Moving from Surviving to Thriving. What Does That Mean?

As a veteran small businesswoman (I’ve survived 11 years!), I regularly reflect on the difference between making ends meet and creating a thriving business. Financial security has always been one of my greatest fears in running my own business. So, what happens when your fears are realised? 

I started my behavioural leadership and coaching practice, 11 years ago after I had experienced the last of several incidents of discrimination in the workplace. I received a three thousand dollar tax refund and began my journey into entrepreneurship, smack, bang in the middle of the 2009 global financial crisis  (not quite surviving!).  11 years later, and I have a sense of dejavu.  In March this year, my clients in hospitality and aged care postponed all my bookings as a ‘precaution’…  Within a fortnight everything was cancelled indefinitely and no tax cheque in sight. (O.M.G! how will I survive?) 

I see and hear stories of colleagues and friends in small to medium businesses who are devastated by this pandemic. Some because of their loyalty to their teams and their unwavering efforts to keep all “their people “employed, with the hope that things will return ‘back to normal’ (precovid).  I have watched leaders and owners generous to a fault, stretching themselves financially through the assistance of banks, friends, and family to continue paying wages, rent, and keep the “lights on” in their business. 

Undoubtedly, people are integral to the success of any business, particularly small business.  That barista who remembers you – always smiles and gets your order right or the salesperson, who takes the time to explain features and benefits to you, or your favourite travel agent, the one you trust to make sure you get the best value, the best service and an experience to remember, as well as safe passage home.  These people create the incredible brand of their business, they make me want to go back to and engage them again and again.  These people deserve, and get paid, commensurate with their experience and expertise, they bring value, and are, rightfully so, a significant expense.  Recognising this, the government created “Job Keeper”, to help small businesses, but, does it cover the wages of someone who wants to work for your business but can’t?  What happens when you have outgoings and no commensurate income to cover them?

What’s between Survive and Thrive? 

What do I mean by surviving?  To me, surviving is mince ten ways, eggs for dinner and not with a side of halloumi and beans! As well as instant coffee,  no Uber Eats and the weekly outing is a trip to the local park with the dog or a coffee at the neighbours, hopefully the one who doesn’t have International Roast!. (First world problem I know!)  It means austerity measures including; cancellation of subscriptions and direct debits to entertainment channels,  coffees at home, and ‘Freezer Surprise’ for dinner replacing Uber Eats! Finally explaining to a six year old why he can’t have a class birthday party this year!

This also comes with dread and uncertainty about how to get through each day; financially, mentally and physically, as well as unwavering gratitude to my partner, friends and family for prepared meals and dinner invitations. Sounds like a mixed bunch of emotions and priorities. Well it is!

To thrive in my small business is to be secure financially, stable mentally, able to meet my commitments easily (and for the foreseeable future).  To have my work calendar filled with bookings.  The ability to take a holiday once or twice a year with my family, cafe coffee and Uber eats once a week alongside adventure outings with my six year old.

Right now, I don’t feel like I’m in either place, though my motivation and outlook is always to see myself moving away from survival and toward thriving. 

Recently I took a four day road trip with the family to Byron Bay, with  this in mind. During this time, I had a discussion with a friend and business owner who said, “I have been working so hard for twenty-two years only to end up with a business that is worthless!” I was devastated for her as a super talented leader, mentor and inspiring and influential leader, I really felt for her at that moment. I though this pandemic does not discriminate it gets to the best of us! 

Anyway, as I was driving in the car we passed the burnt trees from the recent bushfires that devastated the country both north and south.  Whilst the trunks of the trees were black, the burnt leaves and strips of bark had fallen to the ground and returned to the soil acting as a natural fertiliser, part of the story of new growth. The new buds were formed and sprouting, and the air was fresh and crisp. The renewal had begun! 

I thought about this as I considered the daunting options and decisions for small business owners to continue to function. In particular the travel, tourism hospitality and entertainment industries. An industry I too, have been a part of for over 30 years and am still involved with today.  

On one hand leaders and owners want to be loyal to their followers and do everything to keep them engaged, even if it means the business is running at an unrecoverable loss. So, the inevitable crisis point comes regardless of your efforts.

