#MonthlyWritingChallenge: Journeys – a blog by @Kat_F76

2020 has been a year of journeys – not the type I had envisaged and certainly not the type I would want to repeat!   However, each journey does bring a special something that is worth holding onto.

Those that know me well know I love a quotation to reflect on and gain strength from.  So, here goes… God loves.  God guides.  

‘The Lord will protect you…’  Psalm 127:8.  

I am sure I am not alone in questioning these beliefs, particularly during these unprecedented times.  As I worked my way through active treatment for breast cancer this year, I had a profound experience that highlighted just how much the light does shine in the dark.  

Receiving chemotherapy during Covid-19 was an incredibly lonesome experience.   It was almost like entering a morgue with staff covered from head to toe in PPE and patients reacting of fear, uncertainty and also a sense of gratitude to be still receiving treatment.    People were meticulously trying to abide by the government guidance on social distancing which was tricky when medication is being administered for prolonged periods of time.

There is one particular Wednesday I wanted to reflect on.  On this day I was welcomed and settled into the treatment area really nicely.  I was calm and focused on getting through the day.  Then, things took an unexpected turn for the worst.  I felt incredibly unwell.  I had never known anything like it.  I thought I was going to instantly combust and die.  This is no exaggeration!   The nurses swooped around me.   There were panicked sounds as the area was cleared and the curtains pulled round me.    I am so very grateful for what happened inside the unsociable distant cocoon.   Gloves were off.  Reassurance was given.  Tears were wiped.  I was brought back to a safe place.   I was terrified and just about managed to whisper ‘What is happening to me?’ Amanda sat down with me and stroked my arm for ages.  I could feel she didn’t have her gloves on.  She told me I would be okay.  

This emotional journey taught me so much about there being a light in darkness.   Whether you are a believer or not, I invite you to flip the bad / dark journeys on their head and focus on a special something such as acts of kindness that may have been demonstrated.  

There is always good – even in bleak situations!  

An original photo by Kat

#MonthlyWritingChallenge: Journeys – Part 1

noun. an act of travelling from one place to another.

verb. travel somewhere.

Journeys we have been on… Journeys we are on… Journeys we will go on…

Physical journeys, mental journeys, emotional journeys, virtual journeys and metaphoric journeys are a theme of our lives.

Journeys we have been on:

Places we have been, paths we have walked and adventures we have taken conjure up so many memories for me. Facebook reminds me regularly of my trips – today’s memory is of Croatia 3 years ago, a few days ago it was Thailand 6 years ago and the last few weeks it has been bringing back memories of my travels in South America last summer. Going on journeys has always been a carrot for me: I work hard to travel far and wide. My summers have always been about escapism and seeing the world, discovering places I have never been before.

Journeys we have been on also include the paths we have walked, the relationships we have had, and the things we have accomplished. My career journey was linear for a very long time, it was a ladder that I climbed methodically to get higher up each rung. Last year I flung myself off the top of the ladder and held my breath until I found out where I was going to land, how safely I would land and who would catch me to prevent too many breaks. I was bruised, but those bruises have healed.

Journey Quotes (1913 quotes)
Journey we have been on…

Journeys we are on:

For me, journeys are fuelled by wonder, awe and curiosity. For someone who is a planner and a bit of a control freak, I enjoy the sense of adventure of going on journeys where everything is not planned. I know where I am going, when I am arriving and when I am leaving, but I leave the details to unfold. This for me is part of the adventure.

The journey I am currently on is unexpected in many ways, but it feels like it is right at the same time. Since going independent on May 1st, there has been a feeling of momentum propelling me forward. The irony of lockdown is that physically this journey is all taking place in my house, in my head and my heart, through my laptop and my phone.

I have been on a journey through coaching this year too. I am soon to qualify as a Resilient Leaders Elements coach. Training to coach involves being coached too, and the group coaching model, buddy coaching model and 1:1 hinge conversations has helped me process everything that has happened and is changing in my life. I was self-aware anyway, but the model of seeing ourselves through the lens of ‘who I am’ and ‘what I do’ has heightened my sense of self awareness and made it more acute. The journey we walk with ourselves internally, is as interesting and insightful, as the journey we walk with others externally.

