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Owning your own behaviour

07 March 2011

How busy is everybody at the moment. Everyone I speak with has so much going on. I know I have. In fact, the classic inertia associated with the first quarter of the year I abandoned.


Because I could see the mounting opportunities out there in Australia to deliver programs, seminars, forums and, of course, networking contact through ruby for women in business and corporate life. I could see that to sit back and waste them made no sense.

It means the Women's Markets team and I have arrived at the second quarter a little shell-shocked and tired but our positive sense of achievement feels unmeasurable.

And the next quarter is looking just as hectic. In my travels, speaking with partners such as Austrade and others, it's obvious that locally and globally for Australian business the opportunities are expanding and growing.

Listen to the media – the news at night, the radio, the papers – and the hype is much less positive. So where's the 'disconnect'? At what point do we have to take on board what's being reported and at what point do we put it aside because it just does not go with what we're experiencing day to day?

Learning to edit

I know I've mentioned the \"act now analyse later\" life theory. (The one I share with Natalie Isaacs from 1 million women, the web-based climate change initiative we are supporting.) But I think as a way of being it has a lot to be said for it. In anything that we do as women and in business there will be those who play up the negatives and that can detract from what we are trying to achieve. How do we learn to balance what we see and hear from other sources against what is happening in our lives? And when do you go on your feelings and ignore negative outside opinion and advice?

For me, the answer has come with experience and age, knowledge and learning... and confidence.

I am now in my mid 50s. I remember back in my 40s if I was tapped on the shoulder to be pulled up for something or receive a bit of criticism – no matter how constructive it was – I would be mortified. Now, I take what I'm being told on board, learn from it if it works for me, but, most importantly, I don't let it worry me. It's a behaviour that works in small and large-scale realities. Take the GFC. It shattered business confidence most especially overseas. In Australia it has not been as devastating, but a strong and noisy minority can do a lot to shake confidence. Just as they can when it comes to promoting women as leaders and their achievements. We all need to remain informed, and to lead effectively you need the information and the varied opinions. However, what I've come to understand is the need to churn, to take on what is necessary and to turf out what is unimportant and overly negative.

Making a difference

It's important to be passionate. If you're not committed and you've no enthusiasm, then people won't get on the train with you. Sounds pretty simple but it's amazing how many fakes I've run across and how many of us recognise instinctively when we're being defrauded. Genuine passion and inspiration will excite people and change the attitude of the most jaded team member. My passion and enthusiasm is around getting women to take the next step: stand up, be counted, increase your sphere of influence, act now – analyse later.

Next steps

For me, we as women have to realise the strength of our spheres of influence. In business it's about reading your audience and offering solutions that fit their needs. It's about gathering like-minded people together to share their experiences. It's about remaining passionate about the message you deliver and focussing on your core business.

Put aside negativity because all that does is create obstacles that halt your progress and don't cave under the pressure of those who don't believe.

Gen X&Y

My wrist watch is in being serviced.

The battery died and because it cost me a small fortune, the place I bought it from convinced me to do the full service.

Fine, I thought. I can exist without it for a month.

But, I'm lost.

I'm of the generation that likes to look at my wrist for the time. I want the timepiece on show and I want to be able to pass it onto the grandkids, which I live in hope of getting one day.

So, at the moment I'm always asking someone the time and they're always pulling out their phone. So foreign for me: the phone as wristwatch – it stops me dead every time. Like books on Amazon's Kindle or Apple's new iPad, give me the paper version. Which reminds me: the Sydney Writers' Festival is on from May 15 and we are again involved with its exciting program of events. A number of gifted and talented authors are making their debuts this year along with the new Artistic Director Chip Rolley and I would urge anyone who loves a good story – no matter in what medium it comes to you – to get down to something in the week long event.