Saturday, May 29, 2010

Intellectual Crush....


I'll let you in on a little secret. I've got an intellectual crush. On Tom Peters. "Who is Tom Peters?" you ask. Well, he is a 67 year old American writer best known for being a guru in the world of business management practices (He co-wrote "In Search of Excellence" a book which is widely referred to as one of the best business books of all time). I haven't read this book, or any of his others actually, but I follow his blog and love, love, love his thoughts on leadership. They are always so inspiring and so in line with my own values. Here is his take on 'Servant Leadership' (from his book 'The Little BIG things"):

Our goal is to serve our customers brilliantly and profitably over the long haul.

Serving our customers brilliantly and profitably over the long haul is a product of brilliantly serving, over the long haul, the people who serve the customer. Hence our job as leaders is abetting the sustained growth and success and engagement and enthusiasm and commitment to Excellence of those, one at a time, who directly or indirectly serve the ultimate customer.

We (leaders) are in the "Human Growth and Development and Success and Aspiration to Excellence Business".

"We" only grow when "they" (each and every one of our colleagues) are growing.

"We" only succeed when "they" are succeeding.

"We" only energetically march towards Excellence when "they" are energetically marching toward Excellence.

Period.

Love your work Tom x

A Feeling of Contentment....

As I was driving home from work tonight, I couldn't help but think how content I am with my life right now. The strange thing about this is that some pretty major life events and changes are happening for me right now, which, to a certain extent, should have completely "de-railed" me so to speak. But to my amazement, I am still managing to appreciate each day that I have and be in a place with myself where I am as happy as I have ever been. To be quite honest I am pretty astonished at how far I have come over the past 2 years to now be able to view life in this way. Another reminder to me of the blessings that come from life's challenges and how these can often bring with them the growth and change that will allow you to take your life to another level. I am very lucky indeed.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Am A Work In Progress.......

There is a picture and quote on the wall at work that I totally love. It reads:

"I love chocolate. I am not a natural blonde. I prefer non-fiction. I am a Taurus. I sometimes say too much. I sometimes say too little. I have two children. I started doing yoga 3 years ago. I left my husband for all the right reasons. I do not smoke. I charge down hills on my mountainbike. I am 38 years old. I'm too hard on myself. I'm too soft on myself. I have been in love. I am in love. I am happy with my body. I am happier with my mind. I love to hear my children laugh. I would regret a life where I had no regrets. I am a work in progress."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Little Man is Back....

My Little Man is back home with me and I couldn't be happier. He has been on holidays for the past 8 days with his Dad and it has been the longest 8 days of my life. When I saw him this afternoon I could have kissed him to death. Everything felt right with the world again as we sat on the couch tonight, under his blankie, watching Two and a Half Men together. Who would have thought that would be a two year olds favourite show- but it is. I love you Little Man......

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Anna Aden......



Images by Anna Aden found via DayDream Lily

Be Thankful for What You Have...

This weekend I have caught myself worrying about things I do not or may not have in my life. I have a feeling that this is stemming from the fact that a great many changes are occurring in my personal life, and I am about to embark on a path that, up until recently I had never really seen myself heading down. Whilst I am so much more optimistic and strong in my ability to face whatever comes my way and to create my own future, than I ever have been before, I would be lying if I said there was no fear. Of course there is (as well as feelings of sadness, doubt, grief etc). But I'm happy to say that as soon as these feelings come up I acknowledge that they are there but then I turn my focus to how amazing my life is and all the wonderful things that I do have. An amazingly beautiful, cheeky and funny little man; supportive friends and an abundance of loving family members; a job where I get to inspire others and develop myself and connect with people; my health and a roof over my head to name just a few. And for all of those things I say "Thank you".

P.S. Happy Birthday to my favourite niece in the whole wide world. I am so lucky to have had you as part of my life for the past 2 years and I can't wait to share many, many more with you. Love and hugs forever, Aunty Bel. x

P.P.S I am now off to continue reading "The Girl Who Played With Fire" by Stieg Larson. All I can say is that I am totally hooked - cannot put it down!

Manifesto Of Style....

I was reading Danielle LaPorte's Manifesto of Style taken from her first book "Style Statement. Live By Your Own Design". Here are my favourite snippets:
  • Authenticity is energising, economical and efficient. Self awareness leads to true style.
  • People are like snowflakes; uniquely beautiful because of the details. Celebrate what sets you apart, what's most popular and true for you, and your own specialness will become clear.
  • Pay attention to what attracts you. Ask yourself: What am I drawn to?
  • Use your best everyday. Life is too short to wait for that special occasion to bring out your finery, your treasures, your brilliance, and the best of your love.
  • Choose from your heart and your life will fill up with things you love. What works is what feels right.
  • Its always a good time to be yourself. And its never too late. Possibility exists all the time, everywhere.
  • Make more choices - moment to moment, day to day. You are the designer of your life. Be selective, creative and intentional in every possible way.
Love it!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Horizons....


