The serious business of happiness

How does society become seriously happy? There are so many diverse components yet at core happiness must be simple, desirable and accessible surely?

Yesterday I was in the audience for the launch of Action for Happiness, and it was a wonderful space, great energy and buzzing with passion and fervour to embrace the possibility that individually and together, this movement can supercharge thousands to discover, uncover and recover happiness – and, with courage, dis-courage those naysayers from damaging the effort.

Some 4000 hits per minute on the web site, interest comes from most countries in the world (with a notable absence in North Africa and Russia, the map was covered) and with majority signed up coming from the UK, it’s happy-making to know we are leading the way!

The panel of experts was mostly men, which I found greatly encouraging and you can read more. I say that because if the men in power are to listen, it occurs to me that a majority lead from well-know male players will build a case for serious transformation. It is key that is both men and women asking for a happier society.

The question for me is “can such a gathering force of local activity influence in a major national (and ultimately international) way” specifically in areas such as education and health. The answer was not obvious other than make a louder point by ‘voting with our feet’ – less than satisfactory to me as the leaders of this afternoon were closer to official ears than I!

Could we transform the baseline criteria, the policies and systems that came from Government and which strangle the potential to seriously embed and integrate a organic spread of happiness into our lives and the lives of future generations?

I do believe we can transform our world and it lies within our grasp, within the commitment of individuals and the bubbling collective bond of communities. We need committed players in all arenas local, national and eventually internationally. Action for Happiness is a brilliant starting point to draw together initiatives, grassroots energy and proven studies from eminent parties such as Anthony Seldon, Geoff Mulgan and Lord Layard. Excellent start with the appointment of Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, this charity aims to lead the way.

My own personal reflection of the event was that although the focus was ‘happiness’, there was not a great deal of mention of love. Love in a pure unconditional form fuels happiness surely; the love between people, the centre of family growth, and the base of emotional ground needed to seed a happiness culture.

I believe ‘love’ is really our central theme and the fundamental quest when we seek to build a better happier UK and world. If either ‘love’ or ‘fear’ drive all other emotions (and we know that is so) then surely healthy happy emotional intelligence is a positive ingredient for a high happiness quotient? We must create a collaborative natural conversations that embrace love in our world. That is the context out of which happy language, relationships, communities and individuals can grow!

Let’s take a view from the Dalai Lama who says: “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions”.

I think we should take a big leaf out of his sense of happiness from love.

Can we create a new blueprint for life that delivers sustainability, security, and safety alongside family values, social equality, high employment, shareholder profit, and happiness without mentioning love?

I believe we can. But we may need to step outside of our own way; instead of doing happiness – how about YOU taking responsibility to BE HAPPY with every aspect of your life! YES every part!!


Intentions for a magical day

How do you make intentions for a magical day? You just take a step back, go inside, see what day you want and set an intention to enjoy the ripples. If you write it down it’s even more powerful and surround the words with love and smiles and go on your path, and notice what happens!

Yesterday I set out with such great joy (which has been increasing everyday along with my blog readership – thanks everyone!) and heart-felt intention for whatever ‘needs to occur’ to occur. I set my intention to trust the day would achieve results even though I don’t know what these will be, and for me to embrace, learn, observe, contribute, laugh, cry, be appreciative of everyone and every word exchanged, trust and relax.

This aligns with my bigger intention to transition my life into full and absolute acceptance, service and participation at the highest level. Since I changed my home, surroundings, in deed everything I had known before March 18th, my days have added richness to every part of my life.

I have let go of focusing on money, stopped worrying about how the future will arrive, freed myself of many bills, overload and pressure, and know I am in the right place to lift off. My passionate intention is to be useful in the cause of spreading happiness, teaching people to be their best,to be wise and strong, compassionate and truly passionate in what ever they do. I have a vision for a future collaborative society and a world where injustices can be reduced and eliminated one by one, many by many.

My dream is to be a host, an interviewer par excellence, drawing out wise people’s stories, chairing magical conversations that debate and bring diverse minds together, facilitating motivation and inspirational sessions for all ages, being part of that ripple of kindness and love that will change our world.

