20 July, 2017

Winter Wonder

I haven’t felt the need to write for a little while and then suddenly it comes out in bursts. Below are 3 very short meanderings on experiences, books, ideas that have filtered into my life lately.
Restore
The temperature drops below 0 degrees I pull on some woolly socks ready to hibernate. This time, every year I feel dormant, time to rest, recover, pause. Autumn has released all its splendour and the trees are barren and cold. The icy chill in the air keeps me indoors and the grey sky makes me feel forlorn. I crave to be in my comfortable cave to restore. I notice the seasons. I notice how nature gracefully adapts with no resistance to the power of the seasons.
Winter for me is a time to rest, pause, restore, rebuild. Are you aware of how the seasons impact you?
I am just back from sunny Palm Cove, Queensland and fully ingested radiant abundant Vitamin D and have built up my stockpile to smile through the rest of winter.
Wonder
I watched the new Wonder Woman movie and wow wee – talk about Goddess power. Without spoiling the movie it highlighted the intricacies of courage and care, choosing our battles and the delicate balance of saving versus serving. It made me consider what type of Wonder Woman I could be. Wonder for me is hope and curiosity and awe of what is possible. My essence is hope I will naturally find the positives in most situations, this can drive my husband crazy, but it is my true me. I am curious in helping others reconnect with their wonder and awe. Australia is a fun, happy, larrikin country our culture is beach and BBQs. We entertain in our alfresco areas and we love great food, wine, sports and entertainment. When I contrast my time working in Australian organisations v American, German and Japanese organisations I think our employee value proposition is fun and lifestyle. So many people leave their countries to live in our dream country to sample what we take for granted. I think children naturally express wonder and awe, I think when we channel the playful child within us we can reconnect with our own wonder and awe. Try a bit of wonder and awe for a day – see what filters into your world.
Life is an Echo
I came across this on Instagram: Life is an echo. What you send out – comes back. What you sow – you reap. What you give – you get. What you see in others – exists in you. Do not judge – so you will not be judged. Radiate love and give love and love comes back to you.
One of Oprah’s famous lines is ‘you get what you are’.
When I saw the amazing Stephen Covey last century in the 90s one of his lines that most resonated with me is you can’t get to level 7 until you have worked through levels 1 to 6. He also explained talking at level 7 understanding to someone at a lower level leads to misunderstanding and miscommunication.
I have just finished reading Richard Barrett’s books on Psychological Evolvement, A New Psychology of Human Well-Being and Evolutionary Coaching and he eloquently explained the 7 Stages of Psychological Development (see table below). The Barrett’s 7 Stages are an extension of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs and he too reinforces that us humans need to work through one level fully, before we can evolve and progress. People best resonate with people at the same psychological stage as themselves. As we evolve we will leave people behind and then attract others at our higher level of development.

Richard Barrett's 7 Stages of Psychological Evolvement
7. Serving - (Age:late 50s to early 70s) fulfilling your destiny by caring for the well-being of humanity or the planet
6. Integrating- (Age:late 40s to 60s) aligning with others who share the same values and purpose to create a better world
5. Self-Actualising -(Age: late 30s to early 50s) becoming more fully aware of who you are by leading a values- and purpose-driven life.
4. Individuating - (Age: late 20s to early 40s) letting go of the aspects of your parental and cultural conditioning that no longer serve you.
3. Differentiating - (Age: 8 to early 30s) distinguishing yourself from the crowd by honing your skills and talents.
2. Conforming - ( Age: 2 to 8) keeping safe and secure by staying loyal to your family, kin and culture.
1.Surviving - ( Age: birth to 2) staying alive and healthy in the best conditions possible

If life is an echo of who we are, I think Barrett’s 7 stages are an excellent lens for reflection and contemplation. I think the age range of stages of development may not always hold true. There are increasing examples of Millennials that have developed to stage 7 Serving, they seem to have accelerated through the stages of Surviving through to Integrating as they are having loving, prosperous and accepting starts to life. I know of 50 to 70 year olds who are still at Conforming stages frozen in their development.
The Australian Cultural Imprints at Work 2010 and Beyond study reinforces that Australian’s preferred style of leadership is cause based Leaders that pitch in and care about their followers.  In using Barrett’s 7 stages lens then our preferred leaders need to be at the Self-Actualising, Integrating or Serving stages of psychological development.
In my coaching and advising practices I am extremely mindful of helping people be the best versions of themselves. They can come to me at Surviving stages through to Serving stages. If they are at the first 3 levels – Surviving, Conforming and Differentiating there are a lot of ego issues that need to be developed. From Individuating stage up Leaders are more open and ready for deeper connections and bigger contributions.
As we evolve as Leaders I remember Ken Blanchard’s famous line ‘it has hard to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys’. If life is an echo of who you are then are you an Eagle or a Turkey? What is life echoing to you?
Sending you sunshine, fun and joy on a cloudy day.


