All posts by Kay White

Word Up: Tenacious

Welcome to the “Word Up” – inspiration and insights on everyday words; exploring the power and meaning behind them.

When words are kind and true, they can change our world” ~ Buddha

Tenacious >

Not readily letting go of, giving up, or separated from an object hat one holds, a position, or a principle. Not easily dispelled or discouraged; persisting in existence or in a course of action.

So, people are often seen as ‘overnight successes’ but most truly successful people never let go, kept going, persisted in a course of action and with this tenacity, came success.

Let me ask you:

  • Who would you describe as tenacious and what makes you say that?
  • What are you pursuing with tenacity at the moment and how will you keep going?
  • What could make you stop and how will you handle that?

Or, in other words:

Patience and tenacity are worth more than
twice their weight of cleverness.

~ Thomas Huxley

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Surprise Yourself: Your Influence and Inspiration

Notice what you notice

That expression “busy doing something else” is where your ideas and inspiration often comes from.  It gives you the sense of being absorbed, concentrating, focused on something so other thoughts are put aside or take a back seat.  It’s something to be encouraged, especially when you’re scratching your head looking for the answer to a tricky issue or ticklish situation.  Go and do – or absorb yourself – in something else!

Sometimes the full-on focus we give to something means we miss some of the subtleties of what’s actually really happening.   I hear people saying things like “I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall” or “I can’t stop thinking about ABC” or “I can’t leave it until I’ve sorted it”.  Often that’s exactly the problem.

When you give yourself permission to leave it – and I do mean give yourself permission – because it’s an active, energetic decision (rather than a sign of defeat) – by saying “OK, let’s just park this for now, I’m going to go off and do something else” this is often where the ‘aha’ moment is waiting for you.

Waterskiing.  I’ve skied for years and love it – the speed, the sensation, the ‘hey I might fall off’ feeling at times (sometimes, a lot of the time).

What I realise though, is how many similarities and insights there when you compare improving ‘something else’ with building and expanding your business or your career.

Look and see these 5 quick lessons to learn about business and career success from being ‘busy waterskiing’:

  • Keep flexible and relaxed as much as you can.  There are forces at work, which you can’t see, and they’ll help you.   You don’t have to force it, go with where you’re being pulled.  Stay loose.
  • Expect there will be bumps in the water and the current can pull you off course but keep your eyes on the water where you’re going.  Stop watching and worrying about the bumps all the time; watch the water where you want to be.
  • Let go when you have to.  When you decide to – or have to – sometimes it’s best to just let go, have a face full of water for a moment and then get up again and get back on.  Hanging on too tightly doesn’t do much for your style or your peace of mind.
  • Listen to the advice of your mentor/instructor.  Other people can often see what you can’t when you’re in action.  It might be just a simple tweak and it’s too close to the end of your nose for you to see it.  Study and listen for what the experts do and then model it.  Make it a style of your own.
  • Rest up and regroup.  Remember it’s about the ride too and it’s more of a marathon than a sprint.  Take breaks, limber up and enjoy the scenery along the way.

Ron, our ski instructor, uses a great expression, which is helpful to remember whilst you’re busy doing something else “keep your legs loose and reeeelaaaax”.
To enjoy the creative ways your mind works when you’re busy doing something else, ask yourself these 3 quick questions:

  1. What is it that I love to do, that I’m good at and that I know lifts my spirits?
  2. When I’m doing this, what skills do I need to use and what things must I remember to be able to do it?
  3. What lessons are there for me to use and then share with my colleagues, friends or clients, that seem like the situation we’re scratching our heads with?

I’d love to hear what you come up with and how it helps you.  And Ron’s right of course!

Word Up: Elegant

Welcome to the “Word Up” – inspiration and insights on everyday words; exploring the power and meaning behind them.

When words are kind and true, they can change our world” ~ Buddha

Elegant >

Pleasingly graceful and stylish in appearance or manner.

So, when you think of the word ‘Elegant’ let me ask you:

  • What do you notice that’s stylish in your life?
  • When you think of someone who has a grace and a style you admire, what are they doing?
  • What could you do to add more style to what you’re doing or how you’re appearing?

It’s so subjective isn’t it?  What I do know is, if you want to ‘model’ someone’s style or something that’s stylish you need to dig in and ask yourself – or them – what is it that they’re doing or not doing?  To find out the thinking behind the doing or appearance is where the magic is!

