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

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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.

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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.

We have a dream….

Martin Luther King’s famous words “I have a dream…” came to mind yesterday at the Women on Fire conference, when a few hundred women and a handful of mindful men gathered in the majestic beauty of Central Hall, Westminster.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “the future belongs to those who believe in the power of their dreams”

I do so believe in the power of my dreams and yesterday this was multipied100 fold with a whole audience of amazing women. Let me tell you more.

I experienced the fire of women come alive through this wonderful day; I heard their stories, trials and tribulations, victories and wisdom shared in an amazing uplifting energy to bring their dreams alive. The collective dream of those women gathered shines a new ray of hope and possibility, of aligning with Mother Earth with our female wisdom to seed new generations of healthy children, to support the underdog, to create new rules through current systems yet with a female vision of creative collaboration and great integrity; we seek the justice and care for all, as all deserve so because they are human beings; to defuse the power politics of the minority who hold all the wealth and power and deal with rough justice and not fairness; to spread kindness across all peoples, all communities, all nations.

Our dream is that women are heard, clearly, loudly, with due care and attention, and that we voice our truths in ways that men will hear and all women will grace with honor and pride. Our dream is that collectively and singularly we reach our pure and natural potential to bring harmony and goodwill into everyday existence, to be practical in our co-parenting and joint decision makers in world affairs, in corporate life, in our workplaces, homes and playgrounds. Women coming together, bringing fire from the source of Mother Earth into our bodies, hearts and minds, into our spirit, into our dreams “we too have a dream…” and we will be heard now!

In all of this, “I pledge my dream to help co-create a world where men and women truly understand each other, recognize and respect our natural contributions to life and business and society, and value our different attributes; a world where we truly have a partnership style not born of the past but of the future potential to truly be equal in the co-creation of our world; truly listening, observing, trusting and collaborating with each other on a new blueprint for life.

I have a dream that we can create life where there are no abusive relationships, no tortured families, no bullied schoolchildren or harassed employees; no wars, no crime and no damaging behaviour; a world where women are honoured and men are loving, where women value their natural female beauty and nurturing energy alongside their strength and courage; and men value their natural lead yet know their potential to embrace emotions – both dancing together in a natural alignment and flow.”

I commit to the happening of my dream – that all women’s voices will be heard and valued – that all will shine their natural value in honour of Mother Earth, to understand that we too take responsibility alongside men for the damaged world we live in our current daily existence; whether economically or socially challenged, whether in dangerous territory, or in civilized lands, women have not stood truly together to have one voice heard by men.

Sisters, we have no time to argue or condamn, to moan or complain; we must work fast to save our endangered world, our dimished family units, our rising crime rates and wars around the world killing our young men. Women have a vital role, a life giving nurturing role and together we can make the difference.

I declare my dream to bring collaborative between all parties, men and women, generations, communities, nations and religions; enabling all to come to the table, to the campfire, to the light; to engage in magical conversations. I declare my passion to educate young and old in the natural differences we bring to that conversation; to use my full skills and expertise to spread knowledge for all to learn; to teach people how to engaged in conversations that enhance their life and everyone elses; to help people transform their negative assumptions, release constraints and live a full and meaningfull life; to participate fully in the fire of love and compassion that can heal our world; and to seek through these conversations to achieve a new way to live together with respect and integrity.

How do I plan to do this ; with your engagement, your support, your contributions; through shared spaces, declared intentions, shared stories, shared knowledge; through bringing people’s great stories into public gaze, honestly and with truth and conviction; to do so through media, TV, internet, interviewing wise and courageous women and men who are stepping up to be the pioneers of our world transformation.

Many of these pioneers were at Women on Fire, both on stage and in the audience; this is the great beginning, Thank you Judith, thank you Lucia, without you and all your helpers this wouldn’t have happened, I am so blessed to know you and all there to be on this journey together, here’s to meeting again very soon and stoking up the fire!

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!!

Choosing your parents – conversations for Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day, UK, awakes us, have you ever wondered why you chose the mother you have? Indeed reflect for a moment on your parents that formed your earliest memories and greatest conversations and without whom you might not have become who you are.

As I open my own life to new ideas this year, I ponder on the original programming in my mother’s womb and my younger years; wishing today to celebrate the happiness endemic in my childhood; and share with you wonderful insights into why choosing my parents was a really perfect way to get started that has led me to who I am in the world today!

