Ramblings

The little box here on WordPress is telling me it’s a month since I’ve written anything here. Where has the time gone?

Actually, I do know. I’ve been kept busy with the business side of things. It’s been interesting times as I’ve been grappling with learning more about new fangled way of doing things. It’s really interesting! It also takes up way too much time.

Do you share this WordPress Dilemma is a post I recently did for Dragon Sisters, but I’m thinking many of my followers here may find this helpful. Then again maybe you guys already knew all this about WordPress? If not, hopefully it’ll help you avoid my dilemma.

Since it does not look like I’ll be heading back to Europe in the near future, I’ve registered (at the suggestion of one of my clients) with the NT Department of Business as a consultant. This means NT businesses which are eligible for funding from the Department are able to choose from a list of consultants and I’m one of them.

Welcome to Brussels
Welcome to Brussels – not any more!

Speaking of Europe – I’m feeling very sad tonight that the vote has been for the UK to leave the European Union.  A good friend of mine wrote this after we heard the news:

 

Now comes the hard part.

Young people and others who wanted a different outcome but didn’t bother voting have to face up to the consequences of the abdication of their civic duty.

A huge task of reconciling a divided nation in which the divisions have been etched in with a diamond-tipped, power-driven electoral chisel:

Young v Old;
North v South;
Regions v Metropolitan Areas;
Rural v Urban;
Scotland and N Ireland v England and Wales;
Right v Left;
Blairites v Corbynites;
Ukippers/Brexiteers v Centre Right/One Nation Tories,
English/Welsh v EU/Non EU migrants (now all feeling unwelcome);

The hardest part of all will be in how to appease the 52% who voted Leave, when they eventually realise that absolutely nothing (not one iota of anything that matters – mark my words) will change.

Nothing will quite literally change for about 2 years, until the steps are completed to disengage.

After disengagement, immigration rates will continue at current levels (see why below).

After disengagement, identical payments to access EU markets will continue (otherwise more EU referendums will follow).

After disengagement, almost identical terms of EU trade will be negotiated (otherwise more EU referendums will follow).

EU migrants will continue to come (armed with easily acquired visas issued by overseas embassies and consulates authorized to make decisions regardless of the wishes of Brexiteers).

New UK laws passed to replace repealed EU laws will look indistinguishable from the laws they replace, to fit in with international health, employment and safety standards and international law.

The unskilled still be under pressure as large scale manufacturing and agriculture and other sources of casual and unskilled labour evolve increasingly mechanised production systems.

In only the time it takes for hardworking, aspirational second generation migrants to graduate from university (as most of them end up doing) and enter the labour market, there will be a sudden dawning realisation.

The jobs that neither we, nor our children and grandchildren (nor the children and grandchildren of first generation migrants) want to do – cooking,

work place cleaning,
building site labouring,
fruit & veg picking,
shelf stacking,
shopkeeping,
bus driving,
bus/train attendants
nursing,
nannying,
housekeeping,
janitorial duties,
street sweeping,
night security work,
delivery driving,
post office till work,
super market till work,
department store till work,
grave digging,
elderly care work,
social child care work,
mental health care work……
Many NHS staff….

………..it will eventually dawn on everyone that the only way to get these societally essential jobs done, will be to let in some more migrants.

Migrants are good for the country – regardless of whether it is UK or Australia. I’m a migrant as are so many others and we all have a good work ethic and no sense of entitlement.

Ignorance is what causes fear. Fear of what is not understood.  Education, both of the formal and travel the world kind, is the key to breaking the cycle.

The older I get, the more I appreciate all the experiences I have lived. I am thankful to have travelled extensively, to have received a great formal eduction as well through my life growing up globally. I am very fortunate to have friends from so many different nations. Our skin colours and religious beliefs have no bearing on our friendships and I am doubly pleased this has passed on to both my children.

Time for me to get off my soap box.

Goodnight all!

Michelle

Being True to Yourself – Part 1 – Authenticity

The Being True to Yourself Series, is a result of personal observations and experiences.

Authentic means being true to who you are.

Genuine.

It means not allowing a spin doctor, campaign manager, copywriter or another well-meaning advisor to change your way of speaking or behaving. Certainly there is a need to gain poise and polish, but this does not need to mean a loss of authenticity.

That is not to say we don’t evolve and change over time.

Of course, we do!

It’s part of life and the experiences we go through shape us as individuals. Some of us are very fortunate to have great role models and mentors come into our lives naturally. They help us evolve.

I am lucky to have had some wonderful influences, from a range of professional and cultural backgrounds in both my business and personal life.

When I embarked on my public speaking journey way back in 2004, or to be more accurate was thrust into it as a result of winning the Telstra NT Business Woman of the Year Award, I was a terrible speaker.

It was my biggest fear; I had to face it head on because there were expectations that went with the role. Expectations that I would travel around the country and speak at different functions.

Thankfully, I had wonderful support and improved no end, now I always receive excellent feedback. I developed and grew, but I have never lost my authenticity.

I will also never forget how hard it was to learn and how nerve-wracking.

The Turning Point

The turning point was when I received a very sage piece of advice.

It was simply ‘never lose sight of who you are; it’s what makes you unique’.

Those simple words gave me confidence and, amazing as it might sound, permission to be me.

I knew early on that I could not be a slick joke teller to break the ice, that’s not me.

I’m hopeless at jokes as I never remember the punch lines! I don’t try to tell them in the course of my normal conversations so how could I be expected to include them in a speech?

Sure, I’m not the same speaker I was 18 years ago. I’ve changed and evolved. A little older, a little wider physically and a little bit wiser, but I am still very much me.

