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Be A Rainbow In Someone Else’s Cloud

By Joanna on August 24, 2017

‘Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’ – Maya Angelou

I was having ‘a day’ earlier this week. I’ll be honest, I was in foul form. A couple of restless nights, busy days and a full schedule were taking it’s toll.

I was building up to an appraisal session with a client and really not looking forward to it – simply because of the space I was in.

Then someone somewhere on social media shared this quote from Maya Angelou

‘Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud’Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud

It changed me immediately. It’s the kind of quote that shakes you out of a funk, and makes you really re-think the impact you want to have when you have conversations.

Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. It takes so little to brighten someone else’s day. Or in this case, change their perspective on what they perceived as a daunting experience (performance appraisals).

And the knock on effect is that it makes you feel pretty good too.

Sadly, the opposite is true too. When we are in bad form, or complaining, or feeling negative, that is contagious. How different would my session with my client have been had I remained in that foul form. What would it have been like for my client… and for me?

Think about your interactions in work and in business. Think just how easy it is to influence others in our interactions and conversations. Before you engage, take a second to consider the impact you wish to have.

Would you rather be a rainbow or a clap of thunder in their cloud?

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Let’s talk money… yes we’re going there.

By Joanna on May 18, 2017

Actually, let me rephrase that. We are often uncomfortable speaking in a positive light about money.

For example, if you earn a good salary/income, it’s almost as if you’re not supposed to tell that to others for fear of being seen as bragging.

Or if someone compliments you on your outfit, our first instinct is always to downplay it and say something like ‘This old thing? Primark’s(or insert your local budget clothMoney, money, moneying company) best!’

Or maybe you have a fear about money; about never having enough of it; or perhaps if you do have it that you will lose it all again.

It’s incredible how easily our money beliefs embed themselves and become almost unconscious. They become our money story, without us fully realizing it. Often it stems from an experience or comment earlier in life that had an emotional impact. It creates a belief about money and how we should ‘be’ with it.

The question now is,

“Is that old belief about money serving you?”

It may have had a purpose, until now, but you’re ready for a next level story.

Perhaps it’s time to write a new money story. Maybe it’s time to find a different way of speaking about money. How would it feel to be more comfortable with the concept of ‘money’, however much of it you have?

This is something that I have been pondering recently. My old money story reared its head again, and it made me revisit what’s going on here, and what I can do to change it.

The first thing you can do is rewrite your story. Literally, rewrite it. Acknowledge that the old story served a purpose and then release it.  Take a pen and paper and write down how you want to feel about money, how it shows up in your world, your relationship with it, and how good it feels.

Try some affirmations too. Pick one or two statements about money. For example:

  •      I have more than enough money
  •      Money comes easily and effortless to me
  •      I happily create wealth, health and joy in my life

Breathe deeply as you say them to yourself, and allow them to restore calm and positivity to your mindset.

My last tip, is to try using some EFT. Use your old money story, your new money story and some of your affirmations as you tap and breathe through each of the pressure points.

These are three of my favourite tools, but there are lots out there. Find what works for you. Remember though, you will encounter hurdles. Not everyone will have the same beliefs about money as you. Perhaps your partner, parents or friends share different stories about money, and might not be fully understanding of your beliefs. The challenge is to release their beliefs and fears as theirs and not yours, and not let them alter your mindset. The tools above help us refocus on our own personal story about money, and restore a positive mindset.

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How the Oscars Made Me Feel Human

By Joanna on March 4, 2017

Did you watch the Oscars this week? Oh-me-oh-my, what a mix-up!!

And it really reminded me so much of just how human we are, and try as we might to prevent mistakes, mess-ups happen. Even to the best of us.

We can plan, organize, schedule each of the details, manage the risk, put the back-up plan in place, and STILL there is potential for human error.

If you haven’t seen the full clip from the Oscars, you can check it out here:

Oscars_Joanna

What’s more, sometimes the mess up can have nothing to do with you, but you are the face of it. You’re there at the frontline dealing with it, figuring out what to do to rectify it, often quickly, and minimize the impact.

Just like at the Oscars.

I was struck by the speed and grace with which the cast of La La Land rectified the mistake and handed over the honour to the Moonlight crew for their moment in the spotlight. There was no complaining or frustration in that moment; they just quickly and instinctively rectified the situation.

