Think in December, thrive in January

Most people are counting the days until they can finally close their 2012 diaries. The time of rest revitalises our bodies and provides the ideal opportunity to revitalise our imagination. Spending some thinking time on your business can ensure that you thrive in January while others are still in denial about being back at work.

Business Success Strategist Gina Mostert* shares insightful questions you may want to ask yourself:

Do you think like a leader – Do you have a positive and winning mindset, i.e. know how to gain confidence to step out of your comfort zone and take personal responsibility for achieving your ideal business or career vision?

Do you look like a leader — Do you have a powerful and appropriate professional or personal brand, i.e. dress for success, look like you mean business, and command the respect and credibility you deserve?

Do you communicate like a leader – How do you rate your presentation, public speaking and boardroom skills – i.e. do you use both your verbal and non-verbal communication skills to persuade and effectively bring across the message?

Do you network like a leader – What are you doing to build lasting and long-term relationships where you will be known, liked and trusted – i.e. who are you associating with, how are you connecting with them and how do you nurture these relationships?

According to a Fortune 500 survey, successful leaders spend almost half of their productive time (48%) networking, whilst effective leaders only spend an average of 11% of their time networking. Makes you think!

Do you take action like a leader – You know that your actions (or non-action) will determine your results and subsequent success, so how are you taking charge of your professional or business destiny – i.e. are you creating and developing habits that are serving you as a professional?

Envision your desired 2013 and then use your imagination to come up with innovative answers to these questions. And then enjoy reaching for your new diary.

* Gina Mostert is a Business Consultant and Coach and the owner of Inovizion (


SCARF: A shelter for the brain

Successful engagements with your clients or employees is closely linked to knowing how to satisfy their social needs.  Social needs are perceived by the brain as important as basic needs like food or shelter.  When these social needs are not met, we feel threatened.  On the other hand we experience a sense of reward when our social needs are met.  A reward emotion will draw a person in and ensure engagement, where a feeling of being threatened causes one to avoid a situation or person.

When your employee experiences a reward emotion, they will be more creative and show increased problem-solving skills.  It also stimulates deep thinking and positive emotions. This employee will be more willing to stretch herself beyond what she would normally be willing to take on.  Unfortunately, a sense of being threatened seems to be the default response in teams.  In a team setting it is therefore even more important to ensure reward emotions.

The SCARF model is used in Life, Business and Team Coaching to diminish a threat response and optimize positive reward emotions.  This acronym stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.

Status relates to our relative importance, where we feel extremely threatened when we feel less important than someone else or being left out. We even feel better when we feel that we are becoming better than we were previously.  Learning and developing satisfy this need.

Our brain has a constant need to predict the immediate future.  Uncertainty decreases one’s ability to focus.  Giving your client enough information creates certainty and therefore willingness to engage with you. Make sure your clients and employees has the answer to the question “What is going to happen next?”

Autonomy is about having choices and a sense of control. We often hear about people leaving the corporate environment in search of a life where they have increased control over their life.  Creating an environment where employees feel that they have choices will contribute to an engaged workforce.

Are you my friend or my enemy?  This is the need for relatedness; knowing whether another person is “someone like me”.  Research has shown that people place the most trust in information they get from someone they feel connected to.  This increases trust.  Information received from such a person is processed by the brain using the same circuits as the ones processing one’s own thoughts.  Therefore you want to foster a sense of connectedness among colleagues.  You also want your client to feel that you share similarities.  Allowing people to share information about themselves contributes to a feeling of connectedness, especially if similarities are found. Mentoring, buddy systems and working in small groups also contributes to relatedness.

The perception of fairness or lack thereof elicits very strong emotions and reactions.  Consistency helps to increase a sense of fairness.  Perceived unfairness can be due to a lack of knowledge and transparency can help to correct these perceptions.  Establishing clear expectations from your clients and employees and making sure these are met will also contribute to engagement and positive emotions.

Satisfying the social needs of your employees and clients has a significant impact on them. When you find ways to increase their sense of importance, certainty, having choices, feeling connected and being treated fairly; the effect will be extremely satisfying both ways.

There’s a hole in my sidewalk

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but,
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter V

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson in “There’s a whole in my sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

Where are my wings?

“We all have wings but some of don’t know why,” according to INXS in Never tear us apart.

If you discovered today that you had wings, how would it change your life? Maybe it is worth considering in which areas of your life you would like to soar. Having wings brings to mind the idea of freedom. There are aspects in all of our lives where we would love freedom. If you had that ultimate freedom, how would you use it and how would it impact your life?

You have wings in unique areas. Maybe you just need to look at yourself from a different angle. Go on – soar! Because we all have wings, we just need to figure out why.