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Alert not alarmed: Tips for leaders during times of uncertainty

Alexandria Joy - Monday, March 16, 2020
The next few weeks and months are going to be tougher than normal for everyone, and especially for you as a leader.

It’s more important right now than ever to maintain your calm, to build resilience in your team and to create psychologically safe environments where your people feel heard, seen and supported. During a crisis, employees need effective leadership more than ever.

Perhaps, like many workplaces you have asked your people to work from home. While this may feel like a dream or potentially a nightmare, consider that it may create a lot stress and anxiety for both you and your people.

Consider how your team members may be feeling – they may be wondering how they will get their work done, if their job is secure, how they will stay in touch and what work they can do from home.

This is the time for you to get clarity on what you can and can't control, to be in control of your emotions and lead your people by focusing on what can be achieved. It’s a time for developing backup plans, putting family first, encouraging eating plant powered food, having straight talk with your teams, maintaining your tribe vibe through distance and continuing to move more and stay physical.

In my 10 Degree Shift to healthy vibrant workplaces I outline the interconnected web of elements that research has proven are needed to ensure workplace ecologies are productive and thriving. Never before have they been more necessary and pertinent.

Here are some simple actions you can also take starting now:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Gossip loves a void and spreads quickly in the workplace, especially in the absence of the leaders voice. During a crisis, communicate promptly, truth tell about what you do and do not know, and share the plan and its current state of execution. In the case of the coronavirus, be open and honest if you and the other leaders are struggling to determine the impact of the situation and share exactly what you are doing to prepare for the possible outcomes.

  • Set a couple of online huddle times a week - use GotoMeeting, Zoom or whatever your platform of choice to get all your team online together and talk about how they are feeling, what can be done and strategies for navigating this new landscape. Humans are social creatures and the workplace is one of our anchor communities so you need to maintain that sense of connection as much as possible.

  • Do a mental health audit - regularly check in and ask your people "Are you OK?", encourage them to continue drinking lots of water and stay hydrated and not go overboard on caffeine (often people are better at this at work where there is a water filter on tap). As Simon Sinek says "leadership is not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in your charge."

  • Establish set work hours – even though team members may now be working from home don’t allow that to bleed into family time. Encourage staff to maintain boundaries and adhere to them yourself. I heard a great interview recently with both Brooke Franklin GM of TOM Organic and Tim Baxter Marketing Manager for Who Gives a Crap on the podcast One Wild Ride on virtual teams that is really relevant as more people work from home - some of their top tips included set days and times for the whole team to be available for meetings, distinctive boundaries around ‘off-work’ times, and Slack as a tool to facilitate communication. 

  • Trust your people - one of the biggest challenges I hear from leaders, even before Covid-19 is how will I know people are doing the work when they are at home and I can't watch what they are doing. While inspiration gets people to take the first step and follow when things are smooth sailing, trust gets people to go the distance and work with you through the storm. This may well be the best lesson and learning you get from this chaotic time. Trust isn't just something people earn, trust is something you extend first for them to uphold and lean into. Believe that people are essentially good in nature and want to do what's right, establish mechanisms for basic reporting and support and watch them earn your trust. This doesn't mean they are infallible - one of the biggest challenges they will face is staying focused and on task while at home with all of its distractions, so be upfront about the reality with them, talk about it, have open dialogue and then let them do their work.
    When we create environments in which people feel like they belong, the result is trust and collaboration. Circles of Safety allow people to spend their time and energy working together toward a higher cause that inspires them, and withstand the inevitable pressures and dangers all teams face.

  • Calm your own stress and anxiety – meditate, use essential oils, practice deep breathing and check in regularly to ensure your stress levels don’t get out of hand. It is typical to see stress in the workplace, such as feeling overworked or undervalued, being perceived as a threat and in turn activating the stress response. However, in the current situation, the stress response may be triggered by feelings of isolation and fear leading to higher levels of these stress chemicals in the body. This can spell disaster as it can lower immunity making our bodies more susceptible to viruses such as Corona.