14 February, 2017


 
Helping Portfolio
The year has started off well with an amazing Melbourne summer, just the right heat to feel the sun and just enough cool reprieve to function with fun.  I have been reflecting on how we can help the world be sustainable, well and peaceful…small issues.  I’ve come across some excellent examples of how we can be exceptional helpers.  Let me share with you my Helping Portfolio:

 
1. Social Enterprises

I spent a lot of the summer reading Daniel Flynn’s Chapter One book on co-creating thankyou a successful and dynamic social enterprise.  Thankyou has generated over $5 million of profits and all that money has been directed to helping the poor.  They are a true cause-based enterprise who are radically changing the fast moving consumer goods industry.  Their passion, creativity, ingenuity and naivety have enabled them to capture market share in established markets which are tough to break into.  They are a great example of Millennials getting on with fixing problems by radically transforming traditional business thinking and practices.  When I buy my thankyou hand wash and body wash I know I am helping the world through my conscious retail choices.  It is a very clever yet simple way of making a positive difference and helping the world each day.  Thankyou is an exceptional leading social enterprise that is helping all its stakeholders every day.

We have 12 charities that we support locally and globally and we donate to help the causes we are passionate about.  Our causes include cancer cures, wellness, environmental sustainability, supporting refugees, saving horses and helping the poor.  There is an area that we have not overtly supported yet and that is in our own backyard.  In this new era of intelligence where cognitive augmentation, artificial intelligence (AI) and nanotechnology is evolving rapidly, we have a grand opportunity to help Australians become more STEM savvy and embrace and lead collaboration between humans and robots.  We are working on setting aside a significant percentage of our profits and directing the funds to up-skill Australians in practical STEM competencies, particularly those that need job retraining or are disadvantaged – it’s still a work-in-progress.  The plan is to ourselves embrace the coming of the intelligence age.

My 11 year old daughter spent a term at school coding.  She was introduced to making applications, electronic circuits and software programs.  Her future will be filled with AI and I want her to be equipped and capable of embracing the intelligence age as we were capable of embracing the industrial revolution and the information age.

2. Everyone needs a ‘Donna’

I also caught up on one of my favorite shows Suits and found myself desiring a ‘Donna’ in my life.  For those of you who do not know about Donna she is a magical, intuitive, intelligent and sassy Executive Assistant that can do all.  She is proactive, friendly and firm and has an amazing knack of accessing people, information and intelligence through her extensive contacts and influencing techniques.  Donna is a magnificent helper and I really want to be more like her.  She uses all her intelligences – head, heart and gut (analytical, emotional and intuition) and she has amazing knowing and wisdom.

I know she is a fictional character but what if we could find the ‘Donna’ within us to effortlessly help others and ourselves.  In my coaching I mostly help other’s realize they are more than just their brains.  I help people tune into their heart and use their emotional intelligence and tune into their gut to switch on their intuition.   Marvin Oka and Grant Soosalu published mBraining research that validates our multiple intelligences.  The Heartmath Institute and Howard Gardner have many research studies of our amazing multiple intelligences.  When she was in year 2, my daughter’s teachers helped her work out that she had preferences toward kinesthetic and musical intelligences.  To be more helpful to ourselves and others, we need to tap into our own multiple intelligences. 

The knowing peace is a curious area for me, when I am in my element and working with leaders I tap into more knowledge and know-how than is just within me.  I tap into the collective intelligence or the collective unconscious.  I am not sure what the theoretical construct is – a combination of Jung, Pierre Levy and new age deliberate receiving.  The leaders and I co-create the knowledge in the space we have created and it is unplanned and spontaneous.  Imagine if we are all capable of this - how much more could we achieve and be?

3. Identify your type of help

When I was 16, one of my teachers asked me what I wanted to do and be in my life.  It was the first time anyone had asked me that question.  The gift my teacher, Mr Quin, gave me was the gift of choice.  He made me realise that I had a choice of what I wanted to do and be – it was so empowering.  The answer I blurted out was “I want to help people.” 

