Tag: Share Learnings

Leadership – on Patience

A dear friend recently counselled me:

“Patience, my friend, is when nothing happens and you are ok with it.”

I loved this. That friend also noted to me that in so many areas of life (including in my roles with clients as a sounding board, coach etc) I am patience personified, yet I’m a human and we all have our gaps, and in one or two areas of life I can be pretty impatient.

This counsel was and is most valuable, and it also had me think about patience for leaders. (more…)

Leadership – The impact of beautiful art


“We’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for.”

~ David Foster Wallace

Early morning, awake and reading a lovely book by Matt Haig called “The Humans“. As I read, I am stopped and mesmerised by this beautiful quote in the book from David Foster Wallace.

When “DFW”s masterwork of a novel, “Infinite Jest” came out, the sheer size of the hardback book was epic, yet I voraciously devoured all 577,608 words of it (most works of fiction are well under 100,000 words), mesmerised by the genius of DFW.

Yet, with all of his ability to captivate with a magnum opus, somehow when I read this short sentence it stops me in my tracks. I am not thinking, rationalising, something about it simply stops me in the beauty and depth of expression made so concisely.

What does this say to me about how we humans receive and interpret information?

What can leaders and others who have as their key role to understand, communicate, engage, enrol others learn from such art?


Are you resumé building or legacy building?

Rosie and Mike blake

This week I went to New York to support my friend, the force of nature that is Rosie Von Lila (for more, see VonLila.com). Her guest at the event was New York State Assembly Member Michael Blake, an inspiring individual indeed.

Paolo Coelho’s latest email to his subscribers had me recall something Mike Blake said to an amazing 18-year-old activist as advice. The whole exchange between them gave me goosebumps. The early 30s statesman and the young woman about to graduate high school the very next day and already focused on a career in public service.

One piece of advice he gave was to always consider in the choices we make :

“Are you resumé building or legacy building?” (more…)

People are my Index Cards


Socrates distilled wisdom encourages us to “Know Thyself”, and I am on a constant journey of self-knowledge. I know I don’t have all the answers at any stage in life, I’m constantly curious and like to think I have a “beginner’s mind” and, in most areas, a Growth Mindset.

As we move through life, how do we know what we know? How can we learn more? What is our chosen method of learning on the lifelong journey of discovery? (more…)

Move your “NO” to “HELL YEAH!”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
~ Will Durant

An absorbing, energising and inspiring conversation recently has me musing on the process and the act of writing and what it can bring to us. In that conversation, I was nudged to remember and once again sign up for the wonderful thought-provoking curations of Maria Popova and her Brainpickings (highly recommended!).

In that conversation I was guided to an article:  “Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers“, which has an anchor quote of:

write regularly jennifer egan

“You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.” (more…)

Choice and the Power of the Pause

Frankl between stimulus and response

“Between Stimulus and Response There Is a Space.
In That Space Is Our Power To Choose Our Response”

That quote is attributed to Viktor Frankl, author of “Man’s Search for Meaning”, the most personally impactful book I’ve ever read.

Two recent meetings have had me think about this “space between stimulus and response”, about the “the power of the pause”. about our freedom to make choices, including our choice on how to respond to external stimuli.

One meeting was at an art exhibit, where being among amazing portraiture contributed to a sparkling conversation on many topics. One theme was on the power of choice. After that meeting, I mused on Frankl and this famous quote around choice.


Are you a Serendipity or a Zemblanity person?


“Zemblanity, the opposite of serendipity, 
the faculty of making unhappy, unlucky and expected discoveries by design.
~ William Safire, The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

One could call this an Unpleasant Non-Surprise.

Thanks to my friend Bruce Peters of Beyond Teal for sending through this article from TED, “20 words that aren’t in the dictionary yet“, with the note: “For when you run out of words or language to write about. Or, you could just make up your own… in your spare moments.” One of the words in the list was Zemblanity.

