see it (Thursday May 26 at 8:30pm and Sunday May 29th at 3:30pm) – Susan will be holding a Q and A afterwards (click here to purchase tickets).
  2. Have a think about a dream or vision you have, and think about how you can ‘create your trailer’. What is your version of perception becoming reality? Maybe it’s getting a book cover for your book designed on Fiverr? Or designing the logo fora business you have been thinking about for years? Ora prototype for the jewelry pieces you have been designing in your head?

When I asked Susan how she felt last week, after the whirlwind of the screenings and the awards, she replied ‘tired’. I think that sums it up! Following your dreams (IF you choose to, remember I am not a passion bully any more :-)) takes courage, energy, money and time. But think of the difference doing so makes not only in your life, but others around you. I for one feel very blessed to have been part of this quest, and seeing the wonderful end result.

Posted on May 23, 2016 .

Stomping out the dogma (and my new book More Walk Less Talk)

The big thing I am standing up against this year is dogma; the idea that you have to do things one particular way, be it what you eat, how you sell, what you believe in, what you wear, how you earn money, how you exercise or even your relationship status options.

I get that some people are very passionate about whatever it is that might have changed their life for the better, and want you to experience the freedom and results for yourself. But just because it works for them, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you.

Take exercise and nutrition for example. I have two lovely friends who have hit the jackpot on their approach to both, at Vision Personal Training (and they were definitely not dogmatic about sharing it!).  I have been massively committed to the exercise bit, never missed a session with my wonderful trainer and am feeling way better for it. Regarding the nutrition, I have totally changed my habits around how much alcohol I drink, pretty much cutting out processed foods, introducing more protein and less carbs and eating five times a day. Although my body shape has changed quite a bit, a weight loss of three kilos in nearly four months is not the same result as my friends (and it could of course have something to do with the fact that I relax my approach a couple of times a week, but then again so did my friends). With regard to exercise and food, I simply don’t believe that one size fits all, and I am working with my personal trainer to tweak things to see if we can speed things up, although I figure if I stick at it, I will get there eventually!! (and for me personally, to be totally regimented about food 24 x 7 sucks out the joy a bit too much :-).

And it’s not always about other people’s opinions (although we care way more about them than we let on). I also think we need to challenge doing something because ‘that’s the way it’s always been done’ or ‘that’s the way everyone else does it’. So what?!! It does not mean that it is the best way for you to do it (or that it even works – don’t get me started on my thoughts on quarterly reporting).

There are so many experts and opinions out there, the trick is for you to decide which one works for you, and then apply it. You may not get it right first time, and that’s fine, just shift whatever you want to shift around, get out there and start doing it, and see how it works next time. It is all about curiosity and tailoring the approach to you personally.  I really got clear on this when I watched a talk by Liz Gilbert about passion bullies (here is the blog I wrote on it earlier this year).  I realized I was one of those myself. Don’t feel the pressure of other people’s expectations, just choose to live the way that works for you across all areas of your life. And very importantly understand any costs associated with it. For example, you might choose to eat a diet of ‘beige’ food all day long, but understand that you might have some health complications, and will most likely frequently be outgrowing your wardrobe!

I do think we need to be mindful of giving up too early of course. Some things can take longer for results to show up than we would like, so make sure you give it a good chance before throwing in the towel.

Introducing my latest book
‘More Walk Less Talk’

Over the last couple of months I have been getting clear on the scope of my next book ‘More walk less Talk’. It is going to be part of a trilogy (the other books being ‘More Heart less Hype’ and ‘More Care less Crap’) which takes my original customer life-cycle (the Willy Wonka machine from my first book ‘Lead Generation') and goes into it deeper and broader.

I plan to have it completed by my birthday at the end of July this year, and I am super excited, about what I share in the book, because this time around, it is not just about lead generation, it’s about any kind of quest you might want to undertake in your life. For example, you might want to get more people along to a fund raising event; you could be thinking about a new career or want to increase your membership for a networking group you have set up.

In each of these instances, it is really about your own personal return on investment (PROI), where you personally can best spend your time, resources and energy to influence and impact for results. That specifically means

  1. Understanding your uniqueness and your brilliance
  2. Getting clear on the blocks and patterns that hold you back
  3. Crafting a tailored campaign or promotion based on your talents, personality and preferences, who you are reaching out to and what value you are sharing.

Regardless of what you choose to do, there are people out there who need you, and who will benefit from what you have to offer, so it’s as simple as you understanding who they are, where they are and how you can connect (and keep in touch) most powerfully. A key takeaway from the first book is you getting clarity on what it is that you are really good at and love doing.

I have been mindful of any dogma I might be including in the book, so will be checking and rechecking for any ideas I share that are too fixed. What I love about the approach that I am sharing is that it really is up to you to find a way that works. Just keep trying, measure the results and then either continue, or try something else (once you have given it a good bash). That’s why it’s personal ROI, and curiosity and experimentation is a great way to discover yours.

Posted on May 6, 2016 .

What on earth is healing (and we aren’t talking about what’s under a Band-Aid here)

 

When I am working with people on living their legacy, and illuminating themselves to make the difference they were born to make, I have to ‘get over myself’ and ask a question which can be quite confronting and confusing;

‘Have you ever undertaken any healing work?’

Many people don’t really understand what healing work is, or why they would do it, and sometimes I have a bit of trouble explaining it. This is mainly because I don’t want to be seen as a bit of a whacko, and it can be a little tricky to explain, so I thought I would give it a go in today’s blog (deep breath, and apologies if it sounds a bit intense, what I want is for people to feel more lightness in their life, and getting this sorted absolutely provides that).

Have a think back to people who have been a significant part of your life. Generally, we are talking about mothers, fathers, siblings, best friends, first girlfriends or boyfriends, ex-husbands, ex-wives, ex-business partners, and of course, anyone who is in your life currently.

The way to work out if healing work is something you would benefit from, is to think about the ‘charge’ that happens when you think about these people.

If you suddenly experience some kind of negative emotional response, eg anxiety, anger, sadness, dread, blame, then that means there is something incomplete for you, and healing would be a great option.

Now think about any past negative experiences in your life, eg abuse, loss, guilt, failure, betrayal, bullying, abandonment. Again, observe how you feel when you think of this event. For example, you are still sent into a rage when you think about a business gone pear shaped ten years ago?

Imagine the freedom you would feel, if that charge was no longer there? I know countless examples of where this is actually the case for people in my life, and usually, it is a result of undertaking some healing work around this.

Maybe you can’t think of a specific event, but you find that there are times when you just get really angry, sad, scared, or just feel like total crap emotionally, even when everything is supposedly going fine.

OR another way we as humans conveniently deal with this ‘stuff’ is that we go onto autopilot, disconnecting ourselves to any emotions whatsoever, and flat-lining our way through life, without the ability to really feel anything.

Of course, one very smart way to resolve the hurt or the disconnection is to seek therapy or coaching, which is great for resolving the issue, and particularly the way it impacts your life today (including the little voices in your head that may be part of it). It may however, not always address the underlying ‘charge’.

Maybe it’s more about your actual internal ‘charge’ or energy? (Here’s about where I sense some eyes rolling….. hear me out ☺).

There's something pretty crazy about energy, and the fact that we're all made up of cells and energy. As such, we can have negative energy in our cellular memory that holds us back. The incredible doctor Deepak Chopra is the person from whom I first heard about this concept. The eastern philosophies refer to this as chi, which is essentially the energy that flows in every living thing, and in nature. This is often what we refer to as ‘being in the zone’ or ‘being in flow’.

A healer is someone who helps you to shift at an energetic level. They take responsibility for getting your chi or energy back into alignment, and removing any blocks or obstacles that might be stopping that flow. Sometimes only one or two sessions are required, sometimes it takes a lot more than that, and in some instances, you can choose to learn a technique where you can heal yourself (the body has infinite capacity to do this!).

How you do this is a very personal choice. Once you decide that you are ready to undertake healing, you will find that someone or some modality that resonates for you. Some examples are Reiki, NLP, spiritual healing, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Emotional Freedom Techniques, Qigong, Tapping, Neotouch, Bodytalk, Shamanic healing, Chakra clearing, Neurolink and self-hypnosis.

Lucille Henry (Matariki Essences)

Frederic Cherri, Cynthia Kirk, Emma Kelly (Neotouch)

Deb Rowley

Di Sorrell

Kim Knight

Aimee Graham

The best way is to find someone who other people use and trust. Unfortunately the industry is unregulated, and there are people who claim to be healers, who are not healed themselves, and that can end up with unsatisfactory experiences. One thing I love about working under the Evolved Leadership brand, is that as coaches, we are required to constantly do the work on ourselves, both being coached and getting on going healing. I may go for months or even a year or so without attending a healing session, but I now know myself well enough that when that charge starts appearing, it’s time to do something about it.

