Saturday, October 26, 2013

So much wisdom can be shared in such few words

I am completely guilty when it comes to being verbose.  Why use 10 words when you can use 100?! I seem to come from a camp where I have learned more is more rather than less is more.  Not just when it comes to words either, I'd like to add.  'nough said! (just to show I can abbreviate with the best of them!)

I do have a love for words, and one of my great career memories was working with a project team where we used to have "word of the day".  Each day a word was presented to the team by one of us and we all had our chance to explain what we thought it meant.  A great brain workout and a great start to the day.  I suppose this goes to explain, in some small way, why I am not a fan of abbreviated language or words.  I am known for using texts with full sentences and have often defended this amongst those that think I'm nuts (many good friends actually!).  I realise that I'm in a minority -  I'm just a bit of an old fashioned communicator, clearly hanging on to old fashioned language values.  I'm happy in my skin with that…for now!. I also feel that misunderstandings can come all too often with abbreviated communication, but let's not get me started on that again. (earlier blog)

On stating the above,  I do also believe that great messages for insight, inspiration and motivation can be brief and extremely powerful. They sort of deliver a sound bite with a punch, if you get my drift.

Here is a great example that I have just come across, and it moved me to write this blog entry.

Here's to powerful brevity, shown here in an example and context of learning and inspiring. This is also a message that I fully subscribe to and hopefully encourage.  Wish I'd written it! Wise words.  I hope you enjoy.  Have a fantastic week.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Banksy Project - Makes Me Smile & Warms My Heart

I love this story. Banksy a very collectible UK artist has been secretly operating in NYC. I heard today, that apparently a Kiwi lady bought one of his pieces from his $60 street stall, with no idea that it is worth thousands. Go Banksy, such a cool, unique and original thing to do.  

Link to Herald Article....

Link to Bankys Website....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Slowing Down & Switching Out!

I felt it was a good time to write this blog while I am chilling out with some quiet “me” time at my beach bach.

I’m good at being on my own.  Are you?  Many people around me often ask if I get bored with my own company and the answer is always the same…a strong resounding NO.  I relish it! The question comes up as I often travel alone and I often choose to hang out on my own.  This might make me sound like some kind of recluse, but I can happily assure you that I am not.

Being a coach I am very involved in others amazing and busy lives and it can sometimes be intense.  I also have an active (sometimes over active) social life and many varied and wonderful interests that keep me busy and active.  I love to be out and amongst it.  Whilst I wouldn’t change any of that for the World, I need to have a life plan that keeps me grounded, positive and creative in my thinking. I am also someone who can switch off, and I take great pleasure in regularly chilling down and being with just me.  I like me, I like my company.  I can happily occupy myself for hours!! 

We live in a World of constant stimulation and with constant demands.  We can suffer from being continually “active” in our heads, even if not in a physical sense.   It can be relentless.  So, to counter this, I take the time to enjoy my own space, regularly.  To re-group, re-plan, slow down and just “be”.

Continual over stimulation, whether it be mental, physical or dietary, creates non-stop demands on our time, energy and resources.  We seem to do things faster and cram more in our days.  We may feel exhausted at the end of the day, yet many of us suffer from bad sleep.  Our diet can also add to the symptoms of being over stimulated, from needing that next coffee/sugar fix, a quick lunch on the run, the pleasure of a “happy hour” glass of wine to reward us for our big day/help us unwind….and so the cycle begins again.

Are you in the cycle of feeling constantly stimulated or rushed?  Could you be a habitual rusher?  Do you feel like you are always on the run, feel like you are racing to catch the next train?!  Do you sometimes ask yourself: “Why I am running around like a lunatic? “ “Am I a lunatic?” “Why am I even doing this?!”  “I know this is not a priority, but…. “

Could some of this rushing around and over stimulation create some sense of purpose and therefore maybe it’s secretly enjoyable?  Done, tick.  Done, tick.  You know the gig.  Do you feel guilty about relaxing?  Do you know how to relax?

Maybe reflect over your past week/month, do my words speak to you?  Even day-to-day tasks such as grocery shopping, collecting the kids from school can start to feel like a major thing to accomplish and therefore add to the rushing/racing feeling.  If you are a habitual rusher, the reduction of stimulation and adrenalin creating activities could be a very good thing to explore.