It made me reflect on the human-ness of us all, and reminded us of our fallibility.

Yet, that’s not something we should be ashamed of or embarrassed to show, is it? Because we are all fallible and imperfect because we are human.

So what’s important here? A striking reminder was offered by the Oscars. It’s how we deal with those mistakes, and bounce back. It’s our resilience and ability to be vulnerable; to admit an error and find the strength to own it, rectify it if possible, learn from it, and try again.

My little man reminds me of this almost daily too. He’s just turned 3, and as he says himself he’s ‘bigger now’, and oh so very independent. He wants to do everything himself. He’s willing to try everything. (More than I am, truth be told!) However, even though he is indeed ‘bigger now’, he’s still little, and still learning. He makes mistakes (and a mess!) frequently. And while some of them are trying, and loaded with frustration for him, he still picks himself up and tries again – determined to get it right next time.

He’s ok being vulnerable.

He doesn’t mind messing up.

He bounces back quickly and gives it another whirl.

He doesn’t dwell on it too long.

He doesn’t let it define him.

He learns from it.

And sticks with it.

He is resilient.

Think about how you feel about mistakes you have made? How do you handle them? How comfortable are you admitting them, and showing vulnerability? How can you help yourself bounce back?

 

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Two big 2017 takeaways already!

By Joanna on February 4, 2017

Last week, I facilitated a workshop session on Leading Change for a group of dynamic and creative leaders from up and down the country. What an insightful session it was. While I may have been the facilitator, I too learned a lot from what we encountered (…as I often do!). The two key messages were so profound that today I am sharing them with you.

We navigated the change curve road together, and brainstormed and discussed the tools and experience we had all gathered thus far on our individual leadership journeys.  Exercises, discussion (some heated!) and insight. The learning was awesome.

Two of the biggest takeaways for the group were:

  1. The quality of our listening determines the quality of our influence and thus, our leadership
  2. Be authentic

Developing good listening skills is one of the most valuable tools we can learn as leaders and influences. The insights into others thought process, frame of mind, mood, ideas, influence and so much more that is gleaned from just listening is huge. We get to understand, support and influence others in the most positive way, by just listening.

Without judgement.

Just listening.

Without waiting to comment, or offer advice.

Just listening.

Creating the time and space to just listen to others.

The second biggest takeaway: Be authentic.

There are so many definitions and tools for good leadership, and dealing with change, that you can become hung up on behaving perfectly in a particular way that you perceive a good leader to be or do. What if we treated these definitions, and tools as guides… or ideas? Items in a toolkit perhaps. Things that can support us, and  help us generate ideas and actions to aid the navigation.

But not rules.

The most important thing is to be yourself. Be authentic. Be true to your own personal brand of leadership.

02_04_blogThis week, think about the quality of your listening. How present and engaged are you in the process? Notice how often your mind wanders into preparing your response, composing your advice… and of course, judging?

Is it time to start focusing on quality listening?

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Expect more than others think is possible

By Joanna on January 6, 2017

jan_1It’s a brand new year.

Now, normally, I’m relatively casual about this new year fussing. For me, any day is a good day to set some goals, make some resolutions and start afresh. Coincidentally, this new year beginning fell at an appropriate end to a cycle for me, and so I am happily in the position of thinking about my year ahead with renewed enthusiasm right about now. So, a few days ago, I sat down and had a real think about the broad themes I wanted to adopt for this period.

And below (and in the pic) you can see what I came up with:

Stay present
Be genuinely happy
Seek out the fun
Love more
Think PINK

It’s going to be a time for the softer, funner, happier themes. In my actions and intentions, this is what I am drawing the focus onto.

What would your notes for 2017 look like?jan_2

While I was in the planning for the year ahead zone, I came across THIS most beautiful quote from Claude Bissell. I have never seen this before, but my, it is a goodie!

“Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.”

Words to live by – I’ve saved it as my screensaver :-)
Finally, I do have a very important question to ask you also.

And, I am very serious about it when I ask you.

jan_3Tell me, how are you? Really, how are you? Among all the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, we often ask each other ‘how are you?‘ but how often do we listen to the response? Are we really asking… and listening for how that other person is?

