There are many things I love in life, but If there is one thing I love in particular, it is the world of live events. Whether it's from the front of the stage, or the back of the room helping manage the experience that IS the event, or it's as a participant sitting in the middle OF that experience, there is a magic that happens at live events, when you gather together a group of people, that has the power to light up the room…and it lights me up like a Christmas tree. I love it. And whether you’re the one who has a message to speak or perform, the one who wants to run the event, or the one who wants to attend, I kind of live for for those moments where I can be of service to helping people realise their greatest potential through any of those 3.
That magic, the level of connectedness, the raising of energy and consciousness that happens in such spaces, has the power to heal the world. And it’s needed at this time on the planet, now more than ever.
Yet, when someone who has a fear of public speaking is feeling their heart start to race, that feeling in their gut and that tingling in the base of their spine, as you mention the possibility of them speaking at something to them, and their mind runs wild, recalling a memory of that one time when (x) happened, when I tell you about that magic, while it’s maybe reassuring for a moment, it can be a little hard to BELIEVE in it, I know! (Speaking from experience.)
Speaking, though, is a bit like exercise in that there’s a zone you have to push through to get to the magic. When you’re running, or swimming, for the first 5-10 minutes, as you get moving, your mind is like “What the hell? I think we’re DYING!”…..then after that, a beautiful rhythm, followed by a beautiful euphoria, starts to kick in…and you’re in your zone.
Speaking is kind of similar. If you can just stick it out through the first 5-10 mins, where part of you might be wondering if you’d RATHER die, while the adrenaline starts pumping. This time, instead of running or swimming, you’re staying present to the chance to be of service and following the flow of the backbone of what you prepared and starting to surrender to, to trust in the flow. Then after 5-10, just like exercise, it starts to feel synergistic and even a little bit euphoric. And then the magic starts to happen and you could stay up there all day.
But, just like running or swimming, you won’t know it, until you’ve pushed through and done it. Then once you’ve found the zone, you’ll never want to STOP doing it.
Having a performing arts background, some of you might think I have a kind of not-so-hidden advantage when it comes to that, and in one respect, you’re right. But in another, at a couple of others, when it came to professional speaking, I struggled. Because, once upon a time, way back when, I went through some moments in life that had some pretty violent consequence when I had stood in my truth and said no to both individual people and groups of people close to me. So that when it first came to putting myself and “my expertise” out there as a public speaker in the Wellness and later Business Industry, and potentially triggering and challenging some people’s world views too, I suddenly found myself all kinds of panic attacking terrified of doing it.
Given that this was blocking many more areas in life than just my speaking (and I flat out refuse to run away from this thing I love doing so much) for the next several years, I then went on a bit of a bender of learning everything i could about HOW to overcome that fear and those responses, to be able to then find my groove on stage again.
To have now spoken at numerous industry events and trained on high end business coaching programs, to have spoken at and run lots of my own events. And while, like some of my world leading speaking Mentors, I may not (yet) be the one you want to go to if you want to get paid 5-95K to be a Professional Conference Speaker, they are and I’ll happily point you in their direction:
-After several years of helping literally thousands of entrepreneurs and, at times, organisational Leaders overcome their stuff about putting themselves out there, and start using public speaking in their businesses to connect better with their audiences, help make a bigger difference and create successful commercial outcomes, and
-After helping others of them who were also in social enterprise and NFP get better at connecting and presenting, so that they could both make a bigger positive impact through their speaking and generate more support for their causes
If you need help with either of these things, my friend, I’m your gal. If I can help, just let me know.
P.S. Would you like to Join us in Sydney at the October Leaders and Public Speakers Practice Evening? And bring a friend or two for free?
There are 3 things in particular that I work with my clients on, in helping them find their voices and realise their full potential as Entrepreneurs, Leaders ad Public Speakers ; their state (e.g. their mindset, energy and holistic wellbeing), how they communicate and relate with others (individually and as it relates to presenting to or leading groups) and their content and delivery in their work.
From time to time, I am reminded of the importance of the first, when an aspiring entrepreneur I’ve recently spoken to about how adolescent to middle aged womens’ monthly cycles effect their productivity, energy levels and mood throughout the month, returns to me to thank me for how much of a difference the knowledge has made to her productivity and her perception of her capabilities and hence self worth, since she found out.
In Western Society, regardless of gender, we often have this expectation (or at last hope) of our bodies and beings that they should be able to run flawlessly and endlessly like machines, to help us meet the demands of the many roles we have to play in work and life. But in reality, our bodies, and what we’re physically, mentally and hence spiritually capable of achieving, is impacted by the cycles unique to our (genetically speaking) sex, within each phase of the life cycle.
Once we understand what they are and what our strengths and weaknesses are at each phase within these cycles, we can both start being a little more gentle on ourselves for not being able to be “better” than we are at any particular time in life, and then both start to better plan our work (and life) activity around our unique set of holistic health needs for that phase and plan to take better care of ourselves at the moments when we’ll need to.
What are some examples of some of the phases each of us might need to navigate in our working lives (just to be clear we’re on the same page)?
Think each as being a boat that goes past you while you’re on a surfboard in the water. A couple of those boat services, might not be relevant to you (but may impact people you work with or manage). Others, like ferries, whether we like it or not, are scheduled to be coming past at some point. And they’ll make waves of various sizes when they come past. Think of the range of holistic health, pharmaceutical (or worst case, surgical) choices and interventions you can make as being the means of asking the Captain of the boat to drive at a speed and in a way that makes a minimal amount of waves from each boat, for you to have to navigate. Think of you learning to surf them and work with their flow as being how you better manage your stress levels, become more productive and able to perform at your best throughout each phase.
The gorgeous thing for me about having originally Practice Managed Mental Health, Holistic Health and Birth Focused Wellness Clinics, having originally, in my own Private Practice, as a Counsellor and Human Biological Science graduate, specialised in Stress Management and Holistic reproductive health for mainly 18-40 something Women and Men, and later, having Mentored and Trained so many thousands of people in the Wellness Industry in their Business, Leadership and Pubic Speaking development, is that I have both come to have an amazingly knowledgeable network of health professionals I can refer to, who can help you (or those you might work with) better manage every single one of those “boats.” But I also have a great understanding of how to account for them, as it comes to managing the Inner game (your state) as a part of helping you (or those you work with) reach your/their, highest potential as a Leader and Public Speaker.
How on earth does that relate to your Leadership and Speaking you might ask? Are you one of the folks who rates Public Speaking as being about as appealing as death, yet you still have to do it for your work? Or are you someone who enjoys or aspires to do more of it, but experiences varying degrees of fear and anxiety still about any given presentation that you have to give? Would you like to be better able to stress less, both before you go on and while you’re on stage?
Doing so is in part about the routines you do pre, during and post speaking. But it’s also about increasing your awareness around what is cumulatively adding to your general stress levels throughout your working and personal life prior. The more sources of stress you’re dealing with, the less your tolerance of and ability to potentially cope with the challenge of stepping in front of any given audience, when you’d like to.
Which is why, at the upcoming October Sydney Leaders and Public Speakers Meetup Group event, one on the things I’ll be introducing attendees to is 12 of the most common sources of stress you need to be mindful of managing in your holistic wellbeing routine, to help you stress less and perform at your best as a Leader and Public Speaker. There’ll also be a complimentary download on how to better manage them for everyone who attends.
Or if you have any questions about how to better manage, or support someone you work with, to better manage and flow with the unique challenges of managing their state, relative to the phase of the life cycle you/they might be navigating too, please feel free to reach out to me, so that I can connect you or them with some expert support.
Until next time
And I find there is generally one of three main reasons disengagement is occurring. They are that either:
1- The Need for Reconnection
Very commonly, especially in organisations or businesses big enough to have multiple parties responsible for different functions in the chain of service to the client, a simple breakdown in communication has occurred, that has not yet been recognised or addressed. The reasons why that has developed can be numerous. Whatever the reasoning for why either party has not been in touch though, one of the first steps in world class customer service, maintaining a relationship with the client and (for you) retaining their business, is to have a representative of your organisation reach out to the client to touch base and find out where they’re at, by asking them how they are or just where they’re at.
