Courage & Kindness Movement – How you can help

Can we make a difference by being kind and courageous. We know we can and there is research behind this.

The day my 13 year old daughter Abby came home from school in tears because her best friend started bullying her was a day I will never forget.

Only a few weeks prior her best friend had lived with us for a week due to issues with her own family and we offered our home and kindness to take her in. She wanted to stay longer but as a single mum I couldn’t take her for longer.

The day my 13 year old daughter Abby came home from school in tears because her best friend started bullying her was a day I will never forget.

Only a few weeks prior her best friend had lived with us for a week due to issues with her own family and we offered our home and kindness to take her in. She wanted to stay longer but as a single mum I couldn’t take her for longer.

She had decided to start bullying my daughter and then started paying her friends to bully her too. Abby was devastated and then it started to become cyber-bullying. No-one could help us – her parents, the school or even the police did nothing. I had taught my daughter about kindness and courage – and it made no difference – they did not understand kindness nor being inclusive.

It became worse and she started self-harming.

At 14 she left school and had her first suicide attempt a few weeks later. It was an incredibly tough time and she has come out of the other side.

Her story is not uncommon. In turn, even today we hear many stories of bullying and poor leadership – and the impact it has on people’s lives, mental health, families, businesses and so forth.

In turn, we hear so many stories of poor leadership in the news and media and this impacts how our future generations see and feel about leadership. We know of many amazing people, unsung heroes and organisations who are doing remarkable things by their truly kind and brave acts of leadership. There are lots of great leaders out there and we need to share their stories and celebrate their leadership. This is why we are working very hard to bring to Australia our Outstanding Leadership Awards to inspire everyone to change – we need more kind and courageous leaders.

This is why we are on this movement to build a world of courageous and kind leadership. We know without a doubt that courageous leadership inspires action. We know kindness builds trust which is the missing link for Executives today. This is why in our leadership work, programs, awards and coaching it is a fundamental focus as we have seen the transformation.

There is research that proves this.

Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy, along with her research partners, have demonstrated that even before establishing their own credibility or competence, leaders who project warmth are more effective than people who lead with toughness. Basically, kindness and warmth appears to accelerate trust.

But, the link between kindness and great leadership extends beyond just the relationship you have with employees. Interestingly enough, it could also increase employee performance.

Consider this. Researchers at Oxford University analysed hundreds of published papers that studied the relationship between kindness and happiness. They uncovered 21 studies that explicitly prove that being kind to others makes us happier. Add to that research from the University of Warwick that revealed that people are 12 percent more productive at work than unhappy people.

Interesting isn’t it? Imagine how this would impact in our everyday lives if our leaders and future generations embraced kindness and courage.

The impact on kind and courageous leadership does not only make a difference at work but in every aspect of our lives. We need our children to see that as fast as the world is changing and as scary it seems, that we are all human and there is hope. It takes kindness, leadership and courage.

Wouldn’t we want them to embrace that and show this in their everyday actions and words. Wouldn’t we want our people within our teams and organisations to embrace Leadership where they see this word about how they can make a difference and impact.

Remember we can be strong as leaders and show kindness. We can be courageous as leaders and show fear. We can all be leaders without the title or role. It’s an attitude, choice and action.

It only takes one act of intentional kindness and courage to make a difference.

Tomorrow my daughter is starting her first day at University to study social work as she wants to make a difference with disadvantaged people. She wants to study her PhD eventually and she is the kindest and bravest person I know. I am so proud of her and she is proud of the work we do as well as she wants that kind and brave world for all.

Learn more about our Awards here and how you can become a partner or buy a ticket and even nominate.

Find out more about our leadership programs, workshops and coaching here at McDonald Inc.

Stay tuned for my 12 Rules of Kindness and 12 Rules of Courage soon.

Please share below what you can do today or tomorrow to be kind and courageous.

Let’s start a movement and see where the Kind, Courageous and Leadership ripple effect takes us.

Personal Growth

These 5 Questions will truly help your Personal Growth

Self-reflection is key to personal growth. You won’t ever improve or reach your goals if you don’t look at yourself and your actions in depth. You may not know what to ask yourself, so I’ve put together 5 questions for you to answer. If you’re honest in your answers, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and what makes you who you are.

What faults, flaws and issues do you have, and what can you do to resolve them?

Nobody’s perfect, and the sooner you can embrace that idea the better. Identifying and accepting your faults and flaws enables you to work on them, and eventually overcome them! Don’t hide them and stay in denial; it’s a waste of time and only inhibits your growth. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you’re unsure how to resolve your issues (or flaws or faults). Sometimes we can’t overcome them on our own, and that’s okay!

