What’s Love Got To Do With It?

February 14, 2019 at 3:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So it’s Valentine’s Day. A day for professing love. Celebrating love. Maybe even being curious about love. But when it comes to leadership, you may ask, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.” – Simon Sinek

Leadership is about people. And it starts with us. If we are to build trust, influence and make a difference within our journeys of potential, then leadership needs to be grounded in connection. To self. Others. And the world around us. Leadership is a heart word.

“When you approach challenging situations from a place of love, solutions emerge.” – Lorrie Thomas Ross

When we love someone, something or some place, we’ll courageously look for ways to work it out. It’s not always easy. But we’re willing to stay with it a bit longer, navigate the messiness, and seek out solutions. Rather than just getting bogged down in the problems. This is what leaders do.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

When we think of those real leaders in our communities who inspire us, it’s usually lots of intangibles that come to mind. As expressed in the quote above, they seem to focus on those small acts of caring that leave people feeling seen, supported and that they belong. They’ve got a ‘strong back and soft front’, confidently letting compassion guide their daily thoughts, words and actions.

“Great leaders may be found at the top of a mountain looking back upon their challenges, but the greatest leaders are often found at the foot of the mountain still helping others reach that summit.” – Robert Clancy on Lead from the Heart

Thank you for the love that you let shine within your individual and shared journey of potential. It’s how we help shape the families, communities and world that we dream of. Connection really is the glue that holds our humanness together. Love and leadership, they’re definitely linked. Happy Valentines Day!

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L.E.A.D.

February 6, 2019 at 12:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’re asked often what L.E.A.D. means? People obviously recognise the combination of letters together, but notice for us it forms an acronym and so are curious. L.E.A.D. is the philosophy that underpins all that we do. But really importantly, like we again experienced yesterday, it’s not only about what it means, it’s also about how it leaves you feeling.

“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is taking care of those in your charge.” – Simon Sinek

I’d just finished the middle session for the client group, passing the Year 6 students back to their teachers. As I began packing away some of the equipment we’d been using, two girls walked up to me. Their faces were lit up, I could tell they were bursting to tell me something. They’d decided it couldn’t wait until after listening to their teachers instructions about the lunch procedures. What they said next is why we love being a part of the learning and leadership journeys of students from within our client schools.

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” – Ralph Nader

Gratitude began flowing. They were just so appreciative. Certain activities, and the reflections that followed them, had seen them completely come to life. I loved it when they said they’d been paired for a particular creative activity and hadn’t started it for so long because ‘the deepest conversation’ was opened up from what they’d been a part of learning during the day. They just kept saying, ‘Thank you for helping us see what real leadership is!’

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Yesterday’s group, like all that we are privileged to work with, are incredibly inspiring in the way they keep bringing leadership to life right throughout the day. When we’re able to build an individual and shared understanding of, connection to and authentic pathways for making leadership real, that’s where we experience the true meaning of L.E.A.D.. It’s so inspiring to be a part of the participant’s growth and development within our program experiences, but what we love most is then hearing about the positive difference that they continue making well after we have gone. We can all L.E.A.D. each and every day!

“The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” – Ken Blanchard

Why We’re So Excited

January 29, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One more sleep. That’s it. The start of our 2019 school programs journey is almost here. THIS is why we’re so excited.

“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights the way.” – Unknown

As you know our passion comes to life through developing leadership potential! Why, because when individuals and groups are curious about, inspired by and own their capacity to be difference makers (lead), it’s not only them who benefit. We ALL benefit. We love walking shoulder to shoulder with our clients on this journey. As Louisa May Alcott’s quote explains, ‘It takes two flints to make a fire’.

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey

Tomorrow its 150 enthusiastic Year 6 students ready and raring to engage with the games, challenges and reflections we’ve got planned. Friday, we back it up with a Year 6 cohort of 105 at another one of our client schools. We can’t wait to launch into 2019, with all of its opportunities to positively impact those within our spheres of influence.

“We rise by lifting others.” – Robert Ingersoll

We’re on a mission, and it has a lot to do with the quote above. Leaders build. Connection. Character. And Capacity. Not at the expense of others. But WITH others. Thank you to all we’re privileged to be able to share our passion with.