Love to hear your thoughts on this topic! It is something that I used to avoid talking about (hence why this blog is a little delayed, I have been avoiding publishing it!), but my need to ‘look good’ is less than my need to give people an option to get rid of those negative feelings that can be addressed, with the right support.

Posted on April 28, 2016 .

Some exciting (and scary) insights about our future

Last week I was privileged to attend Roger Hamilton's event for two days, called Fast Forward your Business, and came out totally drenched in new and invaluable information.

 

Roger is a true professional in the way he hosts these events, because

  • His generosity is incredible, the two days were crammed with value
  • His 'selling from back of room' strategy is very elegant; instead of spending time in front of the wider audience, he invited 'truly interested' parties to stay behind in a lunch break or breakfast where he could speak specifically to the value and the problems he solves
  • There was a massive amount of research he shared, and media articles which provided this were generally less than a week old! Roger is committed to being at the top of his game in understanding future trends, and his up to date research was totally aligned to that.

I know that we are often being bombarded with facts about our Jetson's style (some of you won't know that that is!) but these insights really got me present just to how different our world (and that of our kids) is going to be. Here are some real eye-openers.... and yes, some of these things are not reality today, but Roger has an uncanny ability to predict the future, as evidenced in his predictions from 5 years ago.

1. The car manufacturing industry is set for an upheaval with the advent of 3D manufactured cars

Stati have come up with a 3D car, with 75% of its materials printed this way. It will be cost effective, and will change the supply chain of this industry. Watch this video for more.

2. Everything in our world is going to be connected, with The 'Internet of Things' having 50 billion things networked by 2020

This isn't just devices, this is wearable technology, home ware, personal items like toothbrushes. What IoT will do is increase productivity, decrease costs, and improve our quality of life.

3. Block chains will change our legal and accounting practices dramatically

I had never even heard of them! Basically it is a tracking capability, and the way Roger described it was as if a $20 note's entire history could be retraced and reported on. Suddenly, we have 'proof' like never before of what took place, where and when, which will negate the need for many accounting and legal activities of today.

4. Universal Basic Income is being widely debated as a possibility presently

Only just this week, Labour have tabled this as something to explore, and it isn't so harebrained (some Canadians are on board with this too). Think about it, with 40% of jobs expected to disappear within 5 years, how are we going to all earn a living? It's all about challenging the premise that we have to work for a living. Buckminster Fuller believed that one in ten thousand of us could make a technological breakthrough that would support the rest financially; a different way of looking at things definitely, but worth exploring!

5. Individuals, not governments will solve the global problems

This one knocked me off my perch, but it makes sense, doesn't it? Governments are too busy solving national problems to spend too much time and effort on global problems. Where we need to look at is at the individual level, including the influencers like Elon Musk, Salman Khan and Mark Zuckerberg. The UN has jumped on board, and created the UN Sustainable Development Goals, have a look at this possibly idealistic but definitely thought provoking video, which features a few famous faces (and if you haven't heard of seasteading, check out this page!) ...

6. Drone racing is set to become a major spectator sport

Leaving the craziest stuff till last, check out this video on drone racing, and you can see why it has the makings for compelling viewing. With over 450,000 drones having been registered since registration commenced only 3 months ago, this little piece of technology is set to change our lives in more ways than one!

There is a whole bunch of other stuff that was covered, but these are my top 6, and thanks again to Roger (and the wonderful Kim Knight) for a fabulous two days. How technology and connectivity will change our future is everybody's business, don't get left behind!

Posted on March 24, 2016 .

Do you feel psychologically safe at work?

unnamed.jpg

I was on the Paul Henry Show last week talking about how to tell when you have outgrown your career, (the link has disappeared from the Newshub site, so I can't share it for now). We were discussing the importance of finding where the challenge actually comes from; ie it might not be your career per se, it might be

  • The industry I bashed it out in recruitment for a few years then realized it just wasn’t for me long term)
  • A personal shift for you eg you decide that you want to choose a slower pace of life, and leave the big city (check out this great story, the book is about to be released about Angela’s move from working at Louis Vuitton to managing a homestead)
  • You! As in some of us spend our lives shuffling from one career to another in a fog of discontent, when actually the careers we choose are not the problem, we are!!
  • The people you work with It might actually be the people, or more likely your boss, who drive you away from an otherwise completely fulfilling career.

It was this last point that really got me thinking. According to Gallup, 50% to 70% of people resign from a role because of a bad manager

Have a think about that! It’s criminal!

A few years ago, I had the absolute pleasure of being the ‘Kiwi Manager’ for the wonderful experience company ‘Red Balloon’. It was such a fun and fulfilling role, supporting companies to look at how they engage their teams (and with only 24% ofworkers engaged according to Gallup and 16% of them actively disengagedit was a great area to be focusing on). For a couple of years, I lived and breathed engagement and fulfillment in the workplace and observed the extraordinary Naomi Simson drive a true representation of creating a highly engaged company herself.

It still eludes so many companies, this engagement beast. Even Google admit to wrestling with it, and conducted over 200 interviews across two years, to see what makes a great team. Click here for the study, but the guts of it came down to

1. Psychological safety – Can we take risks without feeling insecure or embarrassed?

2. Dependability - Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?

3. Structure and clarity - Are goals, roles and execution plans on our team clear?

4. Meaning of work - Are we working on something that is personally important for us?

5. Impact of work - Do we fundamentally believe that the work we are doing matters?

Not wanting to ‘just take a survey’ Google decided to do something about it, and they created a tool called the gTeams exercise, which is essentially a 10 minute pulse check on each of these areas along with some face to face conversations. Over 3000 Googlers have to date used the tool, and sense of psychological safety is up (although not massively, only 6%).

What’s interesting is that psychological safety was way more important than anything else. And when I think about how often I have heard how bullied people feel in the workplace recently, I am not surprised.

Don’t put your head in the sand about psychological safety! 

In my last blog, I shared my 'tolerations matrix' with you. Amazing things have shifted for people getting clear on what they are tolerating personally, and even though some initial decisions have been tough, they now know that they are living their truth. The same goes for looking at what you are tolerating at work. Bullying is a massive problem for us, so start to notice what is going on around you, and if you feel that yours or someone else’s psychological safety is questioned, talk to someone about it!

 

Posted on March 8, 2016 .

'Everything's Fine!' and other delusions

I have just woken from a brilliant sleep.  I don’t even think I got up to go to the loo once (usually, when you can’t remember, you can be pretty sure you haven’t!). Neither of the boys popped into our bed, and I didn’t toss and turn in the heat when settling last night.

There will be some of you reading this who want to thump me right now ! Sleep has eluded you for months, maybe years. I am amazed how many people are affected by this, and I agree that sleep deprivation is cruel.

 

Watch this Ted Talk called ‘How to Stop Screwing yourself Over’ by Mel Robbins where she talks about the F word.

This is a great watch. It’s not the word you think… it’s FINE. Everything’s fine!! We tend to say this time and time again, and so often, we say it when everything’s anything BUT fine!

“Everything’s fine…. (except I haven’t had a decent sleep for years)”.

“Everything’s fine…(except I feel so lonely having moved cities, and haven’t been invited to anyone’s place for six months)”.

“Everything’s fine…(but my wife and I never speak civilly to each other any more)".

Little caveat; I don’t want to push the drama card here!  But how can you change around a situation when you won’t even acknowledge it and sometimes even to yourself?

I think as human beings, we risk going into ‘autopilot’ with our lives and simply tolerate stuff in it without getting really present to what it’s costing us. It’s easier to drink just a little bit too much, watch just a little bit more reality TV or distance ourselves from the ones around us, rather than face what is affecting us full on.

There are four primary areas of our life, where we seek fulfillment;

1.     Wellness and Faith

2.     Career and Purpose

3.     Relationships and Community

4.     Finance and abundance

You may have heard of these as the ‘four pillars of life’, where if one of these is ‘out’ you will be unable to deal with the inevitable change and adversity that we areinevitably faced with in life.

I have added a fifth category, which is support and structures, and kind of wraps itself around the other four.

Do a ‘tolerations audit’ of your life, and see if anything shows up!

