It all started with a Bang!

Wow! What a month…. I performed for the first time at the Sydney Latin Festival with a team of amazing Zouk dancers AND launched my business, Cultivate Connections, with the first ever CC Event. Talk about start the New Year off with a bang! 2015 is definitely the year for no holding back!!

The launch of CC Events was terrifying and amazing all at the same time. It was a long time coming and a journey like no other. I was so grateful people aligned with my passion and vision and showed up, not to mention provided so much positive feedback, more than I could have hoped for. The morning brought Leaders, Influencers and Visionaries, from an array of backgrounds, together in one room. It was an opportunity for us to meet, connect, share knowledge and build relationship.

The context was Teamwork centred on the Circle of Collaboration. It is my dream that together we embrace, define, develop and innovate around the Circle of Collaboration – co-creating a brighter future for ourselves and those to come. 20 years ago Health and Well-Being was merely a concept, now it’s a way of life. Imagine a world where we know to be true and are living and doing business aligned with all the petals of the Circle of Collaboration….

Thought provoking and controversial conversations arose around the following petals of the circle: Causes and Community, Social and Spiritual (now Social and Sustainability), Professional and Personal and Profit and People (now Public & Policy). The word Spiritual in particular was at first, by some, difficult to relate to but then once any preconceived ideas about religion was set aside, the true meaning of the word emerged and people could relate to their eternal spirit within. It was a joy to witness, to participate in and to contribute towards. The energy of the room certainly took on its name ‘Thinking Space’ – it couldn’t have been more aligned if I tried! I really look forward to seeing where the events, connections and conversations lead the community as the year continues….

What do the petals of the Circle of Collaboration mean to you?

The next event will be held on Friday morning 27th February and I’m calling out to all Leaders, Influencers, Visionaries or Collaborators who want to connect, team up and help grow a new humanity. The conversations with continue and further connections will be made as we explore the Circle of Collaboration and the benefits of Creative Collaboration and Synergy.

Register and book your seat now via Eventbrite and contribute towards a brighter future https://cultivateconnetions.eventbrite.com.au

I hope to see you there!

Courtney ‘C0-Creator’ Wilson

m: +61 (0)417 107 888e: courtney.connect@outlook.com

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What Holds us BACK to ACT?

December and the promise of a New Year brings with it a time of reflection. Reflection of what we have achieved in the year gone by (or perhaps postponed or held back on) as well as the resolutions that we make to ourselves for the year ahead… a year full of possibilities and opportunities…

It’s the best time of year to set clear intentions, to reignite a Passion or Vision for the future and to Dream …Dream BIG so that we can make the world awesome!

One thing I chose to do differently this year, just to push myself forward and to make sure that I no longer postpone or put things off, was to honestly ask myself…..

‘What Holds Me back to Act?’

When I reflect, I recognise one valuable distinction I have learnt from a system/typology that I now work with, in that I am driven by a lot of why, a little of what, but absolutely no how. What this means is that when I focus on ‘why’ I want to do something, I have clarity. But when I actually want go and do that something, sometimes I just don’t know how to do it! I can become confused, frustrated and potentially give up! I realise that I actually need to team up with those that know how….

So that is what I have done. I have teamed up with 3 inspirational women on purpose, who have aligned values and vision, so that together we can co-create quality solutions for the future. We share a vision to empower and create influential women of the world and, through Creative Collaboration, we have developed a Cohesive Leadership for Change program designed specifically for women. Launching in March 2015, the program creates the vital challenge and joyful experience of discovering ones purpose and stepping into ones individual and collective values and visions.

By teaming up in this way, I have also been inspired and motivated to finally act and launch my new business ‘Cultivate Connections’ on Friday 30th January 2015.