On the other hand, the employees believe that their leader will do everything to keep them on and so sit in a waiting pattern to “see what happens” and take no action waiting for someone else to have the courage to decide their fate.

There is a way for us to help each other and ourselves. Let’s face it, we all want to be able to pay our mortgages or rent and to earn a living. It seems to me it’s time to  be on the lookout for opportunities yourselves and not be dependent on the good heartedness of the people you work for.  It takes an honest conversation about the state of the business, pride and ego aside to create true awareness of where one is at.

If there is an opportunity to strip back in your business to provide you time to revive down the track, take it now!

I am aware of at least one path to take, to prepare for your future, grasp opportunities and the offering that they may bring. We still don’t know what life after a pandemic will look like as this is a lifetime event that we haven’t seen since the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic

I want share that idea with you. Over the last three months I have discovered that four ways to revive my small business.

1. Self Awareness
      Business considerations 
  • Will my business be viable post covid?
  • Will people still require my services now and post covid?
  • Can I afford to continue my business without  govt financial assistance?
  • Can I meet my ongoing commitments?
      Personal considerations 
  • How do I personally need to change and adapt now?
  • What am I willing to do differently now?
  • What are my strengths and talents?
  • Do I have transferable skills?
2. Knowing Your Strengths
  • When am I at my best?
  • How can I use my talents to create new opportunities?
  • How do my talents help and hinder my behaviour and mindset now? 
  • What talents do I not have but need to help me revive my business? 
3. Health Mindset
  • You can choose to act out the victim, persecutor or rescuer behaviour, none of them may serve you. How do you look from the outside in to gain new perspective? 
4. Willingness to Act and Adapt
  • How do you strip back to start your renewal or reinvention?
  • When you have a new perspective and ideas, are you willing to act, to pivot and adapt so you have greater opportunity for a sustainable business in the future? 

I have personally had to reinvent myself three times in my 3 careers! Each time required new ways of thinking, new connections and a willingness to understand that if what I’m doing does not work, then it’s time to do something else!

It has required fresh perspectives, great mentors and new learnings. The opportunity to strip back and begin over. This has been the same in Covid19. Having lost all my business in lockdown I took the time to:

1. Home school my son (6)

2. Reinvent myself online

3. Build online courses 

4. Coach via zoom

5. Review finances and manage subscriptions

6. Investigate the ongoing need for my business offerings

7. Get a low interest loan to invest in the technical and online revamp of my business and products. 

8. Create awareness of timeframes for re-engaging clients and budget accordingly. 

In this last week I have confirmed  two new online clients, reconnected with past clients and created opportunities to do some face to face facilitation from the end of August! 

To my colleagues in SME business, there is hope. Part of leadership is being able to make the tough decisions as well as celebrate success and be able to live with both outcomes. 

To employees of small business, keep your eyes wide open, be aware of what’s happening in your environment. If there are no sales, consider your options to upskill, look at your transferable talents and opportunities to move into a financially stable business even for a short term. Allow the SME business time to recover and rebuild.

My hope for you is renewed resilience, self awareness and the ability to claim your strengths and put them to work for the best results you can achieve, mentally, physically and emotionally. Best of luck to you all!

Responsibility to Bury, Blame, Burden or Broaden. What are you choosing?

I asked my 6-year-old son this morning what he thought might be important to talk to people about today. He said; “Responsibility, Mum. I think it’s very important!”.  So I asked him “Do you know what it is?” He replied, “Yesssss, it’s when you look after stuff”.  I then asked, “Why is it so important?”

He rolled eyes at me and told me this story.“Well mum, say for example you have a dog as we do. You have to give her pats and cuddles so she knows you want her, then you have to feed her, give her a bed to sleep in, and sometimes give her treats. Oh, and she needs to go for walks and have toys to keep her busy so she doesn’t eat our socks!

Oh, and if you have cats as well like us, you need a scratching pole and a place high up for them to be safe from the possums! Do you get it now mum?”

I then asked him “Where did you learn that?” he replied, “From you, silly!”

I stopped to think about what he said, and how it relates to adults taking responsibility.