New Journey Quote | Quote Number 975613 | Picture Quotes
Journeys we are on…

Journeys we will go on:

Lost of journeys have been cancelled in the last few months as a result of the pandemic. A belated trip to Paris with a friend for my 40th, a trip to Krakov with another friend took a hit. My best friend who lives in Canada was due to come and visit too, I have missed our annual catch up. I hope to be able to rebook all of these journeys in the future.

This summer is the first summer I have not been away. I miss the ritual of packing, going to the airport and getting on a flight. There is something magical about airports and something cathartic about flying that restores me. In August I was due to be in Rwanda and Uganda for our next Action Aid project, and I am hoping that this journey will now take place in August 2021 instead. In the Spring I am due to travel to the UAE to do some work in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I am hoping those journeys will take place too.

I do wonder sometimes if we become more focused on the destination than on the journey we are on. One thing I have definitely learned and reflected on in the last few years as that there is not one path laid out for us – life is a series of crossroads and options, each option is a choice. But when we make these choices they are not finite and we can change our minds.

Learn to Trust the Journey | Journey quotes, Learning to trust, Wisdom  quotes
Journeys we will go on…

So today’s theme for our first #MonthlyWritingChallenge is an opportunity for us to reflect on the journeys we have been, the journeys we are on and the journeys we will go on. We look forward to reading your reflections. Perhaps that first step is leaning in to putting pen to paper, fingers to key pad and to journey into our heads and hearts to share our stories.

Best Journey Quotes - Because Life is about the Journey
Journeys we will go on…

NourishEd: Dreams and Desires

Dream

Noun. a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep; a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.

Verb. experience dreams during sleep; indulge in daydreams or fantasies about something greatly desired.

“A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood, although they have been a topic of scientific, philosophical and religious interest throughout recorded history”.

Desire

Noun. a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

Verb. strongly wish for or want (something).

“Desire is the emotion of longing or hoping for a person, object, or outcome. The same sense is expressed by words such as “craving”. When a person desires something or someone, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of the item or person, and they want to take actions to obtain their goal”.

I am a dreamer. I dream at night and I dream in the day. I dream in technicolour. My dreams are cinematic and lifelike. My dreams are vast and limitless.

But what do my dreams reveal about my desires? Are my dreams my sub-conscious and passive? Or are my desires my conscious and more active?

Dreams and desires need courage. Courage brings them to life.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them”.

Walt Disney

I am a dreamer, but I am also a doer. I get frustrated by people who share their dreams and their desires, but they do not do anything about making them a reality. We all know those people in our lives who can talk a good talk, they are good with their words, they are compelling in their vision but they do not walk the walk to make it happen. Their mission is incomplete, it is hanging in mid-air. 

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”.

Lao Tzu

Our dreams do not suddenly come true. Our desires do not suddenly manifest themselves. Our dreams and our desires need time, energy, attention and resource. They need to be brought to life. They need enacting.     

A good friend and soul sister of mine has become an accountability partner and we have coined a mantra that we both mirror back to each other. It is simply: “Getting shit done”. Pardon my French, but I think it will resonate.

To fulfil our dreams and our desires, we need action. Our dreams and our desires are alive, they are active, and they need our commitment. As we sow each seed, we then need to create and maintain the conditions for growth. Our seeds need nurturing, our garden needs cultivating, then we can harvest, not before. 

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake”.

Henry Thoreau

So, it is all well and good thinking about what we want to do, what we want to achieve, what we want to change, but we need to be deliberate, intentional and purposeful to realise our dreams and desires. We need to change the lens through which we view our dreams and desires; we need to reframe our commitment to making things happen. 

“Intense, burning desire is the motivational force that enables you to overcome any obstacle and achieve almost any goal”.

Brian Tracy

We need to project manage our dreams and desires like we do every other aspect of our lives. As women we organise, we manage and we serve – quite often everything except for ourselves! We need to apply those principles to this aspect of our life too.

That “series of thoughts, images, and sensations” need to be brought together. We need an action plan, we need to set goals, milestones and success criteria. We need to be active, reflective and evaluative as we create a sequence of intentional activity.   

