Integrity in Leadership Decisions

Are we (you and me) powerful?

In March I published the blog: Wisdom. Consciousness. Leadership

At the time I wrote: “I am often confused by the choices made in our community from the individual level right through to Government and Big Business. Individuals might become aware and conscious about one social issue but completely ignore another.”

This Friday (April 24, 2015) marks 2 years since the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh when more than 1,100 people died and another 2,500+ people were injured.

Two years later, I wonder:

  • What have the Board of Directors of these organisations who produce clothing in developing countries learned?
  • What action has been taken to transition the industry and businesses towards a position of integrity?
  • Are leaders in our society – people like you and me – making powerful choices when it comes to our purchasing?

A couple weeks ago I started writing a piece titled “The beggar and the dress maker” with the focus to be on the choices we make regarding gifting to charity for aid (which I support) and purchasing items we want for a fair price (which I also support). I often wonder whether we want to simply give charity and continue to purchase items at “bargain” prices which results in paying wages which are sub-standard and don’t allow the workers to support themselves or their families.

Always buying a “bargain” is a vicious cycle which keeps the powerful, powerful.

I didn’t get a chance to finish it before being asked questions about the potential impact on workers should a “sweat shop” factory close its doors and these employees (mostly women) be unemployed.

Q: “Would this then result in increased prostitution? Would their lives be worse?”

I think these questions are worth talking about openly because these are good questions to ask and I’m sure if one person is asking, many people are thinking it.

According to Amnesty International, there are almost 36 million slaves in the world today, many of whom produce the clothes we buy and wear.

As a society do we as leaders believe we are powerful enough to make a positive difference to the lives of others living as slaves, especially when the magnitude of the numbers can be so overwhelming?

As leaders with wisdom and consciousness, and as leaders who wish to make decisions from a place of integrity, I think the answer must be a POWERFUL YES!

One of my favourite movies, released in 2007, is Amazing Grace based on the true story of William Wilberforce.

If you wonder about the power of one I highly recommend this movie. It is fantastic!

I believe as individuals we can make a difference in the corrupt clothing industry by choosing to support companies that pay fair wages to their staff and everyone in the supply chain.

Reported by The Age last week (on the just released Ethical Fashion Guide): “According to the report, the production cost of a T-shirt in Bangladesh would increase from about 50c to 80c if workers were paid a living wage. The minimum wage in Bangladesh is currently US$68 ($88) a month.” 

Producing clothing is a basic fee for service. Imagine if, living in Australia or any “Developed country”, you went to work for 14 hours every day for a month and at the end of the month you had 19% of the income you needed to simply live… not thrive, but merely survive.

To lead with integrity we need to be a voice. We need to take action.

Would you:

  • Pay an extra dollar for your t-shirt if you knew it went straight to the garment maker?
  • Sign the Oxfam Heart Breakers petition which pressures Australian clothing companies to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord.

If you are concerned about the potential of increased prostitution, be conscious that the brands who are not complying will not change overnight. All change is a transition. Women and girls will not suddenly be driven into the streets. But… if we begin now and create a better tomorrow through our better decisions the positive change will be rippled – like a pebble thrown into a pond.

In NLP we are taught to accept the “model of the world” of all our clients and people we work with. We are also taught to believe to our very core that everyone is capable of excellence. If we hold that space and see their excellence, they too will believe in their excellence.

If we, as leaders, become apathetic to the issues we do become powerless, but if we choose to come from a place of power and make our decisions with integrity and believe excellence can be achieved, the way to a better future has already begun.

Love and light,
Dalice

p.s Learn & Grow

Ethical Fashion Guide (released in April 2015): http://www.baptistworldaid.org.au/assets/Be-Fair-Section/Ethical-Fashion-Guide.pdf

ABC news: http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-17/australian-fashion-industry-still-not-protecting-global-workers/6399698

World Fair Trade Organization: Facebook group

Oxfam Heart Breakers: https://www.oxfam.org.au/heartbreakers/

pps. At this time I didn’t talk about buying Organic cotton because that is a whole separate discussion point. I do encourage doing your own research – if you don’t want to do your own research into deadly GMOs and the very “dirty” cotton industry, then I strongly encourage buying organic cotton over non-organic as much as possible.

