I knew I could

Sometimes on my morning jog, I go up a stretched hill to challenge myself and get the heart beating a bit faster. My speed being nearly non-existing towards the top, reminded me of the Dumbo Disney movie, the part where the train is climbing up the hill and the (inner voice) is commentating: I think I can.., I think I can….,  I think I can…….., I think I can…………………… (clearly gasping for air and belief at this point). As the summit is reached, the immediate mountain conquered, the train starts its downhill descend and the commentary changes: I knew I could……….., I knew I could……., I knew I could.., I knew I could, I knew I could! Speed and confidence pick up. The last few years in many ways have been an uphill battle for so many of us in many ways. Each time we may have come over one hilltop, another bigger one appeared out of the blue. This is a reminder to us all, that when it seems hardest, it’s often because we’re getting to the turning point, the pointy end. We just need that stamina to last a little longer. And then we need to remember to … More I knew I could »

It’s all about perspective

I stopped to observe a type of millipede. Yes, we’re still in my 5 km zone. No world travel yet. Well, this creature stopped me in my tracks – I hadn’t seen one of its kind before. Actually, I ended up sitting down to continue observing its progress, crawling up this rock (do they actually crawl, or is it more of a “shuffle”?). Anyway, perspective is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? Ten minutes of observing, and we had maybe a 5 cm progress for the focused millipede – it was a bit of a steep incline compared to the physiology of the little creature. It hit me how we humans set incredible goals for ourselves. Goals we’ll want to achieve in the next year, month, day, or even the next 10 minutes. And here we were: it had progressed 5 cm – and I’m not even sure how to put that into the perspective of what a “day’s walk” is in the life of a millipede. Both unprepared, this is where the drama happened: it fell from the rock it was climbing – a 50 cm drop. This would be hours of work to get back to the same point. … More It’s all about perspective »

Opposing strategies unite

I heard two people arguing in the supermarket. About something irrelevant. Something totally unnecessary to argue about. (I know! Social experiences coming back after months of lockdown here in Sydney, where only one per household could go to the shops. This obviously created a very quiet soundscape for a while as those usual suspects people would talk and argue with weren’t next to them … hmmm…. ). How much time do we waste sharing opposing views? For no reason or great outcome?! Most of my inspiration still comes from nature – as there is not a lot else happening in my 5 km lockdown zone. So, let’s visit my local creek again. This early morning, the tide was at its lowest – reminding me of the poor, attacked fish story [see the blog from 30th May this year]. Anyway, the tide had turned, and it was coming in, the water level increasing. It made me observe with fascination how the creek still moves water the opposite way, out towards the bay and the ocean, kilometres away. This smooth merging of incoming and outgoing water stands in starch contrast to the many examples we see every day in our work and … More Opposing strategies unite »

A scary compliment?!

In our business network, we had embarked on a friendly, competitive mission and was looking for someone to buddy up with. One of my colleagues asked if we should buddy up, and that of course was great, but what really made me laugh was when he later shared his thinking around it. He had asked himself: “who scares me the most and will give me the most value?”. My name had come upon his inner radar – and the story was afterwards shared with me as a compliment. This made me really happy, maybe I’m weird, but when people see you for who you really are, that’s great. And even if I’m all smiles and good-hearted, high standards and always giving our best matter to me. So, a great, spot-on, scary, compliment indeed. Thanks, colleague! So, for the fun of it: what’s the compliment you would most like to get? Not just a nice, flattering one, but one that at the same time conveys that next level of who you really are? Another favourite of mine that some of you may have heard in my workshops over the years is: “Annlone is bad-ass and fun”. That makes me laugh – … More A scary compliment?! »

Don’t ask to confuse!

When did you last create murky waters? Some weekends my local creek meets me murky – other weeks it’s giving me a full, clear view of every stone and bend underneath the surface. My local creek indeed has many faces. If I take off my running shoes and cross, a clear day will give me an easier passage: I can look for a path without dips and deeper holes, I can avoid rocks and fallen branches. The crossing could be smooth, fast and simple. On a murky day, I may not even want to get my feet in the water. What could be hiding under the surface? Not to mention the struggle and dead-end-attempts I could encounter – arrgh, I may even get my pants wet if pulling them up is not enough for the deeper dips in my way?! This goes for our businesses and life, too. Seek clarity. Create clarity. Allow yourself clarity. Don’t ask to confuse. Don’t analyse to the point of overwhelm. We can actually whip up murky waters on a clear day. For no other reason than being confused ourselves. Or just frustrated or bored. But one thing I know: last week when it was … More Don’t ask to confuse! »

Supported not stirred?

