Last night was the Royal wedding 2018, where Harry and Megan tied the knot in an intimate ceremony televised to a few hundred million.
Watching an intimate family affair and the granular details from close up camera footage, caught live, was very revealing - every sideways look, every foot shuffle, every awkward introduction, every polite remark and every lowered gaze, exposed for the world to observe.
Imagine that world where your private life was shared so extensively – getting married is nerve racking enough, never mind having it telecast to the world. No one’s family is perfect, yet we seem to uphold the Royal Family as exemplary. But is it even a true representation of family?
In exploring the idea of family recently I have felt there are a few myths that need some serious debunking, before we can tell if the Royals are actually an example of family.
Myth 1 – Family is related by blood.
Myth 2 – A family ‘unit’ is made up of particular roles
Myth 3 – Family is a group that supports one another
Is our current definition of family toxic? How about we call out the abuse that gets swept under the rug under the guise of private ‘family matters’. Or those perpetrators that never see justice because their irresponsible behaviors are disguised under the pretense of ‘family first’.
What if family were something quite different? What if it was a word that defined a process – of evolution, learning, feedback, growing and developing ourselves.
The Return to Love NZ team have put together a fantastic collection of articles about true family. I quote:
Family relationships are the practice ground from which we learn about relating with others, to then expand the concept and experience of family into community and beyond.
What if family was about love. What if family, like all relationships, required a base of decency which could develop into respect (if it were earned), which could lead to connection from which purpose could arise. When we connect for a common purpose true love arises and we all have a responsibility to live this love. How great would families be if they were founded on these principles?
Over the past 10 years my own family have changed so much – previously governed by those myths about ‘family’, we would have looked the perfect picture from the outside.
After seeing the irresponsibility, lovelessness and lack of purpose we were living in, and taking the responsibility to begin to change this, we now enjoy an incredible equality in each of our relationships. Where your parents feel like your friends, or sometimes my sister feels like a parent. What we are living is an example of 4 people (now 6 with respective partners), who are showing love, based on purpose, lived daily, through a traditional family unit.
My sister is 5 months pregnant, and soon we will welcome our first family member from the next generation. How amazing for them to receive this foundation of equality from day one. No matter the age or role of the person, each one of us brings equally the knowing of love from our own heart. Each one has the ability to call out what is not love, and each one has the ability to step up the level of love, and invite others by reflecting this deepening. This is what family means to me, and it stretches far beyond blood or marriage.
So was true family on show at the Royal Wedding 2018? Surely monarchy by its definition is the antithesis of true family, for in true family, and the equality that defines it, there could never be a head of the family. Don’t get me wrong, I dream of a prince and a horse drawn carriage as much as the next child who grew up on Disney movies, but it begs the question, with $32 million pounds spent on the wedding, what are we actually celebrating?
Over the past decade I have been studying wellbeing, philosophy, physiology, healing, and a number of other subjects under the expert guidance of Universal Medicine, and especially the wonderful teacher Serge Benhayon.
During this time so much has changed in my life, and yet, from an outsider looking in, it looks almost the same. After all, I live in the same city, work at the same job, have the same group of friends (plus a few I picked up along the way), I am still close with my family, and they live all of 15 mins down the road.
And yet things are dramatically different. So here you have it – 10 reasons I know I am a health nut, a student of my body and most of all a student of life;
A heartfelt thanks to the wonderful folks at Universal Medicine and especially my dear friend, horse minder and teacher Serge, without whom I wouldn’t have realised that the reward of desert is something to be lived, not eaten!
How did you know when you reached health nut status?
There were a lot of stumbling blocks to my partner and I getting together – for starters we had never met when we started to talk online. Then there was the fact that we lived on the other side of the world from one another. Yet here we are, just 12 months later living together, developing and supporting each other while sharing our lives. It’s definitely love, because when I look into his eyes it is like the universe shines back at me.
Before this relationship I had a few boxes my hypothetical future bloke needed to tick. So much so that if I tried online dating and filled in my criteria I ended up with 0 results! So when our relationship kicked off with a few chance online encounters it was odd to feel it developing without my ‘future partner shopping list’ to hand. But true love is better than any ticked-box I could have imagined.