Best case scenario, maybe they’ve been flat out and you were literally next on their list of things to do and you just got in first (which makes you look like you care and are proactive), worst case scenario, maybe there was just a family, life or financial crises (and they haven’t yet been able to reach out…and possibly feel a bit awkward or embarrassed about doing so). Or very commonly and far milder in severity, maybe a new need has arisen for them and they’re presently in a state of reconsideration of wether the existing service agreement and service is still a fit, and or considering what they need to communicate with you in order to adjust it. Or whether they might need to go elsewhere.
My point though, it’s not weirdly stalker-ish, or overzealous, “chasing” or inappropriate for someone from your organisation to reach out and ask how the client is doing in such an instance. It’s actually high quality customer service, that shows that you genuinely care and you see it that you are in this together. And it’s so often the simplest of all first steps in getting things successfully back on track.
2- The Need to take Responsibility
Secondly, very often when I have been that person reaching out on behalf of an organisation, I’ve found that the service provider has, somewhere within the chain of service, or in communicating information between the links in the service chain, dropped the ball in delivery of the promised service in some way. In which case, as the designated representative of the company in that moment, it becomes your job to be the front face taking initial responsibility for acknowledging the potential occurrence of a mistake, ahead of connecting the parties directly involved in its investigation and, ultimately taking action towards its resolution, in line with the expectations laid out by both parties in the original service agreement. At this point, there might also be a revisiting of how you can improve upon the original agreement and, ideally, you throw in some more value to make amends for your organisation’s part in this
Alternatively, it might come out of a chat that the party receiving the service is not yet delivering on their part of the deal, depending on the nature of the service you provide, and what is required of them. Whatever the reasoning behind this, they too may need to step up and take responsibility for their part in the service agreement.
Yes, that might be a bit “totes awks” as a discussion to have. But getting past “totes awks territory”, back to clear expectations of what is required of each party ongoingly (or not) next, in the actualisation of the service agreement, is the goal and the kind of stuff long term client relationships need to thrive. So resolution part 2 involves addressing and re-assigning responsibility.
3- The Need for a Pathway of Re-engagement
The final place where disengagement can occur is around “what next’ and simply creating a clear invitation and opportunity around further engagement. Very often, again, one might not have been discussed. Maybe one does not yet exist. But could, if someone from your organisation uses the information gained from the before mentioned chats to create a new pathway of service/delivery of something of value to the client, or continued organisational, or even industry level engagement, that benefits you both. At the simplest level, by asking what do you need now, and how can i/we help you achieve that? And, if they have someone or something in their network, that might also be of benefit to you too, it’s about creating opportunities for discussion in which such possibilities can emerge.
However it looks, even if your initial business is complete, it’s about finding clever ways to stay in touch with the people you genuinely really like working with or supporting (and vice versa) over the long term.
While it can be easy, when the pressure is on, “survive” kicks in and things and people need to be paid in the short term, to end up chasing our desired outcome, at the risk of losing site of the clients. Or, when you’re overrun busy, it’s very easy to get busy serving the people in the group that yell the loudest and then realise weeks or months down the track that no-one has made time to swing back around to check on the parties that have been more quiet, as to why.
My best advice to you though is make sure you always keep the reasons your clients came to you and their needs front and centre in everyone along the chain of services' minds. Plan out a schedule of touch points, keeping managing the above 3 mentioned points in mind. And when you do have to do those "totes awks" AR (accounts receivable) or follow up type conversations, be mindful of the following two questions:
How can we do what has to be done for business, in a way that simultaneously demonstrates love, care and genuine concern for the client, as well as shows our commitment to delivering them a world class level of quality service?
In the end, people who feel well respected, honoured and supported in having their service needs well met are inclined to stay and want to further grow and keep engaging with you. People who are worried that this might not be it, or that they treat me/us like sh#t, are more inclined to want to withdraw or walk away.
And dare I say, question no 2: what do you want your business/organisation to be known for in terms of the client experience and quality of service? How, in action, can you demonstrate that?
Every touch point you have along the way is your opportunity to create that. Make sure you make them count.
Clearing up the Confusion About What We Actually Really Want From Each Other (& How We Can Love Each Other Better)
Call it at least 10 years in particular of watching out for this (and doing a whole bunch of work trying to work out my own "stuff" getting in the way of ME being able to show up "fully self-expressed") but what is so completely obvious to me right now is just how confused so many people seem to be about both how to recognise what other people want and how to communicate what THEY actually want. That a huge percentage of society only tell you what they want as an abusive, blame-loaded tyrade of how you failed to meet their needs AFTER the fact. Or another percentage are busy chasing around, longing for, lusting after people in work and love, who, as Justin would put it in the movie "He's Just Not That Into You" well, quite frankly, just aren't that into them and silence and absence really DOES mean what we don't want to admit it actually means. Or maybe occasionally, are too afraid to show it, or say it. And maybe they really ARE just all up in the head about it. But that is to be taken more the exception, than the rule, generally speaking.
As one walks about the busy streets, or sits (or stands, sardine sandwiched) on a train in peak hour these days, alongside a culture in which it's suddenly normal for every single person to be sitting/standing there with EarPods/Earphones/Headphones on, eyes and focus down on their phones. Doing their best to escape from the unpleasantness of the present moment, into a reality where the people they're really wanting to be spending it with exist/might be waiting. In this day and age, interaction is increasingly becoming more digital and our relating reality becoming more "phygital" than physical.
Ask any Relationship or Dating Coach or Psychologist this too and they will tell you, they're seeing it constantly, that we're starting to forget and becoming incredibly anxious about how to relate with each other in the "real": spontaneously, where we have to come up with responses LIVE, over (while in the digital reality) being able to take however long to think it over and then post or send a highly considered, calculated and well constructed answer. (Not to mention, have the illusion of complete and total control over blocking and removing any interaction we don't find 100% to our liking.)
As one of the World's most well known Dating Coaches, Matthew Hussey, put it this week, relating seems to happen mostly in short sentences in instant messages now....and it's literally killing our ability to make meaningful new connections and have chats that actually go anywhere meaningful, beyond coming to feel like you're perpetually the modern day virtual equivalent of "pen-pals". His suggested solution- make an invitation and time to pick up the phone and start ringing, or even better FACE timing each other again instead. So that we have a chance to see and feel each other in a more full spectrum way, until we can next BE with each other, live, in the flesh, to do the same.
My additional thoughts to add to this:
1- Life would be SO much easier if people could just SAY how it is that they feel and what it is that they want and need, in our conversations about how we can be of service to each other.
That's though, if we even KNOW what we want in the first place, which in this day and age, especially for the younger generations, seems to be increasingly a problem to feel out, as the digital realm and the age of information takes us up into our heads and wires us to responding visually via screens and away from presence with self and self awareness within the present moment to being able to hear our own inner wisdom/higher wisdom, let alone from being able to feel, hear, see, sense it in physical presence and awareness of another in person. Yet self-awareness and being able to listen to the feedback of our senses, as well as our higher thoughts is key to being able to understand what it is that we truly want and need.
So many spiritual gurus and coaches spout the line about just be of service and then life/the universe will meet you back, and then so many well meaning humans pay it forward. And it's true, it will.
BUT, ask the majority of Dating or Relationship or Executive Coaches, in practical application, the average pair of people in any given relationship, are often getting stuck in a whole OTHER complex lot of dynamics, that sound a bit like:
-trying to show up in service to the other, yet either feeling like they're getting it wrong, or they feel not enough or are expected to be Psychic to work it out
-feeling like one or both parties are trying to manipulate or co-erce their way to getting what they want, as oppose to just putting their cards on the table
-STILL feeling at times like they're NOT getting what THEY want, while the other person IS and often like one party just takes, while the other gives. Or
-in this busy day and age of work and life, feeling like they don't get any quality time with the other. OR
even if they do
-feeling like it doesn't last or there's is little commitment to follow through, when some other commitment takes priority again and follow through never happens (and then both parties get caught up in a stale-mate of keeping score of the investments made or not and then withholding or investing themselves accordingly....called a stale-mate because there's no way to win, until one or both parties concede dropping the game.)