When creating a Martini, the taste differs depending on whether you shake or stir the ingredients. In a similar way, the results in life and business vary depending on how we treat the situation. A while ago, I noticed a young, growing tree placed perfectly in the middle of three, older and bigger, surrounding trees. It was growing straight, not leaning on the older trees, the mature ones didn’t carry any weight of the young one but, definitely, from their position they were protecting it in many ways from external forces. This reminded me of how we best support each other – and lead. Supporting by being available, by being there to reach out for, by being in the perimeter for us to spot potential issues to ask into, but also allowing space. Not carrying each other’s load. Not allowing others to lean too heavily on us for extended periods of time. Not removing obstacles in others’ way before they even become aware of them. Not being invisible. Not shaking the tree or stirring the pot by being in their face or by looking over their shoulder constantly. But still being visible. The best way of supporting is neither shaking … More Supported not stirred? »

Did we miss one??

About CRM systems and how we as business leaders must master both the big picture and the minute detail. Could you imagine being on a family outing and not noticing one of your children missing? Not really. Yet, as numbers grow, this is what happens. Burson? Yes. Harper? Yes. Miller? Yes. It’s roll call time. There is a reason schools use roll calls. Not going by memory but using a system – an alphabetical list – to check that all are present. Do you remember school outings? Coming back onto the bus was definitely a time to check if we had everyone we needed. In contrast, going out for the day with our own family of say 3, 4 or 5, we don’t need a system. It would be most unlikely that we would not be aware if one had gone walkabouts. Yet, we have small systems or processes – your mobile number scribbled on the little one’s arm when we did festivals as our kids were small, is one example. When it comes to business, we need systems and processes to keep track. Starting your business with a handful of staff, as a family, and a defined number of … More Did we miss one?? »

Which gashing gap??

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Well, that’s kind of hard with a gashing gap on one side. This week’s blog is not for the faint-hearted, now you’re warned. Shimmering scales caught my attention. A bunch of them, just under the surface, like the mother of pearl enticing me to come closer. As I realised it was fish scales, another sight got into my far-left view, metres away. Onshore, left by the turn of the tide, a shiny, still fresh, dead fish. A silver mulloway, 80 cm at least. Beautiful. Except for the gashing gap that had taken out most of the middle part of its one side. Realising I was watching a very recent murder, a crime scene – except for the fact we don’t call it that when it’s nature’s way – it got me thinking of the part of the food chain we are seldom privy to. Recognising that the bunch of shimmering scales would be where the attack must have happened. And then the distance to the casualty giving a story of part-escape, swimming for your life – and the tide somehow playing a role in the end result. Why am I sharing all this? I’m … More Which gashing gap?? »

Fitting right out?

Two by two like a pre-school outing. Definitely received the dress code memo. Something not stacking up, though. This morning I met a squad of bushwalkers. All-female, all-equipped with walking poles and leg protectors. A certainty around them coming from being alike more than from the inside. As I passed, the scattered little teams of two exclaimed: oh, I thought you were one of us. Might have been my pink running shirt – or just the fact that they saw only them and their kind. As neat as their dress code, coupled teams and chatter seemed, it was a made-up bunch. Not a natural fit or one conducive for digging deeper or exploration. Inside nor out. I wasn’t one of their kind, really couldn’t think of anything worse than experiencing the bush through their company and eyes that didn’t see. Chatting away and only seeing the inside of their circle, they totally missed the most awe-inspiring eagle – down at the creek, not at cruising height. What are we missing when we get too caught up in likeness? Take a look at your staff. Observe your friendship groups. Check out your client base. As easy as it is when we’re … More Fitting right out? »

Are you leading like a spider?

I’ve talked about spiderwebs in the past – about how we as trailblazers clear the spider webs for others. But last week, my perspective moved. The spider became our first-person narrator, the focus of our attention. What changed my point of view? Two massive spider webs that I met on my weekend jog. I didn’t destroy them by running straight through them, no, they were wisely built above human height, but still in a high-density traffic area when it comes to attracting insects of all kinds. Clever. These are four spider-inspired gold nuggets around Foundations, Staying centred, Leading and growing our businesses effortlessly AND the added bonus insight of Learning and moving on. Too good to not share with you all here in a blog – and of course, because I’m not a biologist, it’s all metaphorical for how we lead, live and grow our businesses. 1) Foundations. The reason I spotted the two, big spider webs was a massive cicada caught in one of them (cicadas are very large, noise-creating insects found in warm climates). It made me realise how fascinating it is, that light and flexible material like what the spider web is made of has the strength to … More Are you leading like a spider? »