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Personal development

Daily Stoic journal

If you enjoy journaling then this book will take you to another level. Since my 20s I have journaled to release frustration, learn from my poor experiences and practice gratitude. This book is thought provoking, combined with meditation and you will become focused on those areas of development, that you have not recognised previously or you have chosen to ignore.

If you love yoga you will know that your practice changes all the time due to different parts of the body reacting differently to the moves and stretches. With practice you are highly tuned to your body and where it does not feel normal to you. The stoic journal taps into you subconscious in the same way.

Each day it gives you a question to ponder and then note section for morning and evening reflection. The discipline is addictive, as it channels your energy into those areas that you need to focus on.

The writing creates a calmness and for me, as well as detachment, something that I am challenged by, being a passionate and driven individual. In a years time I know I will look back at my entry’s in the diary and know that I will have moved on, driven to be a better person and leader.

Learning is a life long journey, being open and challenging yourself everyday, is life. My purpose: sharing the journey with others, warts and all. I want no one to believe they have arrived, there is no such thing, until we leave this world.

Today’s question: What is the real cause of my irritations – external things or my opinions?

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Personal development

Move closer, stay longer

What do you fear?

Avoidance of fear takes its toll on our mental wellbeing. The more we avoid the things we fear, the more we retreat into ourselves, resulting in anxiety and depression.

I hated swimming as a child, the school pool in Oxford England was not heated and the summers not warm enough to make the water luring. It was my move to Australia twelve years ago where I found my love of surfing that finally made me go to swimming lessons.

I was in my late 40s and terrified of swimming. I had never worn goggles and terrified of putting my face under water. Surfing I was ok with as you only go under water when you are thrown off your board or jump off. Somehow I was ok with this, but not swimming where your face is under water a fair proportion of the time.

I read a lot about facing fears and how to move closer and stay longer. Being competitive and always pushing myself, I took a different approach to swimming. It will take as long as it needs to, I will go regularly, will not force myself to put my face in the water. The lack of pressure on myself, meant I could relax. A few years later I completed my first 1Km freestyle swim.

Friends took me out on an ocean swim at Clovelly , which was exhilarating, but my technique needed more work. So I am now back at stroke improvers swim school. Three months on, my swimming has improved, I also completed 25 meters of dolphin (pre cursor to butterfly).

The fear has not gone away, but my regular practice in the pool, has made me more confident, I never thought I would say this, but I enjoy swimming. Once I get going, I find the pace that works for me and I love the feeling of moving through the water.

A month ago I did an Ocean swim clinic at bondi. As we sat on the beach learning about the surf and how to manage swimming, I could feel my anxiety rising, knowing we were swimming out on the north bondi rip. As we stood waist deep in the rip with my goggles on, I started freestyle and before I knew it we were out the back of the waves. I relaxed, how difficult was that? Not at all, in fact it was an amazing feeling as the water acted like a motorway.

The next hour of exercises were challenging but fun, the highlight was the body surf back to the beach. At the end I felt a sense of accomplishment and felt so pleased with myself that I persisted with the swimming.

It’s easy to give into fear, its harder to face it, move closer and stay longer.

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Personal development

Importance of pursuing what makes you happy

For many years I have surfed only in the white water, the only times I have been out the back is in a lesson. I did not learn to surf until my late 40’s which prompted me to learn to swim. Surf camps are great way of getting out very day with a group and last week I took part in a 5 day surf camp with Surf camp Australia in Gerroa. My husband was back at work and I was on compulsory leave, so perfect time for me to get away and do what I love (husband does not surf).

Over the years I have travelled on business on my own, even went to Bali 5 years ago on a surf/yoga retreat for women, but I was surprised at how nervous I felt going away on my own for the first time in a long time.

The fears disappeared fast when I was surrounded by like minded people of all ages and cultures. The staff also made everyone feel very welcome.

Being in nature, with all the elements (many storms) in beautiful scenery, deserted beach, in pristine blue water, empties your mind and makes you feel at peace with yourself and the world around you.