What is a ‘real man’? Is he Barbie’s Ken, Price Charming or Colin Firth? Given the common popular narrative I grew up reading and watching on TV, it’s no surprise I had a recipe list of what I needed in a partner. There were looks, height, status, wealth, practical, handy, house-trained, with common interests; that list was long. At no time growing up did anyone stop to teach me how you can tell if it’s true – it’s a consistent feeling, not a box to be ticked.
When it comes down to it, a true man will be true to himself – committed to knowing himself, the great, the good and the emotional worms under rocks he hasn’t turned before. He is able to deeply appreciate his own beautiful qualities, and fess up to his ‘work in progress’ areas. This enables an open and transparent dialog which grows a true relationship. Why then do we have such a poor portrayal of real men in common popular narrative?
Where are the men in fairy stories acting true to their heart; showing tenderness and care in each movement they make. Well beyond just chivalry and show, a true man wounds easily If you are rough or demanding. (Feeling someone you love in pain as a result of one’s own irresponsible choices is a strong lesson I have learnt, that’s for sure).
This ‘real man’ sets the standards high, and consistently nudges me towards meeting them, both in the quality of how we live together and keep a home but even more so in the tender love we show to one another every day. A tenderness he is teaching me, because if I am honest it just wasn’t how I expressed before.
It’s his dedication to the little loving routines, like the gentle wind down to sleep which involves softly lit rooms, closing the blinds to keep the warmth in, and those bed sheets folded just to the right angle such that surrender to sleep is imminent and unavoidable.
When he cooks (which is most nights) it’s a celebration of what we lived that day – there is alchemy in the avocado, the table is set, not just for special occasions but for every night, because dinner together is always a special occasion.
But the most gorgeous quality of a true man is the endless time for hugs and cuddles – his stillness is like a shrug that wraps itself around you and says ‘go on, melt that day away, I have got this’.
1 year on and this relationship has transformed me. I have such a deep love and respect for my partner it is hard to express it – just the thought of him fills my heart with a delicious glow.
Each day when he leaves for work I know that by evening – just like the stars – he will shine just as brightly and welcome me just as warmly.
Through knowing that warmth I have started to see it in each man in my life – my beautiful father, my friends and work colleagues. Each man has this tenderness at his core, and should be free to live it, without fear of box-ticking, agenda-driving others.
When it comes to a modern day ‘real man’ Andrea Leonhardi called it when she sang
“It’s the same delicateness in every chest of a man… It’s the same delicious love in everyone”
I work with a seriously amazing group of women. Most of them are young and a few are in their early thirties like me. Each day I am inspired by their intelligence, care and dedication to their work and the people around them.
They are supportive of others, constantly helping, giving, teaching, learning and having a laugh.
But occasionally I get a glimpse of how tough they can be on themselves. And sometimes they admit they have ‘perfectionistic tendencies’. I know it’s true and I see some former shadows of myself in them.
Every now and then, when I really look, I might notice that one of them is not at their best, an off day – but they wouldn’t say it. They stay silent, but their behavior gives them away: their quick fix to help them get through the day is propped up on their desk - an empty takeaway cup, a can, a wrapper or a brightly coloured packet.
So while these incredible women make me laugh, keep me on my toes and make me proud every day to be part of their team, they also remind me of a very common illness that I have suffered throughout my career. I see them routinely choose their work ahead of themselves.
It is not just them; women are natural care takers. They give life their all – choosing their fantastic career, fun social life, a relationship (or a few), friends, family, sport, eating, drinking, dancing… with so much on offer for us it is no wonder when we hit 25 years old we are already depleted.
If we look at the stats for women’s health they are a sad story. Breast cancer, cervical issues, polycystic ovarian syndrome, mental health, physical issues, auto immune deficiency, lifestyle diseases, adrenal fatigue and obesity are all common issues you no doubt know someone battling.
Where does this poor health stem from?
What if every time these amazing women at the workplace choose to push through, for either themselves, or for the good of the project/team/client they bank their exhaustion?
Until one day the body says enough is enough. And ill health begins.
It might start slowly at first, with a common cold or migraine. But she thinks nothing of it. But we know how banks work - and the interest silently builds as she overdraws each month.
