The people we meet…

I meet many different combinations of people on my weekend jog in the bush. Fascinating to observe them: the running clubs pacing through, the parents taking their kids on a little adventure, mid-life men catching up (meaning one of them talking about how amazing he is at work, the others barely adding a word).

And then the best team I’ve met recently: two young boys. Clearly friends. Very different in nature, but having each other’s backs. Sharing, asking, taking turn in taking lead, truly enjoying each other’s company – but being much too young to really realise it, simply having a good time.

Years ago, we travelled NZ in a campervan, and our back then young girls had some trouble with friendships. Sitting talking in the back of the campervan, I remember drawing my “friendship ancestry tree” to my kids. While mapping it out, realising the close friends I’ve had through my life. Some were there for a period of time, we enjoyed each other’s company, stretched each other and made it all feel safe. Like the two boys in the bush.

Sometimes you moved on in life. Painful if one was ready to move before the other – and a painful clash that I couldn’t even remember the root cause of. Some of us simply moved to different places, and the contact ebbed out. But meeting again decades later, we could still pick up the conversation as if it never stopped, because we shared so much and had something in common, like the two boys in the bush.

Some friends were new. Popping up randomly, and hitting a sweet spot that simply had to be explored. And as the friendship lines evolved on the piece of paper, it was fascinating to see how the match in values, energy level, interest or view on life became more profound. Whereas the early childhood friendships may simply have been based on the fact that you lived next door.

Sharing this story with our daughters, in the back of the campervan, hopefully gave them some sense of it being OK. That friendships change over time. Some hurt, some last – and some are easy, like the friendship of the two boys in the bush.

Which friendships will you cherish this week?!!

ME… needing to grow??

Are you a leader? In a business, of a team – at work, at home or through tribes? Your business, teams and tribes deserve to flourish and grow. And the only way they grow, is if YOU grow!

But so often there are things holding us back: the narratives we tell ourselves, the things our parents didn’t teach us, the way we (mis-)communicate with others to name a few. And based on all of these (very valid) excuses, we start meeting everybody else’s needs and stop growing as ourselves. Hear-hear??

It’s time to start enjoying being you, to start taking off the hats everybody else has given you – to become YOU again. Because you’re reading this, we know that the success of your tribe or business highly depends on you, that you are a key driver. So, for you, for them: say yes to you?!

We start our next Good Hearts United group in December. A monthly “online book club” for personal development, this time inviting business owners, team- and tribe leaders. So, is your Good Heart ready to join us? To create not only success for you, but for those around you? To your success!

Work places: why so serious???

How come, if you are a serious, important work place, you all need to sit in boring, serious offices and dress as if your only asset of credibility was your suit?? Have a look around, the world has changed!

You’ve probably seen or heard about ‘The internship’ movie featuring Google – why should only Google be a fun place to be, play, learn, work and explore? Imagine your lawyers, accountants or insurance companies with people dressed in colourful, diverse, personal style, sitting on exercise balls and taking the slide to next floor – why not?

When I started in corporate 20 years ago, I went from ‘Uni Uniform’ of jeans and a sweatshirt to buy long skirts, jackets and silk scarfs (??!! Yes, I did!! Horrendous to think of, but that’s what we did back then). My male colleagues wore suits and ties. Day in, day out. Luckily two decades later, it is much more casual, and my jackets have gone to recycling ages ago.

But what if we pushed it further? Last week I heard of an online company that banned suits to enter their offices (and yes, they do have a slide..). Can you think of any entrepreneur starting up an exciting new venture renting a unit in a boring office block and ordering a big phone and IT system? No, they would manage all invoices and messaging from their phone (at the beach or a nearby café) and be wearing clothes expressing who they are. Let’s start role modelling that for your work place, no matter how big. How can you help unleash the entrepreneur in us all? Who decides what you as a teacher, lawyer, accountant, hairdresser or secretary should wear?

So, what about we start bringing ALL of ourselves to work? It is us and our way of thinking and creating solutions that the work places want. If it was standard right/wrong black/white deliverables they expected, we would have been swapped for computers and robots long ago. So, what about we turn up even more OURSELVES? And start livening up the work places. It doesn’t need to be for newly built offices in fancy locations only, we can add spunk and new wine to the old bottles, wherever we are based, can’t we? Have fun expressing more of you!

Let’s HYGGE.. [hoo-ga] [hue-gah]?!

I’ve just come back from Denmark. Or the Country of Candles. And it’s not even dark all the time, as you may think if watching ‘Borgen’, ‘The Killing’ and so on. Well, candles bring HYGGE. That feeling of hominess, caring, enjoying the moment with close ones (most often accompanied by cake and coffee…).

Did you know Danes burn more than 6 kg candles a year? That’s twice as much as the runner-up. And that 28% of Danes light candles EVERY day? Source: The Happiness Research Institute, Copenhagen (yep… it exists?!!).

A mentor of mine once told how he and his wife have candle light dinners EVERY night. Because well, it only takes lighting a candle on the table.

And as I stayed with a girlfriend I hadn’t seen for 30 years, she started the morning by lighting a candle in our rooms. How is that for feeling welcome and appreciated – me and each family member, enjoying this every morning?

So instead of reading the full book about HYGGE, what about you skip straight to lighting a candle tonight for dinner? If you feel on a roll, bring out a board game as well…?!!

Hygge is a about creating happy, calm and safe pockets for us all – alone and with others. Wonder whether that in any way would be linked to overall life satisfaction? Well, whether it is or it isn’t, let’s hygge – starting with lighting a candle tonight.

Step away….. I say: step AWAY!!

How come we believe we know best? That things will be quicker/better/more efficient if WE do it all? Step away….. I say: step away.

Airport. Smart Gates. Mother (with the best of intentions for the kids, herself and the greater good?!) running a military drill of pushing one passport at a time through the slot, ushering one kid at a time through. I forgot to see if she also did it for her husband, which still bugs me..

That’s over-functioning. We all do it. Taking away the opportunity for someone else to do it THEIR way. It may have been the BEST part of the trip for those kids, sliding the passport into the machine themselves, stepping onto the marked feet on the floor. Not rocket science. No commands needed. Empowerment, really. They would have figured it out by watching the ones in front of them in the queue. Like they’ve learned everything else. Not from what others say, but what people around them DO.

So where are YOU over-functioning? With staff, kids, partner, parents, friends, pets, gardening, housework….. Which commands and controls are retirement worthy?

Step away…… I say: step away. Happy stepping.


Beauty and the Beast – which one to choose??

The story is simple. Love conquers all and looks behind the mask. So many other stories and movies tell stories like this, how come this one smashed opening records earlier this year?

I believe Belle’s unshakeable belief in the good and her honest love, from the heart, no games, is what we all hunger for. Along the way the two of them realise the interests they have in common. And Beast’s anger and selfishness: we wouldn’t stay around for long, but she sees something more – and he feels the change coming within him.

Most of all, it allows us to feel the BIG feelings. True love. Fear. Courage. Big emotions that we don’t allow ourselves that often. And that our mundane everyday life doesn’t require.

So are you choosing Beauty or the Beast this week? Are you going to chase your dreams, big or small, or is it time to face your fears and allow some of the inner demons a moment in the sun? The two go well together.


On a bench in a park. Under a tree in your garden. Feet deep in the sand on the beach. Wherever you choose.  To lower your heart rate, to tune into the frequency of the bench, the tree, the ground.

Letting go of the past just for a minute.  Leaving the future ashore for a bit. Pressing pause on the play list of things to do. Letting the now seep in. Listening to the birds. A dog barking. The wind in the trees. Being.