Here are some practical tips to get started:

  1. Visioning: creating a vision board a good way to start is with. Building a collage of everything we dream about – at night and in the day. Putting our intentions out to the universe.
  2. Affirming: bringing those dreams to life through a daily affirmation, a commitment to ourselves. Articulating in writing what you want and verbalise them regularly.
  3. Journalling: exploring our dreams and our desires in writing helps us to make sense of what we are thinking about. Looking for patterns and meaning. Listening to the messages. 
  4. Articulating: talking opens and honestly with close friends and loved ones about what we dream and desire, enables others to help us fulfil our potential and realise the abstract.
  5. Reviewing: reflecting on our progress, celebrating out progress and reviewing what is and what is not working will keep us focused on our goals.

We should not let anyone place limits on our dreams and desires, including ourselves. Our dreams and desires are valid.  Our dreams and our desires need voice and agency.

“No matter where you are from. Your dreams are valid”.

Lupita Nyong’o

As a future-focused and solutions-focused person another reframe is the tense through which we think about and talk about our dreams and desires which can be a subtle shift in mindset. The language we use is important, so it needs to be intentional too.

I dream about… I desire… is a waiting game.

I wish… I want… is a power game.

Let’s stop musing and let’s start doing. For each statement extend it by adding “so I will…”

I dream about writing… so I will set up a blog.

I wish I could meet a partner… so I will join an online dating site.

I want to lose weight… so I will go on a health kick.

Even then the action is finite and needs expanding with a commitment:

I dream about writing… so I will set up a blog… and I will commit to writing weekly.

I wish I could meet a partner… so I will join an online dating site… and I will commit to regularly meeting new people and going on dates.

I want to lose weight… so I will go on a health kick… and I will commit to doing the Couch to 5k this month.

Whatever it is you are wishing for or wanting, by adding an “I will” statement and by making a commitment for what you are going to do about it is that step towards making it happen. 

“Most people fail, not because of lack of desire, but, because of lack of commitment”.

Vince Lombardi

Let’ stop waiting. Whether we are waiting for permission, waiting for an answer, waiting for an offer.

Let’s stop “wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen” and let’s take control and make it happen! Let’s not only own, but also let’s realise our dreams and desires.

Let’s get shit done.

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 7: Gratitude – an anonymous blog

Gratitude does not replace anger,

repress sadness

or quash guilt.

Instead they all sit side by side,

And the voices of all must be heard,

And the voices of all are significant.

The voices of all are significant.

To end the day with gratitude is to remember the whole of it,

not just the last, worst, or most extreme part.

It honours that cup of tea you had this morning,

And that phone conversation

And that sandwich,

And that woman who smiled at you in the street.

That woman who smiled at you in the street.

Gratitude is a shield against existential dread,

And protection from cosmic angst.

It holds back the tide of cynicism,

restrains the strength of anxiety,

And foils the plans of self-pity.

Gratitude is essential to the millennial first aid kit.

Essential to the millennial first aid kit.

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 6: Friendship – an anonymous blog

I met her on the swings.  “That man’s hair’s going grey!” I shrieked gleefully pointing at her Dad.  My own, embarrassed, apologised profusely, which of course meant they were chatting, which of course meant we could also chat, which of course meant that we were now friends.  As the youngest in my family, I’d dreamed of a friend who was younger than me.  Finally, here she was: two years old to my three.  I remember proudly testing her new shoes, squashing the toe like a professional, declaring in a confident voice, “Yes, they do fit.”  Once we’d established that our birthdays were on the same day, it was fixed: we were now best friends for life.

We met up most weekends, spending hours on the climbing frame with parents watching casually on from the side.  Once we managed to persuade our parents that we no longer needed supervision, we’d sit on the swings eating penny sweets bought with the coppers I’d stolen from the money jar in my kitchen.  We’d run through the estate (where we weren’t technically allowed to go but she was sure her Mum wouldn’t mind, and I was sure mine would never find out), and enter Jays Off Licence where a morbidly obese man balanced on a tiny stool next to his snarling Alsatian behind the counter, while we picked out our winnings.  We spent days in Topshop Oxford Circus, tasting every flavour of the new, free Innocent Smoothie tasters and trying on outrageously colourful outfits in the changing rooms.  We passed hours in Camden, wearing sarongs and vintage vest tops and sat by the lock thinking we were just about the coolest in the world.