When I discovered what was holding me back and experienced firsthand what happens when I team up with those that complement my strengths and weaknesses, I thought perhaps I might not be the only one; that others might also benefit from teaming up too and that’s why I created Cultivate Connections – it connects people, services and businesses to ensure we have everything we need to ‘turn our Passions and Visions into Actions’… the What, the Why and the How and even the Where and the When…

So as the New Year approaches, ask yourself…

  • Do you have a Passion you want to enthusiastically pursue with others?
  • Do you have a Vision you want to share?
  • Do you have a Dream you want to make into a Reality?

If so, consider a collaborative venture and team up with those that have aligned values and vision. I can certainly declare that TEAMWORK really does make the DREAMWORK!

It is quite incredible. It’s not to say it’s without its challenges but it brings new meaning to relationships, to passions and visions, to ideas and dreams and to what is possible for our future.

Make a New Year resolution now to come along to a CC Event and watch this space, as booking details is coming soon….Taking networking to the next level, CC Events provides an opportunity to consciously Cultivate Connections and experience Creative Collaboration. For further details check out CC Events.

So as 2014 comes to a close, connect with your PASSION, VISION or DREAM and let’s get you collaborating with the right people in 2015…

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Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson

m: +61 (0)417 107 888e: courtney.connect@outlook.com

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Emotional Intelligence

Does Emotional Intelligence matter more than IQ?

At school and university I was diligent and disciplined and graduated with straight A’s and high distinctions. At work I consistently deliver beyond expectations. Yet all through my life, I can honestly say there is one thing that consistently challenges me and, at times, holds me back from true success – the ability to manage my emotions and my relationships, especially in times of high stress.

Emotions play such a large role in thought, decision making and individual success yet at school or work we are never encouraged to talk about them or learn how best to manage them. Perhaps it is assumed, we will learn all we need to know from our environment growing up. But what if this is not always the case…. What then?

Are we left with our lot in life? Left being labelled the impulsive one, the shy one, the loud one, the sensitive one, the calm one, the angry one, the argumentative one, the aggressive one or the highly emotional one, which is ironic because we are all highly emotional – it’s just what we do with them that counts!

What if we acknowledged emotions, learn to understand emotions and harness them in such a way that it makes our life even better?

I recently attended a presentation based on the contents of the book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ by Daniel Goleman and I was relieved when I discovered the Amygdala hijack! Finally here was an explanation to my instinctive ‘fight or flight ’response and the guilt and shame of past behaviour was somewhat lessened; not only because there was an explanation but there were strategies you could put in place to manage it too; it would just take discipline. In short, when the amygdala, located in the primitive or reptilian part of the brain, perceives a threat, it can lead that person to react irrationally and destructively, without thinking. And it’s in these situations, self-control and effective strategies are crucial. Whether you’re the person being hijacked or witnessing a hijack, being present and showing empathy will get you to the other side, and hopefully without any casualties or near death experiences!

As Daniel would say, ‘Emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us. It involves self-awareness and impulse control, social awareness and empathy’. Just like learning a new skill or new talent or building a muscle, being disciplined around your emotions will change your relationships and change your life.

What are your emotions telling you right now?

Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson

m: +61 (0)417 107 888e: courtney.connect@outlook.com

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The Confidence Gap

What do you say to yourself first thing in the morning? When you want to apply for a new job? When you want to ask a question or share your view in a group? When you want to talk to someone for the first time? Or when some new opportunity emerges in your life?

Are they words of encouragement; words of assurance; words that help you to act, to ‘lean in’ and take the ‘road less travelled’?

Or perhaps not….

If you are anything like me, some mornings I just want to keep sleeping! But most mornings I do start the day with one thing I am grateful for, even if it’s the comfortable bed I had the privilege of sleeping in. I also make sure I set an intention do at least one thing towards my dreams and desires, even if it’s simply taking the first small step. Despite my best intentions, however, there are many times when I think I’m not qualified or not smart enough or I don’t recognise my true value. Sometimes I even feel like I’ve missed out on some great opportunities or even given up some things because of a lack in confidence.

