Part 2 Baby Boomers – ‘Doing the right thing’ is our motto:

‘Doing the right thing’ is our motto:

keys to successContinuing from our last blog, Jim and I are currently planning our keys to success through the development of a major enterprise to provide meaningful service to men and women belonging to what is commonly termed Baby Boomers. The plan, at this point in time, is to develop a menu of relevant and useful programs, resources and services that can be delivered either online or in a more traditional local community setting. We want to offer interested individuals and/or groups the opportunity to select skills enhancement programs that best suit their goals, whatever they may be.  The choices will be varied and tailored to suit our unique learning style – one that has the optimal balance of technology and one-on-one interaction needed to make participation relevant, valuable and convenient – allowing each the opportunity to take full advantage of their considerable experience, knowledge, wisdom and history!

worldOur aim is to ‘do the right things’ and not just toe the line and do things right like retire and lay down to die!   We aim to bring together the most effective elements of cultures – both East and West – around the world.  By striking a new balance between past and future, we see our experienced and wise generation needing some skills education and/or augmentation in order to perhaps reinvent or reinvigorate existing enterprises as well as to forge new enterprises into being. We see our role to be supportive, connective and advisory as well as encouraging – to be the go-to resource for all those in this age zone who have an interest in doing something meaningful with the balance of their lives.

This enterprise is not merely about entreprenological education, diverse knowledge and information. It is far more than that. It is about the baby boomer generation’s evolution from the youth, much like young people today, into our own unique identity. Our generation embodies a source of knowledge and wisdom based upon decades of experience the likes of which the world – by its own admission of the sheer size of our particular group – has never before known. And the best news is that the dynamism of our generation is still very much alive and well and in good hands.

We – those born post WW2 1946-64 according to official birth statistics –  were the first teenagers. We communicated on hand held devices that were connected by an electrical cord to the base set which had its own cord plugged into a special outlet in the wall – and when you left your house; you were incommunicado unless you found a public telephone booth!

teenager 60sWe were the first generation to watch television (TV for you of younger years) – one channel only and it was in black and white. Colour TV was still a few years away and very expensive.  We were part of the ‘Beat Generation’ and we created our very own ‘Rock Revolution’ without the assistance or our elders – as a matter of fact, it was in spite of their resistance. We were there for the ‘Hippie’ movement -remember ‘Woodstock’, ‘Flower Power,’ and ‘Free Love?’ We were the first to use ‘The Pill’ which made ‘Free Love’ a little less scary for some. We saw an ‘Astronaut’ walk on the ‘Moon.’ We witnessed the fall of ‘Berlin Wall.’ We also participated in the ‘Housewife’ entering the work force in increasing numbers. We were some of the first ‘Dual Income Families,’ dined on frozen cuisine known as ‘TV Dinners,’ and bought the first ‘Microwave Ovens’ that made it possible for the busy housewife to finally eat a hot meal – albeit the re-heated food she had prepared and served the family.

We were working parents at the beginning and during the early years of the technology revolution, the creation of the world-wide-web and the electronic leash we all call the mobile phone these days. Today, our children, and to a far greater extent, our grandchildren, have grown up in a world where texting, social media and a telephone in every pocket is a reality rather than an anomaly.  The sheer amount of change that has taken place in our world is almost unfathomable.

couple plus girlWe were destined to become ‘entrepreneurs’ almost from birth as the world that we came into had been profoundly changed not only by wars, but by the growth of small and medium sized business and the sweeping global communication and speed that technology brought not only to our workplaces but our homes, making local business into a global possibility in a few clicks.  Names such as Gates, Jobs, and Branson emerged in the 70s and the 80s, plus we have seen the battle for gender equality (a continually evolving landscape) coming back to the front page as women began to demand more for efforts equal to those of men. Much attention about change today focuses on the younger up and coming generations, and we honour them too.  The growing litany of complaints, however, regarding the anticipated drain that we, as a generation, is ‘going to have on the NHS’ or the fear of having ‘too many pensioners’ and – one of our particular favourites – ‘the Baby Boomers are a growing burden’ saddens our hearts.

We are the first aging generation of increasing size who also lived a different life to that of our parents.  945 million people in the world now are 55-74.  That is nearly 1/7th of the world population.  Ironically we want to not only live longer, healthier and more prosperous lives, we also want to give back – to leave a positive and sizable legacy so all who follow will one day amass the experience that we have and grow into their wisdom with pride and honour rather than embarrassment and bitterness.

So back to the plan!

Men and Women together

Men and Women together

Knowing what we are like as baby boomers, Jim and I seek to create a new framework for this project and for this demographic. What we see is a platform that will employ the best, engage the best and maintain an up to date knowledge base formatted with wisdom, love and the spirit of both giving and receiving with love – the spirit that embodies the Baby Boomer generation, a spirit that we can all be proud of. We are currently researching our peer group – nationally, regionally and globally – to learn as much as we can about our demographic in order to make the best and most appropriate use of what we learn.

