AVM

Essays about the future of work, mindful communication, coaching, consulting and storytelling.

240405 How did you fail today?

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HOW DID YOU FAIL TODAY?

Having a request declined often feels like an exercise in rejection. Knowing how disappointed one can get, expectations crushed, Anne shares how she learned to practise being okay with ‘no’ in advance.
But what if we practised being okay with ‘no’ rather than uncomfortable with it?
In this post, Anne reflects on how to reframe noes into yesses.

240323 What's the most important thing about this?

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230402 From Meta View to Mindful Perspective

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FROM META VIEW TO MINDFUL PERSPECTIVE

Gone are the days when mindfulness was seen as a woo-woo practice enjoyed by the weird few. Today, it’s quoted as the cure for burnout, the secret to many a CEO’s success and the answer to so many modern woes. In this post, I explore how my daily practice of mindfulness and presence has become a powerful tool that drives my business and how I am developing a methodology to bring my techniques to more people. If this doesn’t make you want to take up meditation, nothing will.

221208 We need a new word

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WE NEED A NEW WORD

“Words have a magical power. They can either bring the greatest happiness or the deepest despair.” Sigmund Freud

Can you think of a bad experience in a one-on-one feedback session with your boss? Perhaps a difficult annual review? Raise your hand if that’s the case.

Now can you think of a time when you felt you outdid yourself? When you were eloquent, spoke from the heart, were professional, and when you were met with respect and attention from the other side?

What is the common thread between both situations? Well, both times you were communicating with another human being.

Wouldn’t you want more of the second experience, if you had the choice?

Which begs the question: why are we not taught how to communicate?

221201 The divine is in the details

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THE DIVINE IS IN THE DETAILS

The details are not the details. They make the design. - Charles Eames

I’m a target. I feel pursued, and I don’t like it! 

Many companies, all completely unknown to me, have been pitching their products and services to me, mostly via email. Perplexed, I keep on wondering why they are directing their sights on me.

221021 To be or not to be. Me

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TO BE OR NOT TO BE. ME

  • Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ― Rumi

Ciao! That's right, I'm back from Rome, Italy, where I spent a few sun-drenched days taking in the beauty of the city and eating my body weight in gluten-free pasta and gelato. No regrets, though. The Italian capital has a way of make excesses feel part of the program. It seems rude not to, when in Rome.

I was wowed by the city's buzz. I note with pride that my prior part-time home is on every tourist's wishlist, so much so that the world's fanciest hotel chains are lining up to open new locations. As my friend Isa shared over a plate of Cacio e Pepe pasta, Rome isn't cool. But it has a charm: it doesn't take itself seriously. It doesn't even try to compete with other capitals like Paris, London or New York. Despite much of its beauty being on display, it takes a few trips (or some helpful recommendations) to fully appreciate its magic. It doesn't reveal all of itself, not in one go at least.

Cities are a lot like us, like the people who live in them.

What we hide or reveal of ourselves to others, whether hidden treasures or mysterious secrets, contributes to creating the persona that we come to recognise as 'I'. We can construct it, or create it, even if we are intentional.

In the last few years, we've shared more about ourselves at work than in the past, whether to our colleagues, our clients, or peers. The surreal and extreme circumstances brought about by the pandemic collapsed some walls, but as the world is working towards getting over COVID (crossed fingers that we get over it), today is a good time to address the question 'to be, or not be, myself at work'.

220922 Grappling with the two C's

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GRAPPLING WITH THE TWO C'S

  • It's not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It's what we do consistently.
    ― Anthony Robbins

I struggled to find something to write about for my recent The Mettā View newsletter. Looking at the news, things feel pretty gloomy and I'm guessing you're pretty much where I am

Thankfully, over the summer, I had the chance to read several great books, including a collection of essays by the wonderful Anne Lamott called ‘Almost Everything, Notes on Hope’. We certainly need hope at the moment. In her trademark warm humour, Lamott writes that “expectations are resentments under construction”.

Doesn’t that feel true?

And so, in my latest Looking Forward blogpost I contemplate my (incap)abilities to be consistent (or should I say constant?) and why this and coherence matters.

220728 A picture worth taking

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A PICTURE WORTH TAKING

I used to say that I didn’t like having my photograph taken.
Not wanting to be in front of the lens is quite a lonely state nowadays because it seems that the world wants nothing more than for us to be photographed, everyday, at all times.
As a new media consumer, whether we talk about videos, podcasts, or social let’s say, I came to realise that the more someone revealed about themselves, the more likely I was to relate to them and develop a sense of connection to them.
There is value in showing ourselves to others. How else are people meant to get to know us?
I consider what I disliked about facing the camera—and how I overcame that resistance - in this post.