I used to be very ‘appropriate’ with my one on one coaching. I was there to teach people about ‘lead generation’ or ‘thought leadership’. Quite frankly, it made me uncomfortable to go all ‘life coachy’ on it (actually I loved it when we did talk about ‘the stuff that really matters’, but I just didn’t feel brave enough to put myself out there like that). Time and time again, after weeks or even months of coaching, I would discover that my client hadn’t really slept in years. Or was in a destructive relationship. Or was feeling really anxious about something which impacted them daily. As coaches, it's up to us to ask the right questions so that our clients can achieve the breakthroughs and intentions that they have paid us to support them with. If I had asked the right questions earlier on in our partnership, not only would they have had a better chance of succeeding with those, but they would hav e been able to make some life changing decisions sooner rather than later.

Now it is standard practice for me to send new clients a tolerations matrix. It has been refined over time, and now asks some pretty straight questions. I have attached it below; please feel free to download it and complete it yourself. What you are looking for is outliers; areas of your life that you rate significantly lower than others. It's quite amazing; once those tolerations become visible in your line of sight, then it's very difficult to make them disappear again! For anything that is affecting your fulfillment, make a decision to get support and sort them out. Once you put it out there, providence kicks in. Of course you are also looking for the parts of your life where you rate highly, and want to celebrate those!

Have a think about how often you say ‘fine’ and about getting a little bit real with what might be really going on. Click here for a copy.

Posted on March 2, 2016 .

How I saw myself being a right cow over Christmas

 

I am sure you have heard of body dysmorphia, where someone thinks that their body is way fatter than it actually is? I think that some of us suffer from personality dysmorphia (?) where we think that the way that we are acting (and particularly communicating with others) way nicer than we actually are.

What I mean by that, is that the way we intend (consciously though, not subconsciously) to come across is often not how we actually come across. Has your ‘tone’ ever got you into trouble? It’s not the actual words I am talking about, it is the way that we say them.

This Summer was a special one for our family. The three siblings and our families spent way longer time than usual at my mum’s place in Wanaka. Her house was on the market, and has since been (conditionally) sold. 20 years of parties, boyfriends, babies and dramas were experienced in the extraordinary property, with the most amazing lake view.

My brother remarked that at Christmas, as Kiwis and Aussies, we certainly do put ourselves under a pressure cooker situation....

...with family congregating in often very confined and very isolated accommodation. Thankfully we had breathing space, even with 12 bodies in the house, and we also had a pretty harmonious time together.

I have mentioned before, that I have an identical twin. Apart from the obvious fact that I have been lucky enough to grow up with someone beside me for everything from first day of school, to leaving home, it also comes in handy for sharing clothes, trialing hair styles and seeing how a few less (or extra) kilos look! Can you imagine what it is like to see (and hear) yourself? One day I will write the book on being a twin, and there will be a special chapter on being married to a twin!

Back to the ‘being a cow’ bit. Now that Mum is selling up, and moving into somewhere smaller, there is some furniture that needs a good home, and Geoff and I have been considering taking the (beautiful!) dining suite. Geoff is more of a modern man, and was taking some time to ‘come around to the idea’ which is of course totally understandable. Whereas I thought that I was being completely reasonable with my communication around the subject, my sis Josie had another take on it.

“Do you know how you sounded when you were talking to Geoff about the furniture Laurel?” She asked? “Like a right cow! And the horrid thing is, I could hear myself in you.” She then mimicked what I said (and because she sounds almost identical to me, that wasn’t hard), and I very quickly got the picture.

We agreed to observe each other for the rest of our holiday and how we were communicating with our loved ones. I swear it was the most revealing exercise, and one which has very brutally got me to see how my tone gets me into trouble.

Most of us don’t have an identical twin to try this out with, but have a think about how you come across in your tone. Another interesting opportunity is when you are ranting about something and one of your kids just happens to have been recording on their device at the same time! Don’t subscribe topersonality dysmorphia, and be mindful of how you relate to others, especially those poor punch bags who happen to be our nearest and dearest!

 

 

Posted on February 9, 2016 .

Find your passion get stuffed!

    Happy New Year, and congratulations to those of you who are smart enough to take your break now, when most people are back on board, but there is still that sense of things not being back in full swing.     A few months ago, I was lucky enough to hear the extraordinary  Michael Henderson  speak. He was sharing an experience he had a while back now, where he looked at his thought leadership, and realized that some of the stuff he had been sharing heartfully all these years, wasn’t necessarily his truth any more. It wasn’t that he had been ‘wrong’; it just kind of morphed into something quite different. At the time, I remember having a feeling that the same thing might happen to me, but wasn’t quite sure what that might be.    A few nights ago, I decided to watch a  talk  by  Elizabeth Gilbert  of Eat, Pray, Love fame (I have heard critiques of that book along the lines of bagging her as a privileged divorcee with first world problems; do yourself a favour and don’t write her off as a chick lit froth, her work is very profound). In it she shared something about herself that made me feel a bit uncomfortable, because it was something I felt I could too be guilty of…. That is… she realized she was a  passion bully ! It has definitely created a watershed moment for me around my own crusade and tambourine bashing.    You know what am talking about (and I know there are a few of you out there who are the same); a passion bully goes around saying things like ‘ Find your Passion! ’, “ Don’t tolerate a job where you don’t feel it is absolutely what you were born to do !” , ‘ Find a job you love, and you will never have to ‘work’ another day of your life ’!!!    The thing about bullies like Elizabeth Gilbert and me, is that prattling on about this kind of stuff can make some people feel decidedly stink. Why? Because they haven’t ‘found their passion’, and more often than not, like the woman who wrote to her after attending one of her keynotes, it is not for lack of trying. They have been searching, they have been  open  to allowing the passion to enter their lives, but passion so far, hasn’t come knocking!      Are you a jackhammer or a humming bird?      Elizabeth cites a great metaphor, which is the jackhammer vs the humming bird. There are people on the planet who are jackhammers; they discover a passion, which is so intense, that they would work through nights on end, take financial risks and give up almost everything for it.    The hummingbirds on the other hand, are driven by curiosity; they dart from here to there, try a bit of this, try a bit of that, gain some valuable lessons, but don’t necessarily find the flower that intoxicates them, and make all the other flowers pale in comparison (which is of course, a good thing!).      What happened last time you were in a very passionate relationship?      Neither is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; they are just different paths. But Elizabeth asked a question, which I thought, was revealing; think about the last time you were in a massively passionate personal relationship with someone. How did that work out? More often than not, we become a bit of a crazy person, and start making decisions that don’t necessarily serve us, or those close to us. Of course that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ‘follow our passion’, it just means like everything there are pluses and minuses to each, and neither is right or wrong.     This isn’t the first time I have heard passion being questioned. The wise  Mandy Beverley  pointed out to me a couple of years ago that the word passion is actually derived from the Latin word ‘passio’, which means suffering or submission.     Maybe it’s a bit like the discussion around healthy eating. One day it’s all about no fat, the next day it’s all about no carb, then the next it’s around no sugar.  I will be interested to see how the conversations trend around passion, now that someone as influential as Elizabeth has ‘called’ it.     To anyone who I have offended by ramming some version of passion bullying down your throats; I apologise. Celebrate your curious nature, think of the humming bird, and don’t feel like crap because you haven’t discovered something that you would be prepared to lose nights of sleep over! 

 

Happy New Year, and congratulations to those of you who are smart enough to take your break now, when most people are back on board, but there is still that sense of things not being back in full swing.

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to hear the extraordinary Michael Henderson speak. He was sharing an experience he had a while back now, where he looked at his thought leadership, and realized that some of the stuff he had been sharing heartfully all these years, wasn’t necessarily his truth any more. It wasn’t that he had been ‘wrong’; it just kind of morphed into something quite different. At the time, I remember having a feeling that the same thing might happen to me, but wasn’t quite sure what that might be.

A few nights ago, I decided to watch a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame (I have heard critiques of that book along the lines of bagging her as a privileged divorcee with first world problems; do yourself a favour and don’t write her off as a chick lit froth, her work is very profound). In it she shared something about herself that made me feel a bit uncomfortable, because it was something I felt I could too be guilty of…. That is… she realized she was a passion bully! It has definitely created a watershed moment for me around my own crusade and tambourine bashing.

You know what am talking about (and I know there are a few of you out there who are the same); a passion bully goes around saying things like ‘Find your Passion!’, “Don’t tolerate a job where you don’t feel it is absolutely what you were born to do!” , ‘Find a job you love, and you will never have to ‘work’ another day of your life’!!!

The thing about bullies like Elizabeth Gilbert and me, is that prattling on about this kind of stuff can make some people feel decidedly stink. Why? Because they haven’t ‘found their passion’, and more often than not, like the woman who wrote to her after attending one of her keynotes, it is not for lack of trying. They have been searching, they have been open to allowing the passion to enter their lives, but passion so far, hasn’t come knocking! 

