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3 Things I Love About Conflict – 5 Tips For Moving Through

Did you already have a reaction to that word? If so you are not alone!

Let me clarify, not all conflict is useful or productive.

There is the nasty, pointless, destructive type – and then there is the regular old type that happens when people are just being people.

The regular type I call ‘potentially healthy conflict’, why potentially? Because it only becomes healthy when there are two sides who have the desire to move forward, move through to the other side whatever that may look like. Those who view it is a tool, a starting point for change often understand that conflict can be healthy.

Bad news for those who have decided, for whatever reason, that they don’t like conflict and have labelled all conflict as bad, scary, or even dangerous. A happy healthy live living and working with other humans cannot exist well on a functional level without the conflict.

We are all people who have been created differently, we are all unique in many ways, so there will be conflict arising from just that fact alone.

Don’t aim to be right – Aim for better understanding

How about inviting it in, getting to know it, re name it, expand your tool kit to deal with it better, learn how to use it as a tool.

I recently decided to re name the conversational side of conflict ‘Robust discussions’ Be willing to go there, have that important robust discussion.

3 Things I Love:

  1. Conflict shows we are all different and that is a GREAT thing! Let’s celebrate our strengths and differences – learn that we need each other’s strengths to make great teams and relationships.
  2. Conflict can provide the opportunity to grow, learn and gain greater understanding and knowledge about situations and people. It can bring perspective if we are willing. Knowledge and understanding are powerful things.
  3. Conflict, when dealt with in a healthy way, with good practice, framework, planning and support can lead to breakthrough that may not have happened had that ‘robust essential conversation’ had not taken place.

5 tips for being more open those robust discussions:

  1. Plan your conversations, what is your common desired outcome? What are the facts? What is the real issue without personal opinion or bias? How is the other person feeling? What are they thinking? What is their real intention?
  2. Practice using different words, if your conversations are not going well, have a think about the language you are using – both verbal and nonverbal (body language, facials and tone).
  3. Never assume anything about another person or situation, assumptions are among the top things that can cause negative conflict and reactions. Instead ASK questions like, ‘what did you mean when you…?’ ‘Can I ask if my assumption about this is correct..?’ or ‘ I would just like to clarify..’ ‘Can/may I ask what your intention is here?’
  4. Pick your time carefully, poor timing can lead to things spiralling, is the person busy? Tired? Are there others around? NOTE: A meeting is rarely a good place to work through something personal with something. Naming and shaming is NEVER a good idea.
  5. Consider the mode of delivery, is it appropriate? There are so many ways we can have ‘robust discussion’s now. Email, Txt message, instant message, intranet message, by phone and in person. My experience is that all Robust discussions must be had as close to in person as you can get, face to face is always best where possible, failing that on the phone. It is OK to follow up with an email to confirm anything you need to be in writing but there is FAR too much room for mi interpretation in written words to have the whole discussion that way. The mess can become bigger than it ever needed to be

Be Brave, Be Conscious, Be Compassionate,

Be authentic and honest, Be willing.

Remember: It doesn’t have to be right or wrong, it can be just perspectives that differ

Now go have that next robust discussion, you never know what may open as a result, and it is never as ‘bad as you thought’ it would be



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Multitasking – When it’s useful and when it’s not!

A peak into my world and 5 tips for singular focus when it counts

I was in my kitchen today after a full on day working, from my home office, the house was a buzz with activity, I had already dropped miss 8 at her dance lesson and offered to watch my 12-week old granddaughter while her mum ran an errand. It was 5pm….I was running bath for miss 7, had mister 14 playing with miss 12 weeks while I turned the sausages, boiled the pasta, put mountains of washing away….as I paused to turn another sausage It occurred to me that in this situation MULTITASKING is a skill to die for, one I am proud of, a skill that is USEFUL….as long as I stay focused….boy was I focussed.

PHEW are you exhausted just reading this!? In my domestic life multitasking is useful in most cases, I can get a lot done in a short period of time and usually without dropping ‘any balls’ from my juggle, possibly because many of the tasks are routine, don’t require much detailed thinking or focus. I can even add in a conversation with a husband or a child to the above and be quite engaged.

When multitasking is NOT useful – when tasks require more focus, more concentration and detail.

I learned a long time ago, multitasking like this doesn’t belong at work….almost EVER. In the work I do I have multiple roles, many ‘seasons’ in any one day, things are complex, strategic, and involve singular focus.