-And then there's learning to actually recognise what it looks like, when one party is just not returning any investment because they're actually just not that into the other, and don't want to hurt your feelings telling you so.
-And how to recognise what it looks and feels like (and how we express it it, verbally and non verbally) when someone really IS in total alignment with you and wants what you do too.
Some of those may or may not in reality be the ultimate truth of what is really going on. The only way to know for 100% sure though where you both stand and what you both need, is to be willing to have a conversation about it. To ask and to be willing to actually share with the other person how you feel and what you want and need TOO, AND THEN try and be of service to each other from THAT place of greater clarity and authentic transparency.
Relationships would be so much easier, wouldn't they, if we could just SAY how we feel and what it is that we want, as well as asking what the other wants and how you can be or offer that for them?
2- Life would be so much easier if we were better at reading the full range of each others' array of verbal and non verbal communication (in addition to becoming more self-aware of our own).
But in application, that's a little faster said, than done. Because, once you have developed heightened awareness and the ability to be aware of everything that is going on with the other, you then need to learn how to read and differentiate the various sources and types of steams of data that you're picking up on, and where they originate from. More than that, one of the first things we need to UNlearn is the "operant conditioning" learned tendency (eg assuming a cause and effect relationship between two things) to assume that, just because you feel something going on with the other person, means it must automatically be about you. Or that, because you're there right now with them, you must therefore have caused it. When so much of the time, actually, you didn't. They're completely caught up in their own "stuff" and it might not even be present tense "stuff"; it might be about someone from their past. And if not that, it might be about someone else in the present, who isn't in your view in that moment, but IS going through something in that present moment that, on an unconscious level, you detect impacting upon the person in front of you's energy and attention in the present, for example. And then, finally SOME of it might, in the present moment, be about you. Knowing all of that, does it make sense, or does it help grow our relationships, therefore, to be reacting to things that, often times, might not even be about us?
In reality, there are dozens of levels of awareness and levels of experience within learning what we now call "sensory", "emotional" and "intuitive" intelligence (e.g. the collective abilities to read other people and one's own reactions and responses, effectively.) While it's possible to accurately intuit what is going on with someone else in a split second, and you can get to the bottom of what you both they really want and need incredibly quickly, when there's enough trust and safety established between you both that you can just cut straight to the point, for those who weren't born under the intuition tree, learning to decifer what is what within the layers of sensory and intuitive awareness can take a hefty number of conversations and external feedback, before one starts to become truly confident in and trust in their ability to read others (and ourselves) well. Until BOTH parties involved are able to communicate at a level beyond getting caught and stuck in each others wounds and projections, and instead stay "centred" and connected to the ultimate truth of what the soulful objective is of the interaction in the first place.
But people who are clear in what they want/where they're at, and clear in communicating what their needs and expectations are with each other, are better able to give in service to each other, without ending up feeling in deficit or resentment. Thus, If we want to be better at human relationships of all forms in this life time, dare I say it that, then I think we have to be willing to work on both self awareness and communicating where we're really at, while staying in connection with the part of us that genuinely cares and wants to be in service to the highest potential of the other party and see them happy and thriving. And then:
3- We need to make TIME for each other to have face to face conversations with the people who matter the most to us (and the people we've made an agreement to be in service to), in which each party is fully present and non-distracted by "life"
it is very hard to do EITHER of the above things well, until we MAKE time to have such conversations, in a scenario in which we have deliberately allocated a decent amount of our time, presence and space to do so, via a medium (whether face time, or face to face) in which to do so. So much of the reason relationships, work and personal, are so under pressure these days, is because both parties are so busy being overwhelmed by the demands of work, business or life, that in reality, we DON'T actually bring a) the full attention to that interaction with any given person that they deserve or b) end up making time to follow back up and check in about it AGAIN, beyond the initial conversation. And the quality of our interactions and our present and potential future relationships suffer when we don't. And if you're anything like me, I imagine you wouldn't want people thinking that you don't really care, for all the wrong reasons, right? If you want to show that we care, then we need to make the time. And make the time to keep checking in, over time.
So there you have it, there are 3 ways (at a little more) in which we can start to clear up the confusion with each other, in relationships of all kinds, about what it is that both parties actually really want and stay connected to what it is that both parties really need. Which not only shows them that we DO care, but is I think pretty KEY to maintaining the right kind of personal and professional relationships, over the long term. Not to mention, salvaging the right kind of personal and professional relationships we might otherwise resign to thinking that we've lost. Not always true, sometimes we just have to up our mastery, our A'game on the art of being fully "self expressed."
Until next time....
Lord knows we’re powerful, intentional, creators and you can fill your world up with action, people and material stuff and distract yourself from awareness that it’s there. But the trouble is, if you didn’t actually get the download on what the problem was underneath the guilt and shame in the first place, the wounded parts will still sit there, dictating many of your choices and what you create and attract, overlording you with fear.
Then you might still be carrying the ghost of shame past, from times you might have been externally shamed by people you loved. You might still be projecting potential shame into the future that MIGHT come, if that person is not actually (you fear) able to love and accept your broken bits and mistakes. And finally, there’s the shame you yourself are holding about yourself in the present, while you judge the crap out of yourself for the times you felt you messed it up and should have done better.
All of which results in a whole bunch of fear....fear of what will happen when people find out who and what we really are, with our gaping wounds, fear of what we will lose and who will walk away or disown us because of our wounds and our past mistakes. Which results in altered action. Selective, carefully measured sharing. Not putting our needs or certain truths forward that might rock the boat. Or worse, catalyse the rapid progression, towards some negative relational end. It might have us avoiding certain people or places or experiences. Or playing out battles that feel so real, but if we could just see past the living movie that is our wounds, we’d see are completely not needed to have. Because, in the grand scheme of themes, another truth about how things actually really are, exists, beyond that very projection. Our projections about such things can then end up running our life. We end up giving them a lot more power than really serves.
Yet two things are the case. If we try and chop off and hide our wounded bits to be some “better” version of ourselves too fast, if we don’t take some time to heal and look at the wounds, we miss the golden bits within the experiences that are the very reason we are who we now are today and have the strengths that we do, not to mention have to give what we have to give. Sometimes we disproportionately underway the value of our broken parts, and the healing power within them, compared to the bright, shiny bits we know everyone will be all likes and praise for.
On a personal level, our wounds first need our love, acceptance and our gratitude for what we gained from them, before the projections will truly lose their vice like grip over our heads and hearts....and we get our power back. And the tricky thing, how can we truly expect to be loved for all of us, if we’ve taken some parts of ourselves and tried to literally hide them from view, behind our back (almost like hiding a wounded arm, with giant, gaping wounds needing attention, that are eventually going to have consequences for our health, plus we risk losing functionality of that limb in life, if we don’t deal with the wounds. Though while we might think we’ve successfully hidden them, the whole situation is somewhat apparent to the people watching us, who can see, feel, and eeew, dare I say it, smell that something is up. Even if they can’t initially work out what. How though, can they love us and help us heal, if we won’t let them see that our broken arm even exists?
It’s almost like we get a whole arm BACK, when we take the time to, whether alone ourselves or with people who can help, clean, sew up and treat any infection that’s set in on that hidden, broken arm.
When we take time to bring love, acceptance and gratitude to those parts of ourselves that we’re so afraid and ashamed of within ourselves, we get our power back.
We attract more of the right people, who will love and appreciate us for ALL of who we are when we do. And the ones who might already have wanted to love the shit out of all of us, can finally show up how we have been wanting/praying that they would show up all along.
