One step up the feeling-good ladder

You know what it feels like when you have a shitty day. And you so wish it would get better, but most often you’re waiting for something outside of you to shift. Don’t. Wherever you are on the feeling-shit to feeling-awesome ladder right now, YOU are the one in control of shifting it. And here’s the thing: don’t be unrealistic by wanting shit to become shine in a second – take one step at a time. That’s also why it can be annoying with a well-meaning friend on a much more positive radio channel wanting you to ‘think positive’. Just because they are able to reach that frequency right now doesn’t mean you can reach it – this is where the positive psychology movement can be misunderstood. Take the step that’s available to YOU right now – and it will make a difference. Here are the simple steps: 1) Reach for the best-feeling thought you can come up with right now. This will switch the radio channel you’re currently listening to one step up. 2) Notice the shift and relief as you allow a better-feeling-thought and let go of what you were feeling just a moment ago. 3) Do this … More One step up the feeling-good ladder »

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?? »

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? »