A lot is written about doing a job you love, but outside of work, it is equally important to find the time to do the things that make you happy. My take away from the week, was that I need to find more time to be in nature, it really makes a big difference to our mental well being.

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Book Quotes Coaching Personal development Resilience

How to build resilience part 2?

The other side of fear is excitement and a sense of achievement.

Getting to the other side of fear is a real challenge. Growing up in England swimming was not something I enjoyed. The school had an outdoor pool that was not heated. The changing rooms, basic sheds. We got to swim outside approx 10 times a year, due to the weather and I hated it. I spent my life avoiding swimming, until I took up surfing in my late 40s. As I got more confident, there was a niggle that if my leg rope snapped my amateur breast stroke was just not going to cut it. So I started swimming lessons. I hate putting my face in the water and never wore goggles and dreaded the lessons. There were just three adults in the class and the instructor was very patient. I was determined to go and master swimming freestyle, as I knew without it my surfing  would suffer.

I came across a book called “move closer stay longer” By Dr Stephanie Burns, and “move closer stay longer” became a mantra for me. A year after learning to swim, I swam 2-3 days a week, I could barely do a length in a 25m pool. I persevered and a few years later I was able to swim 50m then 500m, then last year I went to a 50m pool where I did my first 1km freestyle.

I still have the fear of putting my face in the water,  but the frequency of my swimming, as meant the environment is more familiar and I feel more comfortable. I have learnt to think of other things, to distract myself. The routine is what gets you through the fear.

Before Covid19 I swam at Milson point outdoor heated saltwater pool twice a week, I not only look forward to going, but I now love swimming.

Some of the other things to consider when facing into fear:

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself.
  2. Don’t set unrealistic goals, accept each day and what it brings
  3. Celebrate every success. Yes 25m was success, as was the first 50m and 1km. Now I celebrate the times I am achieving. Share your achievements with friends and family.
  4. The fear never goes away. It fades with time, but it always there. Respect it, not give in to it.
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Most of the time when I surf, if its too big out the back I go out two hours either side of low tide in the white water. I have so much fun and have met some wonderful people.
  6. This is a life skill it applies to all you do in life.

 

 

 

 

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Personal development Resilience

How to build resilience?

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If it not’s scary its not worth doing?  My favorite saying.

My mother has suffered with anxiety and depression, on and off her whole life. At age 16 I was on a bus going to my nearest town, when I had an overwhelming fear that this trip was not going to turn out well. I was hot and flustered and I got off at the next stop and got a bus home.  It was a moment I will never forget because it was a turning point, I did not want to be trapped in a life of anxiety. I was so disappointed with myself and spent much time reflecting on the situation and why I took such a hasty retreat.

I spent time reading self help books and realized that to achieve anything you need to face into fear and move through it. Anxiety is a build up of never facing fears. Since then I have faced every challenge with a strong mind and determination to get through and even enjoy the other side, which is all about excitement and achievement.  My life has been far more fulfilling, I am still learning and trying new things in my 50s and love the opportunity to surf which I learned in my late 40s. Yes I am scared as I am not very good, but I face my fears and get out on the waves. The thrill of standing up and riding to the shore far outweighs the fear of being out in the water.

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High Performing Teams Laughter Leadership Personal development

Lessons in leadership with Covid 19

My team are spread across multiple regions Queensland, Victoria and NSW. Since working from home, I have set up 30 minute coffee catch ups over Microsoft Team daily. We have been joined by the pets and children and the chat has been varied, but nothing to do with work.

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The team are closer, have more fun and know each other far better than any team I have ever led. In the past I would get the team together weekly and discuss business and quarterly to review the plans and progress, with a dinner to socialise once a quarter.  Fortnightly I would have 1;1’s where I would get to know the individual and what motivates them and how to challenge them to achieve new things. 

These daily coffee catch up sessions takes “norming”  to a whole new level.

five stages of team development

30 minutes daily allows the team to connect on a whole new level and more importantly I have learnt so much more about the team, personal situations and what makes them tick. I look forward to the call as the banter and connection is like nothing I have experience before.