That friendship persevered through the time she came to my nursery and I didn’t play with her because I already had friends; through my huge birthday parties that she hated on account of her intense shyness; through her coming to my school and hating it, only to leave weeks later; through her being significantly better than me at swimming; through my trying to convert her first to Christianity then to environmentalism; through her entering puberty before me and becoming both bigger than me and more self-conscious. 

When she was 16, she stopped eating and started wearing all black.  She stopped meeting up with me, telling me she was stressed about school work.  At 17, we went to Glastonbury together, but after fifteen cups of coffee and zero mouthfuls of food, she woke me in the night hysterical and telling me the tent was being burnt down.  We left a day early.

When she was 18, I only saw her once.  She told me she’d been drinking; that she easily downed two bottles of wine in a night, and that this happened a couple of times a week.  At 21, she told me her parents had divorced and she no longer called them Mum and Dad, she called them by their first names.  It was cold, like they were strangers to her now.  Her new hobby was clubbing in Berlin by herself, she told me.

After years apart, she arrived at my 30th birthday party, still all in black, thin and with skin as pale as marble despite being part Nigerian.  What freaked me out most was that she had a different nose.  Long, pointed, unnatural.  She seemed so fragile underneath the cool, socially easy exterior.  It was as if she had tried to erase all vestiges of her former self from her body.   The full figure she’d started out with.  Her broad, flat nose.  Her tanned skin.  I felt scared; repulsed even, by the transformation.  As she stood on the step, I barely recognised her.  I’m ashamed to say that after that, I didn’t reply to her messages. 

“One of the realities we’re all called to go through is to move from repulsion to compassion and from compassion to wonderment.” (Mother Teresa)

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 5: Resilience – an anonymous blog

Now I understand: success is not measured by external factors – grades, exams, earnings; 

Success is measured by resilience. 

The greater the effort in

and the greater the resilience shown,

the greater the achievement,

the greater the success. 

2006: aged 17.  It’s her first time behind the wheel of a car, on a hilly campsite in Cornwall with her mum.  The car starts to move and she panics and presses all the pedals, revving the engine, causing a cloud of smoke to appear from the rear and engulf them all, and her Dad appears out of the tent shouting something she can’t hear with his arms waving and her mum is shouting…

2007: aged 18.  Her first real driving lesson (she got a Saturday job in a clothes shop she hates to pay for it).  She crawls through Dulwich without leaving first gear.  25 driving lessons later and Jeff has had enough and passed her over to a colleague.  Mark makes her go round and round Peckham, telling her repeatedly how badly she’s driving and that she’s, “Nowhere near ready to take a test.”  She tells him she quits.

2011: aged 22.  Starting again with a new instructor and a new city.  She’s quarried the depths of her overdraft to pay for 35 more lessons and 3 tests in as many months.  Failed all of the them because 1) she didn’t stop at a stop sign 2) her reverse around a corner was too wide 3) she woke up that morning dreaming she ran somebody over during the test and was on trial for murder … then on the way to the test she nearly crashed into a huge lorry when merging onto the ring road.  Can’t even remember why she failed, except that by the time the test started, she was a quaking bundle of nerves.  She quits again and moves back to London.

2016: aged 27.  A woman this time – called Farida.  She loves her warmth as they drive around NW London.  Farida laughs when she makes mistakes, which makes her less anxious.  Most of her salary changes hands.  After another 20 lessons, she takes another test.  The tester has to grab the wheel half way through as she nearly collides with a lorry and then over-compensates and nearly falls off the road into a ditch.

2017: aged 28.  Her friend’s Dad spends a week helping out: he makes her reverse round and round a car park.  As a statement of trust, he puts his daughter, his wife and his Dad in the back and tells her to drive them to Wales.  If she crashes now, she will literally wipe out 3 generations of his family. 

A week later, she takes another test.  When the tester says, “Pass” she starts crying and feel like her spine gives way as she crumbles forwards into the steering wheel.