Are you a jackhammer or a humming bird? 

Elizabeth cites a great metaphor, which is the jackhammer vs the humming bird. There are people on the planet who are jackhammers; they discover a passion, which is so intense, that they would work through nights on end, take financial risks and give up almost everything for it.

The hummingbirds on the other hand, are driven by curiosity; they dart from here to there, try a bit of this, try a bit of that, gain some valuable lessons, but don’t necessarily find the flower that intoxicates them, and make all the other flowers pale in comparison (which is of course, a good thing!). 

What happened last time you were in a very passionate relationship? 

Neither is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; they are just different paths. But Elizabeth asked a question, which I thought, was revealing; think about the last time you were in a massively passionate personal relationship with someone. How did that work out? More often than not, we become a bit of a crazy person, and start making decisions that don’t necessarily serve us, or those close to us. Of course that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ‘follow our passion’, it just means like everything there are pluses and minuses to each, and neither is right or wrong.

This isn’t the first time I have heard passion being questioned. The wise Mandy Beverley pointed out to me a couple of years ago that the word passion is actually derived from the Latin word ‘passio’, which means suffering or submission.

Maybe it’s a bit like the discussion around healthy eating. One day it’s all about no fat, the next day it’s all about no carb, then the next it’s around no sugar.  I will be interested to see how the conversations trend around passion, now that someone as influential as Elizabeth has ‘called’ it.

To anyone who I have offended by ramming some version of passion bullying down your throats; I apologise. Celebrate your curious nature, think of the humming bird, and don’t feel like crap because you haven’t discovered something that you would be prepared to lose nights of sleep over! 

Posted on January 22, 2016 .

Oprah and skin bags of hot air

Last night, like so many others in Auckland, I attended ‘An Evening with Oprah’. The energy at the venue was palpable and Oprah masterfully guided the crowd into an extraordinarily evangelical frenzy at the end, screaming out ‘TAKE YOUR GLORY AND ROAR!!!’     To experience it was an absolute privilege and her generosity was outstanding; for two hours she shared vulnerably, powerfully and bringing all of herself to each moment.I also was part of the most natural standing ovation I have ever seen. She stopped, and everyone just stood up, no delay, no awkwardness.     I could share so much of the gold today, but one particular insight of hers truly resonated with me. She said that after every interview she ever had, the same question was always asked, whether it was Barack, Beyonce or someone who had just shared their most tragic personal story….      "Was that ok?"      She had rather a breakthrough based on that insight. Everyone is looking to be validated, and what they really want to say is ‘Did you hear me? Does what I say matter to you?’     And she then went on to share that this was particularly the case for arguments, and told a hilarious story about her preparing a goose for her husband Stedman who came late home from golf one day.     The challenge with argument and conflict, is we make it all mean so much. We get caught up in entitlement, drama and significance and if we aren’t mindful about how we are communicating, the conflict can build and build to explosion point.     It got me to thinking how so many arguments could be resolved, if each party simply felt that they had been heard and that what they thought mattered. My husband is very complimentary about my ability to turn any conflict in my life around to a positive.  Sometimes with clients or prospects the way we handle their displeasure with something can actually cement the relationship to a deeper level, and I like to think I always commit to ensuring they feel heard, and thankfully have burnt very few bridges to date.     But I learned a very clever process from a very wise woman around twelve years ago that has supported me to do that in an effective way, so I thought it was worthwhile sharing that today, in light of Oprah’s insight.         When someone close to you is angry and vents, view them simply as a skin bag of hot air      If we can detach ourselves from the emotion, but still listen to what they are saying, it creates a possibility for resolution.      I have outlined my process step by step below, which makes this newsletter a little lengthier than usual. Feel free to read it, or not.     Have a wonderful Christmas and new year break with your family. I am offline now for three weeks, and will also take a break from my weekly blogs (this is number 50 for the year!). Here’s to 2016 being your most illuminating yet!     Cheers Laurel      Here is what I do step by step.      (1)  Frame the conversation . State that you want to discuss and hopefully resolve the conflict and it is important to you that they feel heard. Invite them to share why they are so angry with them, and give them your word that you will not interrupt until they are finished. You might even wish to advise them you would like to take a couple of notes (seriously, this isgood idea :-)) Request that they get everything out into the open (I always find people are open to this, which isn’t surprising, because you are giving them an opportunity to be heard).     (2)  Listen to what they say!  But instead of ‘going anywhere’ with their accusations, their stories and the potentially hurtful stuff that they are saying, just visualize them as a skin bag of hot air, slowing deflating with every word. If there is a lot for them to share, or you think you won’t remember, then jot down the key points – what they are saying,  not  your interpretation. I know it sounds tricky, but if you can just focus on the words, and not make meaning out of it, then it’s surprisingly easy. Sometimes, if I am struggling with that, I just think of the words coming out as ‘’bla bla bla’ – not out of disrespect, but to disassociate myself from the drama (and you will be able to review the actual content/meaning later on)     (3)  When it seems that they have finished, gently say ‘got it, thanks so much. Was there anything else? ’ You know how when you are deflating an airbed, and you sometimes have to stomp out some of that last remaining air? Think of the skinbag in front of you like that. There is often other underlying stuff that they won’t automatically share, but if you keep asking, then those last words of hot air will escape. I find this exercise quite transformational, in that I feel that I can literally see them deflating in front of me! The charge just disappears. Why? Because they feel like they are being heard.     (4)  When you are sure that they have got all of it out, then thank them again, and tell them you really appreciate them sharing so openly . Then ask if you can confirm with them exactly how they feel, so that you can be sure you haven’t misinterpreted something.  This is why the notes can be so helpful, especially if the comments are quite heated. Again,  I do think framing helps, so say something like ‘so you feel that I am disrespecting you because I (a), (b) and (c) and that I never (d), am completely (e) and (f) and it was unbelievable when I (g)ed. You get the picture! Look for acknowledgement from them that you have captured and relayed it fully. There is of course the chance that your tone or choice of words (if you don’t read it back verbatim) will get you into trouble; if that happens, then apologise, and reframe without the emotion.     So what happens next? You know, I don’t think it actually matters! The fact is that you have given them the chance to feel heard, and the conflict will hopefully have cooled off a bit. You do have right of reply, but sometimes I think that is a good idea to schedule for a later time. Do have a look at what they have said, remember it is  their  truth, not  the  truth, but there might be some learnings for you. When you do want to communicate with them, ask them to afford the same courtesy you gave them, ie not interrupting, and be careful not to slip into a defensive or justifying style.     This has saved me loads of potential grief a number of times in the last decade. Take a risk, give it a go, and I trust you will find the same. 

Last night, like so many others in Auckland, I attended ‘An Evening with Oprah’. The energy at the venue was palpable and Oprah masterfully guided the crowd into an extraordinarily evangelical frenzy at the end, screaming out ‘TAKE YOUR GLORY AND ROAR!!!’

To experience it was an absolute privilege and her generosity was outstanding; for two hours she shared vulnerably, powerfully and bringing all of herself to each moment.I also was part of the most natural standing ovation I have ever seen. She stopped, and everyone just stood up, no delay, no awkwardness.

I could share so much of the gold today, but one particular insight of hers truly resonated with me. She said that after every interview she ever had, the same question was always asked, whether it was Barack, Beyonce or someone who had just shared their most tragic personal story….

"Was that ok?"

She had rather a breakthrough based on that insight. Everyone is looking to be validated, and what they really want to say is ‘Did you hear me? Does what I say matter to you?’

And she then went on to share that this was particularly the case for arguments, and told a hilarious story about her preparing a goose for her husband Stedman who came late home from golf one day.

The challenge with argument and conflict, is we make it all mean so much. We get caught up in entitlement, drama and significance and if we aren’t mindful about how we are communicating, the conflict can build and build to explosion point.

It got me to thinking how so many arguments could be resolved, if each party simply felt that they had been heard and that what they thought mattered. My husband is very complimentary about my ability to turn any conflict in my life around to a positive.  Sometimes with clients or prospects the way we handle their displeasure with something can actually cement the relationship to a deeper level, and I like to think I always commit to ensuring they feel heard, and thankfully have burnt very few bridges to date.

But I learned a very clever process from a very wise woman around twelve years ago that has supported me to do that in an effective way, so I thought it was worthwhile sharing that today, in light of Oprah’s insight.