This week marks the start of a new adventure for me career wise. Yes, I am still a lulu but as of this week I am officially the Manager of the Warringah Mall store. This was only an opportunity that came into my life a couple of weeks ago and not one that I had necessarily seen on my horizon. As I have learnt over the years though, things come into your life for a reason and even though you might not be aware of it at the time, the reason or reasons will slowly present themselves. I have to say that I am really embracing this unexpected path that I am now on. As a person who has spent most of her life having to know exactly where she is heading, my greatest learnings have stemmed from letting that expectation go and accepting that 'not knowing' is a place that I need to sit in every now and then. Not only does it allow me to take the pressure off myself but also leaves space for the possibility of anything and everything to come into my life, which is very exciting. So here's to a new chapter, new experiences and new lulu friends!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Firestarter Sessions....

I started the Firestarter Sessions this week and I LOVE it. So many great things to take away and be inspired by. Here's my fave bits so far:
  • People's reputations are made in the bad times more than the good times.
  • If you want to make lots of really good stuff happen, then that's really exciting-for all of us. If you want to earn a living by doing meaningful things-then that's exceptional.
  • "Entrepreneurs have this real belief that their lives are about service and leadership" - Anita Roddick (founder of The Body Shop).
  • The act of beginning something is powerful.
  • Stopping doing some things = more time for what matters most.
  • Doing truly great work stems from simplicity: a simple home, a simple schedule and a simple frame for work.
  • "Make your life a creative work of art".
  • Think of resentment as a blaring mega-watt STOP sign.
  • "Begin anywhere" - John Cage.
  • Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Acting on generating those feelings is the most creative thing you can do with your life.
  • When you pick up the phone, when you ship your product, when you walk into your store or when you post your article, how do you want to feel?
  • Be anchored into the emotion that is driving you.
  • Strategy: Know how you want to feel and do whatever it takes to feel that way.
  • Aiming for power gets your power circuits firing.
  • Enough with feeling guilty for wanting to feel the way you want to feel. Follow your desired emotion. Don't analyse it too deeply. Just let it roll and rumble a bit. It may be there to humble you, expand you, heal, surprise or reinvent you. Anywhere it leads is there for a divine reason.
  • When you're focused on the feelings, the form and the timing of how things come into your life are less important.
  • "Feelings first" is really the essence of simplified living - a focus on what matters most.
  • If an opportunity comes my way and it isn't going to make me feel the way I know I want to, then its "No thanks". - Danielle LaPorte.
  • "Never sing in chorus if you want to be heard" - Jules Archibald.
  • Your brand is your reputation, your character, the impression you make. Its who you are.
  • Integrity brands are:
1). Self referencing: ie they begin with their offering and then look for their audience. The starting point is "Who am I?" not "What will I sell?".
2). Rooted in genuine strengths + passions: Because you can't fake passion and passion persuades.
3). Consistent: Authenticity is efficient. Consistency builds velocity. People know what to expect from you and that is a beautiful thing.
4). Proud: Your most pronounced qualities are the through line of your story and they articulate your gifts and challenges.
5). Transparent: Show me who you are even if its a bit risky. Risk=momentum.
6). Emotive: If you don't emote, you're remote. Integrity brands express their feelings - psychological, political, spiritual and material. We stand up and say things. We lean forward. We risk. We laugh out loud, show our true colours and speak our minds. We make declarations.

This is only a small taste of what you get out of the Firestarter Sessions - there are also worksheets, videos, interviews etc. So if this appeals to you in any way shape or form you should definitely pop over to Danielle LaPorte's website Whitehot Truth to learn more and join in the fun!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm touched....

Check it out! I'm a blog of interest over at blog this. Kylie's words about my blog were so touching and I feel really lucky to be able to touch and inspire others by sharing my journey. While your over at blog this, have a look at all the other amazing Aussie blogs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

You've Got To Find What You Love.....

I was browsing through Anita Roddick's site (Anita is the founder of the Body Shop) and came across this inspiring commencement address given by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2005. Anita describes it as a perfect example of the pathological optimism of an entrepreneur. I couldn't agree more.....

This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered at Stanford University on June 12, 2005.


I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5c deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a$2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me - I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death. When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure-these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and 'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you all very much.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Am Grateful For....

  • A surprise dinner at Otto on Tuesday night with my fellow lululemon managers courtesy of our very generous CEO.
  • Amazing ferry rides on Sydney Harbour yesterday.
  • Champagne and chats last night with a very special friend.
  • Dennis at brew cafe who always starts my morning in a great way (ie lovely greeting and a much needed coffee).
  • Sugared blueberry bagels (I think I'm addicted).
  • Having the privilege of running an amazing group interview at lululemon this morning (such great people!).
  • Walks around Officeworks with a friend who love stationery as much as I do.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day....