After that, she borrows a car and drives all the way from London to Cornwall alone, just to prove to herself that she really can.  She gets given a rusty, old car and spends the entire contents of her bank account insuring it.  She can drive.  She can drive!  She drives to Edinburgh, to Manchester, to Sussex and all around London.  She learns to hate the M25 and to lean her arm out of the window in a nonchalant act of dominance that makes others let her into traffic.  Of everything she’s done in life, this is the achievement she is most proud of.

Now I understand: success is not measured by external factors – grades, exams, earnings; 

Success is measured by resilience. 

The greater the effort in

and the greater the resilience shown,

the greater the achievement,

the greater the success. 

#DailyWritingChallenge Day 4: Guilt – an anonymous blog

I’m 6 years old.  It’s Sunday morning.  For weeks now I’ve been feeling I’m not that keen on church – all the other children know each other because they all go to a Christian school.  Dolphin School it’s called.  I always wonder why.  Doesn’t sound like a Christian school.  I feel left out. 

That morning I decide to try out something my friend Zara always does because she doesn’t like school.  She says she doesn’t feel well.  She says she has a headache.  I can’t bring myself to lie so blatently as all that so I persuade myself that I really do have a headache and a sore throat and feel tired.  For once my parents listen and my big sister stays at home with me. 

So my parents and other sister head off in the car and we stay behind.  My big sister says we can go outside.  Shouldn’t I stay in if I’m ill? I ask.  Why? she says.  I’ll wrap you up in a rug.  I’ll wrap you up so tight.  I’ll make you snug as a bug in a rug.  The joy of rhyming swings it.  So we go outside and she wraps me up in a blanket like a big sausage roll on the grass.  I take off my jumper and hang it over the climbing frame and we play for a while in the blanket.  She rolls me over and over.  I laugh and laugh.  Snug as a bug in a rug! I chime, Snug as a bug in a rug. 

Let’s go inside before the others get back so they don’t find out, I suggest.  Still worried at the back of my mind.  Niggling guilt.  We go inside and remember the blanket but forget the jumper.  It’s still outside swinging over the climbing frame right in front of the back door for everyone to see.  Mum and Dad get back.  You don’t seem too ill, they say.  And you’ve been outside! says my middle sister.  She’s jealous.  She wishes she didn’t go to church too. Why were you outside if you were ill?  More guilt.  They know.  They KNOW. 

I lied.  Guilt.  Overpowering guilt.  Not just any lie.  A lie to my parents.  A lie to get out of going to church.  A lie so that I didn’t have to worship God. 

They didn’t tell me off.  A sigh from my mum was enough.  I never did that again.  Instead I went to church every week.  Went to Sunday school with the children who all went to school together.  Did the colouring in and listened to the stories and sang songs and did the actions.

After that I was a good girl.

No more lying.

Ever.

Leadership Presence

Leadership presence is made up of several facets. Presence is the ability to take command of a room, assume a leadership role amongst various audiences, share our thinking and opinion with confidence, and strike a balance between talking and listening such that our communication style is both persuasive and impactful.

Leadership presence is a perception that is deeply rooted in organisational and cultural biases:

  • Perceived confidence through words
  • Perceived confidence through body language
  • Ability to ask clear, meaningful questions
  • Ability to craft and defend a clear point of view
  • Being able to hold steady and participate effectively in debate
  • Being able to stand one’s ground
  • Expressed passion
  • Asking questions at the right “level”

A leader with impressive presence is accomplished at:

  • Adapting to an audience’s energy level, cadence, and needs. For example, for a less engaged group, we as leaders need to be able to rev up the energy, talk more than listen, and lead the conversation; whereas a more engaged, energised group requires more observation and facilitation.
  • Having a certain level of situational awareness and be able to read the room quickly.
  • Tracking with the conversation to determine the right approach toward influence. This requires thinking quickly on our feet, and reading both verbal and nonverbal cues.

Leadership presence is rooted in our basic values – and the “inner work” of knowing our strengths, weaknesses, talents and biases is crucial to aligning people’s impression of us with our best authentic self.

I am currently training with Resilient Leaders Elements to be a consultant coach. The coaching programme, platform and resources are based on 15 years worth of practice-led research from leaders across the world in different sectors. It is distilled down into 4 Elements, and each element is informed by 3 facets.

