Create a Safe Workplace

“To get to the next level of greatness depends on the quality of the culture, which depends on the quality of the relationship, which depends on the quality of the conversations,

Everything happens through conversation!!!”

Judith E. Glaser

If I asked you who the best Boss, you have had was – could you name him or her?

If I asked you who the worst Boss, you ever had was – I know you could name him or her.


Judith E. Glaser whom I worked with for 3 years taught me the importance of “changing the conversation in the workplace” In my work I see too many broken people, who have been undermined, unsupported and not recognised for the work that they do. In world where we are so fixated on our technology – real conversations are not taking place.

We are asked to do more, be more and know more. We feel we are connected and yet we don’t speak to the people sitting around us.

Human beings thrive on being appreciated, valued and supported. When the work environment feels threatening, it brings out fears that will be experienced as rejection. While we may not see the impact, a negative work environment dampens down people’s “voices” and they don’t speak up easily. Environments, certain words and lack of transparency trigger old memories. By changing the environment to a safe and supportive one, we activate TRUST networks in the Brain.

People feel safe, act more confident and engage with one another in an innovative and collaborative way. They are more engaged and productivity is increased.

I recently read an article in HBR by Emma Seppälä, Ph.D., is Author of The Happiness Track, and Kim Cameron, Ph.D., Business Author of Positive Leadership and Practicing Positive Leadership.

I have gently edited this for the purpose of sharing the 5 tips from their article “Proof that a Positive Culture is more productive.”

  1. Foster social connections. A large number of empirical studies confirm that positive social connections at work produce highly desirable results. For example, people get sick less often, recover twice as fast from surgery, experience less depression, learn faster and remember longer, tolerate pain and discomfort better, display more mental acuity, and perform better on the job.
  1. Show empathy. As a boss, you have a huge impact on how your employees feel. Research found that, when employees recalled a boss that had been unkind or un-empathic, they showed increased activation in areas of the brain associated with avoidance and negative emotion while the opposite was true when they recalled an empathic boss.
  1. Go out of your way to help. Ever had a manager or mentor who took a lot of trouble to help you when he or she did not have to? Chances are you have remained loyal to that person to this day.  When leaders are not just fair but self-sacrificing, their employees are actually moved and inspired to become more loyal and committed themselves. As a consequence, they are more likely to go out of their way to be helpful and friendly to other employees, thus creating a self-reinforcing cycle. Daan Van Knippenberg of Rotterdam School of Management shows that employees of self-sacrificing leaders are more cooperative because they trust their leaders more. They are also more productive and see their leaders as more effective and charismatic.
  1. Encourage people to talk to you – especially about their problems.Not surprisingly, trusting that leader has your best interests at heart improves employee performance. Employees feel safe rather than fearful. Fostering a culture of safety i.e. in which leaders are inclusive, humble, and encourage their staff to speak up or ask for help, leads to better learning and performance outcomes. Rather than creating a culture of fear of negative consequences, feeling safe in the workplace helps encourage the spirit of experimentation so critical for innovation.
  1. When you know a leader is committed to operating from a set of values based on interpersonal kindness, he or she sets the tone for the entire organization. In Give and Take, Wharton professor Adam Grant demonstrates that leader kindness and generosity are strong predictors of team and organizational effectiveness.

A positive work climate also leads to a positive workplace culture which, again, boosts commitment, engagement, and performance. Happier employees make for not only a more congenial workplace but for improved customer service. As a consequence, a happy and caring culture at work not only improves employee well-being and productivity but also improved client health outcomes and satisfaction.

In sum, a positive workplace is more successful over time because it increases positive emotions and well-being. This, in turn, improves people’s relationships with each other and amplifies their abilities and their creativity. It buffers against negative experiences such as stress, thus improving employees’ ability to bounce back from challenges and difficulties while bolstering their health. And, it attracts employees, making them more loyal to the leader and to the organization as well as bringing out their best strengths. When organizations develop positive, virtuous cultures they achieve significantly higher levels of organizational effectiveness — including financial performance, customer satisfaction, productivity, and employee engagement.


What’s In It For Me For 2019

Ever heard of the Radio Station WIFM? A term used by Personal Development and Sales Training guru’s back in the 90’s – I still hear people say it today.

What’s In It For Me? let’s turn that into What do I want for Me?

