3 simple ways to elevate your leadership – without an MBA!

I asked a question in my Facebook group, The Content Couch, a few weeks back about leadership.  I wanted to know who they considered a leader in their field and, most importantly, why.

The overwhelming reasons for ‘why’ people were considered leaders were these:

– credibility
– visibility
– likability
– great content
– organised

The thing is that it’s easier to appear to be a leader in the digital age than ever before.
Just talk more, talk louder, be more places, offer more things.
Be funny, be everywhere, be everything.

Right?

Wrong.

The problem with many so-called leaders in entrepreneurial land is that there is a lot of smoke and mirrors. You may talk the talk, but can you actually waltz and jive and floss the walk too?

In my opinion, great leaders aren’t necessarily born leaders. They also aren’t created overnight. And they most certainly aren’t created by having the biggest social media following or most expensive program.  Leaders rise up as circumstances appear, but it takes work and a willingness to grow to become a GREAT leader.

And, of course, growth doesn’t happen overnight either.  However you dno’t need more training or an MBA to improve your leadership.

Take 3 simple steps, TODAY,  to elevate your leadership quickly:

1. Serve

Serve your team both internally and externally. Meet their needs personally, but also lead by example in serving those beyond your business, into the wider community. The younger workforce are increasingly interested in how a business can give back and make a difference; a social conscience is a huge selling point as an employer.

2. Listen

Great leaders listen more than they speak. Never ask questions if you’re not prepared to hear the answers. Listening is a powerful way to engage people and it makes you more intelligent about your team, your customers, your processes, your community. Two ears, one mouth.

3. Seek discomfort

This may sound odd at first, but getting uncomfortable is the only way to grow. Push your boundaries and be alert to areas you can improve. Be delighted by discomfort so that you can be purposeful when it arrives and then quickly move through change phases. If you don’t embrace change, you limit your life to that which is already known.

By listening to your team and your followers you will naturally serve them better, increase your likeability and also do wonders for your credibility. By embracing change you will become more visible, by necessity you’ll be more organised, and you’ll also generate awesome fodder for stories to share!

These 3 things don’t take a university degree to figure out, they don’t require money to do and they aren’t time-consuming.
Make a shift in your perception of leadership, and create some simple habits, and you’ll be perceived as a genuinely great leader before you know it.

Happy storysharing.
JJ x

ps. We are going to be working through this leadership framework in much more detail on retreat in Bali. Will you join me? Don’t forget the Super Early Bird price of $2497 (single room) and $2197 (twin share) is on until December 31. What better Christmas present could you gift yourself? Comment below if you’re keen to find out more.

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Voting Day…and beyond.

As the paper plate came home from school for the 412th time this year, requesting my baking prowess, I was forced to consider how we all turn up on voting day….and beyond.

The fundraising committee at school certainly takes advantage of an election, by offering a cake stall and sausage sizzle.  Because, lord knows, writing ‘1, 2 & 3’ is hunger-inducing work…

The postal voters, who surreptitiously lock in their vote, out of earshot and sight, who shy away from the queues, the candidates and most likely, the neighbours….

And the candidates and their reps, who each thrust a marketing leaflet at the voters as they dash into the polls, in a last-ditch attempt to get a vote. With the only thing differentiating one from the other being the colour of their shirt or the arrangement of the words ‘people’ and ‘power’ on their brochures.

It is true that some people don’t decide who to vote for until the last minute, and last minute votes can count. However, few voters arrive on the day, accept all the marketing leaflets, read them cover to cover, weigh up the pros and cons and then make a considered decision before casting their vote.  This last desperate attempt to secure a vote shows no evidence of a persistent effort to build a sustainable advantage and a loyal following over time.

Whether we are in politics or business, the real work we do is to show up for the right people CONSISTENTLY, so they know what we stand for every day — not just on voting day or launch day.

Your goal isn’t to be chosen at random because of the colour of your shirt or a single snappy slogan. It’s to be deliberately sought out again and again for your service, your values and the way you empower and impact the people you serve.

How do you turn up on ‘voting day’ – and beyond?

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Shiny Object Syndrome

Shiny object syndrome: a fancy phrase to describe the excitement I feel on a daily basis as I come across things, programs, places, ideas,  I’d like to own, take part in, visit, pursue.

Yep. Like many other entrepreneurs, I suffer from the shiny object syndrome.

When you run your own business, one of the awesome things about it is that you achieve the freedom you desperately desire to work on whatever you want, wherever you want and whenever you want. There’s noone telling you what you do, where to do it, or when to deliver it. Now, that all sounds great on paper, but it also means that you – and only you – are responsible for making clear decisions on the what, where and when.

And for holding yourself accountable. *eek*

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Breakdown then breakthrough: allowing change to occur

I haven’t written for a while because I’ve been holidaying and business-retreating, (making up verbs now!) and allowing change to wash over me.

It’s been amazing and wonderful and vulnerable and scary and life-and-business-changing all at once. Yet the funny thing is I wasn’t seeking change, I wasn’t running away to ‘find myself’, or do my own version of Eat, Pray Love, or ‘make a change’, … but it found me anyway. The truth is, I obviously was seeking something.

I wasn’t unhappy, in love, life, parenting or business.
I wasn’t annoyed.
I wasn’t anxious.
I wasn’t scared.
I wasn’t even really frustrated.

But….

Something hadn’t felt right for a little while.
Something had shifted.
Something was niggling.

Something was hovering. Just out there in my peripheral vision.

And it turns out I needed to shift again. To evolve. To focus.

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Get things done in 25 minutes

David Allen, king of the Getting Things Done movement said this:

“What you’ll tend to avoid doing is probably the most important thing you need to do, because it’ll probably be the most daunting and the most potentially successful thing you could be doing.”

