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.

Continue reading

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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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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!

Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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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.

Continue reading

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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.

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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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