World patterns, economically and socially, are changing and our generation can and are already making a huge impact locally, nationally and internationally.  We share the responsibility to put wisdom back on the map!

In Part 3 we take a serious look at the numbers…. watch this space!!!

So you want to be your own boss?

Dr Pauline CrawfordNowadays the buzz word in education and business is ‘entrepreneurship’ and the number of would-be entrepreneurs is rapidly changing both economically and socially.  Young adults exiting university after or prior to graduation are putting ‘being an entrepreneur’ at the top of the list.  As much as 20% of students at major universities like Yale in the U.S. or Cambridge in the U.K., for example, aspire to become successful ‘entrepreneurs.’  Men and women, old and young can potentially become an entrepreneur.  The problem is, however, that the characteristics of the successful entrepreneur are – by the very nature of entrepreneurship – largely unknown and difficult if not impossible to accurately pin down.

Over 40 years ago, my husband’s father presented, for the first time ever, the framework of a new discipline titled ‘entreprenology’ – and it was his wife who coined the word. He knew from his experience as a successful entrepreneur and as a respected and tenured professor in the College of Business at the University of Hawaii, that there was more to creating, sustaining, and managing a successful start-up than could taught through any traditional educational institution of higher learning.  Entrepreneurial enterprises in every sector had broken away from the rigours superimposed by traditional corporations and were creating a truly expansive ‘entrepreneurial mindset’…. 40+ years later the buzz continues.

Men and women in every age group are now considering being their own boss.  They see it as preferable to the restrictions and regulations that define corporate careers. They want the opportunities that open new choices for self-sustainability and perhaps untold riches.  Even the mature adult in their silver years (55+ as a working definition) are continuing on an entrepreneurial path into their 70s and beyond.  We will address this phenomenon specifically a little later.

Nowadays entrepreneurship is ‘taught’ in virtually every university and college where there is a business school or program.  Yet teaching ‘entrepreneurship’ effectively is the single most difficult hurdle to overcome and one that virtually every conventional school, college and university, cannot overcome. Why?  Because the skills that took Sir Richard Branson or Bill Gates or Steve Jobs to the pinnacle of success simply cannot be taught. Becoming an entrepreneur is not something that everyone can or even should aspire to. For every reason you can think of to become ‘your own boss,’ we can give you a reason that you should not.

The classic argument regarding entrepreneurs poses the question “Is the successful entrepreneur made or is he/she born?”  Can the skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur be taught or are they innate?  The study of what causes one person to succeed and another fail has been, and continues to be, quite elusive.  One thing we do know, however, is that there is no test, the results of which will shed any light on the subject. In our experience, which now spans more than forty years, we have learned that the most critical skills – if the desire is to eventually know success – are those that cannot be taught in any traditional or conventional institution of higher learning.  You either possess these skills – natural, intrinsic or inherent – or you do not.

Bill Aulet, Senior Professor at MIT, head of the Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship writes, “Teaching entrepreneurship is difficult because the subject itself is idiosyncratic, contextual and experiential. Unlike chemistry, math or computer programming, there are no definite answers in the start up world. By definition, entrepreneurs are doing the unknown and the untried, so there are no algorithms for success”

In recent review in the Wall Street Journal, Aulet continued along this line of reasoning saying, “Making matters worse, there is a limited amount of scholarship and data that exists on what makes start-ups succeed or fail. As a result, the intellectual and scholarly vacuum is often filled by anecdotes. We’ve all listened to a version of ‘It all started in the garage with $20.’ Entrepreneurs are prone to mythologizing the early days of their businesses, yet these stories mislead those who aspire to follow in their footsteps.”

Of course certain skills can be taught, as we have mentioned, and the entrepreneur needs some core skills in business in order to understand what the business is telling him or her.  One should also have a solid foundation of the product of service being marketed.  The rest, however, and the key or ‘the secret’ to success, if you will, can only be revealed by the simple act of DOING IT!  The most important things you will learn can only be learned through experience:

  • making mistakes,
  • analysing what happened,
  • learning why it happened,
  • asking for another’s perspective if need be, and
  • making the indicated course corrections.

In this way you will begin to develop the mind-set of the successful entrepreneur, or – as we refer to them –  the EMPLOYER.

What is evident, in so many university and college classrooms, is that what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur-employer can neither be learned by sitting at a desk in any traditional institution of higher learning, nor can it be taught by professors having no direct practical entrepreneurial experience of their own.  The key to success does NOT come from an inspirational or motivational speaker promoting mild hysteria with the line “If I can do it, so can you…just go and out and BE SUCCESSFUL.”  Professor Aulet himself confesses that he started teaching by exciting his students in that manner and although he was well received and highly rated by his students, he was unable to say that he was in any way responsible for educating successful entrepreneurs!

Many entrepreneurship programs make the mistake of teaching individuals to use their ‘entrepreneurial’ ability to be an employee …and indeed there is a place for employees within our corporate monoliths.  The true nature of an entrepreneur, however, is stretched when becoming an employer and helping create and encourage the employer mind-set is our mission.  We have spent more than forty years working to give birth to entreprenologists with the potential to rival the Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world … those who see an opportunity, have a creative idea and grow a business that employs others.  The rest … as they say … is history.