A simple start would be to practice taking a little time out.  Slow down a little.
I believe it is important to spend some time with yourself regularly, and maybe by doing this we can give ourselves a chance to get some creative thinking and relaxed planning happening.  A time to breathe and take a fresh, calm perspective.  Time to notice the priorities versus the urgencies.  Rediscover what’s important to you. Rediscover “you”. 

Cut out the stimuli for a bit.  Try to break the habit of being constantly stimulated by moving, rushing, doing.  Avoid filling those free gaps with “stuff”.  Learn to enjoy “your time”, it’s precious, just as you are.

It’s about quality rather than quantity, so start with small steps.  Book a half hour/hour appointment with yourself a couple of times a week.   Put the phone on silent .  Use these times to do things you WANT to.  The first sessions could be used working out the things you’d like to do, things that you have lost touch of maybe, your interests, your “thing”. Reconnect to you.  Maybe some time with a book and a cuppa, taking a bath, researching your next holiday, picking flowers, going through your cook books, painting your nails, walking the beach, writing, drawing etc.  The simple things.  You deserve this. 

Being able to be with yourself may help build your confidence and self esteem.  It will show you how resourceful you can be personally, without the need for external approval and support.  Being without constant external stimuli will help you relax.  Choosing some alone time may also help slow down your heart rate, your breathing, and therefore could reduce any anxiety feelings.  And while you’re at it, why not be kind to both your mind and body by cutting down on the dietary stimulants; caffeine, sugar and alchohol (that was tough to type – eek!!).

Who knows, you might become like me, where you relish the thought of a little bit of solitude, to quickly recharge the batteries, to reconnect to your priorities, to design the next cool phase of your life, to reflect on what great things you have around you, or….. just to turn the noise down for a while. Mmmmmmm……….

Good luck, live easy and go well.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Only The Lonely an article by Stephen Fry

This man brings so much joy to many, if only he could feel that joy for himself more often. I could read his writings all day long, a wonderful writer and orator, one of the best. Why is that the most talented are often the most troubled? What a price many of them have to pay. What he writes about loneliness is fascinating and insightful. The World is definitely a much better place with Mr Fry in it and I hope he is in it for a long time yet.

Read his post "Only the Lonely" and I hope some of you find it as insightful as I have.  


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Women See Themselves vs How Others See Them

I coach and have coached a large number of gorgeous, amazing, talented, capable, wonderful Women;  and I'm still amazed how they can often lack confidence in themselves.  If you were to meet them, you would know exactly what I mean.  These Women are smart, beautiful, caring, funny, warm and above all brave and courageous....even if just for hiring me to work with them :)

I am inspired and motivated by them, and as a coach I learn so much from each one, not just for myself but for other clients.  There is a wonderful sharing of ideas that these Women contribute to more than they realise. I often feel like a conduit between them.  By them coming to me and sharing their dreams, their concerns, their fears and their lives, they are indirectly helping each other and often their fears and concerns are exactly the same.  Funny huh?  I think this wonderful and moving video demonstrates this beautifully.  A wonderful experiment with profound results.

How Women See Themselves vs How Others See Them

Girls, ladies,'s to us!

How about sharing this with another beautiful Woman that you know?  Thank you to my beautiful girlfriend Jo who forwarded this link to me in the first place.

Keep playing and laughing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Importance of Play & Rest

I am currently obsessed with the amazing Dr Brene Brown and I’m finding I can not get enough of her books, her youtube clips, and her style of writing and sharing the results of her years of research.  She’s fun, she’s real, she’s incredibly clever and she rocks!

In this blog I am going to share some content of her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”.

Brene Brown talks of Wholehearted Living, which is about engaging our lives from a place of worthiness.  She has come up with 10 guideposts that the wholehearted live to and have in common.  One of these guideposts in particular truly resonates with me as a coach, as it is the guidepost that I believe makes the most difference (and is often not given enough attention to) in the lives of my hard working, ambitious, driven, successful clients.  This is guidepost no 7:

Cultivate Play and Rest and Let Go Of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self Worth.

