Sunday, 14 June 2015

#EdVentures Part 2: Out of your control but YOU control your reaction.

This #EdVenture has pushed me out of my comfort zone, even before I left Australia. Typically my husband organises all the documentation for travelling overseas (passports with 3 children from Australia, Canada and United States, at times causes complications). I do all the research but he makes the bookings. This time, I did it ALL! This is a very time consuming exercise and at times, a little stressful. No matter how well you plan, some things are out of your control. I was very interested to watched people's reactions when we had engine issues that caused major delays and many to miss connecting flights. How we react to things out of our control is YOUR choice. Yes I was disappointed, I won't deny that. But I've leant to try and put things in perspective. Engine failure is better to occur before takeoff than over the ocean. What's the saying?... Make lemonade when given lemons. Perspective is key!

I've had quite a few things to do before I left work. I had my checklist. I was on schedule. I was on top of things. Reports were written and proofed, presentations were shared, and I believed I was balancing my mother/ wife/ daughter responsibilities. I told others, 'Nothing could to take me off this high'. I can't honestly remember the last time I'd felt this excited. I'd worked hard and been consistent in my planning and approach but everything fell apart when I has some worrying news about a family member's health. That was a tough moment emotionally. It was something out of my control and I couldn't fix it.

Fortunately I have a husband who is very rational and calming. He provided the broader perspective. Sometimes, emotions can over-ride reality. My wonderful colleagues have always supported me professionally, and now they were supporting me on an emotional level. Was this a surprise? Not to me! But it made me realise that we're a TEAM, not just colleagues. My team went above and beyond both professionally and personally. 

There are also people who you may work with but not so much on a one-to-one basis. Their presence makes work a more joyous place. I am reminded that kind words and gestures, no matter how large or small, make the difference.

The course I'm engaging in at Harvard asked for a success and a challenge as a leader. The actions of my team this week confirmed my idea of a successful team. Collaborating with a goal, does not make you a team.  An effective team requires time, commitment, compassion, empathy, mutual respect, trust and care. I believe these essential components are more related to your personality and mindset. I hear some argue that this is just 'being professional', but is it authentic? Without this authentic foundation, you are merely colleagues working together. Many skills and knowledge are required in a successful team. But I believe those skills and knowledge can always be developed (Dweck & growth mindset). In my opinion, it is harder to develop the essentials required to make an effective team because they are related to personalities and values. Although you may need trust first, I believe coaching may be the answer.

Gratitude journal-
To Andrew-You are the Yin to my Yang.
To Claire & Kate-for always stepping up and being so supportive, especially this week. I appreciate you both.
To Sharryn Naylor- for your support and guidance.
To Sue, Emma & Liz-thanks for being part of Woodstock. Your positive energy is awesome!


  1. Thanks Andrea. Murphy's Law. A highly competent person giving 110 percent will have life serve up the most complex dilemmas. We all need compassionate mentors as well as ones who challenge us to be our best.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment Sharryn. I appreciate it.