I’m so over it

Watching myself on a screen. Not since my teen years have I been looking that much at myself. Any of you out there who’ve “had enough of yourself”?? The activities that used to include face-to-face contact – choir, business meetings and networking, soccer matches and team training – were mainly me looking at other people. And not even watching as such, more being present while being aware of others around you. Aware of my physical presence but the focus was on the others! Can you image a soccer match or a choir rehearsal where you sat looking someone in the eye for the whole time? And simultaneously kept staring at your own reflection? Not really. Yet, our reality the last months has meant gallery view reality. Looking at boxes of people, observing them present or tuned out, glancing across gallery windows acknowledging all, making all feel included, being aware of everyone including constantly keeping an eye on my own presence and presentation. One day I realised that I was over it. Done looking at myself, being so aware of my gallery box. As a teenager, the mirror was the constant confidant, checking out my nose, my legs, everything. And before … More I’m so over it »

Fresh air or social contact?

Water. Fresh air. Electricity. Social contact. We’ve had quite some challenges during the last half-year. Which restrictions challenged me the most? Some pretty strong contenders right there. And to be honest: even if I miss you all terribly, the lack of fresh air during the months of the bush fires comes out as number one. Then electricity comes second – because even if I love simple living, even a short week without it in our neighbourhood this summer was a challenge. And all of us working from home currently across the globe wouldn’t be feasible either without electricity. Isn’t it classic how we only realise how much we value something when it’s gone or not accessible? Until then, we take it for granted. Therefore, I’m embracing two thoughts: 1) gratitude for ALL I have in my life, natural, emotional and man-made conveniences and treasures and 2) a renewed focus on efficiency in our businesses and lives – based on the definition of getting the results we want in the smartest possible way and with the LEAST use of resources. How can you apply that to your business and life? Acceptance and gratitude for what we have – and being efficient … More Fresh air or social contact? »

What would you bring on a deserted island??!!

The good old question which the whole world is living right now. We just didn’t know to plan for it and – like in the real deserted island scenario – we’re therefore left with whatever we had on hand when the ship hit the ground. The harsh reality hits: you may not enjoy the company of the family members or the flatmates you are stuck with currently. You may not even like your own company for such an extended period of time!? You may be fed up with your dwelling or the surroundings of your home. You may not be satisfied with the activities at hand. Or you may be really grateful and content! With how your deserted island is looking right now. There is a lot of deep appreciation happening currently – with the partners you love and live with, with your kids and how they tackle the situation, with the kindness and generosity of your neighbours and community even from afar. Our situations right now – for better or for worse – is a snapshot in time. It’s the current, busy lives we were each living being frozen in time. Repeated. Like in a movie or in a … More What would you bring on a deserted island??!! »

Shine that torch!

In times of crisis, we get the opportunity to step up. To focus on the most important things, to share overview and direction, to be even calmer and to support others in doing the same. The opposite is initiating, fuelling or being part of creating confusion, story, more worry or drama. Around the world, we have the chance to evaluate ourselves and our businesses in this light at the moment. The point is not that there IS a global event happening. The point is how we tackle it the best way possible, not only caring for ourselves but for those around us and where we can, help to impact others to lead themselves and others even more resourcefully. We all have a certain ‘setting’, a certain balance of certainty vs variety that we prefer. There is no right or wrong, some people are thrill-seekers and others prefer predictability. No matter your usual setting, there is probably a bit more uncertainty at the moment than what you prefer. Therefore, the best we can do for each other, our teams and our businesses is to give certainty. Make clear decisions and deliver clear communication. Accept the things we can’t do or change … More Shine that torch! »

Not another system?!

Who here has been trained in time management systems and – after weeks of implementation (and good intentions) – decided to go back to the basic systems you used before? This week in workshops and client conversations it’s been a theme that the best results often don’t come from big systems, but instead from applying one or two key principles to how we approach tasks and time. My favourite combination is this: What’s the outcome? Use 20-minute time pockets to deliver The first will become a welcomed habit: before any call, meeting or task, ask yourself which outcome you would like. Jumping heedlessly into your email inbox vs deciding the outcome of the next 20 minutes of email focus means everything for your productivity. The same goes for conversations. Many different schools of thought, like the Pomodoro method, use this second principle because it’s hard to keep focus and concentration for longer than 20 minutes at a time. Therefore, we help our wellbeing and efficiency by planning for windows of time with specific outcomes – and enjoy a stretch, a glance out the window or a tea before you dive dedicatedly into the next window of time. Would you like … More Not another system?! »

Close your eyes to smell…??!!

