personal leadership

This is What Conscious Leadership Looks Like…

Photo credit: David Walker/Stuff

Photo credit: David Walker/Stuff

Monday morning. A new week. For that, I am immensely grateful.

I shut down last week and I wasn’t sure why. I was angry, felt hostile inside, and I was reading everything negative online like an addiction.

It occurred to me this morning that I was in shock over the terror events in my peace-loving native New Zealand. For a country of just 5 million, a massacre of this nature is akin to losing over 3,000 people in the US to one terror event. Gunning down 50 people in a small town like Christchurch is like taking out over 1,100 inhabitants of New York City in two small religious sites.

It hurts.

Aotearoa has known worse, of course. The massacres of our brutal history between Māori and Pākeha, the white colonials, have perhaps influenced our desire to be peace-loving and inclusive in modern New Zealand. For sure though, the attacks on those two Christchurch mosques are like nothing we have seen in Middle Earth in modern times where a minority of our community have been so obviously and hatefully targeted.

So I sat with all this over the weekend.

It took me to detox from my newsfeed, lots of meditation and physical exercise to reduce the stress and anxiety, journaling and reading books on subjects such as consciousness to get to a place on Monday morning of clarity, energy and intention.

The clarity that came to me this morning is that Christchurch just might be the breakdown before the breakthrough, the valley before scaling the heights. Perhaps it had to happen to show the world what conscious leadership looks like. It happened when the best person possible was in power to guide the country and the world through their shock and grief - Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She is a fine example of conscious leadership that the world has been shaken from its old thinking to witness, a style of leadership that the world is starting awaken to the fact that it is thirsty for.

  • She is vulnerable, visibly weeping when she visited the families of the victims.

  • She is compassionate, reaching out to say that she and her government will do all they can to ease the pain over the next days, months, years.

  • She is empathetic, acknowledging their religious practices by assuring the families that the police are doing all they can to release their loved ones as soon as possible.

  • She is strong, making a commitment to change gun laws so that such a tragedy never happens again on New Zealand soil.

  • She is intentional, focusing only on the families as her priority, unifying political parties, not finding an opportunity to score points for her political advancement or to appease her partisan supporters.

There is nothing weak about how Prime Minister Ardern is showing up to lead us through this crisis.

It is a new era—time we expected more of ourselves and our political, religious and business leaders, demanding more conscious leadership.

“There is only one perpetrator of evil on the planet: human unconsciousness.”
— Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

When our egos run the show, as has become our primary state of consciousness, there is no room for any of the characteristics that Prime Minister Ardern is demonstrating. When we live in ego, as most of us do, it is too busy trying to feel superior, to be right, to gain more at the expense of others, to defend itself, to attack others, and to renew its addiction to unhappiness.

“The ego always wants something from other people or situations.”
— Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

I work with leaders who want to do things differently in their new role, who want to make a positive impact beyond financial measures. Prime Minister Ardern so beautifully demonstrates what I am talking about, creating an environment that allows vulnerability, compassion, empathy, unity, and above all, strength. Ruling by the politics of fear with competition, reprisal, redundancy, creating a toxic environment, and still expecting high performance and profit is as absurd as it sounds.

Creating an environment where teams can connect, create, collaborate - that’s where high performance, purpose and profit lie.

For now, I hope the world is observing Prime Minister Ardern and waking up to what conscious personal, political, religious, and business leadership could look like. My intention and energy to contribute to the general acceptance of conscious leadership is stronger than ever.

Ladies, Take a Bow!

I sit writing this on International Women's Day, March 8th. It feels like this day is gathering momentum as being more and more important, rather than less. Although the subject of women's rights is leap years ahead of where it was when the first internationally recognised day was celebrated in 1975, it seems there is a new momentum, a new vigour to it. It's the next iteration of women's rights that's evolving, with a future that looks brighter.

