The art of Storytelling, learnings from Gary V.

Earlier in the week, I attended a full day conference with different motivational speakers. Nearly all of them had something in common, which was their desire to sell something to the audience. The last speaker was the reason I attended the day to begin with, I came to hear from Gary Vaynerchuk and he made the day a worth coming for.

Gary is a fantastic storyteller, and he was humble in the way he approached this. He was not trying to impose or selling anything, he came to share insights about his learnings and to create ROI for his audience.

Gary spoke about different things, some of his insights resonate with me and these are the ten key take outs of the day:

1. Create content – stop thinking about what other people think and follow your passion. There is no right or wrong when it comes to creating content as long as it is authentic and not imposed. It is going to be challenging to execute but you have to start otherwise you become irrelevant.

2. Figure out what type of communicator are you and how you want to communicate, it can be written, videos, podcasts or any other way of communicating that you feel comfortable with. Make sure that you diversify with different platforms and use different content for your audience that relevant to them. (LinkedIn, Tictoc, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat)
He also suggested that you find yourself a wizard, someone who knows you and can assist with your ways of communicating. (Gary has DRock that goes with him to everywhere and captures all on camera).

3. Create your own brand as it is the only thing that will stay. People looking for perfection due to their insecurity. It is hard to be a Zebra when you are a penguin.

4. Social media – created great opportunity to test and learn in a more secure and selfishness eco system. Social media expose us, as the majority hate to be accountable. The power of utilising the social media to engage with your audience in a low-cost environment, when people reply you communicate and create your community.

5. To become entrepreneur, it is a hard work and you will need to constantly invest in it (time, money etc) so if you are not in it for the long term and willing to put the hard yards then you limit your success rate.

6. Stop demonised technology or mobile applications, embrace the evolution of technology. Most people are concerned about kids’ exposure to the different platforms, limitation of digital will limit your kids in the future therefore use the good of screen time (watch, listen and learn what they do). Embrace automation as it is eliminating the waste and creates more efficiencies in your organisation. Business will operate with a mix of people and technology.

7. Testing and learning – there is always the debate about quantity vs. quality. The more you communicate and create content, the better you become at it. Move on quickly and have super-fast decisions, don’t beat yourself if something didn’t work.

8. Love what you do and find your passion, don’t pursue a career that you think it will make you successful or this is what everyone around you expect you to be. Just be you and believe in yourself.

9. ROI – if you want people to engage with your content think about what value do you bring through the content. Make sure that your care about the community that you operate within.

10. Humility to feed creativity – be modest and genuine about it and don’t let the fear of being judged stop you. Just cut the negativity and keep going.

Leap of faith

Two years ago, I was challenged to stand up to my fears and to have the courage to not let it hold me back. Exactly two years ago I decided to start writing and share my vulnerability with the world.

At the beginning I was really scared, what if it will make me look silly? What if they will find out the truth about me? One thing I knew for sure was that I did not want to live my life with “what if” and the feeling that I have missed out because I wasn’t willing to confront my own fears.

In retrospect, I can understand why I had these obstacles that prevented me from doing something that I learnt to love. I was concerned about how I would be perceived in other people’s eyes and how they might see me. Its turned out that I was completely wrong and that the exact opposite happened.

Today, at my 50th post, I can truly say it was liberating to overcome my own demons and to open-up and share my views with the world. Through this journey I learnt that some things that I shared resonated with many people and for some it motivated them to be who they are and to overcome their own fears.

I always believed that we all here for a reason and that we have a purpose in life although I’m still on a journey to keep on evolving and growing as an individual, it is great to have this sense of direction and work towards personal goals and keep doing the things I’m passionate about.

This is a great opportunity to say thank you for each and everyone of you that have commented, sent me a message or just had a quick corridor conversation that kept me going and continuing my writing journal. You know who you are.

Yes we can

At my recent visit to India I had the privilege to be invited to a business celebration at the hotel I was staying in. How I ended up being invited to this event is a funny story…

The duration of the visit was over two weeks, and I was staying in the same hotel as who? Over the two weeks, I had the opportunity to meet and talk to so many hotel staff members across all functions of the business. Every person I met had a story to tell.

On one of the nights a few staff members told me about the business event and suggested that I should attend. On the day of the event, the GM of the hotel invited me formally and I gladly accepted the invitation. When I arrived at venue, the Hotel GM waited for me and marched me straight to the judging panel and without any preparation, I was sitting at the table as part of the panel that decided which team wins the first place.

The hotel staff members were competing in a local dancing competition and each department created their own original dance routine. The measuring criteria was on originality, coordination, synchronise, costumes etc.