220630 Blind spots, deep listening and myelination

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BLIND SPOTS, DEEP LISTENING AND MYELINATION

For many of us, the opposite of talking isn’t listening, it's waiting.’

This quote I came across in Dan Pink’s book yesterday could not have shown up in a more timely manner.

Because you see, only a few days ago, I caught myself in a blind spot.

I’m sure I have plenty of them, but this one I spotted. In a meeting with a new client, I was asked a question and quickly answered it, only to realise a few hours later that my answer didn’t feel right. It wasn’t the best answer to the question. I took a moment and emailed to retract my earlier opinion...

220623 Who is your future self?

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WHO IS YOUR FUTURE SELF?

Would you ever go to your personal trainer or piano teacher (or whatever is applicable for you) and say: I don’t have anything to work on? Thought not. Well, the same should be said for work and personal development. We never stop learning. This post explores how we should be more open-minded about making tiny improvements to our lives no matter how much we think we’ve got it all figured out.
As always, I cover all the latest thinking and research on this most fascinating of topics.

220616 Be more like Bob

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BE MORE LIKE BOB

Feeling stuck? Find out how your brilliant problem-solving mind is built with tools that can and will help you get unstuck, be more collaborative and of course, effective. Who doesn’t want that?
There will always be moments of friction and difficulties. I’m learning to make peace with that myself, but I’m exploring solutions with the surprising help of Bob the Builder. Interestingly, the answer is in the questions you ask yourself. Read or listen here.
Until next time.

220526 Let's get to the essence

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LET'S GET TO THE ESSENCE

*‘There is no yearning more important to human beings than to freely pick and pursue our life direction. A clear sense of self-directed meaning provides us with an essentially inexhaustible supply of motivation. But we can easily lose sight of what is actually meaningful to us, pursuing socially compliant goals and superficial gratifications instead. Every tick of the clock can mock us with the emptiness of such a life.’ - Steven C. Hayes

Things have certainly not felt effortless since the start of the year, but this week I share a new side project and the path I’ve navigated to find the courage to go for it. Hint: coaching and values have a lot to do with it. You can read 'Let's get to the essence below' or listen to it here.

220520 Something's got to give

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SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE

  • True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure — the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character’s essential nature. - Robert McKee

As I type this, I’m emerging from my own pressure cooker. Proof? I left the money I was drawing out at the ATM yesterday afternoon. Hand palm emoji insert here.

As it happens… Deadlines for different projects are moved, and suddenly, boom, everything culminates at the same time. Result? You’re crawling under a pile of commitments, none of which you want to cancel because, well, hopefully, you (like me) really enjoy doing what you do, and you really like delivering on your word.

And yet, sometimes, something’s got to give. Either that or one has to start working through the nights on top of the days...

220512 Thoughts on energy, friendships and work

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THOUGHTS ON ENERGY, FRIENDSHIPS AND WORK

“It’s in our relationships that we find the emotional sustenance and power we need to thrive.” Vivek Murthy, Together

This is my 50th Looking Forward!! The long-form blog posts I never knew I'd be writing!

Despite my earlier rant (see the piece called Soap box day here), I’m feeling the love as I bask in the afterglow of meeting a new friend, which leads me to reflect on good people, energy, and what that means for us at work.

Enjoy!

220422 The inner struggle: resistance vs allowance

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THE INNER STRUGGLE: RESISTANCE VS ALLOWANCE

  • Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. - Carl Jung

This week I’m excited to be hosting my second collective coaching session, Work, Together, see the details in the digest below. Yay!

Thankfully I’m more or less over the cold that had my nose so red it almost radiated on Zoom earlier this week. I’m hoping you have been keeping well.

On my mind, and in Looking Forward, after ‘failing’ at having a successful Easter break, I decided to explore my (bad) mood states, the importance of rest, and what stress or frustration can teach us if we dare do some digging around. The post is called ‘The inner struggle, resistance vs allowance’ and you can read it below or listen to it here.

220414 Building community, creating connection

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BUILDING COMMUNITY, CREATING CONNECTION

  • The currency of the future is also the currency of the past. It’s simply about intentionally creating deeper connections to each other. - Bernadette Jiwa, Difference

How are you? I’m back from my yogic excursion and couldn’t be more delighted about the upcoming four-day weekend ahead of me here in Switzerland.