Eventually our wellness credit dwindles and poor health becomes our norm. What does this look like? It might be as simple as painful periods, carrying a few extra kilos, feeling tired or neck/back pain. When not treated, it steadily gets worse, slowly, like icebergs melting. Eventually we forget what it was like to ever feel clear, vital and healthy at all. Our new normal, a pale shade of our former fabulous.
Of course this is not unique only to women’s health, exhaustion is a global problem.
But what about if next time your colleague needed to take a break we all pitched in and supported her. What if we created a positive bank balance with a fun work culture around foods that that gave us energy, rather than drained it. What if we made consistent, gentle fitness part of our routine and built it into our day.
Next time our demanding jobs asked us to take a loan and push through (in the real world, that happens), we might just have enough in the bank to make a short term withdrawal and a payment plan that supports us back to net.
For the month of March I am partaking in a little project called the #selflovechallenge. Each day I consider what choices I have made in my day that deeply cares for and nurtures me.
It is harder than I thought!
Turns out, despite a huge number of self care strategies that I live by, my life is mostly absent of the deep care and nurturing inherent in self-love.
Join me as I re-inspire myself (and hopefully some of you) with some very special self care ideas and activities.
1. Get to bed early (how early?)
Trust me, I know how tempting it is to stay up late to ‘get the most’ out of your free time in the evening. But consider the possibility that your next day actually starts at 7pm. The sleep we get between the hours of 9pm and 2am is some top notch Zzzz. At that time the spleen gets an energetic spring clean and your kidneys (our anatomical batteries) get fully recharged. So if you want to regenerate faster than a Tesla at a supercharger, get to sleep by 9pm.
2. Make your morning spacious
With these early nights come early mornings (after a while), so enjoy having more time and space to get ready for your day. Enjoy each step; the shower, the hair, the makeup, the dressing, as the quality of energy that moves your activities builds a virtual self care safety blanket that will wrap you up tight for your whole day.
3. “Eat light to be light” – Serge Benhayon
Turn the food pyramid on its head; if you want to feel great you need to eat foods that support your unique body and life. This requires regular check ins with yourself – does a food make you feel heavy, tiered or sleepy, does it make you sniffly, some foods even heighten anxiety or bring on depression. Evolve your diet after each meal to learn what’s best for your body.
4. Be ‘work fit’
Most of us sit at a desk, so how fit do we really need to be? Well ‘work fitness’ means having the body that can support sitting comfortably for the whole day. That means our muscles need strengthening, lengthening and stretching in our own time. Being work fit means supporting good posture and easy movement.
5. Move & stretch
Even if we are 100% work fit, it still pays to have little breaks during our day. These can be as quick as a millisecond (draw the shoulders back, raise the sternum) or longer such as a walk at lunch time. Even regular jobs, like fetching a document from the printer, can turn into fun interstitials that breath fresh life into your muscles and joints.
Being a bit of an A type personality, I know what it is like to become fixated on a task. Da Vinci is famous for his self care quote “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.” (he was also the guy who first invented perspective drawing & painting, so he knows his stuff). My barometer for obsession is gentleness, if I start to lose it I know it’s time to take a few steps back.
7. Live by cycles
I learnt this one from the expert, Natalie Benhayon (founder of Our Cycles) who says “Everything in nature has a cycle, and so do you”. This is more obvious with women but men have cycles too. Indeed, we are all cycling around the sun, and around the earth, so life is full of cycles. Yet, there is a common attitude that each day should be the same as each other day. But that simply isn’t true. Some days are easy and some days require a lot more self care. By nurturing our awareness of the cycles we live under it is so much easier to be caring and delicate with ourselves when we need to be.
8. Graduate to self love
There are many self care ideas that inspire, but let’s not stop at just care. Graduate to self love: and enjoy feeling the difference. Say no to thoughts that are unkind or self deprecating and internally talk yourself up on a regular basis.
Each time we look after ourselves, care for ourselves and indeed, love ourselves, we build resilience from the inside out. Then, if we happen to have a tough day our centre remains strong, wrapped in a blanket of self love that warms us against the world.