Having said that, it should be obvious that we can’t say that everyone who wants to be a successful entrepreneur will become the next manifestation of those mentioned above, but the possibility does exist.  There are always opportunities to be a successful.  Who can say with any certainty who will become the next successful entreprenologist to change the world with their product or service?  What we do know is that the possibilities increase day by day as the economic landscape of virtually every country in the world is changing the way business and life interlink.  So let’s embrace the nature of change as we explore the facts.

As business and life merge, technology sweeps us into new domains as social media connects us all. Changes occur through the shift from big business to the economic and social impact that multitudes of small and medium sized businesses create. Business is no longer separate to our life requirements.

For instance, 4.8 million people run SME’s (SME 99.2% – MSMEs 500 at 0.6%) and account for 99.9% of all businesses today. 75% of SMEs are one person businesses.  There are indeed very few major corporations yet all the attention of the City and Wall Street focus on them.  In the UK for SMEs accounted 59.1% of private sector employment and 48.8% of private sector turnover employees in the UK.  Entrepreneurship appears alive and well.

Further investigations provides more ‘food for thought’ about the nature of entrepreneurs, and we have found a significant group that my husband and I are particularly focused on, that of the mature ‘silver generation’ aged 55-75 – we are recorded as 33% of the SME market in the UK, around 1.6million aged over 55 years and many still growing strong profits in entrepreneurial businesses of over 15 years standing …the demographics of other countries, USA, Canada and EU countries tell a similar story.

Other factors affect entrepreneurship data.  For example more and more women enter the market as self-employed entrepreneurs running a small business, often from home to help support not just their pocket but their life style needs regarding families.  Nowadays technology and social media enable anyone to run a local or even global business from their kitchen table. The economic landscape has changed dramatically. An economic tsunami has arrived and an eager audience is flooding the education sector looking for ‘entrepreneurship’ programmes.  So what impact is entrepreneurship making on our world?  If, as we believe, it’s a major force for survival and growth, and for providing meaning for one’s life, then how do we provide appropriate educate for those who have the desire and the natural abilities to ‘be their own boss’?

This subject, as already mentioned, cannot be taught within tradition parameters – rote learning with single answer examination – by those having no practical entrepreneurial experience.  In point of fact, we don’t even have a widely accepted definition of what or who an ‘entrepreneur’ is.  Is every self-employed person or someone who sets up a barrow on the marketplace an entrepreneur? Is every micro enterprise entrepreneurial?  Given our research and experience the short answer is NO.  Further, we do not believe we should enrol students on a university entrepreneur program who have no idea what he or she even wants to do. We base this on the fact that any number of students who have earned their MBA have told us that they weren’t taught anything that they could use unless they wanted to be an employee in middle management in a large corporation.  In short – there was little of any value in their very expensive MBA program that they could apply in their start-up. In other words – their program was not real world applicable! How, then, do we find a way to help them unlock the skills that are un-teachable?   We introduce them to the Principles of Entreprenology – the art of entrepreneurship. We introduce them to the intuitive, creative nature of the person who not only creates a business, but creates employment for others as they expand their business reach across local, national and potentially global markets.

Sir Richard BransonPerhaps this is where we might find the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates or Sir Richard Branson or Steve Jobs … washing ashore in the SME tsunami that is currently beginning to roll across every economy. The lure of becoming a successful entrepreneur knows no age, no gender, no ethnicity, no physical limitations.  The entrepreneurs who ride the wave of the future are not restricted to any particular region because opportunity does not recognize boundaries.  The younger generation, the women who want to blend their business with family life, the mature ‘silver generation’ baby boomers who don’t want to retire…. each cohort respects the other as it moves appropriately forward without expecting praise or applause for doing the right things.

Changing time require new eyes according to Marcel Proust  “The real voyage of discovery consists not of finding new lands but of seeing the territory with new eyes”  

“Students are clamouring for instruction, but it’s hard. There are no algorithms for (entrepreneurial) success.”  Wall Street Journal Sept 2013

Silver Veterans seeking their ‘Golden Years’ will change the face of business

April 17th 084

The aging population (or Silver Veterans as we choose to think of those of us in the 55+ age bracket) across the world is capable of – and in point of fact is already actively involved in – changing the face of business.  In fact,  62% of UK SMEs  are sole proprietors (and SMEs account for more half of the UK workforce) and one third of these are aged 55-70! 

Oddly, rather than sit back and try to live on one’s pension – something that the government fears we want to do – these people want to work and need to work if only to maintain a reasonable quality of life and health.  This need has the potential to save local, national and indeed the global economy.

These Silver Veterans can and will do this by drawing upon decades of creativity, wisdom, passion and practical experience … the experience needed to succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavours.

