business

Why I am against Women's Empowerment

Me: "I work with executive women to help them become more impactful and inspiring leaders."

Them: "Oh - like women's empowerment"

Umm...no...in fact, nothing like that.

Every post or headline you read right now is about empowering women. I LOVE the concept - it's my very purpose and mission in life to help women find their voice, be visible, and present, so that can unlock their power and confidence.

Some of the most powerful and influential women in the world currently, chair the World Economic Forum's annual meeting 2018 last week at Davos, Switzerland.

Some of the most powerful and influential women in the world currently, chair the World Economic Forum's annual meeting 2018 last week at Davos, Switzerland.

I do NOT like the word "empower".

Let's look closely at the word.

empower, verb (used with object)

1. to give power or authority to; authorise especially by legal or official means:

I empowered my agent to make the deal for me. The local ordinance empowers the board of health to close unsanitary restaurants.

2. to enable or permit:

Wealth empowered him to live a comfortable life.

Can you see the problem I have with the word?

Let me help you out a bit more.

The most relevant synonyms for the word empower (verb: authorise, enable) in a search on thesaurus.com are:

allow, entitle, entrust, grant, legitimise, permit, vest.

Allow? Permit? The word implies that power must be given to women...by someone else...presumably men. What I know for certain from knowing myself, my mother, my grandmothers, my sister, my female relations, all my female friends, my clients, and numerous role models and inspiring women around the world, is that women have shedloads of power! It doesn't need to be GIVEN to us. We don't need to be ALLOWED to have it. In many cases, it is simply a question of harnessing it, embracing it, unlocking it. That's what I help women do.

The movement described as women's empowerment is actually about opening up ourselves (men AND women), and the systems we've created, to creativity, different thinking, new opportunities. It's about creating space for expansion.

I'm open to new names for this movement. In fact, maybe that's it. Here's to - 

Women's Expansion.

Do you want to expand the possibilities for yourself and harness your power and confidence? Hit reply and let's set up a call to find out what is possible for you. (It's much more than you ever imagined!)

 

ME - Live on Radio! WT?

I am over-the-moon excited!

A childhood dream realised!

I'm featuring on a radio show in France, accessible worldwide via the magic of the internet.

Details:

"Happy Hour with Ollia"

on Radio Enghien IDFM 98, Tues 9th January, 2018, 7-8pm.

Tune in on www.idfm98.fr (click on blue icon top left "écoutez en direct") or 98.0FM in the Ile-de-France region.

It'll include some of my own choice of music as well as an insight into my work, beliefs and desires for women and leadership. Beyond that, I have no idea!

You can listen to other episodes of Happy Hour with Ollia on Soundcloud. Listen in! It's a great show!

Radio Enghien LI.png

How food can lead to leadership - seriously?

A new episode of the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast has been released and this week, I'm speaking with Dana Dinnawi, a health and well-being coach who discusses the importance of food to leadership.

What? Really?

She describes how taking charge of your food, eating 'clean' and being more mindful about it leads to better habits in other areas of your life too.

More focus.

Better clarity.

You can't give the best of yourself if you're running on empty - Dana Dinnawi.

Listen in and if you haven't already subscribed, do it here

Where did your emotions go?

OMG!

I'm loving the feedback and conversations I'm having lately in response to my blogs, posts and comments on various social media.

A recent conversation occurred on LinkedIn in response to an article published in Arianna Huffington's publication, Thrive Global. Read it here.

The author writes about the word 'should' and how it is the one word to banish from our vocabulary. I've written about this before in my blog, "There's no good in should."

There's no good in should

My comment in response to the Thrive Global article on LinkedIn was that if we have emotional connection to our goals, there is no space for 'should.'

A question from one of the LinkedIn community to me was, "Why is it some people find it easier to connect emotionally than others?"

A great question - and a big response!

We are emotional beings. Emotions are powerful and strong and big and scary and joyous all at the same time. We are taught from a very young age that emotions are to be feared "Stop crying!" "Don't shout!" "Calm down!" Boys are told not "to be a girl" with their emotions, and girls are told to stop being so emotional. Whichever gender you are, there is no place for emotion in our upbringing.