When We Don’t Slip Into Distraction

January 22, 2019 at 10:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If you’re a parent with kids currently on school holidays then I’m guessing you’ve probably heard this quite a few times – ‘I’m bored’. It’s probably followed up pretty quickly with a request to get on whatever technology is closest by. Am I right? We all experience boredom, that’s for sure. But what we do next (or don’t do) is where outcomes vary significantly.

“Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.” – Robert M. Pirsig

Last week I got to spend some time with a facilitator friend. We always love chatting about the art of facilitation, but also always get lost in questions and ideas that grab our attention within the conversation. As we spoke we got stuck on the concept of fun. And the cycle that he shared to achieve it was such an important reminder for us all.

“Boredom has an important function, because pushing through it can unleash creativity.” – Amy Dickinson

A lot of times people think of fun like a theme park. Entertain me. Thrill me. It’s someone else’s responsibility to create it. We just have to turn up. Hence why we grab for the iPad and think that’ll solve all our boredom issues. But they’re just distractions on most occasions. If we’re interested in real fun, the fun that builds connection and gives us deep contentment and joy, there’s another direction we need to turn.

“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye” – Dorothy Parker

The ‘disciplined eye’ referred to above I feel is sitting within the boredom for long enough (without choosing distraction) so we can get to creativity. This is because it’s through creative expression that the real fun I described above is unlocked. It doesn’t mean that technology can’t be a part of this process at all. What it does mean though is just mindlessly grabbing at distraction (in whatever form that takes) keeps us at arms length from feeling lit up by how we’re spending our time.

“Don’t try to ‘fix’ the child’s boredom – rather, let the child find his or her inner resources.” – Julia Cameron

So I wonder, what’s your tolerance level like when you experience boredom? Are you a quick trigger to distraction? Or a slow burn to induce creativity that can lead to real fun? There’d be a situational element to your responses I’m sure, but it’s interesting to reflect on our patterns of thoughts, words and actions that impact significantly our journeys of potential. What practices do you use to mindfully navigate bypassing the easy slipping into distraction? And how do you then choose to model, support and foster those within your spheres of influence?

Window Wound Down

January 16, 2019 at 9:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Mini moments of connection, with strangers, are just so inspiring. I love their unexpectedness. And the important reminders/learning they open up. One that I experienced recently has still got me thinking. It was only made possible though because this stranger chose to have his window wound down.

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton

I’d been down the beach and was now walking home. It’s only a short walk and not a very busy area to navigate. As I’m approaching a driveway there was a car with it’s indicator on getting ready to pull in. I naturally came to a stop, then a subtle difference jolted me out of the routine I had just initiated.

“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” – William Blake

The stranger gestured to me to cross first. As I walked I said, ‘Thanks’.

The response, ‘Always pedestrians first, everything else second’.

I shoot back sincerely, ‘Thank you’.

That was met with, ‘Have a great day!’

“Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.” – Ray Bradbury

It was such a simple interaction. Not unlike so many we’d have within a day. What made it feel different though was his sharing of the values that was driving his actions. We’re absolutely all in this together. And it’s not that our individual and shared values will always align completely. But it seems to be important that we have the courage to have our windows wound down as we interact with self, others and the world around us, and share what’s most important to us (both individually and as groups).

 

Open to …

January 9, 2019 at 7:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So we are sitting at dinner between Christmas and New Year. My friend, his 9 year old daughter and I. We’d been chatting about lots of things. Christmas. Their upcoming holiday. And lots more. Then my friend’s daughter expressed her strong belief around a particular external rule she’d be navigating over the break. And then something really cool happened.

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. If you listen, you may learn something new.” – Dalai Lama

Her conviction was impressive. She’d thought out her reasoning. She had examples to back up her points. She spoke firmly and passionately, but also in a respectful way. Then she choose to listen. Both her father and I took on board what she’d confidently expressed. Affirming her thoughts as valid and important to her. Then shared some of our own beliefs around the topic.

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey

She listened. Really listened. Agreeing that this external rule may actually be needed for some of the reasons that were being brought up. It didn’t mean that she had to give up why she’d wanted a change to be made. She was able to hold more than one thing to be true at the same time, while understanding that certain decisions are necessary to support, look after or help those who’d be using this shared space. It was a really inspiring conversation to be a part of.