Evidence shows that this segment of the population can and will achieve substantial positive results as long as they are allowed to flourish.  Essentially what this means is that the overly restrictive policies designed and legislated to regulate large organisations need to be seen for what they are – controls for large companies, not for small and medium sized companies.  Since our ‘Golden Years’ can no longer be what we were promised four plus decades ago, shouldn’t our inheritance then be one where we can choose to create our own destiny rather than sit and be considered a burden to the self-same government that is responsible for having painted the rather rosy picture of what our ‘Golden Years’ was going to look like when we were in our early twenties?

April 17th 083Jim, my husband, and I are both in our silver years – 69 and 64 respectively – and are only now setting out to build a new entrepreneurial enterprise with the vision of taking our expertise to the world, both in person and online.

Let me say here that our original vision was to base our operations in the United Kingdom but some very restrictive immigration regulations have put that, temporarily, beyond our reach.  Our business focuses on how entrepreneurs of any age, ethnicity and economic persuasion can succeed and thrive if individuals can add some essentials ‘tools’ to their virtual tool boxes.

We teach the core principles and tools of entreprenology along with the principles of gender appropriate interaction.  In total, what we teach is “the art of science of creating success.”

Jim and I met in November 2011, fell deeply in love, married in October 2012, and surmounting various issues such as surgery, long distance and visa blockages; we are now planning to succeed in our new joint venture.

What we envision ourselves doing is working with other Silver Veterans to help them find their particular gate to the Golden Years.  How ironic – two individuals already perceived as a liability reaching out to and working with an already enormous yet steadily growing number of perceived liabilities known simply as ‘baby boomers’ … the gigantic storm cloud on the governmental horizon.  At this point it might be good to add that we plan to reach out to all those of younger years as well … any wanting to learn how to put their myriad ideas, skills and experience to work.  If, however, you happen to be among the millions who are unemployed or who have given up looking for a job, then we want to put you back to work!

You see – It’s never too late for us baby-boomers.April 17th 081

Maybe we have a different spirit? … a spirit born during or shortly after the WWII years, growing during the boom years of the 50’s, moving into the teens during the ‘magic’ of the love revolution spawned in the 60’s to maturing throughout the three decades beginning in 1970 and culminating in 90’s.

We know now that life is more than a collection of memories.  Over time we have learned that we draw upon these memories that have been filtered through perspective and refined with wisdom born of experience.  Essentially that means that, in our particular case, we have a minimum of one hundred years of experience between us.  Imagine the possibilities of reinvigorating an economy if we put even one-quarter of the combined experience of the ‘boomer generation’ back to work … allowing them, through entrepreneurial means, to remove the stigma being placed upon them by a well-meaning if heavy handed government. of the 50’s, moving into the teens during the ‘magic’ of the love revolution spawned in the 60’s to maturing throughout the three decades beginning in 1970 and culminating in 90’s.

We feel the time is absolutely ripe for Silver Veterans to make a difference in so many ways.

Now we’re not asking you to take our word for this no matter what your current age as of your last birthday.  You too – depending upon that age – may be viewing us too as a liability rather than the asset we are continually proving we are.  There are numerous articles bemoaning the fact that the aging demographic is draining the resources of every country which scares the younger demographic who are looking 20 or 30 years into the future.

April 17th 080

What we suggest is … do your own research.  As they were so fond of pointing out at the beginning of every episode of the X-Files … “The Truth is Out There!”

Read a few pieces online:

PowerHomeBiz   “The baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, have reshaped the economy by their sheer number. As this age group enters their retirement years, repercussions of this demographic shift will likewise be felt in all areas – from consumer spending to markets, government programs and health care, to employment and workforce.  The aging population will also change the face of small businesses”

“Entrepreneurs are more likely to be wise old owls than young guns”  Nominet Trust Organisation research:

Contrary to popular belief, the largest number of British entrepreneurs are 55 years and over, rather than 20-somethings like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.  New findings by Nominet Trust explode the myth that older people don’t have the desire or know-how to be entrepreneurs. Most people believe that entrepreneurs fit into the 25-34 age group, when in fact they are more likely to be over 55.    Nominet Trust has also found that perceptions of how older people use the internet and what they have to offer are largely incorrect: most people believe that people over 65 are luddites when, in fact, the fastest growing users of digital and social media are older.

Forbes Magazine says “Americans are getting older. But that creates opportunities for baby boomers looking for a second career.  Careers in aging are not the next big thing. They are the new big thing.”

“By 2050, according to Pew Research Projections, about one-in-five Americans will be over age 65, up from some 39 million Americans, or 13% of the U.S. population now. And the number of those 85 and older is expected to more than double to about 5% of this country’s population”

“This demographic shift is already creating a wave of new fields and opportunities for workers of all ages. It’s just a tease of what’s to come”

 

WOMEN IN THE BOARD ROOM “Much ado about nothing” wrote William Shakespeare

WOMEN IN THE BOARD ROOM – You may have more in common with Sir Richard Branson than you realize.