School starts next week and I am very excited! After a short orientation party on Wednesday evening, and getting to meet a few of my new class mates and teachers, I am all set to pack my bags and head to Manly Q Station, because Monday morning, bright and early we begin!
Check the press release below... Stay tuned to the hashtag #TMA2017 and my blog for regular write ups.
The Marketing Academy today announced the marketing executives selected for the 3rd year of their exclusive Scholarship Programme.
Following a rigorous 3 stage selection process that included more than 360 nominations, 96 ‘pitches’ and 64 face to face interviews, The Marketing Academy Australia has unveiled the 30 emerging leaders from client side brands, media owners and agencies selected to attend its 2017 Scholarship Programme.
Speaking of the selection process Academy Founder and CEO Sherilyn Shackell said ‘I’m truly delighted by the first rate talent in Australia and grateful to all the business leaders who nominated their people for the programme. The final selection this year was extremely hard as the volume and calibre hit a three year high. I’m just sorry we only have 30 places because in all honesty we could easily have taken twice that number.’
For the 2017 Scholarship Programme The Marketing Academy has redefined the 4Ps of marketing creating 4 core learning modules. The Academy’s 4Ps are:
The coveted programme, sponsored in 2017 by Commonwealth Bank, Google, News Corp Australia, Microsoft and PwC, includes one-to-one mentoring sessions with Australia’s most experienced industry leaders.
This year the line-up of 50 Mentors includes:
In addition to mentoring sessions the Scholars are each assigned an Executive Coach, take part in 3 immersive residential ‘Boot Camps’ packed with inspirational speakers and attend 4 Scholarship Lectures, each hosted by recognised subject matter experts. The Academy’s 2017 Lecture Series is sponsored by MediaCom, Clemenger BBDO, Sydney Opera House and Macquarie University.
The Marketing Academy Australia 60 Alumni who attended the programme in the last two years include:
Here’s the line up of The Marketing Academy Australia Scholarship Class of 2017:
Full details on the Scholars, Alumni, Mentors, Coaches and Selection Panel can be found at www.themarketingacademy.org.au
About The Marketing Academy
Founded in the UK in 2010 The Marketing Academy is a non-profit and voluntary organisation that develops leadership capability in talented marketers from the Marketing, Media, Advertising and Communications industries through mentoring, coaching and experiential learning. The Marketing Academy Australia opened its doors in 2014 and is sponsored by Commonwealth Bank, Google, NewsCorp Australia, Microsoft and PwC. The Marketing Academy programmes are selective and provided free of charge.
4 ways to be the marketing consultant your clients will love, without killing yourself in the process
1. Bringing Power
Referencing French & Raven’s “Six Bases of Power”, Brownlow gave us some context about the type of power you have, vs. what you could have as a super star consultant.
The power bases are:
To be a marketing consultant who possess the super powers above, we have to commit to both our own personal development and to the work we do. Commitment is key (however remember to stash your wand in your laptop case).
2. N.E.A.D.s Analysis
N.E.A.D.s, Nerds and KnowHow
A powerful lesson for anyone who works in the service business – and an appropriate acronym for dyslexics like myself - Berenyi explained candidly that clients rarely say what they really want.
Negotiation, if left only to the rational mind, will fail. We must go beyond that and Bereyni presented a fantastic matrix called the NEADs Analysis. You can interrogate question your audience about each theme below to get a better understanding of the underlying drivers and motivators.
Often I present this to my team as ‘the need to read’ your audience. Reading is simply the process of understanding what is going on below surface level. In fact, everyone has an innate ability to get a deeper read on what is going on – this comes from our clairsentience, an ability we have had our whole life. We often override this sense because of the surface level information we pick up. Our 5 senses override our 6th sense.
A simple example is getting sugar coated feedback, we had a sense that something about the document / deliverable / presentation was not received well, however when we asked, we are told it was fine. Ignoring the deeper sense originally felt will likely cause problems in the long run. Thus to be a good consultant it’s vital that we develop our clairsentience and practice communicating (that is a whole blog on it’s own) what we feel in a group environment. Learn to discern those deeper feelings and then trust them, implicitly so.