Image by Anne Makaske via flickr

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mum's out there! Despite the fact that mine was spent at work, I had a fantastic day. The team I worked with today were so much fun and just made me want to smile every time I looked at them. I really am very lucky to work with such great people.

My little man must have known it was a special day as he actually stayed asleep until 6:20am (yes people, this is a sleep in in my world!). We then lay in bed together for 40 mins talking and saying "Happy Mothers Day" 20 times over. I had a really, really low day yesterday and I want to acknowledge how much my little man saved my life. He is the most precious, precious thing in my life and I just adore him.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blissology....

Today I am feeling a bit like the world is whizzing around me at 100 miles per hour and that my life is turning upside down. I am trying to stay grounded and remind myself that the things that are turning upside down are doing so because they need to. Still, its a challenging, challenging time and I am calling on every ounce of my personal strength to get through this period of my life. So when I was reading Eoinn Finn's blog and read the word Blissology, and his definition, it brought a smile to my face and a much needed feeling of calm.

Eoinn defines the word Blissology as "the art of creating a path that maximises the highest degree of happiness for you and all beings".

[Origin: 1990 a.d Various conversations with Eoinn and his good friends over tasty merlot]. I love that!

Blissology is a time of reflection and dialogue with others. The tendency in life is to get pulled by the forces that lull us into a state of mediocrity or to drift aimlessly though our days. Time spent mastering the skills of blissology pay off hugely in the department of lasting happiness.

How great is this concept? Eoinn's mix of humour and seriousness is so up my alley. He has started a group called the Bliss Army which promotes spontaneous relaxation. This idea was inspired by the enlightenment he achieved one day whilst doing his Hammock Asana Posture (ie, lying in his hammock - I think that could easily be my favourite posture too!).

Just to give you a little more info, Eoinn Finn is one of Vancouver's best Yoga instructors, and the very first lululemon athletica Ambassador. Eoinn has a commitment to teaching, sharing and promoting yoga, health and bliss. He has produced a number of yoga DVD's (his "Yoga for Happiness 2" DVD was the first thing I ever purchased from a lululemon store and I love it). On his website, Eoinn Finn Yoga , there is a thing called the Happy Map, which are "aphorisms for harmonious living" as he puts it. There are many, many sayings and ideas on the map but I thought I would share a few with you that particularly resonated with me today:

Every culture has currents that will pull you into a life of uninspired mediocrity. Follow your Bliss.
Remember that the word 'Should' starts with "Shhhh...".
Let awe flow through you. Don't let even the smallest things be taken for granted or grow stale.
Aim for the stars but stay grounded in simplicity.
Creativity is pure magic.
Resist the tendency to drift through life like a cork, chart your course. Why bob around when you can surf?
Everything that doesn't go right, goes wrong for all the right reasons (although it may take time to see this).

I am dedicating this blog post to my beautiful new friend Jen, who reminded me of Eoinn Finn's greatness yesterday.
Love is the ultimate Renewable Resource.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Relationship With Self...

If I am to be completely honest about it, I focused most of my attention in my 20's, if not all of it, on my romantic relationship. I have no regrets about this, because I believe that everything happens for a reason. I'm grateful for everything I have experienced up until this point because it has made me the person I am today. However, in choosing to set aside my own needs for the needs of another person, I inhibited my own growth and stunted the most important relationship I have in my life, ie the one with myself. And from this I have learnt a very valuable lesson; That ultimately I must know myself in order to choose the right relationship/s to support my growth towards my highest potential.

The title of today's Daily Om message in my inbox was "A Relationship With Self". Of all the things that have changed in my life dramatically over the past two years, my relationship with myself has probably seen the biggest change. This relationship has undoubtedly been the most difficult one for me to cultivate. Prior to my 30's my relationship with myself was characterised by sacrifice, self doubt, fear and negativity. I felt as though the 'real me' was buried somewhere deep inside and I didn't know how to get her out. I desperately wanted to, but nothing I tried seemed to work. I think I just accepted that I would have to live with this uneasy feeling of not really being 'me'. I didn't like it, but I figured that was just the way my life was going to play out.

In the past two years I have done a lot of soul searching. It has been the most difficult and challenging period of my life, and will continue to be so for quite some time to come. But I know that it will ultimately be the most rewarding for me personally. I have been able to strip everything back and see myself for who I really am. For the first time ever I can be who I want to be and I am no longer burdened by the expectations of others.

Being in a partnership or relationship is amazing and brings so much to your life. But from this point forward I vow to always place my relationship with myself above all else. Once upon a time I would have seen this as selfish or egotistical, but what I now know is that it is actually the smartest thing I can do for myself and everyone around me. By knowing who I am and loving myself as a person, I become the person I would want to have a relationship with. And establishing this first is what will allow me to have an amazing relationship with myself, amazing relationships with others, and ultimately an amazing life.