The ones who are presently busy judging and hence cutting off the broken, mirroring limbs in themselves might well make a timely exit (and if they’re going to, well I always say, better to put all your limbs on the table up front and let the perceptions fall where they may, and if they’re going to go, then just get it out of the way BEFORE either of you invest the emotional equivalent of a house and land package in loving someone who would perhaps chose NOT to willingly stay, once you showed them how things really are. Who wants to keep suffering, feeling all the pain that comes, when you keep falling in love with a potential version of a reality and a future version of someone that doesn’t yet exist in reality? Or worse, get caught in the endless shame- grief cycle, trying to show up as some healed, perfect version of ourselves we would like others to believe that we already are, so that we finally feel “enough” for them. News flash, we’re actually, all already enough, for the right people.
It’s a FAR more powerful position to build a life from, when we present ourselves as the whole of who we are, broken limbs, diseases, failures, greatest griefs, little and extraordinary gifts, strengths, achievements, what we learned out of it and all.
Watch how fast too the haters we so much fear using those vulnerabale points against us, lose their power over you when they take a dig at or try and use your sensitive points as weapons and tools of manipulation over you, and you’re all Ned Flanders about it (e.g. all the gratitudes about ALL of it and how you're a better person now BECAUSE of it.)😂👌🏻
There is great power in being all of your authentic self. So be that gorgeous, messy, awesome, crazy, unique ray of light that you are. So love it all, give others a chance to love it all and then create your life from that place.
Recently, in the process of reworking and adding to some of my existing offerings on Women's Leadership and Speaking, I've been doing a bit of a deep dive back into what I learned during my days of studying performing arts. I say my years of study, because my days of creative expression are still very much alive. And particularly, as I'm presently about to live beyond an age that my beautiful Mother never lived to be, I've found myself doubling down this month on my conviction and commitments to spend more time sharing more of the things I love, like dance or playing piano, or singing with groups of friends, or painting giant canvases with my hands and making sure more of these things permeate my work expressions a little more actively again now going forward. (Things that, through injury or terminal illness, she only had so much time to do.)
What I started to learn in those days, is kind of two fold. In one respect, there's the things that I've written about in blogs past, that I learned about Leadership. About teams and tribes. There's the technical things that I learned about how to be on stage, how to be with an audience, how to perform well. The more Business and Leadership Coaching I've done in recent years, the more I've found the consistency, the commonality in the kinds of mindset hurdles, limiting beliefs, the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, that most humans face in finding our voices, in finding the courage and confidence to stand in front of a crowd, in standing for or delivering something, just for them.
But then there's the things I learned during that time that I didn't necessarily expect to learn. The hard lessons of being a woman, being a human, you'd never have signed up for if you KNEW at the time, that's what you were about to learn in the middle of the storm. But, one day, you thank God/The Universe/The divine (whatever your wording for it) that you did. Because, in facing and reclaiming your true power within them, now you become free, to be who you were REALLY born to be. In more aspects of life than just work.
That time in my life, actually, simultaeous to containing some of my happiest and proudest moments, sadly, was also one of the two biggest sh#t storms of life events I've ever had to navigate. During that time, For a while, It felt like there wasn't much of a breather between difficult life events of my teens, someone else in the family getting or dying of cancer, or some other major health condition. My horse, my childhood cat, our short haired pointer, what felt like a lot the elders and my/our support crew at the time, checked out. Some of us (including myself, but luckily, compared to some, in only the briefest of cervical cell abnormality forms, for a year) had a close brush with it too, but said "oh hell no!" to the universe, doubled down on self-care and healing what was underneath it, and then came out the other side, healed.
Leaving home though, I felt insanely guilty about going off to the city to pursue my dreams. When someone like a parent dies in the family, everybody, in a way, has to compensate within the family system by stepping in to fill the shoes of the person who left. I made my own decision early on that i wanted at least one of my younger Brother and I to grow up feeling like they'd had a normal life and wanted to take a bunch of pressure off my single parent Dad, so regardless of whether i was asked or not, I just did the majority of the things that needed to get done around a country house to keep it running during the week. But then, like many Mum's I've worked with over the years, i felt equally as guilty and stressed just like one, about how they were going to cope, when i went off to pursue my work dreams.
Simultaneous to feeling the sudden shift of purpose, like an empty nester, only at age of 18, simultaneously, professionally speaking, I also felt very much like an 18 year old who'd just left home and, like many young performers and aspiring artists, I wanted to continue to stand for something and be involved in art and projects that would make a difference. While simultaneously, every day, i was coming into the reality of classes with students and teachers you'd know then and now from TV and movies. Not to mention, with plenty of others, hoping, they'd be the.next one to get into NIDA, or get on Neighbours. Whichever came first. It was a very surreal time.
At that time, I was also living on campus, while going to uni to study Contemporary Arts across the road. And trying to balance being an active part of a social culture, at, how do i put this delicately....the drunkest of all the country kid inhabited halls of residence, that like much of the country, was drowning in a social culture based on drinking. That was both a blessing and a curse. While trying to balance going to uni each day to actualise progress on my performing arts dreams.
What that culture, the A's and HD's and D's and awards i'd been getting up until that point, the running 5 days a week lifestyle hid though, was how often I was home alone some Saturday night, or after some function, half a bottle of Southern Comfort down, crying my eyes out until 4 in the morning, in secret. All i wanted at that point was no conflict and life to be DRAMA FREE. What I still had, were giant gaping, grief dripping holes in my heart and insides. And a massive craving for intimacy to fill those holes, plus a massive desire to be an easy going, "yes" person, who was likeable by everyone and could be relied upon by everyone, no matter what, to compensate for the amount of baggage i clearly came with, that i felt guilty for, and feared i would inevitably be rejected, socially and romantically, for. I once heard Oprah refer to her version of that, as being symptomatic of "the disease to please."
Add to this, the individual and collective stories and fears about male female dynamics I was carrying around and many of us were all wrestling with during that era....plus ones about fame, like:
-"Men only want one thing. Especially at your age, they can't be trusted"
-"Men need to sex to love and wont be able to love you without sex"
-"If men are the alphas and have the power, then a woman's power in getting what she wants out of him, lies in her ability to seduce."
-"Women are physically weaker than men and therefore women are vulnerable and in danger everywhere they go"
-While "it's ok to say no", "a 'no' from a woman is just the start of a challenge and the beginning of the hunt."
-And we all had and have a bunch of collective views about fame and celebrities; "Actors and celebrities are social property for the entertainment of the masses" and
"events are our one big chance to get near them", like Whitney Houston getting mobbed by the crowd in The Bodyguard" when the secret things people think about their "celeb free passes" in their lounge rooms (in which they've dehumanised them), spill out into the crowd space, individual and group hysteria takes over and, as the performer,
"you have to be careful of crowds and protect yourself from crowd mentality."
Combine all of that....and my next few months were anything BUT drama free. But, much to my frustration, added another 3 notches on the belt of my #metoo story.
I was sexually assaulted by a guy from a few doors down, who following me into my room, after a function, trying to get my into bed. About a month later, the day of a performance, at a lunch function, I got (involuntarily) dead-lifted over a fit Californian guy i'd not long been seeing's head, and dropped over the back of his head from that height when he lost his balance. Narrowly avoided breaking my back. Long story short, I ended up being treated for back issues from that until my 20's/early 30's, at which time, with all of the holistic health work i was doing/participating in, it mysteriously disappeared. And finally, a month after that, again, against a lot of no's and my obvious attempts to get up and walk away, was (violently) raped by a friend.