The return to work has been exciting and intense, with new clients, projects, workshops and podcasts. As a result of what a friend called ‘too much goodness’ (read my yoga legs are aching), I’m nursing a cold, so I won’t be going anywhere for the next few days.

Meanwhile, I’ve made wonderful new connections recently. Most of them (bar those IRL last week) surprise surprise, haven’t been in person. And ahead of an upcoming interview with head of community at Single Store Wesley Faulkner, I reflect on how we gather (per Priya Parker) in groups and communities, why cultivating trust matters plus I lift the lid on my own experiences. The post is called ‘Building community, creating connection,’ and you can read it below or listen to it here.

If this resonates with you, drop me a line, and let me know about your good or bad experiences with community and gathering.

220330 Crafting a voice

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CRAFTING A VOICE

  • Words ride on the energy of tone, its warmth or coldness; think of tone as the music of how words are expressed. You want this music to be soulful, whether you’re giving sweet talk or tough love. - Judith Orloff

This week I’m (still) feeling inspired by the interview I published not long ago with my collaborator, journalist and copy editor Manfreda Cavazza. It got me thinking again about voice, but this time my focus was on tone of voice.

What does our tone say about who we are (brands or individuals) and how it serves us as a bridge between intention and connection. Read on below to find out my intentions with both the podcast and this newsletter or listen to ‘Crafting a voice’. (I had fun with the audio on this one...)

220317 Befriending time

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BEFRIENDING TIME

So... I’m quite fast, or I should say my brain tends to move fast, and as I’ve learned the hard way, it’s both a blessing and curse.

Speedy that I tend to be, I often forget that a) not everyone is built like me, b) that I’m not like that all day, every day, and that c) in life it’s the journey, not the destination that matters (although, not true when it comes to holidays, I’m dreaming of flying off to the Maldives and the journey, as of today, is the least appealing part of the trip).

In the spirit of helping those who, like me, struggle when things don’t move fast enough for their taste, I explore how we can learn to respect each other’s timing, embracing the worldview of our audiences, teams and clients.

And so, while I’m trying to learn to be more patient myself, a very valuable quality I hear, I’m exploring our relationship with time. Whether it’s ‘not the right time’, or ‘not yet’, we can learn to move slow to go fast.

So here’s this week’s exploration, named ‘Befriending time’ - which you can read or also listen to the recorded audio.
Enjoy, and feel free to drop me a line to let me know how you are doing in your relationship with time.

220223 Banking on values

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BANKING ON VALUES

I feel quite far away from the world, typing this from my living room, while my survivor of a cat sleeps on top of me, on a furry blanket. You see, in London, Fashion Week is in full swing, and I have a little FOMO and yet no desire to travel, nor to open my Instagram feed. So what is that about? I think it’s just February pushing my buttons.

Meanwhile, I wrote this for Looking Forward about how I invested some of my money (in January 2020…😱) and what I learned in the process, lessons which, strangely or not, can be applied to many other business situations and brands’ communication. You'd be surprised how this will be relevant for a lot of brand managers out there.

The name of the post took me a while to figure out: 'Banking on values'. There's certainly a pun there, one that those of you who've read the joint investigative report by the Guardian, Le Monde and Süddeutsche Zeitung on Credit Suisse won't miss. The irony is not escaping me.

220215 Want change? Work on your attitude

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WANT CHANGE? WORK ON YOUR ATTITUDE

My newly (slightly more) flexible brain has been in overdrive with the research on how the notion of adaptability (explored last week in this newsletter) is a trait we need to cultivate in business.

The challenges are clear: they lie on both the operational side and the creative, which leads to innovation, evolution and growth. Because one thing is constant, and that is change. So how to stay relevant? I have some tricks for you up my sleeve.

220207 Why I want a flexible brain

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WHY I WANT A FLEXIBLE BRAIN

  • In order to keep up with the world of 2050, you will need not merely to invent new ideas and products – you will above all need to reinvent yourself again and again. —Yuval Noah Harari

I’ve been pondering on the subject of adaptability. This is something we’re pretty great at as a species, but I’m not sure whether most of us ever remember how important it is to cultivate this trait. Personally AND professionally.

This week, I had the great pleasure to interview Cameron Silver, owner of Decades - a temple to vintage, couture and pre-loved in LA - and right on the heels of our 90min conversation, I was, in turn, the one being interviewed by host Shaun Benoliel for the Ensemble podcast.

