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