I have learned the importance of planning my work time, having lists, prioritising those lists, using ONE diary system that works well for me on all levels, and working in SPRINTS. My sustained sprint time is around 45 – 60 mins. If a task will take longer than that I will sometimes extend this time but usually will come back to the task after a break.

I  get up…. stop what I am doing get a drink and move my body. Then I can re focus again.

Working like this I get very productive, less stuff falls through cracks. Jobs get finished

I call this sharpening my AXE, a woodcutter will be more successful if he stops to sharpen his axe than the one who keeps hacking away with a blunt tool. Based on an old story I heard years ago.

My tips for singular focus and single tasking at work

  1. Plan your day – know what tasks, calls and emails you HAVE to get done that day, everything else is a bonus, if you have work that you get interrupted by phone calls, take small phone breaks where you put it on silent, switch if off or leave it in another room for a short period, NO ONE WILL DIE if they can’t get hold of you in a particular moment.
  2. Use time chunking, chunk blocks of time in your diary to do a task or a bunch of tasks.
  3. Work in healthy sprints, set a timer and focus on that ONE task for that time period when the timer goes off you stand up, walk away even just for 5 mins, get a drink, some food if you need and then come back re set the timer again.
  4. Plan NOT to multi-task, this means having only relevant tabs open, leaving social media, emails or other distracting tabs closed and notifications OFF
  5. Learn to be assertive (this is not the same as aggressive) try to say things like “sorry I will have to get back to you I am in the middle of something” and do just that, don’t allow people to steal your time with their emergencies unless you are completely responsible or someone will be injured. Find your own nice way to stay assertive

Either you run your day or your day runs you, is a favourite quote of mine and also is true for people and time – either you manage your time or have other people manage it according to their needs.

By all means be flexible when needed, but set boundaries, set work time, be assertive and learn to know when multitasking is useful and when it’s not.

Here’s to your singular focus


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Overwhelmed? Come up for air and breathe!

5 things you can do to get out from under the pile of ‘overwhelm’ – come up for air and breathe

The dictionary says this about the word ‘overwhelm’:

To bury or drown beneath a huge mass of something, especially water.

What to do when everything closes in – the dark place of ‘overwhelm

For some, this is a familiar place on a way too frequent basis, usually the symptom of entrepreneurs or working parents, but many others also suffer this unproductive and uncomfortable state, too often.

If you have ever felt confused, weighed down, stressed and grumpy by a never ending list of things to do, swimming around in your foggy head, chances are you have experienced what many call ‘overwhelm’.

For me and those around me this is not a good place for me to be in, mentally or physically. I forget things, don’t sleep well past 4am, find myself snappy and irritable, and in a constant state of stress. This space is usually very un-productive.

Here are 5 things I have found that can lift the fog and help re focus energy and time:

  1. TIME OUT: Take a morning off, ASAP, as soon as you recognise you are here, go for a walk, then sit down and make a massive list, categorise if you must but make a list of everything you need to do, everything that is in your head.
  •  Make sub lists from this list and put in categories of priority, personal, work and  other. Just this task of getting out of my head and on paper splits the stress literally in HALF, because now I can’t forget anything, it is all on paper.
  1. GET ‘YOU’ IN THE PICTURE: Re look at your diary, your schedule,  remove some things to make some space for you, and the things that ‘feed’ your mind, body and soul… At least 3-4 times a week. SMALL things count – I used to think I needed to get to a yoga class for 90 mins (plus travel) or the gym for an hour for it to count….then it just wouldn’t happen, when I discovered the scientific fact that 10 mins of walking somewhere pretty can change your brain chemistry completely, I started looking at this time differently. I make time 3-4 mornings a week to walk my dog, just 30 mins in our local park, I dance once a week, and I train in martial arts (my favourite sport) 1-2 times depending but a minimum of once. The park walks serve a few things, I love nature and how it soothes my soul, reminds me of my place on this earth, connects me to creation and also gives my body the movement it needs, it clears my mind, I solve problems among the trees.

NOTE: I used the words ‘make time’ ? We can all find time to fit in what we deem to be important, I realised that I am important, so cleared some things off my plate.