Leadership Presence is defined by RLE as:

“Being true to yourself, your values and your ethical code, being in service to others and bringing a focus and a bias for achievement to your organisation and to others around you”. 

The impact of this element on us as leaders:

“You have presence even when you’re not in the room. The best person takes the lead and is fully supported by all around them, leading to greater effectiveness and better results. People know each other well enough to anticipate other’s actions and to act accordingly”.   

As leaders we need to have presence and be aware of our presence. Our presence is shaped by how we show up, how we connect and how we commit:

  • Authenticity: demonstrating integrity and conviction, operating to your values and your ethics, being true to yourself.
  • Serving: the needs of others are the priority; you are committed to the development of people. 
  • Intentional: remaining focused on the purpose of the organisation, to be positive and appreciative rather than criticising; having personal energy and a bias for achievement.   

Leadership Presence 5Leadership presence can also be referred to as gravitas. I am often asked by people  who I coach to help them build their gravitas.

Gravitas is a quality that a leader exudes because she chooses to say and do only what is important. Others grant her respect and pay particular attention to what she says and does because she knows that she adds weight or value to any situation in which she speaks.

Gravitas is confidence and expertise. It gives weight to our thoughts, words and actions, causing others to gravitate towards us. It is knowing our stuff, which gives us a credible, influential voice. To develop it, we first need to give value to ourselves, our thoughts and knowledge. We then need to become a subject matter expert in our area and show that we are able to answer any question thrown at us in a calm and collected way.

“I gravitate towards gravitas”.

Morgan Freeman

There is a lot of advice out there about how we as leader can develop our presence and expand our gravitas. I have summarised some of the articles I have read below.

Firstly, we need to establish our leadership presence – here are 10 tips to consider (especially useful if you are new to leadership, new to role or new to an organisation):

  1. Show up as a whole person
  2. Lead with what we care about
  3. Begin a conversation that others want to continue
  4. Focus through your body
  5. Cultivate sustainable curiosity
  6. Start by standing still
  7. Find the story in everything
  8. Hold something back
  9. Investigate your impact
  10. Build our “muscle memory”

If you are established as a leader but want to improve your presence then consider these tips to further enhance how you are seen:

  1. Boost your self-confidence and manage your self-doubt. To boost your confidence, adjust your physical posture so you are standing up straight – channel Amy Cuddy’s Power Pose.
  2. Remind yourself: “What’s on their face is not about me.” Confident leaders maintain their composure at all times – staying calm is key to improving your leadership presence.
  3. Stay credible. Credibility revolves around body language and communication. However, certain words — like “because” — automatically increase one’s credibility as it adds weight to what you  are saying.
  4. Invest in social capital. Your connections with others and your social relationships add value. Connect in a more powerful way with others – instead of focusing on how you can promote yourself, think about how you can help them.
  5. Send two sets of body language signals. Showing confident body language will highlight your power and status, while open body language accentuates warmth and inclusiveness. By sending a perfect mixture of both, you will improve your leadership presence.

If you do not yet have the leadership presence you want, keep working through these 12 elements until you have discovered the influence that belongs to you and they have become positive habits.

