It is six months since I last made contacted with all of you as a group, although I have been in contact with many of you through my mentoring and answering your questions and emails.
You may well wonder if I’d forgotten that I had a group of followers here on my People Empowered blog. I haven’t but what has happened is that I realized back early in the year that sometimes you have to let go of what is very important to you, to look after yourself. And you are all very important to me. We, as women, don’t do that very often. We think it is selfish. We rarely say “No”.
I didn’t want to drift along, letting life direct me. I wanted to consciously decide how to manage all the competing demands in my life over the months ahead. I was reminded of something that the late Stephen Covey (of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fame) said:
It’s easy to say “No” when you have a bigger “Yes” inside you.
That was my motivation to prioritise my life. My bigger “Yes” was to step back and look after myself, to use the opportunity that, to a very large extent, life had thrust upon me, to reassess my life, where I wanted to go next and what I wanted to give most importance to in that life.
Prioritise What You Need and Want For Your Future.
We had sold our house and downsized with the very deliberate intention of having less gardening and housework to do – not my priorities. I was ruthless in the de-cluttering process. So much “stuff”; where did it all come from? Loads and loads was sold, given away, donated and taken to the tip. I prioritised what I needed for the future that I envisaged having. All that “stuff” that I’d kept, in case I needed it, went. Even 4 large boxes of books went to a book fair. That was a bit painful!
While we had sold our house, we couldn’t move into our new one for 3 months. So all our possessions went into storage and we spent those months homeless at the mercy of family and friends. That made us aware of what wonderful people we had in our lives. It was also very stressful and almost impossible to stay in touch with all of you with no internet except what we could borrow. Yet we were living in beautiful houses, warm and safe. It made us very aware of those people who were truly homeless and living in the open.
Prioritise Your Health and Well-Being.
In the midst of that I experienced a quite unexpected medical emergency and while I am now recovered it really was the main instigator urging me to take care of myself and prioritise my life. I’ve noticed many times, both personally and with the people with whom I work, that if we don’t listen to our bodies and look after ourselves, our bodies will “speak” loudly to us and do something drastic that forces us to stop and slow down. That certainly happened for me.
Finally we moved into our house but there was much to do and only today have the final bits been finished with curtains being hung. But we have a house where everything has a place and there is nothing that is not valued and of use, nothing kept “just in case”.
Prioritise What is Truly Important During COVID.
In the midst of everything COVID hit and that stopped everything and sent me and everyone else into a spin. While I found my work in complete upheaval with all my workshops and professional development training cancelled, I prioritised and accelerated my coaching and mentoring and found great meaning in those close relationships with clients from all around Australia as I overcame my previous dislike of technology and worked online and via Zoom.
I also began to write a book, often handwriting whole parts of it and later typing it up when I had access to my laptop. Through my mentoring I had learned that the skill that everyone needed most was resilience so my tentative book title became “Becoming the Resilient Leader Through the Uncertainty that Never Ends”. I am 24,000 words in now and moving towards a 30,000 word approximate limit. I will be sharing a lead chapter with you all in the near future.
The Focus that comes with Prioritising Makes
Clear the Road Forward.
A month ago as everything began to come clear and I was thinking about how to take forward my work about which I am passionate and with which COVID was still profoundly interfering, I received an email from a CEO with whom I had worked before. Its subject line was: Will you come on this journey with me? I knew immediately that this was a rather special CEO and that this was an opportunity I could not refuse.
This is my dream job and with it a 12 month contract to work with the CEO and the 8 member Executive team of two organisations that are merging. In fact it really isn’t a merger because they are very different organisations. It is a transformation process they are moving through to create a new organisation with a new culture.
70% of transformations fail and one of the reasons they fail is because those initiating them spend all their planning time behind closed doors in meetings creating a vision, writing strategic plans, operational issues and other project management tasks and then when that is all set and determine they tell their people about it and ask them to make it happen. Yet they have had no role in the process, and often have little investment in making it happen, particularly if it going to negatively impact their work. Instead of finding they are being invited to work WITH their CEO, they find they are being made to work FOR him/her.
This CEO has prioritised hers and her executive team’s leadership deelopment. She has invited me to work with her and the executive team is to develop and enhance the skills they need to lead this transformation, to be the kind of leaders they need to be to make it all happen. It’s about helping them develop the self-awareness, emotional intelligence, proactivity and resilience to be the best personal and professional version of themselves. It’s about developing their self-leadership skills, supporting and motivating high performance and helping them remove the obstacles that will derail them making that happen. It’s about helping them gain insight into their leadership style and make decisions about what they need to keep doing, stop doing and start doing to enhance it.
It is a role that will focus heavily on mentoring and an interactive workshopping process. The fact that it is a 12 month process should allow very positive outcomes for those who fully engage.
So What Are You Prioritising in Your Life?
So having shared all that with you, I throw open the challenge to you to begin to use this time to prioritise your life. When your life is in a state of upheaval, because of COVID and due to no fault of yours, it would be very easy to drift and just lurch along, feeling there is nothing you can do about it. Not so!
Take time to step back and prioritise. If you need some help invite me to come on a mentoring journey with you.
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