So, I ask you today: How are you – really?

And, I challenge you to pay attention, and next time you ask someone how are they? Really listen to the response. Listen to how they are.

I’m listening too!

 

Happy New Year! I am looking forward to hearing what great things come from you in 2017.

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It happened to me – how self-care is the first care

By Joanna on August 11, 2016

You know that old adage: you can’t pour from an empty cup – take care of yourself first…?

I know you know it. I know I know it. And still, I fall into the same traps all the time. I’m being up front with you here. It’s been a tough year. We’ve had some challenges as a family, and a few things knocked us back quite a bit for a while there.

Of course, as often happens, while one part of your life is in turmoil, another is thriving. Business is good. Contracts keep coming. I am enjoying it all more and more

But on top of that, the little man is not a great sleeper.

So to recap, we’ve had a rough ride on a personal level, business is good, but we don’t get great sleep.

You see where this is going don’t you.Empty_Cup

I am human. Like so many, at times like this, self-care is the first thing to go. Even though I
know I should know better. Exercise is the last thing on the to-do list and the first thing to be sidelined. Mealtimes consist of whatever is most convenient. And our cups are empty. They are drained.

So, not for the first time, it happened to me.

Time to start filling up MY cup again. Baby steps. Let’s start with this:

  • Where are those meal planning sheets?
  • Online weekly shopping – I love you.
  • Hello yoga 3 times a week – even though I am rusty and stiff, I do feel better for doing it
  • Walking every day (even a short one)… outside. Fresh air, exercise, mental clearing – yes, please.
  • And of course, my easy-go-to-stress-buster EFT. Just a little, but often.

And it is working. I do feel better.

In the coming weeks, I have 2 big deadlines, a fully booked client diary, and I am pitching for another neat contract. It’s a busy one. I will feel it. But my self-care cup-filling will continue. I am making it a priority and committing to it.
Have you experienced this? What do you do when you feel the pressure? How do you ensure you always fill your own cup?

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When ‘Do It Now’ doesn’t work

By Joanna on July 14, 2016

I have a client. She’s amazing. I’ve seen her develop and change her outlook extraordinarily in our time together.  For the most-part, it’s been a fabulously successful partnership.

But we did have a few stumbling blocks. One of the big ones, was the whole concept of ‘Do It Now.’

Now, normally, I quite like this. It mostly works for me, and many that I work with.

But, it’s not for everyone or every situation. And here’s why.

A lot of us like to procrastinate. Probably more often that we would like, and particularly on the big scary things that we really want to do.

But… some of us are ‘doers’ – really fast acting, decision-making doers. Doers, that as soon as they are sold on an idea/decision/action they are off doing it.

Now, you might think that’s a good thing. Yes, get it started. Get going. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but get it out there.

Yes, normally I am with you.

But there is something big that you need to consider first.

And that is: What’s the bigger picture here? And, how does this fit in?Joanna_Do_it_now

For this client, once she decided on something, it happened. She got on and made it happen mega-fast. The wheels would almost be in motion before we finished a session.

Big problem though – no clear strategy. Decisions and action were random and many, going in different directions and down many avenues all at once. Which made it difficult for everyone else to keep up, and be clear on what the strategic direction was.

The result? Chaos and confusion. And a situation whereby no-one on her team felt clear and empowered enough to make any decisions, meaning every single decision at every level fell to my client.  She became a very busy, very stressed individual heading straight down the path to burnout.

So, a word of warning on the concept of ‘Do It Now’: Use with caution.

Use it for the quick wins, the easy tasks, the things you can do without thinking, the routine tasks.

But for everything else, make sure you think about the bigger picture. Slow down a moment, and think about how this decision will affect your vision, your goals, your plans.

And then map out your next steps.

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10 Things you can do to Feel More Confident Right Now

By Joanna on June 16, 2016

Everyone feels a lull in confidence every now and then. Sometimes, more often than that. Here’s a list of some of my favourite, super-quick ways to give yourself an immediate confidence boost, and get your day back on track.