The definition of Help is to make it easier or possible for someone to do something by offering them ones services or resources.  Over the years I have been clumsy in helping others who actually never wanted help.  I have also realized you can’t help people who do not want to help themselves.  Being a witness and confidante can be all the help some people want with no advice or projection.  The magic happens when you attract people who want help and you can help each other – the exchange is beneficial for the giver and receiver.  What type of help do you offer and what type of help do you need?

As Simon Sinek states in his book Together is Better:

The value of our lives is not determined by what we do for ourselves.  The value of our lives is determined by what we do for others.  How should we ask people to judge our legacies... by the number of emails we answer or how many times we went to the gym? Or by the character of the children we raise and the people we led?  Or the impact we had in the lives of people around us…

I am still working on my Helpful Portfolio looking forward to giving and receiving in 2017.

19 November, 2016

6 Gifts of Christmas


6 Gifts of Christmas

I’m being mindful of how I frame my mindset about Christmas.  There are so many dramas and anxieties around Christmas – too much to buy for, too much to cook, too many celebrations, too many relatives. These are all first world problems that are not really problems at all. Let’s take a different perspective to Christmas.

End of year rolling on like an ocean breeze, refreshing, forceful and yet calming.

My first gift of Christmas is be calm.

1.     The Serenity Santa

Let’s enter the festive season with a calm, peaceful and relaxing approach. Let’s reframe the silly season to the serene season where we are truly grateful of the gifts life has given us.  So if you catch yourself buying into the hype (and I do mean buying) take a chill pill and be calm.

Rose gardens blooming, lavender essence in the air and the sun streaming softly through your hair. My second gift of Christmas is to be present. 

2.     The present of being present

When was the last time you felt grass on the bottom of your feet? Mindfulness has taught us that when we are truly present we have a heightened awareness, greater connection and greater energy on whatever we are focusing on.  Be mindful of where your attention goes, remember where attention goes energy flows.

Body moving freely, energy abound, moving eloquently, feeling proud.  My third gift of Christmas is to be well.

3.     The present of wellness

We have all had days when we have pain and unable to get out of bed.  Each day when we are pain free and alive is a true blessing.  Physical capability to walk, run, dance, skip and be free to move any way you want.  Thank your body for being well and remember to care for it.

Choices every day to live, laugh or play to work harder and get stronger, choices every day.  My fourth gift of Christmas is to make conscious choices.

4.     The present of choice

Every day we make choices on how we live our life, the type of food we eat, where we work, how we travel, who we live with, who we play with and most of the time our choices are unconscious.  Bring to your conscious awareness the power you have to make choices.  Be mindful of your conscious choices and take responsibility for your life design.

 

 

Laughter of children, cuddles from puppies, sparkling starlight, juicy, juicy mangoes, loving friends, music that soars and a party that never ends.  My fifth gift of Christmas is to have joy.

5.     The present of joy

Be the joy in your life and then spread the joy through your circle of influence.  Find what joy means to you and your loved ones this Christmas.  Be the joy, attract the joy and extend your circle of joy.

Curious cravings, wonderful wanderings, ambitious aspirations are all actions of hope.  My sixth gift of Christmas is to be hopeful.

6.     The gift of hope

When we have hope all is possible.  Hope is the opposite of fear and hope fuels our ability to do amazing creative things. Find your hope this Christmas and share it with the world. 

My Christmas wish is to be calm, present, well, and mindful, have joy and hope. Merry Christmas from Serenity Santa.

23 May, 2016

Tapping into your inner wisdom


May 2016

Tapping into your inner wisdom

What if you could tap into your inner wisdom more often? What if we could be more creative, compassionate and courageous?  I have been guilty of being over analytical at times.  I have been guilty of being too emotional at times.  I have been guilty of ignoring my gut and intuition at times.  At these times my ability to make the best decisions and choices has been impaired.  

Marvin Oka and Grant Soosalu in their book mBraining using your multiple brains to do cool stuff provide us with evidence based models of the wisdom of aligning our cephalic brain (head), cardiac brain (heart) and enteric brain (gut).  Their model integrates neuroscience, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) cognitive linguistics and behavior modeling.  When I first read their book a couple of years ago I got an amazing ‘Aha’ feeling.  All these years I have been espousing and practicing the importance of EQ and Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences and Oka and Soosalu have neatly wrapped it up into a Head-Heart-Gut intelligences model.

I know personally when I can’t stomach something – my gut feels very unwell.  In the early part of my career I was working in a lobbying role and would travel each month to a nation-wide committee focused on improving the quality of Australian healthcare.  I would arrive hopeful and would leave feeling sick to my stomach.  After 12 months the committee recommended creating another committee.  My gut was highlighting the committee’s inaction and the fear of change.  Have you ever felt this way?  Nearly 20 years later I am so mindful of my gut reaction to situations it has become like an amazing filter.  My gut instinct is a valid intelligence - remember the old saying “no guts, no glory.” Courage comes from our gut.