My father was a gentleman, a truly remarkable influence on me. He lived very much in the moment while honouring his past and using his instinctive wisdom. I remember his conversations with me were always in a positive manner, especially when I was in a difficult time in my life. So whether it was challenging homework aged 16; rescuing me when left high and dry getting home from a party out with my friends; or a shoulder to lean on when my marriage broke down, he would seek to help me “be” and ask “what can I do to help?” He never ticked me off – or let me off. A subtle balance of trust, love and authority, he figured strong in my life, allowing me to be ME!

He adored my mother and for 64 years they were very happily married until he passed away aged 91 years. He and my mother taught me to be strong, courageous, always kind, loving, and conscientious. They created a home of conversations and laughter – an atmosphere in which to enjoy life yet to stand up and be counted; to always contribute what natural gifts we had inherited and grown; and to seek to serve others as best we could be. If only all family life across the world could be so!

For me, ‘my very being’ is about living an in-the-now experience, and loving living about which my parents were always great examples. I know that this formative experience lies within all I do whether with my friends and family or with my clients in the corporate land of UK business. Our parenting experience is where it all starts. The conversations we had, the love and celebration that founded our growth.

My wonderful mother is a stunning 93, alert, fun, caring, great grandmother and “mummy” to me and my brothers and sisters. She has always been a great conversationalist and continues to hold an inspiring space for all of us; and allows me to “be ME” as she has always done. She has always treated me with respect, encouragement and commitment to whatever I have done.

In my latter years, I have led a very different path to that maybe desired by her, I have laid my own journey into an entrepreneurial business world she doesn’t quite understand yet she joined me onstage aged 90 years to present to 150 corporate women without hesitation; I got divorced which is alien to her religious traditions yet she doesn’t let that upset her; and she always loves and supports me even when she’s worried when I take risks and seek higher goals that are unpredictable. She is caring and concerned yet trusting I will “be” alright. She blesses me whether I make mistakes or create success.

I do believe we choose our parents, I chose very wisely and I am so thankful for that. As mother’s day is a sharing opportunity, I make time to be aware that many men and women don’t have the loving gift and fortune of the life I have had from mine. They have helped me lay down how I now create my world at work and at play. I learn so much in this reflection today.

Everyone is ‘some mother’s child’, let’s not forget that without mothers we’d never be born…yes, I acknowledge that fathers play their part in the creation, however nature’s delivery gift is given to us women.

My daughter is now a wonderful yummy mummy to my two grandkids; she also teaches women to give birth in the most natural and gentle way, respecting their body and emotions as nature intended. I know she and my son chose me and I thank them for that honour and pleasure.

Thank you to all mothers across the world for the life you give; and to my mother especially today and her legacy to me to be a strong courageous woman in 2011.

Shaking hands with the future

Shaking hands with the future

Yesterday I engaged and explored life and the 3Rs with a group of 10 students at Lambeth Academy – these students are 16/17years old and this summer due to go into a work placement for 6 week and experience the world outside of their current world…that of ‘employee status’. An alien world, a strange world, yet to date their learning is only academic. I am here for an hour and a half to share my wisdom and hope to give them ‘ah ha’ moments that may seal their future confidence in those six weeks. I taught them how to shake hands with their future and practice the real 3Rs! “Respect Rapport and Relationships”

A lovely group, boys and girls, eager to learn and curious I suspect of this older woman in front of them. I started, I engaged, I got them thinking about who they are – I went back into my mind of being 17 again, being ‘me’. I encouraged them to just be their BEST:

B – be
E – extraordinary
S – starting
T – today

“Be Extraordinary starting today”…my personal mantra and motto for life – simple – yet how much do we reflect on our ‘self perception’ and know how others see us; how do we know what we do best, how we are best, and whether our best matches others expectations of us! Where as a teenager do we explore the assumptions we may be making about those we meet, and what does the world outside of ‘me’ require ‘me’ to be.

We started with a simple exercise Try it – write down three positive words about how you ‘see’ yourself, share these with your friends and colleagues. Is this how they see you? Can they add more? Can you add more to their list? In this simple exchange we give much more light to our personality as perceived and received! The more we know ourselves and others then the 3 Rs are easy! They roll with the dice of life.