Are you committed or simply interested?

Have you ever honestly asked yourself whether you are truly 100% committed to achieving your dream/s?

If the answer is no, what would it look and feel like if you were committed? What action would you be taking?

For ten year I played State League netball. Throughout that time I missed one game that wasn’t from injury and I barely missed a training. I did it because I was committed to my team, I was committed to myself and I was committed to my goal and dream.

During that time I said ‘no, I can’t make it, I have netball (training or game)’ so many times I couldn’t count them. Not everyone understood missing events because of sport or a ‘game’ and sometimes I complained about it, but all the girls I played with did the same.

When you are simply interested it is easy to make excuses. When you are committed you act on your dream even when you don’t feel 100%.

Muhammad Ali said “I hated every minute of training. But I said “don’t quit” suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”.

Doing the hard work, the hours people don’t see, can be the hardest. You will come up against yourself time and time again. Quitting may even seem easier…

But… if you only work on your dream or your goals when you are motivated it is going to be a long road, and it is very unlikely you will reach your desired destination.

Some advice I once received was to start with just 3 hours per week dedicated to your dream. Spend the time doing the training whether that’s in sports, business, your finances, renovating your dream home, writing your book.

Whatever your dream is. Just start. Get committed.

Don’t have three hours? Start with 20 minutes a day. Just start. Move forward.

It doesn’t need to be about stopping or dropping everything you are doing and starting something from scratch. Start small. One act. One step at a time. Get committed and build your dream.

Some questions to ask yourself

– What would it look like if I were committed?
– How would I feel if I was committed?
– How would I talk about my dream if I was committed?

In understanding and appreciating the difference between committed and interested, take the time to read interviews with Ben Watts and Celia Boyd.

Love and light,
Dalice

People buy your WHY not your WHAT

This is the second “Living the Dream Story” which shares stories of ‘ordinary’ people following and living their passion.

I thank Celia Boyd for sharing some of her story with me as a tool for inspiring others to live their dream.

As the Co-Founder of She Investments, Celia left Melbourne in late-2014 and is currently living and working in Cambodia with her partner James. Through the choices she has made Celia’s is living both her passions and her values while delivering a unique and much-needed business service for women in Cambodia.

This week I spoke with Celia to hear more of her story and the amazing pilot program they are planning (and have now started) in Cambodia as a result of their very successful Crowd Funding campaign.

In March Celia and her partner James launched their Crowd Funding campaign through Start Some Good. Their Goal was to raise $15,000 with a tipping point of $7,000 – such is the success of their campaign, they reached their tipping point on the first day.

Crowd funding is the perfect example of people investing in the “WHY” of individuals and their business plans.

In 2013 I was very grateful for the 94 people who invested in Soles4Souls Australia and our Crowd Funding campaign. Ninety four wonderful people who connected with WHY. 

Want to know more about “WHY”? If you haven’t seen it, make sure you watch the TED Talk: Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action (aka: people don’t buy what you do, they buy “WHY” you do it).

As at today there is just four days available for people to invest in women through the She Investments pilot program and ensure the final $s are achieved to cover all the expenses involved in running a 12-month pilot program in Cambodia. They are so almost there!

This pilot program is a business incubator for women entrepreneurs in Cambodia to support them in creating social and economic impact by providing support structures and business incubator programs to help women entrepreneurs scale their micro businesses to profitable and sustainable small–medium enterprises (SMEs).

The business model of She Investments is innovative in its nature with nothing of its kind currently in Cambodia.

Read http://startsomegood.com/sheinvestments for full pilot details.

I asked Celia 9 questions about her journey and about the success of the Crowd Funding campaign. I hope you enjoy the story.