  • Being calm does not mean being passive, or ignorant of the events around you. Encourage your team to consider the impact of the crisis and the tools available to them to mitigate various outcomes. Work with your team and other departments to undertake a review of your business strategy for the coming six months, review your existing products and services and ask how else could this be delivered in this new world? What supply chain issues might we face? What’s our budget projection for both our worst case scenario and best case scenario? What options do we have for cost saving and income generation during this time?
Make no mistake this is a time when your leadership skills will be put to the test. This is a critical time to be the calm for your people, the steady voice amid the chaos, be alert, not alarmed, take a long term strategic viewpoint and make decisions that put people before profit.

Remember as a leader everything you say and do and don’t say and don’t do is watched and observed. Be a leader who uses this time to build trust and a psychologically safe environment for your people and you will be rewarded with loyalty long term. 

CHANGE is hard. Make the SHIFT.

Alexandria Joy - Tuesday, August 13, 2019


For such a small word it conjures up all sorts of reactions and emotions.

“Change is hard” is one common phrase I hear around many change fatigued workplaces.
“Not more change” equally so.  

And yet as a word it’s just a little verb referring to altering the form, nature, content, future course of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone. For example you can:

CHANGE your opinion (sounds like a complete switch-a-rooney).

CHANGE the course of history (whoa sounds heavy!)

CHANGE your name (yep I’ve done that several times – no I’m not escaping the law.)

Have you got any small CHANGE please? (even begging has become hard as no one carries cash on them anymore.)

Whatever way you use the word CHANGE sounds hard. As a company culture scientist helping leaders and organisations to conduct experiments to improve their culture I found the word itself was more the barrier than anything else. So I made a change. A switch to SHIFT, in particular to introducing the concept of the 10 degree shift.

Just this shift in language itself has seen greater engagement, openness, even relief that transforming a company’s culture is possible, probable and certain using just small sustainable shifts. Bypass the psychological resistance to the word and you bypass the stuckness, fatigue and hopelessness.


SHIFT sounds simpler, gentler, more doable and palatable. Shifting leaders, employees and their behaviors is absolutely possible through consistently shifting to better communication, compassion, care and accountability.

In the current climate and era of business making radical changes could derail a company culture completely and make it go from innovative and warm to toxic and prickly. Far from making drastic changes, simply deciding on the goal or vision and then making constant, incremental, 10 degree shifts will see far greater long term traction. Like a plane taking off from an airport it is not any drastic moves they make in the sky that get them to their final destination but a series of small, micro shifts that untimately sees the plane land at the desired airport.

Our current approaches to organizational change are defunct. They simply won’t cut it in this global environment with multigenerational workforces. They are too hard and fast, controlling and linear, they will not allow for the flexibility, creativity and responsiveness needed today to help companies respond and course correct as the market ebbs and flows. However gauging the environment, the culture climate and making continual small shifts will help a culture stay fresh, vibrant and juicy.

External change is pervasive, all-consuming and accelerating but it can be handled more proactively and positively when a company culture is vibrant and healthy. It’s time to SHIFT our language and our focus. To all become scientists and make small, low risk experiments each and every day towards achieving excellence and improvement in our workplace relationships, learning and company cultures.

Will you make the SHIFT?

Become humble for the planets sake

Alexandria Joy - Monday, August 05, 2019

I was inspired by reading this conversation between quiet achiever Jane Goodall of The Jane Goodall Institute and His Royal Highness The Duke Of Sussex recently on the environment, humanity and the climate crisis in the soon to be released issue of British Vogue. https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/prince-harry-jane-goodall-september-2019-issue

Jane makes some important observations about the need for all of us to take our personal responsibility to change the world:

[There’s] more support, more awareness. But at the same time, a lot of apathy. The big message I take around is: every single person makes some impact on the planet every day. And you get to choose what you buy, where it comes from.

As a biophiliac with a deep love for humanity and nature, as well as company culture healer, I argue that organisations are possibly the world’s most underutilised resource for solving many human, economic and environmental challenges. In my experience most companies have failed to tap into and unleash the human power at their fingertips. While we are at a tipping point from a global climate perspective many people I talk to feel helpless and hopeless about their role in the future of our people and planet. I feel very strongly that improvements needn't be massive and radical, rather that continual 10 degree shifts at the personal level can make large improvements at the global level. We just need everyone to do something, to consistently make small shifts and changes.

And as Jane points out climate, environment and economics all go hand in hand.