 

When someone close to you is angry and vents, view them simply as a skin bag of hot air

If we can detach ourselves from the emotion, but still listen to what they are saying, it creates a possibility for resolution. 

I have outlined my process step by step below, which makes this newsletter a little lengthier than usual. Feel free to read it, or not.

Have a wonderful Christmas and new year break with your family. I am offline now for three weeks, and will also take a break from my weekly blogs (this is number 50 for the year!). Here’s to 2016 being your most illuminating yet!

Cheers Laurel

Here is what I do step by step.

(1) Frame the conversation. State that you want to discuss and hopefully resolve the conflict and it is important to you that they feel heard. Invite them to share why they are so angry with them, and give them your word that you will not interrupt until they are finished. You might even wish to advise them you would like to take a couple of notes (seriously, this isgood idea :-)) Request that they get everything out into the open (I always find people are open to this, which isn’t surprising, because you are giving them an opportunity to be heard).

(2) Listen to what they say! But instead of ‘going anywhere’ with their accusations, their stories and the potentially hurtful stuff that they are saying, just visualize them as a skin bag of hot air, slowing deflating with every word. If there is a lot for them to share, or you think you won’t remember, then jot down the key points – what they are saying, not your interpretation. I know it sounds tricky, but if you can just focus on the words, and not make meaning out of it, then it’s surprisingly easy. Sometimes, if I am struggling with that, I just think of the words coming out as ‘’bla bla bla’ – not out of disrespect, but to disassociate myself from the drama (and you will be able to review the actual content/meaning later on)

(3) When it seems that they have finished, gently say ‘got it, thanks so much. Was there anything else?’ You know how when you are deflating an airbed, and you sometimes have to stomp out some of that last remaining air? Think of the skinbag in front of you like that. There is often other underlying stuff that they won’t automatically share, but if you keep asking, then those last words of hot air will escape. I find this exercise quite transformational, in that I feel that I can literally see them deflating in front of me! The charge just disappears. Why? Because they feel like they are being heard.

(4) When you are sure that they have got all of it out, then thank them again, and tell them you really appreciate them sharing so openly. Then ask if you can confirm with them exactly how they feel, so that you can be sure you haven’t misinterpreted something.  This is why the notes can be so helpful, especially if the comments are quite heated. Again,  I do think framing helps, so say something like ‘so you feel that I am disrespecting you because I (a), (b) and (c) and that I never (d), am completely (e) and (f) and it was unbelievable when I (g)ed. You get the picture! Look for acknowledgement from them that you have captured and relayed it fully. There is of course the chance that your tone or choice of words (if you don’t read it back verbatim) will get you into trouble; if that happens, then apologise, and reframe without the emotion.

So what happens next? You know, I don’t think it actually matters! The fact is that you have given them the chance to feel heard, and the conflict will hopefully have cooled off a bit. You do have right of reply, but sometimes I think that is a good idea to schedule for a later time. Do have a look at what they have said, remember it is their truth, not the truth, but there might be some learnings for you. When you do want to communicate with them, ask them to afford the same courtesy you gave them, ie not interrupting, and be careful not to slip into a defensive or justifying style.

This has saved me loads of potential grief a number of times in the last decade. Take a risk, give it a go, and I trust you will find the same. 

Posted on December 17, 2015 .

Meditation and yoga – why it (really is!) worth making it a daily thing

    I think it’s amazing how much more often I am hearing people rave about meditation and yoga and how profoundly it has changed their life. These practices are finally getting the acknowledgement they deserve and for good reason. I like to think of it as ‘plugging into the natural order of things’, which is beauty and abundance. When you are out and about, notice how much abundance there is (perfect example the explosive red of Pohutukawa that graces our city for about two weeks at this time of year).     I first learned  Transcendental Meditation  in my early twenties, at a time when my life was pretty active. I worked as an actor during the day, performing environmental plays for school children, and as a waitress by night at a fine dining restaurant. It wasn’t so much the waitressing that was stressful, it was the associated ‘hospo’ life style; partying when most people were tucked up in bed.  After a bout of glandular fever and literally indulging in my drama queen default too often, I sought out meditation. Needless to say, I managed to operate at a whole new level, and felt pretty clever that I had found a way to manage a physical career whilst getting very little sleep.     It has been a big part of my life since then, but way more so in the last couple of months after I attended a refresher workshop. I had forgotten that meditating once a day only gives you 5% of the benefits. For me, that 5% was very beneficial, but it just pales in comparison to the benefits I am now experiencing doing it twice a day. Not only do I feel a constant experience of bliss (regardless of the stressful situations that constantly present themselves) but I am sorting out stuff that I have been tolerating for ages. I think most of us have ‘that drawer’, you know the one where spare buttons, pens and sunglasses are stored but is a complete mess? I cleared it out a few days ago. I have  finally  gotten around to getting my technology sorted (please note new email address!) and that’s just the beginning. For the first time ever, I have invested in a personal trainer to support me in the New Year. It’s not even like I am thinking about it; it just feels like I am hooking into the natural order of things. And even though I am a natural born worrier, I find that it’s not something I am spending much time doing any more, which really is the best benefit.      There’s some cool science and people behind this!      Like anything, search this on the web, and you will find the zealots and the sceptics. The brilliant director David Lynch has even set up a  foundation  to get more people meditating, and has some good research on his site.  There have been over 600 scientific studies by researchers at more than 250 independent research institutions including Harvard, Stanford and Princeton and the news is particularly good around health, education and business.     Of course there are countless other relaxation options which you can explore. Yoga is constantly increasing in popularity and smooth talking Andy has introduced mindfulness into the lives of over a million with his easy to use App called  Headspace .      Are you one of those people who keeps meaning to get around to introducing relaxation techniques, but don’t?      I am going to sound like a breakfast foods commercial, but it is a great idea to try one of them for 21 days and see what kind of difference it makes to your life. The cool thing about practicing regularly is that life just becomes easier, more in flow, less dramatic and less anxious. At this time of year, I think that is even more relevant than ever – do yourself a favour and just try it!!!

 

I think it’s amazing how much more often I am hearing people rave about meditation and yoga and how profoundly it has changed their life. These practices are finally getting the acknowledgement they deserve and for good reason. I like to think of it as ‘plugging into the natural order of things’, which is beauty and abundance. When you are out and about, notice how much abundance there is (perfect example the explosive red of Pohutukawa that graces our city for about two weeks at this time of year).

I first learned Transcendental Meditation in my early twenties, at a time when my life was pretty active. I worked as an actor during the day, performing environmental plays for school children, and as a waitress by night at a fine dining restaurant. It wasn’t so much the waitressing that was stressful, it was the associated ‘hospo’ life style; partying when most people were tucked up in bed.  After a bout of glandular fever and literally indulging in my drama queen default too often, I sought out meditation. Needless to say, I managed to operate at a whole new level, and felt pretty clever that I had found a way to manage a physical career whilst getting very little sleep.

It has been a big part of my life since then, but way more so in the last couple of months after I attended a refresher workshop. I had forgotten that meditating once a day only gives you 5% of the benefits. For me, that 5% was very beneficial, but it just pales in comparison to the benefits I am now experiencing doing it twice a day. Not only do I feel a constant experience of bliss (regardless of the stressful situations that constantly present themselves) but I am sorting out stuff that I have been tolerating for ages. I think most of us have ‘that drawer’, you know the one where spare buttons, pens and sunglasses are stored but is a complete mess? I cleared it out a few days ago. I have finally gotten around to getting my technology sorted (please note new email address!) and that’s just the beginning. For the first time ever, I have invested in a personal trainer to support me in the New Year. It’s not even like I am thinking about it; it just feels like I am hooking into the natural order of things. And even though I am a natural born worrier, I find that it’s not something I am spending much time doing any more, which really is the best benefit. 

There’s some cool science and people behind this! 

Like anything, search this on the web, and you will find the zealots and the sceptics. The brilliant director David Lynch has even set up a foundation to get more people meditating, and has some good research on his site.  There have been over 600 scientific studies by researchers at more than 250 independent research institutions including Harvard, Stanford and Princeton and the news is particularly good around health, education and business.

Of course there are countless other relaxation options which you can explore. Yoga is constantly increasing in popularity and smooth talking Andy has introduced mindfulness into the lives of over a million with his easy to use App called Headspace.

Are you one of those people who keeps meaning to get around to introducing relaxation techniques, but don’t?

I am going to sound like a breakfast foods commercial, but it is a great idea to try one of them for 21 days and see what kind of difference it makes to your life. The cool thing about practicing regularly is that life just becomes easier, more in flow, less dramatic and less anxious. At this time of year, I think that is even more relevant than ever – do yourself a favour and just try it!!!