What is there to love about yourself and your life?

It’s not all about the negatives! You should also know why you deserve your love and what you have to be grateful for in your life. Life isn’t always pleasant; things will go wrong and you’ll find yourself experiencing highs and lows. Dealing with the unavoidable bad times shows your strength and helps your growth. Knowing what you have to love within yourself and your life will help you navigate difficult times with ease. Being secure in your love for yourself is invaluable.

What are you working to achieve, and why?

You need to know what you’re trying to achieve, and why. Tell yourself every day what it is you’re aiming for and the reason for it, to stay motivated. We all work harder to be successful at something when we know why we’re doing it. It has to be a good reason though, or you won’t stay on task as easily during harder times. Persistence and being disciplined enough to finish the work is key to success.

What is stopping you from accomplishing your goals?

You may see a roadblock and try to go around it, or not even notice it at all without reflecting on the path necessary to achieve your goal. When you acknowledge these roadblocks, you turn them into challenges instead. The great thing about challenges? They’re made to be overcome!

Take the opportunity to smash the challenges in your way, and come out the other side a more successful, confident person. Learn from your challenges and apply them to any others that are in your path to continue your growth.

What can you do to make a positive impact on the world?

Do the right thing whenever you can; even the smallest positive act makes a difference! Doing nothing is almost as bad as doing the wrong thing because nothing will change when the good do nothing. Even if it seems like you can’t win, doing the right thing is important and shows the strength of your character. It may not work in every situation, but there are often unseen ripple effects from our good deeds that still make a difference.

For example, if you’re a leader, do more than the minimum and really get invested in improving your company’s culture. Be involved in your team members’ growth and development, and encourage them to work to their full potential.

I hope you were honest in your answers to these questions, and I encourage you to regularly practice self-reflection if you aren’t already! Personal development enriches your life personally, and professionally too. This link is to a simple yet effective self-reflection exercise I posted last year: Focus on What Makes You Rock. And if you’re in need of some motivation, check out the blog of My Top 50 Quotes for Inspiration and Motivation. If you want to share any of your answers with me, I’d love to hear from you!

Looking at stepping up in your career or business, learn more about my Courageous Leadership Course and Program! 

Sonia’s Books – Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! Grab them HERE. 

These 5 Questions will truly help your Personal Growth

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

 

 

 

 

ceo

The 10 Things All Top CEO’s Do

One of my favourite sayings (as you’ve probably noticed) is ‘Leadership is an Attitude, not a Title’. This rings true for anyone in a leadership role, especially those in the position of CEO. Just having that title isn’t enough to make you an effective and successful CEO – so what does?

Here’s a list of 10 things that you need to know to become a top CEO:

Clarify what makes you who you are

Clarifying who you are at your core allows you to behave authentically and with integrity. It’s the leaders who demonstrate a strong sense of self that are most respected, so it’s time to define your character. This is the first step to becoming an effective CEO, so it’s crucial that you don’t skip over it or you’ll be left without the necessary foundations to truly succeed.

Serve as the example for your leaders

You cannot expect your team leaders to follow the leadership model you implement if you’re not abiding by it yourself. Don’t leave your leaders to look elsewhere for guidance, or you’ll quickly lose their respect and leave your company’s leadership in shambles.

Remember that you are the representative of your company

This should always be in your mind because what you do and say reflects on your organisation, not just yourself. As a CEO, you’re representing the whole company – so be mindful of the messages you’re sending in your interactions. Whether you’re interacting with a stakeholder, a potential client, or any member of staff, you’re giving them an impression of the company, and must ensure it’s a good one!

A diverse team is key

Surrounding yourself with people who have a range of different skills and competencies is key to being a successful CEO. You don’t want a team who just agrees with you and never puts forward their own ideas or suggests, or you’ll never expand your perspective. Learning how to see things from other points of view is vital to success. You’re also demonstrating the value of diversity to your team as well, which is always an important message to get across.

Establish a positive company culture

A CEO can’t be successful without empowering their staff to be successful as well. By fostering an environment that is encouraging, nurturing and healthy, you’ll have everyone in your company working their hardest. A positive culture is essential for success, in the long and short term.

Mastering relationships at every level

A CEO needs to know how to cultivate positive relationships, and not just within their own team. Top CEO’s foster relationships in all directions of an organisation, and learn how to influence and master them for greater success.