The thing you have to do first to make this work is to alleviate poverty. Because if you’re really poor, you’re going to cut down the last tree because you’ve got to live.

The fact is when nature loses, that’s the end of all of us. We depend on nature, on clean air, clean water, all of our survival essentials. As Jane laments,

...how is it possible that the most intellectual creature that’s ever walked on the planet, that sent a rocket to Mars from which a little robot crept to take photos, is destroying our only home? It seems to be a disconnect between the clever brain and the heart, love and compassion.

We need to begin by making holistic, courageous, humane decisions by asking questions such as “How will this affect future generations?” "What legacy will I leave by choosing this option?"

We must rediscover our spiritual connection with nature, our ability to connect and integrate and align with the seasons, with mother earth, with our deepest soul self and with each other. And if you are a parent, a teacher, an aunt or uncle, an employer or leader then you can begin by seizing the opportunity to empower your staff, friends and young people to understand that they can make a difference.

We can live in greater harmony and we can leave lighter ecological footprints, all it takes is a little intellect and a lot of heart and soul.

What 10 degree shift will you make now?

#conservation #environment #startwithU #10degreeshift #legacy #biophiliac

Manage Energy Not Time

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Do you find there is never enough time?

You're not alone. So many of my friends, clients and prospects say "there just isn't enough time in the day." Or they ask me "Where do you find the time?" "How can I manage my time better?" "Do you teach time management skills?

The truth of the matter is time is a fixed resource and no matter what you do, you can’t change that. If you are following the most common calendar you have 52 weeks in a year, 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour. Period. There is nothing you can do that will alter that.

Yet, I'm guessing like most of us you probably have an ever growing to do list of things you want to do with your time. And the reality probably is that you will never get it all done.

What if instead of trying to manage your time you made a 10 degree shift and considered managing your energy rather than your time. Just by shifting your question from "How can I manage my time better?" to "How can I manage my energy better?" will start you looking for alternative solutions.

Really when you think about it, you simply can't manage time. What you can manage is your energy. So often when we feel we don't have time, we need to consider that actually we don't have the energy bandwidth to get something done. If we manage energy, more often than not we have more than enough time. We start to think about, how can I better manage my focus? What routines could I use to support my productivity? Where am I rushing too much and burning out my energy too fast? What boundaries do I need around my energy in order to support my use of time better?

“The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not,” Tony Schwartz, Jim Loehr in  The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.
One of the most important lessons therefore that managers and leaders can learn is to manage their energy, as opposed to their time. Think about it for a moment, do you have the energy to be fully present with your team? Are you undertaking daily practices to renew your energy? Are you managing your energy through sleep, meditation and reflection in order to recover energy and be fully present with your team?

One idea to better manage our energy is to rank the importance of each task on our to do lists. If we spend a few moments determine the energy required to do each task and focus on prioritising high energy tasks earlier in the day when we are well rested and energetic, the medium ones second and low energy tasks for when our natural biorhythm is slower and lower, we may find we get more done by the end of the day.

Another approach is the popular Pomodoro Technique which involves a mix of bursts of concentrated work with short breaks to maximise productivity much like interval training.

One way you can use the Pomodoro Technique is to select a task from your To Do list. Set a timer and become absorbed in the task for 25 minutes, blocking out all distractions. If anything comes along to interrupt you, jot down a quick post-it-note and deal with it later.

Once the 25 minutes are up, take a short break, go for a walk, make your calls or something that restores your energy like 5-10 deep breaths. This break is important as it gives your brain a chance to rest.

Once your break is over you can then move back into another 25-minute work session, either on the same task or the next on your To Do list, followed by a further break.

In this Harvard Business Review article they state a great point:

The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story.
What then can you do to better manage your energy?

First become aware of your energy levels, every person is unique so become more mindful around when you feel energised or depleted, what tasks or activities create friction in your day and which ones stimulate flow? Are there certain people who drain and deplete your energy or those that give you a lovely boost? Can you create some stronger boundaries around the drainers?

Personally I have found my rituals including a daily personal practice (DPP) of walking, yoga, breathwork and meditation in the morning and implementing the boundary of slow mornings - no meetings before 10am have greatly supported me to better manage my energy and I would go as far as saying transformed my life. I know on any given days I miss these rituals and head straight into an early morning meeting or need to catch an early flight and miss my DPP I end up feeling more anxious, rushed and under the pump.

