I’m noticing a lot of blogs popping up at the moment on being thankful, giving back, and reflecting on the year gone by. To use a cliché I think it’s “that time of year” when many of us pause for a moment to be thankful and reflect, check box goals, have a moment of clarity and/or be mindful. And I 100% prefer reading these sorts of uplifting blogs than the other ones doing the rounds of what not to do at the Christmas party and HR’s obligations or not (for the record I’m going to ours dressed as a wider group of Woodstock attendees – the clothed kind J).

My New Year’s resolution this year – and it’s the first one I’ve had in 10 years since I resolved to quit smoking – was to be kinder to myself. By this I meant not needing to be super woman; to go easy on myself when I don’t exercise as hard, fast or often as I’d like; to give up the working mum guilt; to do the best for right now and the situation; to take time out and to stop offering to organise everything for everyone. I’m actually not sure I achieved this – I think I may need to make this a goal for next year! As it’s been a massive year, fun, and successful, though very fast paced and jam-packed.

Perhaps as a goal I’ll achieve it. As the goals I set for this year I’m happy to say I’ve smashed out of the park, personally and professionally. I think sitting down at the beginning of the year and consciously thinking about goals, shaping them and desired outcomes then putting them into writing has kept me on track. I’ve aimed at keeping myself accountable and enlisted the help of my partner and got him on board for personal goals and a mentor for the professional ones. Both were brilliant at asking the right questions, offering advice and setting me back on course if/when I wandered somewhat.

I’m hugely grateful for the wonderful opportunities that have come my way this year, those I’ve taken up and those I’ve been unable to for one reason or another. 2015 hasn’t been without its challenges, both personally and professionally also, and it’s another cliché but it’s true – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Challenges broaden your experience and expertise, test your resilience and ability to cope under pressure, so recognise them for what they are and know you’ll be better for it when you come out the other side.

Which leads me to the “thank you’s”. Thanks to the family, friends, colleagues, mentor and networks who affected my life this year. I’ve laughed, cried, learnt, taught, expanded, tested, initiated, organised, played, danced and have affected and been affected by so many positive actions from others that have grown, shaped and developed me throughout the year. Thank you and with a big lovely glass of bubbles, Cheers to you!


Consciously Unplugged

I spent the recent Christmas / New Year holiday completely switched off. I was in Tinopai. Tinopai is a tiny coastal rural town in the Kaipara Harbour of New Zealand. This is where my parents have their bach (Kiwi speak for holiday home). Theirs is a late 1800’s two storey former miner’s cottage that was shipped onto the current site sometime in the 1930’s. Whilst it’s been almost entirely rebuilt since then, albeit in keeping with its original character & charm there are little to no mod cons. No dish washer, no sky TV, no phone line, no wifi and better still the area has no cellphone reception for NZ’s largest cell network.

This is how I unplugged – it was enforced! And there are two major things I learnt from it:

  • It’s amazing how fast you get used to your phone not being an extension of you and how quickly you realise you can do without it
  • Without the constant interruptions and general noise in most peoples everyday lives it’s amazing how much clarity of thought you can achieve

Along with the first came the fear that I would miss out on something. I wasn’t sure what, but I was terrified of it anyway. Again, this passed quickly thankfully and now that I’m back online I wonder why I ever worried about it in the first place.

The second came with some much more profound revelations. Last year was probably one of my biggest yet from a work perspective. I was somewhat dismayed to finish the year with some unresolved issues and loose ends at work. But what the time out has given me is perspective; a new view of a clear path forward and a solid resolution to these situations which are now underway.

Now I’m all for starting your day with planning and thinking time and much has been written on the virtues of both, as I believe it gives perspective, clarity and priority to your day and . But to get an overall perspective of a larger work issue, project or plan I absolutely advocate a spot of conscious unplugging. I’m not suggesting you all find remote areas to get away from it all, for long periods of time, though it certainly helps when all you have to do is wonder whether you’ll swim, kayak or similar that day! But rather plan times to switch everything off and do something you love – read, walk, take the kids to the park; find your version of Tinopai.

I plan on 2015 being my best year yet in every possible way, and whilst a large amount of that will no doubt be spent communicating in a work fashion, online, and hooked up to social media, all things I love, enjoy and thrive on; I will equally be ensuring there are times where I consciously unplug to allow my mind time to rest and revitalise. 

This Time, IT’s Personnel – #review

This Time, It’s Personnel

Humane Resourced 2

Curated by David D’Souza


Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School, sums this book up much better than I could ever attempt to in her foreword:

In many ways this book is a celebration of connectivity – its content has been crowd-sourced from around the world, each contributor has their own voice, personal opinions and areas of expertise, there is advice, outlooks, poetry and passion and, like a really fine celebratory meal, the whole is even better than its constituent parts (2014-11-01). This Time, It’s Personnel: Humane Resourced 2 (Kindle Locations 99-101).  . Kindle Edition.

This group of HR professionals from around the globe have come together to create something quite brilliant. Incredibly, considering many of these folk “speak” via various channels, social and otherwise on regular basis, each and every piece is very individual. Sure, there are recurring themes throughout the book such as L&D, the new role of HR, communication, organisational culture, mindfulness, diversity and so on, but each given their own view, personality and slant to ensure not a thread of repetition.

There are some truly talented writers amongst the group and personally I loved the magic of storytelling from the likes of Gemma Reucroft and Simon Arrowsmith, and the clever poetry from Broc Edwards and Malcolm Louth. This is a group of professionals writing passionately and authoritatively on HR and the world of work, but despite its focus the book reads nothing like a text or self-help book. However, the lessons within its pages are many; and they are delivered in such a way as to make it an easy read like a collection of short stories.

 “I shout at you to motivate you” is a classic one liner from Donna Hewitson, Alex Hagan makes a fantastic analogy between Winchester Mystery House and HR approaches in organisations, and Ben Malcolm’s suggesting values may be “a bit like marmite” are some of the more quirky gems from this book. There are mentions of pigs, elephants, various music references and even an entrance from Marilyn Monroe. They combine with reflections, questions and statements that will have you rethinking, analysing and pondering your own actions as much as the processes and practices in your place of work. And almost all with a view to improving HR. The way we work, the value we add, the processes and systems we put in place.

This is a must read for anyone interested in the areas of HR, L&D, OD. You will learn, you will think and be challenged, and thanks to Raksha Khilosia you will laugh as well. An excellent extension to 2013’s Humane, Resourced.