Open and honest communication is fundamental

Your team cannot be at their most efficient or productive if they don’t understand what they’re supposed to be doing, or what their end goal is. A CEO cannot be a great leader if they don’t understand and practice concise, clear and consistent communication.

Do what’s right, even if it’s not the easy option

CEO’s must be accountable. You’re the leader, so it’s up to you to take ownership and responsibility when necessary. Every choice you make must be for the good of the company, even when facing difficult situations and decisions.

Be flexible and ready to adapt to change

A CEO who refuses to accept new ways of doing things is doing themselves and their company a real disservice in this world of rapidly-changing technology. Businesses who don’t embrace change will be left in the dust, so having a CEO who is flexible and ready to adapt at a moment’s notice is vital to success in this day and age.

Never lose your desire to learn

A great CEO understands that they will never know everything, but doesn’t let that dampen their curiosity. Never stop asking questions or seeking out answers so that you can continue expanding your knowledge. Successful CEOs are those who stay inquisitive and foster a love of learning within their team as well.

A CEO has a wide variety of responsibilities, which means they must be knowledgable in a range of areas and skills. A successful CEO is more than just ‘the boss’; they must have the right attitude and do the above things to ensure not only their own success but the success of the company and all those within it.

For further reading on the importance of learning as a leader, check out my blog Why Learning is Critical to Great Leadership, and find out how a negative company culture can affect your business in the blog Weak Company Culture is Behind the Decline in Employee Loyalty.

Looking at stepping up in your career or business, learn more about my Courageous Leadership Course and Program! 

Sonia’s Books – Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! Grab them HERE. 

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

 

 

 

Symbol of Love Rustic Heart and Self esteem

7 Laws of Self Esteem

This 7 Laws blog is a little different to my previous ones; I’m going to be focusing on YOU and your self-esteem. Learning to love yourself is crucial to being a great leader, because how can you respect others or truly embrace your own leadership potential without loving who you are and what makes you awesome?

These 7 laws make amazing phrases for you to repeat every day, or whenever you need a little boost in your self-esteem. Soon you’ll see how much further treating yourself with kindness can take you.

What others think of you is not what you really are

When others share their opinions (solicited or otherwise) of us, it can be hard not to take these things to heart and get offended or let them become our new reality. What you need to remember is that opinions are not facts, and you don’t have to agree with them.

When you value yourself and treat yourself with kindness, you’re able to take opinions as they are, and have the confidence to know that any negativity doesn’t mean you’ve failed overall. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself.

Stop judging yourself and show kindness instead

Attacking yourself and talking down to yourself all the time ensures you’ll never have great self-esteem. It might feel strange at first, but show yourself love by using positive language and encouraging yourself, and you’ll see how much better you feel about yourself in no time. There’s nothing wrong with being your own cheerleader!

Don’t waste time dreaming of being anyone else – you’re amazing too!

It’s never a bad thing to dream; it feeds our ambitious side and makes us strive for bigger and better things. However, spending too much time on fantasising and comparing yourself with others only brings your self-esteem down.

Focus on what makes you unique to unlock your potential!

You are deserving of love – from yourself and others

No one should have to beg for any little scrap of affection. You are worthy, and you deserve love. Let love nourish you, and you’ll find yourself with a solid foundation that gives you the strength to handle anything life throws at you.

It’s nobody else’s job to ensure your happiness

Happiness comes from within, so you can’t look to anyone else to make you happy. We are responsible for the way we feel, even when a situation seems to call for a particular emotion. When you accept and love yourself for who you are, true happiness quickly follows.

Start valuing yourself and take control of your life

Valuing yourself allows you to prioritise yourself; putting yourself ahead of others and actually making the time for your own growth. We don’t get long in this life, so don’t waste your time on autopilot. Value your time and start living consciously.

If you don’t respect yourself, don’t expect anyone else to either

You get back what you put out into the world. So, if you’re not treating yourself well, you’re sending a message to those around you that it’s okay to do the same to you.

Choose to respect yourself and you’ll show others that you are worthy of their respect too. You’ll also make better decisions and choose actions that impact your life in a much more positive way.

The way you see and treat yourself has an incredible effect on your life. The knock-on effects are almost endless when you choose to start improving your self-esteem: you’ll be happier, more confident and secure, demand respect and put yourself and your needs first. Love yourself, show yourself the respect you deserve, and you’ll soon see those around you treating you the same way.

Loving who you are and choosing to be responsible for yourself and your own happiness will enable you to take criticism and unwanted opinions in your stride.

