What’s your story Leaine?

As a bit of a ‘rock chick’ and a big fan of Aussie and NZ bands from the 70’s and 80’s I have been really enjoying Jimmy Barnes’ (think Cold Chisel) stories of his life and how he has come to terms with his past. During lockdown he has performed over 200 home music clips with his family and friends – with all manner of songs and banter, and showing his home grown veges and roses too! Loving the sound of his new album ‘Flesh and Blood’ – some great new tracks. As part of this new album and upcoming tours he has been on several interviews. Absolutely inspiring to hear how he has come out of some dark places in his life and what that means for both work and family.

Got me thinking! Here are 4 things to reflect on.

Your past shapes you – and your business

As the oldest of 7 I grew up on a farm with a strict Catholic upbringing. Instilled into me were strong social values and work ethics. At 16 I spent a year in Johannesburg, South Africa as a Rotary Exchange student. Married at 19, 2 children by age 23, divorced at 32. A variety of jobs – banking, looking after live crayfish, working at a car-wrecking yard to name a few! I firmly believe that your past and personality shape how you interact and operate your business. These values and key traits are important to take note of – if you are having conflict between what you value and what you think you should do in business you might want to rethink your approach. Stay true to yourself.

For me this is about maintaining very high work standards – for myself, my team and my clients. As a result I am not always the right ‘fit’. It’s fine to recognise that and have the conversations to move forward, and sometimes away.

Is past trauma affecting you?

We all have ‘stuff’. Covid19 has really illustrated this. Do you need to look back on your past struggles and work through any lingering issues? You might be surprised what comes out! At the very least being aware of why you react in certain ways to situations can help you put changes in place. These can be very personal as well as work-related.

For me this is public speaking. I had an awful experience where I was presenting for someone else to a work group and got absolutely denigrated in public. I have worked on gradually improving my confidence with small groups – to be able this month present at a national conference for a much larger audiense. Feels like the right time as I am quite excited about it – rather than having an all-consuming anxiety attack!

It’s OK to ask for help

Your friends in business are always happy to help. Think about your weaker performance areas and seek out a colleague who performs well in that area. You may be able to reciprocate with some aspects that you are strong in. If you are generous with your time they will be too. You could consider a business or life coach or mentor too. And it’s OK to share with clients some of your personal situation. You might be surprised what they share back on what they are going through.

For my business this has involved a long-time friend – at times also a contractor and employee – who ‘gets’ me and is a non-judgemental sounding board and always has practical and sensible options to help me solve a problem. She used to come with me to a client pitch meeting to help with my confidence. She still hears from me regularly and helps me keep perspective.

Align your values to your business

Be clear on your ‘why’ for your business and align them to your personal life goals. What is it all about? If something isn’t working very well or you just don’t enjoy it consider letting it go. Does it bring ‘joy to your heart’? If the answer is emphatically ‘NO” then consider an exit strategy. A quarterly review of your vision and business goals can help keep you on track. It’s OK to say no to requests that don’t fit your core offering too.

This year I am working on an exciting new project – and it is involving a lot of time. To enable this I have scaled back on some services that we offer to make room. I also end engagements with clients where what they want is not what we do or are comfortable with.

What is your story? Are you comfortable sharing it with clients and your professional colleagues? Have a think about it!

And here’s a track from Jimmy Barnes’ new album – enjoy! Til the next time

Read the story on LinkedIn here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/whats-your-story-leaine-jones/