The corporate “boredroom” of today and tomorrow has changed very little in contrast to that selfsame hallowed virile sanctuary of the past century. The corporate boardroom, like a good dinner party, should include an appropriate mix of men and women able to carry on an intelligent and meaningful discussion and/or conversation while maintaining the decorum of the occasion. Sadly, that is not what one would observe if one were a fly on the wall.

hsbc 007Masculine domination of FTSE 100 company boardrooms is a matter of record and any hope for meaningful and rapid change in that regard has to be infinitesimally small. If history is any teacher, were we able to increase the speed with which boardroom change has occurred in the past by even 15 percent, those of us who are 30 years of age and older will either be dead or retired long before anything of any significance occurs. The promised-land that so many women have been seeking is out there, but don’t look at the uppermost floor of the “Gherkin” and the other corporate towers that dot the London skyline and wish you were there. We are as intelligent, as strong and as capable as men but the fact of the matter is … men continue their stranglehold on corporate power like scared little boys trying to hold the tree fort until reinforcements arrive. It goes without saying that we meet and, more often than not, exceed the requirements incumbent upon any director or chairman of any board. Our question is this … do we really want to get involved in something that is tantamount to – borrowing shamelessly from noted social scientist Alvin Toffler – scrambling around for deck chairs on the Titanic?

Now getting down to the numbers: many argue that if we get a 30% to 40% female-to-male mix in the boardroom, we’ve created something more appealing to women than having a candlelit dinner with Hugh Jackman. Our questions are (1) where did those numbers come from, and (2) are they realistic? Answers: (1) they were pulled out of thin air (in Norway maybe?), and (2) no. Currently both Lord Davies and the EU in Brussels, among others, appear to find such percentages attractive. After much debate between Jim and I, we are not convinced, however, that numbers – particularly arbitrary numbers – are even a partial solution to our ‘women-being-better-represented-at-the-top-of-business’ issues given the radical change that would be needed to make these numbers a reality. And numbers are no solution at all if the goal is to actually change the internal structure of the boardroom and business in general.

Now for the good news!

new language of business (2)The solution, in our combined opinion, is for us to change the very nature, structure and language of the boardroom by creating, managing and growing the businesses, enterprises and agencies with the clear potential and the mandate to reshape the corporate landscape over the next 10 to 20 to 30 years to include WOMEN and their natural talent for entrepreneurship, leadership and business across all disciplines!

Oddly enough, women can and are currently in the process of creating the new FTSE 100 companies. They are the largest and fastest growing consumer group in the world today and women are entering the local, regional, national and global economic community at a rate that is eclipsing that of their male counterparts. If there is a new corporate giant out there going through the growing pains that General Motors had to go through at some stage of its development, the odds are that the person at the helm is a woman. If there is a new Amazon or Sainsbury’s or Microsoft on the horizon, you can almost bet that a woman gave birth to it.

What will, in the long term, achieve the new buoyancy we (men and women of all ages including the very old and very young) need if our economy is to kick start the kind of society that we all want? Maybe we can never agree fully on what we all want … but we probably have a fair idea regarding what we don’t want! What we don’t want is a depression, a recession, millions turned out of their homes, wages slashed, spending down, budgets cut or jobs eliminated. The workplace, our very lives, the world … they are almost unrecognizable right now. Could it be because the same old tired conversations we’ve gotten used to are rooted in the dying strains of last year’s crops?

If you follow current events you know that the ‘same-old same-old’ mantras are discussed day after day in the various media and we just don’t get it! Why do we continually cry out for more women in boardroom? Why do we need more women coming up through that pipe line? Let us pose some better questions for you. Why aren’t more women who are starting and running their own businesses being given a helping hand? Why do we fail to notice the leveraging power being created through the rapidly growing number of female consumers across the land and around the world? Are you aware that more than 90% of all purchasing decisions are made by women today? So why is it so hard for us, as women, to recognize not only our collective power but our value as well?

The time has come for us to grumble a little less and flaunt our ability to accomplish great things a little more. As Sir Richard Branson shows us small seeds grow huge corporations with a lot of courage and entreprenological application. G

This is especially true with millions of women worldwide who set up their own businesses. Maybe it is time we engage men in a realistic view of women’s potential and acknowledge “it’s ok to be female” in business, allowing women to stand toe to toe with them without any trepidation whatever. We know that women have a natural aptitude for entrepreneurship (that’s the new buzzword for business BTW) – the single fastest growing and most important business sector in the world today. The small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is awash with female business owners. Maybe there will never – well not in our lifetime perhaps – be a glut of women running major corporations but remember – Microsoft, British Air, Sainsbury’s, General Motors, Nissan, Glaxo-Smith-Kline – they did NOT start out as the conglomerates they are today. Your boardroom is waiting for you to build it and, remember this too, you can hold your first board meetings in your kitchen if need be. That old saying “A woman’s place is in the home,” takes on a whole new meaning when you look at it like that! You’re in good company, believe me.