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Establishing simple rituals and 10 degree shifts like these can create a lot of momentum, a shift in culture and in productivity across an entire organisation over time too. Through my 10 degree shift and masterful managers programs I measure the brain patterns and brain activity of participants at the start and at the end of their 90 day program (using a MUSE device). In every instance where they have implemented and stuck to their 10 degree shift contract, the participants shared that they found substantial improvements in their productivity, their engagement with work, how they felt they managed and led others and how content and satisfied they felt in general. Testing them at the end of the program showed much higher levels of meditative and calm brain states, an ability to focus and concentrate better and lower levels of stress and anxiety.

Finally, similar to the findings of Tony Schwartz  if the work people are doing work or activities that really matters to them, they typically feel more positive energy, focus better, and demonstrate greater perseverance. So doing what we love gives us more energy, even more reason for leaders and managers to understand their people's strengths and preferences and to play to them.

In research outlined in The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations, authors Rob Cross and Andrew Parker share that found that people who energize others are higher performers themselves. This doesn't mean you have to become some energiser bunny, phoney high five king or queen, rather that you bring yourself fully into each interaction.

It's only when managers and leaders begin to invest in their people across all dimensions of their lives that they can begin to bring their energy to work every day. Managing your energy rather than your time means being authentic at work and encouraging others to do the same. Discover and play to your signature strengths, make room for your people to play to theirs, create and practice rituals that renew and support your energy and as a result, you’ll be able to unleash greater performance for yourself and your team.

Good Deed A Day

Alexandria Joy - Friday, June 14, 2019

One of my personal missions in life is to empower a more consciousness world. So I have been pondering, how can I make a 10 degree shift in my life to start living this more incrementally each and every day?

Ta da! I have challenged myself to do a good deed every day. It doesn't need to be massive and I am not doing it for any recognition or thanks, I just genuinely know that the more I put good deeds out in the world, the more I will raise my own frequency and may even create a pay it forward good deed ripple effect.

Studies have shown that doing just one good deed a day not only flood your body with serotonin which helps you relax and makes you feel good and oxytocin, the love drug will help you feel good.

Research also shows that not only do good deeds have a positive impact and feel good factor for the person doing the good action, but for those receiving or even just witnessing a good deed are filled with good, happy hormones too. The positive effects of kindness are experienced in the brain of everyone who witnessed the act, improving their mood and making them significantly more likely to “pay it forward.” This means one good deed in a crowded area can create a domino effect and improve the day of dozens of people! Jamil Zaki, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford University for Scientific American, July 26, 2016

On a call with a fellow high performance coach Alessandra Edwards she asked me, "Have you always been such a positive, up person?" It got me thinking. While I have had my share of challenges and ups and downs in life I have always been a pretty positive person and I've definitely always had a bit of a thing for spreading joy and happiness. I like to walk in the land of freedom and possibility and I love the research of David Hawkins that shows the frequency of different states of being, so I guess I'm living into my name Ms. Joy. Just four years ago via my YouTube channel UQTV I was encouraging people to start a happy virus at work - check out how you could make an impact on your company culture here.

Tonight I did my first conscious good deed of the day while I was on my evening walk, I came across a car parked with the interior light left on, so I went and knocked on the house it was outside of and a lovely lady answered and was very grateful to be told she left her light on so she doesn't wake up to a flat battery in the morning.

Maybe you'd like to join me? Or perhaps you have your own 10 degree shift you'd like to make to live and breathe your goals more? Just like compound interest making small shifts every day add up and grow exponentially over time.

What 10 degree shift will you make in your life?

Middle Managers Are Culture Carriers

Alexandria Joy - Friday, June 14, 2019

Changing a culture is hard. Unfortunately, most of the time it fails. Why is that so?

There's certainly no shortage of processes, steps, frameworks and models for creating culture change. Google "culture change" and a plethora of articles, books, consultants and advice will grace your screen.

Many of these include some great ideas and tactics, to change the 'culture'. Many of them mention people as recipients of the process but few really consider and articulate how to get people to want to change and to shift their habits, behaviours and practices in order to make the change stick.

“Maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy.” – Howard Stevenson

The first and foremost ingredient in any culture change should always be the people. A culture afterall, is just the sum of all the people and their behaviours within a company. The person your people know, like and trust and want to hear from most is their direct line supervisor, their manager, or day to day leader. Your middle managers are your culture carriers.

Uncle Google suggests that a "culture carrier" is someone who has intimate knowledge of the company values and can have an intelligent discussion about why their company does what it does. They are ambassadors for their company and passionately work to promote the company values in their day to day dealings with clients and co-workers.

Just like an actual carrier homing pigeon, it doesn't matter how profound the message on the note strapped to their leg is, if it cant fly the distance and find it's way home the message won't land.

So how do you make this shift happen?

1 - Start by shifting what the CEO, Executive and Board believe

2 - Then provide training, awareness and support to shift what the Middle Managers believe

3 - Then shift how those managers develop, coach and empower every single team member.

I have been brought in by companies who have tried to implement culture change initiatives and failed because they failed to engage and inspire the heart of the company - the layer of middle managers. This layer of front line, supervisory managers is the key linchpin is the employment relationship, they are the holders of the psychological contract employees have with the company and therefore are the culture carriers.

If you fail to engage, train and utilise the combined strength of your middle manager, you've neglected the most powerful vehicle for change. Top down initiatives rarely gain sufficient traction and lack buy-in, bottom up initiatives often lack ongoing support and lose momentum, it's the middle-out initiatives that gain the most ground and create the tipping point of successful change.

The quality and mastery of managing and coaching at this level dictates the success of ongoing performance and development conversations between these managers and their direct reports. The more frequent and supportive the change conversations are between employee and manager, the higher the productivity, engagement, performance and trust of the whole organisation. A tipping point of critical mass is achieved at this level.

Changing culture truly comes from shifting to a more conversational and coaching style of management at this middle level and has been proven time and time again via research such as that conducted by the Gallup organisation, to be the most effective way forward. I would go one step further and say it is the only way forward.

For more information on what makes a masterful manager, download my 10 Commitments of Masterful Managers* here.

Subtraction is greater than addition

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, April 24, 2019


I just came out of a mentoring session with my mentor Linda Hutchings what a great reminder it was to take my own medicine and keep it clean by making things simple.

Perhaps like me you're a multi-passionate entrepreneur or leader who has 50 business ideas a day and struggles to decide which one to implement first. As I talked to Linda about some of my latest ideas of launching a new podcast, relaunching a group coaching program, beginning writing another book (I have two underway already), I began to hear the folly of my thoughts.

Yep that's right, I was eating my own vomit.

I'd just spent the morning supporting a CEO at a mining engineering company to reduce the friction in his business and find more flow. We've been looking at where he can strategically narrow his focus and do what is most important. And here I was stacking my plate full.

As the minimalist leader I teach others that:

Doing everything = frustration and friction. Doing few things well = flow and fulfilment.

Linda kindly reminded me that we often teach what we need to practice.

Like anything in life and business everything can be improved by adding, or by subtracting. Typically adding is associated positively with enhancing something and subtracting is associated negatively with detracting from something.

The race is always for bigger, better, more. Do more, teach more, share more. We are told to keep adding - be on more committees, say yes to more experiences, strive for more money and definitely aim for more friends and likes. My kick in the pants reminder today is that more doesn't always deliver more, in fact all it often gives us less clarity and more stress.

I have a theory:

Business is pretty simple.

Humans make it complicated.

What if instead we started to focus more on subtracting?

We think the key to productivity is to find ways to get more done. We multitask, we attend productivity workshops and how to manage your email better webinars.

What if the real secret to optimum productivity is to do less while achieving more.

Here are four ideas for how you can implement this:

Subtract Low Value Tasks - Linda and I worked through all the ideas I had one by one and identified which ones on my list which were the most commercially viable, would have the greatest impact in helping my clients and were in alignment with my big WHY and goals. It became pretty obvious, pretty quick which low value tasks didn't deserve my attention right now (sorry I wont be launching the Minimalist Leader podcast for a while).