  1. Develop your character: Your character should never be silent. It needs to have a voice that reflects your heart and soul. When you lead with character, you give the essence of your identity.
  2. Mind your attitude: Your attitude as a leader influences those around you, whether it is negative or positive. It will be felt by those around you more quickly than your actions. A great leadership presence is practised not so much in words as in attitudes and in actions.
  3. Everything you wear has an expression: How you look and how you dress are important. Appearances make the first impression, so make sure your outward appearance reflects who you are inwardly – represent yourself authentically and appropriately.
  4. Respect is the presence of everything: Great leaders build presence by practising respect in three ways: respect for self, respect for others, and responsibility for actions. Without respect and responsibility true leadership presence is impossible.
  5. Master competency: Great leaders do not tell people what they know but show others how it is done. You have to be proficient in your field and an expert with your skills to have a presence in your leadership.
  6. Cultivate communication: You need the skills to inform others, engage with others, and advise others in a clear and concise way that can be implemented and followed. The art of communication is the language of leadership.
  7. Pay attention, your body is speaking: People may not always tell you how they feel, but they will always show you what they are thinking—you just have to pay attention to their presence. Body language sends clear message, even when people are not speaking. Make sure your own body language is consistent with what you say; do not contradict yourself.
  8. Emotional intelligence: Intelligence is important, but emotional intelligence matters more. It gives you the ability to understand yourself and others, a critical component of creating presence.
  9. Accountability is your responsibility: To have presence is to accept responsibility for your actions and be accountable for your results. Without accountability there is no presence in leadership. Hold yourself to account and be responsible for everything you say and do, moreover for the impact it has on others.
  10. Motivation comes from within: A true leadership presence motivates and inspires others – to share a vision, to take initiative, to work towards a common purpose, to work together to accomplish tasks and to achieve goals. Be close enough to relate but be far enough to keep people moving forward.
  11. Integrity is always the purpose: Some people think leadership is all about power, but actually it is all about having integrity. Having integrity means choosing your thoughts and actions based on your values and not on your personal gain.
  12. Reputation builds perception: When you have a leadership presence, it becomes a central part of your reputation. When your reputation is built on your character, it is who you really are that defines how others see you.

Presence is much more than just being there, it is about adding value and making a difference for yourself and those around you. Leadership presence is seen externally but needs working on internally. Leading from within, leading ourselves stems from having a strong core.

Imagine your gravitas as an internal light bulb, the more confident, the more energy and the more authentic you become, the brighter that light shines. This light then emits from your body, through everything you say and do to create a powerful presence.

We thus need to focus on the inner work, before we can focus on the outer work. Through coaching and training you can break down and flex each of the individual components that together create a powerful whole. Hold on to your power and do not give it away. Fill the space – both physically and vocally, do not shrink and hide. Communicate confidently – reframe apologetic language, do not diminish yourself and avoid self-deprecation.

Be authentic. Be in service. Be intentional.

Leadership Presence Quotes. QuotesGram

 

 

Being successful or becoming successful?

noun. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Being successful. Becoming successful. Accomplishing goals. Achieving success.
We are surrounded by the language of success, but does it need to be a binary opposition of winning v losing or being successful v unsuccessful?
Success isn’t about luck. Success is about being driven to succeed. Success is about fulfilling our potential.
Successful people share certain traits – they are open and curious; they are in control of themselves and their actions; they are conscientious and vigilant; they are driven and hardworking.
Success is our mindset. Having a growth mindset (the belief that we are in control of our own ability, and can learn and improve) is the key to success. Hard work, effort, and persistence are all important, but they are not as important as having that underlying belief that we are in control of our own destiny. A success mindset allows us flexibility to see the different possibilities and steps needed to get the job done.
Success is psychological as it is the accomplishment of our self-defined goals. A goal is simply a dream with a deadline. Once we feel that we have accomplished the goal we set ourselves, we have succeeded.
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Some Steps to Success:

  1. Identify your goal.
  2. Set  your deadline.
  3. Make a plan to get you there.
  4. Take action – do something every day to move toward your goal.
  5. Evaluate how you are doing.
  6. Resolve in advance that you will persist until you succeed and that you will not give up.
  7. Reflect on what you achieve.
  8. Celebrate successfully fulfilling your goal.

Carol S. Dweck Quotes (33 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

 

In Carol Dweck’s book ‘Mindset: The Psychology of Success’ there are 10 big ideas that she outlines:

  1. Adopt a growth mindset and focus on learning over achievement;
  2. Change your mindset by thinking and reacting in different ways;
  3. Become a growth-mindset thinker in the moment;
  4. Love what you are doing by embracing the process and the growth;
  5. Reward the journey, regardless of the outcome;
  6. See your relationships from a growth mindset;
  7. Appreciate that artistic ability can be developed through training;
  8. Understand that physical skills can be developed through training;
  9. Shape mindsets through the gift of growth mindset actions and words.
  10. Accept that we all have interests that can blossom into abilities.