After having a wonderful holiday with my family for Christmas and New Year, I have spent this week working from home planning 2019 – let me say that there has been no shortage of suggestion flying through the emails on how to plan for success, how to make it different, along with an enormous amount of planners and diaries on offer – interestingly they are all paper planners and no electronic ones on offer – funny that. It seems that not everyone plans and schedules on their devices.

There really is no excuse – there is so much information out there to help you plan, just ask google..

This year I have chosen to use the Goal Digger Planner – I found it last year and it worked really well for me, I have everything in one place, my goals, my vision board and my bucket list for the year and an easy method to keep track of it all.

The book I chose to read for inspiration is Robin Sharma’s 5am Club I have been following Robin for years and love his work. The first book I read of his was, Leader Who has no title you don’t need a title to be a leader. The 5 am Club offers you the idea that the first hour of your day is magic – it sets up your day for huge productivity and focus. I haven’t quite got to 5am but have managed 5.30 this week. It is a good read, very motivating and I highly recommend it.

What ever you choose to do to start your year on the right trajectory – take the time to get clear about what you want, how you are going to make this year different to last year, how you want to show up, how you will connect with others and how you will contribute. If you find it hard to do on your own – get someone to help you. The hardest question my clients find hard to answer is “What do you want”

If professional and personal development is on your list for 2019 – we have our workshops beginning on 6 March in Canberra and 13 March In Sydney – more information will be following in the next few weeks.

I will leave you with a quote from – Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor

“Do not live as if you have ten thousand years left. Your fate hangs over you. While you are still living, while you still exist on this Earth, strive to become a genuinely great person”

Happy New Year – I wish you prosperity, good health and love

Self Esteem through Self Awareness

Some call it self-esteem, some call it confidence, some believe it comes from Self-Awareness or Self-Control. Self-esteem flows from your self-image, your overall opinion of yourself– how you feel about your abilities and limitations. When your self-esteem is healthy, people feel good when they are around you and you feel more confident around others around others.

Self-esteem plays a significant role in your motivation and success. When your survival needs of Health, Safety and Financial Stability are taken care of and family and friendships are strong, you develop a strong sense of worth – your confident, self reliant and very resourceful.

Low self-esteem may hold you back from succeeding at work because you don’t believe yourself to be capable of success. you may feel that you don’t have enough for your survival needs or that you are not loved enough which leads to a feeling of not being enough.

When you find your tribe, you stop comparing yourself;  you may aspire to be like others but you have your own unique thumbprint that cannot be changed to be like anyone else’s. The sooner we learn to be our unique selves, build on our own experiences and share our own stories the sooner we start to build our own self-esteem and confidence.

You probably have a good sense of who you are if you exhibit the following signs:       

  • Ability to say no
  • Positive outlook
  • Ability to see overall strengths and weaknesses and accept them
  • Negative experiences don’t impact overall perspective
  • Ability to express your needs
  • Confidence

To increase your awareness around self-esteem, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much do I really like myself?
  2. How significant do I think my life is?
  3. How worthy do I believe I am of other people’s attention?
  4. How truly confident of my abilities am I?
  5. Are others as important to me as me?
Most of what you need is right there within you, waiting for you to tap into it. The kind of high self-esteem that attracts others to you is pure authenticity – being more of the person you already are, without the mental tricks that get in your way.
Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to recognise and master your feelings, and inner thoughts that affect your behaviour. Learning how to recognise and control these behaviours is a big first step.

Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to keep these impulses and emotions in check during stressful situations, like having difficult conversations or walking through that door to your next meeting or having the ability to control the conversation in your head – yes you know the one….

Emotional Self Awareness

Ever get that uneasy feeling in your gut – not sure what it’s all about? Try and ignore it and it will keep coming back until you pay it some attention.

Understanding these different emotions is being “Emotionally Self–Aware”

Daniel Goleman the Author of Emotional Intelligence – a book he wrote over 20 years ago – says in his new research:

“Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to understand your own emotions and their effects on your performance. You know what you are feeling and why – and how it helps or hurts what you are trying to do. You sense how others see you and so align your self-image with ta larger reality. You have an accurate sense of your strengths and limitations, which gives you a realistic self-confidence. It also gives your clarity on your values and sense of purpose, so you can be more decisive when you set a course of action”.- Read the Article here

You have the best skills to do your job – do you have the skills to manage yourself and your relationships?

Emotional Self Awareness isn’t something you achieve once and then you’re done –  you make a conscious decision to continually strive for self-awareness

Jim Rohn once said:

“the more you work on yourself – the more the world around you changes.”