Over the last two weeks I have done things I had set intentions for only weeks ago – to teach kids in school how to be aware, to join the cause to educate kids against dangerous drugs, to re-start writing for my book again, to find a mentor to help me, to live in a beautiful home with fabulous women, to meet new friends who will be on my journey with me….

……..and so much more comes soon.

A few years back I wrote my ‘obituary’ (and maybe I will share that another time), it’s a great exercise in ‘intention-setting’ against the future legacy you would like to leave – I decided to pass on at 101 years (some few decades yet to go) as a fun number and I wrote down the kind of world I would like to leave for my kids and grand-kids and the part I had played.

Some how over the next few decades I had actually helped to transform the education system with a school cirricula called SMILE – which embraced 5 lessons, Sound (singing, words, voice) Movement (body posture, dance, fitness) Inspiration (imagination, motivation, creativity) Laughter (comedy, performance, storytelling) Enterprise (entrepreneurship, commerce, business acumen)… and with these embedded in everyday growth, kids grew wise and responsible and able to smile genuinely – creating joyful ways to collaborate and build a far better aware sustainable joyful world. .

That is my intention – written 4 years ago, and already I am drawn into a desire to teach kids and am starting to see it happen for me. Yesterday that journey’s intention came a wee closer. So very exciting.

Try it. Set small intentions first, see them manifest – then go for the big one, the life vision, its stunning.

Compassion as a business necessity

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival. -The Dalai Lama

I was really struck by this quote and started to muse on why people in business are still not valuing their natural ability be ‘compassionate’ for each other in the workplace. Is it because it is deemed too emotional in its purest form to add value in monetary terms and therefore can’t be added to the ledger?

Yet compassion for me is the most valuable measure of business when seen in good leadership, a trusting workforce culture, and healthy retention of clients and customers. It is a natural way forward to preserve good health and vitality of our employees – and is core energy for getting on with everyone. I am talking here of a true compassion, as the Dalai Lama talks of, which embraces daily love, supports fairness, trust, respect and care for every man and woman.

Yet I am often told, you can’t talk like this in business, you have to talk about hard tangible benefits. Tough times need tough measures.

I disagree. This is exactly the time to turn around your life and your business, right from top to bottom, with love and compassion. Own it, be it, see the results. CEOs and top Boards are now seeing the growth of a strong female economy, changing requirements of women and men to be on par, accepted on their natural merits, each doing what they do best – together with compassion and not judgment.

How do you cope with adversity and chaos in today’s tricky economic climate? People too often blame others when the key to unlock is within. In hard measurable terms, if we don’t unlock this key, then we suffer, relationships suffer and business success goes out of the window.

I believe in our natural endless capacity to love and feel compassion for each other and that as a human race we have the ability and the desire to seek new ways and create a buoyant, abundant, collaborative world were all count, all add their own unique value, everyone counts. I know in my deepest essence that I am part of a whole existence that covers not just this day, but all the past and future that is. I share the responsibility for our world and see the natural energy of co-creation with us.

Working with men and women in diverse arenas, generations and situations, I see men and women holding the two halves of a whole solution, yet not creating a new blueprint together. Is it that, stuck as we are in an old pattern that does not serve us any more, we stubbornly refuse to believe that there is another way – the men stay tough and resistant to change, focused on targets, survival, power and profit; the women too often opt out of their feminine softness and take on the mantle of business the tough way. Neither side needs to stay fixed and rooted in either. I am encouraged by the ground swell of women today wanting to be in business and the news that the ‘female economy’ is being noticed by men when it comes to wealth managers and the growing wealth of women across the world. However we still haven’t got to grips with the bigger conversation that can embrace all women, their needs, all men and their needs, and most importantly the needs of a fragile changing world. Economies are constrained by overspend and cutbacks and we are told that we’re in for a period of austerity in the tabloid press. Women can make a difference to the future by stretching the new playing field into the natural domain of female needs rather than playing hard ball in a man’s world.

I believe there is a new magic we can bring to our collective conversations which honours our core strengths as men and women and allows for new energy of female growth to come into business as a whole. If we only calculate success of women by their wealth capability, we may ignore the contributions of those women who excel in other non-profit ways. We can ensure a more balanced ownership of true wealth to emerge easily when we add compassion to business and seek equity and fairness within every conversation. I know this will increase the profitline of the whole business and ensure everyone has a healthy life. Healthy, wealthy and wise may be a simple combination worth remembering.