Sometimes we take on too much responsibility and go into overwhelm.  It’s at this point we can blame others for not meeting expectations or burden others though autocratic leadership and urgent unplanned meetings. We forget how to ask for help or to say no or not right now and bury our head in the sand!

To take leadership to the next level we must remember some of the key areas of responsibility.

This is how I have understood his analogies in relation to a professional setting.

Taking ownership:  “Well mum, say for example you have a dog as we do” 

Be accountable for your own outcomes and actions

Value your team: “You have to give her pats and cuddles, so she knows you want her!”

Understand the strengths and value your teams bring individually and in collaboration and appreciate the value they bring

Resources:  “then you have to feed her, give her a bed to sleep in”

Make sure your teams have the tools and resources they need to do their roles and tasks

Reward & recognition: “and sometimes give her treats when she does good things”

Celebrate individual & team results, remembering that people are unique and require a unique response to reward and recognition. 

Clear expectations and guidelines: “she needs to go for walks and have toys to keep her busy so she doesn’t eat our socks!”

Make sure you are clear on expectation and delivery timelines, otherwise people may not respond the way you want them to.

Safe & motivating environment: “if you have cats as well like us, you need a scratching pole and a place high up for them to be safe from the possums!”

• You have a responsibility to ensure you create a psychologically safe environment, one that engages people to want to be part of the team. This also requires a high level of observation.

Clear Communication: “Do you get it now mum?”

Check-in and ensure there is clarity around communication. Ensure lines of communication are understood.

Modeling leadership behaviour: “Where did you learn that?” he replied, “From you silly!”

Be observant of others behaviour and build your own self-awareness to ensure your impact is that of broadening your people and developing their potential

When you consider your own responsibilities, don’t bury your head in the sand, look up and observe what is going on around you, what opportunities are there. What can you do differently?

Remember, when you are blaming, pointing your finger at someone. Three of your fingers are pointing back at you. Ask yourself, what’s your part in this

When you want to relieve your own pressure by burdening someone else, make sure you are not just dumping from your own bucket into theirs. Considering the rules of delegation. Is this the right person? Or just the right-now person?

Do they have the talent, opportunity, and willingness to take this on? Remember you get what you plan for!

Finally, remember you learn through teaching and you teach through learning.

Engage a growth mindset. As a leader, your top responsibilities are going to be to deliver a result for your business and to do that you need to deliver results through maximizing the potential of your people.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it gives you something to think about or something to act upon.

Corporate Magic Pty Ltd
+61 405523507 |

Behavioural Coach & Facilitator | NLP Master Practitioner & Trainer | Gallup Strengths Coaching| Extended DISC behavioural Profiling Leadership Mastery | Executive Coaching

Too funny…..

I had to laugh today, my lovely neighbour is about 70 years old, she is quite concerned about COVID19. I asked her if she needed anything and she told me she has all she needs. She said ” I have just been reading about how my antibacterial needs to be alcohol-based … so I have been pouring vodka into it. I love the simplicity! humour faceyourfears

The Complexity of Conflict – Part 1 Emotional Triggers

This week’s news headline “Simple maths equation dividing the internet” as I read further I notice the language being used including “no one can agree”, “the controversial question” “gone viral”, “fierce debate, controversy and division” So I’m thinking wow, this is serious maybe we have found a way to remove plastic from the ocean. Alas, as I read on I discover it’s just a first grad maths problem. OMG! how important is it to be getting so much attention! The whole article is about who is right and who is wrong. I found myself asking what’s the point!

In her book emotional agility Susan David Phd, introduces us the concept of “getting hooked.” We start with self-talk or ‘stinking thinking.’ Our mind then creates a visual an image that produces an emotional urge, then tada! You’re hooked.

My 5 year old also provides me daily lessons in conflict management. Just yesterday we were taking the ‘short cut’ home through the park. He says, “Mum, we need to go the other way on the footpath, this way takes longer.” To which I respond, “no Max we are going this way its shorter, that’s why it’s called a short cut!” He replies, no mum your wrong! I’m not taking another step until we go my way! (insert visual grumpy face, hands on hips).