My next “Power of Self Awareness” workshop is in Canberra on the 27th of September 2018

Personal Power

When I first read Jack Canfield’s book – The Success Principles – the very first principle hit home for me big time – it was that we need to take 100% responsibility for where we are in our lives right now!  This includes your level of achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings – everything!

Doing this exercise, it became very clear to me where I had and had not taken 100% responsibility. When I looked at the results, it wasn’t easy to admit or accept responsibility.Most of us have been conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we don’t like. We blame our parents our bosses, our friends, the media, the government, the economy, the weather, our clients, our spouse – in fact anything we can pin the blame on – not looking at where the real problem is – ourselves.

Dr Robert Resnick has a very simple formula that makes the idea of 100% responsibility even clearer.  Here it is.

E + R = O

(Event + Response = Outcome)

To explain it simply, you can change your responses (R) to the event (E) the way things are, until you get the outcomes (O) that you want – this is the formula to Personal Power. Personal Power is the first on the list – assuming full responsibility for your life and taking control of the things that you have the ability to change. It is about taking responsibility for the way you think, the way that you communicate and how you show up in this world.

Personal Power
 accepts that although we can’t always control everything that happens to us, we have the free will and conscience to control our responses.
Here are three simple questions you can ask yourself to measure your level of Personal Power is:
  1. Can I always choose my response to other peoples behavior or events?
  2. How much control over my life do I really have?
  3. Do I feel that I am the architect of my life or is someone else designing it for me?
  4. Have I created habits that are not in line with my values and principles?
Personal Power is about the power we have over ourselves. It is not about the power that we wish to have over others. The importance of personal power is this – if you can’t take control of yourself, the inner you, then the people  around you will sense that. If your thoughts do not match your values you will never come across as being authentic.
If you take responsibility for your personal power you can increase your freedom, and take control of how you respond to life’s events, which in turn creates higher self esteem and confidence.
If you would like to increase your personal power through high self-awareness, have more control over your thoughts rather than your thoughts having control over you and increase your circle of influence – simply book into our next workshop “The Power of Self-Awareness” 

New dates for 2018 workshops have been added.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how I can help you create your personal power please contact me.

The Power of Being Remembered

How good does it feel when you go to your favourite restaurant or special coffee place and you are greeted warmly and addressed by your name – you feel connected and remembered.

As human beings, we crave communication and connection that is focused without distraction. Individual connections bring us closer together, it invites others into our world and together we build trust and meaningful relationships. In the workplace, strong connections make us better employees, better co-workers and motivating leaders.

Today there is so much disruption impacting virtually every industry and every aspect of our personal and professional lives. The way we are working is constantly changing and we are being asked to do more, be more, and know more.

We’re experts in reading other people’s actions, and other people certainly know how to read ours – But how well can we read our own actions?  Our actions say so much about who we are, yet we spend very little time observing them. If you want to be remembered for your actions or your behaviour, they must be aligned with your intentions

our actions undermine or underline who we are.

The only thing that you can control is how you show up in this world. You have the freedom of how you want to be remembered, how you respond to others.  You can choose to be reactive – driven by feelings, circumstances and your environment, or proactive – driven by your values, carefully thought about, selected values – YOU choose.

If you’re not certain how you are being perceived or remembered or how you would like to be?  – do the exercise below, be honest and open with your responses.

Intention + Connection = Impact

Ask yourself these questions and note your answers:

I – Identity – who am I

M – Mind-set – What are my thoughts

P – Purpose – Why do I do what I do

A – Action – How do I behave

– Communication – What are the stories I tell

– Trust – How do I build trust

Screenwriter Leo Rosten pulled everything together when he said

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible and compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made a difference that you lived at all”

Live with purpose, Live by Priority, and Live for Productivity

The Power of Being Heard

The way you show up to have a conversation is how others will show up – I explain this to every client I work with. Let’s think about this – we are all experts at personalising situations. Remember the last time your boss or your colleague or your spouse showed up and you knew immediately what kind of mood they were in? They didn’t have to say a single word, and yet, your immediate impulse was to check in with yourself – what have I done?

We’re experts on reading other people’s actions, and others know how to read ours. But how aware are we of our own actions?

