Cultivating Clarity

10
May

Brain Massages and Insights – How To See The Big Picture!

Massages and Insights – How to see the big Picture!

Have you ever wondered how you can, on demand, tap into your intuition and super-ness?

The answers lie in here…

After 2.5 years of being in India, I finally went for a Shirodhara massage.
‘What’s this?’ some of you may ask. I didn’t know either until very recently, so I thought I would suss it out for myself.  I’m in India. I can. I should, shouldn’t I?

In Sanskrit “Shiro” means head or forehead and “dhara” means flow and the technique is the continuous flow of lukewarm liquids onto your forehead. This ancient massage therapy promises to relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), tiredness, insomnia (remember “pineal gland”), jet lag (again that pineal gland) and hypertension. It renews energy, creates calm, clarity of thought, reduces worry and excessive thought – reducing worry lines and keeps you looking young. Dream therapy for a woman!

At first I focussed on the steady flow of oil onto my forehead and then, as if transported in time – I awoke. In the hands of others, my time had flown.

Fast forward a few days, after getting up before sparrows fart with startling clarity and useful ideas for writing (I do this) I discover a free 90minute online course hosted by Judith Glaser about C-IQ – conversational intelligence. You all know I am totally into conversational stuff so I register and log in, bushy tailed and bright eyed with my sleep rhythms totally messed up because of the time difference between India and USA. Sometime into the webinar Judith spoke about the workings of our brains, the primitive brain, the limbic brain and the neo- or prefrontal cortex – which also happens to the area of your “third eye” and, which Judith says is the bridge between what you intend doing and the impact you have on those around you.

And I get thinking that my Shirodhara massage was all about stimulating my “third eye” and here’s me with my index finger hovering over my mouse with a “should I, shouldn’t I?” quiver.
My intuition tells me to follow my “should I” route and I discovered (even though I might be preaching to the converted) some fascinating facts and findings – pure science – to share with you.

Read more

22
Feb

Collaboration and Standing Ovations!

Did you know that the word collaboration comes from the Latin word “concerto” concert and harmony and from “concertare” to bring into agreement or sing together (as in con + cantare = to sing)?

I was raised on music – a well balanced mix from rock to pop and classics. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, Cat Stevens, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky etc. A lot of time and money was spent on my “big C” cultural upbringing. I was indulged in many magical ballet performances by the local Performing Arts Council) and regularly dragged off to the open rehearsal sessions of the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra in the Durban City Hall.

What I really didn’t like was the instrument tuning and warming up that went on before a performance – to me it sounded like a cacophonous wailing. I needed the conductor to bring congruence and harmony to the clamor and commotion.

Our neighbors, were a family of musicians completely immersed in the world of classical music; they played in the orchestra, sang in choirs and taught music. Diana, one of the daughters, encouraged me to listen out for individual instruments, and to pick out the conducting elements (tempo, dynamics, cue-ing and articulation) as she had taught me to listen out for in Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”

And then, as if by the wave of my very own baton I was skilled in aligning the instruments – discord became harmony! A symphony!

The word comes from the Latin “symphonia” a unison of sounds or harmony and from the Greek word “symphonia” also harmony and concert; “symphonos” meaning harmonious and from “syn”- together phone – voice/sound

Much of the interpersonal discord I have witnessed can be likened to the uncoordinated and un-conducted sounds of an orchestra warming up – much like the “forming” stage of a new team on a new project. Imagine you are a musician in a group of players where each musician thinks they know best and know what needs to be done (play what they have to play) when and how they want with little regard for the other musicians? Need I say more?

Achieving cross cultural collaboration must feel the same to a team, as an orchestra (and conductor) getting a standing ovation. It can only, happen when everyone; the leader(s) and team members pay finely tuned attention to the group and listen out for the individual “instruments” articulating their particular skills and talents in order to be instrumental in co-composing congruent collaboration.