What has been your journey from school to now?
I am 28 now. I went straight to uni from school because I thought it was “expected”, and I did a bachelor of Communications.

At the time I thought I wanted to work in film and tv and before I finished my degree I was working at Channel 10.

Eventually realised I hated working in tv.

I wasn’t passionate about it at all!

During this time I also did a volunteer trip for a couple months in the Philippines with Australian Volunteers International and shortly afterwards went to Kenya with my partner James, volunteering with World Youth International.

When I returned to Australia I kept doing similar trips to places like India and Kenya, and eventually trained as a Team Leader with World Youth.

I went back to UNI to do my Masters in Community and International Development and continued to travel and volunteer to ‘get it out of my system’. I also worked with Oaktree Foundation working as the PNG Country Director. It was terrifying but massive for my self-confidence and professional portfolio.

After my Masters I secured a six month project management position in Kenya with World Youth International, helping them to create a plan and implementation of their community health project.

Following Kenya I was home in Melbourne and unemployed for 3 or 4 months before being offered a job with World Youth International managing their projects in Kenya.

In early 2013 the idea for She Investments started to grow.

In the past I thought all I wanted was a stable job, but what I realised while balancing working for WYI, doing the incubator programs and growing She Investments, was that I loved the flexibility. I discovered a lifestyle I didn’t know I would love.

I was working independently. Autonomously. Making my own decisions.

How long have you been working on She Investments?
It has been 2 years since initial research and planning began. I did two training programs last year at the same time.

I did the Young Social Pioneers 12 month program for people aged 18-30 and the Incubator Program by the School of Social Entrepreneurs for 9 months.

It’s a good thing to invest in yourself.

What have been your biggest learnings on your journey so far?
– If you believe in something, people will believe in you. I was surprised by how many people backed us from initially having an idea to moving to Cambodia.

– Do your research. Our business model is completely different from 1 or 2 years ago. We have learnt so much.

– Doing a pilot is so important – I never realised how important it is.

What’s your BIG WHY?
It changes every year!

It used to more focused on social justice: “These things are happening in the world and if you see something that is unacceptable, then you have to refuse to accept it”.

Over the past couple of years I’ve graduated to a much more focused WHY, which is more personal.

With She Investments I am not only working on a project that will help people out of poverty but it is the most focused and deepest impact / difference I think can be made which is also in line with my passion and values.

I care deeply about the injustice of poverty, however my personal passion and WHY is specifically focused on the eradication of gender inequality, as I personally believe that this is the root of so much poverty and injustice.

What have been some of your biggest obstacles?

  • Money!I am very lucky to be able to live remotely so I can still earn an income, but that only covers the basics.We had to invest so much of ourselves and our own moneyIn making this decision it’s been a bit of a battle financially.  Doing the crowd funding is the only thing we can do to make our pilot possible.
  • Big Decisions: After money it was making the decision to do it. It took us six months to actually make the decision. It was such a big risk and we had a lot of sacrifices we had to make.Making the decision for James to sell his Physio business, the only asset he had, and to give up that career and secure future to risk everything and move overseas.We needed the self-confidence and willingness to take the risk.

Why do you think your crowd funding has been so successful?

  • Choosing the right platform. Start Some Good offers good support and has the highest success rate of any of the crowd funding sites. It also offers the urgency of the tipping point but the benefit of keeping the funds after the tipping point.
  • Planning before what we needed to do in the build-up and during the campaign
  • Understanding what the indicators are of a good campaign
  • Making sure we started really strong

How did you fund your dream?
Running our crowdfunding campaign and working part-time in paid jobs.

What is your biggest goal?
I want She to be a really awesome, innovative and inspiring business that is not just self-sustaining BUT thriving and growing.

I want it to be scalable. We have so many things we want to do under the She banner. One day I want it to be a bigger banner. Not just in Cambodia but globally.

Not reliant on fundraising and volunteers, but profitable and sustainable.

I want it to be a really good example that can make awesome social impact in an innovative way.