It may not be easy at the start, but you must nurture your self-esteem in order to make an impact and improve your life!

Want to gain some courage and inspiration, learn more about my online Courageous Leadership Course and Program HERE…

 

Sonia’s Books – Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! Grab them HERE. 

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

 

 

courageous leader

It’s the Courageous Leader that will build the Strongest Teams

Courageous Leader is a role that many may take on but have not been armed with the proper tools and resources to lead effectively and in a way that gains the results you need.

If you are struggling with high staff turnover and a demotivated workforce, perhaps a different approach is required. You are finding it challenging to find a leadership program that will give you or your teams the skills, confidence and tools to be a great leader (remember leadership is an attitude and behaviour).

As you know Leadership makes the difference. Leaders drive your culture. Leaders deliver the strategy. Leaders build high performance teams. Leaders are Courageous (read my 7 Laws of Courage).

This is why we built this program. In the Courageous Leader Program you will be personally coached through a 20 week online course. The aim is to develop your leadership skills and be armed with the tools to develop and reinvigorate your team. We have managers, future leaders and team leaders who have already joined this bespoke and high impact program.

In the Courageous Leader Program you will learn to:

  • Understand the motivations of your team, and develop a strong team culture.
  • Discover your own strengths and use them to your advantage.
  • Become a better leader using empathy and kindness.
  • Be ready to take the next step in your leadership journey.

Created for emerging leaders, team leaders and self-aware professionals wanting to take their seat at the leadership table.

The Courageous Leadership Group Coaching Program runs over 20 weeks, including 17 weeks of lessons with three consolidation or rest weeks. Each week you’ll complete a learning module consisting of one lesson as well as you will have access to tools, motivation, coaching. books, resources and much more!

“Sonia has been a highly engaging executive coach helping me to unlock superior levels of performance from my team, working with me on my leadership style and driving a highly engaged and motivated employee culture. She is 100% focused on her client, genuinely and authentically helping them to achieve outstanding results and perform at their best”

Jaime Burnell | Asset Manager Dexus

Students learn to lead from their strengths. To lead and develop strong teams. To be a change agent and empower others to lead.

Implement leadership strategies immediately during the program utilising leadership tools provided.

This program is taught by Sonia McDonald, CEO & founder of LeadershipHQ. WOOHOO! She is so excited as she loves coaching people and leaders across the Globe to see their inner leadership and greatness.

Our next intake is scheduled for July 15 and we are taking enrolments now, however places are limited. Please contact us for Corporate Rates too.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and we are happy to take a call and answer any questions you may have about the Courageous Leader Program. You can email me at sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au, follow this link, or call 1300 719 665.

Sonia x

coach leadership

7 Ways To Coach Others

Coaching in the workplace happens every day; there are many coach leadership opportunities during the daily interaction between leaders and their team members, and being a great leader means identifying and taking advantage of these moments to help improve your employees’ performance and the culture of the company as a whole.

I’ve put together a list of 7 ways to coach others, and while some may seem a little obvious, they are fundamentals that we should always be working on if we want to be the best leaders we can be.

1.    Never underestimate the power of positivity

You all know how big a believer I am of the power of positivity! When you’re someone who’s truly dedicated to leading and supporting others to bring out their best, you radiate positivity and sincerity.

Coach leadership often involves giving feedback, and we’re all much more receptive when feedback is coming from a positive place rather than a negative one!

Positivity is also infectious, so you’ll be brightening up the whole workplace too! Read more here around having a great mindset.

2. Develop real relationships and build trust

Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean your team automatically trusts you. Trust is something that must be earned, and the best way to do this is by treating your team as more than just numbers – get to know each person individually, and find out their goals and motivators.

By showing a genuine interest in your team as people, you’re demonstrating that you’re a leader who’s focused on others, not just themselves. This will build your teams’ trust in you and allow you all to work together much more effectively.

3. Use SMART goal setting

The SMART goal setting technique is fantastic. It’s one of my favourite coach leadership performance tools, and I recommend any leader worth their salt use it regularly.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based, all of which are pretty self-explanatory. Giving your goals a clear structure and breaking them down into smaller and more achievable goals ensures a higher chance of success – introduce it to your team if you haven’t already, and see the difference it makes!

4. Give (and ask for) feedback

Regular feedback helps keep everyone on track and identifies issues before they turn into bigger problems, as well as providing motivation and encouragement. You’ll also identify any knowledge gaps or training that’s required, and find out if there are any other resources your team feels they may need to better achieve the results you’re after.

