23 September, 2010

Choose to create and not complain
I love working with strong, visionary, creative leaders. These leaders are inspiring to work with and have an amazing ability to help others work in the zone and achieve. I work with men and women who display these characteristics. I also work with men and women who do not display these characteristics. Why do we have such variation in our leaders? Surely the thousands of books on leadership and management and the thousand more leadership courses available have improved our leaders? I have recently attracted a lot of information on women in business. I have never felt being a woman a hindrance in the corporate world, if anything it is an advantage. I am extremely fortunate to work at the highest levels in corporations and lowest levels. A couple of my favourite CEOs refer to me as ‘fair but firm’ and ‘the feather coated sledge hammer’. I would love to hear the saying – ‘Women are their greatest advocates’ and never want to hear again ‘Women are their worst enemies’. As a woman or man in business I truly believe that our mindset, self confidence, capabilities and drive can take us wherever we want to go. It is ultimately our choice, something I learnt very young in my life. I am constantly reassessing and evolving my leadership role in business, family, community and society. For me remembering where I have come from and my evolutionary stages is useful in reminding me of the power of choice.

Quiet, Shy, Afraid Stage
Yes for those of you who know me this is hard to believe. For the first 12 years of my life I was quiet, conforming, studious and tried to do the ‘right thing’ all the time. The bullying I experienced at Primary school between the ages of 10 and 11 pushed me deeper into my shell. I was not even a follower, let alone a leader. I was paralyzed like a deer in headlights, too afraid to move. I would say my leadership skills were close to zero.

Awakening and Wonder Stage
I am not sure why, but when I transitioned to high school I wanted a fresh start. I was no longer a push over, I found my voice and my new teenage body was not going to take any ‘%^&#@’ from any anyone. I chose to assert myself. My awakening happened when I was 16 and a fabulous teacher took the time out to Mentor me. At 16, I thought my life was predetermined, be a good Australian/Italian girl, get married and have children. My wonderful teacher – Mr Quinn gave me the greatest gift of self awareness and choice. I could choose my life, I could have a vocation. I didn’t have to be stuck in the country. Being a woman was not a hindrance, it was a blessing in disguise. He gave me books such as I’m OK Your OK to give me tools to help process my thinking and interpret the world. I was hopeful and ready to spread my wings. I was the first Australian/Italian girl to leave my country town and go to University. I chose the big City.

Ambition and Drive Stage
I was hungry for life and wanted everything to happen as quickly as can be ( sort of sounds familiar to Y gens?). I completed my undergraduate degrees in record time, accelerated through a Graduate program and was promoted every 12 to 18 months in my first 9 years of my career. I was flying. I was married by 23, had my first home at 21. Travelled around Europe by 25. I went out and made my opportunities; I was planned, driven and rewarded. I was a very busy bee and about to embark on another week of work travel, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth when my husband had an acute asthma attack and rushed to ICU. Then my world stopped. That life changing week made me realize that I was spending very little time with my best friend – my husband. I then spent the next 18 months redesigning my life so I could spend more quality time with the people I love. I also realized what was the hurry? What am I rushing for? What am I rushing to – death? I also had a crisis of confidence, my employers and clients believed a lot in me – but was I any good at practicing what I preached, could I create my own viable business? I chose to leave the security of a full time job and take on a contract role and start our first business.

Credibility and Flexibility Stage
We formed our first business 11 years ago. Our businesses have changed and evolved, our business gives me the space to be credible and have flexibility. I choose to work with clients that are innovative, smart and have aligned values. I choose to coach and mentor others to fully utilise their potential. I choose the clients that I can best help to support and grow. I get a lot of joy in seeing clients grow personally and professionally. I love my vocation and I am continuously learning.
I also choose to be a good mum and good partner. Spending quality time with my family is joyous. I have been blessed with one daughter who teaches me a lot every day. I continue to work with my best friend who is my husband – when it is good it is amazing and when it is bad it is horrid…
I have chosen to work flexible hours to be there for my clients and my family and of course myself.

What choices are you making and what stage are you evolving from and to?

We are a product of our choices – some are quite conscious and others unconscious. We can spend our lives complaining about what is not working or we can devote that energy into making our lives better. Great leaders do this, they don’t complain they create.
Our businesses, our families, our communities and our planet need more great female and male leaders
Choose to create and not complain.

No comments: