Valentine’s Day: love and a shark’s tooth

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. Whether you celebrate it or not, hate it or not, I want to wish you a wonderful day filled with love and good vibes…
I enjoy V-Day, but not in a satin-teddy-red-roses kind of way….but rather in a warm, gentle knowledge of being loved kinda way.

Do you remember your first love?

Was it romantic, heartbreaking, tortuous, silly, one-sided, wholly reciprocated or a mixture of all of these? Do you remember your first true valentine?

I remember the day I really felt I was truly in love for the first time. I fell hard for an older boy named Adrian. He was in year 8 and I was in year 7.  He was tall, handsome, not too smart, athletic, and made my tummy flip when he smiled at me. He lived around the corner so I spent a lot of time outside for a few months, hoping to catch a glimpse of him on his bike.  I remember making friends with one of his friends, just to try and get closer to him. It turned ugly when the friend thought I liked him but I laughed in his face when he bought me an icypole and expected me to sit with him at lunchtime.

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Not another goal setting post

This is not another goal setting post. In fact it’s kinda the opposite.

As it’s almost time to pop the corks, wave the sparklers and kiss random people, I thought I’d nudge you for a moment.

As the year comes to a close and we herald in a new one, it’s exciting to pack up the old memories, the highs and lows, the lessons the achievements, and look forward to the shiny possibilities of a brand new chapter in our lives.

Some people I know spend big chunks of time in solitude jotting down all the moments, learning from the stuff-ups, from each hard conversation, each A-ha moment, and patting themselves on the back for the glorious times.  They then plug these learnings into their elaborate goal setting process, their personal and professional development plans, and they continue to mull over them to ensure they don’t repeat the crap.

I’m not one those people.

Never have been.

And have finally stopped beating myself up about not being one of those people!

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Go beyond satisfaction

As the year draws to a close, I’m reflecting on what impact I had this year. On my husband, my kids, my clients, my suppliers and my prospects.
I wonder …did I do everything I possibly could during those interactions to add value, to be kind, to be generous, to add positive pages to the story they will tell about me..?

Once upon a time, meeting expectations was enough for a business to be considered ‘doing well’. If every meal was served piping hot, served in a timely fashion, with a smile—the restaurant owner won. If the stylist was on time, didn’t pull or burn your hair and said ‘thank you’ as you left it was a ‘good experience’.

Now, efficiency is expected. It’s the minimum requirement for operating any business.

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The lost art of listening

Listening is one of the key areas of leadership I discussed in last week’s blog about 3 Simple Ways to Elevate Your Leadership. I had some interesting reactions to this so wanted to dive a bit further into the notion of truly LISTENING and its ability to make your leadership soar.

I’m sure there has been a time in your life when you’ve had a conversation with someone and knew for sure that he or she wasn’t really listening, right?  And it’s pretty easy to tell when it’s happening too….usually through lack of eye contact, facial expressions, or the loathed phrase “What did you just say?”  Unfortunately, unless you’re an angel, chances are that the shoe has also been on the other foot and you have been guilty of the same behaviour (guilty as charged – particularly with children who take forever to get to the point!!!)  People know when we’re distracted and not actually ‘present’.

So I’d like to discuss the lost art of listening.

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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.

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?

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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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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