Let’s talk: Get it Magazine, August 2018 column

The packed conference room was buzzing with excited energy; the popularity of the break-out session I’d just witnessed had obviously been underestimated because people were sitting and standing in every free space. I, like all the attendees, had been impressed by the generosity of the speakers who hadn’t held back on sharing wisdom about their business success strategies. Dazzled, I simply had to meet them!

I lined up with other inspired folk at the end of the session to say hello, and when it was my turn to swiftly meet-and-greet, I spoke but a few words, handed over a business card and scurried off.

Significant networking fail.

We’re coming into our final quarter of the year, and with so much on the horizon here on the GC including conferences, events and a host of personal and professional growth opportunities, there’s a good chance you might find yourself in a situation like this and I’m here to urge you to make it work for you (better than I made it work for me).

There’s no doubt that networking fast-tracks the opening of career and business doors, through the gaining of new tips to improve your work, learning that accelerates growth, finding customers or a new job, making friends or discovering people who become future business partners, mentors and collaborators. Yet, many of us cringe at the very thought of networking, and when we finally get ourselves in front of the crowd, we’re often ill-prepared, shy and take the wrong approach.

I soak up conferences – I love the learning and the inspiring presenters. I have always known the networking component is seriously valuable, but for many years I’ve made the errors referenced above. When running my own business, I had to get stuck into the networking game, faking it ‘til I made it, so to speak. For every person I met, I had a chance to discover how I might add value to what they were working on, and critically, much of that led to paid business.

It’s easy to slip into shy/tired/straight-up complacency though – hanging out with the same people, caught scrolling emails on your phone, feeling stuck for conversation, or marching right on in there with your business card. Shamefully, I’ve done it all.

But, here’s my intention for us from now on: be open to opportunity. Make it your mission to connect with new people at each event you go to, and get to know them on a personal level. Rather than only talking business, see if you can discover what hobbies, work, people, heroes, background or interests you have in common. Critically, listen. Ask questions, be interested, helpful, and listen some more.

If you have a few conversation-starters up your sleeve, that inevitably improves confidence when you approach someone new in a room. Try things like ‘what brings you here today’, or ‘what are you working on that you’re most excited about right now’?

Another element I’ve always struggled with is getting my story right – you know, the ‘30 second elevator pitch’ thing! I have always found it hard to articulate. Probably because I never crafted nor practiced it – which is the final important bit of advice I wish to impart.

Instead of stating your job title when you meet new people, try sharing who you serve, what problem you solve, how you solve it and what results you’ve achieved. For example, ‘I serve business owners by helping them produce high quality, creative digital content and this year already I’ve helped more than 45 brands reach their audience and engagement goals within six months of working with me’.

Over to you: make the best of what we have left of this year, raise your profile and develop connections that take you closer to your 2018 goals (before we start talking about 2019 already). There’s no time like the present! Keep in mind too, it’s only human to feel shy, reserved, or unsure of what to say. Be honest about it – you can be certain others know the feeling well!

How do you see it? Share in the comments below.

Read the August 2018 issue of Get it Magazine here

Glamour cue – Get it Magazine July 2018

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Once upon a time I lived in tiny and expensive flat in a huge city overseas. Competition for a roof over your head continues to be high in many places, and out of naïve fear I’d accepted the first unaffordable rental a real estate agent sold me on. This apartment block housed a young, international set, mostly fortunate students who curiously didn’t work but had way more fun-funds than I did.

The experience wasn’t the homeliest I’ve had, and my pay packet stretched only as far as rent and a bit of food. That’s why the communal corridor near the ‘bin room’ was such a treat. You see, every time this transient crowd shifted in and out of the building, they’d leave unwanted goods in that space. Furniture, towels, blankets, cushions, kitchenware, shoes, lamps, kettles, storage boxes, trinkets and clothes would appear every few weeks. All in good condition, nearly-new! The little hallway offered a treasure trove of goodies that saved me loads of money.

One special day I was on my way to work when I spotted a fresh pile of pretty things left for the picking. Sure I needed to catch the train, like, ten minutes prior, however, I was captivated. Unceremoniously dumped amongst a pile of women’s accessories, was a stylish black leather Kate Spade tote bag! A Google search later indicated it would retail for more than $700. My bag’s former owner (someone with more money than sense) had abandoned it still full of her old gum wrappers, crumpled tissues, used cosmetics, and it was stained on the inside with what looked like leaked nail varnish. With a loving clean, it was nearly good as new.

From that moment on, my Kate Spade tote and I were inseparable. I’d never owned an expensive bag before. I’m a fairly low-maintenance kinda girl, however carrying it around made me feel glamorous. It was just a bag that I’d retrieved from the trash, but it did add sparkle to my days.

Indeed, the word ‘glamour’ is derived from Scots (the old English language as spoken in Scotland), when in the early 1700s, the Scottish altered the English word ‘grammar’ to create ‘glamer’ or ‘glamour’, meaning ‘a magic spell’.