This is cross-cultural competence; the ability to bring voices into agreement for conversational harmony. You want to play? Would you like to improve your skills? Contact me.

Wishing you much “music to your ears”, regards  

29
Jan

Dog Sniffs and “What ifs?”

Dog Sniffs and What Ifs

Monday’s Brain Massage: “Dogs bark at things they don’t understand” Heraclitus.

I picked up two Indian street-puppies at the beginning of the monsoon in June last year. Experiencing life through their eyes has been, albeit a challenge, full of wonder. They remind me almost daily (it’s sadly getting less) to “understand” their barking. Whenever they see someone or something for the first time they bark, are apprehensive in their approach and, until they’ve sniffed it OK, they continue barking at it. Some people and things never get their OK, and that is OK because they gave it a try and a good old sniff. Not their problem anymore. 

When we are confronted with things new and “strange” we (mostly) immediately switch into negativity-bias mode. We bark at the unfamiliar. We bark our criticisms at the ideas, things and people and turn our butts to any possibilities and potential.

Why?

Where did you learn or who told you to do that?

What if you started “sniffing” a few “what if?” questions instead of bellowing “what is”? We all know that your “what is” and my “what is” isn’t really what is.

And what if, this week, you try some “what-iffing” and if you hear something you, at first, want to spontaneously bark at, try saying “hey, that’s interesting, give me some time to chew on it”. You never know what new aromas and fragrances might drift your way to make your week and day! 

Wishing you a fan-fun-tastic week,  
Contact me if you need a guiding “bark” at https://salt-pro.com/contact/

23
Jan

The “Con” in Consent and Other Agreements!

The “Con” in Consent and Other Agreements!

“con” as found in consent – is also known as to deceive, bamboozle (love that), swindle, cheat, fool, mislead, sweet-talk, trick, double-cross and rip-off. It dates back to the 1500’s which was frequently used in establishing the “pros and cons” of something which, going back to its roots, means that “con” is against, in opposition to and opposed to.

“con-sent” comes from the Latin “comsentire” – “com” = with and “sentire” = to feel in other words to feel together, agree or give permission.

The weakness in “con-sent” is that the content of the “con” can be stronger than, or even work against, the feeling of together-ness and mutual agreement. “Con” can be you giving someone, albeit unwittingly (unintentionally), the permission to “con” you. Or someone can allow you to do something but work against you and hold you in contempt (mock, scorn or be disrespectful).

And then, more often than not, the agreement becomes a “dis”. Con-sent ends in dis-agreement, dis-con-tent, dis-approval, dis-sent, dis-pute, an eventual dis-allowance filled with regret and dis-appointment that leads to dis-integration of all that was meant and intended well. Ouch!

Think about this when negotiating or trying to reach consensus with individuals and also with close friends or family members. A lot of agree-ing might be happening only because the need to be liked or accepted is greater than the possible dis-satisfaction later.

Consider the amount of “con” you communicate and con-tribute in your interactions and activities. If there is more dis-appointment and dis-sent than you care to deal with, you can change the way you say “yes” to things.

Want to know more? Contact me here. Remember: words have power and the right words empower! 

Regards,

20
Mar

What’s In A Word?

 

What’s That You’re Saying?

A lexical approach to discovering more about ourselves, our values, life, cultures and creating a better world through the words we choose to use.

Have you ever really, I mean really thought about the words you use? The ones you sow like weed seeds without thinking? Or. The power behind the words you use? Words that belittle, demean, remove dignity and if used “en masse” cause world fear – even war?

And, do you take the time to think about the words you choose to use? The ones you hand pick with care when you’re at your confident best and sure about what it is you want to communicate? The words that uplift, encourage, speak of love and peace.

You haven’t really had the time to pay it much attention have you?

Read more

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

9
Sep

“Being Nice Isn’t Enough!” gets invited to the UNWG

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Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

How to cut the niceties and get to real collaboration!

It’s official. It’s been announced!

