This humble tool is one of the most powerful tools I use in my business, and that I use with clients. Because unless you can see your time laid out in front of you, you can’t make realistic plans, set achievable goals or get everyone aligned about what needs to be done, and by when.
I use this tool with my executive coaching clients to help them plan out and ideal week, and understand what’s achievable with their time. I use it with my content marketing clients to map out content plans, deadlines and publishing dates. I use it with my business clients to help them and their team see what needs to be done, and when by so they all get on the same page, literally. Read more…
“Silence is the residue of fear.” And it’s designed to keep you compliant. So you if you don’t like how things are playing out in your life, talk to someone. If you don’t like what’s happening in career, talk through a change strategy with a trusted advisor. If you don’t like what’s happening in your community, talk to a local councillor. If you don’t like what’s happening in your State, talk to a minister. If you don’t like what’s happening in your country, talk to your MP. And if you don’t like what’s happening in the world, speak up and let your voice be heard and counted with others who share what you believe. Silence only feeds the abusers, the perpetrators and oppressors. Change starts with communication. And then action.
This 4 minute TEDTalk by teacher and poet Clint Smith is a powerful reminder to use our words.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a 1968 speech where he reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement, states:
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
As a teacher, I’ve internalized this message. Every day, all around us, we see the consequences of silence manifest themselves in the form of discrimination, violence, genocide and war. In the classroom, I challenge my students to explore the silences in their own lives through poetry. We work together to fill those spaces, to recognize them, to name them, to understand that they don’t have to be sources of shame. In an effort to create a culture within my classroom where students feel safe sharing the intimacies of their own silences, I have four core principles posted on the board that sits in the front of my class, which every student signs at the beginning of the year:
read critically, write consciously, speak clearly, tell your truth.
And I find myself thinking a lot about that last point, tell your truth. And I realized that if I was going to ask my students to speak up, I was going to have to tell my truth and be honest with them about the times where I failed to do so.
So I tell them that growing up, as a kid in a Catholic family in New Orleans, during Lent I was always taught that the most meaningful thing one could do was to give something up, sacrifice something you typically indulge in to prove to God you understand his sanctity. I’ve given up soda, McDonald’s, French fries, French kisses, and everything in between. But one year, I gave up speaking. I figured the most valuable thing I could sacrifice was my own voice, but it was like I hadn’t realized that I had given that up a long time ago. I spent so much of my life telling people the things they wanted to hear instead of the things they needed to, told myself I wasn’t meant to be anyone’s conscience because I still had to figure out being my own, so sometimes I just wouldn’t say anything, appeasing ignorance with my silence, unaware that validation doesn’t need words to endorse its existence. When Christian was beat up for being gay, I put my hands in my pocket and walked with my head down as if I didn’t even notice. I couldn’t use my locker for weeks because the bolt on the lock reminded me of the one I had put on my lips when the homeless man on the corner looked at me with eyes up merely searching for an affirmation that he was worth seeing. I was more concerned with touching the screen on my Apple than actually feeding him one. When the woman at the fundraising gala said “I’m so proud of you. It must be so hard teaching those poor, unintelligent kids,” I bit my lip, because apparently we needed her money more than my students needed their dignity.
We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don’t. Silence is the residue of fear. It is feeling your flaws gut-wrench guillotine your tongue. It is the air retreating from your chest because it doesn’t feel safe in your lungs. Silence is Rwandan genocide. Silence is Katrina. It is what you hear when there aren’t enough body bags left. It is the sound after the noose is already tied. It is charring. It is chains. It is privilege. It is pain. There is no time to pick your battles when your battles have already picked you.
I will not let silence wrap itself around my indecision. I will tell Christian that he is a lion, a sanctuary of bravery and brilliance. I will ask that homeless man what his name is and how his day was, because sometimes all people want to be is human. I will tell that woman that my students can talk about transcendentalism like their last name was Thoreau, and just because you watched one episode of “The Wire” doesn’t mean you know anything about my kids. So this year, instead of giving something up, I will live every day as if there were a microphone tucked under my tongue, a stage on the underside of my inhibition. Because who has to have a soapbox when all you’ve ever needed is your voice?
And a final note…
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
You may have once been asked a question, ‘What would you do if you only had a month to live?’ What might your answer be? Ponder that. Now, let’s take it one step further, and ask, what might you do if you were diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma, were in hospital and given a week to live? Would you be thinking about starting a business? My guess is most people would say no. Which is what makes Kere Baker, founder of LoobyLou candles, a remarkable leap taker. Read more…
I’ve only ever once shouted to a man across an isle, ‘hey, nice balls!’ and that was when I saw Sam Davy’s edgy, graphic-designed soccer balls on show at a boutique trade fair earlier this year. But the design of Sam’s soccer balls was only the beginning of his story. Turns out, Sam’s company PARK Social Soccer Co. is a socially conscious soccer brand focused on helping disadvantaged kids through a sport they love. Read more…
Earlier this year Polly Shanahan quit her day job in a very public facing customer service role, and retreated to the solitude of her workshop to put to use the woodworking skills her handyman father taught her. The result is Wah Works, an online store selling wooden objects handmade by Polly, from reclaimed and sustainable materials. She also recently started accepting commissions. Read more…
When Natasha Morgan drove to Daylesford in regional Victoria dreaming of purchasing a weekender for her young family, her life paradoxically both fell apart and fell into place.
Natasha is trained as both an architect and landscape architect, and pulling up the driveway of Oak and Monkey Puzzle with its wide spaces, colonial plantings and historic homestead she was beckoned to claim it as her own – not as a weekender but as her main residence. It was a clarion call after a few years wandering the ether of new motherhood, juggling professional roles, and experiencing unprecedented anxiety (a common byproduct of caring for babies who won’t sleep). As a designer of ‘space’, Natasha could suddenly envision a unique, creatively crafted life that would allow her to combine her professional training and personal curiosities in ways she couldn’t in her city and corporate spaces. Read more…
Over the last few years several people have mentioned the work of Irish poet David Whyte. But only in the last few weeks have his words found their way to me, and finally landed with impact. David is a rare find, straddling both poetry and business. He is the author of several poetry books and is an Associate Fellow at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. For over 20 years he has championed conversational leadership, specifically focussing first on the conversations leaders have with themselves. Read more…
Nice. Normal. Comfortable. Safe. Our desire to fit in, stabilise, predict and control is both our social conditioning and biological programming. It’s what we strive for. And yet my coaching experience shows me that when we hold that up as the gold standard for our entire lives, we can lose ourselves in the process.
In the last month I’ve heard people at the peak of their careers, or owners in their own business, or creatives trapped in non-creative roles say things like: ‘Is this it? Is this all I’ll ever do?’, ‘I can’t go through another year doing the same thing’, and ‘There’s not enough valium in the world to get me through another 30 years of this.’ One of the most profound things a leaping client said to me is ‘I have so much grief for doing the thing that wasn’t right for me for so long.’ Read more…
As an accredited facilitator of Brené Brown’s curriculum (The Daring Way & Rising Strong), I’m passionate about being part of a global conversation about vulnerability, shame and courage.
To help me stay in the work of choosing courage over comfort daily, I surround myself with stories, words and people who share my values. Listening to Brené speak about her research is one of my practices. So here is a list of all the videos and podcasts that I can find featuring her work, and I’m stoked to share this list with you. Read more…