These two conversations, and some of my most recent study sessions (in Contemplative Psychotherapy Program) left me considering why being adaptable is important, and seeking how to prepare ourselves and develop this essential quality: a tool both for resilience and for growth (or per my word of the year, for flourishing).

So this is what this week’s Looking Forward touches on, and I hope you’ll find some ideas to challenge you (like I was challenged), and launch you into a discovery around this interesting and important topic. Don't have time to read? You can listen to the audio via Soundcloud here.

211206 Ready or not?

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READY OR NOT?

I’ve been rushed off my feet, but not for any old reason. Yes, this morning, I was trying for my driver’s test. And the learner’s permit was expiring this coming Sunday...

Good news: I really enjoy driving, and I am pretty good at it. Bad news, I wish I could have done a few extra hours of preparation ahead of this test. But the better news of all is the administration services in Geneva, despite being very, very overwhelmed with work, COVID safety measures, etc, were kind enough to give me an appointment. And I passed! Yay!

While I was delighted about the kindness I encountered and a little nervous around the test, I am also excited to be graduating this week from the coaching training I enrolled on this year, led by Martha Beck. Yes, you can send me flowers, chocolates, champagne!!! Lots to celebrate! 🥳🥂💃🏼

I can barely believe we’ve come to the end of training. I wish I could get another six or nine or 12 months of it, so gratifying and life-altering it has been.

These two combined subjects make me wonder about preparation, procrastination, the imposter syndrome, and when to leap, especially when the stakes are high. You can read the post ‘Ready or Not’ or listen to it here.

211119 An Unexpected Branding Exercise

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AN UNEXPECTED BRANDING EXERCISE

This week, I’m writing about how impressed I am with others - young actors on the global climate stage - doing their best to push the laggards into action to save this burning platform we are all living on. This leads me to an unexpected workshop in personal branding. Listen to it here or read on.

211111 on coaching, presence and vision

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ON COACHING, PRESENCE AND VISION

  • Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. - Carl Jung

We are halfway through November, almost, and it’s TEDx season here in Switzerland: today in Geneva and next Friday in Zurich. I’m not a speaker at either of these (yet), but I’m looking forward to attending and will report back to you.

In other news, I don’t know about you, but the workload tends to intensify towards the end of the year. It’s exciting and promising, but also tiring and challenging.

I feel it’s a privilege, as a result, to ‘have to’ work on this weekly newsletter. Thanks to you, I get to purposefully read in order to offer some relevant links in the Digest and thanks to a recent gym membership, part of my reading was done on the treadmill. Yay to combining cardio and reading time.

This week, I also write about how I asked for help, aka for some coaching, which helped me figure out the common thread between coaching and mindfulness.

211104 Planning for change

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PLANNING FOR CHANGE

  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. -Albert Einstein
    If you’d told me ten years ago that this would be the headline I’d find on the cover of a title like the Financial Times in November 2021, it would have sounded as preposterous as the global pandemic grinding the world to a halt in 2020. And yet, here we are. It’s not business as usual this week. Then again, it hasn’t felt like business as usual for a while, so I chose to tackle change and how uncertainty is not only inherent to, but also the most certain thing we will experience throughout our lives. I also explore grounding strategies to help us manage our fears and move forward towards our goals, and possibly embrace sustainable change.

211029 Is social media still social?

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IS SOCIAL MEDIA STILL SOCIAL?

  • Build it, and they will come” only works in the movies. Social Media is a “build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay. - Seth Godin

The news got in right after I’d put this post to bed. I’m a bit miffed about it. The big rebrand of the year (or decade): Facebook renames itself ‘Meta’. Right after I’d renamed this newsletter the Mettā View. I mean! More on Zuck’s metaverse thing here in case you live under a rock.

Connection, not just media, is on my mind as I am toiling away at pivoting AVM Consulting. Let’s ditch the broadcast and start communicating. Talking, or listening, depending on where you are at of course!

After a couple of weeks waxing lyrical about the magic of shoes and ready-to-wear, this week I decided to concentrate on what’s keeping a lot of business owners, freelancers, and executives up at night, namely: how to reach their clients. It got me asking myself, is social media still social?