  1. TIME CHUNKING: Look at the way you schedule things in your diary, if you are self-employed you CAN choose your hours, set them on a calendar, and then schedule in what you do in that time, this is a discipline that takes time to implement if you have been a little loose on this. I use TIME CHUNKING, I put things in blocks of time I think they will take, for things like my walk, they REPEAT every week, on the odd occasion I have to move them but it is a choice and usually only once in any one week.
  1. SAY NO nicely: Learn to say no, if you have so much on your plate there is no room for you, look at what you can possibly take off. Ask yourself these questions on each thing that takes up your time. These are for things you have on your plate that you want to check in about:
  • Why am I involved in this?
  • Why did I say Yes?
  • Is this part of my overall purpose in life?
  • Does this energise me or drain me?
  • Why am I holding on to it?
  • If you choose to let it go, plan how you will say ‘no nicely’

What to consider BEFORE saying YES to new things:

What REAL time is involved in this? Do I have the time easily available? What will have to move off my diary in order to fit this in? (NOTE If is YOU time that needs to move, seriously consider saying NO) What is my motive for saying yes?

ALWAYS say you want to think about it, so you have time to process taking on new things, even this will give you freedom and less pressure. If they can’t give you time, then perhaps you just say NO right away.

  1. ASK for help: Or Delegate. What can someone else be doing for you? Giving jobs that don’t light you up, or asking others for help with children, chores or tasks can give others the opportunity to do something nice for you OR something they love doing! Instead of seeing it as weakness, see it as allowing others to work in their strengths.
  • You can pay people, barter time or ask a favour, depending on what it is there is always a way to get some help with the things that are on your plate that you can’t get rid of.
  • This frees you up to get on with the things that energise you and are part of your overall purpose in life.
  • I don’t like housework, I like getting help with this on a regular basis and giving chores to my kids, does this mean I never do it? NO, It all just doesn’t land on me and that feels good.

Final note: YOU are important, that is why they say in the flight emergency briefing put YOUR OWN oxygen mask on first before attending to children, WHY? Because if you stop breathing you are NO good to anyone.

You have stuff to do in this world that only you can do, and when you are living in balance to the best of your ability most of the time you are WAY more effective, productive, have better health, relationships and enjoy life rather than just get through each day.

Yours in freedom


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Business lessons from the dojo #2

Lifelong learning, be open and willing.

Opportunities for growth in performance, through teaching and in conflict (combat)

“I never lose; I only win or I learn” Anon

There are many Kata (detailed choreographed patterns of combat movements practiced and performed either solo or in pairs) in our style and other styles that have a ‘saying’ attached or a quiet understanding about them that you will never perfect them, you will always be learning at another level, sometimes sensei will say “It takes your whole life to perfect this Kata”

It is about being and becoming your ‘best self’

You may find this idea or belief daunting, especially as our body gets older, stiffer, and less resilient to injury and fatigue. I have begun to understand this as more of a concept than a fact, it is more about mind-set and attitude, which I spoke about in my last blog, than it is about the technical facts.

If we accept the belief that perfection is a ‘lifelong’ pursuit then what we are open to is growth and learning. We are teachable, we come to the training session understanding that we will learn something new about ourselves that day, sometimes the learning is painful and requires discomfort, other times is a liberating and more like a breakthrough we have been working on getting for a while.

This acceptance serves our practice best when we are open to correction, coaching and change.

Business is the same, sometimes this is referred to as a growth mind set or weather someone is ‘teachable’ or ‘coachable’ or not.

I believe if we are always open to learning and growth ourselves then our businesses can’t help but grow, and like training in martial arts, some of this growth is challenging, uncomfortable and a little painful.

In martial arts as in business there are many components that lead to success, here are some of the ways I have found opportunities to grow:

  1. Performance of Kata, technically you can be on the button, get every move right, directions, hand positions, leg positions, even timing, but the head instructor may say your energy was low or poor, therefore leaving your performance lacking.

In business this could be a sales call or presentation that your next client was coming from, you could get the technicalities right, you could nail the details, the product or service knowledge was sound and on the button, but if the engagement or energy isn’t’ right you can lose the sale.

This can also come in the form customer or client feedback, all feedback is good! Even if it is an unhappy customer or worse, a complaint. Feedback gives us the opportunity to learn, change and grow.

