If not now, when?

Hello!  Welcome to 2018 – I hope you’ve head a great start to the forthcoming Year of the Dog in Chinese astrology but more on that another time.

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Me and Mr Rosanna at Ocean Grove

I’m not referring to instant gratification in my post title above but more about dreams becoming reality.  Procrastination, fear and general laziness can stop us from going after what we truly want sometimes right here and now, not at some future point somewhere in the distance.  I think it’s important to go after what you want more of in your life, do what gives you the greatest sense of joy and purpose (whatever that may be) as well as find time and space to lose yourself in – ‘follow your bliss’ as the yogis say.  This is not always easy given the realities of work (you are lucky if you can incorporate any of the above into your day job) and caring for others but I’m determined to spend more time doing the things I love with the people I care about the most in this coming year.  Mr Rosanna and I talk about flow – the need to move more in the direction you wish to head by spending more time doing that activity in general as well as being persistent – ‘persistence beats resistance’ is another one of our own sayings.  People often give up too easily.  Patience and persistence are good long-term habits to cultivate.

My word for last year was ‘expansion’ and this year it’s ‘consolidation’ – I admit not terribly sexy sounding but I feel the need to capitalise on the opportunities I was given last year and build some kind of foundation from there in which to move forward again.  It’s also good to stop and smell the roses and while I don’t want to rest on my laurels or be complacent, ambition without some kind of end goal isn’t terribly useful nor is continuing to push yourself to make things happen when everything happens in its own time – it’s good to live in a state of acceptance.  I think it’s also important to appreciate how far you’ve come, what you have already achieved and where you are currently at – we have much to be grateful for, if you happen to be reading this blog in our particular part of the world.  Do you have a word for the year?

When I was at the Leading Now leadership summit in NSW last year, keynote speaker Dr Jason Fox also mentioned his archetypes or characters he creates for himself to inhabit which again, is an interesting exercise in itself.  My character last year was the ‘magician’ which I found helpful as the person who makes things happen by bringing thought leaders together in a public arena, in terms of my day job.  Again, you may like to create your own character this year!  It’s good to have something to inspire you.

Lazy days in the sun are here even if you are back at work this week like me.  We had a great Christmas and New Year here in Melbourne and down at the beach and I’ll be back with more later this week.

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Something different

‘Expansion’ has been my word for 2017 and there has been a magical quality to life this year since I chose that word, which has culminated in the past week – one of the most busy and challenging professional weeks I have ever had and likely to be the high point of the year for me.

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L-R (seated): Patrick Keyzer, Anne-Maree Farrell, Gary Dowsett, Justice Michael Kirby, VC John Dewar (standing)

I met ex-High Court judge Michael Kirby (or the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG as he is officially known) at last Thursday night’s Bold Thinking Series lecture on Health, Law & Sexuality held at the NGV Great Hall, which had fully sold out one week prior.  It’s a beautiful space with stained glass ceilings by Leonard French, which seats 600 people and the lecture was a whole-of-University project, that included support from my colleagues in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, 50th Anniversary Office, Law School, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), Alumni and Events as well as my usual working party in Marketing and Recruitment.  Justice Kirby was, and is, indeed a great man and it was an honour to have him speak at our event – he was flying out to Japan the following day to receive an Order of the Rising Sun honour from the Emperor of Japan no less and it was a learning experience for me to look at all the pomp and ceremony required for people of this stature – La Trobe University had organised an aide-de-camp to accompany Justice Kirby for his entire stay with us as well as his own green room at the NGV on the night.  I was very relieved to get to the VIP event at the NGV Garden Restaurant after the lecture to enjoy its success.IMG_5745

I flew out on Sunday afternoon high above the clouds of Melbourne to attend the Leading Now 2017 leadership summit held at the Mantra on Salt in Kingscliff – about 15 minutes drive south from the Gold Coast Airport and the start of the stunning northern NSW beaches region which includes Cabarita Beach (where Halcyon House is located) and Byron Bay – another place I’d like to return to at some stage.  The Mantra on Salt is located in the Salt Village area including Peppers Salt Resort and Spa where some of the other speakers and I all stayed.

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My balcony view – Peppers Salt Resort

While I’m used to attending networking events in the arts and culture space, as well as marketing, this was something entirely different for me to be surrounded by a group of high calibre leaders mainly from the corporate arena.  It made me realise that my own journey has been a very different one since leaving corporate life behind and starting this blog – no less valuable but perhaps the road less travelled.  In my heart of hearts, I will always be an inherently more creative, and persuasive, person with a different take on things to the mainstream – something I’ve started to see increasingly more as a strength than a weakness these past few years.

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Image via louisemahler.com.au

But back to the leadership summit, it was both daunting and inspiring to be in the presence of some truly great leaders and keynote speakers including Dr Louise Mahler whose magnificent presentation on body language was a real ice-breaker at the ‘fork and talk’ opening night dinner where we all met for the first time.  Equally impressive was Dr Jason Fox – the swashbuckling international speaker and author on motivation strategy and design, who embodies inner-north Melbourne hipster, including bushranger beard and coffee addiction.  I was lucky enough to have him sit in on my Think Out loud session on communications in the age of social media yesterday, and I hope I was able to teach such a clever person something new.

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Image via drjasonfox.com.au

I also met some other amazingly positive, dynamic, smart and interesting female leaders in the form of my fellow speakers and attendees at the summit – too many to mention here suffice to say that this event took things to a whole new level for me – to be in the company of such inspiring people and learn new things about myself and the skills which great leaders have, or can develop – was priceless.  I feel very grateful to my former Telstra colleague Tiffany Gray from Prism Brain Mapping (and her co-conspirator Monique Rattray-Wood) who gave me the opportunity to be involved in this inaugural summit.  I flew home late last night and it’s going to take me some time to process all the information I was exposed to at the summit as it was definitely not an ordinary, but an extraordinary experience – one which will stay with me for a long time.