Last weekend, I met a friend at the beach for an early Saturday morning swim. On the walk there and back without realising it, I greeted several people and also struck up a conversation with a couple of them.
My friend asked, “How come you know so many people?” and my response was, “I don’t. I’ve never met them. I’m just saying G’day, and some people love to chat,” myself included.
Then it dawned on me; I do this because I grew up in the country. That's just what you do when you’re from the country. I went on to tell my friend that as a kid growing up in a small town, when you walk past someone, the unwritten rule was to ‘make sure you establish eye contact well in advance, smile like a lunatic, nod and then say hello.’
"Growing up in suburban Sydney, you did the complete opposite when you walked past people. No eye contact, maintain a neutral facial expression, and no saying hello – that would just be creepy!", my mate said to me as we laughed.
Recollecting as a kid, whenever my mother was driving into our local town in Gippsland, she would wave to every person that drove past, even the odd car that we didn't recognise!
When I asked, "Mum, who was that?" she would say, "I don't know. But just in case!"
How beautiful is that? To acknowledge and engage with people regardless, Just In Case.
When it’s the weekend and I’m not in work mode, I’m doing something in nature (like going for a beach swim) – does it get any better than that? It’s during these moments, free from distractions and devices, that I'm at my best when it comes to being present and connected.
However, the big question is: What about all the other times?
Last week I was facilitating a series of ‘Face-to-Face’ workshops around Australia.
It was an intense week filled with travel, preparation, presentations and pack downs. I was working really hard to ensure that I was completely present, focused, and engaged with everyone in the audience.
The workshops were going exceptionally well, and the participants were loving the content. Yet, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the mountain of work waiting for me… People wanting responses to their messages and emails before they could move forward and progress things.
It was Friday, my last session before flying home. We were taking our final break before wrapping it all up and as I walked off the stage, a participant locked eyes with me and said, "I need your help! I'm loving this workshop, but my toxic workplace person is my boss – they are a nightmare – what do I do?"
This was no simple question. It warranted more time than our quick break allowed but looking into her eyes, I knew that it deserved a thoughtful response, not just a cliché answer - yikes!
Up till this moment, my mind was totally focusing on grabbing a coffee, quickly responding to my buzzing phone, and making a quick bathroom break before resetting for the final act.
Honestly, I was secretly thinking, "Really, right now?" and silently wishing she had brought this up earlier in the session.
Plus, out of the corner of my eye I could see that the last of the muffins were quickly disappearing. I was thinking to myself, “I will seriously tackle that guy if he goes back for a third!”
It was in that moment I thought to myself… my phone messages could wait, I didn’t really need that muffin, and I was already well-prepared for the final act. So, I eyeballed her back and said, “That’s sounds horrendous, tell me more”. And she did…
I couldn't help but think that if my Mum was there watching, she would have asked, "Who was that you were talking to so intently?" To which I would have replied, "A new client that I don't really know yet, but she's really struggling to navigate a difficult situation."
So, together we explored some options to try and transform her situation that might help in that moment, ‘Just In Case.’
Have a wonderful week.
CEO - Lead Educator
Over 220 Adelaideans got up early to attend Des Penny’s last Leadership Breakfast Series, Leading & Living with Insight. Congratulations Des on an amazing keynote. Next stop, Perth and then Brisbane. If you are in either of these cities, there is still time to register, so book your team today.
Face-to-Face Creating A Positive Culture series is on the again! Richard Dore is passionate about removing dysfunction from the workplace and creating positive workplace cultures. Perth and Brisbane are to follow, register today.
Last week marked the conclusion of MG Motor Australia's ‘Emerging Leader’ In-House Virtual Series. Sarah and ‘Hoppo’ finished out with the Group Coaching portion of the program, solidifying the main leadership models and concepts from their 5 sessions (Emerging Leaders + Moving from Busyness to Effectiveness). 😀 👍
If you're looking for a podcast that will help you become a better leader and grow your business, we highly recommend Let's Go - Let's Grow with Des Penny. Whether you're a seasoned leader or just starting out in your career, you're sure to find valuable insights and inspiration in these conversations. So, why not give them a listen today and subscribe by clicking on the link below?
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