“Most of us are so focused on what we are thinking that we miss most of what goes on in our conversations.” – John Stoker

How often do we close off to, rather than remain open to, different perspectives, ideas or choices? I’m sure, like all of us, this isn’t the same way my friend’s daughter chooses to listen every time a potential conflict comes up. But like all of us, when choosing to navigate listening in this way she experiences the deepening of connection, learning and growth that is opened up. As we courageously move beyond needing to be right, we can authentically embrace and celebrate the wholeness of what makes up the individual and collective truth.

“Anyone can talk,
but to listen is a gift,
we should all exchange”
J. Benson

2019 Mantra

January 2, 2019 at 3:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Happy New Year! We hope you and your family/friends have enjoyed the holiday period, and are excited about what 2019 will bring. For many, the start of the new year can be filled with promise, potential and possibility. Maintaining that mindset as we navigate inevitable ups and downs, busyness and challenges, is really where we bring to life all that we hope to create more of.

“New Year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story ? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.” – Alex Morritt

For us, the beginning of the year is an opportunity to again get intentional. Each January we set a mantra that acts as a compass to journey with us throughout the next twelve months. Previous year’s mantras aren’t just discarded as redundant. Rather they’re now integrated into the deeper parts of how we show up, contribute and grow because of the purposeful practice they invited us into.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So that brings us to what will sit at North on our compass this year. We’re pumped for 2019, and love the importance that this year’s mantra will play throughout all that we’ll be a part of. Our mantra will be, ‘Consistently showing up as, and modelling being a learner’. We’re passionate about the development of leadership potential, and this aspect of it is something that we really want to be even more purposeful about as we traverse interactions with self, others and the world around us this year.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instil in us.” – Hal Borland

Just so we’re clear, being a learner isn’t about being passive, or waiting for others to take the lead. We’ve chosen this because its shadow side, being the knower, keeps us as individuals and groups locked out of the processes that support real growth, connection and change. The other day on social media we put up our wish for all for 2019. It read ‘That we as individuals and groups will courageously embody curiosity, compassion and humility within the ups and downs that we’ll have to navigate’. This combination is at the heart of showing up as and modelling being a learner. None of us are perfect, but each of us can be a part of contributing to and experiencing progress.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

So here’s to celebrating the full spectrum of experiences that 2019 will offer. We wish you all the best as you too embark on ‘being the change you wish to see’ through purposefully using your thoughts, words and actions to make a difference. We love the process of bringing leadership to life. We’ll continue using our program experiences, as well as our various modes of communication like this Blog, as pathways to assist that. But most importantly we’ll remain a student of all things leadership, as we again choose to explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically. We hope you’re able to do the same!

1 Year = 365 Opportunities

A Box of Chocolates

October 29, 2018 at 4:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There are lines in particular movies that are just iconic. They’re lodged so far into our brains that when triggered even the actresses/actors voice, tone or intonation comes flooding back. Forest Gump’s, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get’, definitely falls into that category. It’s also one that was triggered for me last Friday morning as I stood in front of a group of Year 5 students ready to start a program day.

I’m often asked how it is delivering the ‘same’ program many times within a week, term or year. Our L.E.A.D. with Courage: Stage 3 Leaders Program is our signature offering, therefore it is very popular within our client schools. I always respond that it never feels the ‘same’ though. There may be many similarities in relation to themes, activities or progressions throughout the experience, but it’s always facilitated for the participants who are in front of us on that day, not just being delivered in a certain way.

The group number changes daily, with us facilitating the program for cohorts of up to 150 students. The times we’ve been in front of a particular group of students changes daily, with us seeing some cohorts more than once in a year, over two years or right across their Primary School journey from Kindergarten to Year 6. The individual and group context, complexities and outcomes changes daily, with each participants potential being valued, supported and celebrated within our program experiences. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

So back to last Friday morning. Two teachers are getting ready to quickly mark their class rolls before we kick off for the day. Then one of the teachers says to her students, ‘Should we do the Spanish?’ They enthusiastically nod their heads and I’m treated to her and their call and responses in a language I only wish I could speak. What topped it off was then being welcomed and said Good Morning to in Spanish, it was the first time that has ever happened. Life really is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get!

We’re always so humbled by the feedback received from the teachers and students involved in our program experiences. These two teachers mentioned above so kindly wrote at the end of the day, ‘Great enthusiasm for the topic shown by Cameron. Nice surprise elements to activities and wonderfully linked to intended outcomes’ and ‘Students involvement, enthusiasm and responses show the high level of this program’. But it’s us who want to say thanks also.

