You gotta be yourself, because everyone else is taken

One of the buzzwords around leadership at the moment is this thought about being authentic. I have never really thought about it too much until today. I attended a Network of Executive Marketers breakfast and was privileged to hear Shelley Campbell (CEO of The Sir Peter Blake Trust) speak. It was – as my friend Simone said – an inspirational start to a Wednesday.

For me, one of the things Shelley summed up brilliantly was this thought about being an authentic leader – “You gotta be yourself, because everyone else is taken”. The brilliance in this thinking is that it totally makes you back yourself. Try this out for your own benefit by saying the quote out loud now. When you say it – it makes you have confidence in your own abilities as a unique individual. In fact it makes it a no brainer for you to think – “of course, I’m the the right person for this, I’m me!”

Plus it makes me happy to have met another kiwi chick that inspires me and is taking it to the world!

From the desk of the Chief Happiness Officer

booksBooks on my desk at the moment:

“Outside In” Kerry Bodine and Harley Manning, Forrester Research.
CHO Review: One word. Fan-tabby-tastic. This is my “go to” book on Customer Experience and the power of putting the customer at the centre of your business. Detailed case studies, practical advice and truly inspirational. Need it.

“Heart to Start” Derek Handley
CHO Review: I saw Derek speak at a conference once and thought he was a bit arrogant. But as much as I want to hate him (and that is mainly jealousy because he is a gazillionaire) he is a clever guy and this book is story of how he started up Hyperfactory and hints of turning your own ideas into action. I have not read this yet! But I want to!

“Steve Jobs” Walter Isaacson
CHO Review: One word. Genuis. Not a particular nice guy to work with that’s generally what you get when you work with a genius. He changed the world. Read it.

“The Thank-You Economy” Gary Vaynerchuk
CHO Review: How a guy built a business solely through social media. And realising that to go forwards today you need to look backwards to how our grandparent’s used to run their businesses. Read it.

“Extreme Trust” Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
CHO Review: From the Godfathers of CRM and 1:1 Marketing. Honesty as a competitive advantage. If you look after your customers, if you can prove to them that they can trust you – why would they go anywhere else? And how can a competitor compete? Get it.

“Groundswell” Charlene Li and Josh Bernhoff, Forrester Research
CHO Review: Published in 2008 to help navigate the “new” world of social technologies but still relevant today if you want to build a groundswell around your brand.

“V is for Vulnerable” Seth Godin
CHO Review: ABC for adults from The Master. Full of quotes from the man himself.

“Enterprise One To One” Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
CHO Review: An oldie but a goodie. The book that got me interested in CRM. Love it.

Even Trinny and Susannah can’t work it out.

Recent events have got me thinking about that question that most mums have at some stage. And in my case – on an ongoing insane basis. Should I be working or should I be at home? What is the right thing for the kids? What is the right thing for our family? What is the right thing to do for me? So, I stand corrected – it’ actually multiple questions.

Last week I came across this article about Trinny And Susannah (from What Not To Wear fame) and it made me thing – man, even famous, rich people have this problem! It was the same kind of epiphany that I had when I realised that despite having a full time chef, trainer, and shrink – Oprah still can’t lose weight. There is no hope for me (but that is a whole other topic for a whole other time!).

It is another reminder that this question of can you have it all – is indeed a question perplexing all women – rich, poor, successful, fat, thin, I’m not unique. I’ve come to a realisation on why I think this question is so frustrating. So here goes – the women who have this problem are used to being able to solve complex problems everyday at work. They are bloody good at it. They get paid to do it. I get paid to help big brands solve pretty tricky problems. So why can’t I sort out this? Sometimes I think to myself and sit down with a blank piece of paper “Ok – how hard can this be. Lets just have a think about how this could work. We could do day care for DD, after school care for DS and DS and maybe a student to help me 4pm – 7pm. But I would still have to get out of the house by 8am with lunches, uniform on, homework done, school slips signed, fights quelled. And leave work on the dot at 5pm.   Arriving home with tired children who are hangry (and so is their mother).  Hard at the best of times. And then there is what happens when they are sick, school holidays and other such challenges. So they you go back to the nanny idea. But should I really be the one taking DD to the ballet? Who is toilet training her? Should I be spending time with DS to improve his reading? But actually – I like working so do I really want to leave that behind and lose a little bit of me?”  And thats the sideshow happening in my mind.  I’m meant to be clever. And I can’t work it out.

Don’t get me wrong – I have a fantastic life  and I am so lucky as I truly do have a choice of whether I work. But it does kinda screw with your mind.  A lot!

You say cruciferous, I say brassica.

There is a storm being raged in the wholefoods world as we speak.  Are brussel sprouts part of the cruciferous or the brassica family of vegetables?  There is debate over what the correct name is.   I prefer the name cruciferous for no other reason other than it sounds fantastic.  Imagine saying that at volume when walking down the fruit and vege aisle at Countdown?  Thats the kind of thing that gets you noticed.  The one thing that we know for sure is that the vegetables within this family – cauliflower, kale, cabbage, radishes – are super healthy, super good for you, reduce stress and lower your risk of developing cancer.  So I say – get amongst it people!  It used to be that just the thought of brussel sprouts would make me gag and cauliflower only tolerated when covered in cheese sauce.  But these recipes have changed it all for me.  Delicious as a side or heated up the next day for lunch.

Brussel Sprouts with bacon, walnuts and parsley

Cauliflower and Prosciutto Pasta

Hello world!

Welcome from the desk of the Chief Happiness Officer!   As I sit here in my corner office surveying the skyline of Manhattan, I sometimes have to remind myself that I am not Tess McGill and no one else can hear Carly Simon singing “Let The River Run”.    Thank you for visiting my blog and I welcome your comments!

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