My contribution is to teach people to step in the space they need to deliver their best. I help them to value their inner wisdom, and to be able to join every conversation with compassion.

I host “Magical Conversations” with invited groups of senior men and women to explore how to step into that natural space and be themselves, truly happy, to add loving energy to human business. My own life purpose is to bring harmony, collaboration and serious intention to merge life and business together, and to establish a simpler, more effective way to connect to likeminded people for greater success. I set up these conversations up to set a new pace for life for me and for my clients; a pace to think with my heart and to embrace a new truth about how I/we can co-create a wonderful new business plan for living and work merged together.

As in many mergers, we need to be aware of people’s needs, of bringing together differing cultures together. In the merger of men and women we still haven’t fully understood the natural value of our differences and how beneficial we are to each other. We need to explore how to dissolve all the confusion which goes with old thinking rather than new feelings and demystify the ‘gender code’ about stereotypes, barriers, egos and pre-conceptions. Let’s begin again with the best of the past and an open consideration for the future, and build a new blueprint for business that embraces life and measures love on the bottom line!

Transformed with compassion, the merger of men and women will grow a new culture of energy, loving intentions for growth and profit …and, most important to me, a era of positive loving business behaviour!

The Jungle of Relationships

Preview Interview with Bond Magazine To be published October 2010

Pauline Crawford, behavioural consultant and innovative thinker, looks at relationships with new eyes, and wonders about the current confusion over ‘who’s in charge’ – women or men? After working with people at the top of business for over 20 years, she sees a new light in the jungle of relationships. Her passion is to engage leaders in an emerging conversation that helps both men and women co-create a successful future.

What influenced you in your early life?

Born a tom-boy, I was much happier climbing trees with my brothers while my sister attended dancing classes. I dreamed of adventures at sea and found it easy to solve puzzles. As a mathematician and artist, I loved simultaneous equations and innovating multiple possibilities! Conversation with friends and laughter was paramount in my upbringing. Yet I found being ‘feminine’ a daunting task.

I left University with a Sociology and Statistics degree, my formative work career in the 70s was in travel. I loved using my left and right brain and naturally applied myself to the practicalities of business alongside the emotional flow of relationships. I learned all about gender politics early on in my career and the balancing act that kept everyone happy to get the job done.

What changed your life as a woman in business?

After motherhood, I desired action. I applied my masculine logical brain to business and my female energy to help others to realise their natural potential.

In my early return to work, my ‘tipping point’ was studying Image – here physicality was the key. I studied people, their minds, their bodies and their perceptions. Through this I realized the key was in the body. I discovered and observed the link between straight bodies and masculine minds. My tom-boy straight boned skeleton was linked to my masculine brain, yet I was totally female in a biological sense.

My core nurturing female side was attributed to my biology. My masculine-mind (for mapping things together) came from my natural brain preferences for logic and spatial skills. I also discovered not all women were like me! The more gently curved woman was naturally more intuitive, more ‘feminine’.

Men also follow this pattern. The straight sharp featured male is more masculine by nature and brain preference, and the gentler shaped man is also gentler in style – one might say more ‘feminine’ in making relationships work.

How did you discover about relationships between men and women?

Being an innovative thinker, with Edward de Bono as a second cousin, and my mind-mapping brain, I logically designed a Gender Dynamics Map. The map has six perspectives, and uses biological patterns and learned behaviour as empirical evidence. The map helped me to solve my personal dilemma as to why my female body housed a masculine-mind – perfectly normal! The Gender Dynamics Map defines the main differential from our biology with secondary variables of mind-preferences from masculine to feminine in all genders. Working with this map, relationships became easier. Emerging conversations started to occur even in serious business environments.

Over the years I have become an expert in behaviour, emotions, personality and conversations. Gender dynamics is my special focus area and is hugely successful in the boardroom.

I have worked with many thousands of clients and their true gender dynamic helps them to successfully communicate and interact on a personal and professional level to create best outcomes, especially now as we live in a world where client relationships are the key to market success worldwide.