According to Dr Stuart Brown, (Psychiatrist, Clinical Researcher and founder of the Institute for Play) “Play shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy, helps us navigate complex social groups, and is at the core of creativity and innovation.

The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression.  Work does not work without play”.

What play and rest have you got planned for this weekend?.................

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Brave, Quirky Fashion Still Rocks No Matter What Your Age

An email arrived in my inbox today from our own special Kiwi fashion entrepreneur and extraordinaire, Karen Walker.  Not from her personally of I wish!! I am on the "Karen Walker" mailing list along with all the others that have bought something from this inspired fashion house.

What a treat this email proved to be.  One of those that makes me smile.  And why? Because it features a link to her latest blog article on older women rocking her high fashion, quirky, unique, worn by many famous (including my gorgeous hairdresser) sunglasses.  How much fun is it to see the more mature, lived in, faces of experience modeling these high fashion items instead of the usual stunning, smooth skinned, not yet lived in, faces of youth?  A refreshing change.

Love it, love Karen Walker's style and approach.  She is a wonderful example of an innovative, unique, non conforming, creative individual that helps to rock our World!  I hope you enjoy looking at these ladies and reading all about them, as much as I did.

Happy looking!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Polished Communication Skills – A Long Winded Dinosaur?

Communication defines what I do for a living.  In fact it has always been my living, as before I was a coach I spent many years training and teaching adults in various roles and incarnations.  So I suppose it comes as no surprise that I am pretty “hyper-aware” when it comes to this subject matter.  This awareness causes me to actively watch, wonder and note. Here is some dialogue as a result of that.

Tending to our own gardens:

A great deal of my coaching discussions are involved in how to deal with others.  These others might be a partner/spouse, a work colleague, a boss, a friend or a family member; and from my experience, how we react to others communication, tells us a great deal about ourselves.

It does seem easier sometimes to blame someone else’s communication and style for our feelings. Whereas if we took a closer look at our own style, maybe sometimes, just sometimes, therein lies the answer?  If we took the step (as uncomfortable as it may be) to tend to our own style of communication, then maybe we will get a more pleasing result from others more often.  As we all know we can’t change others, but we can change ourselves.  Nothing is truer when it comes to communication. 

Human Beings are sensitive creatures; we have strong emotional feelings for many good reasons. It is these feelings that help us bond, make good relationships, judge a situation, offer support, be compassionate and the list goes on. Therefore it is good to consider this when we are communicating with another sensitive human being.

I am by no means perfect when it comes to this area. I am certainly always a work in progress as no doubt many of us are.  Not all my best-laid plans have a happy ending, I tell you! I do, however, work on trying to take personal responsibility in the responses that I receive, as I play a very large part in eliciting that response!

Suggested things to consider (where appropriate) when communicating, especially when communicating the tough stuff:  Are we kind, generous, encouraging, objective, on topic, informative, and helpful in our communications?  Could be a good tick box exercise couldn’t it? 

Mod Comms:

At the risk of sounding a gazillion years old (which, depending on who you ask, I am not!)….I have a few observations to share on the subject of texts and emails…if I dare!   How is it that some basic common courtesy around communication tends to be dropped when it comes to using these media? Call me old fashioned, but I am surprised at how often emails are short and abrupt and void of feeling.  How is that message to be received? What is the intention?

I see email as just a faster option to writing a letter and what a great invention it is. And whilst I fully accept that we don’t need to use letter layouts and full punctuation in our emails, surely if something deserves out attention it deserves our full attention and our best honed communication skills, albeit if they are a little pared back. We can still be succinct and to the point (OK not my forte maybe!) using structured sentences, courtesy and encouragement, can’t we?

As for texts…. I sort of get it, but don’t agree with it, that teenagers use text language.  But I was never bought up or taught to use this sort of language and I definitely feel it has little place in any profession or in a grown up relationship/friendship. Please….what is YIP and K?!!! Of course I am being facetious, and probably right now, offending some special people in my life, but I think you get what I am alluding to!  Some messages are cryptic and maybe too short and abrupt  - do they really convey what is trying to be said?  Are we in that much of a hurry that all common courtesy gets dropped along with those complete words?  I understand that most of us feel a quick response is better than a non-response, but would an extra minute of attention eat into our time that much?  Or maybe the endemic “urgency” of response is creating this? I have a feeling that the answer lies here.  Hmmm that’s a whole other blog! Ha!