Leading Victorian lecturer, Florence Shovel Shinn writes ‘Many people think life is a battlefield, it is not – it is a game’ and I know now that the ‘game of life’ is where I play and my work in service to my clients and all my friends is to help them ‘play’ too if they wish.

Florence says it is about the square of life- ‘wealth, health, love and perfect self expression’. I believe that our ongoing life mission is to share ‘perfect self expression’ especially in all difficult emotional situations. This is my journey now as I too learn each day how others see the world and how we can transform our world to be BEST for all us regardless of gender, culture, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference and disability.

I know at their age I knew nothing other than what my family and school had showed me. And I was so fortunate to choose the parents and family that I had. I was brought up in a strong, loving, together, Catholic family. There we had loads of together activities, sharing of events and laughter. I was a happy child yet very naïve and gauche. It took me a long lifetime to learn the real 3Rs… as I taught yesterday, as “Respect, Rapport and Relationships”….

And so for my class yesterday it was the first time they were engaged to think and feel about their self-perceptions, how others saw them, how to see themselves as part of the cycle of all life – home, social, family, work, and community. I shared my core model for personal development (and life); my ‘value cycle’ which shows how ‘my best’ is key to all rapport skills, and to all relationships from one-to-one friendships, group pals, work mates, families and social cohesion. I shared with them how to see themselves in pole position in their life.

A key exercise was to shake hands and say they name clearer decisively, friendly and with inner strength. It was a wonderful experience to be in as they laughed and shook each other’s hands enthusiastically and become bold with their name. Simple things make huge differences. Even the teacher present realized no-one had ever taught him how to shake someone’s hands. Too often the most important things are left to chance – yet can make or break a first impression and a rising feeling of confidence.

I showed the students how they merely need to stand into their personal power and see that all responses are their choice; they do require to be in ownership of their body, mind, heart and soul; and take responsibility for all that happens (not blame others); and finally they need to underpin all this their own personal healthy energy. A challenge to their youthful desire to party, drink, smoke and eat fast food!

Simple yet powerful, they all started to see themselves as the driver of their own cycle of confidence not at the mercy of others. They got the point. I will return to meet them again in September and chat about their ‘perceptions’ of the workplace once experienced.

These students are our future employees, our entrepreneurs, our leaders of industry – we need to teach them how to ‘be’ in the workplace not just ‘how to work’.

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.

In a world of constant disruption, do you feel lucky?

I know I have been lucky all my life even when times have been challenging (both personally and professionally) – and to be honest I believe the key to having ‘luck’ is believing in yourself and trusting that wherever you are, you are lucky to be alive. Sometimes in today’s world where ‘constant disruption’ is the most consistent aspect of our lives, many people feel unlucky. I feel enormously lucky to be a mature capable business woman in a world that needs ‘wise women’ at the top… and where men in business and in life…and in politics… are looking for a solution to a problem that has passed its sell-by-date!

At the Post Bureaucratic Network Conference Monday 21st February, the talk was about how we all deal with ‘constant disruption’ as the core nature of our problems and how we needed to build solutions based on transparency, technology and decentralization from the keynote speaker, David Cameron. Maybe so, I pondered on who deals with ‘constant disruption’ best and so the lucky ones in this moment in time.

Women are naturally brilliant at managing ‘constant disruption’ and all of those issues quoted above. Women only have to enter the realm of motherhood/parenthood to know that – to be running several roles at once, to have dependents in your life from elderly parents to sick or disabled family members, and hold a business role or run their own affairs – to know about how to manage ‘constant disruption’! And this is not to say men can’t do this some of the time; however it’s not so natural biologically for men who function best when focused on one task at a time. Men are essential to operational excellence and great when managing risk or certainty, and reducing collateral damage from the recessional fall out, however men generally don’t take the major dependency roles in the ‘home service arena’.

Once again it occurs to me that although men and women are designed to run this world together, this simple fact does not appear to speed up the changes we need. We want more women at the top but aren’t prepared to change the baseline rules and the language and behaviour that many male boardrooms exhibit. This is not about men at fault but about understanding that as well as the needs of the market we need to value the needs of women alongside men who have been in charge over 200 years, it is their natural default position. We moan about the numbers of women and quote ‘quotas’ from Norway and soon Spain and France. We keep on about the ‘glass ceiling’; yet we don’t think about a new script. Women and men together can change the plan – but this needs to be a conversation together. We could change the numbers and the quality of women in business easily if we redraw the script and build a new stage for the corporate world. The play might perform better and gain more applause from the audience. In many women-run business the evidence is already of more success and more longevity.

