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Weathering the storm

I live in South Africa, where in the last year or so there have been profound levels of change and uncertainty. Looking into the future, there is an increasing amount of anxiety around dinner tables and people asking what has now become the familiar question – “What is going to happen?” I sometimes wish that I had a crystal ball and had the ability to answer eloquently and with a heightened sense of wisdom.

The more I am posed with this question, the more I see the need to reflect and try and answer it. Primarily for myself but more importantly for the people that I socialize with, be it family, friends, clients and/or possible business partners. It has now become customary and expected at many of social engagements that one has to provide an answer.   Writing this blog is an attempt to answer the question personally and by grace I hope to reach and influence others.

“If one thing is certain, times are uncertain. Still everyone wants a path to success.” Kevin J Daum.

As humans we are all of on a quest to succeed and find happiness whatever the prevailing circumstances might be. It is the one thing that probably separates us, as humans (at least in my belief system)… The one thing that distinguishes us from our co-inhabitants on planet earth. We are always in search of success, happiness and more importantly ‘meaning and purpose’. We seek to make a difference and leave some sort of legacy.

How do you do this in times of uncertainty? How do you lead yourself and others through this often complex and volatile world? With this blog, I will attempt to answer those questions, as I am not one who likes to live by chance or meander around aimlessly without a plan. Some people believe that sometimes “no plan is the best plan.” To me, this is a higher level of consciousness and I must admit I am not yet there. I understand what ‘surrender’ is, and often times I wish that I would develop the competence to ‘give over to a higher self’ or the universe… But I personally struggle to implement this in my own life. I do however ask that you indulge me and allow me to share my thoughts in this regard.

Before I do that, I would like to refer you to a YouTube interview with Satya Twena in Gerard Adams on ‘Leaders Create Leaders’. A big part of me is fascinated by Satya Twena’s story. She came to America/New York with no job, no money and no plan on what she is going to do and today she is running a very successful hat factory. I encourage you to find this clip as her journey and story is very inspiring. However, her starting point might be a little unnerving for someone who is as risk averse as I am.

Let me share some tips for you to ponder and engage on:

  • Embrace change and learn to ride the wave – as indicated change and uncertainty is as certain as the fact that the sun will rise from the east and set in the west. It does not help if you do not anticipate and prepare for this eventuality. A time of volatility and uncertainty can be the best time to prepare adaptation strategies, reinvent yourself, and diversify your offerings. Remember everyone is looking for an answer or a solution so dig deep and think out of the box and provide workable solutions that will give you competitive advantage. Remember, the more the uncertainty there more people would be looking for “how to’’ solutions – Ride the wave and be the go to person during these times.
  • Be focused and stay on course – in order to make it in these times we needs clear dreams and goals that will remain our compass to find our true north or organisational mission. This is not the time to go for short cuts however, it is the time to sharpen our resolve to dream big and relentlessly pursue the mission as if your dreams and goals are congruent with who you are and offer the much desired solutions. So how do you justify using setbacks and life challenges to derail you? Keep moving and continuously put one foot in front of the other!!! Be purposeful, remain focused and before you know it, you will have climbed a mountain! My daily affirmation in these times is – “keeping it moving”.
  • Be grateful and celebrate success – Being grateful of how far you have come is a great motivator for dealing with uncertainty. Count your blessings and as you do this daily, you will be amazed at how much you have achieved and marvel at all the great things that you have to offer. I keep a gratitude journal and when the chips are down I go back to it. Often times I realise how far I have come and how giving up will be throwing away all of those gains. Of course, the small celebrations (in economically challenging times, even a cup of cappuccino as a treat!!) are a great motivator for individuals and teams.

Leading in uncertain times requires a lot of personal resilience and inner strength! However there is nothing that tastes a sweet as a victory once you have weathered the storm.

Pam Yako

Leadership Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

http://www.zenandeleadership.com

+27 12 998 7337 or +27 82 550 5225

pam@zenandeleadership.com

Skype: pam.the.coach

p.s. please feel free to contact me if you want to learn more about this or sign up for my newsletter at http://www.zenandeleadership.com

 

 

 

Effective Leaders Continously Learn

In about a month ago I was asked to propose a toast at a graduation ceremony and as it is often customary in doing the honours one has to say a few words. I chose three points to make namely: humility; importance of family and community support and lastly the importance of continuous learning. For purposes of this blog I would like to explore the third topic i.e. continuous learning.

