11 Life lessons I re-learnt from running a retreat in Bali

I’ve been back for 10 days from running my retreat in Bali and it feels like a lifetime.  All the build up, the planning, the anticipation, then the warmth, the joy, the learning, the teaching, the uncovering, the clarity, and then BOOM!

It’s finished.

It’s over.

A bit like Christmas when you’re a kid. Or even when you’re an adult. You have a month or more of excitement, events, preparation, then you gorge yourself, your adrenalin flies and then crash. It’s done.

Why do really great, momentous events have to feel like this?

Anyway, rather than dwell on the ‘oh bugger it’s over’ vibe, I’ve decided to let the learnings settle then spin them into a positive list for you to hopefully learn something from.

Top 11 life lessons I learnt from running a retreat in Bali:

  1. Have a plan, a schedule, but be really REALLY flexible; be prepared for it to change. Because it often will.
  2. Go to bed when the sun goes down, and rise just before the sun does.  It’s restful and spectacular to align your body’s rhythm with nature.
  3. Eat when you’re hungry, not because it’s ‘lunchtime’ or ‘dinner time’. It makes for great digestion and slim fit bodies.
  4. Spend as much time in or near water as possible. Its healing properties are priceless.
  5. Respect your elders (or those who have walked before you). They have a lot to teach you.
  6. Be open to the fact that you don’t have all the answers. They arrive when you least expect them.
  7. Take time to listen: to the wind, to others, to yourself.
  8. History and tradition have their place, but don’t let your own dreams be dashed by an overwhelming sense of duty.
  9. Create quiet space for people to learn what they need to from you. You don’t have to keep pressing the point home for them to hear it.
  10. Connect freely with people in unlikely places.  You never know where you might meet your next soul mate, client or opportunity.
  11. Don’t worry about what your neighbours are doing or have; keeping up with the Joneses means you’re always one step behind.

***BONUS LESSON*** Spending time thinking about others, being of service, offers us the most wonderful clarity for our own challenges.

 

These are life lessons that transcend cultures, times, experience. They are in fact life lessons for all humans.  Ones that I have known, either instinctively or by being taught,  but ones that sometimes I forget.

Thank you Bali for reminding me.

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Take a bite out of these ideas: BITE conference wrapup

Who doesn’t love a day out of the office, learning, being inspired, catching up with business besties and networking with newbies?

Most small business owners relish the chance to connect with other likeminded souls, as many of us spend our days solo, toiling away in silence, forgetting that there is a brave new world out there that is stretching and changing, (and also often forgetting to eat!).  We can get so consumed by our own thing that we forget to come up for air.

So a business conference, with the promise of great speakers, new ideas (and awesome food), right on our doorstep, is a highly attractive opportunity to break the routine and stretch our pegs.

One such fantastic conference is the BITE Conference – this year held at the Frankston Arts centre.  In its third instalment, BITE Con (Business, Innovation, Technology, Entrepreneurial) has become the ‘go to’ event on the Mornington Peninsula for discovering what trends are changing the small business landscape. The promise is that participants will not only hear about these trends but that they will uncover the latest tactics that will help us compete.  And I reckon it delivered.

This year’s B.I.T.E. Con had an all-star cast of speakers that worked the stage and crowd to share their best ideas.

Here’s a BITE Con wrapup  from each of the speakers:

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Storytelling tips for introverts: an ambivert’s perspective

‘Storytelling tips for introverts’ might sound like a weird thing to discuss. However, as someone who bangs on consistently about the power of storytelling for leaders in business, I’m often asked by my more introverted friends and clients about how they can become more comfortable telling stories to increase the reach of their message and their influence.  They often say “it’s easy for you Jo, you’re an extrovert.”  But the truth is, I don’t see it that way. I don’t think that it naturally goes hand in glove that if you are a particular personality type you are a better or worse storyteller.

You see, I’m actually one of those ‘personality types’ who fall squarely in the middle of the introverted-extroverted spectrum. Most people probably do consider me an extrovert – I’m a party girl, I love being on stage, I talk a lot and I’m not generally awkward with strangers. But there’s also a huge part of me who is introspective, who derives great energy from being alone, and who just doesn’t really like hanging out with people all the time!  And for that reason, I have never been truly comfortable with the ‘extrovert’ tag, but also don’t really identify with true introverts.

For the longest time, the ‘ambivert’ was an unknown quantity. The extremes was where it was at. You were either quiet, talked less and liked isolation or small groups of close friends rather than lots of people, therefore was an introvert. Or, you were loud, confident, energetic around large groups of people and loved the limelight so were deemed an extrovert. Thankfully Carl Jung identified a third type – the ambivert – who sits between the two, and who generally has a good balance of both ends of the scale.

In an article I recently read on Inc. com, apparently us ambiverts tend to be more successful and influential than the extroverts, particularly in the sales arena. Ha! Who would have thought!  Continue reading

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You and Me and Bali makes Three

A poem about you and me on a Bali retreat.

You and Me equals creativity,

Yet You and Me operate practically.

You and Me create possibility,

Because You and Me lead our industry.

You and Me get stuff done quickly,

But You and Me always generate quality.

You and Me see things differently,

So You and Me nurture our own posse.

You and Me regard our work highly,

But You and Me are as approachable as can be.

You and Me defend our views fully,

Yet You and Me agree to disagree happily.