Aren’t our senses amazing? A quick question for you: which of YOUR senses do you use/rely on the most?? We’re looking forward to your replies below – one word can do it – thanks for sharing! The backstory for those of you with a bit more time: this week on my morning jog I enjoyed the smell of jasmine, freshly cut grass – and the bins ready to be emptied?! It took me back to years ago in my corporate career where I was so fully in my masculine, focused on delivering and driven by the need for control that I had shut down all my senses – except for the visual one. My sharp eyes (well, mainly because of laser surgery a few years ago😀), my big vision focus, the branding trained eyes, working with big picture strategy mixed with spotting a missing detail in a plan – I think you get the drift: visual was my main sense to rely on. I worked in a beautiful world of coffee and tea, and at the tasting sessions with our Master Roaster, I originally had to close my eyes (shut down that dominant sense of mine) to practise and dial-up … More Close your eyes to smell…??!! »

Do you trust your team?

We just did a gig with our choir and more than 30 of us went out for breakfast together afterwards. Do you recall these moments of eating out with a big group and getting the bill? Depending on what your thoughts were just now as I asked the question, that’s the level of trust you have in those groups you’ve been in. For some, the first thought would have been: oh yes, here we go, there’s always an amount missing and the ones left to count up end up paying the gap. OR you think: yes, isn’t it nice being with people where you KNOW there will always be enough, everyone would have paid their part and those able to have added a bit to cover any unforeseen miscalculations and make sure there’s enough for tips. The last version is true for this group: lots of people stayed around to check that it’s all good, everyone expects it will be fine and of course it was – with plenty of tips to the great team of waiters. Think of your current team. Would you be expecting to be the one covering the gap? Do you immediately think of specific people … More Do you trust your team? »

Full of yourself?

There are people so full of themselves that you can’t stand watching. And then there are people being so much themselves that you can’t STOP watching. The current horrendous situation with the bushfires in Australia is gut-wrenching. The fires have been continuing for months and will only cease when we get plenty of rain, and the losses for people, livelihoods and nature are devastating. In the midst of this, one example from the last days gives me hope for the changes we can make going forward and the power of visibility and numbers. It’s an example of how being visible can make a massive difference when you use it for the greater good. You may have heard of the Australian comedian, Celeste Barber. Our daughters introduced me to her on Instagram years ago, and she has since gathered 6 Mio followers globally by sharing and contrasting the glossy, perfect model image with her exposing her own normal, not-perfect body and being in non-flattering ways. Using humour to tackle the difficult stuff. That in itself is hilarious and she is a great voice for us all. As her parents-in-law are in one of the areas at great risk and with lots … More Full of yourself? »

Every rose….

You may recall the song line: Every rose has its thorns…. Well, well, recently I saw with my own eyes how some cacti have flowers, too. It reminded me how – no matter the first impressions – there is always more to ourselves and others. As you go into all the family and friend gatherings this time of year – why not try looking for the NOT so obvious in yourself and others? Have conversations that dig a bit deeper? You may be surprised to see some pretty pictures that have much more to them – and that they too appreciate the conversation going beyond the surface. And then you may just be positively surprised as you approach some of the more prickly suspects – only to find some common ground and surprising worlds unfolding. Enjoy looking for what you don’t expect these next weeks!

Looking back…. over my shoulder?

This time of year we tend to look back. Appreciating the year that passed, the people we spent time with, the achievements we created. Looking back is wonderful, and it’s also a really important part of our personal journey, looking at who we were yesterday (yesteryear, yester decade) compared to who we are today. Cherish looking back and then give some thought to looking ahead. With the words of the futurist we had guest speaking recently: let’s plan the future based on the future! Unfortunately, most often we as leaders and business owners – and in our private lives – plan and predict the future based on the past. And even if that shows what we were capable of, it risks holding us tied to the choices of the past. With a new decade in sight: what about taking a fresh view on yourself and your capabilities? Of your team, your business, your life? Planning who and where you want to be in the future – and creating the strategy and focus based on THAT instead of the past?! Looking back is valuable. Let’s now look ahead – and still use our own shoulder (not what everyone else is doing) … More Looking back…. over my shoulder? »