211021 Fashion as Self-Care

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FASHION AS SELF-CARE

  • What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language. – Miuccia Prada

I'm excited to tell you that I am getting dressed again. If you wonder whether I was seen wandering naked down the street recently, that's not what I meant by this (although weirdly, that does happen in my dreams once in a while). I am feeling this different energy, and yet things still feel heavy. So with this in mind, I follow on from my ode to shoes to explore the ways in which fashion, accessories, and colour are identity enhancers - if not symbols of our taste - and can be the bearer of our values.

211015 It's a shoe thing

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IT'S A SHOE THING

So my week so far has been about self-management and self-care. It may just be that I’ve embarked on some deep work, and my brain seems to be demanding energy that I’d otherwise allocated to other things. Long story short, I’m glued to my desk and doing the work. Meanwhile, when I get a chance to get a peak outside, I feel new energy. Translation: I want new shoes, and it’s a good sign. And that’s the subject of today’s Looking Forward post, dedicated to my love for footwear.

210930 On swimming, resources and finding flow

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ON SWIMMING, RESOURCES AND FINDING FLOW

❇ Love is not the about the frequency of communication but the depth of connection. Adam Grant - TED Monterey 2021

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a tortoiseshell cat called Fifi. Initially christened Ficelle by my dad, that one time when he came to visit me in London, I renamed her as soon as he got back on the plane. My furry friend has been a loving sidekick (only towards me, cheeky that she is) for over sixteen years. She was even immortalised by my previous team in a comic book created to celebrate my time in the company.
Perhaps not surprisingly given her age, Fifi seems to be on her last legs, or rather her kidneys are. After a few days at the vet's, she came back smelling a bit like hospital and spends her mornings hiding under the bed after I administer her medication. I wish I could hide under the bed.

Outside, life goes on. A few days before, I took myself on a short retreat and rekindled with my childhood love of swimming. Surprisingly, this turned out to be a peak experience, and the subject of this post. It’s a reflection on the feeling of ‘meh’ (aka languishing), and how to find joy (and flow) in the small things.

210909 September Resolutions

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SEPTEMBER RESOLUTIONS

Call it August doldrums, call it 2020 part 2, call it global catastrophe, call it burnout, call it burning, just call it like it is: bad. - Rachel Jepsen, Every

September is the start of the new year. At least, that’s what it feels like for some of my friends, parents, who have way more work to prepare when the new school year starts than at the beginning of the calendar year.

We were reflecting on this with a couple of friends, chatting away in the turquoise loveliness of the Aegean sea, a parenthesis, before flying home back to reality. One of us suggested we consider approaching September like others do January, more purposefully, with resolutions etc.
I paused. Could that apply to me too, I wondered?

Back to school, the new start coincides with the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah celebrations started this past Monday, the same day I started writing this piece. Timely.

So I decided to indulge and play a game I named ‘September Resolutions’.

210902 this is a test

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THIS IS A TEST

When opening my mailbox, I generally smile when I see a small package. As I turn the key and open the small red metal door, anything that says 'I am not a bill' makes me happy. And sometimes, though rare, I even get good surprises when I collect my mail. This spring, for example, someone sent me a book, and I don't know who the sender was. Adding a note is a nice (or necessary?) touch so that I can thank or credit the surprise (or even delight) to the right person. Indeed, it matters because I found the book to be amazing.

So ta-dah! The book is called Your Music and Your People by Derek Sivers. Some of the pieces resonated with me because I know the life lessons or advice he writes about are true. When this next one pulled me back to my earlier musings about the importance of testing, I felt a tug. The author called it 'This is only a test'.

210716 Trust takes work

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TRUST TAKES WORK

❇ The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. - Esther Perel

In this third installment of my explorations around trust, I am inspired by a small online retailer in Zurich which surprised me by transforming me, over the course of a year, into an advocate of their beautifully curated selection of organic and sustainable beauty products. And following from that, I got interested in how closely are the science of influence, persuasion and trust intertwined in this advocacy process. As it turns out, very.

Finally the glue that connected these pieces together, in my particular experience? Stories. And great copy writing.

I finish with some open questions anyone who is keen to build (or build back) trust and meaningful relationships with employees and clients alike.

210710 Trust wobbles, inauthenticity and mindfulness

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TRUST WOBBLES, INAUTHENTICITY AND MINDFULNESS

This week, I had the pleasure of booking myself a trip, and one of the ensuing conversations with a customer service representative at Easyjet was the entry point for my second article on the importance of trust. I dig into the power of mindfulness, authenticity and how we should all just try to be ourselves. Not a reader? Listen here

210701 Exploring trust

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EXPLORING TRUST

❇ Extending trust to others rekindles the inner spirit - both theirs and ours. - Stephen M.R Covey, the Speed of Trust

The first in a series of three articles, I decided to explore in depth the subject of trust. Whether trust in ourselves or others, at work or at home, and then ways in which to establish trustworthiness as a business or a brand, trust truly underpins all our interactions and supports the healthy functioning of our relationships.