Dr Jo Dispenza in his book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” explains it this way – We have 60 – 70 thousand thoughts a day – 90% of which are the same as the day before.
The same thoughts will always lead to the same choices – the same choices create the same behaviours – the same behaviours will produce the same experience – the same experience will create the same emotions and those same emotions and feelings drive the same thoughts.
If you keep doing that for a long enough period, your biology, your neuro circuitry, your genetics, your emotional state, and your internal chemistry literally become a reflection of your mind, so that that Identity, your personality, is made up of how you think, how you act and how you feel.
So if you feel you are not being heard, your thoughts, your feelings, and your behaviours need to change. 

Others will listen when they feel connected to you, and your connection begins within the first few seconds of coming together. If your thoughts and intentions don’t align with your actions, these signals will be decoded by others at a very low level of trust.

Neuroscience now shows that within 7 seconds  the  brain determines if you are a friend or foe based on your body language, which is created by your thoughts and feelings – negative thoughts – negative body language – positive thoughts – positive body language.  The way you show up will be the way others show up. 

Your ability to be heard also depends on your habits of connection, Julian Treasure in his TED talk – “How to speak so people will listen” calls these habits the 7 Deadly sins.

  • Judging – speaking ill of others
  • Negativity – negative people are hard to listen to
  • Complaining – viral misery – listen to the story you tell 
  • Excuses –always blaming others
  • Exaggeration – over embellishing the truth which ends up becoming lies
  • Dogmatism –  My way – confusion of fact with opinion

Your habits of speaking powerfully can change your relationships and influence those around you.

  • Honesty –  being true, straight and clear
  • Authenticity – be yourself, why try and be someone else
  • Integrity – be your word – Your actions tell the truth
  • Love – wishing people well and not judging

To Be Seen: The Power of Visibility

Welcome to the first of a series of articles on Being Seen, Heard and Remembered – creating the Power of Personal Presence.

Considering that Visibility (your look) is 55 percent of your communication – we communicate without saying a single word. Visibility starts in your head – how you see yourself – what you think of yourself, your abilities and your confidence. Visibility starts with you. Others will see what you feel.

The Power of Visibility is incredibly undervalued by many business owners, CEO’s, executives and managers – in fact if you feel you have been overlooked for that position you have wanted, or feeling great work you do is not being appreciated, attracting that client into your business, or even meeting that person you want to attract into your life. Ask yourself who you see in the mirror and then start observing what others might see.

Personal Presence is not only about what you wear, the colour of your hair or matching your shoes with your bag – yes, the outer you is as important as the inner you – so where do you begin?

Being seen is about your whole look – self-awareness, your body language, your posture, your mindset, your thoughts and the stories you tell yourself. When someone first meets you, what is the perception you create in their minds – does it match the perception you have of yourself? 

Your level of confidence plays a big part in being seen. Think about the people that have stood out in your life, what is it about them that caused you to notice them. Who do you look up to and why, and then think about what you would like to adopt from them.

Start becoming an observer of your own thoughts and actions and catch yourself out behaving in ways that are not serving you or are aligned with your goals, personal and professional. What experiences are you holding yourself back from?

Here are a few questions you might like to reflect on:

  • How happy are you with the job you have right now?
  • What is the mindset you have adopted?
  • What are the stories that you tell yourself about you?
  • Do you blame others for what you are missing out on?
  • Do you consider yourself confident?
  • Do you keep up to date and lead by example?
  • Do you have attractive body language?
  • Do you have a professional image?
  • What are you known for?
  • Do I take the time to plan my wardrobe for my personal/professional life?

If you can’t say yes to at least 5 or 6 of these questions, perhaps it’s time to get some clarity around how visible you are or would like to be.

Coming up:  The Power of Being Heard

Ondina runs workshops on: 

The Power of Self Awareness

Self Awareness is about getting you seen, heard and remembered for what you do.

Self-awareness allows us to challenge these 3 areas of our life:
  • How you LOOK – First impressions, body language, dress, passion, energy, environment.
  • How you SOUND – Voice quality, word choices, and your ability to have meaningful conversations
  • How you ACT – deals with attitude and character, communication style, habits and behaviors.

95% of what you do and don’t do is determined by your habits.

Being Self-Aware allows you to take control of your thinking, rather than allowing your thinking to take control of you.

BOOK NOW – Sydney – June 7th

BOOK NOW – Canberra – June 28th

How to handle going back to work (without crying at your desk)

Listening to the ABC early last week, a conversation about going back to work and why people are getting that feeling of fatigue and lethargy caught my attention – I was surprised when the conversation led to there being a scientific term for these feelings “Social Jet Lag”

I could relate to this feeling in my first few days back at work so I decided to investigate this further – I found a couple of articles on the subject which I wanted to share with you – because if you didn’t take out time to plan while you were on holiday you may not be inclined to do it in the first week back at work!


