My research project takes shape

So I have been working away on crafting my ideas so that I have a pithy project… I have interviewed a bunch of corporate women, run a focus group with some inspiring young millenials and despite some cold feet, some sweaty palms and a swag of internal chatter… I am doing it… but not before I share this parable that was shared with me by two different women on two different days from two different sources… here goes (with poetic licence)… a farmer has six horses in his field and one day they escape and can’t be found… his next door neighbour arrives and says how terrible for this to happen… the farmer responds that he can’t be sure maybe it’s bad news and maybe it’s not – he will just have to wait and see… a few days later six wild horses arrive in his field… and no sooner arrived when his neighbour pops over to say what wonderful news to have these six new horse… (and yes you guessed it) the farmer responds that he can’t be sure maybe it’s bad news and maybe it’s not – he will just have to wait and see… a few days later his military-age son is trying to break the wild horses in when he is thrown from a horse and breaks his leg… and (yes you guessed it the nosey-parker-of-a-neighbour-from-hell) arrives to say what dreadful news to hear of his poor lad’s broken leg… and of course our farmer can be relied on for the same commentary that he can’t be sure maybe it’s bad news and maybe it’s not – he will just have to wait and see…. a few days later the military police arrive in the local area to conscript all the young men to go to war… and the lucky farmer keeps his son safe at home with his broken leg…

So no I don’t have a broken leg, nor am I taking up farming, or wild horse taming but navigating a new path with little visibility other than putting one foot in front of the other and not rushing to conclusions that shut down this journey…

The grace of Julia

So it felt like a privilege to be sandwiched into the Opera House listening to an enormously composed ex-PM on her first public outing since leaving the Lodge in late June.  It doesn’t matter what your politics are, Julia Gillard is a lesson in how to traverse gracefully and with resilience events that would leave most of us bereft… It was a special evening and fitting that she should receive such a jubilant reception… the only questionable response was a peculiar answer to why she didn’t support gay marriage.  I was however left with one question – Why did Julia not bring her full and infinitely likeable self to the PM role so that all of Australia could see her authentic self?

Loving the work of Brené Brown

Still on the Brené Brown path… in my usual overly passionate way I bought every book written by her I could find on Amazon and am now trawling through them… I love this gem… ” When we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection. When we become defined by what people think, we lose our willingness to be vulnerable. If we dismiss all the criticism, we lose out on important feedback, but if we subject ourselves to the hatefulness, our spirits get crushed. It’s a tightrope, shame resilience is the balance bar, and the safety net below is the one or two people in our lives who can help us reality-check the criticism and cynicism.” Working through 360s for a number of clients this provides such a perfect and gentle framework from which to view the feedback, which for some can be really confronting.

A deep sadness

I am ready to leave for Boot&Soul Camp and should be brimming with delight that we have a fabulous retreat planned with some wonderful women… the truth is I feel enormously sad having witnessed the brutal display of shadow and sabotage within Australia’s ruling party… My feeling is not about the politics or what Julia Gillard did or didn’t do as PM, rather it feels like a profound wound to all women aspiring to be in senior roles, like a profound wound to all women who seek leadership positions in government and corporate life, and like a profound wound to all men and women who have witnessed the relentless attacks on her as a woman… And then again there is all this juicy dark archetypal stuff to review this weekend…There is great article in the Telegraph today…

A Mythic Feast

IMG_3213IMG_3194_2So what started as an intimate thank you birthday dinner for 6 … mutated into an extravaganza on Monday night when two friends (both chefs) decided they were going to throw me a Moroccan-Babette’s-feast for my birthday 48 hours later… They whisked, chopped, kneaded, strained, baked, roasted (and also used every pan, pot and platter in the kitchen)… I got in the way mostly and my other jobs were to shop a lot and clean sporadically… The talented duo collaborated (may we all learn to do this in such a seamless and creative way in our leadership roles)… and eventually produced a birthday dinner of mythic proportions… From the cardamon and vanilla infused Moroccan cocktails to the fresh pomegranates seeds… homemade za’atar bread with hummus and baba ganoush… a mountain of lamb and quince tagine, whole barramundi with chermoula and a to-die-for chicken dish – bisteeya with phyllo, cinnamon and sugar… they topped their loving performance off with a delicate rice dish with orange blossom and rosewater… oh and I almost forgot… a demonstration of tempering chocolate, creating almond rocher and spice infused truffles… (and everyone got a take home lolly bag)… THANK YOU to Katherine and to Jesse for a birthday of enormous love, care, friendship and generosity … I do hope how I kicked off my new year with such magic will translate into much work and abundance for me this coming year….IMG_3223IMG_3249

And then there is someone who inspires you deeply.

Leymah Gbowee

Leymah Gbowee

Yesterday I attended “All About Women” at the Opera House – no huge shock that it was 95% women… happily loads of young women wanting to listen to the many fascinating conversations that were on offer… none better than the extraordinary Leymah Gbowee, the Nobel prize winner from Liberia… Magnificent in many ways this woman set up the “Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace” by working at grassroots level with women and children with calls to action like: “We are tired! We are tired of our children being killed! We are tired of being raped! Women, wake up – you have a voice in the peace process!” Their work eventually ending the 14-year bloody war that had strangled Liberia and electing the first female President in Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf… Leymah Gbowee is mesmerising – authentic, funny, clever and passionate… I loved her response about fearless leaders – no leader is fearless she said, they just have the courage to dismiss the fear and continue with what they are passionate about… a lesson for all of us.

An Inspiring Night

A friend is the CEO of the Funding Network… It’s a new way of looking at philanthropy and supporting innovative social change projects… It’s based on the premise that we do many things together, but we don’t donate and celebrate together and philanthropy is not limited to the wealthy but that for as little as $100 each of us can make a significant difference…Last night she launched their first event in Australia – what an amazing achievement… about 150 people listening to the stories of 4 compelling projects that are making a tangible and meaningful difference – each of the projects got 6 minutes to pitch and the we got 6 minutes to ask questions…The aim to raise 10K for each of the 4 projects… My favourite and the one I supported was Food Within: Wings 2 Carry U…simple concept: allowing families to be able to pay what they can afford for healthy food… the founder built the social enterprise based on the challenges her family had faced when they were unable to feed themselves… Well done Lisa on an extremely successful launch and on raising more than 20K for each of these extraordinary grassroots programs!

exploring an idea

have you ever just felt an idea needs to be explored… in my case my intuitive sense is that the idea has enormous merit but at the moment feels a little uncontained and am trying to break my thinking into bite-sized chunks… there is this magnetic pull to at least review and take a look at the business implications. It matter less to me as to whether it comes to fruition and more about the research and the examination in a thoughtful and methodical manner… an invigorating change for me. Interestingly it involves technology and of course incorporates what I am passionate about – women and leadership and developing that holy grail of senior women in organisations… Any ideas on a what makes a compelling and stand-out business plan will be most welcome 🙂