Do you wonder how to nurture it in yourself, how to establish it in your businesses and communication? Well, that's what we're here to explore, so let's dig in! First step: boundaries!

210625 The role of curation

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THE ROLE OF CURATION

❇ A day has a hundred pockets if you know what to put in them. - Nietzsche
Curation is the word, or rather the concept, on my mind at the moment, thanks to multiple sources who in the past few days filled my inbox with things related to the subject. I explore its meaning for brands, customer experience, and also what can hide behind 'idea selection' as a means to express oneself.
And on a semi-related note, I am considering curating my summer... I'll tell you more about that as it shapes up.

210617 THE WE STORY

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THE WE STORY

This week, I had the unlikely experience of receiving a letter from myself in the post. It was entitled ‘I give myself an A’.

Are you smiling and wondering what I’m talking about? I was simply practising, in real life, with a physical handwritten note, an exercise suggested by my favourite new mentor Benjamin Zander. I wrote about accomplishing something important ahead of time, and in doing so, opened up the possibility of succeeding where I would have otherwise been more fearful or less intentional. It was lovely to read the words I’d written about myself a month earlier. I recommend you try it for yourself, whether for work or personal development. Example of how to give yourself an A here.

And while my backyard feels like the centre of the world due to the US/Russia summit happening a stone's throw away from here, I explore feedback, interconnectedness and the story of WE - in this week’s Looking Forward. Enjoy!

210604 About Magic Mountains, Movement and Future Self

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ABOUT MAGIC MOUNTAINS, MOVEMENT AND FUTURE SELF

❇The key to making healthy decisions is to respect your future self. Honor him or her. Treat him or her like you would treat a friend or a loved one. - A. J. Jacobs

Right. It's June already. I don't know about you but I feel like a snake about to shed its skin. I was reflecting that when we cast our skin, let go of the old, we are first more exposed, vulnerable, sensitive. We are also more open. Tara Brach talks about this beautifully, see details in the Digest.

That said, I feel a bit raw and unprepared for getting back out into the world but luckily I have an Inner Mentor who I introduce you to in Looking Forward. She's wiser and smarter than me, so I'm trying to take a leaf from her book. Actually, I was reminded by someone yesterday that you can write to your Future Self and choose the delivery date of the message via FutureMe.org or even choose to write the message to someone else in the future where you thank them for how they contributed to your life. Fun exercise. Both worth a try.

210521 A CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP STYLE

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A CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP STYLE

❇ It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. – Harry Truman
❇ None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful. – Mother Teresa

I am both exhausted and exhilarated this week. From war in the middle east (with close family in Israel), my second shot of the vaccine, terrible weather, and bad news coming from India and Spain/Morrocco, I feel the collective exhaustion and the sparks of anger and disagreement around me, my colleagues, my friends, my family. I wish we could all have a nice long holiday - not an imposed one, not another lockdown, no, a real relaxation. I'm concentrating on self-care personally, and writing for you here does feel like a version of that.

I am leaning towards change, thinking about better collaboration and still vibing off last week's musical metaphor: one-buttock playing.

210508 hitting the keyword

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HITTING THE KEYWORD

❇ Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony. - Mahatma Gandi

Procrastination sometimes leads us to exciting explorations. That's what happened to me when I let myself be distracted instead of writing my Looking Forward post a couple of days ago. Borrowing from the podcast, I indulged in looking for a point of convergence between my favourite word and what brings me happiness, so doing I might have found my Ikigai. This brought me to revisit the wonderful audiobook 'The Art of Possibilities' by Rosemund and Benjamin Zander as well as the English conductor's phenomenal Ted Talk. Treat yourself to both and you'll thank me later, that's a promise!

210507 THE POWER OF WORDS

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THE POWER OF WORDS

❇ You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. - Rainer Maria Rilke

With a couple of clients - and some great copywriters - I have been pondering the value and sometimes the power behind our words. This may have been prompted by my conversation with novelist and mindfulness teacher April Davila, my guest on Out of the Clouds. It could also be that I have been inspired by poetry of late, including the wonderful lines from Amanda Gorman, who graces the cover of US Vogue this month - see below in the digest.
Whether used as metaphors, in copywriting, mindful mantras or economic models, words carry intention and, possibly, the keys to our future.

