• Read Your values matter in life and leadership.  Here’s why.

    Authenticity, Leadership, Life Direction and Purpose, Mindfulness

    Your values matter in life and leadership.  Here’s why.

    A discussion about values can often seem like an artificial conversation.  It’s a nice to have, not a need to have, right?  Something I do once at a training course because the facilitator forces me to do it, and then I shove the paper they’re written on in a desk drawer and forget about it and go on with the rest of my business. Values can help or hinder our growth and development What’s interesting to understand about values is they can help us or hinder us.  And that might seem counterintuitive, because aren’t values a good thing?  The answer is, it depends.  Let’s say I value accuracy.  If I place too much emphasis on accuracy, I might find myself overworking reports, overworking data, to an extent that’s unnecessary for the task at hand.  Many of us trip ourselves up this way and forget the tried and tested 80/20 rule. One value that I tend to hear a lot from clients is trust.  Trust is an interesting one because we often gravitate towards it if we’ve been hurt in the past.  Maybe our parents got divorced and it eroded our trust in them.  Maybe a spouse or partner cheated on us, and the result was devastating, we can never trust again.  Maybe a business partner stole money from us, or a family member wronged us.  The list goes on and on. Based on these life experiences we then conclude that trust is the most important thing in any relationship, and we cling onto it for dear life.  We suspiciously look for signs that someone might be untrustworthy.  We fear that our worst nightmare will come true, and then it does.  We reinforce this idea by telling ourselves things like, “the only person I can trust is myself.” Fear based values versus conscious based values Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not wrong to value trust.  But it’s worth thinking about the relationship you have with your values.  Did I consciously choose to value trust because it’s important to me, or am I desperately clinging to this value out of fear?  And if I’m clinging to a value out of fear, how might that be blinding me?  How might I then be unconsciously creating the situation I fear? For years I clung to authenticity.  It was my biggest personal value.  And when I think about my personal history, that makes perfect sense.  I grew up in a household where conformity was valued, and I often felt like I could never be myself or loved for who I am.  I had to fight very hard for the right to just be myself.  I even prided myself at one point of being the proverbial black sheep of the family.  I was so concerned with losing my “authentic self” that it inadvertently blinded me to choices I might have liked but wouldn’t even consider because they seemed on the surface to be too conforming. A few years ago, I gave up authenticity as my most important […]

    August 11, 2022

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    3.9 min read

  • Read What a jar of rocks and sand can tell you about your life

    Productivity

    What a jar of rocks and sand can tell you about your life

    The other day I was teaching a leadership course, and I shared the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6m9WnNdpSw Rocks and Sand In it, it depicts Charlie Chaplin attempting to fill a container first with sand, and then cram a number of large rocks in at the top.  The rocks spill over as obviously there’s not enough room.  And then he tries again.  He puts the big rocks in first, and then pours the sand in.  This time, everything fits, as the sand fills up the empty cracks around the rocks. What are the big rocks in your life? There’s an obvious metaphor to our day to day lives in this short and insightful little rocks and sand video.  The rocks represent the big things in our lives.  Things like important projects, health and wellness, our career development, our family.  And it’s important to realize that the big rocks also change over time.  The sand are the small bits like emails, phone calls, administrative tasks and recurring minor deliverables. The question I asked the group, was “Where do you tend to focus first – the rocks or the sand?  I was hoping they’d be honest and they were.  Just about every of the 28 participants owned up to wanting to focus on the sand first, and push off the big rocks in their life. Why do we focus on the sand first? We do this for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the bigger things are often the more nebulous ones.  So often we don’t even know where to start.  When we don’t know where to start, it makes it easier to avoid these things.  Secondly, the sand is easier to tackle.  These are often quick emails, phone calls, reports that need to be run.  We know what to do, and so it’s just easier to drive right in.  The third reason is rooted is physiology.  We often get a small dopamine hit from crossing something off our to do list.  So we pick the path of least resistance and higher reward, at least in the short term. Tips for getting the big rocks It’s no surprise that the big things often allude us in life.  We tell folks that we’re just too busy, and never seem to be able to find enough time to do all the things we want to do.  And that makes perfect sense when the sand comes first.  A few tips I often share with clients on this front, that help to minimize the sand and put the rocks first are: Turn off the notification on your phone and laptop that dings or pops up to let you know you have more email. The notifications will hijack your attention from the important rock you’re focused on.  And good luck getting refocused. Spend time at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day, getting clear on the 2-3 big rocks you want to make a dent in. It only takes a few minutes to remind yourself […]

    February 21, 2022

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    3.4 min read

  • Read Not Living Up to Your Potential? No Problem…

    Authenticity, Life Direction and Purpose

    Not Living Up to Your Potential? No Problem…

    To everything There is a season And a time to every purpose, under heaven   A time to be born, a time to die A time to plant, a time to reap A time to kill, a time to heal A time to laugh, a time to weep   To everything There is a season And a time to every purpose, under heaven   A time to build up, a time to break down A time to dance, a time to mourn A time to cast away stone, a time to gather stones together   To everything There is a season And a time to every purpose, under heaven   A time to gain, a time to lose A time to rend, a time to sew A time for love, a time for hate A time for peace.   Nice, isn’t it? I was reminded of this song, or bible verse, however you prefer to look at it, most recently. I don’t know if this ever happens to you, but it happens to me quite frequently: I start seeing a quote, a phrase, a poem everywhere. It’s kind of annoying. I keep hoping that I’ll see the winning Texas Powerball numbers instead. So far no dice, the powers seem to just be limited to prose. But then my intuition reminds me that this is probably something I need to pay attention to and maybe if I’d didn’t stick my head in the sand like an oversized ostrich, I’d probably learn something useful.   So I tuned into the message and found myself thinking, 2021 has been a hell of a ride in ways I never could have anticipated. I have found myself fluttering between two states – hyperactivity and lethargy. Okay fine, if I’m more honest than not, it’s the later state. This is quite hard for me to say, the recovering perfection junkie that I am. There have been several mornings that I’ve woken up, and frankly, I haven’t felt like doing much. So I didn’t. Don’t take this to mean I sat around in my highly alluring bathrobe all day with my husband and cats watching reruns of Judge Judy and eating Velveeta and rotel (don’t knock the golden cheese food goodness until you’ve tried it). I don’t need an intervention just yet. I did all the usual things, coached clients, paid bills, went to the grocery store, redecorated my office, planted a garden which I even actually managed to get a couple of eggplants from, until it got infested by these weird snails and flies that destroyed it. You know, normal life stuff.   But all the while there was this nagging voice in my head. You haven’t made progress on your childfree group. At one point I had this vision of building it to about a million ladies and using it as a platform to achieve Oprah like stardom. You haven’t written another book, the voice kept nagging. I will admit I’ve started at least two […]

    December 21, 2021

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    4.3 min read