When you have remote team members, they miss out on the office conversations and the relationship building with other team members is more challenging. These 30 minute daily sessions has created stronger rapport and the team work is now at a whole new level. 

There is a silver lining in every situation and for me I have learnt more about the people I work with than I would of done in the way I operated previously. If there is a silver lining with COVID 19 its about how to lead in more connected way. 

This way of working will continue beyond COVID19. 

 

 

 

 

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Coaching Judgement

Difficult conversations

A new employee in the team a few years in full time work shared with me his concerns about having difficult conversations. He said he is not looking forward to the conversations I have to have with various customers. I was curious as to why, he said they are really difficult you are sharing information with the customer, they really don’t want to hear.

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I asked how did the customer respond when I delivered the news around the real challenges not perceived challenges by the customer in a customer meeting a few days prior to the catch up. He responded the customer was really appreciative of you sharing your insights.

Trust is built when we share insights and information that the recipient has not considered.

My belief is that I have a duty of care to provide information that has not been previously considered, so better outcomes can be achieved.

The new employees perception and beliefs play a big part on the approach. He felt very uncomfortable with the information being delivered, he saw it as challenging. The frame of reference for him was delivering bad news, mine was delivering important information to help them be successful.

The same is true when we have performance issues with employees. When we approach it in the frame of mind, I want to help and ensure success, as opposed to you have let me down, your message lands in a supportive as opposed to judgmental way.

What is you intention when approaching a difficult conversation?

Is the intention one of support and advice? If yes go ahead, if no, rethink your own intentions and take the time to approach at a time when you are in a better mind set to have the conversation.

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Book Quotes Career planning Entrepreneurship Influence Leadership Strategy

Your a CEO of business working for the owners of the business and you are ready to move on.

Your a CEO of business with non execs that own the business and you are ready to move on, as you feel stifled. You love the business and you believe the business has great potential. You are restrained by the founders and owners, you are ready to do something else.

Owners who create, built and grow the business after many years decide to step back due to retirement, other business opportunities, personal circumstance and appoint CEO. The CEO is limited by the law of lid. First chapter of John Maxwell’s book on the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership  https://www.amazon.com/21-Irrefutable-Laws-Leadership-Anniversary/dp/078528837621 irrefutable. Often the CEO is restricted in where he/she takes the business due to the founders expectations, thinking and interference in the daily business.

Over time the CEO becomes frustrated and look outside for a new career opportunity, when the answer could be to look at alternative ownership structures for the business. The owners may want to sell out, realise their investment and they are looking for exit, as CEO you can facilitate by an industry buy out, private equity sale or a management buy out.

Each needs a thorough understanding of the market and the opportunity for the buyer. It’s a time to call on your network for assistance, advice and introductions. Once you have researched the possibilities, then approach the owners for their support.

The worst that can happen is the owners are not interested in selling business, the only thing you have lost is time. On the other hand if they are keen you are now running your own business.

The alternative to leaving may very well be the best opportunity to back yourself and give back to the owners.

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Personal development

Leadership: Live outside your comfort zone

To live outside your comfort zone you need to be taking part in move out of your comfort zonenew experiences. If you want to be a great leader you need to be someone who challenges others to stretch themselves. If you don’t live outside your comfort zone, how do inspire others? My greatest pleasure from my role today is helping others to realize their potential by challenging them to take on a new activity, develop a new skill, find courage to do something different to achieve a greater outcome for their team.

I have been meaning to join Toastmasters for over 10 years and finally started a year ago. I now speak and evaluate speeches once a month. Three weeks ago I did my first humorous speech and won best speaker. Outside of work I learned to surf at age 45, I love being out on the waves again challenging myself to do something new.

When we learn a new sport or skill or reach a new level of mindfulness, we have to be vulnerable to learn, that’s the mindset of a leader.

What are you doing to live outside your comfort zone?  How are you challenging your team to grow?