Today, I'm giving thanks to those women, real, fictional, past and current, who have inspired and influenced me to be the woman I am today:

  • Kate Sheppard: a New Zealand activist who campaigned women's suffrage, gaining women in NZ the right to vote as early as 1893. As the first country in the world to do so, and growing up in a relatively egalitarian society, it has given me a sense of "anything is possible."
  • My mother: who gave me steely determination with oodles of generosity and kindness. Although, I've tried hard over the years to not be like her by being a career woman, rather than a home-maker, there's no getting away from the fact that I am my mother's daughter.
  • My grandmothers: Becoming widows early in their lives, I learned that it was possible for women to be alone in the world, and be OK with it. My maternal grandmother, in particular, did so with relish, leading a life full of love and connection with those around her, without a partner.
  • My mentor: who has shown me that when you are fully yourself, and unapologetically so, you can lead an abundant, full life, where anything is possible, by putting your mind, body and spirit into it. (You know who you are! x)
  • Anne Hartley: author of "Financially Free: a Woman's Guide to Creating Wealth," a book I read in my 20s which changed my relationship with money and wealth. I went from low-wealth-consciousness teacher, to a financially secure corporate queen in the space of a few years.
  • HRH Queen Elizabeth II: She has been a public figure all my life, stoically leading and developing the Commonwealth. Although we could get into a debate about the relevance of monarchy today, she has made it completely natural for us to see a woman in power.

I know there are more women who have inspired and influenced me, (I mean - Notorious RBG! #badass; Oprah!) but the list is long.

Whatever your gender, stop a moment and give thanks to all those women who have shaped you and continue to influence and inspire you. #womanlyartofleadership

For more inspiring women, subscribe on Apple Podcasts to the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast.

Word on the street is...

I've been doing some research recently

I've been asking executive women what their main challenges are right now in life and career. (A big thank you to those who have taken part in the research!)

Here's a flavour of what I'm hearing:

"I don't know whether to try to move up or move on."

"Although I objectively know I'm good at my job and a great asset, I don't 'believe' it and it is holding me back in my career."

"I no longer feel passionate about my job."

"I can't find balance between work and play. It's killing my family life."

"I love my job, and I know I'm good at it. My personal life? That's another story!"

AND, (and this one is a biggie for a lot of you:)

"I hate the 'politics', and feeling like I need to 'play the game' to get ahead."

Any of it sound familiar?

Firstly - my heart goes out to you if you're experiencing ANY of these feelings. I get it. I was there, too.

Secondly - know this...

There IS a better way

- to rise above the politics, to find passion and purpose in what you do, to have balance, to have self-belief, to develop self-confidence - whatever "grinds your gears" or keeps you right where you are now.

If you'd like to speak to me about what's going on for you, click here.

If you'd like to take part in the research, click here.

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!)

 

Practice THIS every day!

When was the last time you gave thanks?

A truly, warm, heart-felt thank you?

Today I am going to do just that.

2017 is drawing to a close. It's been a weird and wonderful year for me, and you have been a part of it. You have kept me motivated and focused on my goal to see more women in leadership positions, and to add value to your life in some small way.

I want to thank YOU.

  • If you love me because you're related and you support me and my next big plan, I thank YOU. Having a loving family is second-to-none, and I love you right back.
  • If you love me because we're loyal, and long-time friends, and you love seeing what I'm up to next, I thank YOU. Knowing I have friends like you makes me stronger and feel safe in the world.
  • If you are an acquaintance whose paths I've crossed with in the past, and you like what I have to say, I thank YOU. You make me strive to keep learning so I can add value to your life.
  • If you signed up somewhere, (probably on one of those annoying ads on Facebook), and you read my posts now and then, I thank YOU. I appreciate that you take the time, and my goal is to give you more value so you read them more often.
  • If you signed up somewhere, (again, probably on one of those annoying ads on Facebook), and you're thinking about unsubscribing almost immediately because you didn't like what I had to say, or you thought I spammed you, I thank YOU. You make me stay humble, recognise that I can't be all things to all people, and be OK with that.

A lot is written about the practice of gratitude. It is an excellent daily practice to include in your morning routine. It is hard to stay negative when you are practicing gratitude - it's physically impossible to do the two things at the same time.

Write down each day what you are grateful for and why, and even better, tell one person each day.

FEEL the difference!

Merci, grazie, gracias, kia ora, danke, thank you!

I'm excited for 2018 and I've some big plans.

Do you? Do you want to kick start your 2018 so you make it your best year ever? Book a call and let's discuss how we can get you achieving all you desire for your life and career in 2018.