210430 Mindful communication and DEI

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MINDFUL COMMUNICATION AND DEI

❇ What you read and write can help you heal, so be thoughtful about what you consume.- Thich Nhat Hanh, The Art of Communicating

Working at the crossroads between business and mindfulness is an interesting place to explore life. I am, like others out there, working on integrating or pulling together these various parts of me. It's a complicated process but I hope that offering my own interrogations and a-ha moments, the good, the bad and the funny, will be of use for you, if not today, then sometime in the future.
This week, I dig into an important subject of study for me, mindful communication, what it means to create a 'container' and holding space, and why we all need it.

210423 THE CASE OF TOO MANY COOKS

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THE CASE OF TOO MANY COOKS

❇ The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter. - Malcolm Gladwell, Blink

Last week as I was writing my weekly blog post, I got deep into research of the subject I was touching upon - namely challenges in group decision-making. So I chose to wait and come back to the subject this week. I guess I practiced what I preached a couple of weeks ago - I slowed down. Meanwhile, I was treated to a serendipitous email from HBR in which I found a wonderful article by Cheryl Strauss Einhorm on the myths behind decision making.

210409 why slow is good

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WHY SLOW IS GOOD

❇ Keep the main thing the main thing. - Ralphie J Karam

I was never a fan of 'doing for the sake of doing' but as many, I am feeling the social pressure, social media that is, of posting for the sake of feeding the machine. So I explore my internal narrative, the way that stress narrows the aperture of our minds and why slowing down is a healthy move for both creativity and collaboration.

210401 the why behind of our communication

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THE WHY BEHIND OF OUR COMMUNICATION

❇ Email, like other forms of direct communications is a way to own our story.

This week, I am concerning myself with the evolution of our emails and the why behind our messaging. Mindful communication is on my mind so it feels like a subject that will be coming back to tease me on a regular basis.

210325 THE ONE ABOUT BEING A BAD STORYTELLER

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THE ONE ABOUT BEING A BAD STORYTELLER

❇ The real difference between us and chimpanzees is the mysterious glue that enables millions of humans to cooperate effectively. This mysterious glue is made of stories, not genes. — Yuval Noah Harari

First an exploration into the stories I tell myself, I then turn to brand narratives we can and should explore. Because stories are what bind us together.

210319 About hair adventures, experimentation and communication

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ABOUT HAIR ADVENTURES, EXPERIMENTATION AND COMMUNICATION

❇ All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better. - Ralf Waldo Emerson

What can bring about a culture of trust, safety and experimentation? The questions come up for me as I reflect upon a couple of decades of hair adventures. Yes, you read that right. Read on...

210310 The art of negotiation

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THE ART OF NEGOTIATION

❇ Women are not little children. Women are not weak, not victims. Pleasure and danger go together, of course they do. We want the pleasure and we can cope with danger. - Nadine Strossen

Every week, after writing this blog, I wonder whether I will have anything to talk about (or rather write about) the following week. Doesn't every writer has that fear? As mindfulness my mentor, Solwazi Johnson, invited me to do in our monthly sangha meetings, I let myself write about what's on top for me - aka what's actually bubbling under the surface right now. Oh dear, human interactions are so complex. Whether at work or at home. My own situation was an excuse to do a little digging around the subject of negotiations and I come out of this a better person indeed.

210305 The life changing magic of editing

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THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF EDITING

❇ If you feel that you just can’t write or you’re too tired or this, that, and the other, just stop thinking about it, and go and work. Life doesn’t have to be so over thought. You don’t have to wait to be inspired. Just start working. —Joyce Carol Oates

At the start of this project, writing a newsletter/blog that is, I only saw myself as a curator of interesting news. Itself, not a project that felt too intimidating. I did need a bit of support at the start, and I can thank my friend Anna for making herself available to correct some of my grammar. Having a support system, whether personally, or in creative and entrepreneurial endeavors is not only valuable, it's something to cherish.

Today, I am inspired by the editing process in Looking Forward and in my love of long-form pieces as well as large scale art in the Digest. These demands time and attention, which I don't always have either of, so I save them in a small note folder for more idle moments.

