Your name. Your identity.

Annlone or Annlone [said Danishly]. Your name is an important part of recognising yourself. I’ve had some fascinating conversations around names – how you and others say your name – with people I’ve met recently. Thank you to all of these people who showed curiosity and wanted to be able to say it, the Danish way. And hearing your stories made me want to do this blog because I can hear it’s resonating. If you’re based in another country, living away from where you grew up, you probably resonate with this. You were given a name, you heard your parents or the other big people call you that. And if you liked the name you had and those using it, it became a positive part of your identity. An important part of recognising yourself – differentiated from others. Living surrounded by lots of different languages, even international names like Peter, Michael, Sarah and so on will be pronounced differently in German, French, Danish, English. Some take the consequence and change their name when settling into a new culture – Joan becoming Yoan, Pierre becoming Pete. Good on you. I went through 3 versions – because just Ann is not me, … More Your name. Your identity. »

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? »

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 »

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! »

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 »

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? »

Delayed ruminating

We all have around 70,000 thoughts a day. The biggest difference in how we perceive the quality of our day is linked to how we manage all of these thoughts. Metacognitive therapy has had great results dealing with depression simply by limiting the amount of time clients spend ruminating over the things that worry us or what’s called trigger thoughts. Remarkable results through a few steps practised and followed up professionally: 1)    Become aware of the trigger thoughts 2)    Define a certain time a day for ruminating – for example, every night 8-9pm 3)    Every time during the day you catch yourself reacting to a trigger thought, you delay that ruminating: “I’ll come back to that at 8 pm” Limiting the amount of time spent turning, twisting and twirling the negative or worried thoughts is the key. It’s NOT changing negative thoughts into positive, it’s NOT trying to empty your mind and not think at all (how can we possibly with 70,000 thoughts a day?). It’s realising we ourselves have a choice: as the trigger thought pops up, decide to delay ruminating about it until 8 pm in your defined ruminating slot. During the day, we then practice doing two … More Delayed ruminating »

Human doings?

We’re trying so hard getting it right, doing it right. I could go into yr 12 anxiety and pressure, but I won’t. Sitting in the parking lot of our local shopping centre, seeing all the perfect versions of families, couples and individuals coming and going. And realising how we’re all trying to get it right. All the time. Or the opposite: if we fear we can’t, we make it messy, to prove we’re not worth it. Let’s stop pretending. The endless doing to prove we’re good enough. Apply yourself, do lots. But let go of the outcome. You are good enough. Exactly as you are. There’s a reason we’re not called human doings. We’re human beings after all.