I would LOVE your thoughts and responses to this (a little contentious) topic.  Feel free to send me an email.  Have I hit any nails? Do you agree with these comments? Am I off beam - an old fashioned Dinosaur myself?  Am I too sensitive – ha?!  I’d love to hear from you. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Uncanny Instinct & Mistimed Tackles!

The title of this post are words that Danny Boyle used to describe Tessa Ross at a special achievement award at the UK BAFTAs this weekend.

I had never heard of her, this lady, who is a powerhouse at Film 4 (Channel 4) and when you listen to her and Danny's speeches you will understand why, maybe.  A quiet genius.  Once I heard these speeches I certainly wanted to know more about her.  She is an award winning UK film executive and the controller of Film and Drama at Channel 4 and Film 4. She is also a director of the Royal National Theatre and a Governor of The National Film and Television School.  She is a natural talent spotter.  What an inspiring lady.  I am sure you will agree.

What comes across to me when watching the BAFTAs (whilst puffing up my patriotic chest) is the non Hollywood style of humour, compassion and emotion that shines from these talented artists that entertain and inform us.  Being British I feel proud of the BAFTAs and it always provides me with a wonderful sense of celebration mixed with so much fun and revelry. I enjoy every minute of watching Stephen Fry as the host.  Another talented, generous, warm and funny creative.  However, Tessa's speech was indeed my highlight, and my reward for myskying the BAFTAs! What I would do to attend one of the after parties, can you imagine the atmosphere?

I recommend you watch the video of Danny Boyle's introduction to Tessa first and then watch her speech.  Sadly I can't find a link to the montage of her work that Danny showed during his speech, as that helps to set the scene and better explain the talents of this Woman. She has been involved in so many quirky, funny productions including Slum Dog Millionaire and Seven Psychopaths, which I saw just recently and it made me laugh out loud so much. Love her style.

The last link is the text copy of her speech which has been put up on Channel 4's blog as they received such a positive overwhelming response to her appearance and presentation.  Love her work!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Made Me Smile :)

I loved this photo when I saw it.  A wonderful example of going that extra mile to bring happiness into an everyday service.

They are window cleaners dressed as super heroes on the side of a Childrens Hospital in Pittsburg. I googled the event and it made me smile even more.

Good on those guys.  Here is the article:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Our Living & Working Environments

How important is the environment we live in or work in?

I was recently asked to write an article for the NZ Herald Online discussing my personal and my professional thoughts on working from home.  I was very happy to have the opportunity to jump on my soapbox and wax lyrical about this topic! I believe that our living and working environment are areas that often are not given enough attention when addressing personal and professional happiness, and therefore, success.

One of the questions I often ask my clients is, “are they happy with their living environment?” It still surprises me how common it is to not have given it much thought.  The environment then frequently becomes one of the goal areas that we work on together, and it is a popular goal.  Does your home feel welcoming? Does it show your personality? Does it lift your spirits? Do you have things around you that you love? 

Our environment should support us in being us, should reflect our personalities, be a place that we choose to be in, be a place we feel proud to have people visit, even if it is just a studio/bedsit.

In the case of the working area, this is often seen as an environment that is designed around a practical need.  A place to get the job at hand done; and in some respect that’s fair enough.  However, if you have some influence in how your workspace looks and feels (especially those of you that work from home), then influence you should.  Does it have good natural light?  Does it inspire you to get your work done? Is it conducive to your type of work? Could it be better? Do you have the tools/resources around you that you need?

So take a look around you, have a think about your own personal environments.  Do you they support you in being fabulous?  If not, what can you do to change this?  For those of you on a budget, this doesn’t mean a big spend up, it could be something as simple as moving a lamp, putting up a poster, adding a candle, or putting your favourite books out on display.

I would love to hear from any of you that made a change after reading this.  What did you change and what effect did it have?

Read the NZ Hearld article