How does your work help women to succeed in today’s world?

I have worked with women in many amazing companies across the UK and Europe, from PLCs to major public sector organizations. I have researched cultures, developed people, worked with leaders to create best performance, and gained an insight and passion to eradicate negative behaviour. What I have noticed is that ‘people are people’ whatever the business sector and failure comes through the breakdown of relationships rather than the business operation itself.

I feel that business, worldwide, expects women to be more male oriented rather than understanding that their own female potential to use masculine energy combined with their natural relationship expertise is the key to success.

My research proves that my natural tom-boy persona was perfectly normal but the social expectation to be more feminine had a definite impact on my confidence level. It was hugely liberating to discover that I was a totally desirable female with a masculine brain – understanding this is the key to relationship success for women like me.

I have met business women from all walks of life who are ‘strangled’ by the male criteria that goes with business success. To be tough enough to get to the top, without losing your female attributes is challenging and often unrewarding.

How can we shift perspectives and become more aware?

For example; a female CEO client of mine had a classic situation to deal with…the male alpha expert Doctor and the sensitive male Professor. Attempts to create business conversations with them failed miserably. We worked together on this problem using the Gender Dynamics Map – SUCCESS! My client succeeded in meeting the different needs of these men by delivering her message in two entirely different ways; directly in bullet points to the alpha Doctor and softer tones to the Professor. Both parties were delighted to be understood, the deal was successful and beneficial for all.

This shift of perspective can solve many problems. I am totally convinced that for men and women to co-create successful relationships they need to understand the six male/female gender dynamic perspectives and which may even help to solve the global economic crisis The majority of consumers are women, like me, who want a different world, a world of inclusion, abundance, harmony – yes wealth – and success for all.

How do you work with leaders of today’s business world?

Corporate Heart has its own team of experts that bring together a mix of gender dynamic types to serve our clients. “We walk our talk”. The core of our philosophy is adding value both personally and professionally, not just to our clients but to our own lives. Our understanding of who we are as men and women is vital to success and happiness in the boardroom. We value the basic tenet of life “to be uniquely our natural best and value others as we do ourselves”.

Currently working one-to-one, with top teams, or leaders of huge corporate cultures, I know there is a thirst for change and wisdom to share. Yet I see major blockages in both men and women who don’t see beyond their jungle niche. I do believe that women can lead on the ‘gender’ agenda but this will only come together when we truly celebrate the female species in full. If the jungle is our habitat, it’s the inhabitants that need to recognize their worth! I want women to celebrate the value of their variations of femaleness, and to value men for their maleness. Our dilemma is to know how to make the jungle safe for all.

What will your legacy be?

My work energizes my life, entwined intricately into my very being because my personal philosophy for living is what I teach others. My other passion is to create a better healthier, more caring world for my grandchildren.

I believe if we understand the jungle of relationships, with mutual respect and genuine smiling, we can create any future we desire both individually and collectively. They say the longest journey is from our heads to our hearts, and that is where relationships begin and flourish. My vision is a world which honours and respects women and hears their voices on the world stage, with men being proud to stand beside us.

Pauline Crawford
CEO Corporate Heart
Pauline hosts emerging conversations for male and female leaders to share viewpoints, possibilities and visions for the jungle. She works internationally with this activity to help influential leaders evolve a new corporate blueprint for business and life that embraces men and women.

Finding our natural pace to think with our hearts

Holiday in Spain

Having just returned from 7 days of sunshine in Spain, relaxing and switching off, I recognize the power within that I have mis-used lately by pushing myself too hard. I was staying too much in my head and not ‘thinking’ about my heart.

I recognized that if I care to notice what is happening within my whole body, and not just my physical being, I would be rather scared to see how out of control I am in my inner world! For all of us, our minds, hearts and spirits mesh together within our body structure; we are indeed created perfectly yet we abuse our own source of power every day by staying in our heads too much…and so we can damage not just our own bodies but all those we impact day to day…and ultimately everyone in our world.