  1.  Stand tall
  2. BLog_News_1_617 Take 3 deep breaths, concentrating only on the breath
  3.  Look in the mirror and smile at yourself
  4.  Give yourself a compliment – and then say “thank you”
  5.  STOP complaining
  6.  Allow yourself to just BE you.
  7.  Don’t take anything personally – really.
  8.  Offer someone a compliment
  9.  List 5 things your are thankful for right now
  10. Turn on a good tune, and jump around wildly

Try one NOW.

How do you feel?

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DECIDE WHAT YOU WON’T GET DONE

By Joanna on May 19, 2016

It’s funny how easy, and often, overwhelm sneaks up on us! Be honest now, I know you’ve been there, perhaps a few more times than you’d like to say.

Well, I certainly have. And I have a few trusted methods that I use frequently: making a list, doing a brain dump, prioritizing, chunking it down etc…

I’ve blogged about these before, so you know the story.

Recently, I’ve had a new realization. And it’s become a big part of how I deal with overwhelm. And it’s simple. In as much as you need to make a ‘To Do List’, you also need to…Wont_get_done

Decide what it is you’re not going to do today.

Because that list, while reassuring, clarifying and grounding, also serves as a reminder of what you didn’t do. What’s not done. What’s STILL on the list.

And that can lead to guilty feelings, or feeling like you haven’t done enough, or aren’t good enough etc, etc…

So today, I challenge you to look at your To Do List, and decide what it is you are not going to do today. Give yourself permission. And be OK with that.

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Adventures in Leadership: No notes required

By Joanna on April 28, 2016

I spent much of last week on a leadership development course – as a participant this time, rather than presenter. Which was pretty cool for a change!

This course was almost 100% facilitated through experiential learning, which I am a BIG fan of.  If you haven’t come across it before, a simple description would be learning through doing, or rather reflecting on the doing.

Consider Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle below:

Kolb

Concrete Experience is where you have the experience. Then through Reflective Observation you review and reflect on the experience. This is followed by Abstract Conceptualisation where you draw conclusions or learning from the experience. Finally, through Active Experimentation, you start to plan for and try out your new learning.

Many moons ago, all this formed the basis for my masters dissertation! So it was a pleasure to revisit it all again. The coolest thing about this type of learning is that every time you do it, even if you’ve come across some of the exercises before, you learn something new.

And this group of participants were truly a fabulous bunch! We were all up front and honest from the get-go and got a great group bond building straight away. Each of the exercises were challenging and insightful in many and various ways. But a curious thing happened… Even though we all knew we were participating in an experiential learning programme, there came a point when people started requesting more theory!

Isn’t it funny how the traditional methods of teaching and learning are so engrained in us throughout our lives, that even when a method comes along where we experience the learning, we feel a shift and a change in our being, and yet because we are on a course, we feel the need for theory and notes and handouts. What is a course without slides and presentations anyway?! And in all honesty, even though I am familiar with this type of learning, I noticed the absence of traditional methods more than I would like to admit. After all, I teach using PowerPoint slides. All my webinars and programs use slides at some point or other. I work with students on their final dissertations and grade their assignments for their MBA’s– FULL of theory and models and research papers. And here I was, on a course, stripped of slides and models and theories. The primary focus was on how I was experiencing it all.

Over three days we undertook a series of indoor and outdoor activities involving balls, shapes, ropes, numbers, cards and of course most importantly, ourselves. So I thought I would share a few of my key experiences and insights on leadership and teamwork this time around:

=> I was reminded, not for the first time, that leadership is not so much about imparting advice, as listening and facilitating.

Always_do=> The days were long, and I remembered that for me, downtime is equally important as engaged time. In fact, it’s essential for digesting, and processing and allowing creativity to develop. This programme, as great as it was, didn’t allow for enough of this for me

=> Leaders hold many balls in the air at one time. As much as we have to be ready to catch the next ball that comes our way, we also need to be looking ahead at the person/people who need to catch the ball we are about to pass their way. Are they ready?

=> Always do what you say you will do – wise words shared by a fellow participant

=> People hear and understand differently. Just because I understand, does not mean everyone else does. Always check! Language can be interpreted so many different ways.

=> As leaders, we all have different styles and personalities, and there is no one right way, there are many… all equally effective.

What have been some of your insights into leadership based on your experience?

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