I have been invited to do a keynote on why “Being Nice Isn’t Enough” (my new in the “sending-to-publishers-phase” book) when wanting to cultivate real cross-cultural competence, conversation and collaboration at…
wait for it…
the United Nations Women’s Group in Vienna, on the 21st of September 2016!

That’s BIG and (even if I say so myself) awesomely EXCITING!

OK, I must also admit that I am having a whole lot of fun today! Fun Friday!

I have been in the process of uncluttering my website and putting in the key message of all messages. The Being Nice Isn’t Enough! book/keynote/seminar/coaching message.
I have also been having fun with rewording my “about” page and found the words “rebel” and “sparkplug” and I want to “SALT” sparkplug everywhere to describe myself and what I do. A sparkly sparkplug!

More about my current work and writing…
“Being Nice Is Not Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration.” is aimed at the business reader who is working with culturally diverse teams or across borders “Being Nice Is Not Enough!” is going to change the way you communicate and connect with people – simply by mirroring and undoing some of your habits, bias’, patterns and language that no longer serves you! The unconscious internal glitches – that contribute to conflict rather than collaboration – that should get dumped in the ditches. (Thank you to my coach and mentor Kate Emmerson)

“Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration”, an international personal/leadership skills and (non-generic) business communication book is also written for non-academic readers including non-native English speakers involved in international interactions. Without “dumb-ing” it down too much “Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration” is written in a narrative and witty tongue-in-cheek style. It is a merging of my real-time “put-my-foot-in-it” trip-ups and intercultural feaux pas’ over the past 25+ years (yes I’m that experienced) of personal and international business experiences with my later studies and research on the fascinating albeit, at times, painfully embarrassing topic. The fact that I (and my son) were born into a post-apartheid culturally and politically changing South Africa also provides me with an experientially packed classroom! A wanderlust and attraction for the unknown fuelled by opportunities to work and live in foreign countries fill the chapters of “Being Nice Isn’t Enough!” This book provides humanly erring insights, reflections and practical answers to some of your cross-cultural questions – by undoing unhelpful habits and replacing them with good old guiding principles. An absolute must read when it hits the shelves!
I host “no-buts-kick-butt” authentically sparkplug keynote talks, seminars, team workshops and personal coaching on “Being Nice Isn’t Enough – How to cut through the niceties and get to real collaboration.” Get me, get us!

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8
Sep

C#1 – Curiosity never killed any cat!

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curiosity vs. indifference

Cats whiskers are very sensitive! They are like fine radars – or sensors you have in cars that warn the cat when it’s getting into a tight spot! So forget the old wives tales of cats getting killed because they were curious – that was just an attempt to get you to stop asking questions. What the old wives really should have told you is to develop some cross-cultural curiosity – to be curious, not indifferent.

As children we are protected from all sorts of harm by our well-meaning parents – and in some cases causing more unnecessary harm. Asking too many question got us silenced, we were warned about “talking to strangers”, and overheard our close circles of reference talking (negatively) about others – us (inclusive) vs. them (exclusive). This “killed” our curiosity and limited our cross-cultural and interpersonal potential.

Why?

Because it could percieved as indifference. Like you don’t care. A given cold-ness.  Look at all the fear  or scaremongering going on in the world and ask yourself where that comes from?

Be Curious. Be open for new things. Be spontaneous. A good dose of cross-cultural curiosity will certainly add fun and success to your intercultural activities like cross-cultural collaboration, and cross-cultural communication. Different ideas and experiences are the doors to new “worlds” and opportunities which enable you (or your team/organisation) to grow. And remember, “Being Nice (most of the time, simply) Isn’t Enough!”.

Develop that curiosity – it never killed any cat!

There’s more on what you can do to cultivate cross-cultural collaboration through conversation following shortly!

An idea from Hester and her book “Being Nice Isn’t Enough!”