So where does this lack of confidence come from?

Firstly, growing up and learning to conform rather than identify what in actual fact I stood for certainly set up a habit of self-doubt. Not clearly knowing what my beliefs and opinions, passion and strengths were set up a pattern of always trying to work out what other people wanted me to be or deemed acceptable; rather than just acting on my own intuition. I end up living in a reality of comparing and contrasting and harsh self-judgement, where I tell myself I’m not as talented as others and stop myself from living my full potential.

As I dig a little deeper, I also uncover that, as a woman, it’s actually true that there’s a gendered disparity in confidence; men overestimate their abilities and skills while women underestimate them. In fact, we’ve known this for some time: “imposter syndrome”, a phenomenon in which high-achieving women believe “they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise”, was first written about in 1978.

To add to this phenomenon, we also still live in a culture that gives women little reason to feel self-assured, despite living in the ‘lucky country’.

In 2014 Australia, if you are a working female you are more likely to earn less, more likely to be discriminated against and less likely to be the boss. According to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap report, Australia ranks 24th in the world, behind Cuba, Nicaragua, Burundi and South Africa in the gender stakes.

In America, Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, shares some interesting facts about leadership equality in her book ‘Lean In’. Over half of all professional entry-level roles are filled by women, but only 21% of senior management roles are held by women globally. On corporate America’s Fortune 1000 list, just 4.5% of the CEOs are female, and the pay gap hovers at about 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. Other barriers women still face in the workplace includes “blatant and subtle sexism, discrimination and sexual harassment”. Facts that can be backed up by another source who shockingly states that the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a woman can be fired if her boss finds her attractive; that a New York court decided that unpaid interns can’t sue for sexual harassment; and the Paycheck Fairness Act was defeated by Republicans who claimed women actually prefer lower-paying jobs.

Similar patterns can be seen in the UK with only three women heading FTSE 100 firms and the overall gender pay gap stubbornly stuck at 18.6%.

And to make things even harder, confident women at work are still labelled “bossy” and “bitchy”, to their own detriment, unless they can “turn it off”. One of the most compelling studies that underline the obstacles women face, though 10 years old but still rings true is the Howard/Heidi study. Two professors wrote up a case study about a real-life entrepreneur named Heidi Roizen, describing how she became a successful venture capitalist by relying on her outgoing personality and huge personal and professional network. The professors had a group of students read Roizen’s story with her real name attached and another group read the story with the name changed to “Howard.” Then the students rated Howard and Heidi on their accomplishments and on how appealing they seemed as colleagues. While the students rated them equally in terms of success, they thought Howard was likeable while Heidi seemed selfish and not “the type of person you would want to hire or work for.” Sandberg’s conclusion: when a man is successful, he is well liked. When a woman does well, people like her less.

As a woman and someone who likes to be liked, no wonder I find it difficult to be confident at times!

So what’s the solution?

Never letting an obstacle or challenge stand in my way, I remind myself of these simple but powerful steps adapted from my experience:

  1. Let the current culture drive you; ‘be the change you want to see in the world’
  2. Define what you stand for; if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything
  3. Give your attention to others; look to where you can help rather than compete
  4. Carry yourself with confidence; your posture and behaviour changes your attitude
  5. Make a 5 minute start on the first step; confidence is built on accomplishment
  6. Accept that very often good enough will do; give yourself permission to be human
  7. Frame mistakes as valuable feedback; Fail your way to success

Most importantly, I surround myself with other empowering individuals and build a support network. I call upon my courage to be confident and to express that confidence in a way that creates meaningful change; a culture that values self-assured women and men equally.

I will leave you with one simple phrase I use whenever I need a confidence boost, special thanks to the twins from MKR…..

“WE’VE GOT THIS”

Together, let’s change the culture of confidence.

Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson

m: +61 (0)417 107 888e: courtney.connect@outlook.com

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