What is a normal week for you now?
I work two days per week for World Youth International managing their projects in Kenya which I do from a co-working space in Cambodia.

The other three days I work on She Investments from another co-working space. I am constantly going out for meetings and meeting and interviewing participants.

We also travel to Siem Reap every month for programs.

During my Skype interview with Celia this week three very important messages came through about the value of living your dream and following your passions:

“I am happier than I have been in such a long time.”

“If you have something you are so happy to get out of bed and do every day, you should do that.”

“I have never put so much of myself into anything. I love going to work every day.”

To join me and invest in Celia and She Investments pilot program in Cambodia visit: http://startsomegood.com/sheinvestments

Love and Light,
Dalice

Totally brilliant. Totally creative. Totally free.

This is the first “Living the Dream Story” which shares stories of ‘ordinary’ people following and living their passion.

I thank Ben Watts for sharing some of his story with me as a tool for inspiring others to live their dream.

Earlier this month I had the privilege to sit in a ‘shed’ in Loxton in South Australia and let life and time fly past.

I was listening and watching, 30 year old Australian musician (guitarist and sound engineer/music producer), Ben Watts, jam with his high school mates.

The ‘shed’ is a sound proof room on a 10 acre block in remote South Australia, built by a proud and supportive dad, for his aspiring son. Eight years earlier Ben was a mechanic living and dreaming of so much more.

For the past five and a half years Ben has been living in America, first to study a dual arts degree – music performance and audio engineering – at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles (where he won most outstanding student for audio engineering) and now as a touring musician.

Ben currently lives in Nashville, USA, working as a recording engineer and backline on tour with one of America’s biggest Country music acts, Lee Brice (http://www.leebrice.com) while also playing guitar for Terra Bella www.terrabellaofficial.com  and Tyler King www.tylerkingmusic.com.

Ben was recently home in Australia for two weeks visiting his family and friends. Ben said, as he looked out over the property, “I look out and I get sentimental”. “I can do what I do because of the love and support of my family”.

I was surprised and amazed how fast time passes listening to the music and watching people in their passion.

Passion I have learned is a commitment and a love. It is not time. When you are living your passion time stops while at the same time passing so quickly. Time doesn’t exist.

I asked Ben 10 questions about his life and journey. I hope you enjoy the story.

When did you first start learning guitar?
In year 7 was when I first played a little. I had a couple lessons and learnt to play “Come as you are” by Nirvana. I didn’t play properly again until I was 19. 

I had played state hockey from 12 to 18. When my body wouldn’t let me play sport anymore, music become an outlet.

What has been the journey for you since finishing school?
I quit high school during year 12 to do a mechanical apprenticeship. At the time I enjoyed sport and cars and I wasn’t passionate about going to uni. 

When I couldn’t play sport anymore and I started guitar lessons all I would do was go to work and come home and practice for 5 hours every night. I had a great teacher. I practiced and jammed with him every night for a couple years before moving to Adelaide (from Loxton) to progress my guitar lessons.

When I was 21 I moved back to Loxton to work in the local music business. I taught guitar for three years, with 60 to 70 students, and played at night in pub rock bands.

When my Aunty passed away, I decided life is short and I needed to chase my dream.

I applied and was accepted into the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.

I left Australia with my girlfriend and two guitars and a suitcase.

When we arrived we hired a U-haul in LA, went to Ikea, and decked out our place.

MI (Musicians Institute) was awesome.

When I finished at MI I then bounced around a few audio engineering studios in LA. I started filling in for Terra Bella which turned into two years of touring up and down the West Coast.

It was really fun. We must have played in every pub and club in California. We supported a lots of acts that came to California. 

We (Terra Bella) then decided to move to Nashville 18 months ago, and through networks I am now touring with Lee Brice.

What have been some of your biggest obstacles?
Visa’s! I have been lucky that family and friends have supported me. That has made it a lot easier.

There was also one point I got really home sick – about two years in. But I stuck it out. I have made such good friends who have supported me a lot. I have moved house 5 times in the past 5 years.