  1. Teaching other students in the dojo can provide BIG learning opportunities, because everyone learns differently, there are different ages and fitness levels, so many factors come into play when we are trying to pass on knowledge and experience. We have to learn to adapt and re frame where needed to improve understanding. There is also an unwritten rule in martial arts, your students’ progress is a reflection of your ability to teach. I also find that I learn more about my own practice when I have to teach it, because I have to answer questions and remember the details on how to get from one point to the next, sometimes after many years of practice things become automatic and it is good to go back and break it down for someone else to learn.

Many businesses have staff, employees or contractors, where they are required to pass on information, knowledge and training. Then there are businesses like mine, where I spend 80% of my team coaching, teaching and training others in skills around running businesses. The same challenges and rules apply here, different ‘filters’ create different beliefs and experiences create understandings. I can have a room with 12 business owners in it, and everyone in that room has a different style of learning, different abilities, strengths etc… My challenge is to always be adaptable and open to learning various ways of saying the same thing, to facilitate the change they are looking for.

  1. Sparring (fighting) for points, is a minefield of learning opportunities, learning a about your strengths and how to maximise those, how to out-think your opponent, thinking on your feet, expecting the unexpected, being in the moment (Focus), being aware of your surroundings, adaptable. Taking a HIT, you have two choices to call the fight and get out or choose to regroup, re focus and learn how to move quicker, block faster. I am short and small, I have learned that can be in my favor, speed will win over strength 90% of the time, so my practice has always been about getting faster, and smarter, this is still a work in progress always, but as long as I stay open to learning in this arena I will improve and get better.

The business parallel to this is conflict, in a growing business it is inevitable, if you are not experiencing it you probably are not growing much. Hiring staff and contractors provide incredible opportunities to grow in this area, you are in the best place to practice some of those things mentioned above, learning about maximising your strengths, expecting the unexpected, as in karate sparring, with staff and contractors you have the involvement of another human being who you can’t control or sometimes predict their actions or responses, so staying alert, being adaptable, and learning to improve every time.

Some business owners avoid conflict the like plague, if you avoid something that makes you uncomfortable, for whatever reason, you will remain uncomfortable with it.

It is not just as a manager of people you will find opportunities for growth here, also with client relationships, networking, anything that involves communicating and relating to others.

It is entirely possible to have a conflict situation and to come out at the end still in good relationship with that person or group, IF it is handled well.

Sparring is the same, you can have a really good ‘fight’ with an opponent in a controlled environment and even if there is a winner, both can come out feeling that it was a good match, fair, well controlled and well managed.

Closing Tips:

In every situation ask yourself, “What can I learn about myself in this moment or today that will improve me for next time?”

Be open to feedback, coaching, and growth always

Here is to your growth and pursuit of your ‘best self’


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Am I enough?


I have been actively pursuing this word and its meaning lately, from the perspective that we as human beings have this tendency to sell ourselves short of who we are, thinking we fall short or afraid to do so. Blowing this little box of lies wide open to change, I have had many recent occasions where I have been reminded that – I am enough!

It wasn’t always like this though and I have become increasingly aware of those around me putting themselves down, not stepping into opportunities and continuously striving to be something more than they are in a dissatisfied, missing the moment kind of way.

As a woman in business, a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, friend, sister, cousin and aunty…I have had those days where I feel like I just can’t be that ‘perfect’ everything to everyone, setting up that ‘ideal party environment’ for the negative thoughts to go to town.

“If only I was rich enough, had enough time, skinny enough, fast enough, intelligent enough, I could…… so much more, have so much more, feel so much more…….”

Don’t get me wrong, my mantra is ‘Be the best version of ME I can be today in the world’ which requires operating in a growth mind-set, open to developing my strengths, acknowledging my weakness’s and moving forward, but I have found the KEY words in my mantra are BEST and CAN.

One day, not so long ago, I had a revelation. That each day I set about being that best version of ME in the world, is about doing the BEST I CAN, with the resources, understanding and knowledge I have right now.

As a recovering self-perfectionist,  qualified ‘over achiever’, coupled with a competitive,  and ambitious nature, this ‘revelation’ has released me, most days from the need to be perfect, to be everything to everyone and instead to see each day as an opportunity to LOVE,  LIVE, LEARN and GROW.

My faith has helped me make some sense of this life I have been given and my reason for being born, and I do believe that we are all born for a reason, to be ourselves , bring our talents, our abilities and our unique gifts to the world around us.