My internal chatter box is saying, who’s the boss here! Please, just do as I ask, my technicolour thought is ball and chain, dragging along the ground, the emotional urge frustration!

I have been delivering development on conflict management for some a while now and every time I come away thinking what a complex subject it is. When I think about the personal and professional conflicts I have had over my career, they include a plethora of trigger points and causes, reactions and responses. Over the next series of posts, I am going to shed some light not just on the “what”, but tackling the “how” of conflict covering, what I consider the four key areas of conflict in the workplace.

One of the questions I ask myself when considering conflict is “How important is it?”

Let’s talk about trigger points

Situations that evoke an emotional response in you are knows as triggers. They can fall into categories based on the four main emotional responses.

  1. Fear: When you worry that something you don’t want to happen and that hasn’t happened yet, might happen in the future.
  2. Anger: When you are not getting what you want, not fair, not just
  3. Sadness: When you have lost something or someone
  4. Happiness: When you are getting what you want

Triggers are usually set off through our senses by stored memories, experiences, values and beliefs, our physiology and psychology – just to name a few. They are unique and personal to each individual, and our ability to self-regulate is key to how we are able to manage and survive conflict.

Neuroscience today has come along in leaps and bounds in the research related to the brain and how it manages our Limbic (survival brain), Amygdala (Emotional Brain) and prefrontal cortex also known as the “executive brain” which is where our rational behaviour is formed.

Let’s take a quick look at how fast this happens: (NB: Triggers can evoke negative or positive emotions) 

Sight: (Place, event, moment, behaviour, bold type/red pen, view, picture, objects)

An example: A common misconception in the workplace occurs because of sight perception. The way someone looks or looks at you; or even reads an email. Someone you know well has sent you an email and they haven’t used the usual emoji’s and joyful greeting in the email. You read the email and it’s very direct without any pleasantries. The inconsistency in the perceived message you are receiving triggers a response like; gosh what’s up with them? or what have I done to upset that person? Meanwhile – there was no intent from the sender  – they were in a hurry when they wrote it!

Sound: (music, cry, tone or raised voice, bumps and bangs, specific words)

I remember once going through a painful break up and sitting in the car with the radio on. It seemed every song we ever danced to, every romantic song about breaking up and making up, came on. I was a blubbering mess in the car until I turned off the radio. To this day if I hear Careless Whisper by George Michael, I am transported back to that moment. Fortunately, I was only 17 at the time so it no longer has the emotional “stickiness”.

Touch: (The feel of someone or something, standing too close, physical approach)

I was fortunate to study Neuro Linguistic Programing and learned about personal anchors.  That is, if someone is in a particular emotional state and you touch them in a specific point, that touch creates a trigger which evokes the original emotion they experienced. Imagine that you are sitting in the aisle seat at a funeral. As people come by, they gently tap you on the shoulder to show their condolence. This action done over and over, creates an emotional trigger for sadness on your body. A month later, someone taps you in the same spot on your shoulder and you feel that sad emotion rise and wonder where it came from – it is a stored body trigger.

Smell: (food, alcohol, aftershave / perfume, odors resembling person, place or thing)

Ever been on a crowded train or bus with no aircon on the way home after a scorching hot day and someone hasn’t applied deodorant?  What have you done?  Moved away? People can have emotional triggers based on body odor and poor hygiene – they may in fact keep someone at a distance or have a conscious bias based on the smell. Remember smell is the most closely linked to our memory and easily conjure up memories of our past.

Taste: (Foods, alcohol, tobacco, anything with taste that triggers a sensory memory)

15 years ago my partner and I busted 91 year old nana out of the nursing home and took her to lunch.  My partner had salmon and 2 hours later was violently ill.  To this day, my partner can’t eat salmon (Nana got quite tipsy and was quite a handful to sneak back to the nursing home!) The memory of food poisoning at a restaurant, a food you have never eaten since and a restaurant you have never returned to.

Whilst we are discussing triggers in relation to conflict behaviour and emotions, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge the wonderful memories that trigger resourceful emotions that create resourceful behaviours.

