How often?

July 31, 2017 at 7:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” – Brené Brown

It’s Saturday afternoon as I’m writing this. I’ve just finished facilitating the July session of our year long Let’s L.E.A.D. Program with SCARF Youth here in the Illawarra (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families). I’m feeling so inspired (again). But also reflective. So much of what came up within the session today, plus what a Year 5 girl said during one of our program days a week ago, keeps bouncing around my head.

“Leadership’s not a title. It’s a behaviour. Live it!” – Robin Sharma

As you know I’m passionate about leadership. I love learning more about it. I love talking about it. I love noticing it. But I guess what’s even more important than all that is how often do I embody it and make it real through my thoughts, words and actions? As the Year 5 girl remarked so wisely within our program day last week, if leadership was a form of transport I’d choose a boat, they’re popular but how often do we use them?

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own example.” – John Wooden

The challenge of leading inspires me (the purposeful use of my thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in my own and others lives). I love that the Year 5 girl’s comment, the work being undertaken by the participants involved in our year long Let’s L.E.A.D. group and my own reflections on those above are not mired in judgement, but rather are a part of the process of staying curious, compassionate and purposefully aligned (and continuing to realign) along the leadership journey. It’s definitely not about perfection. I’ll take progress and creating ripples over that each and every day.

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” – Vince Lombardi

Stepping Into The Dojo

July 23, 2017 at 11:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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During the past week I tried a certain activity for the very first time. There was plenty of excitement. There was plenty of anticipation. There was plenty of nervousness as well. But as my friend and I finished the class, and have subsequently reflected on the experience, there were/are plenty of important reminders as well.

“You’ll never be bored when you try something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do!” – Dr. Seuss

Karate was the activity we tried. We had been thinking about it for a while now but had not created the space for giving it a go until last week. Life will always be full of responsibilities and what can feel like competing demands. It will also always be full of opportunities as well. Until we purposefully step into the dojo though (training area – whatever that may be for you) and try something new, we won’t be challenged, opened up by, learn from and then enjoy the ripples created through our individual and shared courage. Thinking about it, and doing it, are two very different things.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

The second powerful reminder related to the people who we share space with while we give things a go. My friend is such an inspiration, both through his own example and in the compassionate way he encourages, challenges and offers accountability within my journey of potential. On top of this aspect of support though was the incredible way we were welcomed into this new learning environment by the others within the class. From the Sensei, all the way through to the white belt beginners, there was an attitude of  ‘we’re with you’ embodied through thoughts, words and actions. One example that springs to mind was when we first entered the dojo, with I’m sure a look of unsurety on our faces. Two students casually walked past and said, ‘Don’t worry, we were in your exact position not too long ago’.

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” – Mark Twain

I could go on and on about all the reminders that this experience provided my friend and I with but I think we all know deep down what’s out there waiting for us on the other side of our comfort zones. There will always be reasons or excuses that we can use to prove our decisions to stay ‘safely’ within. And also, not every dojo is the one for us to step into. But as the saying goes, ‘A comfort zone is a beautiful thing, but nothing ever grows there’. Have fun trying something new this week. It definitely doesn’t have to be an activity like karate, but what thoughts, words or actions are calling you?

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

In Partnership With

May 1, 2017 at 7:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last Friday we woke up to the most beautiful blue skies. We set up for our Camp Adventure Day experience at the most beautiful sea side park location. And we welcomed the most beautiful Year 3 and 4 students into an action packed program that explored the role of resilience in our journeys of potential. What a great day it was! The photo above is of some of the participants from the red group challenging themselves and having so much fun on the rock climbing wall.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

As the day progressed I started thinking about how being in partnership with multiple individuals and groups made the day even more special. The rock climbing wall is from a company who we are able to partner with if one of our client schools wants to add this to the experience. Council are always so accomodating with the use of public spaces that support the requirements and outcomes of a particular program day. And of course working in partnership with the client school and participants fosters the incredible relationships we enjoy with them.