All of of these situations were dealt with at the time, and dealt with well. But for me, all of that, along with a broken stomach lining and literally starting to crack and wear down my teeth at night, clenching and grinding through all of that in my sleep, became the giant wake up call, the incentive, to stop drinking, to start going to therapy and, whether it was the right thing to do in hindsight or no, became a big part of the reason i deferred and went to work and ended up on a different path for a bit. This is a very simplified summary. But part of what came next, was a few messy spiritual crises and emergence, bottom-of-the-bell-curve-type moments of breakdown and spiritual breakthrough, between work and further study. That ended up becoming a big part of my inspiration to become a Therapist myself (initially of the Counselling and Transpersonal Art Therapy kind, along with the Energetic Wellbeing kind and then the Coaching kind)....and help other people who'd been through similar life and relational challenges, before then wanting to help those who also had big dreams and a life purpose they knew they needed to lead, but needed help to heal and get out there doing what they were born to do. Before, as the website says, having eventually become internationally known and recognised as someone who had helped over 20 000 Holistic Practitioners and awesome people out there in various other settings along the way, heal and get out there shining in doing their thing too. And, along the way, there might have been the reemergence of numerous moments of singing in people's lounge-rooms and being called in to crew people's dance events. Before this era we find find ourselves in now.
What are some of the harder lessons i learned, that i didn't expect, but that are still relevant to women (and all people) finding their voices now?
I was using my voice already, in one respect, and I found it had tremendous power.... and yet I hadn't fully found it yet on understanding why it was really powerful. Or where our power as Women, and people, truly comes from. It's not in force, it's not in seduction, or any of the decades of manipulative shit WE women TOO have played out trying to get our needs covertly met in a patriarchally dominant culture. And while there's healing, confidence and a sense of safety to be found in realising that we're capable of meeting and matching a threat back (whether as the warrioress, or the fierce Mumma bear within), nor is it only to be found in that. (Lord knows i also TRIED to nail the hitting BACK piece in my teens!) It's in having the courage to connect inwards, to show up and walk the world as a full body, walking expression of our truth and love. And speak our truth, relate, sing our songs, be of service, from that place.
More than that, it's in learning to love, respect and trust in our ability to support ourselves (in addition to how we women often OUT-DO ourselves in service to others) and have faith in the divine order of a universe, that is constantly aligning and working to ensure that we and all involved will indeed be met with what we need, in perfect timing. And while it's also in trusting that, when we get clear what it is that we want and need, the right, aligned people, will inevitably be willing and capable of showing up for each other as that, it's also in having the fortitude to get up and be willing to walk away on anything or anyone that our intuition and our better judgement tells us is not in alignment with or willing to commit to showing up, loving and respecting us like that.
Admittedly, several years of retreats, tens of thousands of dollars worth of therapy, several Mentors and more than a few occasions of re-facing those same demons again and again in years since, on the inside and the outside (just wearing a different face) it took to keep getting deeper layers of this. And believe you me, as i revisited these parts of my life this last two weeks, there have been A LOT of tears on my part of grief, guilt and regret, for everyone I've ever done my best to love and honour and for the younger version of me, that I wish, could have understood it then, so that i could've better protected her from all that she went through. Admittedly, it wasn't also without the humble acceptance that NOW me is still having my moments of working on trust and vulnerability in connection. i'm all too great at "show me YOUR wounds so that i can love them", flip the dynamic though where i really like you....panic attacks, tears....and more tests on discernment and trust. I'm still trying. The people i love, who despite ALL of that are still here, are the reasons i keep getting back up to try.
As these lessons apply collectively though, in a world where, according to her research mentioned in her latest book Dare to Lead, Brene Brown says almost everyone out there can tell you what they don't want, but very few can tell you what they actually do:
- being able better hear our own intuition (and better listen to what others are really saying, as well as ourselves)
-being able to better identify what we need and how we really feel about things
- being able to better communicate these things with heart and soul and
-being able to hold true to what is and isn't in alignment with it, as we go about our daily work and personal lives
are skills that clear many of us need more help with. So that we can better lead, so that we can better serve, so that we can better relate and go out there and create. So that we can better believe and trust in the divine perfection in all that is constantly trying to unfold around us in our favour, as we feel into what we love, find our clarity of purpose in how we feel called to be of service and make choices about how we will and won't engage with life and with others within it.
As some of my awesome Mumma bear Mentors of years past, and colleagues past and present would also say, there is also tremendous power in making a choice about what individual and collective stories we choose to tell ourselves each day. We have a remarkable ability to re-write our stories and circumstances to the benefit of both ourselves and those around us, at any given moment. When we start realising that the ones we've been telling ourselves aren't working, in any given moment, we have the power to pick up and re-write the script. Or let it go completely, and write a whole new one.
Plus, remember the supernova v's black hole metaphor I mentioned at the start of the year? Sometimes in life it takes a massive explosion, to plant the seeds of creating, and then one day birthing, something new and truly beautiful into the world. Something that is both a pure expression of love and catalyses all it touches into alignment with the highest expression of themselves, as whole, soulful people, right here and now.
It can sometimes be hard to see it in the moment. But big bangs, in the end, become the reasons we are now here, the reasons we truly understand how to love, and the fuel from which we can now serve and create. Once you can connect with that, once you start to see the silver lining beyond the storm, it's hard not to be grateful.
And while sometimes we can't undo the consequences of stories and times past, and other times, we can, what is always also within our control, is the first, next step we take from here. And It's never too late to start again. Excelsior ("ever upwards")
Thanks so much for reading.
Until next time....
Does your business or organisation have an active system of expressing appreciation to the people who work within and interact with your business? Do you know why it's super important and can be incredibly beneficial to have one? If, like me, one of your love languages happens to be words of affirmation, then i imagine i might already be preaching to the choir on this one. But if telling people how you feel is not one of your personal, professional or organisational defaults, let me give you 5 reasons why it's incredibly beneficial as a leadership strategy and a workplace wellbeing and culture building strategy to create more touch points of authentic appreciation at all levels within your organisation, beyond the standard systems of recognition of personal and collective performance and achievement alone.
What is appreciation, really? To borrow from Berkley's definition of both appreciation and gratitude: "Researchers define appreciation  as the act of acknowledging the goodness in life—in other words, seeing the positives in events, experiences, or other people (like our colleagues). Gratitude  goes a step further: It recognizes how the positive things in our lives—like a success at work—are often due to forces outside of ourselves, particularly the efforts of other people. "  From the now growing body of evidence on the numerous benefits of practice of gratitude and appreciation in the workplace, 5 very desirable benefits for both the individual, teams and organisations as a whole include:
Greater Personal Satisfaction
At the personal level, several studies sited by Berkley suggest that staff practicing and receiving more touch-points of appreciation feel more positive emotions , less stress and fewer health complaints  a greater sense that we can achieve our goals , fewer sick days  and higher satisfaction with our jobs and our coworkers . Employees engaged with such organisations are more enthused about coming to work and passionate about the organisation they're engaged with, as opposed to feeling like a means to an end in somebody else's grand plan.
Managers who express appreciation to the people who work for them, may find that those employees feel motivated to work harder. Up to 50% harder even.  A study reported by Harvard Medical School and conducted by researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania randomly divided university fund-raisers into two groups. The first group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations using the standard organisational procedures at the time. The second group — assigned to work on a different day — received a pep talk from the Director of annual giving, who told the fund-raisers she was grateful for their efforts. Over the next week, the study showed that the university employees who heard her thank you pep talk, made 50% more fund-raising calls than those in the group that didn’t.  Taking the time the time to say thank you regularly, positively impacts staff/team productivity for your organisation.
Greater spontaneous participation in workplace and cultural activities
Staff members in organisations with a proactive culture of appreciation are also more likely to volunteer charitable acts of service to the organisation , like offering to give an orientation to a new employee, or helping set up for and run an event, or dropping off some mail to a post box on behalf of someone else, or volunteering to cover for someone while someone else is busy.