Or, in other words:

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

~ Diana Vreeland

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Choose Your High Five Words

The idea is that you choose five words to use to guide you, to help you make decisions, to make it easier to say Yes or No to things.  A lot of people have suggested picking one word for your year.  I believe five help you more.  They seem to interconnect and influence each other and have more depth than just the one.

Say you chose:  ‘Family, Income, Peace, Attention, Commitment’ for example.  Can you see how they affect each other?  Peace in your family, attention gives you peace, commitment to giving your attention, commitment to pay attention to your income, attention on your family commitments….. And so it goes on.

Choosing my High-Five Words, I have them on Sticky Notes all over the place!  On my office wall, on the mirror in the bathroom, on my notepad, in my diary and already I’m noticing how they’re helping and influencing me.  Snowy sees them too (whether he wants to or not) and says he’s picked up on how useful they are.  We decided to have our mini-break based on one of my five words – Nurture.

I invite you to join in and choose your five words.  I’d love to hear what they are if you want to share and –  of course – how you decide they’ll influence your 2013.

Word Up: Influence

Welcome to the “Word Up” – inspiration and insights on everyday words; exploring the power and meaning behind them.

When words are kind and true, they can change our world” ~ Buddha

Influence >

The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself

It’s a word used a lot and not always fully understood.  The idea of having an effect, of being part of the change of someone or something but not necessarily by direct methods.

So when you think of ‘influence’ let me ask you:

  •    What effect are you trying to have on someone or something?
  •    How successfully is that working for you?
  •    If you knew just how influential you really are – what would you do?
Or, in other words:

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

~ Napoleon Hill

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Can you get to the point?

Keep attention, say your piece. Be clear.

We’ve all been there haven’t we?  Sat in meetings, in presentations, at lunches when someone has been rambling on or pontificating about something and we’ve asked ourselves ‘what’s your point?’ or ‘I wonder what the point is here?’  Well if you ever wonder that, everyone else does too – if, indeed, they’re still listening long enough to be wondering.

Do you find you ask someone a question and they explain and explain and tell you too much of the story?  In fact, they never answer the question. They often end up confusing themselves or forgetting what the question was in the first place.  They’ll also, most likely, lose your attention.  Well, if this sounds familiar to you as something you either experience or even do too, then I have a simple question for you to ask and a helpful, assertive way to ask it.  It’s a bit like a key which unlocks the point from the story.

It’s just the same if you ask someone something yourself.  If you come out with the actual question fairly quickly then the other person knows where you’re coming from.  They don’t have to sit wondering, with the twists and turns of your explanation, what your actual point is.   In the fast-paced world in which we live, now more so than ever, it’s easy to lose people’s attention.

Sometimes it really helps to ask yourself a question first – before you ask or approach anyone else.  The question you ask yourself is “In one sentence, what’s my point?” with the key part being ‘in one sentence’.  It enables you to grab, from all the stuff swimming about in your head, >> the point << .

We always know what it is when pressed like that and it’s a relief.  We say ‘well, I suppose it’s XYZ’ or ‘gosh, one sentence?  Well, it’s XYZ’.   That’s when we get what the point actually is, with no frills, no explanation or justification.  It’s then, with this in mind, we can approach what we want to say, ask, find out.

You can really save yourself a lot of time and help other people to ‘get to the point’ by asking them the same question; the difference being your approach.  You want to avoid closing them down by coming across as blunt or rude.  You need a few sparkly verbal garnishes or accessories, if you will, to ease the question across.

“Hey there Kristin, just so I can get clear with you what we’re thinking about, what’s the point please – in just one sentence?  It’ll help me to know if and how I can help you more quickly.”

3 key things to remember here:

  1. Position it as being helpful to you both “what we’re thinking about”
  2. Use their name and keep your tone light and friendly
  3. Your intention is to clarify, not to say “yes” or “no”, just to get clear

Ah, now we have it.  Now we can start to line up and sort – like a computer does – for what’s actually going on.

If you’re going too far into the story and explanation before you’ve got to your point and the fire alarm goes off or the phone rings, will people know what the point was of what you were saying?  That’s my point.

Let me know if and how this lands for you – in one sentence.Can’t wait to hear from you.

Word Up of the Week: Commitment

Welcome to the “Word Up” for this week – inspiration and insights on everyday words; exploring the power and meaning behind them.