How do you view your value and your worth?

Do you have a hard time feeling you deserve a raise?

Do you feel you have to work hard for a six-figure salary?

I've just got off the phone with a client - we had an amazing discussion about how she feels that her self-worth is tied up in how much she earns.

I get it - because I felt that way for a long time, too. I felt that I was a lesser person because I wasn't earning what I really wanted. It was like I had a price on my head - a number that others could see and would judge me as a person because of it.

My client and I are working together to uncover her self-confidence and one of the outcomes from the program is that she wants a raise of between 18% and 60%.

I asked her to write down the salary range and her response was, "It will be difficult to get", and that she feels she doesn't deserve the increase.

Do you feel like this?

Does how much you get paid feel like a reflection of your worth as a person?

Just. Stop. It. PLEASE.

The thing to differentiate here is that:

Self-worth and value are not the same thing.

You can have worth as a human being, and offer value to other people. Two people will see your value differently e.g. one employer will value your skills more than another, a friend will value your time more than another. It is not about YOU as a person. It is about THEIR perception of what you have to offer. Just like in an auction, one bidder will outbid others because they perceive greater value, and THEIR DESIRES drive their perception of value.

So detach from the two - your self-worth is NOT directly related to your value to others. They just see things their own way. And you know yourself, that the people who value your time and energy as you value theirs, are the ones you want to spend time with.

Take that same thought process into your career. If your employer or prospective employer doesn't value you, it's not about you as a person. It means the fit isn't right, IN THAT MOMENT.

Need help to prepare for the salary conversation? Are you tying your self-worth up in your salary? Book a call and let's discuss how we can get you feeing worthy AND valued.

It's arrived! My baby is here!

I'm very excited to announce the birth of my baby...

- the Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast!

Interviews with women leaders about their journeys and challenges, the lessons they learned, and the advice they have to share.

Subscribe, listen, then like and review in iTunes. Please share with those women leaders you think would love to learn from others!

Are you in contraction or expansion?

Stop for a moment, and tell me...how do you feel in your body?

Do you feel tight and tense in your shoulders and back, or your haunches?

How is your breathing? Is it shallow and fast?

Do you miss what's going on around you because you're focused on what's going on in your head, eyes to the ground? 

Does it feel like there isn't an easy answer to what's challenging you right now?

You may not have use this word for it, but I know you recognise how it feels to be in contraction. It's a tight, unnatural and uncomfortable feeling and we truly FEEL it in our bodies when we experience it. It feels like you're closed in a box too small for all your limbs, and you can't see solutions or opportunities even when they present themselves. You're too contained in your box.

Contrast contraction with expansion.

Expansion is light.

Expansion is openness.

Expansion is possibility.

Expansion is excitement.

Expansion is opportunity.

Expansion is creativity.

Expansion is asking better questions of yourself and others.

Expansion is having the same challenges as you do when you're in contraction, but you're coming at them from a very different, more open and abundant place, one that encourages "What if..?" questions. A place of no self-imposed limitations. When you're in expansion, you're able to think more creatively about your situation, expanding your options.

Contraction and expansion are like the difference between hope and desire, closed and open, fear and confidence, scarcity and abundance, surviving and thriving.

I've been listening to some mind-bending podcasts lately, that have had the unexpected outcome of expanding my mind to everything. When you listen to or read life-affirming material like this, it has a tangible impact on how you see the world. If you don't already listen to mind-expanding podcasts, do it now!

So stop and listen to your body.

How does it feel? Do you feel like you're in contraction or expansion?

PS Need help getting out of contraction and into expansion about your life and career? Book a call and let's discuss where you're at.

PPS Want to expand your mind? I'm very excited to announce I'll be launching my Womanly Art of Leadership Sessions podcast shortly! Stay tuned for more info soon!

 

How the market stall owner is teaching me about boundaries

There is a stall owner in the nearby market selling beautiful qualify fruit and vegetables three times a week near my apartment in Paris. He doesn't know it but he is my teacher.

For awhile when I started buying from him each week, I'd try to avoid him, following his assistant around until he was free so he could select the freshest of produce for me. (In a lot of markets in France, you are served by the stall owner so they can select the prime produce for you. By saying when you want to eat it, they'll select just the perfect firmness for you.)