One of the teams chose a topic that is very close to my heart, Women empowerment. They presented it in such a manner that left tears in my eyes without even understanding the song’s lyrics. Through the dance they describe the difficulties of a young girl grounded in this environment with a very clear message at the end: “Yes we can”. We can be whoever we choose to be and fulfil our dreams.

In this visit I have heard it more than once, how hard it is to be a female in this environment. I couldn’t stop thinking how lucky we are that diversity is at the front-forward of our leaders’ mind and how important it is that everyone gets a fair go no matter their gender, race, age or background.

Back to the hotel business event, at the end of the winning routine they emphases how lucky and privilege they feel to work for a leader (GM) that surrounded himself with 50% of his leadership team with strong women.

After the event, I had a chance to speak to the GM and I told him that he should be extremely proud of himself and his team. Seeing the way that the team talks about him through their eyes was a great opportunity to learn from a great humble leader.

Do what you love & love what you do

Two weeks ago I was fortunate to have another opportunity to visit India. This time, I had very clear objectives of what I would like to achieve and it was a split between work and personal objectives.

When a colleague asked me about my positive attitude, I always say “do what you love & love what you do” this ensures that even when things don’t work well I’m clear about what is the main goal and that any roadblock along the way can be cleared. This also ensures a positive and motivated mindset. When you love what you do things seems to fall into place. It might be the universe way to show us the right path towards where & who we need to be.

On the work side, I have met great people who motivated me to be the best version of myself and stretch even more to achieve success. On the personal side, I had the privilege to visit many kids that are less fortunate and are happy with the little they were given. From these kids I learnt that it doesn’t take much to be happy and that in any situation you are the one who chooses if it will be a positive or a negative experience. They taught me how powerful the mind is and how it influences our lives.

Being in a place for a long time, you meet so many people that all have a story to tell and it was such a great journey to be a part of these colourful stories. On the last night I had a conversation with a lovely couple that I met at the hotel. The woman asked me what I’m taking from this visit and what I’m leaving behind. This was a very clear answer. I replied: “what I’m taking from this visit is friendships with all these amazing people who have crossed my path and what I’m leaving behind this time is a piece of my heart.

Thank you India, I have no doubt that we will meet again in the nearest future.

Be thankful everyday

Last week, on a Friday afternoon just before I was about to leave the office to officially start the weekend, I received a beautiful thank you letter from a colleague of mine which I also mentored. This letter was so beautifully written, and I was extremely touched. This letter reminded me that sometimes we forget the power of a simple thank you or a good word. This definitely made my day.

Later in the afternoon, after I picked up my son we went to buy a few things and on our way through the main shopping strip, we saw a young lady sitting on the footpath, something about her caught my eye. She held a note that said: “I truly need your help, I’m really trying but really struggling”.

All I had was few coins, but I felt it wasn’t enough and when my son told me that there is an ATM nearby, I turned to him and said that we are going to give her something else, hopefully better than money, we are going to give her something called hope.

We looked for a clothing store nearby and bought few clothes that seemed to be matching her size. At the store, I asked the owner if we can return and replace it and ensured that she won’t be able to get any cash refund. We went back to her and she told us that she is 23 years old and that she is living on the streets. I gave her the clothes we bought and told her that this is her rock bottom and from here she could only climb up if she chooses to do so. As it wasn’t the right size, we went back to the store with her and helped her to choose clothes that suits for a job interview. As we left the store, she was extremely touched and grateful. I asked her if she has anyone, she told me that she is rebuilding her relationship with her mum. She looked fragile and I said to her that she looked like she really needs a hug. And sometimes this is the only thing one is needed, someone who believes in you and show you that there is hope.

After I picked up my daughter, we saw her back on the street and my daughter asked me if I’m disappointed that she went back. I told her that I’m not, and that we all have a choice to make and that both of my kids should be grateful that we have us and that we will be there to protect each other.

Sometimes in life we get these rare opportunities where we can share with our kids some wisdom and gear them up to what life is all about. Sometimes you can take the wrong turn and end up on the streets. The question is, what do you do when you get to this point and what choices do you make. This is how you teach what resilience is about.

Things I have learnt in “Life”

Last week I was fortunate to join my hubby’s company conference and experience first hand what those conferences are all about. At this event I met people from all over the world and the atmosphere was electrifying.

Firstly I was so excited for the opportunity to see some old friends and also made some new ones. Throughout the few days of the conference, there were plenty of sessions about leadership, planning and focus.