1.    The sight of your teams faces when you recognise their contribution.

2.    The sound of your child giggling

3.    The taste of bacon & eggs on a Sunday morning whilst reading the newspaper leisurely

4.    The touch of someone as they provide you with amazing feedback, shaking your hand

5.    The smell of freshly brewed coffee, delivered in the morning from your amazing partner

Before we can master conflict, we must learn to Master ourselves. In his book “Man’s search for meaning”Austrian psychologist Viktor Frankl a Holocaust survivor talks about the “space between reaction and response”.

When dealing with conflict we must first STOP even for a moment. We need this moment to realise and accept that we are actually having an emotion. Without that ability to STOP we are most certainly going to “react”to most conflict situations.

Practice this daily, think it, see it, feel it and get hooked on creating the space between stimulus and response. 


Right and Wrong: What happened at the Park.

So, aware I was about to be hooked, I (Stop) take a breath, (Identify) that I am getting frustrated (Name it) and consider my options. My reactive response will just escalate the situation, and turn me into a raving loony! (ask how important is this?) So, I turn to Max and say, how about this. (take Action) Come this way now and we will get someone else to do the walk with us. I will take the park short cut and you can take the pavement. Then we can discover which way is faster. If we find out the pavement is faster, then we can go that way tomorrow.  His response “ok Mum” as he catches up to me smiling!

The workplace name for this type of conflict resolution is independent. Work at the same time in parallel when agreement cannot be reached. There must be an agreement that the best outcome for the business be implemented. (Compromise)

Please join me in the Part 2 of the Complexity of Conflict in the workplace when we consider conflict in Meetings. Stay Tuned!

Thanks for reading my article.

Remember the greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but reveal to them their own. “Benjamin Disraeli”

Corporate Magic Pty Ltd
Mobile +61 405523507 | Email: |Web: Transformational Coach & Facilitator, Gallup Strengths Coaching| Extended DISC behavioural Profiling Leadership Mastery| Sales & Service.

Top Five Talents: Individualisation | Relator | Maximiser | Empathy | Achiever

Lessons in Leadership from my Three year old – Motivation

Lessons in leadership from my Three year old – Motivation 

MOTIVATE ME! Everytime I ask Max to do something that he does not consider important or interesting he says “no.”  Or he says “just a minute, I’m just finishing something else.” Or, my personal favourite “no thank-you mum, it’s ok” such beautiful manners! Sometimes he just completely ignores me or pretends he hasn’t heard.

I often find myself offering incentives or some kind of reward and recognition to get him to do the basic necessities, sit at the table, tidy the toys, get dressed, wash his hair or go to school!

So what is the truth about motivation

The truth of the matter is you cannot be motivated by someone else, motivation is a tool that is built from within, based on your values, feelings, attitudes, commitment & willingness to grow and contribute. You DO, however, have the ability to create a motivating environment that inspires others to ignite the fire within.

Discover how you can self-motivate and see the extraordinary impact you create as you model and inspire others.

Let’s have a look at three areas that reigniting the fire within;

    Own your self talk – is it hindering or helping?
    Know your strengths – what are they and are you playing to them?
    Know what you like to do – and do more of it!
    Embrace your natural behavioural style and be authentic – to stop overwhelm
    Take the action required – to bring it to life
    Know what you are prepared to do differently – then embrace the change
    The beliefs you have about yourself – do they limit you or serve you?Unveil your passion & purpose – stop learned behaviours and attitudes that no longer work
    Have a plan for what you want – know your outcome

 Decide in 2017 to discover how to light the fire within!

So, with Max, I have a special song I sing for brushing teeth, the wearing of swimming goggles for washing hair, breakfast at the café at work to get him to school and if he puts one toy away, I will play another with him.  Whilst these all work a treat, sometimes, I have to take the hard line and just use the “because I said so, that’s why!” technique. Or the 1,2,3 room time! A less pleasant outcome for all involved and quite the opposite of my usual collaborative approach.  Fortunately, we work on the 80/20 rule. Where 80% of the time he is a well behaved boy and 20% of the time we expect some level of naughtiness, even though we love him 100% of the time!

Contact me today for your free one hour discovery session.

Enter MOTIVATE ME in the subject line or Call on 0405523507

Or to arrange a  FREE 1 hour Discovery Session

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