Sometimes when you are right you can also be wrong.  Recently in a business agreement one of the stakeholders was contractually right about the terms and agreement but lacked the compassion (heart) to understand how that term would impact the people it was aimed to protect.  Over use of the head brain is very common in Australian business, we can become cold and translate everything back to a number and a fact.  We need to remember that we still are human beings and most of what we do is through people or impacts people.  Peter Senge’s ladder of inference reminds us how important it is to have facts and data to support sound decisions.  Our head enables us to think, solve problems, invent and analyse. Creativity comes from our head.

Being an EQ accredited Facilitator and having an Italian heritage has been interesting for me.  In my household there was no emotional filter, emotions were over expressed and lacked a lot of control.  There was a lot of yelling and drama.  My parents would refer to me as the ‘l’avocatto’ which means lawyer or adviser.  I would play the logic card and rationalize my best possible head based arguments and thinking to dampen their overly emotional states.  Our heart intelligence enables us to trust, love and care.  Compassion comes from our heart.

The head sees words and numbers and the heart and gut sees pictures and metaphors. It is important to use a combination of words, numbers, pictures and metaphors to activate all our intelligences. Our ability to align our creativity, compassion and courage is when true wisdom arises. 

The link between mindfulness and utilizing our 3 brains is interesting.  Oka and Soosalu have a number of techniques to activate our wisdom state.  The easiest technique is deep breathing.  Breathing from the gut, through the chest, throat and nose triggers the connections between our brilliant intelligences.  Next time you are faced with a decision try the breathing technique and notice what happens.

Each Monday I do slow flow Yoga, it frames my week.  In Yoga my breathing and physical movements allow for my head, heart and gut to realign.  I feel centred, energized and strong and there are moments when I feel tapped into a wise intelligence beyond my physical self.

Become aware of your head, heart and gut intelligences for 1 week.  Notice what happens to your state when making decisions.  Tap into your own authentic wisdom and the wisdom all around.

13 April, 2016

Ride the Wave of Life


A motto is a short phrase that embraces the essence of one’s beliefs and ideologies. Here are some that stand out for me:

We must become the change we wish to see in the world.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seize the day (Carpe Diem)
- ancient Roman (and Dead Poets Society Robin Williams)

What is your life motto?

According to a Facebook app http://fuzzyking.com/en/  this is my life motto:

 ‘Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.’ 

The surprising part for me is how accurate the life motto actually is for me.  Which makes me very curious about the smarts around data analytics, how much we are showing and sharing of ourselves with social media and how did my life motto actually emerge?

The plethora of data and knowledge that is so easily available is mind blowing.  My 10 year old is accessing information instantaneously about anything and everything.  I observed my daughter messaging her cousin yesterday and she used speech to text recognition technology to expedite her communication.  How much quicker can we get in communicating our thoughts?  Companies like Oculus and Google are continuing to stretch what is possible in communicating and connecting to one another.  It won’t be long until we are communicating telepathically (no need for spell checks).  I am curious about how this immediacy of information will impact our planet, is it making us smarter or lazier?  Will this help us save our planet or destroy it quicker? What does this mean to how we are educating our kids and creating intellectual property?

So if I go back to my life motto – ‘Two things define you: Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything’ let’s go with the flow and ride the wave of speedy knowledge and communication. Be open to it and see where it can take us.

At the lowest times of my life I am patient. I put on the life vest and tread water until the surf changes. When life has been at its highest I pause and am very grateful for what I am experiencing. I throw off the life vest, dive deeply and enjoy the moment and appreciate the present.  Life is like the ocean the waves are glorious and treacherous and the rhythm of life can be exhausting and spectacular – but not at the same time.  I have seen people, teams, organisations ride this wave.  The fortunate ones have the courage to be open and humble the less fortunate drown in the swells and can’t see above the water. 
 

At a recent holiday in Noosa I marveled at the blue, powerful surf.  The surfers of all ages were able to find wave after wave after wave and smoothly glide through the water.  It was beautiful to see how a human being with little effort and ease harness the power of the ocean to create momentum and energy.  In business and in life we need to at times just surrender to the flow of life and take courage to ride the waves and achieve much with less effort.

What is your own life motto? What if you were more conscious of it?  What would that mean for your own wellbeing and success? You need rain and sunshine to make rainbows and in life you need highs and lows to savor life.