Better Quality Working Relationships
In my years of Team Management, HR support and talking to clients of various organisations alike about their grievances, I’ve noticed a common theme in just how often all it has taken for someone to pull back from working hard or active engagement in a working relationship, is for them to feel like they’re not being acknowledged or heard in their concerns. Or appreciated for their efforts, or previously emotional and physical investments made in the working relationship. But the moment either a Leader, an appropriate team member or service provider makes the time to show up and both listen and reconnect with positive affirmation of the reasons you came together in the first place, with genuine concern for what the person needs going forward and with sincere appreciation of the value they contribute and thanks for theei efforts, it’s amazing how instantaneously things can turn around. Thus, making time for regular touch points of appreciation from day 1, as well as for opportunities for recognition of performance and achievement, can dramatically reduce staff turnover and increase the longitivtiy of working relationships of all kinds.
Being appreciative literally makes us more likeable
On a final note, and more personal gain for the individual Leader note, Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, in an interview for Women of Impact , sited studies in which they researched what exactly it was that made the “popular’ peeps the most likeable at school. One of the main things they found was the most likeable people have a different mindset when they enter a room, to the average other person in the room.
Often when we're in a social situation, the average person is thinking about their anxiety and what they need, or need to get out of this experience, if not secretly praying for a secret escape from it, particularly if it is business related. But the most "likeable" people, on the flip-side, are actually going into the room looking for people they like and things about those people they like; in other words, with an attitude of gratitude and appreciation. In a workplace or networking context, she suggested that an attitude of appreciation and service, ultimately leads to a whole other level of openness and a completely different lot of conversations, based on authenticity, resonance and how you can genuinely be of service to one another, both immediately in that moment, and in future. Engaging at this level, literally allows for more authentic likeability and relational longevity.
There is now plenty of evidence that shows that, when people feel truly seen and appreciated, they’re more proactive in participating in their work and hence more productive and engaged , they’re more altruistic in what they’re willing to contribute to support the team you’re in and to the organisation (without you ever needing to ask them to be) and they more outgoing in their participation in social and team building activity. As well as committed to bringing the best of themselves to each of their work relationships. As Leaders, thus, it’s super important that we model this practice ourselves and find numerous, situationally specific ways to bring more expressions of appreciation into all of our work touch points. And consistently at that.
How can you be more proactive at work in bringing more expressions of authentic appreciation into your everyday work and organisational activities?
 Kennelly, S, A scientific reason to stop and smell the roses, July 3 2012
 The Greater Good Science Centre, What is gratitude, Greater Good Magazine, UC Berkley
 Newman, K, How gratitude can transform your workplace, Berkley Workplace, Sep 6 2017
 Two Positive Psychology Interventions to Increase Employee Wellbeing, Journal of Business and Psychology 29(3):367-380 · September 2013
 Bono, J.E, Glombe, T.M. et al, Building positive resources; effects of positive events and positive reflection on work stress and health, Academy of Management Journal, 2013, Vol. 56, No. 6, 1601–1627
 Grant, A.M. and Gino, F, A little thanks goes a long way; explaining why gratitude motivates prosocial behaviour, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 98 ; 946-55, June 2010
 Hu, X, Kaplan, S et al, Accentuate the Positive: Which Discrete Positive Emotions Predict Which Work Outcomes?, The Psychologist-Manager Journal 20(2):74-89 · May 2017
 Higginbottom, K, Employee Appreciation Pays Off, Forbes, Mar 3, 2017
 Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, In Praise of Gratitude, Updated: June 5, 2019, Published: November, 2011
 Bucchi, O, Di Fabio, A and Palazzeschi, L, Gratitude in Organizations: A Contribution for Healthy Organizational Contexts, Front Psychol. 2017; 8: 2025.
 Douglas J. Brown, D.J., Keeping, L.M. et al, Helpful Today, But Not Tomorrow? Feeling Grateful as a Predictor of Daily Organizational Citizenship Behaviors, Wiley Online Library, 18 June 2013
 Van Edwards, V, How to Be More Likable and Impressive, Vanessa Van Edwards on Women Of Impact, April 17, 2019
 Waters, L. Predicting Job Satisfaction: Contributions of Individual Gratitude and Institutionalized Gratitude, Psychology, 2012. Vol.3, No.12A, 1174-1176
Earlier this week, I read a couple of articles from the US on tips for male speakers presenting to a group of women and the flip side of women speaking to groups of men. As a massive fan of the art, science and psychology of speaking, leading and connecting well with an audience, even though i'm not a man, i still felt like there was a lot of gold in these, circa the level of consciousness around 2010. And I have to say, I have a whole lot of respect for anyone who has ever spoken to a single gender audience opposite to their own, and survived. Let alone coming out having people raving about them and telling them they created a really safe and loving space.
At the same time, there was one point for women speaking to men, from He & She Talk, by Laurie Schloff and Marcia Yudkink, that i've had a very different experience of since i first decided in 2011 I wanted to get out there and start doing a lot more facilitation and speaking. And that point related to avoiding clothing, gestures or vocal tones that appear girlish, sexy or silly, on account of the fact , Laurie and Marcia suggested, that Men respect accomplished businesswomen. They also suggested that, if you be moderate in your dress and demeanour, you won't distract from your message. My experience of this has actually been very different, with business, with wellness and with alternatively focused markets. So i wanted to share my own experience this week.
There is definitely something to be said for setting up the space (where you can) to support your message and work, for giving consideration to what’s comfortable for your audience or not, when you’re there to be of service. For meeting your audience where they’re at, when they come in and establishing some connection, before you go trying to shift their world view. And lord knows part of the reason i've wanted to do more content and speaking training, is because i needed to get better at doing the left brain side of things, in balance to my ability to share the right brain therapist-typical experiential stuff. And hands down, i concede i could get 60 times better with the clarity and brevity piece they mention at times. Like....right....NOW.
But, regardless of my brevity and clarity, or regardless of your gender, i think there's another way to look at the intention we hold within the space and what we expect to have to manage. As I contemplated this over the last week, two scenes from two movies that happened since that book was written, came to mind.
A Star Is Born
The first, was Lady Gaga, playing talented, but self-doubt riddled Ally in A Star is Born (2018). Just in case you’ didn’t see it, here’s a quick re-cap. After she’s, spontaneously encouraged on stage by her seasoned musician boyfriend Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), and, despite her fear, he helps hold the space for her to take centre stage, she completely “brings it” with her performance of Shallow , in the best possible way and they love her for it. Then, at each of his next shows, while she’s just getting up wearing what she normally wears and just sharing her “something she has to say” with the crowd, she grows her own following, so much so that agents start chasing her, with big plans to push her solo pop career....in a very different direction.
In the subsequent moments, she has to choose between being everything her manager and the polls results from her target audience say she should be for the fans….and, as Jackson put it, the soulful version of her that had something to say, that the public (and he) first actually fell in love with her for, in her totally casual t-shirt and entirely human looking gear, in the first place. For those of you who saw it, which parts of her performance, and or Jackson’s, for that matter, did YOU most connect with, or not? My question to you, men and women in the house, did what she was wearing impact you at all, when she opened her mouth, and pure brilliance came out, when she first sang shallow? Or did you feel yourself pulled by the energy Jackson set up, of just just gunning for her to shine? #What happens when we set an intention of expecting the best, instead of the worst.
The Adjustment Bureau
The second, involves Matt Damon playing Politician David Norris and Contemporary Professional Ballerina Elise (Emily Blunt) in The Adjustment Bureau (2011) ....in the moments after he loses the race for a Senate seat, David goes into the bathroom for a final rehearsal of his concession speech. Little does he know at the time, the free spirited ballerina Elise, who happens to have been secretly hiding out from the guards in one of the cubicles in the men’s, after crashing a wedding upstairs, is also still in there, while he starts practising his concession speech in there, thinking he was all alone. Until she finally gets up the nerve to come out...and they have one of the most impactful and meaningful conversations of his life.