Posted on December 10, 2015 .

Are you a kisser, hugger, hand shaker or back slapper in business?

    Last night I attended a wonderful social evening, where a handful of business owners met up to discuss some cool spiritual stuff. We were having a pretty amazing conversation about intimacy in business, and what that actually looks like.    Nothing inappropriate here (!), more about how connected we are to others in the business world. Personally, I think that the business world has come a long way in embracing connection, even in the last five years. The discussion last night was generally around being authentic and vulnerable with others.     It ties in nicely with a conversation I had earlier in the day with the extraordinary  Simone Ellen , whose spectacular Genius You program I am about to complete. We were working through the key brand proposition of my upcoming Academies, and agreed that through a potent mix of both personal and professional development, love and passion can be fully embraced in the role of the sales professional. It’s more heart and less hype, and truly exploring people’s authenticity, connection and vulnerability to celebrate sales as a caring, worthwhile career, and one to be proud of (watch this space, we are kicking off a total rebrand around this in the new year).         Often when we think of intimacy, it relates to touch, so it got me to thinking about that age old dilemma; how do you greet people in business?         Particularly those who you see regularly, say in a coaching scenario? Personally, I have found this quite a minefield in the past.  I am sure many of you are like me, a hugger, but we cannot assume that everyone we meet is as well, and there can be that really awkward moment where you are going in for the hug, and they are going for the handshake, and it all just gets a bit mucky. Or what about when you meet a group of people at a networking event, and two or three are people you know, so you hug them, but handshake the others? I went to an International Coaching Federation session once, where the answer to this question was ‘let the other person decide’, but then that can result in a weird situation (say if both of you have heard that advice) where you are both hovering in front of each other, waiting for the other one to set the scene.    Is it easier to ask for permission and simply say ‘can I give you a hug’?  Sounds smart, but what if they are not a hugger?  Are they going to say ‘no’? That could be even more embarrassing for both of you.  Here's  an article from Inc Magazine which provides some hints on when to and when not to hug.     What about kissing? There are three types of kiss here, 1. The peck on cheek 2. The European inspired double or even triple kiss and 3. The ON THE MOUTH (or even that weird kind of half way on the mouth?) kiss!  It surprises me how much more prevalent the latter has become recently (probably to be fair in more social than business situations), I do find myself on the mouth kissing far more (wonderfully special) friends, both male and female than previously. How do people who don’t like their personal space being invaded cope with that?!  I think the basic rule is reserve kissing on the mouth for your partner, but doesn’t it really just come down to mutual consent (although it’s probably easier for everyone to avoid this one in general in business!)?     Societal rules and etiquette are put in place for all sorts of reasons, and some certainly seem archaic these days. However, courtesy and respect for others is massively important, so I think the best way to approach this minefield is (1) take your cue from the other person (2) if you don’t want a hug (or mouth kiss!), step back and get your hand out to offer a shake as soon as you can and (3) trust your gut, don’t make a big deal out of it, and more often you will find the awkwardness is taken out of the situation.     And as for those back slappers?!

 

Last night I attended a wonderful social evening, where a handful of business owners met up to discuss some cool spiritual stuff. We were having a pretty amazing conversation about intimacy in business, and what that actually looks like.

Nothing inappropriate here (!), more about how connected we are to others in the business world. Personally, I think that the business world has come a long way in embracing connection, even in the last five years. The discussion last night was generally around being authentic and vulnerable with others.

It ties in nicely with a conversation I had earlier in the day with the extraordinary Simone Ellen, whose spectacular Genius You program I am about to complete. We were working through the key brand proposition of my upcoming Academies, and agreed that through a potent mix of both personal and professional development, love and passion can be fully embraced in the role of the sales professional. It’s more heart and less hype, and truly exploring people’s authenticity, connection and vulnerability to celebrate sales as a caring, worthwhile career, and one to be proud of (watch this space, we are kicking off a total rebrand around this in the new year).

 

Often when we think of intimacy, it relates to touch, so it got me to thinking about that age old dilemma; how do you greet people in business? 

 

Particularly those who you see regularly, say in a coaching scenario? Personally, I have found this quite a minefield in the past.  I am sure many of you are like me, a hugger, but we cannot assume that everyone we meet is as well, and there can be that really awkward moment where you are going in for the hug, and they are going for the handshake, and it all just gets a bit mucky. Or what about when you meet a group of people at a networking event, and two or three are people you know, so you hug them, but handshake the others? I went to an International Coaching Federation session once, where the answer to this question was ‘let the other person decide’, but then that can result in a weird situation (say if both of you have heard that advice) where you are both hovering in front of each other, waiting for the other one to set the scene.

Is it easier to ask for permission and simply say ‘can I give you a hug’?  Sounds smart, but what if they are not a hugger?  Are they going to say ‘no’? That could be even more embarrassing for both of you. Here's an article from Inc Magazine which provides some hints on when to and when not to hug.

What about kissing? There are three types of kiss here, 1. The peck on cheek 2. The European inspired double or even triple kiss and 3. The ON THE MOUTH (or even that weird kind of half way on the mouth?) kiss!  It surprises me how much more prevalent the latter has become recently (probably to be fair in more social than business situations), I do find myself on the mouth kissing far more (wonderfully special) friends, both male and female than previously. How do people who don’t like their personal space being invaded cope with that?!  I think the basic rule is reserve kissing on the mouth for your partner, but doesn’t it really just come down to mutual consent (although it’s probably easier for everyone to avoid this one in general in business!)?

Societal rules and etiquette are put in place for all sorts of reasons, and some certainly seem archaic these days. However, courtesy and respect for others is massively important, so I think the best way to approach this minefield is (1) take your cue from the other person (2) if you don’t want a hug (or mouth kiss!), step back and get your hand out to offer a shake as soon as you can and (3) trust your gut, don’t make a big deal out of it, and more often you will find the awkwardness is taken out of the situation.

And as for those back slappers?!

Posted on December 3, 2015 .

Sales individuals have pasts (and they can impact performance)

One thing that I get more and more clear on, as I spend time with the wonderful people who are tasked with ‘getting a message out there’, either as an infopreneur/thought leader, sales professional or business owner/adviser is that they can have all the tools and experience available on earth, but if they don’t address the belief and behavioural stuff, then they are usually not going to perform optimally.  

Of course this is widely accepted as a reality, so why then do so few sales programs address this? Many will focus on related areas like psychology, communication and relationship building, but these are so often theoretical, and globally based, whereas I think that the key driver for whether people perform (or not) is the behavior or belief that they have personally adopted as a result of something from their past!

 

Does this sound like therapy? Going back into the complicated and sometimes harrowing layers of childhood and trying to make sense of them??

 

I think therapy is amazing, and life changing, but when we are thinking about something as simple as learning how to be more effective at sales, I don’t know we have to be quite so intense. Additionally, some therapists choose to keep their clients enrolled in a story and even maintain clients for years and years, which does make me wonder how much they are focusing on the present and actually being able to leave the past behind.

What I am referring to is Ontology, that is, the study of being human. I wrote a blog earlier this year on how my past has impacted me with sales. The cool thing about ontology (which is what the Evolved Leadership curriculum is based on) is that it simply requires us to take a snapshot of the event, and then bring it back into who we are today, and what we have made that mean. Following that, it is a matter of choice as to whether we cling on to that old way of being, or choose another one, based on what we are motivated by, which is more often than not freedom, love and passion.  

I didn’t used to address this, because focusing on more ‘intellectual’ stuff like lead generation strategies and thought leadership was quite frankly less scary. But over the last year or so, since I have been explicit about delving into people’s pasts, I have so noticed how getting clarity on this can not only result in better sales performance but more ease and peace in people’s lives. It is crazy how many people play beat up and ‘I am not good enough’ on themselves, which is 100% based on a decision they made when they were just a little boy or girl. I am launching a 12 month long leads and listings academies in the New Year, and the very first stage of these are one on one coaching sessions, where we explore the individual’s defining events (and their uniqueness).  

Sometimes we can remember the events that have shaped us, and sometimes we have blocked them. For those of you who can remember your past negative events, ask yourself this question ‘do I still feel triggered/emotional about this event?’. If yes, then know that it might be making a greater impact than you think, and it would be worth exploring that further. Undertaking a healing journey related to this event would be useful too (but that’s definitely another blog topic!).

