How to use your strengths to pursue your dreams

Text over a picture of mountains. Text says 'Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined. Henry David Thoreau'

Reading Time: 8 minutes It’s that time again: everyone is talking about New Year’s Resolutions It’s traditional at this time of year to think about what has been, and look to the New Year as an opportunity for a fresh start (perhaps even more so than usual, given what 2020 was like for so many people). And this reflection … Read more

Leadership Toolbox: getting to grips with empathy

Photo of two women talking while sitting on beanbags
Reading Time: 5 minutes

In my first Leadership Toolbox post, I talked about the importance of self-care for leaders. Self-care involves turning our attention inward, to manage our own wellbeing.

In this post, I’ll be talking about the tool of empathy, which helps us turn our attention outward, to understand and connect with those around us. In a future post, I’ll share tips for how to increase your levels of empathy, and how to apply empathy “in the wild”, to grow your relationships and increase your effectiveness as a communicator and leader.

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Leadership Toolbox: how to create a self-care plan

Gold text on black background: 'She believed she could, so she did (but first, she took a nap)'
Reading Time: 7 minutes

As leaders, we need a comprehensive toolbox to succeed in our roles. I’ll be publishing a series of posts on leadership tools in coming months, so keep an eye out! I am starting this series with self-care because I believe it is the single most important tool for our toolbox.

It may feel like an entirely “selfish” practice because we are turning our energy towards ourselves, rather than directly serving those we lead. But there’s a reason that airline safety videos tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. A good self-care practice supports our wellbeing, allowing us to live a more awesome life, doing all the great things we dream of, and enjoying ourselves for many years to come.

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Ask yourself: why do you ask questions?

Six black cards with questions: who, when, where, how, why, and what, written on them in white text
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Chances are, you’ve been taught there is such a thing as a “good” and a “bad” type of question. Typically, this refers to open-ended questions (“good”), and closed questions (“bad”). This judgement is based on the likelihood of getting more than a one-word answer.

But have you ever asked yourself why we ask questions at all? The answer seems obvious at first glance – we ask questions to find something out. But there is much more to it than meets the eye.

This article:

  • defines three key motivations for asking a question,
  • explains how to effectively deploy positive motivations, and
  • provides guidance on what to do if you or someone else falls into the trap of the third motivation.

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If you want to be good at something, first you’ve got to be bad

Diagram of football (soccer) field strategy
Reading Time: 5 minutes

There’s a simple truth in life that I have encountered too many times to count… If I want to be any good at anything, first of all, I have to be willing to be bad at it. Learning and skill development are processes, not instant-gratification. So, instead of giving up on something if I don’t execute it perfectly the first time I try, I’ve learned that persistance counts for far more than “natural” talent. And one of the brilliant things about we humans is that we can learn how to stick with being bad at something long enough to become good at it.

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