Beware What You Say About Yourself

Nov 25, 2018

I’ve been facilitating a number of workshops lately, which have included both wāhine and tāne.

One of the things I notice when I ask participants to share their wins is that more often than not, wāhine will say something like this…

“Well… this really isn’t much of a win…” or “…other people have bigger wins than me…” or “… I’m not really good at this but…”.

I notice because I’ve been paying attention to my own words on what I say about myself.

And when I hear someone say anything like the above, I address it directly because I want you to be intentional about what you say about yourself and how you show up.

Every time you speak in front of a new group of people, you have an opportunity to show up authentically with power and presence.

You don't want to show up with self-deprecation or by diminishing yourself now do you?

Because diminishing ourselves can become an...

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How to get ahead even when you don’t have the support of your boss

Oct 25, 2018

A sponsor can be invaluable in helping you achieve your career goals and getting ahead in an organisation.

The first place most of us look for support is our immediate boss, the person who is closest to our work.

A good advocate offers advice and mentorship while also shining a light on our potential revealing capabilities that we may not know we have.

We borrow an advocate’s confidence in us until we adopt it completely ourselves.

One wahine I coach recounted a story of how her boss had shocked her by suggesting her for a job before she was ready. She took it, and with her boss’s close guidance, learned as she went.

Advocates also serve as role models allowing us to see how we can accomplish what they’ve done.

In my experience, having a career-supporting advocate is an uncommon find in our direct managers.

Supervisors and team leaders too often lack people development skills or organisational influence.

Or they are too protective of their own status to risk...

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The best leaders have good friends

Oct 18, 2018

Everyone needs good friends.

If you’re a leader of any kind, you especially need friends.

Many blessings abound from friendship - accountability, personal growth, shared experiences and much more.

Here are some benefits of having and being a good friend:

1. Rest

Leadership is relentless.

It can seem like your job is never done.

Your mind can easily become overwhelmed with the task at hand and like an all-consuming fire, your leadership can demand all of you.

I don’t believe this is a good thing.

You may think that you just enjoy your work so much that it’s fun for you to be consumed by it but that’s nonsense.

I know from experience that you need to regularly stop, enjoy and rest.

And that’s where a good friend comes in.

A good friend can help you rest from your leadership.

They can serve as a distraction from your work.

Sure, you’ll talk to them about your work, projects, and dilemmas, but your friend is not your direct report and as a friend,...

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Claim your personal power starting with these 10 things

Oct 11, 2018

I love being a wahine!

And I feel very fortunate to have been born in a time when wāhine have so many opportunities and choices that my own mother never had.

Yet of all the barriers that wāhine still face, one of the biggest is a lack of confidence and belief in our own worth.

Yes, we are wāhine and we rock!

But there are plenty of days we spend beating ourselves up, talking ourselves down and apologising for our opinions and questioning the value we bring to decision making tables.

We work hard.

We do a great job keeping all the plates spinning and scaling the high bars we set for ourselves.

Yet for many wāhine, it's never enough. 

No matter how much we squeeze into a 24 hour period, we still feel like we’re falling short on some measure; that we’re just not enough.

If only we were more organised, more disciplined, more assertive, more strategic,  more sure of ourselves – then...

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The Too Much Woman by Ev'yan Whitney

Sep 26, 2018

"There she is. . . the “too much” woman.

The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.

There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality.

Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain.

Her energy occupies every crevice of the room.

Too much space she takes.

There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting.

She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure.

She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, and hellfire to get it.

She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart and body.

This makes her dangerous.

She is dangerous.

And there she goes, that “too much” woman, making people think too much, feel too much, swoon too much.

She with her authentic prose and a self-assuredness in the way she carries herself.

She with her belly laughs and her insatiable appetite and her proneness...

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Don’t just be a great leader, be a stand out leader

Sep 19, 2018

There are many challenges facing organisations these days.

To thrive and survive the turmoil requires more than greatness from the individuals.

"Great" doesn't cut it.