Glamour. A little bit of magic, a feeling that things are in the flow and all eyes are on a sassy version of you. Enchanting, don’t you think? More reason to not reserve it for a few rare situations in life, like weddings, formals, awards shows or a jaunt through Vienna.

Glamour can be accessed every day. My Kate Spade handbag made me realise that the spell is in the detail, if that detail is special to me. I still don’t seek designer gear, but I make sure that I implement touches of glamour in my life that serve as a cue to walk tall and approach my to-do list with grace and ease. Your daily dose of glamour might mean ensuring your nails are manicured, wearing a fabulous hair accessory, or brightening up your home with fresh flowers. Maybe the glamorous life to you, means the removal of excess, making space for calm, simplicity and the got-it-together confident you.

When the tragic news of designer Kate Spade’s death popped up as a notification on my phone in June, I recalled how the creation that bore her logo had brought me joy. That bag was my icon of glamour, the reminder to smile warmly, flick my hair a little, and to radiate the bright energy I intend to share with the world. Little had I known, I did not need a big budget or to be in attendance at a fancy event in order to ‘be’ glamorous.

In a reflection on the meaning of glamour, Financial Times journalist Susie Boyt says that, “your best self is not about pampering, but working on that song-in-your-heart mood”. How charming, and true. Find your glamour cues this month, and access daily, because a reality we can all agree on, is that life’s too short to save our best things for ‘special occasions’.

 

Read the latest issue of Get it Magazine here

Cold nights, happy days – Get it Magazine June column

My first real dose of winter came when I moved from Cairns to Toowoomba to attend high school. Toowoomba, perched atop a mountain range on the Darling Downs, with a foggy, almost English-at-times atmosphere enveloping the city, wow, it was COLD. I hated getting up in the mornings, the nights were uncomfortable; and you certainly never want to get caught on the corner of Margaret and Ruthven streets when the region’s ferocious wind howls through town! Sometimes I just couldn’t get warm, and for ages even the prospect of a mild winter as we generally experience on the GC, sent chills down my spine.

When the temperature drops, the night falls just that little bit sooner and even the dog hesitates to shift from bed in the morning, we know winter’s hit, and it can require a bit of an adjustment.

In recent years however, I have discovered some seasonal benefits.

Coats, hats, scarves, boots, anyone?

There’s something else I’ve seriously embraced too, that’s utterly delightful, thrives in wintertime, and indeed hails from a region of the world that intimately understands the cold. I’m talking about the Scandinavian way of life – or state of mind – called hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’).

Hygge is a word that describes a mood of contentment and enjoying the simple pleasures in life, especially when it’s cold. Essentially, it’s about allowing yourself to keep cosy.

This can mean luxurious fabrics, candles and pretty, warm lighting, snug rugs – you get the picture. Although, it’s not only about generating an atmosphere of external warmth. Hygge promotes time spent on yourself as well as chilled (pardon the pun) nights in with friends, a little wine maybe, a board game and nice music.

There’s an argument to say this Euro concept doesn’t apply in Queensland, but I wholeheartedly disagree. In this age of perpetual busyness and constant connection to work, opinions, moods, politics, negative press and personal pressure points pulsing at every turn, I’m declaring hygge to be alive and well in our Sunshine State.

In fact, what if we deemed June to be the month of respite? Take a nice deep breath right now, and give yourself a break: a peaceful five minutes on breethe.com (or app), and choose to start again, wrapped in a warm, mindful state.

Hygge also encourages [responsible] indulgence as the temperature drops. You want that chocolate? Go for it! Feel like a calming chamomile tea? Pop the kettle on now. A Saturday night in a warm bath with a good book? Binge-watching Netflix romcoms tucked under the blankets? Totally on board! Hygge is about keeping it simple and doing what makes you feel calm, content and connected (offline, that is).

Bring hygge into your home, and surrender it all. Sound nice?

Although traditionally hygge is a wintertime way of life, it’s an important reminder to make space for YOU. Sure, it’s colder outside and we’re more inclined to tuck ourselves away anyway, when time permits. But being mindful of self-care is always a good idea. Hygge is the ideal antidote to our go-go-go lifestyles, and warms up the colder months in ways we might otherwise miss.

Winning in winter is no longer about adding more coffee to the pot and hoping that it’s over very, very quickly (why wish our time away?).

‘Change the way you look at the world, and the world around you will change’. Mine looks like a comfortable pile of cushions and blankets, fluffy socks, a selection of sweet scented candles, and a hot chocolate sat by copies of my favourite magazines (Get it included, of course).

While researching this topic I read a couple of news articles claiming the idea of hygge is over-hyped and has no place infiltrating popular culture. Yet, here I am drawing it into one of the warmest climates on earth and sharing with you. That’s because I believe the principle behind it is special and important; that right now, this very second, we have an opportunity to appreciate the pleasure that simplicity presents, and approach our 2018 half-way mark in a very cool, calm and collected manner.

How do you see it? Share in the comments below or find us (Get it Magazine or Sarah Blinco) on social media.

Read the June 2018 issue here