Brand Pretorius, (In the driving seat: lessons in leadership; 2013), identifies continuous learning as one of the key attributes of effective leadership. He makes the point that “our capacity to grow determines our capacity to lead”. He quotes other respectable leaders like Mahatma Gandhi who shared the following wisdom: “Live as if today is your last day, learn as if you are going to live forever”. He also refers to Warren Buffet – “We need to go to bed every night knowing a little more than what we knew when we woke up that morning”

There are many leaders who have pronounced on the subject of continuous learning and this does not necessarily mean academic or formal studies (although there is ample room for this as well). It means opening yourself up as a leader to learn new ways of doing things and learning to enrich your knowledge base with new things, discoveries, approaches and innovation. This unfortunately cannot be done unless you adopt what many scholars call the growth mindset. Dr Carol Dweck describes a growth mindset as an “understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed”.

As a leader in a continually challenging and volatile world you would agree with me that in order to make the cut or dare I say, survive – you need to be well ahead of your game and you need to understand that what worked yesterday might not necessarily work tomorrow. This does not mean that you should not embrace the wisdom of yesteryear or experience but it is embracing the past, the present and the future. The one way you can bridge this gap is to adopt a different mindset – one that believes in growth and continuous learning.

To share some of the tips for continuous learning:

  • Reflection – where am I in my career, business etc.  Is this where I would like to be? What works and what does not? What could I do differently and what could I do more or less of? Do I need to change my approach to get a different result? I find this gives me incredible insight into my leadership journey and helps me to constantly calibrate a better path.
  • Read – you cannot read enough as everyday someone somewhere is generating new knowledge and approaches to resolving the world’s problems. Many successful people have one thing in common – they read and some even study!!!! We are very fortunate these days there are a number of applications available on our Smartphones and Tablets that we could collect mobile books e.g. Kindle, Blinkd, Audible etc. Of course, for some people nothing beats the feeling of turning the page on a hard copy book with your fingers – whatever mode you use – just READ.
  • Feedback – seek feedback from people you trust and value their opinion and as well as getting 360 degrees assessment from colleagues and peers. Many organisations have only one-way performance appraisals, which, are often done once a quarter or year if lucky and they are often one-dimensional. There is nothing wrong with asking people’s opinion on your performance – this will give you incredible insights and areas of improvement and growth – how did you experience me in that meeting? What do you think about my idea? In you view how can I show up effectively in the world? Etc.
  • Embrace failure – at some point in our lives you will fail and this is nothing more than an opportunity to learn and do things differently and try new approaches and ways to do things. This might include improving how you did it the last time. Many successful leaders today have one thing in common and that is at some point in their career/business lives they have failed or were rejected – do not despair – rise again and come back stronger and as they say – learn from your mistakes.

On the 24th of June 2017 I am hosting a workshop on Mid-year Reflections and Accelerate your leadership success in 2017 and beyond. This is an opportunity for you to take a minute and look at what has worked, what needs to be improved and recalibrate you leadership journey. Should you be interested please contact us on +27 12 998 7337 or Buyiswa@zenandeleadership.com

Happy learning

Pam Yako

Leadership Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

http://www.zenandeleadership.com

+27 12 998 7337 or +27 82 550 5225

pam@zenandeleadership.com

Skype: pam.the.coach

p.s. please feel free to contact me if you wanna learn more about this or sign up for my newsletter at http://www.zenandeleadership.com

 

Sisters united in song

On the 8th of March we celebrated international women’s day and I had the honour and privilege to host 9 sisters who shared their personal journeys, lessons, struggles and all of this done simply for the love of others. I still get goose bumps on how many women out there actually are prepared to make the time, subject themselves to some deep questioning from me and do all of this at no cost. I want to salute and celebrate these women and count myself as being blessed to able to hold the space and create a common platform for women to be themselves and open up, share, offer themselves for others not to make the same mistakes and all of this is done out of love.

Being the host of the 9 interviews I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of commonality, it was as if they were singing from the same script. It became very clear to me that there is unity in action and all I needed to do was to make it possible. There was a common song and personally I love music and more importantly how does music both literally and figuratively ignite a higher level of being for people and who they are.   These women were basically singing the same song and these were some of the lyrics – “How can I build as I grow”, “Lift as you rise”; “If you can’t change the wind at least adjust the sail”; “Find your purpose and dance to your music”; “Embrace your vulnerability and not be apologetic about being emotional”; “Be the change you want to see in the world”

The common theme was presence, claiming your power and being authentic and all of this was raised with such melody and high levels of resonance that I started to feel that I was part of something big and large whilst being visionary, practical and even spiritual. It felt like a revolution in the making and a gigantic movement of significant proportions and it could not be harnessed and be confined into a small place. I realised these were the sweet sounds of sisters united in song and with a clear purpose and zeal to make the world a better place for current and future generations. Every woman shared a part of herself in a phenomenal way and I became convinced that the future is bright and the sisters have arrived and are prepared to be bold for change and are willing to build as they grow.