There were 10 key points that I have taken from the last few days that can be applied to everything in life:

1. Be all in – if you choose to participate make sure you are committed and willing to do what it takes to make it work.
2. Create your own play book – no one knows you better than you, therefore creating something that going to lift you up when you are having not so great of a day is super important.
3. Circle of influence – we all know those people that can either inspire and motivate you or the ones that can suck out all of your energy. Make sure that you remove the negativity out of your life.
4. Make a better choice – we all have the liberty to make decisions, make sure you take the right ones.
5. Think big – don’t limit yourself, think big and don’t let anyone else burst your bubble.
6. Plug in – stay connected to the system otherwise you will miss out. If you want to succeed you need to be on top of your game.
7. Don’t fear from temporary defeat – life is not a sprint, if you in for the long run you will have some obstacles that you will need to overcome.
8. Unleash your potential- be the best version of you, and don’t compromise for mediocre.
9. Raise the bar – increase the level of standard and expectations and keep yourself accountable – no one else will do it for you.
10. Rewards and recognition – the final night, was a true celebration of individuals achievements. We all want to be part of success and feel appreciated. By providing rewards and recognition everyone feels valued.

To summarised, this event provided valuable tools that can be used in any aspect of your life, so what are you waiting for?

Day 1

A few weeks ago I had an amazing opportunity to visit Amazon offices in India. This was an eye opener with so much to see and learn about how this building is designed for providing Amazon employees maximum comfort as they spend many hours in these facilities developing new innovative ideas.

In the four buildings that I have visited it was very clear what are the expectations and the emphasis on creative and ideation from their employees. The message is very clear, we deliver results and with phrases such as: “Work hard, play hard” or “Free your imagination” you get the drift. In return, the facilities provided to all team members includes plenty of nice breakout spots to choose from, top of the art scum areas, large cafeteria and games room.

At the reception area, there is a large sign of “Day 1” and when I asked what does it mean they explained how in Amazon they want their employees to come to work and feel like it is their first day in the company. The idea is to preserve the motivation and avoid any bias influence on creativity and innovation.

This approach made me think about how companies communicate with their employees. Should it be a bold and outgoing statement or more of a subtle approach…I presume it is come down to the company philosophy and strategy. That’s what makes the differentiation between business. Plenty to learn from this driving company.

Dealing with perception

A few years ago, I participated in a leadership program and part of the introductions we were required to introduce ourselves following a feedback session on how we went. I remember that when delivered my elevator speech the feedback that was given by my fellow colleagues was that I looked younger and the perception might be that I don’t have enough experience.

This was the first time I came across the power of perception and what it means in term of my career path. Later on, as I progressed and moved into more senior roles I had to deal with perception and find creative ways to influence how people think and operate.

Recently I was privileged to travel again to Bangalore, India and had the opportunity to explore the surrounding and experienced it through the eyes of the local team. Every time I travel to India, I’m discovering a new gem and I know that there is so much more to see. What I have discovered every time that I’ve been here is that people will go above and beyond to make sure you have been looked after. Beside the fascinating sightseeing and the incredible food, I encourage everyone to travel to India at least once in a lifetime.

So next time before forming a perception about somewhere or someone, try to give it a go and really see things for what they real are. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Here we go again

It feels like not too long ago I wrote about the year that passed and now 2018 has already gone.

As last year, I see this as a great opportunity to reflect on the year that was and what a great year it has been. In 2018, I faced challenges, had the opportunity to meet amazing people all over the globe and accumulated new skills along the way. The most important thing, was the fact that I have enjoyed doing what I do and through the year, I have evolved and grew so much.

So what did I achieve in 2018? This time last year, I moved into a new role within the finance department, without knowing where this path will take me, I was requested to lead the establishment of a new entity located in Bangalore, India.

This was a steep learning curve and I gained business and local knowledge. It was also a great opportunity to work alongside incredible people who taught me so much and I’m so grateful for each person I have met and interacted with along the way.

I have no doubt that 2019 is going to be exciting with new challenges on the horizon which makes me thrilled to what’s ahead of us.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year. I know that this year will be even more exciting than last year.

2019 here I come!!

Just do it

So many times in life we heard the phrase, do the right thing even when no one is watching. This expression was resonated with me and I was thinking about what it means to me.

A few days ago, I started my routine in the morning and got into the car and was on my way to work. When I was few metres away from a very busy intersection I noticed that most of the cars in front of me started to shift towards the left lane. Few more metres forward, it was clear what was the reason for the shift. On the right lane there was a very big branch that fell on the road.

Same as everyone else, I signalled to the left and overtook this obstacle. When I have done this, I thought about what is the right thing to do. Is it to keep on going and continue with my busy day or should I do something to help others. In a split of a second decision, I decided to pullover and drag the branch into the side walk to ensure the safety of the people that were behind me and maybe couldn’t see this object on the road.

Sometimes those little things we just do makes an impact on someone else’s life. Sometimes it is just making us feel great about doing something for the greater good.