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Well the cat’s out of the bag! If you follow me on LinkedIn, you may have seen that I have moved on from Leadership Victoria. It is without question one of the most formative experiences I’ve had, especially for someone whose career has admittedly been quite ‘pivoty’.

Never in a million years would I have thought: “Oh yes, let’s go from management consultant to founding an arts social enterprise to CEO / COO of an institution of leadership in Victoria” but here we are. Throughout my tenure, there were so many times where I would be walking home from work, thinking to myself: “What on earth am I doing?” and is a major reason why I felt like I needed to write that last article about True Norths

Before I talk about what next, I wanted to include a short addendum to that article. I’m generally very mindful not to offer solutions or ‘top 3 takeaways’ in my articles as I prefer readers draw your own conclusions, but it’s been suggested that a few prompts for consideration wouldn’t go awry. So here are a couple of practices I adopted that helped me reflect on my ‘domains’ when things felt out of whack.

On emerging your True North

Here, I want to give credit to my coach Margot Thomas. A couple of years ago, she posed to me: “If you reflect back on all the major decisions you’ve made in your life, what connects them?” To this, I would also venn diagram it with: “What brings you joy?” as the key prompt for you to consider if you’re thinking about your True North.

For me, the ‘a-ha’ moment was finding that the connective tissue was not linked in any way to work; it was actually the sheer joy I experience when I get to play with ideas (usually philosophical) with my closest friends. I realised that the way I ‘play with ideas’ (more on this in future Ko Labs) manifested in pretty much everything I do, from my creative process, to the way I diagnose problems, to the way I look at systems, and even why I write the Ko Lab.

This explains why the times I felt most out of alignment in recent years was when my ‘play’ was actively discouraged or outright rejected. Which brings me to…

On dealing with conflict

I’ve experienced some pretty heated personal confrontations over the past couple of years. It wasn’t pleasant and – at the time – it made me question who I was.

However, the thing about True Norths and personal domains is that everyone has them, and it’s more likely than not that at any given moment, most people’s domains are misaligned. Thus is it any wonder that we experience moments of friction when dealing with others?

Thus when dealing with conflict that ‘pulled’ at my alignments, the practice I adopted was one of curiosity:

  • What are the personal domains that make up this person?
  • What might be going on in this person’s life that might be contributing to this conflict?
  • What’s the environment they’re in?
  • What are their beliefs?
  • What parts of their life am I not seeing?
  • What might they be projecting on to me?

Working through these prompts helped on a few fronts:

  • It helped me not get caught up in their ‘magnetic influence’
  • Or conversely, it helped me protect the alignment of my personal domains
  • It helped me build my compassion and empathy

This allowed me to still be ‘aligned’ to my True North of curiosity and ‘playing’ with ideas

On handling obstacles and misalignments

In my deep dive on True Norths, one of the comments I made was that unlike inert objects, we human beings accrue new domains constantly, and not every new domain is going to be aligned.

It can be easy (and natural) to shy away from obstacles, challenges, and conflict, however much like the analogy whereby applying heat to a piece of iron weakens its magnetic domains, so too does ‘heat’ in our lives create an opportunity for us to ‘realign’ our domains.

As my good friend Ian Haycroft and I frequently discuss: “The obstacle is the way.” (from the book by the same name). I think emerging your True North is not just about finding the things that bring joy, as my first prompt suggests, but also how you show up when presented with obstacles.

Thus the prompt here is: How do you tackle your challenges and obstacles? And is there any connection with how you approach something that you enjoy?

In summary

To quickly summarise the prompts that I hope might help anyone who is in a contemplative mood:

  • If you reflect back on all the major decisions you’ve made in your life, what connects them? And what brings you joy?”
  • Just as you consider your domains and your True North, so too consider the (often misaligned) domains of others, and how that might influence you
  • How might you incorporate a challenging domain into your True North?

For those of you who went deep on the previous article, I’m curious: What did you take away? What other prompts would you consider?

Where to from here?

So with that addendum out of the way, what’s next in store? Well, it may come as absolutely no surprise that I don’t have anything concrete planned. As you read this, I’m in London for a week, where I’ll be helping out a friend on a UK market entry program for Australian FMCG businesses (for something a bit different).

Then, I’m off to Sweden for a week where I very much look forward to a long chat with the Director of the Harthills Leadership Development Framework. And then I’m off to Hong Kong to catch up with my best friend and to ‘play with ideas’.

In short, I’m letting my domains settle a bit. I’m taking this time to just ‘be still’, to reflect on more things I’ve learned over the past couple of years (future Ko Labs), and see what emerges.

Once I’m back, I’ll continue to be working on ColourSpace and growing our presence in both Melbourne and Sydney. However, I’m equally open to the universe and exploring what opportunities may arise.

If you’d like to catch up for a coffee with me, please hit me up. Or if there are people you think would be interested in talking with me, I’d also love an introduction.

But for now, I’m off to enjoy a cuppa.

In closing

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