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Articles filed in: Success

Trusted Over Time


We often hear it said that it’s hard to stand out in an increasingly competitive world.

Maybe you can’t be the biggest, fastest or cheapest in your field. But there are plenty of ways to differentiate and make a mark. First among them is by being trusted over time.

Make promises you intend to keep. Keep them.

Image by Zdeněk Macháček

On Influence


Many of us go through life feeling powerless to change things. After all, not everyone has leadership status or power conferred upon them. We sometimes believe that influence is a top-down construct—that we can have the most influence from a position of authority.

Let’s challenge that assumption.

Think about someone whose impact helped change how you see the world.

My uncle Larry was that person for me. He was the youngest of my grandmother’s eleven children—born with a genetic disorder that caused many health issues throughout his life and his premature death. Larry never knew his father, who died as he lay sleeping in bed next to him and my grandmother when he was a year old.

When he was thirteen, Larry’s headmaster told him he was too tall to be at school and instructed him to leave. That was the end of his formal education. It was hard for him to find manual work because he was often sick. He learned to love reading and was curious about the world. He chain-smoked and spent hours tinkering with big motorbikes.

Larry introduced me to the library when I was seven. I grew up in a house with no books, so joining the library changed everything. Larry was the one who unlocked the magic of books for me. He taught me to play chess and ride a bike without training wheels. When I went with him to his outpatient hospital appointments, we sat in the canteen over lukewarm tea and Club Milk biscuits watching doctors and nurses coming and going in the corridors. ‘You could be a doctor or a nurse one day,’ Larry said. He was the person who encouraged me to expect the most for and from myself.

I’m willing to bet the people who’ve had an impact on you rarely had the authority to do so. Each one of us, regardless of our status, can choose to be an encourager—an agent of possibility for others.

Image by Seth Stoll

Raising The Bar


When I was a teenager, I joined the local athletic club. I’d never been much of a runner, but since I went to an all-girls school, the draw of the athletic club where boys hung out was abundantly clear. It was time to dust off my running shoes.

The worst thing about contemplating long-distance running wasn’t starting—it was not knowing if I had the stamina to finish. I was never sure if a stitch or a cramp would stop me from completing the requisite number of laps around the track. So, I opted-out and choose to take part in the distances and events I knew I could at least safely complete.

On the one hand, that sounds like a decent strategy. No sense in starting something if you’re not sure you can succeed when there are other, safer options open to you. But if we only did the things we were sure would work, we’d end up limiting our potential and stifling our growth.

No matter what project we’re embarking on, it’s tempting to lower the bar so we can be certain of a successful outcome before we begin. Alternatively, we can choose to find joy in the effort of exceeding our expectations.

Image by Markus Spiske

On Experience


Every time we approach a new problem we believe we have to come at it with fresh eyes. Sometimes that is true. But we mustn’t ignore our lived experience.

Whatever challenge or goal is in front or ahead of us, it’s worth remembering the resources we called on to get where we needed or wanted to go in the past.

We can still call on them today.

Our past resourcefulness gives us insights we can leverage now and in the future.

Image by Jukan Tateisi

The Human Touch

The woman on the other end of the line at the call centre hesitates. The change in her tone of tells me she doesn’t know the answer to my question. She hesitates. I hear the doubt in her voice. She’s having to go off script, and she’s terrified. She’s trained to answer only certain queries as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Her job is to funnel people to the right email address and move on to processing the next incoming call. She doesn’t know what to do next. And she hasn’t been encouraged to say: ‘I don’t know.’ or ‘I’m not sure, but I will find out for you.’

Our greatest fear when we are anxious or dissatisfied is that we will not be seen, or worse, that we will be ignored. What we want in those moments isn’t the right answer, right away. We want empathy—to be treated with humanity.

When our systems are designed to deliver and do the opposite communication breaks down. We fail everyone in situations where we prioritise efficiency over humanity. It isn’t just the people we serve who lose when we stop being human. When we are empowered to do work we’re proud of, everyone wins.

Image by Arlington Research

A Compass For The Heart


Where do you turn when you don’t know what to do?

Perhaps you do a Google search for facts. Maybe you read a book and get information. You might consult a professional for their expertise. And friends will gladly offer you opinions based on their experiences.

You can only gain insights and intuition based on your experience by taking time to reflect. Every day we have the opportunity to use yesterday’s stories as wise counsel for tomorrow. But we don’t have a way of remembering, recording or reflecting on what those everyday stories can teach us.

Inspired by my work with thousands of Story Skills Workshop students. I created
A Compass For The Heart. It’s a 90-day guided journal for self-reflection that helps you to record the everyday stories and life lessons to guide your decisions in good times and bad.

Inside, you’ll find a simple framework and templates for daily reflection that help you to capture your wisest, strongest self to store away for a time when you need it the most.

Although I’m a writer and I gather stories every day, I’ve never been one for journaling. There’s something about that blank page that’s intimidating. It feels like a sacred space for only the most elevated thoughts.

If like me, you’ve tried and failed to create a reflection ritual or journaling practice in the past, I hope you’ll give A Compass For The Heart a try. You can buy it now from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca or by searching your regional Amazon store. *Note: The journal will be available in Amazon’s Australian store in 6 weeks.

Thank you as always for giving me a reason to reflect, write and create. It’s a joy and a privilege to share ideas with you.

The Value Conundrum


When I was growing up, my mother tried selling various products from home to earn extra money to support our family. I remember cookware and cosmetics being demonstrated to small groups of her friends over cups of tea and homemade sponge cake in the living room.

From day-to-day, Mum used the same old pans that had been handed down to her by my granny, and she hardly ever wore makeup. So her sales pitch usually came unstuck when she tried to demonstrate the products. She couldn’t show her friends how the products would make their lives easier or better.

Every purchase is a dance between risk and reassurance. The people we want to help must have faith in us before they can believe in the value we create or the stories we tell.

Image by Annie Spratt

Forward Thinking


Every business owner or leader, entrepreneur or creative, walks the fine line between creating value in the present and thinking about what their contribution might be in the future. We need to do the work that’s in front of us today and plan for a tomorrow we cannot yet see. Often, we end up doing the work and walking this path alone.

Where do you turn when you need to reflect on your next right move?
Who do you use as your sounding board?
Do you know people who are on a similar journey who can help you?

When I asked those questions of my readers three years ago, the answer to all of them drew a blank. Many people said they had a professional presence on LinkedIn, but that didn’t serve their need for support when they needed it most.

That’s why I launched the Right Company—a paid, group-mentorship experience. It has become a tight-knit community of like-hearted, generous people from all over the world, doing work that matters—helping each other to get better together.

Today we’re opening up applications to the Right Company to a limited number of new members. If you’re looking for support to create momentum in your business or with your projects I hope you’ll apply today.

What kind of of future could you build with the help of the right company?

Image by Chris Montgomery

Up To Us

Sometimes we choose to focus on those things that no amount of energy and enthusiasm can change. By doing so, we miss the opportunity to have more impact, both on our own lives and in the lives of others.

All progress comes from discerning where our effort is best applied, then taking the small steps each day that will make the most difference.

Where should you apply your effort today?

Image by Bruno Mascimento

Leveraging Our Mistakes


Each day we overlook some opportunity to see or to serve. We fail to challenge our assumptions and hold fast to our opinions. The result is that we sometimes miss the opportunity to do better.

This feels like bad news. But it doesn’t have to be.

What if instead of saying; ‘I could kick myself for missing that,’ we got into the habit of leveraging our mistakes instead?

‘What can I learn from this?’ is a powerful question.

Image by Caleb Jones