So much so that, as he goes out on stage and starts giving his concession speech, having just been crucified by his opponents in the media for his traumatic past, by part way in, inspired by his interaction with Elise, he throws the script out the window and starts explaining to the crowd the fake story he just told about the saying they had in his neighbourhood, the psychometric testing and pole results that went into deciding upon every article and the appearance of what he’s wearing, from his tie and suit colours, to the “correct amount of scuff he should have on his shoes”, to make him relatable to (and fundable by) the lawyers and bankers, yet not render him inaccessible to blue collar types. And called b.s. on the media having previously called “authenticity” the reason for his rise. His Campaign Manager backstage, clearly wants to kill him in the moment, feeling he’s throwing away all they’ve worked so hard for.
Yet, in the press that follows on the coming days and, as scenes continue into the years that follow, it’s shown that, his chance encounter with Elise, inspired a turning point in his political career. His truly embodied “authentic”, courageous, speech makes a massive positive impact on the country and wins the public’s respect more than ever, for him having taken a stand, despite his apparent “flaws”, for having the courage to get back up, in a world of “fake” and contrived politicians, while standing there with his perfectly measured appearance.
What internally shifted for him, was Emily helped him to love and accept the very parts of him that his opponents were trying to shame, as weakness and immaturity….his family deaths, his having been arrested also for having crashed a wedding, and then again for a college full moon prank with his butt, along with his buddies butts having been captured on camera, and just run as a fall page spread in the paper and him being branded immature. Instead of being judgemental, Emily told him she was glad she found a politician she could relate to, who was real and reminds him that, even though he might think he’s done, she thinks he’s actually made for this. And that’s what helped inspire his subsequent, Brené Browne style moment of being courageous in vulnerability, that won over a nation.
Becoming Michelle O'Bama
If you want to check out a real-life version of a female political figure's journey to speaking with an authentic voice and overcoming the things we'd think and she was told would hold her back, if you haven't already, check out Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations Podcasts part 1 and 2 of Michelle Obama's Becoming interview 
In a world in which the public has now well and truly been taken behind the curtain of marketing, sales and the media manipulation of reality, and shown the reality of how psychology and NLP can be used to genuinely help them, or used blatantly against them, we now live in the era of heightened discernment and awareness, that is driving the need for us to show up with greater authenticity. In this era, the world at large has now been captivated and inspired by the permission they’ve found since people like Brené threw open the shame closet on a global level and pointed out to a world now ready to listen, all the reasons we’re all starving for true connection, beyond all the ways that negative emotions get in the way of it.
Not to mention, through the likes of Dare to Lead , pointing out at least 10 ways in which not being more honest and vulnerable is literally killing organisational progress and the lasting possibility of true connection, innovation and creativity, while everyone is pandering to the fear of rocking the boat, and the fear of what they might lose if they do. Through her eyes, and those of the many in the personal and professional development space like her, who came before her and also lead us to this point of readiness, the wider world has now come to understand our own thirst for a world that is authentic, and for a level of connection that is deep and meaningful, beyond actually, the realm alone of accomplishment and appearance.
My point? While audiences from different markets and cultures, will have different perceptions and expectations about presentation, that are what they are, what if it’s not really as much about what you’re wearing, as how you’re showing up and with what energy and intent you’re engaging the audience in the first place?
In one respect, it can be really easy to lose yourself trying to pander to people’s projections. And the harder you try to appease them, the risk is, the further you can get from showing up as who you really are. Or from showing up as the version of you that they truly need, warts and all, while we’re trying to be the version that we THINK they will love. You might show up and do a great job. But you might also leave one of the most needed gifts you brought for them on the table of the green room, if, like David, you haven’t made peace with and try and hide some of your points of greatest learning from public view.
It depends a little bit on the nature of where you’re presenting and what purpose I think. But, for me personally, I’ve seen that, no matter what I was presenting or co-facilitating, whether it was introducing myself to a BNI, or presenting at a networking event. Whether I was co-facilitating an online training program or one of my own networking events. Whether I was facilitating a discussion with a Women’s Circle, or a workshop full of friends. Or I was speaking to an overflowing tent of women at a festival, or an event space full of people. It was the moments where I threw parts of my well-prepared plan, along with the left brain research and or script to the side, showed up and shared some of my biggest learnings that I’d made peace with, and dared to share my story on how I got through it, that flung the door open for people to reach the depths of the known, but deeply hidden experiences they too were having a similar experience of. And now, with me having brought it to light and brought love and acceptance to it, now THEY were able to have the transformation they really needed to have, above and beyond whatever purpose I came there for. Or whatever one they originally thought they did.
In those moments, your greatest weakness, becomes your greatest strength and no-one can touch you when you’ve owned it as your greatest strength.
The silly, naive girl in me did not become a weakness when I owned her ability to travel the country, bravely following her calling as a part of She Lives a Life She Loves. Hundreds of people, at one point or another, have told me they found it inspiring and wished they had the courage and hoped they one day could do that too. Nor was my sexuality something to be ashamed of when I started sharing my Women's health journey at public events, as a part of discussions on healing the guilt and shame underlying sexual illness, according to the feedback of the hundreds of people who attended, and the thousands they went on and told about it, make peace with their inner seductresses and theIr inner predators, and understand where their truth feminine and masculine power and magnetism REALLY comes from. Plus, have renewed hope for the relationship and host of life goodness that comes on the other side of healing their health issues. And for years, people have continued to thank me and share the flow on benefits of those workshops and presentations, long after they happened, regardless of whether I delivered that insight in business attire, or something I’d bought at Tree of Life or Ishka. And by the way, it wasn’t my accomplishments that they were respecting, they told me it was my courage, it was being true to who I am and my values. It was my self-respect.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, as some Wise Speaker Trainers from Thought Leaders Business School once wrote, It’s also the intention with which we show up to the space, and the respect we give our audience, that creates a more positive experience for the group . When we set the intention for the space to show up and look every person in that audience in the eyes with love, and practice, as the Yogi’s and Tantrics call it, looking for the divine (and the best) in them, as well as showing up with love and compassion for the parts of them that are deeply human, even if they feel triggered by things that you have to say or things that you are, with a few individual exceptions here and there, they will mirror you back with love and respect….and then continue to sit in the energy of transformation after they go, as they continue to process the insights in their own time. Whether you are or aren't a part of their after experience (and hopefully, you are.)
If we as women truly want to realise our highest potential as the people at the front of the room, (and lord knows the world presently needs a whole lot more of us in the Leader seats) it’s time to stop pandering to, expecting and planning for the worst of men (or anyone of any gender) and rendering ourselves non-provokingly small, and somewhat Vanilla. It’s time to make peace with the parts of ourselves and others that we fear and are ashamed of, turn them into our strengths and then show up courageously, with as much love and authenticity as we can muster, while we do our best to deliver on the agreed upon agenda of service, and then flow with what actually unfolds in the moment. While showing up as the best space-holder and quality presenter version of us is one thing, showing up as the fullest, most authentic versions of us, is where the true magic is also that. So be that.
Until next time, have fun, take care.
 Chathik, N, Speaking to an All-Woman Audience...When You're a Man,
 Shallow - A Star is Born (2018) Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
 The Adjustment Bureau 2011 clip .. speech scene
 Michelle O'Bama, Becoming Part 1 & 2, Oprah's Supersoul Conversations, Nov 15, 2018
 Brown, B, Dare to Lead, Ebury Publishing, 2018
 Speakership, Chuch C, Coburn, S and Fink, C, Thoughtleaders Publishing, 2015
There is no denying that this has been a particularly huge last week for Australia and the foundations on which this country stands. I think, If the recent explorations of things like the extinction rate and the impact we as people are having upon our environment has done anything, it has actually been to unify us as a planet and a people in a whole new way. All of a sudden we’re all (beyond just the "normal, usual" panic attacks people tend to have as parent's thinking about such things) thinking about our children’s children in the West, a little bit more like Indigenous Elders have been thinking of it forever. That’s been unconsciously connecting us more than we realise.