We need to go back to the drawing board if we are serious about changing main stream business at the top and right through. With a few simple changes in perspective, we can create, together, a desirable sustainable future where I hope we appreciate how lucky we all are to be the resources we naturally are.

Do we believe this yet? NO. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation … and I would be happily out of a role! We would already have the ‘right’ numbers of women at the top and in politics. We would have adapted the blueprint of business to encompass such things as multi-roles, dependency, maternity, parenthood, sickness and so much more that women are usually the prime owners.

I believe that we still have not entered the real conversation at the heart of our ‘troubles’ in a way that men listento women and women hear men. The core question is how do men and women truly share this world, what responsibilities come naturally and which are necessities we co-own? What needs are central to men and differently central to women – and what does business require to serve all for sustainable growth and healthy living for all in our society.
Is that a ‘pie in the sky’ idealistic view? Maybe, but I don’t apologize for this. I have too many magical conversations across so many sectors now that I know change is afoot and luck is on its way – if we look to notice it!

I believe we can co-create a great world where business and life co-exist and profit both social needs and material requirements. We can observe that when people value their own personal well-being and have healthy relationships, they work better, their brains function faster and when working well together as a community, they produce more innovative and successful results.

”Love and meaning” are freely available on this menu and so we are lucky as (if we choose) we can alter the course of our world, and each choose to utilize our natural value to its full – or to die. Sounds drastic but I see too many people in major businesses who are tired of the corporate stories, unsure of what their next step is, feel doomed to years of misery, men and women jaded with the lack of luck – or so they believe. Yet it is sitting right there inside them.

Was I born lucky? YES I chose a family who laughed, lived, loved and last a long time together. My mother is a lively 92, a wise and intelligent woman; my father (the wisest man I knew) died at 91 – I have a large family, brothers and sister, nephews and nieces, and my own two fabulous children. I am also very lucky to be blessed with an enjoyable motherhood period (past now), a long ex marriage, and now grand motherhood where my wisdom can give to and learn from a new generation who see the world afresh! Between my many roles (several in business and several in life), I observe my luck and am grateful daily for my path which is often challenged by ‘constant disruption’. I aim to do more, give back more, laugh more! I have an instinctive courage to keep going even when told I am being too optimistic!

As Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry said “do you feel lucky?” well I do – how about you? What choices will you notice, what luck will you take, it’s all around you – just take a look.

Welcoming 2010 with Wisdom

Socrates says ‘Wisdom starts with wonder’ and what wonder do we see ahead. 2010 opens up in London with a blue sky and a bright outlook. For me this year brings new hope, potential opportunities for men and women, for business and social enterprise, for communities everywhere, a possibility for happiness and abundance. I have often been accused of a naive optimism and a child like wonder about human beings and their natural capability and courage to overcome all obstacles and find happiness!! I don’t intend to change! The new year for me holds a wonderful sense of world scope for change and maybe a touch of magic. For those who are willing to look with wisdom, insight and radical innovation – looking forward and not getting stuck on the past solutions, rules and restrictions, there are endless possibilities, economically, socially..even politically with a UK election on the agenda!

However the world is a tough place and many people have had a challenging 2009, and I believe we have to work together to make a difference. Now our choices and responsibilities move into a higher consciousness about life and work. It is time to strive with collective and personal intention to co-create a new way of being, a healthier way of working and a far more inclusive society that embraces positivity, abundance and collaboration.

I offer a few intentions that I and my team are commited to deliver to help create a balanced sustainable enjoyable wealthy healthy world – one that our children may enjoy and inherit!

Our intentions for 2010
1. To help build a sound economy where men and women of all ages, creeds, dispositions and personalities, and co-create a new way to sustainable measurable growth
2. To embrace social responsibility within the work culture of the UK and create work cultures that enable people to thrive personally and professionally rather than just survive
3. To reduce all stress and ‘bad behaviour’ at all levels of business, from boardroom to shop floor, that causes demotivation and unhappiness at work and so improve both employee satisfaction and customer service and loyalty in one move!

