New normal, new language

This has been a bugger of a year for obvious reasons but it’s also been a year of expanding our vocab – which a word nerd like me fully encourages and embraces!

In a matter of weeks, coronavirus fundamentally changed our way of living and working. It closed businesses, transformed working patterns, shifted our human interaction. As a result, new vocabulary appeared as a shorthand way to discuss the impact, articulate worries and poke fun at the craziness of the situation. Linguistic creativity is alive and well! (and is not uncommon in times of social crisis!) Collective cultural reference points work as a kind of uniting factor in times of trouble, and in the absence of regular social contact, shared talk is an important part of helping people feel connected.

So as we came to grips with the ‘new normal’ we figured out how to talk about the virus. And an explosion of new words and phrases entered our dialogue to help us make sense of the changes we experienced.

Covid-inspired words

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Now is the hour of our discontent…

I’m not sure if it’s the time of year or simply the ridiculously weird twilight-zone bubble we’ve been in here in Melbourne, but I swear the days are flying by faster than ever before.

Since being ‘allowed out’ (from lockdown, not the asylum), I’ve felt confused, rushed and discontent.

It’s an odd reaction to being given back your freedom, right? I’m looking at myself curiously, wondering what’s going on…have I been institutionalised??? Or did I just find a lazy new norm??  Have I become a recluse? Have I finally morphed into the crazy cat lady my husband always thought I was destined to be???? Whilst I’ve loved seeing my family and friends again I have to admit I’ve not enjoyed the return to the kids’ activity runaround, nor the (perceived) pressure to suddenly be everywhere and do everything. I’ve not rushed out to go shopping or gone visiting all over the place. I simply don’t want to! (she says, stomping her foot like a 3 year old).

Hmm. Interesting…

This feeling has definitely affected how I show up on social media.

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Connection: there’s no better time

For a really long time (ok, 25 years) I’ve banged on about staying connected with your people, your audience.
Connection. Communication. Sharing. Inspiring. Leading.

Whether it was when I was in marketing at (please Agent X, stay in touch with your potential buyers by adding real value to their search – they could turn out to be your next listing), or as a recruitment consultant at TMP Worldwide (please Client Y, communicate nicely with the candidates you have interviewed – they may not be right for you but they may know someone who is)… and in all that time, there has never been a MORE critical need than now for you to support your people with nurturing, educational content. Continue reading

Twas the night before Christmas – my version

Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the burbs,
Laptops have closed
Writers have no more verbs.

The year has been great
Many deals won, some lost,
Ups and downs and roundabouts
Are all part of the cost…

Of running a business
That I love and cherish,
Freedom, flexibility
And clients that flourish.

I’ve loved helping those
In my studio and on retreat,
So much got done
Living on purpose is sweet.

Books, blogs and posts
Websites and speeches,
Helping you write well
Is one of my best features.

So now as the sun shines
It’s time to rest a while,
And say thank you to everyone
Who made me smile.

Merry Christmas lovelies!
I wish you all the best for the holiday season.

I’ll be taking a break from client work until mid-January, but I’ll be checking emails and messenger periodically, so reach out if you want to book a session or a chat about retreats.

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

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

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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A surefire way to find time in your week to write.

Writing is an art form, but it can also be considered a science. When writing for business this is particularly true. There are formulas to follow and disciplines to adhere to in order to create the best communication piece possible.

Knowing your audience, grammar, tenses, purpose, plot development, features-advantages-benefits and that sort of thing, are all incredibly important when communicating your value to potential clients. Crafting a good piece of writing requires technique and is essential to getting cut-through and recall. (Side note: You don’t have to write scientifically, or without feeling or personality, to follow these formulas).  There is another super important writing discipline however, and that is the art of mastering TIME. It’s a bit like making money – you need to invest to get a return. Spending time writing every single day will not only improve your writing, but will improve your mindset toward writing – which will ultimately result in better writing.

I ran a straw poll about 6 months ago, as I was curious about the key frustrations business owners have when it comes to content development. I had my suspicions but I always like to check in and have them confirmed.

77% of respondents said FINDING THE TIME TO WRITE was their biggest challenge.

How many of you have said: “Yup, I need a blog on my website because I have so much to say about what I do…I’m going to write something every week…I’m going to post to Facebook three times per day….” and never do?

Regardless of whether you have lofty ambitions as a novelist, or you have a great idea for an online course, or you just want to be able to keep in touch with your fans by banging out a couple of business blogs and social media posts, you need to structure your week to factor in some quiet writing time.