You see, he is a notorious up-seller. I only have to show a vague interest in the Barbary Figs, Physalis, or Wild Asparagus in store, out of pure curiosity, and he has shoved them into my trolley, adding about another €15 to my bill.

I began to see this as a Universal assignment.

I decided to stop avoiding him - we can't avoid conflict in our lives all the time. What I realised I have to is learn to:

Say 'No' and mean it.

No apology. No excuses. No justification....

over and over again. It goes something like this:

"I'll have a pomegranate."

"How many?"

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"Just one."

"It's 3 for €5 - a good price."

"No - just one, please."

"Are you sure? Saves you coming back again."

"Just one please."

And so I get just one pomegranate popped in the trolley.

Why is this important?

By learning to say no calmly and without apology, excuse or justification, I am training myself to for the crucial conversations; to be able to say no to the big things that really matter - like the next time someone asks to borrow money from me, and I don't want to.

Train yourself for the crucial conversations by practicing on the small stuff. It's called setting boundaries, and it is something women often have difficulty doing, as 'people pleasers'. It's why we often work so hard in our careers, doing everything for everyone else, yet end up staying in the same place. It is easy to say 'Yes' - it trips off the tongue easily, yet it is later we often regret it. It takes strength, power and self-belief to say 'No'.

How do you prepare for crucial conversations?

Do you have a difficult relationship with 'No'?"

How are some ways you can start practicing saying 'No' with the small stuff?

Need some help getting comfortable with 'No' and setting clear, healthy boundaries? Book a call and let's discuss how poor boundaries is stopping you from getting what you want in life and career, and how we can change that.

What price do you place on your confidence?

You see her.

She walks into the meeting room of mostly men. She smiles, extends her hand to greet her guests. She places her folio on the board table and proceeds to address the meeting - engaging, direct, accomplished, poised.

Such grace. Such power. Such confidence

And you think...

"What I would give to be like that..."

Great question! What WOULD you give to be like that?

I have been greeted with resistance when a potential client discusses coaching with me. "What guarantee can you give that coaching with you will work?"

1. I can't guarantee it, and I never would. If you see a coach who guarantees you'll get results, run the other way - fast. As a coach, I have no control over what you will and won't do. I can guide you, influence you, hold the mirror up to you, challenge you, and hold you accountable, but I can't control you and what you do for yourself. Coaching requires energetic investment from you.

2. ROI metrics can be tenuous when it comes to coaching. Even if I were to coach a sales team on confidently approaching sales, for instance, and the team's sales figures went through the roof immediately afterwards, there may be other factors that influenced these figures e.g. market changes, a competitor raising prices or pulling out, new team members that increased the motivation, increased employee engagement. It is highly likely that their success was the result of the confidence they achieved from coaching, but that would need to be in the opinion of the individuals.

There are many more positive outcomes from coaching that cannot be measured financially.

HOWEVER...

What I can say is this:

Laura invested €760 in a 4-hour coaching intensive with me to boost her confidence to approach her bosses about getting an €18,000 training course paid for by the company. It worked, so ROI = 2,368%. She started the course in September.

Toni invested €2,500 in a 90-day coaching program with me to help her make a decision about her next career path. She finally left Singapore to go back to London with a competitor, where she negotiated a sign-on bonus of €25,000. She says she would never have had the confidence to negotiate it prior to the coaching. So, ROI = 1,000%.

Anne invested in the same program as Toni to help her get more comfortable in her new leadership position - to be more productive, learn to stop micro-managing, and create balance in her life. Within a few months of completing the program she was transferred from the Norwegian office to her dream job in the Bermuda office! She just informed me she is buying a boat to explore the coastline after work. ROI = ...what price happiness? I've never seen her glow so much!

So...what price do you place on your confidence?

What investment in you and your power are you prepared to make?

What are your goals and dreams worth?

An investment in yourself is an investment in your outcomes. A leadership position? A raise? Life balance? Stronger boundaries? More power and confidence?

It's all within reach.

Invest in yourself and your goals now. Book a call to discuss what outcomes you want to achieve.