Gratitude, sacrifices made by others for you and why humility is a sign of great strength

_45434234_parents_afpI love golf. It is a game I have enjoyed playing from a very young age. One of my favourite golfers is Rory McIlroy.  He is a great role model, fearless and plays exceptional golf.  He has bounced back from challenges and from a very modest childhood environment where his parents sacrificed an enormous amount to give him the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional golf.

A recent article in The Australian detailed this journey very well.  The journalist had the opportunity to interview Rory soon after a recent win in the United States.  The discussions with Rory were far and wide.  They covered everything from his childhood, personal life, his wins and losses, friendships and family. 

Rory was very level headed and measured as the journalist took him through all of the topics in the article, with the exception of one. His parents and the sacrifices they made, which he could still vividly recall and remember.  Some of the quotes in the article that were telling included “I always remember my dad working three different jobs, for more than 90 hours a week“.  Another was “all the way through my youth, he did what I wanted to do rather than what he wanted to do.  My mum was the same, working around the clock to help me pay for tournaments when I got to nine or ten’.   Very insightful and humbling insights from him around the people he clearly loves and values. Continue reading

Asleep at the wheel of the South Australian economy

dodge-durango-ron-burgundy-asleep-at-the-wheelI live in South Australia and am a passionate about the State, the lifestyle and everything it has to offer.  It is a great place to live with a fantastic climate, food and wine precincts, easy to get around and a great place for a family to grow up in.   The one glaring gap which I have wrote about previously, is our economy.  It is an economy that has been on the decline for the last 15-20 years and is continuing to struggle notwithstanding the natural advantages and lifestyle I advocated in the previous blog link.  We have created very little jobs in this State and continue to have a mass exodus of our best and brightest leaving to the Eastern States or overseas for “greener pastures” due to the lack of opportunities in their own backyard.

I am not sure why there appears to be little urgency from Continue reading

The Attitude of Gratitude

16bzn8jOne of the most powerful lessons I have learnt in my journey is the importance of being grateful for ourselves, grateful for the people in our lives and grateful for the things we have.  It is easy to focus on the negatives but sometimes requires more work to focus on the positives.

The negative mindset focuses on what it means for me, rather than stepping back and seeing the world as it is.

The attitude of gratitude is not about being overly optimistic and seeing everything through rose coloured glasses.  It is critical that we Continue reading

Are you committed?

reserve-travelMany moons ago I had the privilege of serving with the Australian Army.  I loved every minute of the experience and loved going to work every day.  I left because I knew that long term it would not challenge me and I wanted to go to University.  At the time I assumed I would get the same energy when I found my first job after University.

What I loved about the army was the sense of teamwork, comradery, intensity, commitment, honesty, learning/training and relationships.  All the things dearest to my heart.

When I started in my professional career I felt disconnected and lost.  I blamed the Continue reading

Don’t get too caught up in inspiration

136545-136519All too often we get caught up thinking that to be great leaders we need to inspire, or to impress.  It’s a romantic view of leadership that looks at charisma as the cornerstone of leadership.

However in reality for a majority of success stories the leaders are ones who focus on doing the little things really well.  They are the ones who never miss a sports training, are always to work on time, who plan at the start of every week (not just occasionally), who read books to better their craft, who are constantly learning, and who are constantly listening.

Great leaders know that Continue reading

Who wants change versus who wants to change

10957111_887105228001518_1071329284_nI was working with a leadership team last month, working through where they are at with their culture. It was a challenging and robust discussion working through their culture, what it means and why they needed to understand how critical culture was to their future success.

The challenge lay in getting the leadership team to also acknowledge that they were contributing to a culture that was not delivering high performance thereby not helping them deliver on their new strategy. People do what they see leaders do and the culture was not going to change until they also changed.

To reinforce this point, I asked them two simple questions. Continue reading

Smile, it’s contagious

accrareport_smile-1Recently I was working on a project where I have long term relationship with the organisation.  The team had always had its challenges and always had a challenging culture, but you would still largely find people who were happy and were passionate about seeing the team succeed.  Now it felt like everyone in the team was like one of those zombies in The Return of the Living Dead, but rather than eating brains they were just hanging out for a redundancy.

I felt it myself when Continue reading

Instilling virtues in others

12BROOKS-blog427I’ve recently embarked on a fairly steep learning curve with a major life change.  I’ve become a mother to an amazing little boy (yes, I’m allowed to be biased!) and one very early Sunday morning at a time I’ve become slightly too familiar with, I stumbled across an article that made me stop and think.  I have to admit, it was the title that sucked me in The Moral Bucket List, but it was the concept of virtues that kept me reading.

The author David Brooks discusses the idea that there are two sets of virtues – résumé virtues and eulogy virtues.  We all have a set of  Continue reading

Making Habits Work for You

habitsIt’s our daily habits that make the biggest difference in whether we achieve our goals or not.  They can be our greatest help or our biggest hindrance.

Habits are simply behavior we do regularly, automatically and often subconsciously. When something becomes a habit it saves us energy as the behavior becomes automatic and no longer requires mental effort.  For example, it is unlikely you need to think too hard or exercise huge amounts of willpower to brush your teeth in the morning or put your seatbelt on when driving.  If we can develop habits that are aligned to our goals, we also can also save the need exercise so much self-discipline.

Setting clear goals is important, however, Continue reading

Experiences are what matter

happy-family-silhouette-When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I spent alot of time focussed on chasing achievements.  The next promotion, award, recognition, pay rise or other various forms of validation drove a lot of my motivation.  It was a little like chasing the end of the rainbow.  Really appealing and looks fantastic but does not exist in real life.  That is, you can never find it but there is there constant feeling of chasing it.

On reflection, at the same time, I was part of corporate organisations both in the private and public sector.   I found that when I was in these organisations, it drove this focus on the next goal, milestone, promotion or achievement.  The internal competition, need to validate yourself drives an approach that means that you often forget why we are here.

So why are we here? Continue reading