Does that go some way in answering the question?

Through the years, we lose touch with our emotions, to the point that when asked to recall a memory, some people profess to feel nothing, despite the fact that it is impossible for us to recall a memory without experiencing some emotion. It is simply that we have learned to ignore it, stamp it out, not recognise the emotion. To open ourselves up to these emotions is how we can connect emotionally, not just to goals, but to our relationships, to our decisions, to our intuition.

Emotions are a powerful tool in living our lives and creating careers that are exactly as we desire.

No 'shoulds' required when you're emotionally connected to the outcome.

Bisous x

P.S. I'd love to hear about your experience - do you 'should' yourself? Is what you're 'should-ing' yourself about really something you desire or feel emotionally connected to? Let me know. Message or email me.

P.P.S. If you'd like to discuss a way of having fewer 'shoulds' in your life so you can create a life and career you LOVE, and step into your power and confidence, message or email me. I won't send any booking links - let's keep it personal.

How often do you say ‘Yes’ when you really mean ‘No?’

Does this happen to you?

  • You are invited to a dinner that you really don’t want to go to, but you find yourself saying ‘Yes’, then you make some convoluted excuse later to say you can’t make it ( - white lies are OK, right?)

  • Your boss consistently asks you to stay late. If it was just for the period of the project, you’d be OK with it, but now it’s happening all the time. You find yourself agreeing to it, then resenting the decision - and worse, it doesn’t feel like there is any way out.

Hey, I’ve always had problems with setting and standing by boundaries. In avoiding conflict, and trying to keep others happy (‘people-pleasing’ and being “the Good Girl”), I have put my own needs and - yes, even safety - in the back seat. I have made some poor decisions in the past, both personally and professionally, thinking that saying ‘Yes’ was the path of least resistance, avoiding conflict, and ultimately keeping others happy, but not me. I haven’t allowed MY truth to live and breath.

  • Like the time a friend came to stay for a month, and ended up staying a year. Even when I talked to him about moving out, that I needed my space back, it fell on deaf ears, and I got on with making the best of a bad situation.
  • Like the times I accepted a measly $1,000 raise, or - worse, no raise at all despite being a top performer. Instead of confronting it head on, I resentfully accepted the situation, walking away feeling undervalued and unrecognised for my contribution.
  • Like the times I allowed my thoroughly-prepared, practiced, and strategically important presentation to my colleagues in the leadership team to be bumped from the agenda during our 3 day offsite.
  • Like the times I allowed myself in my personal life to tolerate the type of treatment that if a friend told me she was tolerating, I’d have said, “Get. Out. Now,” with the compassion and love she deserved.

Well, I’m getting lots of universal lessons showing up to test the strength of my boundaries right now - courtesy online dating!!

Holy…

It’s a whole new ball game. I’ve created a very clear vision of what I am looking for in a relationship (and in particular how I desire to feel), and what is acceptable and what is not. I find that at every moment, I need to be very aware of these ‘mini-challenges’ being sent my way so I can respond differently - saying ‘No’ when, actually, that’s EXACTLY what I want to say. Do I want to see you again? “You know what? I had a nice time, but no - no, I do not want to see you again. Thank you. “ It also requires me tuning into how I FEEL in this person’s company, instead of letting my rational mind take over with, “Well, perhaps he’s having a bad day,” or “Perhaps, it’ll be different next time.”

It’s a muscle I’m flexing, getting stronger, being clear about what I want to create, and what feels good to me, instead of worrying so much about how others might respond or being the “Good Girl.”

Having that clarity about what I desire has led to a surprisingly enjoyable date with an utter gentleman who I would not normally have been interested in. I said ‘Yes’ to how I want to feel; ‘No’ to the crumbs or sloppy treatment others are offering me.

Is saying ‘Yes’ when you mean to say ‘No’ something you find yourself doing repeatedly?

Here is my mini-challenge to you: next time you feel like this, do things differently, and...Just. Say. No. One small step at a time.

I’d love to hear if this all sounds familiar or about the mini-successes you experience putting your needs and desires first. Hit reply, or go over to my private FB group - join up and share there.

Wish me bon courage in the online world! :D

Big love x

Change is in the air...