Carol S. Dweck Quotes (33 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

So let’s focus on becoming successful, in whatever we are doing, rather than being successful. Success is not a destination but the journey we are on. The growth is in the struggle, the learning is in the endeavour. Let’s also remember that we set our own goals and determine our own success criteria.
Success requires a growth mindset.

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.”

Steve Maraboli

Success requires imagination.
“Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be,
have or do”. 
Brian Tracy 
Success requires self-motivation.
“Your success and happiness lie in you”.
Helen Keller

Success requires determination.

“Put your heart, mind and soul into even your smallest acts.
This is the secret of success”.
Swami Sivananda
Success requires intentional activity.
“Success is never accidental”.
Jack Dorsey

Success requires commitment.

“Success does not lie in results, but in efforts, being the best is not so important, doing the best is all that matters”. Unknown 
Success requires effort over time.
“Success is a journey not a destination”.
Unknown
Success requires embracing opportunities and the fear of the unknown.
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on”.
Sheryl Sandberg
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#DailyWritingChallenge Day 3: Honesty – an anonymous blog

This is a story about living in two bizarrely different worlds, and gradually learning to be honest about who I am, ‘fitting in’ in neither space but belonging wherever I am accepted as myself.

I grew up on Brixton hill, where prostitutes stood on the corner, and I could see the corner shop getting robbed from my window.  In the holidays, we stayed with my Mum’s extended family, who were upper class and wealthy.  Conservative MPs.  ‘sir this’ ‘lord that’ ‘lady this’.  They lived in huge mansions surrounded by ornate gardens and fields.

It was a bizarre double life.  No-one at my primary school could even imagine it: sitting up at long, wooden dining tables; playing croquet on the lawn; making cucumber sandwiches and laying out the cutlery correctly; watering the kitchen garden; boating on the lake; racing barefoot to the end of the bowling green.  Likewise, none of my great aunts or uncles could possibly have envisioned my school life.  Cussing each other and each other’s mums.  Standing on the wall singing Spice Girls.  Singing gospel music at full volume every morning in assembly.  My defensiveness that at times bordered aggression.

To pretend I belonged to either life felt dishonest.  Like my classmates, we had no money.  Unlike them, we had a house full of paintings that my Dad had inherited; a fall back to sell if times got hard enough.  Like my classmates, I dropped my ‘t’s, kissed my teeth and ‘cut my eye’ at people, but my voice always retained a posh, even plumy edge.  The swagger never looked quite right on me.  I had neither black people’s hair nor the acceptable version of white people’s hair – it wasn’t sleek, it was knotty and curly and unmanageable.  I never had Nike trainers or Adidas tracksuits.  I had to be honest: I didn’t fit in.

After going to my local primary school, I was sent to a private secondary school because a great aunt left money for school fees in her will.

I’d never heard of netball – at my school we only played basketball, but apparently now that was considered a boys’ sport.  I was grade 5 on the recorder, but now I was told that the recorder was not a real instrument and I was put into the beginners’ music class, being taught musical terminology I’d known since year 2.  At lunchtime, people actually queued for their lunch!  I took full advantage, every day pushing my way past all the other students straight to the front.  If no-one was going to push back or tell on me, why would I bother waiting?  Attempting to fit in, I left behind my primary school friends, stopped kissing my teeth and learned instead to swear in a posh voice.  I took up playing the oboe (paid for by my aunt and uncle) and joined the choir.

Like my classmates, I had relatives who lived in the countryside, but while my classmates talked about their exotic holidays in Australia, I didn’t even know where Australia was.  I’d never been out of the UK.  They talked about their ‘allowance’, with most of them receiving around £70 a month from their parents.  I didn’t even get pocket money!  I didn’t shop in Jane Norman or have a Pineapple tracksuit.  I had to be honest:  I didn’t fit in.

It’s taken me years to realise that fitting in is not the goal.  Honesty is more important than fitting in.  Tempting as it is for me to reject one world or the other, honesty with myself requires me to be who I am – this in-between-worlds person.  Honesty with myself offers other people the opportunity to accept me as I am, and offers me the opportunity to accept others as they are, no matter what worlds they come from.  Honesty with myself creates a space for belonging, that is, acceptance that includes difference.  This belonging is something I am both learning to find for myself and in turn to offer to all those around me.

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