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23
Feb

Of Heaven and Hell: A Zen Parable on Anger

“Monk!” “Teach me about heaven and hell!”

The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with scorn,

“Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn’t teach you about anything. You’re ignorant. You’re arrogant. You’re a disgrace, and an embarrassment to other samurai. Get out of my sight. I can’t stand to see you.”

The samurai became furious. He shook, red in the face, spitting with rage. He pulled out his sword, and prepared to kill the monk.

Looking straight into the samurai’s eyes, the monk said softly,

“That’s hell.”

The samurai froze, realizing the grace and compassion of the monk who had risked his life to show him hell! He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.

The monk said softly,

“And that’s heaven.”

2
Feb

Life’s Intersections. Looking East. Looking West. Going North!

speaker | communication craftsperson | cross-cultural connector | author

connect. communicate. co-create – vienna | cape town | goa | new york

LOOKING EAST, LOOKING WEST – LESSONS FROM JANUS

This is a new year reflection on endings and (hopefully) significant beginnings containing 7 bits for 2017 like…

  1. Greek god-ly information and 2 reflective questions
  2. 4 lyrical life hacks
  3. how to F.O.R.C.E yourself in 5 easy steps
  4. 3 A’s that will win friends and influence people
  5. a link to the land of OZ – a business book and,
  6. a boring print-out-able freebie for goals
  7. and some interesting words for my non-native readers!

So! We’re 32 (or possibly 33) days into the new year and it looks like some new year plans aren’t going to last past January. I know that thing. But don’t let January be another Jan-u-worry any more. I have created a goal planner to keep your plans and yourself (or was the process of creating it more for me?) on track. For you. Free of course. A real print-out-able freebie! But more of that further down this read.

Please note, that if you’re 100% satisfied with your life just the way it is – there is absolutely no need to carry on reading. But, if you are entertaining even the smallest of thoughts about wanting to change even the littlest thing (or big) carry on reading. This is packed with good stuff. As is the norm. This is what I do. I deliver good stuff!

But, I digress. Let’s take a look at this auspicious month. The month of significant beginnings.

January, gets its name from the ancient Roman god Janus who had two faces, one looking forward, toward the East – yip, you got it – the sunny side, and his other face looking backward – toward the west – gazing into the distant sunset. Janus was the god of gates and doorways, lord over the first hour of every day, the first day of the month and of course, the first month of the year, January.

He was worshipped at the beginning of planting time, harvest time, marriages, births and other significant beginnings in a person’s life. Our Janus has a big responsibility every day.

But seriously. In a deeper sense, old to new transitions, whether they be in our calendars or at the intersections* of our lives – can be exciting, thrilling, powerful and often overwhelming.  They can leave you looking this way and that and back again and even though you know it is safe to proceed you might hang around a bit, stuck, not knowing which way is best. Right or left? East or West?

Challenge #1 * Pausing is necessary * but the juggling act of taking a healthy pause and not pausing for too long is something you have to keep juggling to get perfect at and, just like riding a bicycle, you’ve got to keep pedalling – or you’ll fall off.

You need to do an ecological emotional check – because transitions don’t just happen overnight and achieving your goals takes time. If you’re going to be beating yourself up because things aren’t happening quick enough you’re setting yourself up for failure. Ask yourself
1) Just how badly you want the things you think you want and,
2) just how eager you are to step into your significant beginnings?

Read more

31
Jan

2017 Goal Worksheet

YOUR VERY OWN GOAL WORKSHEET

31 days into the new year and – like most years – it looks like your new year plans aren’t going to last past January?

I know that thing. I know what happens and I know why it happens. But don’t let January be another Jan-u-worry!

Do you feel as though you need more structure? Do you feel like you need to “template” your life and goals? Write them down?

All good, but before you get going it is good to do an ecological /emotional check – because new things (usually) don’t happen overnight and achieving your goals takes time. If you’re going to be beating yourself up because you’re not getting results quick enough you’re setting yourself up for failure. There are a few things that need to be in place before you go about creating new NYR’s or goals!

Never fear, Your personal Goal Worksheet 2017 is here – with the things you need to consider while setting your new goals! Your Goal Worksheet 2017 will help you keep your plans and yourself (or was the process of designing it more for me?) on track.

Help yourself to this simple step by step document that you can work with and go back to (periodically) in order to move forward!

And remember: Whatever you do, just do it.  Make the almighty decision. Want it bad. Do it. Repeat it. Get good at it and stick to it. Like super-glue!

Achieving your goals is less about you and more about what you do so honour the deed, be your own and a source of inspiration for someone else and celebrate your achievements!

 

10
Jan

Slow down, dig in! A life skills read on getting things done.

Slow down, dig in and do the thing!