3. Value Monopoly
In typical consultant style, Bereyni explained that being a great consultant comes down to a simple equation. He calls it the Value Monopoly
In order to do business successfully with a new client they need to feel that there is an equation in their favor. By building a value monopoly the client feels they are getting quality (for the right price) and they feel good about doing business with you (and it is a smooth process).
The ‘relativity’ factor in the time metric shows how time is perceived differently for different people – we (as the presenter) may think each slide is critical, while the audience grows increasingly impatient. This form of time is actually a measure of engagement – which is critical for any ongoing relationship. Imagine you are not just a presenter but an entertainer, your information is actually ‘info-tainment’ – well beyond facts and figures, you present a story that needs to relate to your audience on multiple levels. Make it an unforgettable experience
These 4 tips show that being a first rate consultant is not so much about ‘doing more’ but being more of you. Bringing more volume in each moment, being attuned to what is going on below the surface, being sensitive to others and to yourself and communicating effectively.
None of this involves busting a gut or stressing yourself out. In fact, anxiousness, even low level anxiety, will prevent the type of personal connection that makes you the consultant of your clients dreams.
On the 21st of January, the day following the inauguration of president Donald Trump, millions (4.8 million and counting) have taken to the streets around the US, Canada, Mexico and in major cities around the world in a show of protest against the views and policies of Trump. In Washington alone more than 3 times the number of people attended the #WomensMarch than attended the presidential proceedings a day earlier – an interesting outcome given the supposed democratic election processes.
The marches were initiated at a grassroots level shortly after the presidential outcome was announced and were designed to protest against the following views of the new government:
To read more about why #womensmarch drove more interest in the US than any other protest since the anti-Vietnam War movements check out #whyImarch
It is incredible to see the power of social media and the web in action, and as someone who regularly uses social media to arrange events and workshops there was a lot to be learnt from the #womensmarch organisers, but that is for another blog.
Having watched the Trump campaign from a distance (being on the other side of the world) I have gone through my own private cycle of:
While events like #womensmarch enable women to have their voices heard, and are thus an important part of our society, I feel it is our behaviour as women each and every day in all aspects of our life which will put a stop to abusive, degrading or bullying behaviour.
There are so many reasons to march for women’s rights and freedoms:
These are issues that are not based on short-lived clickbait chauvinistic remarks, but rather are pervasive and enduring problems of our time. Issues about which seemingly little is being said or done given their global and horrific nature. They show that women’s rights, however far they might have come, are nowhere near where they need to be.
How do we build a society which not just defends our rights for equality, inclusiveness and independence (which really should be a given) but actually embraces the natural qualities of of women – the tenderness, fragility and femininity of a woman who lives from her essence. It is not enough just to eliminate slurs of bigotry and prejudice, we need to replace them with a deep respect for women, by both men and women, for the sanctity and sacredness of a women in livingness.
Each woman is equally responsible for holding our society accountable, and it is in each movement we make that we communicate the standards we choose to accept.
So often in work environments we find ourselves being sold to. Persuasive discussion is the foundation of business. It could be by someone within our team wanting to make a good impression, or a vendor who wants to make a sale. We might even be the ones selling – even if we don’t see ourselves as sales people; do you ‘manage upwards’? That means ‘selling’ to stakeholders.
So with all this communication designed to drive a response, it soon becomes very clear that we have to look below the lip service to understand the real motives and intention of a conversation.
Top sales training courses have a keen focus on body language – as it is well known that the movements by the body can contribute to a sense of conviction in a much greater way than words alone. Common teachings include;
But the science of reading the body can go so much deeper. Indeed the movements of the body speak volumes about the true intentions and underlying energetic activity of a conversation.
As a manager I have been part of some gravitas giving and getting of feedback. During these discussions, its invaluable to read the body of the other person, not just listen to their words.
Look for signals that help you understand how to proceed with the discussion:
In a meeting situation you may find that by turning your attention away from the words that are being spoken, and instead reviewing the movements of the body sitting across the room, you will get a very honest read of the situation.
You can also watch your own body to learn more about how our actions speak louder than words, and take steps to support yourself:
Learning to read the body can give us intelligence that would take hours of open discussion to discover otherwise. As we become more aware and connected with our own body we learn the messages that are being communicated through movement 24/7.