I know you have ‘reasons’ why you haven’t done this before: I’m too busy; I’m burned out; I’m away too much; I don’t know what to say today; I don’t feel motivated today; I spend too much time in front of the computer already; It never sounds quite right; I should be doing money-making activities; It’s too noisy today; It’s too quiet today…

(I can feel you nodding now….!)

But excuses are just that. Lame reasons for not doing the thing you know you ought to be doing. And whilst writing a novel may be considered an indulgent past time (except if you’re a published author with an agent breathing down your neck for the next book!), writing for your business is not indulgent. It is a requirement.

Writing for your business should not be considered a luxury…it’s a necessity.

I hear business owners constantly talk about wanting respect and recognition in their field of expertise. They want to be considered a ‘person of influence.’  And yet they wonder why their competitors are asked for comments or interviews and not them. time-to-writeWell, it’s because they’re not out there. They’re not spreading their word and knowledge wide enough. They’re not vocal enough. They’re not being seen enough.

There is SOOO much noise out there in business land. Everyone is an entrepreneur. Everyone is fighting for a slice of the pie. The only way to really ‘make it’ is to be bloody good at what you do (that’s a given) and to tell people about how bloody good you are at what you do (with grace and professionalism not arrogance!).

Creating and publishing valuable content is the way to do that. Writing stuff about something that you know about. Making it your own. Then sending it out to the world to add value to someone else’s life. It’s the only way to start being perceived as an authority in your space.

I know that time has been one of my biggest hurdles too, (although I do desperately try to walk my talk on this one), so I developed a method to ensure I made time to write and didn’t view it as a chore, or worse, neglect to do it at all.

There are a lot of organisational processes out there, and plenty of time management tools, but here’s what works for me when it comes to writing for my business.


  1. Choose a time of day where you energy is focused and your workspace is calm. Everyone has different rhythms, different energy burning at various times of the day, different tasks they have to get done in a work week.
  2. Schedule 20 minutes of uninterrupted time into your diary at your chosen time of day.
  3. Before you sit down to write, be clear on what your desired outcome is, or what piece of writing you are going to tackle.
  4. When you sit down, set a timer and write furiously for 20 minutes and then stop, regardless of where you are at. (The reason for this is to train yourself to use the time wisely by throwing everything into it and maximising your output without over-stretching it.)
  5. Follow this process, daily if possible. If that feels unachievable, set yourself 3 days in the week where you follow the process. You may find you actually enjoy it (and become very productive) so you can work up to more writing days in your week.

My time is night time. It’s quiet. The kids are asleep, the cat has settled, my phone has stopped ringing and I’m calm. My imagination is better at night time and my creativity is flowing.

I tried getting up early, when my husband does, to write at dawn, but it just didn’t work for me. My brain was too foggy and I resented not being in bed for those few extra zzzz’s. I spent the rest of the day with tired eyes and a scattered brain. I also tried writing at lunchtime, but I was either too involved in client work and felt like writing for myself was an interruption or I was hungry (and I don’t write well when I’m hungry). I even tried writing for one whole day in my week to knock over large pieces of content…but that was just too taxing and also felt like an interruption of the hours I could be getting paid for.

I really struggled with getting this right in the beginning stages of my business.  I felt guilty about my lack of focus and hated myself for failing at all these techniques. I abhorred my laziness and was pissed off at my easily-distracted nature. But the truth was I was just damn scared to start writing and put myself out there in any kind of regular fashion; I was doomed to fail from the outset. And it was just stupidity. Some crazy blockage. I wrote reams and reams of verbose diatribe in my teens and twenties. I have degrees in Literature. I know how to write, for goodness sake! But for some reason when it came to writing for my own business I just couldn’t do it.

(Sound familiar?)

So here’s the thing. If you follow the above process, I guarantee you, you will get truckloads done.


Because focusing on one task is completely possible – and probable – for 20 minutes.

Even when you’re tired and busy, 20 minutes is doable. Consider that it’s really only once or twice around the water cooler in corporate days terms. And seriously, if you can’t find 20 minutes in your day, you need to sort your stuff out – there is TOOOO much going on.

The key is to stick to your allotted time and to stop after the timer has gone off. I know that if I kept writing, I’d be overwhelmed, and ultimately this would stop working for me. I may feel great on the days I wrote for an hour but then really crappy on the days I couldn’t manage 10 minutes. So, find the length of time that’s right for you and stick with it. If you find that 20 minutes is too long make it 15 – but commit to it.  The more easily you can fit this time into your schedule, the more successful it will be for you. You’ll get much more achieved and you will reap the benefits big time by expanding your profile through your content.

So whether it’s a blog, social media posts for the week, research papers, case studies, a novel, or marketing materials, think about how much you could achieve it you just gave yourself a calm, happy 20 minutes each day to write….