Read on …

Willy Walsh, CEO of British Air and Iberia, said recently that he had met Sir Richard Branson once and didn’t find anything that made him want to meet again.
British Airways PlcThat’s because Willy had no point of reference from which he could stand toe-to-toe with an entrepreneur … no … an Entreprenologist of Sir Richard’s magnitude … no common ground from which to hold an intelligent conversation. Willy was just the CEO of two major world airlines, not a man who had created a major competitor for a number of airlines around the world just like the ones that Willy captains. So who would you rather meet? Answer me this … why on earth would you want to sit in British Air’s boardroom if you could stand on common ground with Sir Richard Branson? Get it!
We live in hope of more courageous conversations around not just the boardrooms of the world but around the team table, the SME table, and even the kitchen table!

Let’s tackle future conversations with honesty and transparency attending to the human needs of our communities, our world, our consumers and our contributors …all at the same table … men and women alike.

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Who are WE? photo (3)

Pauline Crawford, creator of gender dynamics and magical conversations, and new husband & business partner, Professor James A Omps PhD, President of The International University of Entreprenology.  Meeting and marrying in our 60’s, with over 60 years of experience between us, we bring our two disciplines together to make sense of today discussions on life, love and success.

In our blogs, Jim is ‘the Devil’s Advocate’ as he poses skeptical questions about women in business and many nitty-gritty current debates – I challenge the view with ‘One Scary Woman’ viewpoint as I propose new ways to communicate and perform that breaks the mould.

We offer our consultancy expertise  through Corporate Heart Ltd to improve your business success.

Business, relationships, sex and snow!

A new era of conversations is required – it’s not about men versus women or the survival of the fittest but “survival for all, abundantly” working together to create magic.

It’s been a hugely transformational 2011 that has led us all to this year, and the bad stories have not gone away in 2012! Where are we going? The New Year of the Dragon sky tells a story of fire and fun maybe?

Major financial issues attack us on every news report, EU confusion and mayhem, top men tumble and top women get isolated from the marzipan layer of females who just haven’t risen to the top yet, social unrest rides high in youth communities, vulnerable women and children grow greater in numbers, as do prison inmates; education is under the critical spotlight, students rebel or just stop going to university, the NHS crumbles more, the Government is challenged at home and abroad; hacking, benefits scandals and unemployment figures rise. BUSINESS is sticky. We’re still having the “same old same old conversations” and nothing gets better. I have friends who just don’t watch the news at all!

Then SNOW came this last weekend brought a kind of strange release from such matters and a crisis once more brought people together, everyone helping sliding cars to stay on the road and people get home even after hours in freezing conditions. Today the snow has gone from my street and the world looks pretty much the same.

Why is it we see the magic of human kindness only in crisis?

With many like minded enlightened circles of friends and mentors, I see the requirement for people is to collaborate, to share resources and to realize there is a different blueprint required. Collaborative living and working, full of conversations about collective consciousness and practical application come to the fore for me. A wonderful balance of the material and the esoteric, task and relationship, operation and service. We need both men and women to be responsible co-parents if we are to survive and thrive as a society and a sustainable economy. These thoughts impact the way I see ‘business and life’ merging and coming together as there is no longer a defined separation in that relationship. This merger has come mainly through the influx and growth of women wanting careers, business recognizing markets are changing, consumers being more feminine and men recognizing business is about RELATIONSHIPS and service; entrepreneurism is growing at a rate of knots, and philanthropy and social responsibility are key to our overall fulfillment and meaning of life. Our old paradigm economic foundations are now shaking in the very concrete pillars of our once stable male world and many struggle with leaping into a new paradigm of the unknown.

Is this a battle or a game? Maybe SEX does get in the way?

It sounds like I’m full of doom and gloom, however I am very positive and incredibly excited about this year – the crisis of collapse will shake us all together at last? Men and women will maybe own their true authentic nature, SEX will play a part and we will all have to do things different whether we like it or not. We’re all humans, we have needs and that surely our passion for life itself is the main force of renewal and hope?

It’s now time to take on board a serious paradigm shift for 2012

It’s now time to get serious about new ways of working, living, connecting, sharing, and survival for all. The old ethos was ‘the survival of the fittest’ and in that paradigm we shall no doubt continue to experience battling between the sexes both on a business and political stage but also in the streets of our towns and in our own backyards. If we shift our thinking to ‘survival for all, abundantly’ we grow hope and prosperity of mind, body and soul. However we need trust in all we do and each other. We need to open up trusted conversations, let our egos go to the wall and enter a circle of human value as key to renewal. I do believe indeed we have all the resources we need right here, right now and, with care, men and women can co-create a much healthier wiser world that will emerge through coming together in magical conversations.

I do believe the way we unpack the conundrum about women rising further in business, and maintaining their natural female attributes to co-create with men at the top…. is to get the men talking! I am convinced that women will never make the top in greater numbers unless men have a mind-shift change that allows them ownership of a new blueprint to do business in ways that will suit women.

Do read our latest research on MEN it shows that men really do want things to be different but don’t know how to hold the conversation. Call us now to learn more or go www.corporateheart.co.uk for our programmes for men.