    1. Subtract Distractions - simple really but how many of us can truly say that when we work on one task we remain focused on that task? Why not try my 45:15 batching rule? That is work solid on one thing for 45 minutes - turning off and eliminating all distractions such as email and social media alerts, move to a quiet space, wear nooise cancelling headphones, leave your phone in your bag, remove all other folder and work from your desk until the 45 minutes of focused work is done. Then spend the next 15 allowing in all the distractions in, checking messages, making coffee, talking to colleagues etc.

    2. Subtract Head Over Body - too often in corporate world we are in our heads and not present in our body. In fact one of the smartest ways to get more done in less time is to batch your important tasks for when you’re most alert and effective. Generally speaking our brain capacity and decision making ability is highest before lunch so batch the meatier work then. Leave meetings and other less critical items to the afternoon when your physiology is lower in energy.

    3. Subtract Heavy Tasks - review your list of tasks and consider are there any tasks that really weigh me down and drain me? As a practicing minimalist towing and living in a tiny house, every item I bring into my house has to be weighed up - literally. Whenever I see an item I want to buy or bring into my life I have to consider will this make my 4 tonne home too heavy? How heavy is each task you have on your list? Is it possible to delegate, dump or deal on any of the weighty ones? Maybe you can exchange an hour of work with someone who's pleasure is your poison? Which tasks that are more aligned with your strengths and talents? What 10 degree shift could you make to make each task lighter and more palatable?

The most successful people I know are focused, have boundaries against time vampires, say no to everything not in their top priorities and travel light in flow. If they add something to their life, their business, their commitments it's done so in a mindful, considered way. And they're always subtracting, reducing and eliminating things that no longer support them.

What are you prepared to let go of and subtract from your world?

3 Ways to STOP Imposter Syndrome

Alexandria Joy - Wednesday, October 10, 2018

We’ve all experienced it at some time in our life. Feeling like we’re not good enough, like we’ll be found out or like we’re out of our depth.

Damn you imposter syndrome. She sure can hit hard, especially for us women. It’s so common that I included a question in my Cards for Uniqueness pack asking

“When have you ever felt or acted like an imposter?”

I find it fascinating to hear people’s responses to the question, particularly if they draw the card during our podcast interview. No matter what their background or story they can always remember a moment when they felt it most poignantly.

The truth is it can happen to anyone at any time regardless of our experience, status, position or title. It can happen professionally and even socially. You know the feeling - that internal knot, that questioning mind, it undermines our competence, capability and confidence. And once it’s started it can be a slippery slope to go down. 

So we want to identify her, call her out and stop her in her tracks when she tries to take a grip. Here are 3 ways to STOP imposter syndrome in her tracks and be more UP Yourself:

“I’m not doing it unless I can do it perfectly.”

Stop being a perfectionist princess, she’s one of impostor syndromes best friends. This thinking is highly damaging to your self-esteem aka being UP Yourself. I know what you’re thinking, but isn’t it important to do a good job? Of course it is but setting excessively high goals and standards for yourself will most certainly leave you feeling inadequate and like an imposter when you fail to reach the goal. You set yourself up for failure and then you get to beat yourself up for not measuring up!

Tip: Stop trying to control everything princess. When you miss your ridiculous self-imposed mark on something, do not you accuse yourself of “not being cut out” for you’re the task. No-one can be perfect and do perfect work must be 100 per cent of the time.

If you find yourself constantly believing you could’ve done even better then start owning and celebrating your achievements and taking your mistakes in your stride, viewing them as a natural part of the process. Truth is, there will never be the “perfect time” and your work will never be a perfect 10. The sooner you accept that and be more UPtimistic, the better off you’ll be.

“I was just lucky.”

So you think you’ve got lady luck on your side huh? All the time? Seriously.

Be more up yourself woman. You’ve worked hard to get where you are right? If you keep putting down your successes and achievements to luck, your imposter just might start feeding you BS like you’ll be found out and you won’t be able to continue your success. Luck is when opportunity and preparation meet and I’m guessing you’ve been doing a lot of preparation which takes competence and persistence. Sure lady luck can shine on us every once in a while but you’ve got to remember and recognise all that you’ve done to contribute to your own success. Bottoms Up!

“Oh it was nothing really.”