Even if you're not a believer or a follower of astrology, you may have heard that this August is pretty special in the astrological world. (Honestly, I'm somewhere between skeptic and believer. I'm dubious about the science behind it, if any truly exists; but I'm also open-mindedly curious and often surprised at its accuracy.)

We've got a partial eclipse, a total eclipse, something called a Lion's Gate (what the?), Mercury in retrograde - truly, the planets are going nuts.

I've seen it most succinctly written by Jennifer Racioppi (I am absolutely no expert on this stuff!) 

"Eclipses are potent harbingers of change, often lacking the clear understanding of how they will impact you in advance. Eclipses are known to bring startling news to the forefront of your life."

This is why astrology is curious to me, because what Jennifer describes is exactly how I feel (wondering: do you feel the same?) I am feeling shifts personally, releasing what no longer serves me or makes me feel good (including my relationship!), and it's also happening in my business. I'm shedding the skin of my first year of entrepreneurship. I feel like I'm evolving rapidly, and my business is running out of breath trying to catch up with me. It's like looking in a steamed up bathroom mirror - I know there is a shadow of my face looking back at me, but I can't see the detail.

All this to say, change is afoot.

I'm piecing things together as I receive the downloads about my business, and I am trying to be patient about it (not my most developed trait!) As my mentor says, "You wouldn't rip open a flower." So, I must let it unfold, even though I am so tempted to "rip it open." All I can say at this point is that I will continue to serve ambitious women who desire more from their life and career, to live and work more confidently (is that you?) Just what form that takes - well, you'll be one of the first to know.

Watch this space!

And if you're feeling shifts of change, I'd love to hear about it. Comment, (or hit reply) and let me know, or join my private Facebook group and share away there.

How you can transform your decision-making

Hello you!

I've spent the last week in nothing short of transformation.

A week in gorgeous and surprising Mallorca with my high-level mentor and about 100 other women entrepreneurs. If you've seen previous posts, you'll have seen that in Maui earlier this year, I had a transformation on-stage that literally changed my business focus. This time - yes, I got on stage again!

Here's what I got out of my week.

In the coaching world, we're always talking about mindset - and I agree, a great mindset changes everything in our life and career. Being able to flip the switch from negative to positive takes some skill and constant energy.

What I realised this week is that mindset - the concept of wrestling with the mind to quieten the inner critic voices - is still very much a masculine construct. It's an idea based around control.

I want you to listen to your heart.

Whether you call it your intuition, instinct or gut, it's this feminine and often under-developed part of us that truly knows what the soul needs, but our mind chatters away over the top. So, getting practiced at tuning into the heart allows us to elevate the importance of this feeling, which in turn naturally drowns out the chatter. There is no need for control or suppression. It is about being open and tuning into your heart in a bodily way - how does it feel as you take a decision?

That is a much more pleasurable daily practice.

So I encourage you to stop thinking, stop controlling, stop doing, and start listening to your heart. It is wise beyond words and knows what your soul needs. It requires stillness to listen closely.

How do you do that?

Start by sitting still and quietly, simply breathing in deeply three times when you're faced with a choice or a decision, feel the sensations in your body - where and what do you feel? Go with whatever comes up. Don't question it; don't second-guess it; just go with it. When we act in true alignment with what our soul needs, the frenetic buzzing in the head will simply melt away.

I'd love to hear how you go with this practice. It's transformational!

Go over to my Facebook page and ask to join my private group Design Your Days - Life & Work on Your Terms and share what you find in this practice.

Bisous x

Here's What You Need to Be a LEADER

Want to know the secret sauce of success? Click to learn what personal leadership is and how stepping into it can create the success in life & work that you desire.

More nuggets coming up about personal leadership! I've got a lot to share with you on the topic, and how embracing it can change your life and career!

Bisous x

These 2 Words Could Quite Literally Change Your Life!

Every morning, as part of my ‘success routine’ (which includes meditation, yoga, and journaling as well), I read - usually a couple of books on the go at any one time. It is the second time I have read Gabrielle Bernstein’s bestseller “The Universe Has Your Back” and this time around, I was struck by the message I received today.