But it’s all worth it.

How did you fund your dream?
Before I started playing guitar seriously, Dad and I bought and completely restored a 1969 XT GT Ford Falcon – it was my pride and joy. When the time came to move to the States, I sold it. 

I get tunnel vision.

Have you ever thought about stopping?
I’ve thought about taking a different path, and where that would lead me. But it doesn’t take me long to re-focus and feel good about where I have been and where I am going. 

What is your biggest goal?
I want to win a Grammy award.

If you don’t set yourself the highest of goals you could possibly reach in the industry you are in, why bother?

If I don’t win a Grammy award – I will have fun trying.

What is the biggest lessons you have learnt on your journey to date?
Overwhelmingly at the end of the day, being a good, reliable, honest working person is valued more than having all the talent in the world. 

The music industry doesn’t baby-sit people. You have to be switched on, look after yourself and be good at your craft. Talent is still talent but it is not the same.

What is a normal week for you now?
I’m doing around three shows working for Lee Brice. 

We take off Wednesday at midnight. Get on the bus and sleep while we travel to the first show.

Get up, work from 9am to 2pm. Have the afternoon off until show time. By the time the show finishes it is usually around 12midnight or 1am.

We sleep and travel by bus to the next show.

Sometimes it’s two shows, sometimes 4 and we get home on a Sunday night.

What is your Big Why? Why do you do what you do?
I love it!

I love playing. I love being on stage (although it’s not the be-all). I would love to spend the rest of my life in the studio making albums. In the studio you are constantly creating.

With everything you always get a little bit better.

What have you enjoyed most about your visit back to Australia?
Spending time with my family.

From what I witnessed from watching the guys in the ‘shed’ and listening to Ben during our chat:

1. Life can be short. Enjoy your life. Live your passion. Live your dream.

2. There is a time for practice. There is a time for perfect practice. And there is a time to be free and to be as creative as you can be and enjoy freedom and fun with your friends.

Love and Light,
Dalice

Perception is Projection

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” Deepak Chopra

This is a fantastic Deepak Chopra quote about how your world reflects you. It is powerful to keep in the front of your mind that everything you see in others (both positive and negative) is in you – otherwise you wouldn’t be able to see it.

Fascinating… when you really think about it!

In other words, if it has come into your consciousness it is you. What you recognise outside yourself is what you are inside, otherwise how would you know what it was?

If you are seeing beauty and greatness in another, that is in you. Likewise, if you are placing a judgement or having a strong negative reaction, that is also in you.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”  C.G. Jung 

It is time we got conscious of what’s at the unconscious.

I have witnessed, and at times experienced, a strong reaction to an event or a person which was out of proportion to what really happened/was happening.

When you are having a strong reaction to someone it is important to ask yourself  

– “Is my reaction in proportion to the event?”
– “What do I need to learn here about myself from this event?”
– “What am I not admitting to myself?”
– “What action do I need to take to move forward more positively?”
– “How can I express compassion to myself and others right now?”

I have devised a short activity to assist you in seeing your greatness and the greatness of others.

Step 1: List ten people in your life (family, friends, work colleagues etc) plus your own name in a journal or on a blank piece of paper – leaving about 5 lines between each name.

Step 2:
* Put everything down
* Sit so you are not touching anyone or anything else
* For 5 minutes (set the timer at the start of the 5 minutes) focus on your mindful breathing
* Eyes can be open or closed
* Count each breath in up to 10 (first breath in: 1, second breath in: 2, third breath in: 3 etc.)
* Once you reach ten begin the count again
* If at any time you forget where you are up to begin again at one
* When breathing, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth

Step 3: At the end of the five minutes of mindful breathing. List two positive attributes for each person listed – including yourself.

Tip (this is important): it must be written in the positive i.e. Sally is xxxxxxxx rather than  Sally is not xxxxxxxx

I hope you take the time to experience this exercise and begin to become aware of your thoughts, the judgement you are placing onto others – and what this message is feeding back to you.

