Work comes first – always

How many of you leaders and business owners have kids? Small or leaving home or adults. The age doesn’t matter, it impacts us. It impacts our businesses. And so it should! As we dare coming to work as humans, as all who we are, it IS part of how well we perform and the level of results we get. Family life gets in the way – or IS it maybe the way? For pushing all our buttons, exposing out sore spots and as we dare to deal with it, we become better human beings, better leaders, better business owners. I’m NOT saying all you leaders without kids aren’t amazing. I’m just appreciating that those of us with kids have an extra challenge – and an extra practice field to learn from. With the recent holiday season, I thought it pertinent to share these thoughts as we all push back into the routines again. Because it hurts realising that our work always comes first. Because that’s what happens – even if we say the opposite. “I’ll just take this call”. “I just need to check a few emails”. “I’m just on a webinar (as you leave the dinner table)”. Do you … More Work comes first – always »

I love myself… you what??

It’s ironic how we think and tell each other that we should serve others before we tend to our own needs. That we’re selfish if we follow our own needs. Isn’t it ironic? Isn’t that other person wanting you to tend to their needs first the one who’s being selfish here? I love myself. I like how I apply myself, take responsibility for my happiness and energy. And that’s provoking to some people. Because often it feels safer hiding or pleasing others or blaming everyone else and wanting them to make us happy/motivated/fill-in-the-blanks. Other people’s light can inspire us. But our light comes from within. So, I want you to follow yourself. Only YOU know what makes you feel good. What makes you able to be the best version of you. And that’s not being selfish. That’s your job! Accept yourself and be OK with yourself first, the good, the bad and the ugly. Then you can start accepting others like they are, too. Be kind to yourself. Be true to yourself. Follow yourself. Don’t hurt others doing it, don’t bring them down to get you up, come from a place of kindness. Towards yourself and others. Healthy selfishness opens … More I love myself… you what?? »

Keep screwing…

How annoying is it when you try doing something and you can’t figure it out? When you keep attempting but it’s not happening? When you spend excruciating amounts of time on something that should be simple? I believe we all recall the frustrating seconds, minutes, days or years of feeling we’re wasting time – that there is a better way. It could be a system or process at work that’s driving you bananas – or it could be a new task or challenge that you can’t find a good way of solving. Now recall the bliss when you nail it. When you find a way. Suddenly it flows, it’s working, it’s easy. Aaaaah… Screwing eight screws into a fickle bolt with limited and obstructed access got me to a level of frustration this weekend that I haven’t experienced in years! The fact that I was so slow and even worse than that: that I couldn’t get a system or process going to pick up the speed, or to create a learning curve. It made me realise that we all have a different definition of “wasting time”. And that it sometimes is wonderful to “waste time”, “shoot the breeze”, “take your … More Keep screwing… »

Let’s promote making mistakes!

I’ve heard it many times, said YES to it many times in training rooms. But these last months I’ve finally DONE it. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re playing too small. Well, I have been playing too small and too safe all of my life then. This message really resonated when I shared it on the Business Rebels page earlier this year, so this is to make sure to share it with all of you. Have I had no failures? Well, lots of things I could have done differently as I look back. But I wouldn’t call them failures or mistakes. They made me who I am today. But because of a prior perfectionism and wanting to always get it right (… anyone resonating…??), I always worked very hard, was extremely diligent with doing what I promised, making sure to think through, plan and follow up dedicatedly to not leave ANY potential leaks in the boat. These are skills and a standard I’m very proud of. And my clients get great value and certainty from it too. “In some industries, you CAN’T make mistakes”, you may argue. Well, in every job you know exactly which parts you have to get … More Let’s promote making mistakes! »

Promoting round corners

A culture’s design says a lot about that culture’s mindset. One example from the Scandinavian design tradition you may not be aware of is the absence of corners in Piet Hein’s super elliptical table. The design without sharply defined corners enables everyone to seamlessly sit next to each other around the table, with a less pointed-out difference of “who’s at the end of the table”. Being neither round nor rectangular changes the dynamics. And while we’re on the subject of seating, have you noticed the difference when talking to people sitting opposite you compared to sitting shoulder by shoulder on a bench or while walking or driving – talking and heading in the same direction? Brene Brown in her book Dare to lead talks about the position at the table when you have conversations: preferring not to sit across from the other person, but instead sitting next to each other. You will notice how it changes the interaction – looking in the same direction, shoulder to shoulder, being united in whatever needs to happen – compared to being on opposite sides facing each other, like a tug-of-war. It may be my Danish blood, because when I’m with clients or prospects, … More Promoting round corners »