22
Aug

Vienna and Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

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Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

I trust you’re enjoying the balmy days of a late European summer, or, the fresh new days of a Spring!

I personally fled the wet and wild Goa-n monsoon in June. It was simply too stormy, turbulent and grey for me. In exchange, I enjoyed the South African bush winter of crisp blue skies warmed by rays of sunshine. I also covered about 5000km’s in road tripping and rhino patrolling. It was a glorious time with family and friends. I had to add a bit of body padding with the help of delicious home-made bakes and cakes!

The last 2 months have also been very exciting in the sense that I have submitted my book proposal to a few publishers in the US and UK. I recieved – albeit very direct – guiding and encouraging feedback! I feel more confident (I have no choice because giving up at this point is certainly not an option) and currently re-working some of the pointers given by the publishers. Here’s a snippet:

Being Nice Isn’t Enough is an “undo” book (with illustrations by Karin Hofmann).

Have you ever left a meeting or negotiation wishing you could undo some of the things you said?
Have you ever walked out of an argument wishing you could undo your last statement? Do you feel perplexed, peeved or plagued by cross-cultural misunderstandings? Are you “rolling your inner eye” at seemingly sloppy operations, and getting vexed by others’ disregard for timelines and bogged down by long decision making processes? If yes it might be (high) time to undo some of your “tried and tested” ways of doing things.

Being Nice Isn’t Enough takes an untypical turn-things-on-their-head approach to why people do what they do in foreign and unfamiliar situations.  It illustrates what can go wrong and why you end up with unintended, undesired outcomes. It achieves this supporting you in undoing unhelpful habits, undoing unsupportive behaviour and un-cluttering communication which, if left unattended, lead to unprofitable cross-cultural business activities.

Being Nice Isn’t Enough, is an international business communication book for readers who work with culturally diverse teams or across borders. It is also written especially for the non-native English reader. Without dumb-ing it down too much Being Nice Isn’t Enough is written in a narrative and witty tongue-in-cheek style merging the author’s real time personal and business experiences with researched theory. It provides insights and answers to many cross-cultural questions.

How? You will be nudged into “undoing”

  • age-old survival strategies you’ve inherited, learned, cultivated which show up as your core values, beliefs and unconscious triggers about your assumed cultural identification
  • how you use your language and ideas on words like manipulate, trust, respect and nice
  • what you think you know about others and what engages and scares you and them.

Being Nice Isn’t Enough is packed with thought provoking “undos”, practical how to tips and tools as well as simple and fun illustrations.

By undoing a lot of what you have been thinking, saying and doing, this book is going to impact what you get as opposed to what you want. It will change the way you do business and how you communicate and connect with others – no matter who and no matter where.

Please hold your thumbs for my Being Nice Isn’t Enough!

I (really) look forward to seeing you between the 12th of September and the 9th of November in Vienna, and remember that my diary is almost full so if you would like me to spend some time with you, contact me now!

Stay safe and remember to keep sparkling!

Hester
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25
May

Autumn in Austria!

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Returning to Vienna this Autumn!

“creating confident communicators – cultivating collaborative conversation”
Taking bookings now from 12th September to 9th November 2016

Goa has been and still is good!

A sense-ual celebration of the visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfactory and gustatory elements – colorful and kaleidoscopic; bold and brassy; hot and humid; aromatic and acrid; delicious and delightful! And at best, confusing!

Here’s something really funny and absolutely true when it comes to their “language” – verbal and nonverbal. I still have to check for understanding!

Getting on with everyday things have also been a challenging daily reminder of how much curiosity, clarity and understanding cross cultural communicators need. Curiosity is certainly very supportive in order to cultivate collaboration through communication. Wouldn’t you like to know how?

Speaking of clarity – while the skies are blue and there are many more hours in your day – I need to make hay! Please remember to plan and fix your skills and language appointments for Autumn, ASAP!

You know how the saying goes – if you snooze you lose!

Wishing you happy days and a sensational summer! Hester

 

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