Lead a vivid life that does good

Month: May 2016

How to stop people thinking outside the box.

It's easier for people to think outside the box, when the box doesn’t exist.You know when you repaint a room a different colour, and the first coat of the new fresh paint doesn’t look quite as you expected. You’re pretty sure it will be OK, but until you get the rest of the paint on you won’t know.

Last week, with our annual conference looming and our strategy so fresh I wasn’t sure how it would look, I decided I needed some icons/logos for our strategy.

I wanted something different, risky and evocative that would help my team grasp these new ideas.

I wanted hip.

I wanted fresh.

So, I set up a gig on a marketing design platform, so that I could get something completely new.

And I waited the 3 days … with anticipation… excited… and when the gig finally arrived it looked exactly like something we would do 🙁 … (even had our logo in it!)

Not hip. Not evocative. Not fresh.

Not usable.

The designer had given me exactly what I asked for, but nothing like what I wanted.

And it was my fault!

In my desire to give a full brief of the work, I had included links to our website and current values. This quest to be helpful created a box. A frame in which he would work. And that frame along with his desire to please, forced his design into a small box.

That small box killed creativity.

We do this often as leaders.

Unknowingly, we over-define outcomes and rules and expectations. We frame tasks so strongly they force our team to work in boxes.

And then we wonder why people aren’t creative. Why they don’t think outside the box.

It’s easier for people to think outside the box, if the box doesn’t exist.


Getting past the first time

No one ever gets better at something they never tried!The first time you …

… ride a bike,

… parallel park,

… write a blog,

… own a project,

… shape clay,

… read a non-fiction book,

… run 2km,

Is almost always the hardest.

That’s because learning to become a better version of you is risky and takes courage. You might fail.

Not a single person in the world, got better at something they never tried!

Is there something you have always wanted to try? More importantly is there something you know you need to try?

Don’t let a moment of fear stop you, from embarking on a journey that could change your life.


Why memories exist in the now.

Memories are only made in the now

Photo of actual sunset from the bridge.

And so it came to be that I was standing with my daughter on the walk bridge, in the now, watching as the sun slowly inched below the horizon. As twilight took hold a memory was locked away. A memory of being present, being here, being in the now.

And I could have missed it.

A few minutes earlier I had been driving home, noticing the sun as New Zealand rotated away from its radiant light. I decided to call my daughter and told her to meet me outside in a few minutes, and just minutes after that we watch the sun set for another day.

It was exciting.


Memorable. (Memories are only made in the now!)


And all it took was a simple choice, to disconnect and enjoy the moment. To be in the now.

My mind is always active. It’s so active that often I miss what is happening around me.

I miss the smell of flowers as I enter the room.

I miss the popping sounds as I walk along an estuary.

I miss the opportunity to engage with the person in front of me because I’m thinking of what’s coming up.

I miss the now.

Do you?

One word that defines extraordinary leaders

One word that defines extraordinary leadersSome people are easy to follow. There is something about them that gives us belief in ourselves and a desire to follow them and make great things happen. Other people are harder to follow. Being around them, following them, can be draining and demoralising.

A few years ago I developed an acronym for what makes a successful and high performing leader. The second word into the acronym is one that sets apart extraordinary leaders from the rest. Its…

LEADERS are Energisers.

Meaning extraordinary leaders impart energy and vitality and spirit to the people they lead.

It’s not that they are the bubbliest person in the room, rather they bring and give energy to others. And being an energetic leaders seems to be powered by a bunch of other E words.

Leaders equip.






Sometimes exhort.

And often entertain.

STOP – SLOWLY read the list again.

Does the list describe your leadership?

Whether its large groups or individual meetings. People want to follow a leader who gives them the energy to move forward.

If you’re struggling with the way you lead at the moment, its maybe because your team aren’t energised by you. You aren’t giving them the energy and empowerment and engagement they need to move forward. To succeed.

And the hardest part of being an energiser … is trying to give energy when you don’t have any yourself.

Trust me I know.

I’ve been reminded this week personally of the importance of making sure my energy levels are high, so that I can lead my team well.

LEADERS are energisers.

Go, bring energy!