“We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.” – Bill Richardson

We are just so privileged to be able to explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically together with those who we are in partnership with. The feedback the accompanying teachers on the day left us with (below) highlights this interconnectedness best. Whether it’s school, home, local community or us as external providers, we all want the same thing. To see that the students have the opportunity to be engaged, challenged and inspired so that they can continue to grow, learn and make a difference.

“This always proves to be an excellent character building program. It is very well received and appreciated by parents. The local community find the program interesting and we get many positive comments on the day. Great job Cameron – we always love working with you and your team.” – Stage 2 Teacher

Reframing

January 9, 2017 at 4:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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How often do you get caught believing that there’s only one way, solution, possibility, truth, etc.? Maybe it’s only for a split second and then we catch ourselves. Maybe it’s for as long as a particular interaction is happening and then we catch ourselves. Maybe it’s for an extended period of time and then something finally clicks and we catch ourselves. That old adage of ‘nothing changes until you do’ definitely rings true for me as I reflect on our ability to reframe within our journeys of potential.

“Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it.” – Marianne Williamson

A certain conversation the other day got me thinking about reframing within a leadership context. My friend was describing a recent adventure that had taken him out of his comfort zone in the Christmas period. As he described the navigation of new terrain he got to the part that had my curiosity peaking. It had to do with who (his friend or he) would take on the most challenging lead climb within the trip they were on and the way the two of them always decided choices like this.

“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” – Wayne W. Dyer

I love scissors, paper, rock, and so was very excited to hear that this playful method of deliberating was their way of deciding important decisions like this one. Even though my friend is a highly experienced and accomplished climber there’s always going to be times when his courage, skill and determination are tested. This trip was proving to be one of those times. When I heard he won (not sure if it was best of 1 or 3) I blurted out, so did you make your mate go first? I assumed now having the choice he may take the breather and climb second on this most challenging pitch. His response and the subsequent conversation had me so inspired. “The winner always takes it on”.

“If a problem can’t be solved within the frame it was conceived, the solution lies in reframing the problem.” – Brian McGreevy

It’s a mindset thing. Leadership isn’t about using some perceived or real power to deflect, shirk or redistribute responsibility. Instead leadership is brought to life in being prepared, willing and ready to use your empowered thoughts, words and actions to make a difference for self and others (even while we’re stretching within the struggle). Importantly, this type of self awareness can also assist us to be honest with ourselves and others in the process. It doesn’t mean that we won’t feel fear, doubt or uncertainty as we courageously lead. It just means that we’re willing to work through these feelings when they arise, without letting them define us, knowing why our thoughts, words and actions are important and that there’s support around us if we need it.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius

If we are to bridge ideas into action then reframing seems to be an important tool. But like anything, reframing by itself won’t actually bring about change, growth, learning or transformation. The windows it opens needs to be followed by courageous action. It’s why the quote that underpins our L.E.A.D. with Courage™ philosophy remains, ‘Leadership Is an Action Not Position’ (Donald H. McGannon) as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically, TOGETHER.

What a Way to Finish the Year!

December 26, 2016 at 6:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A week ago I was gifted with the most perfect challenge to round out 2016. With my mantra this year being ‘Remembering to Rumble’ (adopted after reading Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong), I couldn’t of scripted a more appropriate test for what I’ve been practicing all year long. The rumble happens within the stories. Those we tell ourselves, others and the world around us. It showed up for me this year as a willingness to get curious around, challenge and reality check the narratives I create as often as possible in real time.

“THE RUMBLE: OWNING OUR STORY – Get honest about the stories we’re making up about our struggle, then challenge these confabulations and assumptions to determine what’s truth, what’s self-protection, and what needs to change if we want to lead more wholehearted lives.” – Brené Brown, Rising Strong

Friends in the Blue Mountains told me we’d be going on an adventure. I’ve done some amazing canyons with them over the past few years so I was excited about what this opportunity would bring on my short visit a week ago. I trust them implicitly. But of course, like any good challenge, this was going to involve stepping out of my comfort zone (with support). My friend made one particular comment as we left the house that I rumbled with on the walk over to Boars Head. He used the phrase ‘can be intimidating’ when offering an answer to a question I asked about the climb out after the abseils we’d be doing.

“Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty.” – Brené Brown, Rising Strong

The abseils were so much fun. The various gullies and ledges we traversed were stunning. But now here I was at the section of the adventure that definitely required me to remember to rumble. 140m of rock face below me. 45m of rock face above me. The way out, up. This was something that I’d never navigated before. It would require me to stay present, focussed and determined, all the while getting curious around, challenging and reality checking the stories I created (some of them were incredible) in real time. I was so grateful for this perfect challenge and its timing as 2016 comes to an end.

“We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.”- Brené Brown, Rising Strong

My friends were incredible. Their expertise and demeanour puts you at ease and allows you to stretch so that learning and growth can take place within the challenge. I did it, and was so proud of what was accomplished. So here’s to all the learning and growth that has taken place in 2016. And more importantly, here’s to all the incredible individuals and groups that I’ve had the pleasure of exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically with throughout this year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 will bring. Happy New Year!

“The rumble is where wholeheartedness is cultivated and change begins.” – Brené Brown, Rising Strong

 

 

When We Stop Fighting It

August 29, 2016 at 7:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I know I’ve said it before but I really love experiential learning. It can really open up pathways to some interesting, meaningful and important reflections and connections. Last week’s program days were definitely no different. One activity in particular, plus the group reflection that followed, dug deep into a theme that resonated with us all. It related to what happens when we stop fighting ‘it’?

“I’ll choose honesty over perfection every single time.” – Unknown

The game used is a high energy one. Plenty of movement. Plenty of engagement. Plenty of fun. But more importantly than all that it always seems to bring out a message or messages that we really need to hear or focus in on at that point within the program. Life’s funny like that isn’t it. Do we in our everyday though take the time to really listen in, to process and subsequently learn from (compassionately choose differently next time) the teachable moments that occur?

“What you deny or ignore, you delay. What you accept and face, you conquer.” – Robert Tew

The participants comments came streaming in. Most of them were connecting to not fighting to hold onto or push against what ‘is’ in the game. Some related to not doing this (fighting ‘it’) at all, while others spoke about not doing it for too long during the game. By not fighting ‘it’ seemed to be where the feeling of fun was being experienced. It seemed to be why the participants wanted to keep playing. It seemed to help foster the reciprocal support required when the inevitable ups and downs occurred. It also seemed to be that each individuals acceptance of what ‘is’ (the wholeness of the experience – navigating the ups and downs together) was rippling throughout the group. You could feel it!

“Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But, you keep going.” – Yasmin Mogahed

These initial responses opened up so many more questions, connections and thoughts. That’s the point isn’t it? It has made me consider how do we most effectively stay open to, engage with, remain empowered within, learn and grow from, and subsequently inspire others within the range of complexities we face? What do you think?

“Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.” – Thomas Merton

To Play or Not to Play: Is it Even a Question

April 25, 2016 at 4:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.” – Ron Olson

Over the weekend I was fortunate to find myself in one of my favourite spots with some of my favourite people. The photo above is part of the river that sits below the old school house that we were staying in. Each time I’ve been there I’ve experienced spaciousness, peacefulness and great opportunities to connect with those around me. This past weekend was certainly no different. Then yesterday afternoon happened, I was introduced to the rope swing!

“We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.” – Charles Schaefer

I’m lucky to have large doses of play mixed into my personal and professional life. Our program days are experiential, meaning they are filled with opportunities to learn by doing (a lot of that through play) with reflection. I believe play is so important, especially if we are to foster and embody exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically. To play or not to play? I know what I chose yesterday; and will continue to choose when that question comes up.

“Play is the exultation of the possible.” -Martin Buber

My friend, having been on the swing before, showed me the way. Then the rope was handed over to me. Any doubts, worries and fears I had, quickly dissolved as I swung out over the water and back in, high up onto the bank where I began. What followed next was multiple go’s. Chances to experiment and grow in confidence. Plenty of laughs. Increased levels of energy. And most importantly for me, a reminder of why this post’s title finishes with, ‘Is it even a question’. Play can look, sound and feel slightly differently for us all. But it’s benefits are there for all to see.

“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein

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