But then, we just witnessed an election, in which:
-As Kevin Rudd put it in his tweet about the elephant in the room no one was talking about, we saw "the Murdoch Empire run possibly the most biased campaign in history", and the secret power plays and agendas that swung this, were seemingly made more transparently obvious to the average person than ever before
-According to the numerous sustainability experts i talked to this last week in the course of my work, it would appear, so they all tell me based on their research, that the likes of Alan Jone's take on our 1.3% impact on climate change being only equivalent globally to a grain of rice in a whole bag, used repeatedly to dismiss our nation's climate impact to the masses as negligible and a hoax (so why bother to change a thing), is a bit of a misrepresentation. When you look at it from another angle, the data says that, if everyone adopted what Australia does, it would apparently raise the temperature of the planet 3 degrees. So Australia, make no mistake, climate and environmental IMPACT (whatever your opinion of global warming) is still very much a thing. Plus
-Unfortunately, it would seem, this election saw the rights of children, youth, women, the elderly, Indigenous rights, anyone with an illness, a mental illness, a disability, recovering from trauma, homelessness or in poverty, animal rights, along with all other life on the planet, put a distant second to big wins for business, for the longevity of the existing leaders term of service and saving an economy that is undeniably broken for a reason...that we wont fix trying to do the same old broken, corporate greed driven stuff that broke it in the first place.
And scary, isn't it, to think that it's progressively resembling more and more the same set of conditions that we as humans have come to exist in, just before the majority of falls of human civilisation in times past.....is it any wonder people are angry, disheartened, disappointed and scared, when they were crying out in the lead up to this election for more heart centred, soulful, truly connected leaders (and more female ones at that), when they had such high hopes that things might genuinely be about to change and this is how it went. I just feel like that all needs to be acknowledged before we move on. If i was with you in person right now, i'd be pausing here for a breath, before moving on to the next bit.
All is not lost though. Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's is still leading the way. Her government is requiring new spending fit one of five categories promoting “well-being: improving mental health, reducing child poverty, addressing the inequalities faced by indigenous Maori and Pacific islands people, thriving in a digital age, and transitioning to a low-emission, sustainable economy.” [1} Why would she too want focus on these things, instead of just fixing the economy?
And while, after our initial reactions, the majority of people i know, including me, then called out last week and said "time then to step up and BE the change for ourselves" because we know massive change needs to happen faster, why you might ask, is widespread change not happening faster?
It's easy to point the finger at corporate corruption, greed and consumerism, but there's also a bit going on, that is a lot closer to home. If we want to truly understand why many people are finding it hard to pull their focus to climate change, we can take a look back over 3 things:
1- Maslow's Hierarchy of needs 
(the version he published at the END of his life, not the one you still see en masse from the 1940's that omits his highest stage)
In this, Maslow talked about all of the basic human survival, safety and security needs that need to be met, before a person can ever get to being able to consistently focus their energy outside of themselves, on the bigger picture. And, from a higher level of consciousness (as in the step he later added of "Transcendence", focus on their higher purpose in what they're here to give back to the world in soulful service.
At the end of his life, Maslow himself actually adjusted the hierarchy of needs, to incorporate the top level of transcendence . From an ecological perspective, we are actually also, in reality, part of a planetary system and a universal system simultaneously. So i've also added the planetary needs and the presence of the universe as the most basic level reminder of the true nature of our existence. While Maslow originally stated the goal was to move up through these over the course of ones lifetime, it was also noted that, in reality, life events can challenge us at times to revisiting the challenges of the previous levels. So movement up the pyramid or through particular sections, can also, realistically be considered more cyclic at times. For example, when we divorce and re-partner, change careers or a natural disaster like a fire leads to us having to find a new home and re-build.
You could see the impact of the lower pink and purple layers of this model playing out as clear as day in the political polls from earlier in the year, and from my perspective, when i was at the polling booths, listening to the content of the average conversation. People voted their highest priorities as financial income/security, housing and health. Environment factored in about 5th then. All of those things sit in Maslow's lower levels....showing what? The reality is, far too much of the country, are still in a constant state of survive. (And not just those without money. In fact, you can have a wellness supplement company in start-up 2 years in, 40 billion in debt, just turning around into profit and STILL, be paying yourself a salary from the company to yourself that barely puts you above the person at an office job earning 55K per year). When you're in a state of survive, the reality of the way the brain and our genetics programming is wired to work, is that it's hard NOT to have to focus on getting yourself out of survive first, before you have stable enough foundations, available internal resources and just enough inner peace (homeostatic balance) going on again to be able to start consistently focusing attention outwards on what the rest of the world needs.
2- The unresolved impact of trauma (and trauma bonding)
Anyone finding themselves either leaving an abusive relationship, or in the early stages of first acknowledging and working to heal past trauma of any kind, can finds themselves in a state of revisiting the challenges of every level of the pyramid already travelled, and in a similar state of survive; having to work through their personal safety and security needs, before being capable of focusing their attention out again. To a person enduring either one, someone, or group of people, who can help them cope and survive the intensity, while they're in such a heightened fight-flight state of stress and high emotion, is often considered, by far, more important in the moment, than someone who can help them lastingly heal and move beyond the wound , to the later stages of taking responsibility for creating a life they love again and a path of soulful purpose they love.
3- The role of love (and spirituality) in overcoming Climate Change
As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh puts it from another perspective, it's a little hard to get the world to focus on climate change, when so many people are drowning in their own suffering and using any external means of escaping it  (from things like Netflix, to sugar, junk food, alcohol, drugs, to sex...name your means of escapism.) And little can change until each individual makes the choice to go within and deal with their stuff. In other words, global change must start as one of my virtual Mentors would put it, as an inside job. He also suggests that part of this challenge is acknowledging, as Maslow eventually did, the nature of our existence beyond being merely physical beings. There is much healing and liberation to be found in the realisation of the interconnectness of all things and the remembering of both our connection to Mother Earth and to our true nature as love. Ask any Indigenous or Spiritual Elder the world over, they'll all tell us part of the answer to our current global state of affairs, is re-awakening to our true (universal) nature. As i was saying on Facebook this week, awakened beings don't cause harm...they can't, because it's against their true nature.
On the way to our continued collective re-awakening though, as our mental health system, allied health and holistic health systems all well know, we're drastically under-resourced trying to assist a whole country to deal with the surface symptoms of the before mentioned deeper issues and developmental challenges though. The surface symptoms often being stress, anxiety, depression and a host of lifestyle related illnesses we're seeing en masse like never before. And, while globally speaking, we're running out of time to have the luxury to do it at the more leisurely speed we could afford in recent decades gone by, now as a country, we need to be simultaneously, as the NZ Prime Minister suggested, continuing to work on both environment, economy, sustainable technology, holistic health and our host of sociological and socio-economic challenges concurrently, if we've got a hope of making both a local and a global difference. Plus a hope of freeing a whole population to be able to truly see the forest for the trees and step into the purpose they may well have come here for at this time, to do something about it.
What can we keep doing individually?:
-Prioritise self care and learn, adopt or keep doing the daily wellbeing practices that reconnect us to the truest version of ourselves and keep you connected with your higher purpose
-Re-prioritise and engage in human connection like never before. We wont get on top of any of this, internally or externally alone. And on a planet of almost 7.7 billion, we nor do we need to.
-Keep speaking our truth with love and ask for a harder stand to be taken where change is needed
-Keep working on our own stuff, so that we're ourselves breaking through anything in Maslow's hierarchy that's holding us back from stepping into being our highest potential and living from a higher purpose. When we dare to go there and heal it, we also ensure our past stuff is a legacy we're NOT passing on to the next generations to have to heal FOR us. That too is more important now than ever.
-Then keep looking outside of ourselves for ways we can solve problems, help people become self-empowered and thus help raise the consciousness of the people. so that they're able to ultimately reconnect with the bigger picture and step into being the important piece in the puzzle of global change each of us came here to be at this time.
Easier said than done for sure. But, when all the emotional fall-out and processing of last week is said and done, it's time to double down on our efforts all the same. All of you, all of us, the heart-centred, soulful leaders of the world, are needed now more than ever. Time to keep on BEING the change.
Big love to you <3 Until next time...
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.