Today, I am acknowledging and celebrating that I am enough, and I choose to be the BEST version of ME that I CAN be in the world, with what I currently know and have.

I started this change by noticing when these negative thoughts were trying to pitch tents in my head, and just quietly repeated to myself “I am enough, I have enough time to do the things I need to do today, I have enough resources and information to be the BEST version of ME I CAN be in the world around me, today”

Those thoughts still creep up on me sometimes, but now instead of catching them when they are pitching tents, I am catching them before they even unpack the tents.

For those of you who relate to parts of my journey on this, give yourself a break, celebrate who you are and acknowledge you are doing the best what you have and know today.

Press in, enjoy the journey, find joy in the moments, LOVE who you are, be kind, strive for learning not perfection and remember to laugh!

We have one life, why settle for less than who you were born to be.

Jen x



Taking care of ME – a VITAL and necessary thing

Having a busy family life, managing my own business and my husband’s can be hectic and if I am not careful can lead to mild burn out or more. SELF care is something I have to mindfully add to my schedule, as a woman, mother, wife and business woman, I am often sucked into the daily vacuum of caring for everyone else first, leaving little time for me.

What I have learned over the years, is that I need to be at my best in order to care for everyone else well, in order to do my work well and in order to experience energy and joy from my journey.

My opinion of self care, involves our ‘whole’ selves, our Mind, Body and Soul – if we look after one and neglect the others it is a bit like having a house and only ever cleaning the lounge….

My life, partly due to personality, who I am in the world and what I choose to do for ‘work’ , is full of giving of myself to others, so it is VITAL (not a luxury) that I find space to receive and refill my tank.

Being at ‘ones’ best can mean many things and the answers will be individual, here are some things that have worked for me:

  • Schedule ‘ME’ time into my diary, make it a physical BLOCK of time that can’t be moved or added to. Be realistic about this time and make sure that you can make it a consistent thing. I do it ahead of time for a week, I make it work, we can always make time for the things we value the most.

I recall this man telling me that every time he went on holiday, once a year from his crazy busy life, he got sick, I have heard others agree that this is the ‘norm’ they know of. I had to ask the question, WHY? There are probably many parts to the answer, some scientific, but it seems obvious that it may have something to do with the fact that he had neglected to rest and refuel on a regular basis, so his body just had to STOP him in his tracks, its almost as if some people have to get sick to allow themselves to stop or rest.

  •  I have adopted a ‘little and often’ principal to rest and restoration, here is how it might look over a month

Do exercise I enjoy at least 4 times per week, from 30 mins of walking – training in my sport

Put my feet up even if just for 15-30 mins some time in the day, usually after I have picked the kids up and they are eating afternoon tea, I will make a hot drink and sit.

Take one full week day off a fortnight, no I don’t appear to ‘have’ the available space in my diary and my to do lists are just as long but I MAKE the time, make this day all about me, even if it is catching up on sleep, taking a bath, reading a book. Because I have a big busy family I do this on a week day, I can because I work for myself, but this day can be any day and if a whole day won’t work what about a half day or 3 hours somewhere?

I used to be ‘all or nothing’, if I couldn’t fit in an hour work out I just wouldn’t bother, this way of thinking was not useful to my overall health and well being, so I had to adjust and realized that a small amount on a regular basis was just as beneficial if not more

  •  I have come to understand the art of mindfulness in all areas of my life, what I eat, what I say yes or no to (new commitments), how I feel, what my body is telling me it needs.

This is a bit of buzz word right now, but actually a very powerful thing to start to practice, it is just about becoming aware, rather than just repeating habits like a robot, stopping and just being aware the situation, hearing the amazing signals our body gives us to tell us what it needs at any given moment and then responding when possible.

  •  Being kind to myself, both in treatment but also inner dialogue, I began to notice my inner chatter and at times it was not very nice, I then set about becoming my own best friend.

And finally, deep diaphragmatic breathing often, breathing from the belly, this tells our body everything is OK, when things seem frantic, endless chores pile up, kids are scrappy and loud, my work ‘to do list’ is off the charts, emails are calling, deadlines pending – I BREATHE, and as I do I repeat ‘there is plenty of time to get what need done’ – I smile, laugh and sing to my favorite music.

I just take the pressure off myself, the results? Actually more productive, relaxed, happy and definitely more joy in all the small every day things.

Here is to your ‘self care’ – Breathe, enjoy and love yourself


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