Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Everyone knows rejection: as a leader can you learn to love it?

Over the past month I have been fundraising, and have observed myself putting forward requests to a variety of people from different industries and backgrounds. The reality of rejection looms over me each time I make a request. Each time I make the request I feel the emotions of anxiety, excitement, and wonder and sometimes fear.

I know that if I want to achieve my goals I have to put myself out there but sometimes I can feel deflated when the ‘no’ keeps coming at me.

My colleague Alicia Curtis must have sensed this and sent me a terrific video on Rejection by Jia Jiang. In the video he talks about how he learnt to fall in love with Rejection. In fact, he undertook to going through 100 days of Rejection Therapy, aiming to make 100 crazy requests to get rejected. His goal was to desensitize himself from the pain of rejection and overcome his fear. 

So after watching the video and reading his website I decided that the best way to move forward was to keep asking, risk being rejected and overcome my fear.  I made the decision to keep observing my own Way of Being prior, during and after a request and to try and understand me and ‘Rejection’.

The following are some observations about my self-social experiment:

  • Rejection is first set up by me in my language that goes on in my own head, my private conversations.
  • These conversations create a mood depending on what story I tell myself and what I choose to accept or oppose about the situation.
  • These moods can be anxiety if I oppose the uncertainty of the outcome of the request or wonder if I accept the uncertainty of the outcome of my request.
  • When I am in a mood of anxiety I notice my stomach churns by shoulders are tight and I am slightly hunched over. When I am in wonder I am excited, my shoulders are back, my head is up and I am open to possibility.   
  • If I don’t make the request, I am the first person who does the first rejection – because I am rejecting myself
  • When I accept that Rejection is just a person saying no to my request I can become more desensitized and I see how the fear of rejection can immobilize me, loving Rejection can mobilize me to act. 

I invite you into your own self-experiment about the possibility of being rejected. What do you observe about yourself before; during and after you make a request? How can you lead and learn to love rejection?   As a leader your requests have the possibility of being rejected, but they equally can be accepted. If you don't ask you won't know and you won't be able to move forward to achieve your goals.

I am going to keep asking...learning and leading.   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Good Governance Starts in Our Community

There is no question that Boards play an integral role in the success of any organisation. In the past 10 years, as the not for profit sector has increased its contribution to Australia’s GDP, the governance and composition of its boards has also come under scrutiny.

Board composition and diversity as well as topical issues are significant factors that directly impact on a Board’s effectiveness. Of late, a majority of the research has been focused on gender diversity leaving age diversity unrealised.

In 2013 Southcare in partnership with Baptistcare and MercyCare used a social innovation grant to address this disparity with its ‘Engaging Young Leaders on Aged Care Boards and Committees’ program.

The following provides a snapshot of the success of the project:

  • 20% of Young Leaders Program participants attained Board positions
  • 25% of Young Leaders Program participants attained Board Director Traineeships
  • 20% of participants attained Committee positions
  • four dynamic Unconventions hosted with 30 – 60 participants in attendance at each session
  • His Excellency, Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Governor of WA enthusiastically launched the online toolkit which can be found on our website
Anecdotally CEOs and Board Directors also saw great benefit in engaging young leaders in the sector and developing partnerships. Southcare itself was pleased to play a leading role in the further development and nurturing of these young leaders and late last year welcomed one of them, Ms Ashley Dawson as a full member onto the Southcare Board of Directors.

Southcare has recently launched the prospectus for the 2014 Engaging Young Leaders on Community Boards Program and extends an invitation to community organisations to participate in this progressive and proactive approach to Board leadership, governance and management.

To download a prospectus go to or contact Dr Nicky Howe CEO of Southcare on 9450 6233 or  

We need to take action to begin the process of ensuring sector development and succession planning - it starts in our community.