I started writing this on a Saturday morning, having already written three posts on a beautifully productive day. Serendipitously (of course!), the last article I wrote before receiving this note from Bruce, published yesterday as you read this, was: “Risk taking, trust, serendipity“, providing a segue to this post today. (more…)

There are no limits, there are only plateaus

bruce lee limits.jpg

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

~Bruce Lee

I’ve written again and again about different ways of looking at the way we limit ourselves. I’m passionate about this in the extreme, and in my work, I’ve narrowed my focus to only work with highly successful people who are already making a “dent in the universe” and yet have a real hunger to make an ever bigger impact.

We all have limits, conscious and unconscious. Part of my place in this world is to help people not only to go beyond their limits but also to realise that there truly are no limits.

Bruce Lee smashed through so many conventions, paradigms, limits. This quote, though, highlight something known to people and to business leaders looking to go beyond and outside their limits, as it talks about plateaus. (more…)

When you change the way you see things….


“When you change the way you see things….the things you see change”

~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Each week I typically have at least ten 1:1 meetings, some with clients, some with mentees, some with new people, some with longtime friends, colleagues, past clients.

This past week, one recurring theme was “flipping paradigms”.

I talk about “smashing paradigms” regularly here on this site, with examples where often things are radically different.

Sometimes, though, all it takes to support someone with a shift is to “flip”, to look at things from a different, or even opposite angle.

Read on for an example, and also for a couple of fun “flips” related to the phrase from Dr. Wayne Dyer. (more…)

We are the sum total of our experiences

we are the sum total of our experiences

Yesterday’s post talked about the power of belief, starting with self-belief.

A core to #OpenLeadership is, then, self-knowledge, and recent conversations remind me of this quote :

We are the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences – be they positive or negative – make us the person we are, at any given point in our lives. And, like a flowing river, those same experiences, and those yet to come, continue to influence and reshape the person we are, and the person we become. None of us are the same as we were yesterday, nor will be tomorrow.” 


Yes. You. Can.


Language is so powerful. It builds and reinforces beliefs in ourselves and others.

Whether leading yourself or others, as a friend, parent, employer, business owner, politician, writer, leader of a movement, there is incredible and simple power in offering another person your belief, to tell them “Yes, you can.”

Let me build on this with a few examples towards a pinnacle of inspiration I witnessed first-hand last weekend. Please follow me with this, the example at the end moved me greatly and I believe it will for you. (more…)

Diversity of Thought – Challenge Yourself!


A great quote to begin with !

I am passionate about Diversity of Thought, I am super curious and love to learn from many different quarters and channels (hence my article yesterday: “Synthesising ideas – who inspires you?“, listing some writers who inspire me, a group I’d say are quite eclectic a mix!

Oh, and around that quote and eclectic writers, do you know who Tim Berners-Lee is without searching the internet? 😜

Today my thoughts go to a moment last month at a mentoring lunch with one of my inspirational mentees, an inspiring woman who lives and breathes championing diversity. Our mentoring relationship began by accident when we had a first connection lunch where she addressed bluntly that she’d put off meeting me for a while as her gut instinct was that I seemed stereotypically someone she wouldn’t want to connect with.

However, something made her decide to meet up anyway and see what emerged. We had a great conversation and when I asked her what I could do to help here, she asked me to mentor her.

It has been and continues to be an honour and a privilege and I am constantly inspired by her.

{btw, if you are considering being a mentor, my tip is to get a sense if both people will be energised and inspired by the mentoring relationship, that is what driver and sustains such relationships !}

So, fast forward a few months to a regular mentoring lunch. At one point she stopped eating, sat in deep reflection, then spoke. She had realised: “I need to spend more time with people I disagree with”, as she’d realised that her work and life tended to be spent around people she agreed with and she avoided those she didn’t agree with.

When even such a champion of diversity keeps challenging her in ways that bring even further diversity to her own thoughts, that is deeply inspiring!

If we don’t challenge ourselves, our preconceptions, there is no growth, and there is arrogance in assuming we know the answers, that there is no value in the opinions of others (even if we strongly disagree with them!).

This drawing from Seth Godin in his book “The Icarus Deception”, as I wrote about in: “Smashing Paradigms – your Comfort Zone is no longer safe..wait, what ?