So, my question to you is: “What are you avoiding?”

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Settle? I don’t think so

I have a really strong view that I could never expect you to invest in coaching if I don’t do it myself.

Why should I?

It’s a bit like working with a fitness trainer who is obviously overweight and unwell.  It just doesn’t ring true for me.

So I tell you this, not to justify myself or so you can pat me on the back, but simply to let you inside my world for a moment…to reinforce that I practise what I preach.

You see, noone is above help. Noone is perfect. Noone has it all together. And noone has all the answers.

And I felt that keenly recently, when I was reviewing my presentation for the first round of the 8 Weeks to Content Confidence program.

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Your truth vs the marketer’s truth

I read somewhere once that you should get new trainers (you know, sneakers/joggers/sandshoes/runners) every 3 months if you exercise regularly. Apparently if you don’t your shoe will no longer provide you with the support and shock absorption you signed up for.  You’ll be ‘at risk’ of all sorts of things.  I’m wondering whether that was purely marketing hype put out by a sports shoe company, but regardless, it stuck with me.

Every 3 months I should be shelling out around $150 for a new pair of trainers.

Really?

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Improve your health: write some words

Writing therapy is an actual ‘thing’. It’s not just for us nerdy wordy souls yearning for an outlet for our unsatiated brilliance. It’s actually a form of expressive therapy that uses the act of writing, and then the processing of that writing, as a way to heal.  The premise behind writing therapy is that by writing one’s feelings down, emotional trauma will gradually ease.

Interesting.

Whilst I’ve never formally undertaken ‘writing therapy’ as such, I certainly know that I get great satisfaction from scribbling down thoughts when I’m in a muddle about something. It helps to clear my head and offer the best answer when I see all the ideas in black and white in front of me.  I also remember as a teenager how wonderfully satisfying it was to express my inner most desires and angst in my secret diary, and how I always felt a little closer to the ‘truth’ or ‘real me’ as a result. So I guess that was my own form of writing therapy; nurturing my emotional health through words.

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Thanks for nothing winter solstice…or maybe one thing…

Are you feeling like there’s a LOT going on at the moment?
You wouldn’t be alone.

Apparently with the winter solstice comes lots of change. (I have no technical term for this, but it’s a ‘thing’…and not just for woo-woos!)

Believe it or not, the winter solstice may affect a lot of things in your life, including your mood, your sleep schedule, and maybe even your sex drive. But there is one upside…Here’s the lowdown:

1. You might just feel a bit ‘blah’.

Everyone’s heard of the winter blues, but there’s a real science behind why this time of year has you feeling bummed out a lot of the time.  Your brain’s serotonin level (the “feel-good” neurotransmitter that your body produces) are largely affected by the amount of exposure you get to daylight. So when the days start getting significantly shorter, and there’s a limited amount of sunshine, your serotonin levels can drop, causing you to feel a little moody and melancholy. Adding self care practises to your routine — such as deep breathing, meditation, leisurely walks, and yoga — can help boost your serotonin levels, and as a result, your mood and overall well-being.

2. Your sleeping patterns might go cuckoo.

When you’re not getting enough vitamin D — as a result of not being exposed to enough sunlight — your body can feel super exhausted and lethargic. The change in seasons that brings us into the winter solstice can affect your body’s circadian rhythm, which regulates your normal sleep cycles, as well as your ability to produce melatonin, aka your body’s sleep hormone. To put it simply, the lack of sunlight could definitely take a toll on your snooze time. But the dark circles under your eyes don’t need to be your default winter aesthetic. Take a vitamin D supplement or invest in an electric light box to remind your body that there is, indeed, a light at the end of this dark tunnel we call the winter solstice. Or you could just go to Queensland for a few months.

3. Your head may go bang.

Though the research isn’t definitive, there are reports that cases of migraine are on the increase during the winter months. The swift change in temperature can lead to changes in the body that result in tension headaches (you know the ones where it feels like there’s a rubber band around your head?). Try some essential oils, a warm bath, or a big block of chocolate…I hear that helps anything!

4. Apparently your sex drive could take a toll, as well.

Who knew?  Apparently testosterone plummets during winter. Maybe try getting cosy in front of a fire or finding a way to make ugg boots and a dressing gown sexy!

5. Finally, a light at the end of the wintry tunnel.

The winter solstice isn’t bad, guys! It might have you suddenly feeling like Vincent van Gogh (minus the whole cutting off your ear thing, hopefully), and you may just be inspired to tap into your creative side. While this isn’t a concrete finding, an increase in creativity during winter months is basically all about perception. When the chilly temperatures of winter force us to go inside and bundle up with a warm mug of tea and cosy blankets, we’re more likely to connect with others and as a result, inspired to create and to brainstorm new ideas. So…embrace that. It’s a GREAT time to get working on that book you’ve always been meaning to write, that blog you’ve been meaning to start, or that new social media channel you’ve been meaning to tackle.

Have you felt the effects? Positive or negative?
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Facebook engagement – 7 easy strategies that work

Love it or loathe it, Facebook is undoubtedly one of THE best places to market your small business.  There are gazillions of users, you can post various types of content, and it’s easy to reach a very specific audience.  However, unless you know how to play the game (and it’s an ever-changing one), it can be a frustrating source of misery that only serves to suck you down rabbit holes or see you deleting your profile in disgust. Generating great Facebook engagement is not as simple as it used to be.

So how do small business owners make the most of this behemoth?  They build a targeted audience who want to hear new things from them regularly and who are inspired to respond.  And it is this last part that is the key.

Engagement.

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