210226 ON REINVENTION

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ON REINVENTION

❇ The greatest scientists are artists as well.” — Einstein

In this post, I relfect on how our past, interests, experience, intuition, help to pave the way for our future. This was due partly to the wonderful interview I published withDr Andrea Wojnicki, of Talk About Talk (a learning platform & a podcast). My very accomplished guest and I had a wonderful exchange on interpersonal and consumer communication, archetypes, painting and how she got her black belt - amongst other things.

Over the course of another conversation, I was also brought face to face with the reality of my strong passion towards learning, which emerged post-corporate life. So I chose to muse on and research reinvention, what it means to be a modern polymath and my binging tendencies towards the 'learning from anywhere' platforms.

210218 your voice, your story

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YOUR VOICE, YOUR STORY

❇ The tongue can paint what the eyes can't see. - Chinese Proverb

I was inspired to share more about myself after interviewing Hanna Fiedler, a very talented young fashion designer who was guest on my podcast recently. When I asked her the question of what she was hoping to see more of in the fashion world in the future, she explained she’d love to see more transparency, to let people see more of the process, and she used the analogy of seeing a chef at work in the kitchen. So this is my way of letting you into the kitchen so to speak. It feels a little uncomfortable, daring even, because I have a tendency to edit my own voice (or story) of both the podcast and the newsletter, so I hope this serves the purpose of inspiring you to explore your voice.

210203 the case for chasing the new

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THE CASE FOR CHASING THE NEW

❇ "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." Zen master Suzuki Roshi

For fun, I decided to explore the why behind my tech enthusiasm, as well as some things currently on my mind for my AVM consulting clients when it comes to brand awareness and communicating to their audience. Surprisingly, this turned into an ode to my big brother. I might have never had much of a chance to explore my geeky side (back in 1986 - pre-internet) if I hadn't benefited from his cast-off Atari and Apple Mac. Thank you Michel.

210128 Make someone's day today

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MAKE SOMEONE'S DAY TODAY

❇ Discard everything that doesn't spark joy. - Marie Kondo

This week I explore common sense, service and contribution in the insight piece below. Also I wanted to tell you about this practice I picked up via Seth Godin's altMBA a few years ago, which I think can make someone's day (yours and the other person) when used well. Next time you are overly impressed or delighted by someone's service, make a point of thanking them for what they did, and also tell their manager. It’s called 'catching people doing good'. Generally, I must say, it's very well received and offers a good boost of dopamine to the giver as much as the receiver. Let me know how that works out for you.

210121 The privacy Issue

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THE PRIVACY ISSUE

❇ Privacy is something you can sell, but you can't buy it back. - Bob Dylan

In preparing the Weekly Digest, I got talking to one of my team members about online privacy: why it mattered to me and what were the steps I’d taken to create more security or privacy for myself online.

The prompt for our exchange was the flurry of news following the change of privacy policy from WhatsApp owner Facebook and its implications for users.

Gatsby's Advice

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GATSBY'S ADVICE

❇ To lead a successful life, it’s essential to know your limits, and then go as far as you can, but always within your limits. - Gabriel 'Gatsby' Van Deuren

I this post, I revisit the excellent advice from my grandfather, who had earned himself the glamourous nickname of Gatsby in his youth, name which our family lovingly mispronounced (and to hear how, listen to the audio version of the post). I wish I'd remembered his words earlier on, but now I've written about it, I feel they will stay with me.

240419 How a childhood memory helped me tackle imposter syndrome and find my voice

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HOW A CHILDHOOD MEMORY HELPED ME TACKLE IMPOSTER SYNDROME AND FIND MY VOICE

Ever felt like a little fish in a big pond? I certainly have. Imposter syndrome can be crippling, but as I discovered as I attended my first-ever TED conference (a long-held dream of mine) in Vancouver last year, it’s possible to reclaim your confidence and feel like you have a place at the table.

240426 The ultimate form of intelligence

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THE ULTIMATE FORM OF INTELLIGENCE

In a world where we too often ignore our intuition, have you ever brushed off that "gut feeling" only to regret it later? Don't make that mistake. Your instincts are your secret weapon, a powerful force that can guide you to the best possible outcome in any situation. Here I share a transformational experience that taught me this crucial life lesson. It hasn't been easy, but I'm learning to embrace the discomfort that comes with listening to my body's wisdom and challenging it with my mind.

By questioning my feelings and allowing them to guide me, I've discovered a synergy of body and mind that is the ultimate intelligence. And the best part? It's a skill you can easily develop. Read or listen here to find out how and unlock the full power of your intuition.