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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Knocking Down the Walls that Separate…

This month of November 2014 marks the 25th Anniversary of when the Berlin Wall fell…

An auspicious occasion to remember and an opportunity to reflect and ask the question; why do we put up Walls?  And why is it important to knock them down and unite with those around us?

When I read about the history of East Berlin, Germany, the Wall is claimed to have been erected to protect its people from fascist elements, views and opinions conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state. With a lack of trust in their neighbours, the concrete Wall was constructed, along with guard towers, anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defences.

What the Wall did, in actual fact, over the 28 years that it stood tall, was only to imprison and serve to control its people, which caused the demise of an economy. Not to mention separate family and friends, cause unnecessary panic and unrest and the death of those trying to cross the border.

It’s been 25 years since the Wall came down, since the East and West have united, but you can still see the effects of what the Wall, of what ultimately control did to the economy of the East.  In an aerial shot taken by Commander Hadfield from the international space station, you clearly see the West shines with modern fluorescent white lights, compared to those in the East which basks in a yellow glow, reflecting the old sodium lights. (picture courtesy of the British Telegraph)

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On foot, as you walk from the West to the East, you get a further sense of the impact. The West has clearly benefited from the prosperity of the second half of the 20th century and it very much feels like a modern western European city. While in the East, you just have to look at the change in the architecture to know its history. It is filled with square blocks, functional looking buildings that were put up by the communist authorities.  A now unified city, however, with no Wall to control its people and the opportunity to collaborate with its neighbours, progress is being made; East Berlin is now one big building site, with unlimited potential and possibility.

As I reflect on my own life and all the times I have put up Walls due to fear of ‘perceived’ differences, or lack of trust in those around me, I recognise how this was my way of trying to control things. Yet now I see how this, in actual fact, has stopped certain things in my life from evolving; from building friendships, to sharing moments or simply experiencing what life has to offer. Basically the Walls constructed in fear, to ultimately get a sense of control, actually stops the flow of life, the flow of connection, the flow of creation.

And as I translate this into how I collaborate with others at work and in the community, I see how putting up Walls and the need to control a situation limits how we work together, the flow of creativity and negatively impacts the progression of new ideas; of co-creating quality solutions; of ultimately turning passion and vision into actions.

You just have to see the before and after pictures of Berlin to know this to be true and to witness the transformation that takes place when we come together, without Walls, and unite….

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Like Berlin, it’s time to knock down the Walls, to let go of control and Unite.

Let’s Connect, Collaborate and Co-create a better and brighter future together.

Who’s with me?

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(Pictures courtesy of the ABC)

Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson

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

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Working Together

Growing up I loved the story of Dorothy, her faithful dog Toto, the unknown magic of her ruby slippers and the journey along the yellow brick road to the Wizard of Oz, with her trustworthy companions. I think in some way, shape or form I can relate to one or each of the characters at any given time and the underlying messages of this children’s adventurous fable.

The opening scenes depict Dorothy in the midst of a horrifying storm where she finds herself alone, scared and in an unfamiliar place and all she wants to do is to go home. She is handed a pair of ruby slippers and told to follow the yellow brick road towards the Wizard of Oz, the man that can make any wish come true. As she faithfully follows the yellow brick road she meets a scarecrow, and all he wants is a brain so he can think of ways to scare off the crows. Dorothy tells him about the Wizard, so he joins her on the journey. Soon enough they both stumble across a Tin man, who only wants a heart to feel love once again. And it was then that two became three. As they walk merrily along the yellow brick road, excited to be travelling together, a Lion jumps out with a huge roar! Within seconds he is in tears and admits that all he wants is courage to be brave. So another joins them in their quest and they continue, together, with one goal in mind – to meet the Wizard of Oz and ask for their wishes to come true.

As they journey along the yellow brick road they face some tough challenges, a wicked witch and a near death experience. And then when they finally do get through and make it to the Wizard of Oz, he turns out to be a fraud! They are absolutely devastated and disappointed….Until he, the mere mortal man, reminds them that together they have actually already made their wishes come true. He asks them to remember that when they needed to cross a river, it was the scarecrow who thought of an idea to build a raft. When they needed to jump from the raft to the nearby bank, the Lion told them to get on his back despite how scared he was and carried them safely across. When Dorothy nearly died from falling asleep to the intoxicating poppies, the Tin Man genuinely had heartfelt tears. And he uncovers the truth that if Dorothy truly wants to go home, all she has to do is tap her ruby slippers and think of home.

Through making the choice to experience the journey together they had the power to make their collective and individual wishes come true. Only through working together as a team, with those that share the same goal and the commitment to overcome any challenges, did they realize they, in actual fact, had everything they needed within.

When you come together, stay together and work together for the purpose of a collective vision you have an opportunity to share your gifts, you realise each other’s value and you can make any wish come true…

That’s the power of Team. That’s the power of working together.

So tell me, do you work in a team with a collective vision?

Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson

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

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Coming Together…

As we move from the generation of builders to baby boomers to generation X, Y and now Z our ‘cultural’ roles in society shift with new perception. As a result, there can be a tendency to be left feeling like we don’t know our ‘place’ in the world or that we have to do it all ourselves…. and we all know that doing it on our own can be hard work!

With any type of change comes an initial lack of clarity or uneasiness as we move outside of our comfort zone and when it relates to our role within society we can perhaps forget that we are actually here to come together, play together and work together. Because while we might think we have to do it all ourselves, the reality is that we are, in actual fact, built on collaboration. You just have to look at family. We are born into a ‘team’; we connect and collaborate with other ‘teams’ through marriage; and we procreate our own ‘team’. And we all know that finding the right team is when the magic begins….

