Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: Gihan Perera’s There’s an I in Team

Leadership, teams in the work-place and success in business...

The first thing that caught my attention with this book is how it is presented, a quick flick through the book suggests it is easy to read, and it is. But don’t think this book is lightweight in content. It is jam packed with lots of information and is written in a style that makes it easy to understand. Gihan is a storyteller and through the various stories he shares, he makes the points with ease and intelligence.  I also really like his use of imagery to paint pictures – all very clever. These images make it very easy to grasp the key concepts and to put each of the concepts into action. It also helps you to remember them when you are transferring the learning to yourself and others.

The book is well structured – three key themes, each with three sections:

Step Up – focuses on you, your personal skills in particular your productivity, presentation skills and your personal brand.  I found this section a really practical refresher. I reflected on how I was preforming, what were some things I could do to improve – my email ‘in box’ being a case in point and also how I could give more effective presentations. I really liked how Gihan has set out 5 levels at which you can deliver a message. I found this particularly useful for a recent Ignite presentation I gave where I had 5 minutes and for a fundraising event where I had 10 minutes to get my points across.

Switch On – focuses on the team and how you can build a team whose members want to be part of it. In a world where we are all trying to be employers of choice, Gihan offers some ingenious ways we can support our team members. He helps us to see how we can help them to become innovators through tapping into their unique skills and experiences and how we can give them better development opportunities beyond traditional training courses.

Spread Out – focuses on how you can reach out to a world, to people to help you achieve you goals. I found this section of significant importance to how we can and should do business, where the workplace is no longer defined by the physical place of work but by who the people are that work together to achieve an outcome. Gihan introduces the reader to so many possibilities for getting work done differently - whether that be permanent or temporary staff based in the same location, telecommuters who help deal with some of the inefficiencies of working in an office. He then invites us to consider how we can make partnerships work and lastly we are taught how to work with our natural communities to benefit civil society.

This is much more than a book of well-expressed ideas. It is also highly practical, providing relevant examples and excellent exercises for readers wishing to engage in immediate application. I firmly believe that this book will support those people committed to improving the quality of their leadership, teams and business.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

10 Benefits You Will Gain from Being on Retreat

Instead of working, cleaning, running, searching, working, climbing the corporate ladder, organising, feeding the kids, shopping, planning…a retreat can support you to just ‘be’. 

The retreats I co-facilitate are women-only retreats. I am committed to supporting women to share their stories, recognise, access and acknowledge their strengths and to learn new ways to accept self and others with kind and compassionate eyes. 

We can learn so much from each other, here are 10 reasons to attend our next retreat:

  1. Targeted theme: our next retreat is about Acceptance. The energy devoted to resistance, denial and repression may have short-term benefits but is ultimately self-defeating. Acceptance isn't passive but an active and challenging facing of reality, a place from which new options become possible. We support people to learn to use that energy for living life more fully.
  2. Peace and quiet: you get to go to a quiet bush location in the hills in Mundaring, far away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Our retreats have lots of quiet time built into the daily schedule. 
  3. Silence: As an extrovert I know this can be a challenge – we like to talk, we want to get our money’s worth and meet new people. SILENCE can confuse us. Yet silence enables us to listen to ourselves and helps free ourselves from endless chatter – it taught me the value and pleasure of silence. 
  4. Coaching: our retreats usually have quite an important element that is central to coaching ‘asking questions that support learning’. As a qualified coach you get to experience the value of coaching conversations. 
  5. One-size-does-not-fit-all: our retreats have different themes however we offer small gatherings of 10 or 12 women. 
  6. Me-time: the weekend retreat is all about YOU. Forget work. Concentrate on you and just you. 
  7. Thinking: You do get a lot of time to think. So you can tackle a problem, solve an issue or discuss future plans with me or one of the other co-facilitators. 
  8. Learning: a retreat is chock-full of learning. From the retreat facilitators, from the other participants, from (and especially about) yourself, from the silences in between, and from your rested body. 
  9. A new you: you will be a new you when you come out of a retreat. You will not change completely, but something will have shifted or generated, or ignited. You will come out wiser, quieter, more balanced, thoughtful, full of energy, wanting to take action. 
  10. Mindfulness and Contemplation: thoughtful observation. How often do you just sit there and observe, think? At our retreats you will be guided through some mindfulness sessions.

Well it maybe you need 11 reasons - what about a Massage?, we enable you to schedule a massage during the breaks. It’s all part of the ‘me-time’ experience. Of indulgence, quiet time, wellness.
Register Now

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Top 5 regrets of the dying

My dear friend Rajhav turned 50 last year and has been researching the broad topic of meaning and fulfilment in life. Some of you may laugh and say - hasn't he got anything better to do, to which I say hmmm! What else is there? 

One of the gems he found was top 5 regrets of the dying which he decided  to share with with me.

This is written by a palliative care nurse Bronnie Ware based on her experience of taking care of the dying. 

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?