My passion is to enable people to see, feel, hear and understand their natural self – their natural talent, wisdom and courage – to be all that they are, everyday, the ‘star’ that they are born to be. Yet I have not walked my talk. A bit of self-indulgence would do me no harm and indeed a lot of good. My week in Spain allowed me to get out of my head and into my heart. Watching my grandchildren of 2½ and 4 months allowed me time to see that core perfection we are all born with, the growth in those young months and years, the simplicity of children’s laughter and the delight of tiny steps. My heart started feeling and my mind took a self-indulgent rest. I reviewed my own progress alongside theirs.

2010 progression

My year has progressed well. I honoured the childlike excitement at the many opportunities that have arisen this year, and my choice to do that which I am attracted to; to revamp my own core business Corporate Heart; get involved with Magical Conversations with senior level movers and shakers so transformation can be accelerated across the UK corporate world; and interview top women about their own challenges in the world of work; I had forgotten as a single woman, in her sixties, that however motivated and energetic I am, I am also not superwoman!

My ability to draw on my higher energies, override physical and mental exhaustion and deliver inspirational impact to my clients and influencing circles is simply not realistic without breaks. I realized what I already knew but had forgotten, i.e. that pressure needs to be counter with a sensible sustainability strategy for life and re-balancing of the work overload that we take on as women. We need to be self indulgent on occasions!

Balance in our lives

Our ability to self indulge is key to a balanced and fulfilled life and success…permeating ever pore of our existence. We are human beings – not human doings! We need to care for the ‘body’ we have been given and be grateful for the amazing combination of interlinked and meshed pieces, many millions of atoms set to our personal dial.

Women under pressure

To keep up with success, women often feel they need to work at pressures which are unrealistic to our maximum female ‘healthy’ potential output. Men do work too hard too but, over 2 centuries they have designed a plan for work that is not made for women, men do have more physical strength and a single minded, task-focused capability born into them. It’s actually a simple equation. 24/7 global business has been designed for men. Yet we need workers to work globally and locally, men and women, and have families, responsibilities for elderly relatives, social lives, community tasks and a life other than work! Women want to pay more attention to these aspects and see ‘life’ and work intricately meshed. Many men don’t. They have a reasonable thinking ability to separate ‘life’ from work even when they have caring responsible natures, they work in different ways,

Now here goes my logical head again… it’s a ‘no brainer’, as they say, to look after our assets. We’ve heard it so many times; invest in our people, our finest assets yet business has set a plan for women to fail, not because they are weak or incapable, but because business is still mainly task focused, achievement-orientated, measured, male-operated version of work! Business doesn’t value the huge natural value of women both in business, economically, and in life, economically. Women perform many caring ‘tasks’ that never get factored into the bottom line.

Of course, many women have entered the world of work and coped with the pressure and are fantastic business achievers. But not enough in pure numbers to be an influence to change the nature of business. Many have sacrificed their life in terms of families and happiness to do so. On the practical level, the facts speak for themselves – and companies are challenged to retain women at senior levels. Attracting and keeping women into higher levels of business is not a ‘nice to have’ –it’s a business case for our economic and social survival. At an emotional level, the world needs to address the balance of needs from both men and women. Do read Avivah Wittenberg-Cox’s new book “How Women mean Business” for the latest facts on who’s doing the best.

The UN vote for WOMEN

At last, and at a world level, we have the UN recognizing that around the world women are marginalized not only in underdeveloped countries but also in developed countries where we still don’t see women represented proportionally in business boardrooms or political fields. The UN will commence an agency for Women in January. I am delighted – althought I hope the reality is seriously active and able to radically shift the way we run the world together.

So how will this affect us all? I hope it’s another major step in the journey I am on to bring men and women to a deeper and more valuable understanding of our individual and collective human needs over purely wealth creation for the sake of stock piling fortunes into the hands of a few.

A man said to me “if the wealth of the world was in the hands of women, we would have no poverty” because women feed their babies, women care for life itself. Women bring a new understanding and rationale to business and life combined. We need to begin those magical conversations now to ensure that we don’t just do more of the old male ways. The new way is ‘and and’ male and female, masculine and feminine, the balance that we see in nature brought into our fiscal and social existence.