These two words could quite literally change your life…

CHOOSE AGAIN

At any given moment in life, we are free to choose again - a different thought, a different behaviour, a different road, a different response, a different action. The last decision didn’t work out so well? Choose again. It’s like a 'Sliding Doors* moment' every freaking second of the day.

We are not wedded to a decision we took in the past, or a behavioural or thought pattern that is simply a habit or a pattern inherited from our parents. Just because we a chose a decision or habit that served us in the past does not mean we are required to choose it now. There is a tendency to attach a lot of 'story' or drama to a decision - that if we take it, there is no going back. How far from the truth could we be?

  • Cut off by some jerk in a BMW on the way to work? Choose a different response and see how it changes the tone of your day.
  • Fed up with being treated like an assistant by your colleagues? Choose a different attitude and see how you get treated.
  • Fear of putting yourself out there and 'being seen' is keeping you playing small in your career? Choose to be more visible and see how being seen leads to more opportunities.
  • Tired of not living exactly as you had hoped you’d be by this time of your life? Choose one small step on a different path and see what transpires.
  • Feeling sluggish and unhappy with your weight? Choose a different meal or activity and see how you feel after a week of choosing differently.

Every moment of the day is an opportunity to literally change your life - in some small way that will lead to massive change, or in one gi-normous leap to massive change!

It’s liberating to think of life like that; knowing that the very next decision you make could quite literally change the course of your life. And if it doesn't work out..."simples" - you take another!

Wow. Just wow.

Exciting, or what?

So what are you going to choose next?

Remember - one slight shift is all it takes.

Here's your first decision - let's chat.

*Anyone born after 1998 may not get this reference! Sliding Doors was a film starring Gwyneth Paltrow - the film itself wasn’t up to much but the concept was brilliant. The story alternates between two parallel universes depending on the decisions taken by the two central characters. Watch it.

How to be a CEO - it's Not as Hard as You Think!

It’s May Day or Fête du Travail - a day to honour the humble worker. In keeping, the Guardian published an article today reporting that MPs warn of the downside of the growing UK ‘gig economy’ where employees become self-employed by choice or necessity (e.g. via the business model operated by Uber, Deliveroo, Hermes, and Amazon.)

Of course, I see the downsides they report (no employee protection for pension or health), but there is something to learn from the business model, even for the employed.

I’ve long been an advocate of being your own CEO - viewing yourself as the product, the service, the Brand and Marketing Manager, the CFO, the Sales Manager, the CHRO and Learning & Development Officer. Taking responsibility for our own skills development (personal and professional), our own career path, how we present yourselves to the world, how we show up in the world is about showing personal leadership; and personal leadership must be embraced before we can embrace business leadership.

This might be controversial,...

...but I have always felt that an employer should not be solely relied upon for the development we need. For sure, they have a part to play if they really value their employees; and if they are prepared to pay for that expensive leadership course, why not? However, I have always considered it as the icing on the cake of doing the course, not an expectation that they should pay. Of course, it will be good for them if you take that leadership course, making you a more productive and effective leader, but it will be even better for you, enhancing your skills at a professional level, and opening up so much from a personal perspective, such as confidence, clarity, and communication skills. This is not to say that companies are off the hook for investing in their people, but I recommend leading yourself first.

For me, investing in myself in a variety of mind-expanding, up-skilling courses, a stylist, networking groups, or philosophical exploration according to what the ‘Business of Me’ needs says that I back myself; I believe in myself; I value myself; I am my own CEO. I have not relinquished control of my life and career development to someone else.

Having this take gave me unshakeable power and confidence to carve out a life and career path I truly desired. Without a sense of obligation, misdirected loyalty, a false sense of job security, and expecting to be ‘looked after’ by the organisation, I was able to step out of the corporate world when the time felt right - some say this was a brave decision, but in the context of striving to be my own CEO, perhaps it was a natural next step.

This was my route to fulfilment in life and career. Yours may be different.

So, hold a mirror up - are you your own CEO? Do you truly back yourself? Do you have that unshakeable power and confidence to carve out a life and career path you truly desire - whatever that looks like to you?

Need help with that?

Let’s talk