Remember, every thought impacts the neural pathways in your brain, therefore it is time we focused on more good than bad, more positive than negative, more happy than sad, more joy than pain.

Love and light,
Dalice

Wisdom. Consciousness. Leadership.

Last year I was asked: What is Wisdom?

I said: Seeing further together

When I think of wisdom I think of our consciousness.

As leaders of our own lives I believe it is our responsibility to raise our level of consciousness to make well informed decisions. Decisions which have considered both sides of the coin and everything and everyone the coin is connected to. Too often we hide behind the ignorance of ‘not knowing’. Maybe it seems easier to follow the crowd and trust that others will make good decisions for you and the world in which we live?

At Dictionary.com, on raising ones consciousness, it says: “to increase one’s awareness and understanding of one’s own needs, behaviour, attitudes, etc., especially as a member of a particular social or political group.” We are all part of a much bigger whole.

We all have the responsibility to increase our awareness and understanding. Our wisdom and seeing further into the future relies on our ability and commitment to increasing our level of consciousness about what matters – our people, our planet, our galaxy.

I am often confused by the choices made in our community from the individual level right through to Government and Big Business. Individuals might become aware and conscious about one social issue but completely ignore another e.g. The desire to buy local food to support local farmers, and therefore visit the Farmers Market each week (awesome) BUT then choose to buy ‘cheap’ fast fashion which keeps a young girl in a developing country as a slave. It just doesn’t make sense!

A few weeks ago I watched the Origins film (http://origins.well.org) and Hungry for Change, and this week I watched Bought (http://boughtmovie.net/free-viewing/ – available free for 5 more days).

One of my favourite quotes from Origins is: “What you are doing today should be sustainable for 7 generations into the future – not just for you and your generation today.”

I don’t recommend watching these films unless you are open to questioning our current reality. If you do decide to watch them, know it is a commitment to watch from start to finish.

Whether you decide to watch any of the above films or not, I do hope you choose to make a commitment to your consciousness, your wisdom and your personal leadership.

Love and Light, Dalice

Be Happier Now

One of the things we are told is we can always choose our attitude, which is 100% true, but sometimes that can feel too hard or overwhelming.

Different things (events or people) can push our buttons and put us into a ‘funk’ or ‘slump’. And when you are there, the way out doesn’t seem as easy or simple as “choose your attitude”. It can even seem easier (although it in fact takes more energy) to remain in a funk.

A few years ago, very early on in my personal development journey, I did a course called ‘Road to Freedom’ with Connie Diano. One of the very early things we were asked to do – possibly in our first or second session – was to make a list of things that we can easily do which will help us to ‘feel happier now’ – and to act on them during the coming weeks.

I can’t remember exactly what was on my list back then but it most likely included:

  • Go for a walk outside (you already know why this is good for you)
  • Meditate (meditation has so many benefits)
  • Listen to a fun upbeat song (music stimulates and uses the entire brain)
  • Read a few pages of a favourite book
  • Ring someone I love who will make me smile
  • Look at some great holiday photos
  • Give someone a big squeeze (hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger)
  • Watch a fun You Tube clip (laughter is amazingly powerful)

This week I was reminded again about the small choices we can make in a moment to change our state to be more resourceful and positive and to enjoy life more fully. The reminder was thanks to Entrepreneur.com and the blog How to transform your life in 6 minutes a day which was published last year.

Making a choice to choose you attitude may seem challenging at the time, but making a decision to act and take a small step doing something which you enjoy is easy. Imagine the difference in your physiology and mood when you change the sound tracks of your life – start by swapping the sad song for something that gets you up and jumping around (literally!)!

When would now be a good time for you to choose your attitude?

I encourage you to start a list today, start with 5 to 10 things which lift your mood and nurture your soul. They don’t have to be big things, in fact little things are great. I promise, once you start Being Happier Now you will want more of it and adding to your list will be easier.

Love and Light,
Dalice

p.s. always be conscious of what is going into “Your Funnel of Greatness