Imposter syndrome sucks when it stops you from seeing yourself your own brilliance. Especially here in Australia where tall poppy syndrome is rife people are so afraid of appearing up themselves that they are more likely to put themselves down and reduce their efforts to nothing. Problem is good old imposter gets strong every time you do this. It strengthens your neural pathways and her power over you. If you constantly hear yourself saying, “Oh, it was nothing. I’m sure anyone could have done it.” Or “It was no big deal, really.” Then you know you’re falling for the disease of tall poppy. Time to be more UP Yourself - focus on doing your absolute best and when you do and someone complements you simply say “Why thank you.” Cue loud applause.

Go in and UP!

Isn’t it time you stopped playing small and letting the imposter within you win. You’ve come too far to not start believing in yourself and worry about what your little inner voice is saying. Being more UP Yourself is a decision. Decide to back yourself because you’re worth it.


Heidi Alexandra Joy's mission is to empower people to create more meaningful, joyful lives that bring a deeper connection with themselves, others and our planet. To do this she goes toe to toe, knee to knee with real people in real communities around Australia as she undertakes a "slow travel" experiment living and working from her tiny house.

She is the founder of company culture architect firm UQ Power, co-founder of Human Power and creator of the soon to be launched tiny house journey The Joy Box.

The Race for Competing Attention

Alexandria Joy - Monday, October 08, 2018

We don’t have bad memories, we have low attention. This is the age of competing attention. So where are you putting your focus? Where is your attention? On your phone? Perhaps.

So many people espouse hustling, posting on social media 20 times a day just to make a million dollars. But is it all worth it? Is it truly fulfilling and sustainable if all you have is a bunch of likes, shares and possibly some bankable cash in the end?

How would things be different if instead of focusing on popularity they instead focused on helping, problem solving or impacting the next million people they met instead?

I recently read Deep Work by Cal Newport. The book impacted me profoundly as it really helped me realise just how much social media and our devices can distract us, pull our attention away from our reality and keep us living fast and shallow. Is it any wonder businesses, marketers and individuals are vying constantly for our attention, trying to grab a little of your eyeball time.

I reflected on my own life and world and considered how much I allowed social media to lure me into its tangled web, an Insta drool, a like here or there, a glance while the kettle boils, a podcast while driving, a beep or alert while brushing my hair to tell me someone had commented on my Facey post. It all seemed to blend into one long phone check,.

So I made myself some rules to keep social media to the peripheries of my day. It lasted about 30 minutes. A slight beep or ding and once again I found myself laughing at a funny parrot, reviewing a clients post and scrolling through inane content.

I realised I needed a stronger habit breaker to manage my persistent and consistent phone checking. So I discovered and downloaded an app called "Moment" where you can set daily limits on your phone and get back to life. Like all good quantum physics - just the act of watching your phone usage makes you more acutely aware of your usage and changes the outcome immediately. On day 1 my usage was 8 hours 49 minutes, day 2, 5 hours and 31 minutes. Today I'm hovering around 3 hours 45 minutes. Not bad given everything in our society is reaching out for our attention.

Within a week in just one day I had written 15 pages of my next book and a full white paper for my business on transforming culture. There is a lot to be said for reducing distractions and doing more deep work.

One of my colleagues and collaborative partners Michelle Crawford from Being More Human spent about a month without email and social media and mentioned how it deepened her family connection, gave her more time for getting her own important tasks done and also she said that for the first time ever she actually caught herself a few times thinking that she was at a loss for what to do with herself. Sitting in a cafe without email or social media to scroll through she thought to herself "What do I do now?" - how delicious!

“If you can quit social media, but don’t, then you’re part of the problem,” Jaron Lanier says.

Has social media marketing hit a saturation point?

What then does this mean for marketers, business owners, entrepreneurs and brands trying to gain more of our eyeball share? Should they be worried that their social media’s impact is going to lessen over time, that social media has reached its saturation point?

The reality is that the world is only going to continue to get more connected, both in terms of internet and social media. True individual networks may wax and wane - think Myspace - however this is not something to fear, it's just the natural rise and fall of the ecosystem.