If this blog has piqued your curiosity, regarding how much your past impacts your performance, then I suggest you do one of these three things;

1.      Enrol in a workshop or advance through Evolved Leadership

2.      Get in touch with me about some limited one on one sessions I will be offeringbefore the end of January which will nail it for you from a clarity perspective

3.      Do your own research on ontology and come up with your own path.

So many people feel confronted about the proverbial ‘looking under the hood’, but seriously, the difference it makes in mine and other’s lives just makes it so worth it (and personally, I believe it is never as scary as people think it will be!). 

Posted on November 26, 2015 .

Why investment in training (yours and your team's) is often not worth it

I am going to start with a caveat here; I am not an expert in the wonderful area of 'pedagogy', simply meaning the study of learning. This is a massive and exciting topic, and there are some wonderful advances in how we acquire then maintain knowledge, skills and attitudes.  

This is simply my observation on how some stuff that you learn sticks, and some just doesn't!  

 

Isn't it frustrating, when you (or your team) leave a course, full of intention to change the world, or at least your own life, and before you know it, you are back to 'status quo'?

 

It might be a leadership course, a personal development course or even something like how to manage your time better. I once went on a course in the 90's where we each received a large and very clever diary which was going to support us in being super productive. It all made so much sense, but then after a couple of months with my shiny new toy, I stopped using it altogether.

It is frustrating, because we know that adopting the 'new way' will certainly serve us, but it still doesn't seem to be enough. Like it or not, we are creatures of habit, and choosing to shift away from the status quo can really take something. I do believe it's not all doom and gloom, there are certainly courses where the shifts are immediate and measurable. The percentage of those that are should be higher than they are presently. As cliché as it is to refer to them, gym memberships and weight loss programs are typical in their inability to shift the behaviour longer term for many participants.  

So what can we do to make the chances higher? Here are three simple tips as a start.  

1. Place a longer term focus on the training and create a community around that.

If we refer back to gyms, boot camps seem to be more successful, because they require regular and ongoing commitment. In fact I know of instances, where the participants have graduated from the boot camp, and agreed to continue to meet as a group at the same time. The success for them has been atypically high. If you are attending a training session at work, see if the provider is open to some kind of follow up activity, and keep the group together. I often arrange private Facebook or LinkedIn private groups for those who are interested in continuing the conversation after a speaking session. I do think there needs to be some structure around the follow up training, eg scheduled get togethers or webinars.  

2. Focus on the whole picture, not just an isolated symptom

Again, this sounds obvious, but I think there are some training sessions (especially in sales) where only specific behaviour is addressed, rather than the whole picture. For example, I used to take people through the rigorous process of unpacking their IP through Thought Leaders Global, and often it wouldn't be until later on in our partnership, that I realised that they were on the verge of a marriage break up, or had big problems sleeping. In these instances, if we don't address that as well, they are hardly going to have the energy to be commercially successful as speakers and coaches. Sometimes we feel 'inappropriate' going into personal stuff or belief and behaviour topics, but these are the areas where there's going to be the shifts. Now I am not saying that if you are teaching a group about productivity, that you keenly offer some marriage guidance at the same time, simply that it is very powerful to encourage the participants some insight into taking all areas of their life into account (and taking action where it's not working).  

3. Attract the right participants

The people who I know who get results are those who are coachable, those who are committed and those who are happy to share their learning journeys with others. If you are considering investing into a program of some sort yourself, and are not truly committed, then you may as well save yourself some money and time, and wait until you are. A wise client of mine recently spoke with me, just as we were about to launch a longer term program for a small group of his team, and he said 'Laurel, I will be thrilled if we get even one superstar out of this exercise'. Thankfully we got more, but he has run his company for a long time, and has seen well-meaning advisers come and go; the committed ones are a real find.

Peer based learning is proving very effective, and personally for me, I know that the peer based approach for Thought Leaders Business School is one of the reasons that it has been so successful. Basically, learning off other people's successes and challenges is powerful as is sharing your insights with others who request it. But not everyone can cope with being open, with celebrating other people's success and with 'not looking good'. For those who are, this is a brilliant (and enjoyable) way to learn.

Next year I am changing the way I deliver what I know. Firstly, my coaching partnerships are now six months in duration rather than three months, so there is a way better chance of getting the success that they are seeking. Secondly, I am launching a number of private 'Leads Academies' where a small group of participants (by application) spend a year long journey, focusing on both their professional and personal growth, and certainly leveraging being part of a committed community where learnings are shared.

Have a think about how you currently deliver programs (if you are a thought leader) and how you participate in programs yourself. Sometimes just a small tweak in length, scope and level of commitment can make a big difference on the other side. 

Posted on November 20, 2015 .

Do you buy into the 'starving creative' stereotype?

I was reading a great piece of IP from the extraordinary Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory from The Impossible Institute recently. It boldly (and rightly) claims

"There is a stereotype of creative people as poverty stricken, alternative types who shun money lest it compromise their artistic freedom. It is a damaging stereotype and makes creativity something business used to relatively ignore. "

 

Now more than ever, you need to embrace your creative side, rather than shove it back into the recesses of your mind, casting it off as something you dabbled in when you were an idealistic youth.

 

Think about it. How do we really view creativity?  I certainly used to love love love considering myself as a creative, and yes, found some solace in embracing the romance of the suffering artist. In my first professional job out of university,  I would relish hanging out with my 'suit' friends at the Park Royal on Friday nights feeling SOO grown up, then embracing repertory theatre the next day, with some gorgeous and talented people who often couldn't even pay for a bottle of wine. For a while, I became a professional creative, working as an actor in a theatre in education troupe, and absolutely loved it (it actually paid, and I supplemented my income with waitressing, but I still had to give up the Park Royal drinkies and lived off baked potatoes and home made plum sauce for a while). I look back at those days very fondly, with the intense conversations, the late nights from the hospo eves, and the amazing people who challenged my ideals.

But then I made a choice, which kind of felt like selling my soul to the devil, and decided I would no longer pursue a creative career (ie something that I got paid for) because the financial cost was too great. As I worked in finance, manufacturing and IT, I started to shut down my creative side, because really, there was just not enough time to indulge. And there was no real call for creativity in my roles (save for starting up my first company, that certainly is something where you can celebrate your art!).

Fast forward a decade, and I decided to attend a 'Joy of Creativity' class at Elam Summer School, after a nasty business partnership breakup and leaky building debacle. We were instructed to create something beautiful out of something we despised, and as I started moving the pencil around the paper (for the first time in forever), I found myself starting to get emotional. The feeling grew stronger, until finally I had to excuse myself and lock myself the the loo, sobbing uncontrollably for about 30 minutes. It really was 'art therapy' and I spent the course creating a 2 meter diameter charm bracelet called 'corporate charm' which contained every day items like security passes, keyboard and disposable coffee cups.

Since then, I have fully embraced the role of art and creativity in our world, and Seth Godin's work in this area has been pivotal. In 'The Icarus Deception' he claims that art is the new new safety zone, and that creating ideas that spread and connecting the disconnected are the two pillars of our new society, and both of them require the posture of the artist. Kieran says that times have changed, no longer can cheapest, fastest or even best quality see you thrive. You need more, you need creativity because how you do what you do now matters as much as what you do.

In a world of automation, creativity is such a human quality that computers simply can't replicate. As such, there is now a higher value placed on it than ever before. No longer are the creatives condemned to a life of poverty, outcast from the engine rooms of our economy (although there may still be some who buy into that scarcity thinking), there are ways to embrace art and earn good money for it like never before.

If you haven't explored your creativity for a while, how about you carve out some time for yourself to rediscover it. It might be picking up a paintbrush or pencil, playing on your dusty old piano, writing a blog or even putting together a little video on iMovie or Movie Maker. Don't deny that part of you any more; by celebrating our inner creative, we not only become more connected, but we might just reignite a passion that illuminates us in all aspects of our life!

Posted on November 12, 2015 .

What would a post on your Facebook feed look like three years into the future?

My Facebook time is pretty limited these days, but every now and then I like to look through the feed, primarily to find out what's going on in dear friends' lives (and let's face it, we are now more likely to hear about the big stuff- eg births, deaths, reinventions and engagements through this medium). One thing that gets me a wee bit nostalgic is the clever throwing in of 'on this day' posts from Facebook. For the three of you out there who aren't on Facebook, you are presented witheg 'on this day three years ago' and showed something you posted back then. It is very very clever, because you invariably think, 'oh wow, was that really three years ago?' and are often prompted to share with others. (As a side note, Facebook learned from the backlash with their 'year in review' a couple of years back, and now apply the same algorithm to their 'on this day' program - they don't remind you about posts where someone has since died, or you are no longer ' in a relationship with'   - quite freaky stuff they do!).