How often have you a speaker and felt they were not genuine?

They may have something great to say, but because they are not using their own expressions, the words don’t ring true. They sound false even if they are genuine.

That’s because they are either, consciously or unconsciously, imitating someone or delivering a message in a style that is not their own.

The very best speakers in my book are those who have a passion for their subject and have had some training in public speaking, but remain true to who they are.

Subtle Nuances

I’m told I am very perceptive because I detect subtle nuances, read between the lines and realise something is not quite right.

I have often come across materials purportedly written by high-profile individuals, yet the moment I read it, I just know, they have not written that article or blog post.

How do I know? The answer lies in the tone and ‘voice’ used.

The more prominent you are, the more public speaking appearances you will make. This makes is all the more important that written pieces, especially those that will go to print,  sound like you.

It is for this reason that it is vital that speechwriters and ghost writers really try to understand an individual before writing for them.

The writing is the easy part, understanding who you are writing for is what makes the difference.

I’ve also noticed that authentic people are generally happier, less stressed people and will deliver their speeches with ease. Could that be because they are comfortable in their own skins, that they are true to themselves?

I’d love to hear your views and experiences on authenticity, either as a comment or email me privately.

Michelle


My European interlude is coming to a close

Whilst I have enjoyed every moment of being in Europe and have loved teaching, mentoring and coaching, it is time to return to Australia – at least for a while.

I have cherished being in my little apartment and not having to worry about anything except myself and meeting a few deadlines. Well, OK, more than a few! I’ll admit that I haven’t entirely squirreled myself away in beautiful Ecija; I have kept up with clients and projects and taken on new ventures further afield thanks to modern communications, but I have made the most of my idyll here and been very present to the charms of a different culture and life experience, including the cold winter! I extend my heartfelt thanks to all those here who have been part of this wonderful sojourn for me. As usual, it is the people who make the experience special.

San Juan, EcijaI’ve needed these months alone to renew. To focus on what is important to me. The past 3 years have passed in a blur where I hardly had a moment to myself so it has been a real luxury to just be able to run my own timetable. I thoroughly enjoyed coming home to a quiet apartment, to spending weekends exploring local sites, or sometimes venturing further afield to Seville, Granada, Cordoba or Malaga. I had no one to worry about except myself. It might sound selfish, but actually it’s been more of a lifesaver than anything else and once again, it has given me an additional opportunity to develop and grow as an individual which provides additional experiential tools that I am able to bring to my work.

Sasha's graduation day - Batchelor of Journalism
Sasha’s graduation day – Batchelor of Journalism from Bond University

During this time in Europe I have been able to consider what it is that I really need in life to feel content. When my husband of 30 years decided to leave, and I bought him out of the house, it was a massive struggle to stay afloat financially, but I’ve managed. I only bought the house so my kids had a home base. I had a 5 year plan, of which the largest part was to see Sasha (who was then 16) successfully finish school and then university. Once Sasha graduated, I was in a position to pursue the next stage of my plan, which was to base myself in Europe for a year.

Whilst here, living a simple Spanish lifestyle, without the trappings that go with having a family home, I’ve come to the conclusion that, on a personal level, I actually need very little to live on. I can be happy in the moment as long as I know that my family is cared for and safe. It’ll be five years this August since Steve and I split up. It’s been tough for me, but at the same time liberating and life affirming as I know we (Wayne, Sasha and I) can manage on our own. Together we look after the house, each other and our dogs. We’ve become a closer family unit even if it meant a bit of a struggle at times. I feel that the kids and I have bonded more closely, and it’s also been a defining moment for both of them as they have stepped up to take more responsibilities. We have jointly made decisions about our future directions and I am extremely proud of the two beautiful people that they are.

It is now time to sit down and decide what the next step will be. What do I really want to do?
Michelle

SOME OF MY LATEST SCRIBBLES

I’m loving being able to spend more and more time writing. The SiDreamPlanActionmple Team Meetings blog is one of the sites that I’ve made a number of contributions to recently. If you’re interested, please pop on over and take look as there are some great tips, ideas and advice not just on the business side of thing, but on self-care too which is such an essential part of being able to function at optimum levels both in the business and personal sense.

I’ve got a Women in Business series on the way too for this site. However, I’m always looking for suggestions on other topics to add to  that everyone might like to read about, and so if you’ve got some thoughts I’d love to have your comments.

I’ll be doing more Spain posts very soon – got one done over the weekend but then my computer played up on me and my work was not saved….grrr!!

Michelle

Appreciating the English language

As a reader and a writer from way back, I’ve always enjoyed the richness of the largeEnglish language. Words paints a vivid picture for the reader and the text just seems to effortlessly flow when the author hits upon the right combination. In contrast the wrong choices of structure and vocabulary, cause even the most interesting material to become cumbersome.

Whilst I’ve always appreciated the wide selection of vocabulary available, I’ve never really given it a great deal of through until recently. To be more precise, it’s been my move into the world of teaching English to speakers of other languages that has caused me to pause and think on the vagaries, complexities and challenges that English provides.

You might like to check out this blog which is updated each Saturday with the word of the day. It comes with a short story using that particular word. It often introduces me to new vocabulary and the stories are interesting reads.

As I grow older I appreciate how very fortunate I am to have grown up as a native English speaker, but more so to have met people from so many different countries who also speak English as their first language albeit, with varying accents and expressions.  It’s this wide international experience, coupled with my formal training that has helped me become a more effective teacher. There are so many different ways to say the same thing that it’s no wonder people studying English get confused!

Michelle