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 »

Dare to lead – or barely leading?

Leadership is for the brave-hearted. Who hasn’t felt the deflating sense of defeat, as you get the employee survey results back – or some specific disheartening feedback from an exit interview from a team member? Despite all the great efforts and support you give. Again and again. Brene Brown says it clearly in her latest book, Dare to Lead, and if you haven’t read it, do it! Courage is a skill that you can learn. And it doesn’t appear by hiding, it grows through appointment: being the leader, putting ourselves out there, standing our ground, empowering the troops, letting go of the ego and continuing to lead with our vision, our strategy, our being. For most of us, it’s not a hat you take on and off. Most often, we find the same people putting their hand up, stepping up, having the difficult conversations across all areas of life: in their business, in their community, with neighbours, with their kids, their partner and their friends. As we get to the end of the year, some of the leaders out there are feeling the pain. The energy nearly not lasting the last weeks. Barely not coping with needing to have another … More Dare to lead – or barely leading? »

Follow yourself

So many things to do. So many people to do things for. So many books to read, podcasts to listen to. We get lost in the “world out there”, all the external things we want and do and must keep up with. What if I said that the biggest journey to be had is the internal one? Of following yourself. Of finding back to that inner compass – in case you’ve lost track. As leaders, business owners and influencers of the communities we’re part of, it’s easy to get so focused on the task at hand that we lose track of ourselves for a moment. To be there for ourselves, to accept ALL that we are – including all the stuff we’re not proud of, the traits we want to hide, the quirks so different to those of everybody else. Shame loves shadows. The things we’re embarrassed about, hiding it makes it grow, hiding it makes it spiral. We are strong as leaders when we have nothing to hide. When we can accept others for what they are – not letting their ways push our buttons. So, what about making it an inner journey? To (re)find that path that supports … More Follow yourself »

Me… butthurt?!? The 4 steps to owning your own stuff.

What’s the worst version of yourself? The moments you’re not proud of, the ones not shared on social media. Is it when you’re bitter, angry, sad, lonely or maybe like me, butthurt? We tend to have a version of ourselves that we present to others. And then we have the other side. The parts of ourselves that we have shame or embarrassment around, because they are not as attractive for others, based on our conclusions from life so far. The trick to emotional intimacy is, like for all other things, practice. Why would we want to practice it? To accept that all emotions are good signals for us – they don’t need to be sorted into a list of good and bad emotions. And they don’t need to be shared with others as we practice. Learning the piano, we do have a go ourselves and the piano for a bit, before we take it to the concert hall, right? As we get more aware of all of our emotions and allow them to show, they don’t scare us anymore – whether coming from ourselves or others. Let’s get clear: getting intimate with our emotions is not about wallowing in them, … More Me… butthurt?!? The 4 steps to owning your own stuff. »

Can Good Hearts create results?

I’ve never commented on politics – I have my views, but have seldom seen constructive outcomes from different sides discussing. But I’m so curious about this, and would love to hear your views: Obama was cherished by the global community at large, but seen by many Americans to not have created the results for their country that they wanted. I know there are always many reasons, but let’s not talk about the small stuff. As Eleanor Roosevelt said: great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, and small minds talk about people. So, let’s not talk about (or judge?) people, but share a conversation around the idea: Do you create as many tangible results with a good heart and empowering ways? Or are our countries and economies and minds still wired to reacting with better results to a more single-minded, directing way? Because there you have Trump, and even if personally I am not aligned at all with his ways, I am always curious to understand both sides. And I do hear how he is creating results for his country. So please don’t comment on him as a person, instead, ponder about which part of his ways are … More Can Good Hearts create results? »