Don’t run, slow down – he said pulling her hand back.
I can’t – the sand is too hot, it’s burning my feet – she moaned while hopping up and down, flicking the stinging sunburnt grains further up her legs.

Her constant clambering and tugging at his arm and hand in an attempt to lift herself off the ground was making his progress along the thick sand more difficult so he stooped down, put down his load and let her sit on his knee while he whispered a secret into her ear.

This little “dadeloog” so loves secrets. And walking barefoot.

Slow down, he instructed gently. Take your time. Every time you put your foot down start digging into the sand with your toes. Right under the hot, hot there is cool, cool. I promise you. When you find that place slowly shift yourself onto that foot and then do the same with the other foot. Dig your toes in, find the cool, stay a while, move over. And then the other foot. And then the other. And before you know it you’ll be perfect at it and we’ll be home.

She, in her childlike way still tried to get him to carry her, but he was already burdened with some of the basics they went to town for. If only he had taken the other truck – now he’s had to leave the feed behind, in the broken down truck. The baboons are going to have a feast. And, he should’ve insisted she take her sandals.

I can’t – she continued to resist.
How do you know you can’t – he asked. Have you tried it? Do you know you can’t? At least do it and if you really don’t get it right I’ll help you – he encouraged her with a smile on his face – hoping.

And so, as if knowing that he was going to prove her wrong, again, she unwillingly took that step.

If little else remains of the very tall old man whose face has faded in her memory like the time-bleached sepia shots of a family long gone, her grandfather’s words to slow down, dig in and to do the thing before convincing herself that she can’t, ring loud and clear. Just like the excited echo of the raucous baboon chatter in the rocky mountains running north and south alongside the farm.

Still today she finds herself digging in and slowly taking one step at a time when the going gets tough and things get hot!

One of my “Lewis” stories – the farm in the Kalahari. With love, Hester

5
Jan

3 A’s for A-1 collaboration and conversation (and less conflict)

Accountability, Apologizing & Attention

It’s the fifth day into the new year! You’ve been gifted with 5 new days, and a “how to” get your butt going in 5 easy steps (or 5 seconds – see my post on the 3rd day) with a little F.O.R.C.E.  I am adding to that: personal accountability, apologising and giving attention.

Hopefully, you’re now (re)energised and ready to rescue and light up the world – or – do whatever is in your ability to make this year a whole lot brighter than the last one!

You’ve made the almighty decision, you want it bad, you’re going to get good at it and stick to it like glue!

Go for it! You will make an absolute cracker-jack kick-start kick-butt contribution to collaboration through conversation and here’s some more tried and tested A-1 tips to support you –  3 x A’s.

A1: Accountability. Or answer-to-ability. Or own-up-ability. The ability to take account for and of your actions is a personal choice to rise above your circumstances i.o.w’s stop thinking and behaving like a victim. take ownership and achieve your goals. Embrace it! Don’t get stuck on the yellow brick road. And if you don’t believe me read The Oz Principle.

A2: Apologizing. We get taught to and then we either forget or choose not to. Why? Is it defensiveness? Pride? Because you don’t want to let the person you should be apologising to, “off the hook”? Are you an non-apologiser? Is your not apologising protecting your fragile sense of self? There’s no need to ask “what have I gotto do” anymore – it’s not always easy, but it is simple. Apologise.

A3: Attention. Remember that? Remember how you felt when you weren’t getting it from a parent, lover or your boss? Think of flowers that don’t get attention. They wane and wither. What would happen to your business if you didn’t give it to your attention? What should happen to your conversation if you don’t give it your all? It’s so easy to spread our attention (thin) across our devices that we’ve become mind-full and not mindful. We’re losing the all-important life skill of staying focussed. And contrary to the saying that you must “pay” attention, attention is absolutely free and comes with the bonus that it generates interest (financial and personal). Attention leads to meaningful conversation. Attention determines how well you do something. You earn  and learn with attention. Attention could (even) save your life.

If you cannot gift someone with your presence by being present, get out of the conversation!

Frankly? It’s madness and arrogance to think you can keep doing the same old stuff and expect different or better results. If you’re not getting what you want and you have a bunch of new exciting ideas for your new year then drop your old unserving habits and start doing things differently. And, if you have been taking accountability, apologising and giving your attention you are more than likely content with how things are turning out for you at work and privately so not breaking your head over things you think you have to achieve. That’s AWESOME!

Let’s do this. All year long. And for as long as you breathe.

Embrace the deeds of accountability, apologizing and attention. Honor them and celebrate your integrity!

 ,

your no-buts kick-butt sparkplug cross-cultural communication and collaboration keynote speaker and coach. If you’re interested in getting more contact me!

3
Jan

May the force be with you! Welcome to 2017!

When it comes to some tasks and to dos there are some you are never going to feel like doing and you have to force yourself to do them. Do them anyway.