In order to ensure these intentions come into being, we have a few key values that need to be embedded; honour, respect, trust, encouragement, happiness, love and true collaboration; Let’s…

Honour all human beings, men and women equally, for their natural talents, and build a true meritocracy.
Respect men in current leadership positions as providers, operation and solution finders and show them how happiness and work together can generate results that count
Encourage women to grow and flourish in business as females using their full range of skills, their natural empathy, business flair and collaborative skills
Build business teams to embrace and trust both masculine and feminine attributes in the business mix, teams that value male and female needs, and ensure both integrate to deliver the best service and best profits.
Co-create business communities in the corporate global world and in the entrepreneurial world that collaborate, communicate and connect across sectors, to share resources, knowledge and best practice building magical conversations that deliver results for the long term care of our planet!

In 2010 I invite you to join our magical conversations that we are starting across the UK this year; conversations across boundaries, bringing corporate leaders, philanthropreneurs, researchers, academics, leading experts, wise mentors, ‘sisters’ and ‘brothers’ of all diverse groups, to explore, reflect, review, align, innovate and embed a new language of loving practice that sets a higher consciousness about life at work.

Leaving a legacy – set your intention now!

I met amazing Philanthropreneurs this week – a mixture of Philanthroper and Entrepreneur – and was lucky to be on a panel discussing this new concept, originated in the US, now being embraced by many motivated entrepreneurs who wish to ‘give back’ in the way they know best. The event was for the charity Education Africaand they have a wonderful entrepreneurial spirit in how they are developing their teaching style with children in Africa to grow strong minds as well as healthy bodies.

I was inspired to be part of the evening panel ‘ Philanthropreneur – The next generation defined’ and to learn more about this style of being, in deed a way of innovating and taking risk around new business ideas, creating wealth and yet ‘giving back’ in an energetic business way that enables the receiver and the giver to become enriched emotionally, spiritually, physically and materially. I felt as if I had come home and it felt good to me to develop my business with this new style, giving back as we grow.

Philanthropreneurs have a plentiful ‘possibility’ mindsets, very open hearts, a great sense of timing and innovation, aligned to a high world vision with a well balanced self less ego, and of course a pioneering eye line to the future…nothing is impossible ! If we are to leave a legacy that lasts for many generations after we have moved on, this feels to be the right way, to start now.

A couple of summers ago I wrote my ‘obituary’ – sounds odd maybe, however it is a valuable way to put yourself into the far future and create your legacy statement now (it can always grow and change however once written you’ll be amazed at what happens as soon as it is on paper!!)

Having decided that I will live to 101 (at least) I then stretched my imagination into that year, closed my eyes and looked what I would love to exist for my children and my grandchildren and my world, for friends I know and those I have yet to touch and for all I may never meet but are part of my global family.

I envisaged a new harmonic in the air, an abundant sense of love in the world, where life and work were balanced, where women and men had healthy choices over their careers and family lives, where children were educated with an authentic love and emotional energy that grew strong caring imaginative intelligent adults, who respect the environment and enjoy the natural beauty of the world. A world where major powers are empowering their people rather than fighting to right wrongs; where poverty was irradicated; a world where men and women live in harmony recognising the limitations of our natural planet resources and using them wisely. There will be a new community energy across the land, magical conversations daily, wisdom and joy alive in both work and play, and who knows what other exciting unknowns!!

In my legacy, I had eliminated ‘bad behaviour’ in the workplace, and gone on to set up The SMILE FOUNDATION as a core part of education across the world providing core curriculum classes in Sound, Movement, Imagination, Laughter and Energy to underpin the range of skills based teaching to inform a new generation of healthy adults. I had also written several books gender, relationships, happiness and fun; had various TV series, married again and enjoyed a happy healthy family life myself!

I just read my ‘orbituary’ now two years on and I am amazed how much has already started to set my plans in place… the power of good intentions is strong and we don’t need to do more than that and act on it. So what has happened; I have meet the most amazing like minded people, found an environment, The Monastery, where magical conversations are starting to happen about ‘Corporate Spirit’ and ways to bring a Spirit and Purpose to all organizations to make this world a better place to be… and now the law of attraction has brought opportunities to me to meet the influential senior players, men and women, who can transform from the Boardroom to create ‘wellness’ in trusted cultures across the UK. There are possibilties abounding for TV programmes, my book is started and interest found, and I am thoroughly enjoying my journey. Smiling all the way!!!

Set you intention, write your legacy way into the future, make a contract with yourself today and join the conversation with us NOW.

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time”.
American President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)