12 January, 2016

Imagine a world

Imagine a world where cancer is cured.  Imagine a world where people live in peace and harmony. Imagine a world where love prevails.  Imagine a world where our planet is sustainable.
Imagine a world of dis-ease.  Imagine a world where people live in fear and war. Imagine a world where our planet is unsustainable.
Did you notice how you felt as you read the 2 contrasting views?  Hope versus Fear. Every day we are consciously or unconsciously imagining from a state of hope or fear. Both states can be true if we imagine them.
All magnificent and horrific feats have first been imagined. Our thinking creates our reality.  Please stop the mindlessness.  Please stop all the noise.  Please become mindful of our essence and actions and energy.  Please take responsibility of our own thinking and be kinder to ourselves and to the world.
Michelle Payne imagined as a young girl that she would win the Melbourne Cup. She created history this year.  She dreamed and she achieved.  Martin Luther King's extraordinary - 'I have a dream' speech resonated such hope and emotion and helped change the world.
Please be mindful of our dreams.  When we imagine we visualise ourselves as if we are in the present state experiencing the event, we see ourselves, we see the stage, we see the people around us and we feel the emotion.  When you imagine be conscious of our aspirations and have the courage and conviction to have hope.
I recently travelled through Las Vegas and was reminded of the planet and humankind's extraordinary ability to create.  The Grand Canyon - really, words cannot describe the magnificence of nature.  In the middle of the driest, hottest desert in the world there is the extraordinary, plethora of humankind's imagination - Las Vegas. Las Vegas was an oasis of jaw dropping architecture and experiences.  I am not a gambler and did not gamble.  I was in awe of the Venetian gondolas and the Bellagio's lights, lake and fountains, Wynn's waterfall and opulence, Circus de solei's breathtaking dreamlike shows.
Humankind is extraordinary - we are divine.  Please be mindful and not mindless and lets blanket the planet with hope and wonder.  Together we are extraordinary and it starts with one extraordinary thought at a time.

17 June, 2015

Success - the inside job

Success - the inside job

I came across this quote from Dr Wayne Dyer:
“Success is an inside job.  Being relaxed, at peace with yourself, confident, loose, and free floating – these are the keys to successful performance in almost everything you do.”
When was the last time you felt this good about yourself?  What were you doing, what were you being, who were you with?
This elusive state flitters in and out of my life.  
The more mindful activities I do the more peace I gain. 
Recently I reconnected with an old client and worked on an innovative strategy together.  Initially I felt a little nervous with the re-connection, but I let go and allowed the interchange and creativity to flow and then the magic happened. Release any sabotaging thoughts with peace and trusting yourself is a big part of personal success.  The magical part is, that it is in your control, no one can do this for you.
I coached an amazing lady who everyone else believed in except for herself. Her internal dialogue was consistently non-supportive, critical and cautious to a fault. Becoming aware of her own internal dialogue and choosing to quiet her inner critic and replace it with her inner wise advocate made all the difference to her own perception of success.
Why are so many of us not the Captains of our Soul?  Why are we so focused on external validation, feedback? Why don’t we value ourselves enough to work on ourselves inside-out?
Another quote I came across recently was:
“Be your own best friend.”
This quote screamed out to me. I have for most of my life focused on being friends to others and seeking external friendships above being a friend to myself.  What does being your own best friend mean?  For me it means being kind to yourself, improving yourself, listening and advising yourself, healing yourself, challenging yourself, having fun with yourself, taking care of your mind, body and soul and loving yourself first.  It is liberating being your own best friend, you are always around to listen, and you have your best interests at heart.  You are free from the entanglements and projection of others and you are super comfortable in your own skin.
A couple of tips to work on the inside job:
-Spend time alone
-Reflect your thoughts in a Journal
-Do things that make yourself happy and joyful
-Meditate
-Physical exercise – yoga, dancing, gym whatever exercise you enjoy the most
-Be your own wise advocate
When I first met my husband in 1989 I asked him what he thought was the purpose of life, he replied “to have fun”.  At the time I was too na├»ve to appreciate the wisdom in his view.  Life will continue to be a roller coaster ride but keep perspective and seek out the fun.
“I will live this day as if it is my last.  This day is all I have and these hours are my eternity.  I greet this sunrise with joy as a prisoner who is reprieved from death. I lift mine arms with thanks for this priceless gift of a new day” – Og Mandino
Be your own best friend today and find your peace of mind, today is all we have – make it all you can be.