The cult of busy

When we’re lost in the story of what we think “busy” means we find ourselves in judgement of others or being judged. Frustration, upset, anger, suffering. When we see through it, we’re free to act from love.

Photo by José Martín Ramírez C on Unsplash

I laughed yesterday at the synchronicity of life. I’d just finished recording another podcast episode* with Gary Bridgeman & Natalie Nuttall and went on a call with Andrew Smith.

Andrew told me he’d been working with a group in business recently about ‘the cult of busy’ and how they’d told him being busy was like a ‘badge of honour’. I burst out laughing! These words were literally the title of the just-recorded podcast. Word. For. Word! read more

A new year, a new decade – no should’s

Image of water with a quote about not needing to celebrating new year in any particular way. No rights and wrongs. What happens is what happens.

We’ve constructed new year’s eve on 31st December.

But what if you’re Jewish or Chinese or Pagan?

Then we’ve constructed the idea of new year as a time for reflection, for celebrating or mourning what’s passed, for looking ahead to what’s next.

What if we knew that we didn’t have to do any of it? read more

The rules, they’re killing us

How the intellect is taking us away from clarity, brilliance and the perfect next step.

Image of traffic in Kathmandu
Image credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Gy3kRVUvx0

My mum recently got back from a holiday in Nepal. She was telling me about the experience of crossing the road in Kathmandu. Two things struck her.

The first was that the drivers decide the lane system. With no markings on the road, no lane information signs, no overhead illumination in greens and reds about which lines are open and closed. The drivers just drive in a way that makes sense based on the volume of traffic. Six lanes heading into the city in the morning, just one heading out. The opposite in the evening. It just makes sense. And they don’t need a formal system to tell them to do this. It just works. They’re connected. They’re not in their heads. read more

Leadership for the whole of me and the whole of you

I just listened to this podcast and my reflections were beyond the wordcount of any social media post! I’d love to hear what you think too.

The conversation is an interview with Mike Vacanti on Teresa Quinlan and Rhys Thomas’s podcast TNT ESQ and there were three big themes that jumped out for me.

  1. Whole-listic leadership
  2. Bringing people with you
  3. Healthy attachment

Read on…

  1. I love the concept of ‘whole-istic’ leadership. Confirming Daniel Goleman’s findings all those years ago that the most successful leaders were those who deployed all the categories of leadership that he defined.

What I really see in this is how you can’t ‘do’ flexibility with leadership styles effectively from the intellect. You can’t come to each situation, pause, refer to the boxes and pick which to use for this person in this situation. read more

Finding freedom from the sandbank of self

Who you ‘think’ you are is not who you are. Release the restriction and realise you are the flow.

I was working with a client this week, sharing the metaphor of a river to remember the context of the work we’re doing together (see incredible artwork below!). Our work is upstream, at the source, from where you gain the greatest downstream effect.


Credit to Insight Principles for the concept of Content, Programming, Mechanics. Image credit: me!

Then, the great thing about working in collaboration with another mind happened, he suggested an addition to the metaphor — the sandbank of self. read more

Psychological safety : the individual’s perspective

Last week I wrote about Psychological Safety from the perspective of a leader trying to create that environment for their team or business. But what about the individual? Do they have to just wait for someone else to come and create that for them? You can probably guess that’s a no — but read on to explore more…


Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash

I can’t work with that person they’re so intimidating.

This team just seems incapable of a decision and drive me crazy going round in circles.

I’m too introverted to get my point across, the extroverts just take over.

Nobody ever listens to each other. It’s pointless.

All possible scenarios where we can drop into the role of victim, believing that we need a rescuer to come and change things for us. The leader in his coat of shining armour who will take responsibility for the dynamic and make it all better. read more

Psychological safety : we have a choice

Psychological safety was researched for many years before it hit the headlines with Google’s Project Aristotle. In asking “what makes an effective team?” the key enabling factor was psychological safety. But we have a choice — we can create psychologically safe environments with or without effort. What do you choose?


HT for the image : https://coetichr.com/psychological-safety-people-science/

Definition : Psychological safety is “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.”

I’m sure you’ll have been in a conversation or a meeting at some point in your life where you wondered whether to speak up, whether to ask the question, whether to offer the idea you had, whether to say I don’t know, or whether to say it didn’t work. read more

Diversity & Inclusion : how we’re making it worse

What’s it like to consider that our efforts to make ‘different’ people feel included are taking us away from what we’re trying to achieve?


Image Credit: Perry Grone : Unsplash

It’s time to pause. Just notice for a second, and see if what I suggest here has an inkling of truth to it.

We are creating more exclusion in our efforts to include.

What I see in my sphere of the world is people calling out causes that need to be fought for.

I see people defiant and definitive about the change that needs to happen to include those excluded. read more

Heart-led leadership : what does this mean?

In business — and in life — we have increasingly lived in our heads, operated from our conceptual intellectual mind. This can of course be incredibly useful to turn ideas into things and practical application but it’s not the full picture and over-use of it has led to us being off-balance. Now there is a groundswell towards heart-led leadership. But what does this mean?


Anhata — Heart Chakra —this chakra signifies the state of freshness that appears when we are able to become detached and to look at the different and apparently contradictory experiences of life with a state of openness. Photo credit https://theyogahub.ie/open-your-heart-chakra/

I was working with a client the other day and a theme came out of the session. We’d talked about organisational purpose, culture development, HR policies and leadership of self. The theme that emerged through all of it was that — unless underpinned by heart — none of them would get traction.

An organisation without a heart-led purpose will be blown by the wind, attracted by bright and shiny deals that may or may not be successful. They might strike lucky but, if there’s no heart behind it, success won’t last as the cracks start to show in relationships founded only on profit. A race to the bottom. Soulless. Unfulfilling. read more

Emotions : conditioned to find a cause

From a young age we’re taught our experience can’t just be experienced. There must be a cause. This piece explores how we got here and why it trips us up.

I see it from raising my own kids. When they were babies and were crying – poop, food, burp, sleep checks all done – still crying. What’s wrong? What’s the problem? How do I fix this?

Already assuming there was a problem with this experience of crying. With a small baby you can’t tell if there’s a ‘real’ problem or not, they obviously can’t tell you. Sometimes there is — maybe the onset of an illness, or reflux, or… — but sometimes there isn’t. They were just crying. read more