Self indulgence

So maybe this is time for the world to be self-indulgent as I was taking a sunshine holiday, to congratulate ourselves on the awareness now growing strongly that women matter. I believe this is a world issue not a woman issue. Women do not want to do this on their own, even though they could. Because women value life they know it is together that the world works best.

Be self indulgent in your own life and see the pace at which your ‘body’ works. This does not mean the same thing to each person; gender, age, disability and natural health conditions make a difference. Our natural pace is not the same …and when it comes to men and women, the pace is different by nature and inclination!

The last 60 years

Women facing the male world of business over the last 60 years have recognized limitations when motherhood and caring have been a choice; either chosen by them; created accidentally; or brutally forced on them. The male world of work does not yet truly provide for this vital nurturing role as part of the economic planning process. We are beset by rules and regulations, grievance and harassment cases, that strangle business. Women see life as part of everything and so as they set up business they make choices that work for them. I see the great strength of combining male and female natures into a new way of business.

So what?

What if – business was not first and foremost about making money – but about providing a relevant income for all that sustained the whole. This is much of the substance of social enterprise which many women favour as a model of business. If money was not our core driver but purely another output then our success criteria might shift too. There are many ways of creating a new business model and we don’t yet have it right – however at least if we get round the table and converse to find common ground so magic can happen.

Magical Conversations

In searching for the new ways, we can also draw on our experiences and those of others, wise men and women. We don’t need to abandon the old, even if we explore forward rather than past. We can also draw on nature and learn to be self indulgent, take time out to look at ourselves in new ways. Not to be someone we aren’t but actually to discover we have everything we need to know right here, right now – in our bodies, our hearts, our minds and our souls!

Take time out to think from your heart today!

Time for transformation – and magical conversations!

The month of May has brought transformation in my life as well as in the political climate in the UK.
This time of the year always has a transformational nature; with blossom arriving and grass freshened with the spring dews. The sun warms us up and helps us to feel happier. We watch this happening with all-consuming regularity and do not necessarily value the natural evolution right in front of our eyes.

May has brought new leadership in the UK – a coalition of two parties, two leaders, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, a duo walking together from two different points of political view with one singular common purpose – to make the UK a strong, safe, robust and healthy place to live! Watching these two men come together in the Rose Garden at No 10 on May 11th, an astrological day of relationship harmony, was truly magical. They walked, talked and lead in what appears to be a trusting, open, sharing yet purposeful manner. Their personal natures subtly entwined, sharing a wonderful blend of masculine and feminine energy in their presentation, even though both are men.

Why do I observe and comment on this?

Not because of “the politics” – but because I observed, on that day and since, we are watching the natural possibility that two differing political ‘enemies’ can now work together as ‘allies’, and can actually create far more together than separately! Many of my female friends suggested that there should have been more females in the cabinet – and I reflected in my last blog that there was considerable lack of female opinion running up the election. Although I too desire a more balanced number of women in politics – I’m happy that this partnership is, at this moment in time, the best partnership. Cameron and Clegg are very different in terms of their gender dynamics and yet similar enough to be good collaborators in a world that needs them to be so. This is the right ‘male’ partnership to challenge the “old boys club”, the traditional ‘nay sayers’ who don’t believe significant transformation of our society is necessary. This partnership can give birth to a new balanced opportunity for survival and growth that embraces all types of men and women, from all generations and of all diverse natures. We now need to help them do this, planting a new ‘playing field’, one which harvests new types of crops that feed both male and female needs in totality.

Cameron and Clegg are two very different gender types from the male gender and can naturally bring balance. Cameron has a more ‘masculine’ male brain yet intelligently has learned to use a highly tuned relationship style of language that complements Clegg’s natural softer, more lyrical ‘feminine’ male brain, using more intuitive and emotional language. They both grasp the need to use strong male energy and direct serious actions while keeping focused on the possibility of a UK vision and a future sustainability yet unknown but desired by most. For me, the fact they are both men gives the duo leadership a solidarity that is needed to counter the many cynical alpha men who believe our current difficulties in the markets and across social disturbances are merely a blip and we will return to ‘normality’ once the crisis is over. We need a wholly new way forward and that does mean, I hope, that these men recognise the need to bring in more female players but it’s important that they do this for the right reasons and not just for a quota.

The magic continues for me. The Cameron-Clegg partnership shows that anything is possible and we don’t have to do the “same-old, same-old” which has brought us to catastrophic economic downturn, problematic social issues and environmental disasters. We can build new possibilities and bring together new collaborations without knowing exactly what will result from discussions; we can come together with a common purpose – that impacts all of us!

I believe that this opening up of explorations for innovative solutions for economic and social change is exactly the journey we are required to face up to as a human race. There is no return to the past. We need to shed a new light on how we engage everyone, all stakeholders in society and use our natural resources, and especially recognize how men and women, together, co-create a more sustainable model for our society, our economy and our world.

For me, it is key that we bring a new plan into place – a plan that allows for all men and women to get together to co-create a new future for this planet. A big plan starting with each of us…for me, Cameron and Clegg have opened up a political ‘magical conversation’ at the top level and opened the floodgates for me to explore the unexpected in my own work with my corporate clients about how they can step into the future via conversation.

“Exploring the future” comes to life for me in the many conversations I have had in my life – and I am delighted that in May, being that transformational birthday month for me, I launched my first official ‘Magical Conversation’ last Monday in Geneva.

I had been researching, talking, and discussing these ideas for 9 months since September 2009. I had brought my own transformational path together within my Corporate Heart consultancy and my personal passion to eradicate ‘bad behaviour’ in the workplace and evolve a healthy natural excellence, a work culture that is balanced, connected, purposeful and performance at its best.

So now, building on my twenty year study of people in business and watching the current challenges, I decided to bring ‘Magical Conversations’ to the forefront of my work. In a world of amazing synchronistic links, I found myself hosted by a wonderful woman, Fabienne Feldman, in her beautiful home in Geneva on May 31st and welcomed 10 highly inspiration business women together. Our goal in this first conversation was exciting – to explore the relationship of women, business and life – and discuss how we might transform the current imbalance of prominent women in a world so often designed by men for men, and share our stories that create our history as women, in the business world, in philanthropy and in social communities.

‘Magical Conversations’ are designed to bring small groups, up to 12 people together at a time, in a safe sacred circle of open chairs, to contribute openly and with perfect self expression, respecting everyone’s view and looking at innovative possibilities around current topics such as economic revival and social change. The intention is to ensure everyone enjoys contributing: everyone learns, shares and leaves more enriched than when they arrive: knowing what they will do differently; and why they will continue to explore and expand their own magical conversations wherever they go.

Last Monday’s magic worked, we were in a perfect place, and the atmosphere was loving and giving, 11 women intent on creating a new vision for our world. Our conversations inspired, challenged, probed and opened our eyes to the ‘feminine’ attributes that women bring to the party, the nature of ‘giving back’ that entrepreneurial women often seek, and the passion we all have for being part of the solution with men – we challenged each other as to how women can be heard more on a world stage for justice and true equity – and we explored the issues of sisterhood that we don’t always get right yet!

We agreed that, in order to transform our world, we each will take responsibility for our own actions; and, leading by example, share our stories in a format that can be heard by all. We pledged to return to hold more conversations and to attract more women – and men – to explore in the same way. The magical journey of transformation begins…

May has brought Spring – new growth, green shoots, bright light and great hope; June now sets the summer into full swing, turns up the heat and sets the magic alight, how often nature shows us the way and we only need to look and listen more to know the truth.

What will the Autumn bring? We can harvest the magic or the misery, let’s make an inspired choice.

The orchard by Gallaher

Little seeds we tend to sew
create a world of life unknown,
Around each corner around each bend,
The fruits of labour blossom begin..
What kind of seeds do we choose to sew?
Are we aware, do we know?
Observe the harvest as it will tell
A life of heaven …or a living hell?

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Economy at risk – do women have the missing boardroom ingredient?

In Corporate Boardrooms across the world, it matters that all voices are heard, valued and accounted for in the major and minor conversations that build sustainable success. Many factors influence these conversations in today’s tough economic climate and it is now recognised that men and women together make a positive difference to results. Yet each player brings different, and uniquely valuable, natural traits into this mix. However most women are not heard unless they use masculine styles of behaviour.