It got me to thinking, imagine what your Facebook feed might look like three years into the future? Do you ever think about that? Actually, it is a pretty smart idea to look forward at times, rather than back, and is the basis of 'The Dan Sullivan question'. Dan is the brilliant founder of Strategic Coach, and here is the question that he simply refers to as "The Dan Sullivan question'. 

 

"If we were having this discussion in three years what has to happen in order for you to make you feel you had progress both professionally and personally?" 

 

To set the context, he is referring to this in a sales meeting; ie you are in front of someone who is considering attending your course, signing you up as a coach, or simply buying any product or service from you.

I think this is super powerful question to ask. Status Quo is our biggest enemy, and so often we don't get clear on the costs of tolerating it. Don't think about the next few months, think about the next few years!

2012 was a massive year for me. Not only did I become certified as an Evolved Leadership Coach, but I also attended my first Thought Leader's program. It was probably my most transformational year ever as far as shifting direction and upping my game is concerned. My dear Dad also died at the end of 2012, and I can't believe it has been nearly three years that we haven't had him in our lives. If I could have seen where I am now back then, I would be pinching myself. Both those decisions have made such a difference to my life (they were also pretty expensive ones :-)) and the cool thing is, the difference they have made in both my professional and personal development. It is a bit scary thinking about where I could be if I hadn't made those decisions back then (and yes, I get that no decision is the 'wrong' decision, but there are certainly costs and payoffs to them).

Dan Sullivan states that people don't want answers; they want questions which help them find the answers, although they might not necessarily know this. At Thought Leader's Business School immersion, we do a powerful exercise calleda 'pre-mortem'; ie fast forward three months’ time, and list all the reasons you might not have accomplished what you have set as goals/intentions. I find this SO powerful; and let's face it, we generally know ourselves well enough to answer something like that (eg I didn't do the activity, I got distracted, I was too scared to spend that amount of money and changed my mind, I got caught up in my own perfectionism).

Next time you are considering something that might scare you a bit, cost a bit of money, or involve a bit of pain (eg committing to a new exercise or eating philosophy!), have a think about your future Facebook feed alternatives; the one where you said 'yes' and the one where you said 'no. This Bupa advert sums it up powerfully, when people meet their healthier versions of themselves. Which version do you want on your feed in three years’ time?! 

Posted on November 5, 2015 .

The beauty of imperfection

You may have seen this Target advert pop up on one of your social media feeds in the last week. The acknowledgement from Jen Spickanagel Kroll, a mum of a little girl who has prosthetic legs has gone viral. Her daughter loves the character Elsa in Frozen and was so excited to see someone in crutches wearing the outfit. But more importantly, it is about kids with disabilities being seen. Here is a quote from Jen;

"In mainsteam culture, perfection is valued. Special needs families exist in a subculture. The challenges we face are shared with those who understand them. And we're virtually invisible to the outside world".

Growing up in the 70s and 80s in New Zealand, I would never have seen an advert like this. And as a red headed, frizzy haired (no decent hair products back then) freckly, crooked toothed, pale and skinny (before pale and skinny was cool) little girl (AND there weretwo of us, me and my twin!), I truly felt like someone who didn't belong in an advert. All I wanted was long brown smooth and straight hair and a tan! It really wasn't an easy time to be a ginga (I do thank Prince Harry and a few others for hopefully carving an easier path for my little red head son).

Finally, we are throwing out the idea that 'perfection' is what we strive for.

It started over a decade ago with those great Dove ads, celebrating 'real beauty' after their global report cited that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. But recently, I feel there has been an increase in the adverts that celebrate diversity. Check out this great one by Dolce and Gabbana;

A little boy with Downs Syndrome called Ryan has been featured in a number of shopping catalogues and is carving out quite a career for himself. Again this message is so important, because it sends the message that beauty comes in so many different forms, rather than the homogeneity of previous mainstream advertising. 

Plus sized models are also in demand, and again, the general feedback is that finally it feels ok to celebrate who you are, rather than aspire to some unattainable ideal (unfortunately this trend is also attracting some criticism; see this article on what Tess Holliday went through earlier this year).

Cam Calkoen, an extraordinary motivational speaker, who gets constant standing ovations, was born with Cerebral Palsy. He says ' I walk and talk funny, what's your excuse'? Another wonderful example of chucking out the ideals of what 'normal' looks like.

After years and years of dying my hair blonde, I have finally embraced being a redhead. I also have a few friends who are joining the growing trend of showcasing their grey manes and saving some big $$ at the hair salon! 

What part of you are you not celebrating, because you don't feel it's 'normal'? 

There is an absolute allure to someone who fully owns who they are, and welcomes their uniqueness. Once we stop trying to fit in, and be like everyone else, and choose to honour ourselves for who we are, I think the real magic shows up. Sure there will be some people thinking this is all lip service, and the advertisers are simply trying out the latest fad, but I think that this recent activity around celebrating diversity is making a difference in the lives of many like Jen's daughter. Let's face it, if we can encourage our children to accept others in all shapes and forms, that has to be a really positive thing. 

Posted on October 29, 2015 .

Becoming more interesting (and Waiheke Illuminate event next Friday)

Charlie Tremendous Jones, a high energy motivational speaker who died a few years back quoted that

'You will be the same person in five as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read'.

How true is that? How many of you have read a book that has changed your life? I remember the first one that ever did. My wonderful Aunty Laurel lent me Richard Bach's 'Illusions' when I was about 17. I still use one of the quotes from that book almost weekly;  

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours'.  

Of course now, Charlie would have to amend it slightly to

"You will be the same person in five as you are today except for the people you meet, the podcasts you listen to, the Ted Talks you watch, the periscopes/blabs you watch, the webinars you attend (etc etc) and the books you read'.  

We have access to more information than ever before in history  

In fact information is now a commodity, like air or water; there is so much of it, and it's generally free!

So if you wanted to find out anything these days, you pretty much can, and it is so easy. For example, I wanted to understand more about rugby, having watched the extraordinary All Blacks vs France game on Sunday morning.  I have never bothered to find out the actual rules, and honestly I usually feign interest in it (how can I call myself a kiwi gal?!). But I made a commitment to get more present to the game (I mean there must be some reason our nation goes nuts over it) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do get this was a pretty watchable game, and many aren't quite so absorbing. Here is a Youtube clip I watched, which has given me a mass of value in just three minutes. I can now actually explain the difference between a ruck, maul and a scrum. I know that the game on Sunday against South Africa is going to be a whole new experience for me now!

How can you create the time to learn? Well one of the concepts that Matt Church refers to is TedMilling, that's when you listen to Ted Talks whilst excercising.  I am about to go on my morning walk, and will pop on my wireless headphones and listen to a couple of Ted Talks at the same time. Energetically I feel very powerful when I get back and have learned all kinds of interesting stuff from how the way we handle addiction is all wrong, to an extraordinary talk by Jimmy Carter on mistreatment of women being the number one human rights issue.

It's not so much about the fact that I now have some interesting insight into those specific subjects, but that is encourages me to think differently. And then I can in turn share those insights and encourage or support others to think differently. Refer to the following model;

I am not talking about becoming an intellectual bore, just about becoming more interesting, and choosing to enter into discussions that you may have previously avoided. Or even writing a book! Just doing stuff that causes you to think differently, over and above the reading in the first place. As humans we actually crave understanding more, but are often so disconnectedand opt instead for force feeding ourselves reality tv and trashy mags (and believe me there's a place for these, but just like junk food, not every day).

Going back to Charlie's quote, the people you meet is a whole separate topic, and will be another blog. But have a think about when you are carving time in your life to learn. Can you get audio books out of the library and listen to them in the car? (and of course fiction books can be some of the most life changing books of all. I remember being remarkably affected by Janet Frame novels in my teenage years).

And have a think about what you have wanted to find out more about, and just go find out! I have just been inspired after writing this blog, to watch Youtube clips on how to do a flip turn in the pool, something that has always eluded me (here's a good one!).

Here's to becoming more interesting, sharing what you know, and adding some true richness to your life, without being too serious about it! 

Would you like to come spend a day with me on Waiheke Island where we will create your very own lead generation machine? 

Friday October 30 in partnership with W3

I am very excited about hosting a one day Illuminate event with the wonderful girls at W3. 9am to 5pm at Waiheke Library, Oneroa, cost $250 including GST; you will create your own lead generation machine and refine your personal brand. Includes a copy of my book Lead Generation. Limited to 20 participants and honorary islanders are invited too. Click here for more details, and let me know if you would like to know when the next Illuminate program is coming up mainland side. 

Posted on October 22, 2015 .