You and Me want others to know we’re somebody,

But You and Me are not in the slightest flashy.

You and Me make promises that aren’t empty,

Because You and Me know our stuff completely.

You and Me simply want the world to see,

That You and Me are legendary.

ps.  You and Me in Bali, would be extraordinary.

____________________

Join me, from 24-29 June, at my Bali retreat for Thought Leaders.

I’ll help you distil the knowledge in your head, bring it out through your heart in your own unique voice, and use it to create a usable body of content that will have others begging for your advice and opinion. You’ll finally get the recognition you deserve as an amazing thought leader in your industry.

Join me for a week of learning, creating, thinking.

Your body will thank you for it.
Your mind will thank you for it.
Your business will benefit from it.
Your family will benefit from it.

Book a call today to find out more about the Bali retreat

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Thought Leadership Content – the steps you need to take

Thought Leadership as a phrase can sound a bit ‘buzzwordy’ (is THAT even a word?!), or truthfully, rather wanky. These days, it can be a bit of an empty marketing pitch to describe someone with just a few thousand followers on Insta and nothing really valuable to say…
 
BUT, when done right, genuine thought leadership can transform your brand. When you’re seen by others in your industry as offering a new and valid opinion on something established, when you’re viewed as a standout in a particular niche, when your audience hears you saying something unique that’s of value, then doors will open. Opportunities will arise. And those opportunities can fundamentally shift the fortunes of your business.
 
Of course, becoming a ‘thought leader’ doesn’t happen overnight. To become a trusted person of influence requires dedication to your craft, careful thinking and planning of your communications, and involves having conversations with the right people. But it’s all entirely possible when you know how.

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Less hustle, more alignment

I’ve never resonated with whole ‘hustle’ movement that has been prevalent in the entrepreneurial / business world in the last few years. It feels aggressive, fake, and is usually served with a big dose of inevitable burn-out.

I must admit I actually cringe when I see the word in marketing spiels now.  It’s over done, it’s been done over and it feels like the thing you do when you don’t actually have any control over your thing. And can you believe there’s people walking around with t-shirts with the following printed on them: ‘Less talk, more hustle’, ‘Same hustle different product’, and ‘Hustle: the most important word ever’, ???  Really??

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times when you need to move fast, put in the hours, be uber motivated, drive harder than ever before, and shut your eyes and just take a leap. Continue reading

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Use everyday moment storytelling for maximum impact

You’d have to have been hiding under a rock if you weren’t aware of the power of storytelling in business. EVERYONE seems to talk about it now. Well, it’s for good reason. Storytelling captures people’s attention, engages them emotionally and therefore helps to cement the messages you’re trying to convey.

The thing is though, I don’t want you to think that you have to have a big sweeping hero or rags-to-riches story to be an effective storyteller. This is a common misconception, born out of the umpteen conferences we attend in our corporate lives, where paid speakers trot across the stage, tug on our heart strings then leave, and the myriad trumped up entrepreneurs we hear on virtual stages across the world delivering talks to make money.

When most people think of storytelling, they think big, elaborately crafted stories like we see in movies or perfectly designed TedX talks. The ones that use techniques like plot structure, character, and scene design and usually either a bunch of comedy or tragedy.

There’s certainly plenty to learn from that kind of storytelling, but it’s not practical for everyday use in business.

The truth is you don’t need a BIG story to have an impact as a business leader.

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Your story in three words

I bet that if you were asked to describe a friend in just three words you could do it easily.  You might say he was kind, generous and loyal. Or that she was fierce, driven and creative.

But would it be as easy to describe your business’ characteristics in the same way? Could you summarise your story in three words?

As entrepreneurs and business owners we invest SO MUCH TIME and effort in raising our profile, being seen, and becoming known …..without actually clarifying what we want to be known for. Continue reading

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Leadership storytelling: a crash course

What is leadership storytelling? Why is it important to understand this concept?

Let me give you my opinion on this…because that’s what ‘thought leadership’ is….giving your opinion, offering your original thought around a articular subject.

Leadership storytelling is the intentional assertion of your point of view.

The key word in this sentence is intentional.   Deliberate. Purposeful. Planned. You intentionally take a stand on a particular topic and then illustrate that stance via a story. The story gives the stance context. It offers the listener/reader a memorable framework in which to concrete the lesson.

Used well, this under-utilised leadership skill will create cut-through, will inspire your tribe, and will elevate your standing in your niche/community/industry.

But how do we sharpen these business storytelling skills quickly?

Let me share my top tips to getting started with leadership storytelling, inspired by 5 great quotes.

  1. “Given the choice between trivial material brilliantly told versus profound materials badly told an audience will always choose the trivial told brilliantly.” (Robert McKee, author of Story)

You don’t have to have invented a cure for cancer, or created the next Facebook to have the right to tell your stories. Your life, your experiences are more than enough fodder to illustrate your value. You do need to have the right tools however, and you do need to practice intentionally and you do need to solicit feedback that will help you improve.

  1. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou, poet and civil rights activist)

Your audience is the most important factor when it comes to business storytelling. This is where most so-called leaders fall down. Don’t get wound up in your own importance and brilliance. When delivering your story, it must resonate with your audience. Tell it from their point of view. Always be thinking: ‘how do I want to leave my audience feeling at the end of my story?’ Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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