As men and women converse in the Boardroom (and elsewhere), it is critical to understand gender dynamics not just between males and females and their biological make-up, but between different natural styles of men and women from masculine to feminine, generation to generation, culture to culture, set against the backdrop of social and economic necessity and key platform issues (good and bad) of our world today – issues such developing technology, fast pace of business, overload and pressure, social unrest, poverty and mis-justice, desire for reform, family and life agendas…. and so much more.

Today I see that too much confusion is forming about women and their role and this has been caused by social stereotypes of women and the historic rise of feminist challenges that were necessary to make women’s voices heard, and a lack of open conversations about our own place in society and the economy at risk. Women are movers and shakers – financially, as consumers, as more than half of the world’s population, yet we are seriously unheard.

Even after the years of feminism (and I am not a feminist myself) I don’t believe that women really want the emasculation of men. We want to be heard and listen to and taken seriously and to play our part – on our terms in a world that we truly co-create with men. I do see that women do not want to be dictated to by the ‘past’, that created by an old world view of business, money and power.

Women love men, but do men value women and really listen to our needs? Do we clearly articulate what we have to offer from a future perspective without being defined by what has been to date?

Today’s contemporary leading business woman is ready for action in a wholly different way. An entrepreneuial mindset, a philanthrophic heart set and a wide scope for integration and collaboration, she has been blocked in the past yet now desires to bring a balanced viewpoint into an economy at risk. She wants to be a contributor in her own right… and heard by both men and women.

For a desirable cohesive balanced mix, where women become equal contributors to the Boardroom conversation, it is vital that female leaders understand how to operate from an informed level in both their professional acumen for boardroom efficiency but also in their personal awareness of gender attributes and natural traits that serve them well yet often get hidden away.

The most effective woman in the boardroom knows who she is as a leader and a woman; she has the confidence to value her contribution and her personal business style as a woman. She will however be faced with a range of communication styles and relationship obstacles from different types of men and different types of women, each with their own personalities, motivators, experiences and perspectives that vary from her own. Learning the elements of a mixed gender group is key. The right conversation, underpinned by a new ‘gender dynamics’ perspective, will increase her effectiveness. With this expert knowledge, a female leader will be heard and can then influence the outcomes desired by all parties, male and female. Men will appreciate her viewpoint and readily add this to their advantage. She can then more easily leverage her natural skills in the Boardroom with regards to key issues such as decision-making, conflict, risk taking and team collaboration.

This new perspective looks at the behavioural and language elements of Gender Dynamics for both men and women in the Boardroom mix; recognising personal and professional style from six different perspectives; and underpins key changes in language patterns that ensure everyone is heard. This is not the same argument as the past… quotas and playing a male game. This is about truly new ground, getting into an ‘and/and’ discussion about what both parties need and not making assumptions that the world designed by men over the last 200 years is actually the way it needs to continue.

It is fascinating to watch the ensuing pressure on our politicians to make a deal – get sorted quickly because the economy is the pressing issue and the ‘£’ our only measure. This does not take account of the human issues and the fact that maybe a too quick decision will leave us trying to solve last months issues with last years resources. Have we not learned that last month is obsolete?.. let alone last year! There is a theory ‘U’ that says it is best to take time out to resolve tough challenges, time out to reflect and open hearted, open minded conversations bringing new ideas together to bring the best solutions. Men are geared to ‘solution finding’ as a primary biological driver… this is why we need a more feminine viewpoint to counter balance this tendency (whether in men and women, this feminine energy looks beyond the task to whether the solution brings benefits to all not just the economy) Women do not separate key issues as men do … and a female ‘logic’ is needed to drive this home!

Together men and women make the best team, in today’s world this is still undervalued by all parties. More than half the UK population is female and yet we are under represented in politics and business. Now maybe proportional representation is about the gender divide as opposed to party boundaries?

We didn’t see women prominent in this election – and the media have slated us for that… Why did that happen? That is a dialogue needed among women which is continuing now in every conversation I hear. However in the business Boardroom, women have more opportunity and can make the changes happen if the men are willing. And some wise CEO’s are willing. Will men and women take up the challenges and create a new blueprint rather than more of the past?

Who will be brave? Are you? Watch this space, magical conversations start this month…