So what makes a team work and create lasting magic? In my opinion it is absolutely, without a doubt, in the knowing of ourselves and the understanding of our role in the team and the role of others. So that we can realize, recognize and respect one another (warts and all!). But rather than connecting primarily with our roles from a ‘cultural’ perspective, which as we know can change quite quickly as the years pass by, I highly recommend that we instead focus on connecting with our role in accordance with our identity. That is, our role from a purpose driven perspective. Our core identity does not change; it only becomes clearer as time passes by (so long as we do the work!). This in itself would then ground us with a knowing of who we are, what we are here to give and what we can contribute as member of a team, any type or size of a team, be it personally or professionally. We would have clarity on our personal values and vision and team up with those that have aligned values and/or vision. And herein is the secret ingredient of a team that works and creates lasting magic – aligned values and/or vision. Even in times of stress or creative conflict, which will happen even with the best of teams, this is the glue that keeps you together. Who knows, perhaps society may even start to be influenced by this new perception of knowing ourselves, connecting and building aligned teams….

So who are you? What are your strengths, your gifts to the world?

Through participating in the Living Attributes program “Know yourself, discover your purpose”, facilitated by Elizabeth Ellames, I have revealed that my gift is courage (from the Latin word ‘cor’ meaning heart: to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart) and I love to connect people by sharing knowledge. I am a Collaborator, Facilitator and Rock Star Connector. And in gaining clarity, I have come together with three amazing women, Elizabeth Ellames from Living Attributes, Cherie Rowett from Heart Choice Enterprise and Lisa McAskill from Lisa McAskill Presenting; all three women living on purpose. We all share a vision of ‘Creating Influential Women’ ™ and are working together to develop a Cohesive Leadership for Change™ program. I’ve never felt more alive and fulfilled than when I’m acting on purpose and collaborating with others that have an aligned vision, and this is having a ripple effect throughout my entire life.

So IMAGINE…. discovering or honouring your purpose, values and vision…. connecting with the right team …. and realising your dreams….

Love

Connect with me today and let’s get you collaborating with the right team…

Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson

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

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Letting Go…

Last month I blogged about Emotional Intelligence and how this can change your relationships and change your life. After referring to the to infamous book written by Daniel Goleman, I have since realised that the one thing that was lacking in the book was heart, raw emotion and story telling. While the concepts ring true it was difficult to stay connected and re-read the book from start to finish.

What I have discovered is the power of story telling. Especially the insight gained when you share your own life journey, written in the third person. A powerful, powerful process. As you write, read and share the experiences that miraculously find themselves on a page, you re-live the emotions connected to those experiences. You realise what you have been holding on to, the reason why you behave in a certain way and most importantly what you have learnt and the gifts you can share with the world, both at home and in your vocation.

In my opinion, story is a key step in finding your purpose in life and discovering who you were born to be. Facilitated by Elizabeth Ellames, the writing and sharing of your personal hero’s journey is transformational and rewards you with a higher level of emotional intelligence. To find out more, check out Elizabeth and Living Attributes here: www.livingattributestemple.wordpress.com Living Attributes is a typology (tool) that helps you to identify the value of your unique story; your brand.

As I come to the completion of writing and sharing my story, I take a deep breath in and  hold the clear intention to let go of all that no longer serves me, on every level. I accept, with grace and with no desire to change things, all that has happened, is happening and is yet to happen. In honour and respect of my hero’s journey, I experience unconditional love and forgiveness and recognise my gifts and true value.

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What is it that you can accept and let go of in your story?

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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Living in the Moment

It has become quite obvious to me recently that I have lived most of my life in my head, most likely due to my analytical nature and conscientious mind; preplanning, organising and calculating what I “should” do next for the “best” outcome. I dwell on the past, worry about the future and fantasise about being on holiday. I get so caught up in the expectations of life, people and situations I have the tendency to seldom just go with the flow. My ‘monkey mind’ usually equates to being preoccupied with thinking I have to do something to make things happen and then when I do act, I’m left feeling guilty and full of regret. In business, and in my personal life, this tendency to jump from tree to tree can appear forced and controlled and contributes to high levels of indecisiveness, stress and anxiety, not just for me but for everyone involved.

Every now and then, however, I remember to relax and experience life; usually when I’m looking at something breathtaking, doing something that I really enjoy or experiencing a moment that touches my heart. It’s in these moments, I let go of thought, I feel alive, connected and my life becomes effortless. I allow life to unfold and act only when inspired to do so and when I do act I’m not attached to any specific outcome. Life becomes peaceful and uncomplicated.

So I ask myself, what can I do to balance the scales so my life is constantly in the flow, effortless and peaceful?

And the answer is simple; live in the moment by being mindful and connected.

I remember to observe my thoughts that come and go, without judgement, and at the same time have the courage to connect to everyone and everything that presents itself, especially the smaller things in life. Most importantly, I let go of all expectations and have faith. I offer life, people and every situation my full attention so that when I act, I trust it. Who knows, it may not turn out the way I expected but something else just might transpire instead.

I realise practice makes perfect; that every day is a new day and I’m gentle on myself. With each day, I start again and observe my thoughts, knowing that some days may be harder than others. I cultivate a connection with something I enjoy; walking along the beach, watching the sunrise or sunset, listening to music or dancing to a tune and then expand this to all experiences in life. When it comes to building relationships, both professionally and personally, I have the courage to look people in the eye and practice being present by allowing the situation to unfold without judgement or expectation. It can lead to extraordinary things or at the very least it lends itself to an authentic and stress free and peaceful experience.

I recognise that when I am mindful and connected, I trust life and life trusts me.

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live”. Goethe

So take a deep breath, relax and start humming this song ….

 

I leave you with one thought to think each day “Are you living in the moment”?

Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson

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

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