Thank you to all those who work to support each student’s holistic journey of potential, so they can foster a lens that is open to the magic of being a life long learner, showing resilience through the inevitable ups and downs that life presents, and striving to build connection and make a difference through their daily thoughts, words and actions. I’m not sure how to say that in Spanish though, sorry! I wonder what adventures tomorrow will hold?

Means, not an End

October 22, 2018 at 2:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A few leadership reminders from the weekend:

1. Keep Showing Up

On Saturday I had the opportunity to attend a Youth Forum on Racism. It was a great investment of time and energy, as I soaked up stories of lived experiences, new information and strategies to most effectively navigate this and other issues within our spheres of influence. But I almost didn’t get there.

We all experience busyness, potential distractions and choice. But showing up is our ongoing means for opening up pathways to practice, learning and growth. I’m so grateful I made the choice to go.

2. Listening as the heart of Leadership

Listening involves not only hearing what’s happening within or around us, but courageously staying open to and willing to be changed by what we hear. This requires presence, mindfully navigating the interactions we are a part of. We all have prejudices, conscious and unconscious. If we’re not present, they can go unchecked.

This is why just showing up isn’t enough. How we show up is so important too.

3.  Keep Surrounding Yourself with Difference

If we always surround ourselves with the same voices, we’ll always think the same way. The way we think impacts the way we then speak and act. Purposefully seeking opportunities to deepen connection with individuals and groups that reflect and celebrate difference is not just in others interests. It’s in our interest as well.

A difference makers means is connection. The more we’re able to notice, foster and value it, the more we’re able to support those around us as we and they navigate the inevitable ups and downs that life presents. We definitely can’t control what others do. But we can influence, using our thoughts, words and actions to be the change we wish to see.

 

 

The Intersection

October 15, 2018 at 12:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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School’s back. Fourth term starts today and we’re excited to again share in the learning and leadership journeys of the students and teachers who we’ll work with. So much happens over the next couple of months within a school. Lots more learning of course. Bringing together student’s growth and development through reporting. Celebration of all that’s transpired this year. And planning for ‘where to next’. That’s why we’re hoping both students and teachers enjoyed a refreshing break over the past two weeks before enthusiastically jumping back into the adventures that lie ahead.

During the holidays one of my not so guilty pleasures is catching up on reading. I’ve always got books on the go, but a break usually provides a few more opportunities to sit and read for that little bit longer. Last week, on a rainy day, I got lost in a new book that I bought that morning. My first Mitch Albom book was ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ close to 20 years ago. But it’s a certain line from ‘The Next Person You Meet In Heaven’ (that I read last week) that has me remembering why we’re so passionate about developing leadership potential within our client schools.

So often leadership is viewed as a position. It carries thoughts of waiting or not being ready, change being someone else’s responsibility, and needing to be elected or given a platform by others if we want to help. That’s a pretty disempowering list and doesn’t reflect the Leader’s Lens that we’re privileged to help shape through our program experiences and ongoing communication with our clients. The Leader’s Lens is all about the development of purposeful skills, attitudes and behaviours that are open to us all. This enables us as individuals and groups to consistently notice and act on opportunities to be difference makers.

So back to the line from the book I was reading, and why it resonated so deeply. It read, ‘That the end of loneliness is when someone needs you’. Ten words only, but I found them to be such a powerful reminder. This intersection is navigated by us all, over and over again, each and every day. It’s when we’re experiencing a particular emotion or feeling, so what will we do next? The lens we view whatever is happening through really does make a difference. Then the choice/s we make have the potential to open pathways, or leave us lost and assigning blame because there’s nothing we can do.

Thank you to all those we have the pleasure of practicing leading with. Leaders aren’t defined by being in control, not making mistakes or being perfect. Together we’re able to courageously and authentically embrace the gifts, opportunities and challenges that leadership presents. We’ll remember, forget at times, and then remember again, that ‘leadership is action, not position’ – Donald H. McGannon. So when we notice an intersection in front of us we’ll be able to choose thoughts, words and actions that allow us to deepen connection to, and make a difference for, self, others and the world around us. It’s time to get back to work!

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