MEN ONLY PROGRAMME for men who want to learn to be more aware of how they manage everyone – this would embrace gender aspects, communication barriers, relationship mastery, dialogue and professional presence among a range of topics, allowing men an opportunity to own the conversation in a closed male group, guided by our experts.

Sacrifice or salvation?

MY JOURNEY CONTINUES:

“I transformed my own situation at the beginning of 2011. I recognised that as I teach companies about shifting attitudes and reducing negative tensions, and living and working with a healthy, wealthy mindset, I was actually living in the wrong place. Tensions were manifesting where I lived due to issues external to me in the building but that would affect my lifestyle and the people around me. How often in business does that happen to us yet we stay out and put up with negative tensions, getting more and more despondent. I am designing a more collaborative yet independent environment where I have control over me!

In my approach to developing my clients for their business success, I teach them how to value themselves, their contribution, both natural and acquired, and their choice to create the right behaviour and good practices for themselves and their team. For me, collaboration creates results, mixed with a good pinch of individual talent, a heaped spoon of awareness and energy for creativity – and behold magic starts and multiplies the bottom line. The culture of collaboration and wellness seeds creativity and trust – and so creates a potential new playing field for business sustainability and success to go hand in hand – and especially when men and women, of all generations and nationalities work together, much is possible.

I found in my own transformation journey, anything is possible. Let go and venture forward to seek new ways to live and work – and notice along the way who is playing, and how the playing field is laid out; welcome in diverse mind sets and set a path of shared intentions for grow and profit as well as service excellence. Acknowledge that what people bring as individuals, whether male, female, old, young; whether they focus more on logical or emotion, task or relationship, production or service; all are unique and different and their individual characteristics form great talent pools. Men and women have different natural life-skills sets, old and young bring different perspectives, different nationalities bring diverse experiences and cultural norms; the mix can be seen as rich and diverse, rather than conflicting and at odds. All people bring and receive a diverse range of contributions for overall success in any business – not merely in financial terms but in human valuation, appreciation and good will. Understanding and valuing our differences makes for a great mix depending our point of view!

My point of view is that the “same old same old” conversations get us nowhere. And we are NOW here to set about transformation for good.

For me personally, yes it’s been a tough exciting year so far, challenges at all corners, wonderful and inspiring new people in my life, old faces falling away, new friends arriving; possibilities and fears mixed with opportunities and healthy risks; and many magical conversations with both male and female friends and clients; and many new networks and associations that have heartened my resolve. The playing field is seeded, now I watch it grow.

I wonder if it is sacrifice for men or salvation for women as business evolves in the current climate?

A friend asked about the sacrifices I made (?) i.e. selling up, simplifying my life, letting everything go even my cat (she is fine and well housed) – but as I look at the energy, freedom, joy and resolve I have now on this journey, the beautiful place I live in and the new potential for me to give back to society – it’s not a sacrifice at all! Maybe salvation has nought to do with sacrifice, we let go of the past and the future arrives early!”

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.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/un-celebrates-a-watershed-day-for-women-2017929.html

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!

Expansion and contraction – the natural ebb and flow of life and business?

Expansion and contraction – the natural ebb and flow of life and business or are we forcing the issue?

Summer breathing as June passes the Summer Solstice, and here in the UK, we enjoy the wonderful heat and the expansive noise of England winning through in the World Cup, during a time of daily contraction of our financial power in a budget geared to collective restraint, I wondered about the power of our own natural reserves?

Swirling despair or growing pains?

Everyone I know is experiencing swirls of despair and exhilaration, no day is the predictable day we expected. The past is past. The future is ours to grow. And one person’s point of view can be positive or negative over the same situation depending on their nature, their life experience and their current status. Naturally we all perceive the world differently, we are all different, yet we are also the same; living breathing human beings. When we are facing tough challenges (as the world is right now) we polarize to our core point of view and find obstacles and limitations around us.

Why do some of us face each day with energy and vivacious capacity to smile regularly even when the chips are down? And others become despondent and cynical about possibilities and strains that don’t fit now, don’t adhere to our expectations born of past promises! We have a world that needs re-order at a fundamental level, expanding collaboration and contracting chaos. We have choices, many on a daily basis about survival, growth and the future for our children – and our children’s children. We are all connected and inter-connected. What we do right now affects everyone eventually in the whole world and for generations alive when we are gone. We are all connected – yet do we believe that really? Everyone is some mother’s child; we all are born of human stock.

Choices – yours or mine? Do we believe and own our own choices that connect into the collective responsibility – especially in our own families or communities or workplaces when there are so many disagreements, negative behaviour and possible abuse? Can we be open-minded in conversation and listen to everyone, holding their perspective with our own? This is especially relevant to bringing new conversations together between men and women, within women’s group and within men’s groups. Gender confusion still lies at the heart of broken relationships and abuse.

Do men and women face these current difficult times differently?