The Telegraph UK  Claire Cohen

“Returning to our normal routine of early nights and waking up in the dark can induce what’s been dubbed ‘social jet lag’

The first step is to embrace the blues. Because they’re not your fault. Researchers have found that the negative emotions associated with the end of the festive period, plus two weeks of irregular sleep patterns (not to mention irregular breakfast patterns) can throw our body-clocks out of synch and make us feel jet-lagged.

Returning to our normal routine of early nights and waking up early can induce what’s been dubbed ‘social jet lag’. Symptoms might include: feeling sluggish, struggling to sleep, indigestion, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, clumsiness, lack of energy and general fatigue.

“Don’t grumble about the end of the holidays, or get caught up in your colleagues’ stories of insane parties or hilarious new year’s resolutions.”

 “Try to arrive at your desk in the morning with all the positive mental attitude you can muster.

“Be organised the night before – choose your clothes for the next day, find your train pass and work security pass, step away from the wine and cheese and go to bed early,” she explains.

Louisa Symington-Mills

“Don’t use the period post- festive break as an excuse to slack. It won’t look good.”

read full article


Going back to work?

Beware the ‘social jet lag’ that will leave you sluggish and sleepy

Social jet lag is described as the difference between biological time and external requirements.

As well as affecting adults, it also causes a problem for teenagers, who will find it difficult to wake up for school
Taking the whole Christmas and new year period off work could leave you with a type of jet lag when you return, scientists say.

They claim the extra-long festive break interrupts our body clocks and leaves them with symptoms similar to having travelled to a different time zone.

Read more

For the first week back at work, ask yourself this one question:

 “What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Gary Keller from his book The One Thing.


In our Self Mastery workshops, we talk about six areas of focus

  • Your Values – who you are, what you hold dear, what underlies the decisions are all connected to your values
  • Your Intentions – decide what you really want
  • Your Thoughts – change your thoughts – change your life
  • Your Conversations – your words can change worlds
  • Your Habits – we first make our habits, then our habits make us.
  • Your Accountability – your actions tell the truth

When you can Master yourself, you are well on your way to mastering other things in your life.


A Drive to be More – the third Characteristic of Personal Presence

Following on from High self-esteem,  the third characteristic of a powerful signature presence is drive.

We all know someone who is driven.  We recognise it as passion, total focus, high achievement, and commitment. I believe that different things drive people; some are driven by money, and can be seen continually striving to earn more and have more.  Others can be driven by significance, their feeling of importance, meaning and substance. Power can be a driver for status, achieving a powerful position in work and in life. Power can personal, like having the power over a situation, another person or thing, a habit they want to conquer, or an obsession to get the job done.

A drive to be more is not just about being driven in the sense of money significance, power or status.  It is about having the self-awareness and the drive to be better tomorrow than you are today. It is also about forming habits to get you closer to your goals, accepting responsibility, continually rising above the limitations you put on yourself and moving out of mediocrity.

A drive to be more comes from having a sense of purpose, a vision for a better future and a strong respect for yourself and others.

How self-aware are you of your habits, your behaviour, your thoughts and your stories? What would others say about you? Do you ever get curious about how others perceive you?

If you have continual negative or limiting thoughts about yourself in your conscious mind (yes that is the mind chatter, or that voice in your head that narrates everyday life) – then your subconscious is led to believe that this is true. Your subconscious is a very useful tool, but cannot differentiate between a thought and a fact, so the result is that the negative thought or limiting belief becomes ‘true’.  Now your subconscious mind will help you ‘live down’ to that.  Wouldn’t it be much more helpful, useful and positive to use our conscious and subconscious mind to ‘live up’ to things instead??

To discover what drives you – ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well do I know myself?
  • How important to me is a sense of continual personal development?
  • How much time and money do I invest in myself to develop my skills?
  • How important to me is living a fulfilling life?
  • How often do I take the time plan my life, or do I just live from day to day?
  • Can I see beyond the limiting beliefs that are holding me back?
  • How can I change my thoughts so that I am living up to the things I want?

Are you ready to put your life into drive and create a signature Personal Presence?

Join me at my upcoming one day intensive workshop The Power of Personal Presence being held on 7th September in Canberra and 14th September in Sydney.

Resource: James Scouller