Synthesising ideas – who inspires you?

synthesising ideas

One definition of Synthesising is:

“combining different aspects of your ideas and research and the ideas of others in order to produce new ideas”

Many synthesised ideas are captured in my writing on this site, which is driven by a purpose best stated as :

“Our highest purpose is to share knowledge.”

from the Luc Besson movie “Lucy”

Inspired by “genius extractor” and fellow #ModernElder alumnus, Matt Clark, below is a list of writers who inspire me to synthesise ideas.

I hope my list gives you some inspiration and also has you consider who inspires you to synthesise ideas?

Some writers who inspire me:

Viktor Frankl
WB Yeats
Antoine de Saint Exupery
Steve Jobs
Winston Churchill
Don Miguel Ruiz
Paolo Coelho
Mary Oliver
Nilofer Merchant
Adam Grant
Rachel Botsman
Chip Conley
Peter Frankopan
Stephen Covey
Ray Dallio
Michael Neill
Seth Godin

Do you have a Growth Mindset?

growth vs fixed mindset

Regular readers know that each Saturday I write a “Writing I Love” article, and last week I wrote about Mindset by Carol Dweck.

I’d also reference the language and ask you to take a look at it and consider in the context of yesterday’s post: “Language shapes the way you think

I follow a number of thought leaders by their regular emails and twitter feeds, and one of them is Whitney Johnson. Have followed Whitney for years and love her growth mindset, exemplified by her book “Disrupt Yourself”. Visit her site to learn more.

So, recently her regular email was titled “Do you have an open mind?” and in there was a link to a mindset quiz.

Hmm.. before sharing that quiz, am thinking for a moment. Whitney does two things with her audience I don’t do.

One is that she only sends out her thoughts to people who subscribe to her emails, whereas I publish them online and then email to those who prefer emails. That one feels to me like a conscious choice on how I wish to engage.

The second, however, is that she interviews people for podcasts. I realised that podcasting has recently exploded among those I respect, admire, follow (from Adam Grant (who also, cough, posts transcripts for “them thar readers!” like me on his LI feed!) to Tim Ferris to Rosie von Lila to Cayman’s own Taylor Burrowes and many more). However, I realise that I repeat to people “I don’t like listening to podcasts” and similar limiting language. Hmm.. perhaps I could a) start listening to podcasts, then b) perhaps launch my own?

So, to Whitney’s thoughts from her email last week, then the mindset quiz:

“If you’re like me, I suspect that you think close-mindedness is a problem other people have; you, on the other hand, have an open door policy for new ideas.

And you, like me, probably do have an open door—when we like an idea or find it congruent with how we already view and operate in the world, we embrace it enthusiastically.

So this last weekend I took an interesting quiz—you can take it too, here —

Among other things, this quiz is designed to measure whether we have a growth or fixed mindset, and also an open or closed mindset. I fully expected my results to report that I have an open mind but then I scored in the bottom 25%. Yikes! Why would this be?

I think it’s because I figure out how I think things should be, and then want to proceed. Full steam ahead. We think a closed mindset implies bad intent; that isn’t necessarily the case.

You might want to take the quiz too—my whole family did, to fascinating result. Then decide on an action item…the next time someone makes a suggestion or you start to dish up advice, stop and take time to consider the possibilities. No matter how positive your intent is, or whether you like the person offering their idea, how could you be more open-minded as you listen to this person? Imagine the potential advantages—at work, home, or in any endeavour.”

The quiz is here. Enjoy!

Language shapes the way you think

Have a safe flight

I missed you!

Why not?

Don’t do that!

Have a safe flight!

(and thanks to a dear friend and colleague for reminding me of this road sign in Cayman!)

Four very commonly used phrases that you often use unconsciously.

Four phrases that, variously, implant negatives when you say them

Do you see yourself as a negative person? No? Well, you are when you use such language. Language shapes the way you think, as well as those you use it towards.

Now, let’s pause. What do you notice you are thinking or feeling right now about what I’ve written? About me perhaps?

My guess is that you may feel a little defensive, a little negative.

What if I’d replace each “you”, “yourself” with the less direct “we”, “ourselves”? Could that have made you feel subtly different?


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