I was left with a big challenge in my hands and that is to write up all the interviews and make them available for other people to experience them and my team and I are busy with this project – we will write up everything and make it available soon. In the meantime the spirit of the 3-day conference made me think of one of Quincy Jones’s songs called “What good is a song” and just to share the chorus with you.

“What good what good is a song

If it cannot move you, it cannot release you

What good what good is a song if it is not good enough to sing?

If aint got not message, if it cannot inspire, if it can’t sent you higher”

Listening to the singing of these ladies certainly sent me higher and inspired me to do more and be more and strengthened my resolve to work with women leaders in helping to create a better world.

To find out how and to get access to some of our programs please visit my website and sign up for my newsletter (www.zenandeleadership.com) or contact me at pam@zenandeleadership.com or more importantly please comment on the blog and let us enrich the message as the more the merrier and the sweeter the song sounds.

Most specifically sign up for my programs at www.zenandeleadership.com and click on events and if you want a free 45 minutes coaching session please do not hesitate to contact me at pam@zenandeleadership.com or call +27 12 998 7337.

Your sister in song

Pam

 

Celebrating Women’s Efforts

On the 8th of March 2017 we will be celebrating international women’s day (IWD) across the world.  On this day hundreds of organisations celebrate and recognise women’s efforts through a myriad of events.  The colour for this year is purple which symbolises dignity and justice.

The 2017 celebrations are held under the theme  “Be bold for change”.  I love this theme as it galvanises unity in action  aimed at bringing about change.

This reminds me of Mother Teresa’s quote on change – “I alone cannot change the world, but I can still cast a stone across the waters to create ripples.”  This is very bold and is the essence of today’s blog.

We live in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world and this requires leaders who are able to stand for what is right and be responsible so that they can take us on a different trajectory.  It requires boldness and resilience as the least we owe our children is to create a brighter future for them and restore peace and hope.

We need leaders who live on purpose, be responsible and responsive  whilst embracing the change the want to see in the world.  As we celebrate women’s efforts and dare I say – struggles,  this year I have two questions for you:

  • Are you a change agent or your role is to follow or play a wait and see game until others throw a stone to create ripples?
  • What difference are you making in your own life, those around you or the broader society?

In celebration of this year’s IWD I am hosting conversations with 9 phenomenal women who will be sharing their leadership journey including their hopes and dreams.  In addition, they will be sharing their highs and lows and hopefully spur and motivate the rest of us to go out there and be change agents.  For further details please visit my website http://www.zenandeleadership.com and sign up for the newsletter or simply send an email to buyiswa@zenandeleadership.com.

Finally in honour of the role played by many women across the world let us go out there and play our part in making the world a better place by embracing and being the change that we want to see in the world.

Yeah to being change agents!!!

Pam Yako

Leadership Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

http://www.zenandeleadership.com

+27 12 998 7337 or +27 82 550 5225

pam@zenandeleadership.com (should you wish to book your free 45 minutes Skype coaching call)

Skype: pam.the.coach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Season…Are you game?

Last month I wrote about the advent of the new season and encouraged you to think about following your passion and ensuring that you dance with the world whilst there is still some music in you.

I would like to take that challenge further in this month of love and ask you a specific question – what will it take for you to dance with your true soul’s desire?

I am indeed assuming that you know what is your true heart’s desire or am I assuming too much?  Is this a safe assumption?

Let me stop skirting around the issue and ask a few direct questions just to get you started:

What is your true heart’s desire? and Why?
What lights you up? and Why?
What makes you to wake up in the morning and go to work? and Why?
What makes you happy?
What fills up your soul?

These are deep reflective questions and often times when we draw up New Year resolutions we seldom pause and ask the big question WHY?

I like Simon Sinek’s work on beginning with the Why – as it is in understanding the Why that we can start looking at the what and the how?  He argues that many people and organisations know the what they do or sell and how we are they better or different?  What inspires people into action is in understanding why do you do what you do?  He takes it further and says that people do not buy what you do or your offering but why you do it in other words what do you believe in and what is your passion?

To take this further, in order to be inspiring and purposeful in life you need to understand the WHY of what you do and then you will attract people or clients who buy into what you believe in.

I am inviting you in this month of love,  as we are still enjoying the benefits of a new year and whilst we are still energized and enthusiastic about new beginnings let’s just pause and base our resolutions  and goals on a solid foundation which is premised on a deeper and soulful introspection.

Let us open ourselves up to more depth and authenticity. Let us look for strong substance in who we are and what we believe in,  infused with a quest for living a life with a deeper meaning as opposed to superficial and less rooted on our real essence but informed by what we do or what is expected of us.  Incidentally this is not merely a mind exercise; for it to have real results we must be holistic and do it with body; mind and heart.