When words are kind and true, they can change our world” ~ Buddha

Commitment >

The act of committing or the state of being committed. Dedication, application.

It’s 2013 – what will you dedicate yourself to and apply yourself to with commitment this year?

  • When you think of that thing you want to do, when would now be a good time to get going?
  • How can you make it easy for yourself?
  • Who will you look to for guidance, inspiration or commitment? Ask them. They’ll be so pleased you did.

Here’s a quote from someone who committed to being herself, way ahead of her time.

“An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

~ Mae West

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Tweak 2 letters and change everything

Plan 2013 for where you are and what you want now

Resolutions“Mind your Language” is a great piece of advice, truly mind it.  Think about the effect it has on you and then on those around you as you use it.  It’s one of my passions for my clients that they really “get” how important the words and phrases are they choose and then use.   If you have a sense though that you could be more influential, more engaging and inspiring to other people, then changing and updating your ‘script’ transforms the way you connect with people.  It’s like adding sparkly accessories to your message.

A few years ago, I read an article by John La Valle and John is, I believe, a true word-nerd.  A real wizard with the use of language and the difference it makes.  He wrote an article about changing our New Year’s Resolutions and swapping them for New Year’s Evolutions. 

Every year when someone asks me “so Kay, are you making any New Year’s Resolutions?” I take John’s advice and tell them “yes, but I make New Year’s Evolutions”.

Think about the word Resolution – looking in my trusty dictionary, it means “a firm decision to do or not to do something.  The action of solving a problem, dispute or contentious matter.”

When you pull it apart, re-solution becomes a solution, redone.  You know when you say it there’s a bit of resistance there.  Something you should be doing as opposed to something you want to do.  Something you’ve tried to do before and are trying to do again.

It’s so common to make a resolution to eat less, exercise more, spend less, save more, work less, be with family more – or sometimes the opposite!  You get the idea, though.

Now, think about the word Evolution – When you think of planning and committing to New Year’s Evolutions, there’s a different feel, a different energy about them with that word.  Again, from my trusty dictionary “Evolution – the gradual development of something.  Current senses stem from a notion of ‘opening out’ and ‘unfolding’ giving a rise to a general sense of development”.

2013Now with the word Evolution (remember, we only tweaked 2 letters) there’s a more forward motion to it, more of a sense of “Ok, for where I am now and for how I’ve developed now and what I want in my life now, this is what I want for 2013”.

Try putting down 5 New Year’s Evolutions for yourself and before you do, take a moment with these 5 steps to think about how you are “opening out”, “unfolding” and “developing”.

  1. Think about how your life was 2 years ago – at the beginning of 2011 – then think about what’s going on now and how things have evolved for you.
  2. What are the major changes that have happened? (pssst – there will be some major changes, I promise you.  It’s one of the few things we can guarantee in life, that things change.  We choose how we respond to those changes.)
  3. Next, consider what’s happening in each of these areas of your life – home / work / relationships /career / finances and ask yourself “what do I want to have more of AND less of in these areas now?”
  4. Here’s where your “New Year’s Evolutions” start to form. From where you are now, for the person you are now, for what you’re doing now.
  5. Put down the following words and then finish the sentence at least 5 times “For what I want now, in 2013 I will….”.

So, with two letters tweaked your Resolutions have become your 2013 Evolutions.

Interestingly, popping an R in front of them will change them even more dramatically- but that’s a whole other story, isn’t it?  Let me know what your Evolutions are if you’d like to – I’d love to hear from you and, I’ll respond with a couple of mine!

Word Up of the Week: Perseverance

Welcome to the “Word Up” for this week – inspiration and insights on everyday words; exploring the power and meaning behind them.

When words are kind and true, they can change our world” ~ Buddha

Perseverance >

Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

It’s easy to come up against bumps in the road and turn back or stop. Keep going. That’s at the heart of perseverance.

  • What are you working on or going for in 2013 and you know you need to persevere?
  • How do you push yourself to keep going – what drives you on?
  • When you think of what’s the worst that can happen if you do persevere, how will you handle that? Then, keep going.

Or put another way:

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”

~ Thomas A. Edison

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5 Ps to Position And Own Your Value

Attract People, Business and Opportunity To You

When push-comes-to-shove, it’s a word few people are able to actually define. The word ‘positioning’ is one we hear a lot. When push-comes-to-shove, few people really are able to actually define.  I define positioning, in everyday language, as putting things in the right place for people.  In a place useful for them and, at the same time, is useful and helpful for you.   

