Have you ever been at a conference or seminar and felt the person on stage had a message that was directed specifically to you? I had that experience at the Business Chicks Movers and Breakers conference at Hamilton Island recently.
Dr Jason Fox spoke on the Saturday morning about the importance of actively exploring new thinking and new ideas, and the inevitable decline that accompanies complacency.
He explored a lot of great concepts, around the motivational effect that a meaningful sense of progress provides, and the importance of consciously rewarding value creation more than effort. Patting yourself on the back for clearing your inbox and scheduling a whole bunch of meetings is meaningless unless those activities actually deliver value creation at the same time and progress you towards your goals.
The thing that really hit home to me though was during a piece about self sabotage, and how we become very good at finding was to excuse ourselves from poor performance. He listed contributors to self sabotage, and asked us to identify an area that we knew in our hearts we were performing poorly on, either at a business or personal level, and to think about the story that we had built to justify that behaviour.
This was a real lightbulb for me, where I realised that unwittingly we’d allowed the action of a third party to justify us dropping the ball on something that had always been really important to our culture. I won’t go into the details here, but needless to say before the session finished a flurry of emails had been sent and a plan was well underway.
Another part of his presentation that really resonated was around the importance of rituals in both your personal and professional lives, and the role they play in signalling whether things are on track or not. Jason told us if you’re missing the rituals that are important to you it should serve as the canary in the coal mine, indicating that things are getting out of balance. Stuart and I travel a lot, both with and without the kids, but one of the family rituals that we’ve established is that anyone who is away Facetime’s in each morning to attend breakfast in Australia virtually, and does the same again in the evening to touch base on how the day’s gone. Flights and time zones sometimes see this slip, but we’ve found that the more calls that are missed the bigger the risk of disconnect is, so it’s something we both try and be really disciplined about sticking to, and made me think about what other rituals we have both at work and at home that we need to prioritize in the same way we do this one.
Jason also challenged us to choose a word each year to serve as a beacon for the year ahead. Over the course of the weekend people shared a lot of great words that they’d chosen as their 2018 theme. I’m still grappling to find the right word for me personally, but during our planning we came up with a great word to use in association with the business changes we’ll be actioning and I’ll undoubtedly share that at a later time.
So a huge thanks to Dr Jason Fox for the inspiration, and Business Chicks for providing the platform for it to occur. Karen James who MC’d the weekend said in her opening comments ‘Business Chicks exists to plant seeds, we have no idea what will grow but if you scatter the seeds and provide a nurturing environment beautiful things come to life as a result’, and that certainly held true for me at Movers and Breakers.