Must read from Kim HIll

Someone needs to pinch me – how on earth did we get to May so soon? Now we’re well into the new financial year! And brrrr… those cooler mornings and leaves falling. However, much as I am a summer fanatic, I recognise the importance of the seasons in nature and in our lives. So, on we go into winter, finding ways to keep warm and to keep laying solid foundations for our businesses. As I write this I am so conscious of the ravages COVID-19 is causing in India. My heart goes out to people living there and those with whanau in the country. 

I’m a business coach, mentor and strategist – that’s my role and my job description. And I’m passionate about what I do and about supporting people to grow their businesses in sustainable, efficient ways. But over the decades it’s become clearer and clearer to me that when I support anyone in business, whether they have the germ of an idea to launch one or are at the helm of a flourishing company employing hundreds of staff members, if I lose sight of the whole person, I achieve less. We can’t split ourselves off into airtight compartments and be automatons at work. 

Of course we have a work persona and aim to set our personal stuff aside in the marketplace but that doesn’t mean we aren’t affected by what’s going on in other areas of our lives, past or present. 

All that to say that when I work with people I recognise that there can be pressures and constraints that stem from many areas – whanau and our desire to support them, our health, our fitness, and from our wairua. We need to tend to all aspects of ourselves and when we take time to, say incorporate exercise or deep breathing into our day it’s not just our bodies and minds that show the results, our work does too. 

And it’s so important to keep in mind that all of us have stuff going on in the background whether we know what it is for someone else or not. Let’s show empathy to those that we work with. When we are treated with respect and empathy we are much more likely to bring our hearts to our work. It is truly transformative. We may need to ensure there are processes to deal with situations in which an employee is really struggling and needs support. Mindfulness is perhaps the word of the decade so far but it’s something many of us have been practicing for years!

Back in the day, we might have been seen as alternative whackos. Not any more! And mindfulness is about integrating ourselves, too. It’s about the whole person. So much more than hugging trees (though I do like a good tree hug…)Anyone who has a child of any age knows that responsibility is a key concept in our relationships with them. Part of being a parent is assisting our children to assume responsibility for their actions, their attitudes, and their futures. We might love to wave a magic wand and make everything perfect for them but even if we could (do let me know if you’ve discovered the secret!) we would be short-changing them – owning our decisions, our mistakes and our successes is what being an adult is about.

The same goes for business. Sometimes I get the feeling a client expects me to rock up, wand in hand while they sit back and watch the magic happen… I wish. When the expectations get a bit unrealistic (“So, Kim, I’ll be doubling my income by next week?”) I find myself having another of those brave conversations we would probably like the magic fairy to have on our behalf, too, but which are also – damn it – part of being mature. Straight talking with clarity and compassion – let’s hear more of it.  

Speaking of action, I am thrilled to report that the good ole Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – I have seen so much innovation and passion as people follow what they really want to do with their career or business. It was hugely evident in the recent business summit I ran. And on a flight to Christchurch I read an article in Kia Ora called Sea Change”, all about seaweed ventures. Wow – so inspiring.

Which reminds me – we may not be able to venture around the world as freely as we used to but we can use this time to read books and travel our own country. While I was in Christchurch, I kept hearing about a whiskey bar that locals had been going to since 1938! Let me know what it’s like if you get there…