If you think about positioning a picture at home, for example, you’re placing it where it’s accessible and can be seen, it looks good in the light and yet it fits with the décor of the room.  You think about the angles and you position it accordingly.  Positioning your skills, what they do and your value, it’s the same principle.

People need to understand what you’re going to be able to do for them, find a use for it in their world (not just in yours) and these 7 P words which will make positioning yourself, your skills and your value easy for you:

  1. Partner – your thinking comes from the angle of partnering with your client, your colleague, your boss.  How you can help and support them with what they’re trying to achieve.  An easy question to ask to get this clear for yourself is ‘what’s your biggest challenge at the moment?’  You, as their partner, helping to solve or master this immediately positions you as someone on their side and not just someone ‘out to get ahead’.  Using words like ‘we, together, our, your’ positions you in a partnership role and using their language, their abbreviations, their interests as examples, you become their partner.  Subtle and simple.
  2. Powers ­– from the word go, you’ve thought about your own particular skill set.  Of course you have.  What it is you do naturally and easily and you’ve asked other people about it – literally, that question.  ‘What is it that I seem to do naturally and easily?’ and then you own those skills.  They’re part of your power.  Your ‘Jedi skills’ if you will.  Once you’ve jotted down some of your natural skills you then make them super-powerful.  Look at those skills and ask yourself ‘What do those skills do for other people?’  For example a skill is “I’m great with numbers”.  Well, whoopy do. What does that do?  Positioning that as valuable is being able to then say, for example “I can see a ngles where clients are losing money and help them stop it and save thousands per month.”  Same thing, good with numbers, huge difference in positioning the value.
  3. Possible – if you’re positioning your skills, always come from the angle of what’s possible.  Not, as so many people do, what’s impossible.  “Well, I can do XYZ but I can’t do ABC” or “well I only learnt that recently so I can’t do it very well”.  Of course you don’t over blow what you can do but what you do is really home in  and focus on what you can do and – if you’ve got gaps – focus on what you can do about them  “and I can learn that” or “and we can immediately bring in someone to fix that” – always angling your nose to the ‘what’s possible’ with what you’re offering, what you’re able to do.  Let people ask you questions, avoid laying it all out there with your fears about your gaps.  You can fill them or find out how to.
  4. Poise –  that quiet, inner composure that gives people a sense of you without you ‘hosing them down’ with facts, compliments and information.  It’s something we all strive for at times.  When you’re seeking to attract business, clients, an employer – to make an impression, to be remembered and understood and to do it in a way that means you’re engaging too, is to hold yourself upright, to offer a firm handshake, to smile and connect and, at the same time, know that if what you’re offering isn’t a fit in this instance, it will be somewhere else.  That inner composure, inner resolve gives you poise.  Just like in the dating game, the subtle dance isn’t about being proposed to on the first date, it’s more about a drink, a chat and then deciding if you both want to have dinner….
  5. Present – listen and keep listening, bounce back what you’ve heard, question what you’ve heard in a curious way.  Stay present.  That voice – the one we all have – that’s saying things like “oh, what are you going to say now?” or “whoopee, I can fix that” – a powerful way you can quieten that voice is by repeating what the person is saying to you in your head.  What you find is you have to stay present with them. As you do you’ll naturally find out what they want, what they’re struggling with and what it is you can do about it.  If it makes sense, you’re then able to comfortably fit your own skills, thoughts, offer right in. Rather than racing off to ‘fix’, you stay in their world –  so rather than ‘pick me, pick me’ it becomes more ‘hmm, I hear you, I think we could come up with something together.  How about….’

If you use that word ‘position’ as you prepare for your meetings, interviews, presentations you’ll always be more valuable and interesting than the ‘gung-ho’, seat-of-my-pants kind of person who goes in thinking all about what they want, what’s going on with them and ‘what’s in it for me?’ and tries to ram that home.  Good luck!

John Kotter, a Professor at Harvard Business School and prolific author, says it perfectly (another P word): “Great communicators have an appreciation for positioning.  They understand the people they’re trying to reach and what they can and can’t hear.  They send their message in through an open door rather than trying to push it through a wall.”   That’s my position too; over to you for yours now.