Some may even feel like you need your own task-force. Do them like you own one.

Get out of your autopilot mode and quit pulling up your emergency brake. Do that stuff.

Your problem is not that you don’t have ideas, that you don’t know how to or that you can’t figure out how to. Your problem is that you don’t act on the deeds and it’s high time you fall in love with the idea of marrying your ideas with action. No time better than now.

Here’s how to in 5 seconds and in 5 easy steps:

  1. F = force yourself
  2. O = out, get out of your head
  3. R = routine – get out of or into the routine of doing it.
  4. C = comfort zone – take on your parent role and parent yourself right out of it!
  5. E = energy – eat, drink, sleep but do what you gotto do to get going. Fall in love if you must!

Whatever you do. Do it.  This isn’t about you, it’s about what you do.
Honor the deed and celebrate your integrity.

Let’s do this. All year long.

May the force be with you! Hester

Your no-buts kick-butt sparkplug keynote speaker and coach. If you’re interested contact me!

Let’s do it! May the force be with you! Jan, 2017

 

Lines and ideas taken from my book: “Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to communicate for cross-cultural collaboration!”

22
Dec

Holy Cow(s)!, trumpery and Holi-days! A msg of Peace.

2016? Holy cow! It’s been a ride of “deestings”, unabashed trumpery, distractions and Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

Remember me telling you at the beginning of this year that sex and taking drugs, eating sleeping and doing good deeds had this “gimme more” effect. That you should get addicted to good deeds and the more you do it the more you want it? Do you remember my 3 to do’s and 5 reminders to help get you what you want? No? Then go here before you go making any new resolutions. Yes? Good. I’ll be adding a few more life hacks to those. Read on.

This 2482 word reflection is a no bullshit message of peace containing

– colorful cows, female distractions and other fun and sexy life lessons

– idiotic idiomatic and old English expressions

– a pre-view of a good book to read

– 4 tips on how to get others to start a sparkly collaboration revolution with you

– a peace mantra

all from an expat-in-India perspective.

You know what it’s like. Come the end of anything you start looking back, taking stock and perhaps, reflecting. Read more

22
Dec

Being Nice Isn’t Enough @ UN Vienna, Austria

A quick update on more of my kick-butt activities – including a keynote – between September and December 2016!

Keynote Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

Sept to Dec 2016 – I arrived in Austria and had one day to get my head out of slow-go-Goa speed and into inspirational kick-butt training mode for a three day seminar with international project managers on communication and leadership of the multinational construction company, STRABAG AG. I love working with and engaging people from such diverse backgrounds. It was a wonderfully successful event with a lot of AHA moments, sharing of personal mishaps and successes and a coming together through the understanding of different values, acceptance of conflicts and developing trust. Then…

Tarra! Tarra! I’m doing some personal trumpeting (no trumpery)! On September 21st, 2016 I was invited to do a keynote speech at the United Nations in Vienna on the topic of my book Being Nice Isn’t Enougha how to cut through the “niceties” and get to real cross-cultural collaboration. Again it resonated so well with the audience and the more they became involved the more excited I became! It was a beautiful and mutual exchange of information. I rocked – but not without a little help from my friends; my Pastor Matthew Laferty (ESUMC) and my husband Bernhard!

I also got to spread the written but not yet published word in seminars, workshops and one on one coaching with banking, legal and other professionals in the EU. A busy 2.5 months in the Autumn of 2016 and a wonderful opportunity to “dress up” again.

I returned to Goa end November to do the final tweaks on my non-fiction book manuscript and book proposal and submitted it mid-December to a publisher in the USA.

Hold thumbs!

My final newsletter of 2016 with insights from India will follow shortly!

Lots of love and remember to kick some sparkly communication around, Hester

10
Oct

C#5 – Cross-cultural consciousness

c5_commitment

Heaven knows staying on track is difficult!
Keeping up the pace, the motivation, the “being nice”, being friendly, supportive and understanding saps a whole lot of energy out of one – especially when doing this in unfamiliar environments – it’s easy to get derailed and blame others for things gone wrong!
But, If you keep your eyes on the prize – and (all of) you contribute to commitment – you’ll (all) be the greatest contributors (not dividers) to cross-cultural collaboration!

How cool is that?

10
Oct

C#4 – Cross-cultural consciousness

c4_collaboration

Exclusion is in-the-box thinking and an unwillingness to get out. Here’s the thing; you (unconsciously) expose and express exclusion of others in words like “we, us, our” and “they, them, those people”.

Have you tuned into yourself lately? Have you heard yourself speak in meetings and between friends? Are you expressing the wish to collaborate and connect or are you expressing exclusion?

Being Nice (certainly) Isn’t Enough is food for thought and speech! An excerpt from my book!