Let the sunshine in?

From Hair the musical you may recall the chorus: let the sunshine, let the sunshine in, the sunshine in. How often do we focus on the squeaky wheel in the team instead? Spending most of our time fixing the issues created by them directly or inadvertently? Or focusing on the sales gaps instead of the opportunities to create even more value. It makes us tired, we risk losing our momentum and passion by the mundane, repetitive focus on mistakes and correction. What if we instead let the sunshine in? Focused on the strengths and the stars of the team? The new client opportunities? Going for the greatness leading into that chorus: life is around you and in you. Don’t run away or hide from the issues. Deal with all issues with decisiveness and minimum time and effort spent. To allow time and focus for the sunshine. Somewhere, inside something, there is a rush of greatness. The reason you love doing what you do. Bring the focus to what matters most – and create a place of drive and sunshine. Let’s be the hippie counterculture and create great results and great teams through letting the sunshine in.

An Ode to Curly Hair

Nearly 11 years in Australia has made me curious. About the millions of women with lovely, curly hair who every morning spend ages straightening it. Are you one of them? I would love to hear what makes you do it. Why you prefer it like that. Is it for you or for others? I’m aware that the humidity doesn’t go well with curls, you easily end up looking like a haystack after a storm. But is that enough to hide it away every day? I’m on the urge to start a rally to free curly hair. Let it be, let it bounce our lives. But again, I may be the only one having that thought. I know I’m not normal. In so many ways. But what is normal anyway? I have always liked my curly hair. I have only every straightened it twice (and a half… regretted half-way through between sound check and a concert, as not any of my friends were greeting me and it felt really lonely not getting any of the usual smiles when our eyes met from a distance. They simply didn’t recognise me). Well, I like my curls. They take attention away from my big … More An Ode to Curly Hair »

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? »

Curiosity as my secret sauce

Yesterday morning I discovered curiosity as my secret sauce. Curiosity as a go-to-state. When I put on my curious glasses I can’t be grumpy, or disappointed or judgmental at the same time. Not at myself, not at others either. Maybe that has always been my secret sauce, my super power? I loved school and learning, was it really because it triggered my curiosity? The kind of subjects I’ve studied that logically should never have been able to excite me – but then a teacher (Karen, Kit: macroeconomics!) or a fellow student or something else got me curious. Sometimes maybe even the fact that it was so far from my current sphere that it had to be explored. When first my curiosity was triggered, there was no stopping me. With our daughter currently travelling London, another example came to mind: becoming au pair in London when I had only ever babysat once (with poor results) and generally had no interest in or experience with small kids. But this amazing mother inspired me, she had a marketing background, had run her own Cafe, cheeky and fun, and I became SO curious about these two little boys, these fascinating human beings, how different … More Curiosity as my secret sauce »

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? »

I’m grumpy!! Let me have it!

Positivity is overrated. If you’ve lost a sports game the politically correct “it’s ok, we did our best” can be super annoying. If you really feel you didn’t play well, that comment is not helpful. It’s NOT OK: I’m grumpy, angry, upset – let me HAVE it! The positive psychology movement through the last decades meant well but made it WRONG to have BAD feelings, and GOOD to have POSITIVE feelings. A deeper understanding of ourselves and others – and personal growth – starts from appreciating ALL emotions. There is no good or bad emotion, they are all signs and reactions to something stirring us inside – and we should listen and take it on board. This goes for sports. For relationships. For teams. Bottling up our “bad” emotions makes it worse – and resentment sets in. Can you please let yourself and others call it what it is – let them have their moment, don’t take it personally. This has been the biggest stretch and learning for me in the last year, I’ve truly come from a “the sun is shining – and if it’s not it’s right there behind the clouds” philosophy. I’m happy and proud about it … More I’m grumpy!! Let me have it! »

One foot on the brake?

Are you having one foot on the accelerator and the other one on the brake? We have this Gran Tourismo game that was great entertainment for our visitors and ourselves this Christmas. The thing is, you can easily have one foot on the accelerator and at the same time be braking with the other. It reminded me of how a lot of us live our lives. Moving forward, going for it BUT at the same time we have the other foot on the brake: what if…., I can’t…. All the fears going at the same time as we’re trying to let ourselves get progress. There is a brilliant quote about success being our goals minus our fears, and that’s exactly it: with a foot on the brake at the same time as the other one trying to accelerate, we won’t get very far. So, have a go at living your life NOT as if it was a Gran Tourismo pedal, but as if it’s a manual car, where you put your foot on the accelerator and ENJOY the ride. And then, now and then, move your foot to the brake. Stop for a bit, take account of the direction, check … More One foot on the brake? »

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. »

A trusting matter?

Big words: vulnerability, compassion and trust. But as you know, how we do the small things is how we do everything. So, let’s bring the big words into the small things in everyday life and leadership. It’s worth doing a self-study of how much you trust others – which means, how much you trust yourself. The Scandinavian countries are at the top of the list with 68% of the population trusting others – with most other countries being in the 30s or even lower (from Stephen Covey, The Speed of Trust). This high level of trust impacts the quality of relationships and to many people’s surprise also the tangible results of speed and cost: the more trust there is present in a relationship, a team, an organisation or a country, the faster we are able to get things done – with the least trouble and costs, financially and emotionally. So, where are you on the scale of trusting others? Which eventually comes back to trusting yourself. Do you trust yourself enough to share vulnerability and compassion – and trust others to receive it? Do you trust yourself and others enough to delegate and follow up with clear expectations? And in … More A trusting matter? »