We need leaders that are stand-outs; people who cannot be compared to others because their distinctiveness defies any standard.

Here are 9 practical and proven attributes of the stand-out leader that I have discovered:

The stand-out leader:

  1. Is not content with managing the momentum of the business. They cause interventions that force people to challenge the status quo and think differently. They don't wait for a reason to change; they "force" change and make it integral to the organisation's DNA.
  2. Does not tolerate sameness. They ask "how can we be different?" rather than "how can we copy the best in class?" And they accordingly change the conversation throughout the organisation.

They seek ultimate uniqueness for the organisation by creating their "only" statement: "We are the only ones that..."

  1. Loves uncertainty...
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How to receive a compliment without feeling awkward about it

Sep 12, 2018

I've just returned to Wellington after a fabulous three-day conference where I facilitated a workshop in the morning and again in the afternoon.

A number of people came up to me and said it was a great workshop.

So how did I respond?

I downplayed the compliments.


I thought I had addressed my perfectionist ways and “don’t want to appear whakahīhī” nonsense.

Like everyone else, I'm human.

I enjoy receiving compliments but accepting it with grace seems to be a challenge for me.

Apparently, it’s not just me.

In fact, it’s so common that sociolinguists have categorised the three responses to a compliment: acceptance, deflection or rejection.

Rather than humbly accept or outright reject the kind words, individuals often choose to deflect or dilute the compliment.

You may be tempted to respond with denial or self-insult.

I did.

Not once but several times.

It was easy to say, “Thank you, but you’re just saying that because you’re my...

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Never do this ...

Aug 01, 2018

Fake it till you make it!

A common kōrero that comes up regularly when I’m working with wāhine who have taken on a new project or a new role or find themselves in a situation that is outside their comfort zone is the “Fake it till you make it” idiom.

It’s not a piece of advice that I would ever give.

Think about it – the word “fake” means not genuine, sham, fraud.

You get the picture.

That’s not what I’m about and I’m sure it’s not you either.

Authentic leadership is about being genuine, being yourself.

So what should you do?

Try Acting “as if”.

Acting “as if” doesn’t mean being phony or inauthentic.

Acting "as if" is about changing your behaviour first and trusting the feelings will follow.

Let me give you an example - one wahine I’m working with told me she doesn’t like going to networking events or conferences because she feels socially awkward and doesn’t enjoy...

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The confidence factor

Jul 18, 2018

This morning I went for a walk along Oriental Parade, breathing in the salty air, and staring out at the sea.

One of the things that fascinate me about the ocean is its myriad dimensions: shifting colours, textures, moods, sometimes all in the space of a day.

Confidence is oceanic like that. It’s a blanket word we use to describe a quality that feels different depending on the day and impacts us differently depending on where and how it shows up.

In their ground-breaking book, The Confidence Code, authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipman detailed the myriad ways in which a lack of confidence holds women back relative to men.

We apply for promotions later, we communicate more tentatively, we sometimes avoid taking career-shaping risks.

Building confidence is critical for all wāhine, leaders and emerging leaders alike, especially if they want a successful outcome such as getting accepted into a university programme, getting a job offer or a promotion or even...

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Let's do this!

Jun 28, 2018

I know you dream big.

That’s how you got to where you are today.

I also know your dream hasn’t ended yet.

The only problem is, you’re not sure how to turn the rest of your dream into reality.

It might be time to up the ante.

I see it all the time.

Women are QUICK to invest in others but HESITANT to invest in themselves.

Maybe it feels selfish or overwhelming, but if you want to see real results, you need to invest in yourself, your business, your career.

You wouldn’t ask your child to perform a piano solo without lessons first.

You’re willing to invest in a mentor or teacher for your child to show them how to play, instead of making them figure it out alone (where they’ll never learn proper technique or skill).

It sounds a little absurd when I say it that way because you would never do that to your child.

But that’s exactly what you’re doing in business without a mentor to teach YOU technique and skill.

You’ll do your best and...

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