This way please

Imagine if life was that easy: always a sign in front of you telling you whether to go left or right. There was an event going on in our local bush this morning, and it made me realise how easy life would be if we had helpers who had put up signs beforehand, showing us how to stay on the right track. The “NO, wrong way” red sign and the GREEN ARROW showing you to turn right here. And pink strips placed with frequency to show you that you’re on the right track – and when you meet obstacles, they help you to know to just keep going. It’s all good. Wouldn’t it be easier if life was like that, too? No need to think. No need to weigh up the options and having to make a decision. Follow the yellow brick road… or the pink strips in this case. Yes, it would be easier. And that may feel good for a bit. But then again, when the path is trotted in front of you, it’s the path of others – and it may not be your path. I’ll accept the uncertainty of not always knowing. Of still putting in … More This way please »

Doing What Others Can’t or Won’t Do

Have you heard the saying: you don’t earn a lot if you do what everybody could or would do. You can earn a lot if you do what NOT a lot of others could or would do. This applies in business and in all other types of work. So, if you would like to be more valuable in your field, how can you stand out doing what others could or would not do? I’m always in awe of people being great at what they do and loving doing it. Whether that’s the ear-nose-throat specialist, the teacher or the arborist. A while ago I was fascinated by watching the tree surgeon cutting back dead branches on the neighbour’s 15-20m high gum tree. This arborist was swinging from branch to branch way up high. Most people get sweaty palms just watching it. It takes skill, and not a lot of others would or could do it.  He was climbing up to the very top, swinging like a monkey from branch to branch, fully trusting the rope securing him, his own knowledge and awareness of which branches to trust and which not, always knowing what to do next. People sometimes get jealous when … More Doing What Others Can’t or Won’t Do »

Catching the Spider Webs?

Remember those early morning walks or runs where you unassumedly get a spider web across your face? That’s what can happen when you are the first to walk the path. Last morning in the bush, I had a group of women taking off at the same time as me, but as they were walking, I got to the water at the bottom of the track first. As I was zen-ing at the water, they caught up and with a smile told me that I had missed a spider web, a web I should have cleared. They thought they were safe with me in front of them, probably didn’t look out for them – and this one they caught, head first. It’s a great metaphor: how we catch spider webs for those who follow in our footsteps. That morning my limited height (160 cm on a good day) came in handy – or maybe it was the one where I ducked to let the spider keep its well-earned beautiful work. So, that web they had to take. Where are you trotting new paths? There will be spider webs that get in your face. You can hold up a stick, but some … More Catching the Spider Webs? »

What is your “thank you” language?

Have you read “The 5 love languages”? It’s brilliant. So many of my business clients have (re-)read and appreciated learning these 5 simple languages. Because, we can’t be successful in our businesses and with our teams sustainably, if we’re not happy, if our home life is not improving, too. And the love languages are so much more than about love. It’s about how we help each other feel seen, feel enough, feel valued. Whether it’s in a relationship, between friends or at work. So, here’s the short version: most of us run on empty tanks. Empty love tanks. Not feeling seen, heard, loved. Even if we have lots of good people around us, we don’t feel truly valued. The thing is, our love tanks fill up differently. So, even if we try showing each other that we care and appreciate each other, often it’s like speaking French to a Chinese. The message doesn’t get through. Just get the book or listen on audible. It’s a simple concept – the challenge comes when learning and applying the new language, that of your partner, child or friend. Practising works, like always. For now, let’s just use the example of how you say, … More What is your “thank you” language? »

Process is not a dirty word

Buying Christmas presents today, I was reminded of the power of processes. Agreed steps of action and set expectations. So many of us get nauseous around words like processes, systems, routines or standards. We believe that our personal freedom and expression craves impulsiveness and “winging it”. The power is in the combination. So, if you’re feeling the resistance in you right now, if the above words are dirty words to you, please lean in and look forward to the ride. Bringing things into a system HELPS us focus our time and energy on the creativity and expression – because we’re not constantly busy cleaning up the mess, running around confused or fighting fires because no-one knew who should have done what and when. What many of us is holding onto as “creative freedom”, is really creating a waste of our time. Reinventing the wheel for basic things that do not need reinventing. Wasting our time figuring out the best way, for something that’s been done many, many times by others. Keep the basics predictable and reliable. Introduce routines, discipline and standards for the backbone of the experience you offer. Whether you’re a one-man-band or a big organisation. Back to my … More Process is not a dirty word »