No matter what platforms come and go, or how much time users may have or may choose to spend on social media, one thing will never change: the best brands and marketers will always find ways to adapt, to interact and solve problems, to be of service and make a difference in the lives of others. The new opportunity is to stop the endless hustle and instead look for where they actually can connect and engage with real humans. It's time for experiential engagement to become the focus. It's time for us to be more SOCIAL.

How will you impact the next million people you meet?

Stand Out. Stand Under. Stand UP.

Alexandria Joy - Monday, April 02, 2018

Imagine you meet someone and then 5 minutes later I ask you their name - you’ll have probably forgotten it.

Now imagine that I told you prior that if you remembered the name of that person I’ll give you $1 million dollars - bet I’ve got your attention and you’ll their name now remember right? What this tells us is that we don’t have bad memories, we have low attention spans in this age of competing attention.

How then do you begin to stand out, to build a personal brand and to be remembered, respected and referred by others in our modern digital world? You begin by being more UP Yourself, yes I said UP Yourself. That is you have to stand out, stand under and stand up to be noticed and be memorable.

In this high tech world you have to think about how your presence can be high touch. You have to have enough confidence to go belly to belly, heart to heart with other humans. Which means you can't hide behind your smart phone. You have to get a FEEL the other person.

When we go belly to belly with others we engage our gut brain, and that helps us get a good 'feeling' for where they are coming from. Next we go heart to heart and connect via our heart brain. This doesn't mean we fall in love with evereyone we meet. What it means is that you begin to have empathy and compassion for the other person and feel a heart based connection with them.

Most of us connect from our analytical head brain, which means we may often totally miss the connection in our body and instead let our brain jump immediately into its default state which is to see the other person as predator or prey. So we therefore want to fight or love the other person first. When we connect only with our head brain (reptilian) we simple see everyone as an opponent or a sexual opportunity. Which is kind of weird right?

What if instead we could begin to connect at a deeper level? To tap into our gut and our heart BEFORE we engaged the head? This is where the magic of connection, memory and impact begins to happen. When we increase the integration of our presence through connecting with others through our gut, heart and head we sense the electricity, we feel gratitude, and our connection becomes whole and complete.

Which is why being more UP yourself comes into play. When you are UP Yourself you begin to tap into your Unique Power (UP) which gives you the confidence to go belly to belly and heart to heart with other delicious humans. When you are UP Yourself you begin to claim your birthright to be your total self. Your right to be totally present in any moment, not second guessing what the other person is thinking.

Many times we will feel like we are unworthy "Do I have the right to be UP myself and claim my personal power?" However it is a must. It is part of our evolution as humans and as leaders. It's so important to keep being you in all of your uniqueness however strange that may be.

Guru Singh said
"Don't be a commodity. Be an oddity."

I couldn't agree more. It is not always easy, but it is valuable. I've had old work colleagues from 15 year ago come up to me anad say "You know what, I used to really dislike you. You were so up yourself and walked around with your nose in the air. But do you know what? I've been reading your Daily Uptimisms and watching some of your videos and I actually like you. I totally get you now. You've shown me how to be myself and now I wish I hadn't spent all those years worrying about what other people think."

Yogi Bhajan shared distinct wisdom that relates. I call it the 3 way stands:

1 - Stand Out - Be outstanding
2 - Stand Under - Be understanding
3 - Stand UP - be upstanding

So when others ridicule you be outstanding in your demeanor and manner, don't drop your standards. Be understanding of their beliefs not just go against them for opposing you, use your empathy and heart brain. Then be upstanding by standing up for what you believe is right and being totally present and without judgement. It is in these moments as you remain steadfast by using your head, heart and gut brains that your true leadership and influence will shine through.

When your cup is already full through being UP Yourself - that is you are 100 per cent accountable and in love with the you of u, then you can feel totally safe with others and they can feel totally safe and not threatened by you. Once this occurs then instead of us each thinking "How can I succeed?" we both begin to think "How can WE succeed?"

From the moment you wake up in the morning and start your PDP (Personal Daily Practice - tip: it is incredibly powerful to help you stay UP Yourself) to when you lie down to sleep at night, #startwithU. Top and tail the day with U. Let yourself be yourself whenever you are with yourself.

When you come against someone who bristles you, remember to take the 3 stands. If you persist and do this consistently, in time your personal brand naturally begin to be remembered, respected and referred.

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