I believe we do – yet one gender is not better or more right than the other.We need an ‘and/and’ mind shift to create a world together not an ‘either/or’ world of separate parts. Men and women are both responsible and both need to be engaged in the foundations and a new start. There are many different approaches that build society and economic reform together – these approaches economically, politically, socially and spiritually differ in core roots of maleness and femaleness, the yin and yang of life and energy. The former male energy builds strong direction, provider drivers and tenacity of mindful, clever ‘brainy’ ideas – while the latter female fuel, underpins the life force of relationships and community coherence, brings emotional and mental intelligence in a pre-packed integrated package. Although some women are tougher, more masculine than others, some are gentler more cautious, less confident, all women want their lives to honour life and common sense prevail. Women have enormous untapped talents to bring a balance future to our world.

Together men and women are more powerful. Separately we fight for airspace, not listening to the other’s need.

We rival each other for position on a past plan headed for bankruptcy and social disorder – when we now have a choice to co-create a new future. Here is an example of a new way of thinking and being.

A new style together

I had the great pleasure to join a wonderful community in Geneva last weekend for ‘Friends of Humanity’, a foundation set up by Graziella Zanoletti CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of Elite Rentals. Graziella’s great success in the commercial world is now partnered by her great passion to give back to many good causes in less developed countries such as India, earthquake suffering in Nepal, South American rainforests and children in Tibet. 100 people gathered to hear the news on these projects and to come together, men, women, and their families adding back many £1000s by being part of this intention.

I met many extraordinary people especially my host Fabienne Feldman, helped to run this amazing event. We watched and joined in with likeminded people to gather together, hold magical conversations, listen to wonderful music and song, chatter about life and purpose and those projects on display; we eat fabulously well yet abundance for all and enjoyed the wonder of the day – it was an example of people coming together who didn’t know each other and who now form bonds across the world… from Boston to Goa, from London to LA… proving that communities can so easily come together in harmony for a common purpose across the world.

I explored with Graziella the nature of a new approach to “business, life and giving back” when we met last month for our first Magical Conversation at Fabienne’s home. Integrating commercial success, building personal and collective wealth, giving back, creating social cohesion and sustainable communities – bringing social enterprise into main stream business ethics – these are core to our conversations and those of many other female conversations I experience…and with many wise men too who feel tuned into this new multi-streamed way of being, business and life. How do we each measure up to these intentions in our own life?

Magical Conversations are about ‘life’ and business and society – about truth and trust, respect and relationships, humanity and prosperity – and becoming more keenly aware of what matters to others as well as our own. Everywhere I go, wise men and women are speaking with their hearts as much as their heads…and allowing their inner spirit to guide them more times than not. The nature of magical conversations is to embrace expansion and contraction in all we do and not get out of balance in our own lives and in our world. It is being aware of where and how one needs to expand effort and operate at a level of financial viability – consistently contracting efforts where obstacles appear, adhering to rules and regulations, “and and” being our mantra in expanding in relationships, respect and trust in our lives and in our businesses. It’s about exploring a common reason for giving back, feeding and educating those in the world less well off, both in developing countries – and more importantly, lovingly, at home in our own communities.

“It’s not so much about what you do, it’s about the loving you put into the doing that counts” Anon

How can we mend the world when we are not mended (healed from the inside out) first? This all starts at home with love… with loving yourself, your closest friends and family and community first.

Like breathing in and breathing out, expansion and contraction underpins our life force. Masculine and feminine energies do similarly ebb and flow; male dominance is necessary for strength and getting tasks done while the feminine energy flows, nurtures and heals the cracks so that communities can gain sustainable results. Together this alliance of men and women brings abundance in the true gifts of our natural life to be self sustaining for all members. Get to know your own natural gender nature and recognize different perspectives are valid too. It’s the ‘common purpose’ of conversations, built on trust, that includes all points of view, which will help our future come sooner.

Our ‘BIG SOCIETY’

We have a long way to go in the UK, our political leaders talk of a ‘big society’; many male CEOs talk of attracting women into the top positions, mixed boardrooms leading better; many communities, public and private make noises about community cohesion. I applaud their words, the rhetoric, the opinions…. however I don’t believe we invite all the right people to the conversations and listen well enough?

I don’t yet see enough evidence that the best, most aware, intelligent, experienced women are invited to really, truly, openly explore ‘what women want’. Maybe they don’t get noticed or don’t speak up enough. We’re in a world that doesn’t allow women to be women, to grow naturally, be business women and mothers, to grant that life’s natural family pressures are accounted for without marginalization financially or limitations in job prospects.

If we keep going round the same old arguments and propositions, guess what we get the old emerging again. We need to explore more, the new awaits us on the horizon of our awakening to possibilities without judgment and favour.

Magical Conversations count

We can’t create a ‘big society’ based on the old blueprint of business and life separation (the male plan that has traditionally separated ‘making money’ and ‘life’ into two camps)– there are more core principles of evolution to be explored (a female plan for business would combines ‘making money’ and dealing with ‘life’ issues).

My invitation to YOU I now implore my sisters, women of all types, generations, creeds and cultures to put aside the past and grow strong views on ‘what women (and men) really want’ and join our brothers, all kinds – tough guys and gentle giants – in the conversation of co-creation – and magical conversations.