Let me end by quoting from the Bible – Isaiah 50:11 – “Walk in the light of your own fire; and in the flame which you have kindled”

With Valentine’s Day upon us is it not prudent to understand your passion or what you love?

So…are you game? If yes… Let’s meet in the arena!!!

Pam Yako

Leadership Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

http://www.zenandeleadership.com

pam@zenandeleadership.com

Skype: pam.the.coach

P.S.  Sign up for my fortnightly newsletter on my website or book a 45 mins free coaching session.

 

New Season…What’s Up

Yesterday we marked the beginning of yet another year and I watched with a sense of joy and appreciation as many people celebrated and ushered in 2017. Gosh… the amount of love shared, enthusiasm and excitement brewing everywhere I went, with all forms of media especially social media abuzz with well wishes and just sheer love and happiness. A big part of me wanted to clone the moment or the day and make that every day’s living, which begs the question – does it only have to end around New Year’s Day.

We live in a tough world where everybody literally everyday is rushing somewhere or trying to do something in order to earn a living, serve their purpose or just get themselves busy in one way or the other. That is obviously the good part, the sad part is that whilst we pursue the good deed (s) we forget to live, share with another, love each other and simply have fun. We forget to play and be happy people and save it for the festive season or dare I say… New Years Day.

Have you ever imagined if the spirit of the festive season can be sustained throughout the year, or if we have everybody being enthusiastic at the beginning of the each day, week, month to a point of sharing their positive energy on social media (or anywhere else where they meet or engage with people) for all of us to receive and enjoy so that we can learn and emulate it. I think this spirit can multiply and impact a whole lot more people and create happy, enthusiastic and loving nations and the world.

So I guess my challenge to you today is “how can you consistently contribute to a happier you, family, institutions and world. How can you emulate the excitement and enthusiasm of the season to build a better world? I firmly believe that all of us have an innate ability to change our paradigm and ourselves in order to yield better results for the world we live in.

I came across a quote this morning on social media that got me thinking and propelled me to write this blog (which is my monthly commitment anyway to you) and it read “On your last day on earth, the person you become will meet the person you could have become” – Anon. This is line with the title of a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book – “Don’t die with your music still in you”

Does this resonate with you? It certainly inspired me to write this blog today and on that reflective note – “Happy New Year”

Believing in you

Pam Yako

Leadership Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

http://www.zenandeleadership.com

+27 12 998 7337 or +27 82 550 5225

pam@zenandeleadership.com

Skype: pam.the.coach

P.S.  Please sign up for my fortnightly newsletter from my website http://www.zenandeleadership.com or join my Facebook group called pamthecoach where I network and share with like minded women leaders

https://www.facebook.com/groups/128553083848349/?ref=br_rs or

Follow me on twitter: @pamthecoach

 

 

New Beginnings or Transition?

Last month I wrote about October; my birthday month being a time for new beginnings and it kinda like felt strange as often people talk about new beginnings as part of the new year resolutions.

I reflected on whether I should wait until the beginning of the year when everyone is adopting new year resolutions or should I go ahead. I came to the conclusion that whilst the temptation to wait till January was compelling  but sometimes the conventional route is not always the right way to go and you have to appreciate and embrace your own uniqueness. So I affirmed myself and resolved that there is no better time than NOW!

Whilst I was still pondering on these issues it dawned on me that maybe I am talking about a transition. I am in the process of rebirthing myself as a woman leader and as an entrepreneur so I am in transition…right!

Often times transitions are scary and challenging and that we are all better off with what we know and we often say – anyway it’s tried and tested it might not be perfect but it works so why bother! I believe transition is good and necessary as it gives you a time to reflect and ask yourself the big question ‘Why?‘.

Why do I coach? Why do I live in South Africa? Why do I live inland instead of the coast and why do I go to work everyday? Why do I believe in the special role that women play in the economy and society etc.

I might not be able to answer these questions in this piece however as I journey through transition and as I am traversing the new path these questions need to be answered as if I don’t, I run the risk of complacency and not achieving the one thing that is dear to me – serving my clients and living my purpose.

So no matter when you decide that it is time to reflect or it’s time for change … take a step back and ask the big question ‘why’? It is those answers that will keep you aligned with your values; live your purpose and also navigate through transition.

Have a great month!!!!

Pam Yako

Leadership Coach

‘Helping women leaders to be attuned and find their inner goddess’

http://www.zenandeleadership.com

+27 12 998 7337 or +27 82 550 5225

pam@zenandeleadership.com

Skype: pam.the.coach

P.S  In 10 days time I am re-introducing my bi-weekly newsletter and please do me a favour and register on my website if you wanna remain connected… I would certainly love that!!!

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