It’s important to remember that great leaders don’t just give constructive and helpful feedback, they ask for it as well. How can you improve and get better if you aren’t getting anyone else’s point of view?

5. Use open-ended, not closed, questions

While you can’t always avoid the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, you need to make sure the bulk of your questioning is made up of open-ended questions so that you can encourage others to share their feelings and thoughts in more detail. You’ll be able to identify what needs improving, as well as current attitudes and whether everyone understands what needs to be done.

6. Promote transparency

Transparency is another way to build trust and foster open communication, and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Transparency helps form and maintain relationships, and encourages consistency. By being open about your own journey, you’re showing your team that you are relatable and not infalable – dismantling the ‘leaders must be perfect and never wrong’ stereotype is vital to building positive employee relationships. Demonstrating openness encourages those around you to do the same and allows you to lead by example, which is a much more effective way to lead than the old ‘do as I say, not as I do’ way of thinking.

7. Use motivation to drive performance and improve results

Find out what drives your team, both as a whole and individually, and you’ll know how to inspire them to perform better and achieve greater results. For example, some team members may be motivated by being given more responsibility, so you might increase the scope of their role to allow them to explore how they fare with the added commitment and demonstrate the trust you have in their abilities. Feeling valued and appreciated inspires your team members to work harder, to repay the trust you’ve put in them.

These 7 ways to coach others will help improve your leadership by allowing you to build stronger workplace relationships and foster the trust, communication and openness necessary for you and your team to be successful.

Looking at stepping up in your career or business, learn more about my Courageous Leadership Course and Program! 

Sonia’s Books – Leadership Attitude and Jus Rock It! Grab them HERE. 

No alt text provided for this image

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

 

Courageous Ways of Letting Go

8 Courageous Ways of Letting Go

You are changing.  We are all changing. The world around you is changing.  Just because something was right for you in the past doesn’t mean it still is.  This could be a relationship, a job, a home, a habit, etc. It takes a lot of courage to change and essentially let go of things that don’t serve you anymore.

It happens to you slowly as you grow.  The more self-aware and reflected you are, the more you realise there are deliberate changes you need to make to keep up with the changes happening around you and within you. This can be uncomfortable. I always say leadership is about being uncomfortable.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
– Oprah Winfrey

The lifestyle you’ve been living no longer fits.  There are people and habits you’ve known forever no longer align with your values.  You cherish all the memories, however you find yourself needing to let go and move on.

If you’re currently dealing with this journey you may feel a bit awkward, and that’s really OK.  This feeling is totally normal. I’ve been right there with you on more occasions than I can count.

Also sign up to my Sunday Sessions and Blogs where each week you will get the greatest articles, blogs and news straight to your inbox every SUNDAY! What a great way to start the week.

“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”
– Raymond Lindquist

Here are 8 Courageous Reasons to Let Go and Move On

  1. Someone’s negativity is rubbing off on you.– Did you know you are the average of the people you spend the most time with?  In other words, who you spend your time with has a great impact on the person you are and the person you become.  If you are around negative people or people pulling you down all the time, you will become negative. Something to think about. Let these people go. Get people out of your rowboat who are putting holes in your rowboat. This takes courage.
  2. You have grown apart from someone you care about.– As we grow we find that sometimes the journey takes us down a path where others don’t want to follow. Sad but true, no matter what you do or how much you explain yourself, some people will gradually evolve away from your core values and that new growth.
  3. You are truly unhappy with your current circumstances.– It’s always better to be struggling at something you love than succeeding diligently at something you don’t like or you struggle with. I will share an example below of how this happened to me. It takes a lot of courage to let it go.
  4. Your goals and needs have changed.– What was right for you then is not necessarily right for you now.  Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather realising that you have changed, and then learning to start over with your new truth. It takes courage to focus on your goals, needs and value yourself.
  5. Fear is holding you back big time.– Part of Courageous letting go and moving on is facing the fears and disappointments of the past that are binding your spirit. Don’t let the illusion of fear control your life and leadership.
  6. You find yourself living in the past.– If all you do is attempt to relive something that has already happened, you’re missing out.  The mental space you create by letting go of things that are already behind you gives you the ability to fill the space with something fresh and new.
  7. An old grudge is still hurting you.– Holding on to the weight of anger, and resentment will not only hold you back, but also block your present blessings and opportunities.  You’ve just got to drop some things to move forward. This takes courage however letting old grudges go is deliberating. Over 14 years, my ex-husband abandoned my daughter and I in China. At the time it sucked (really sucked!) however I used the fire (and anger, hurt, sadness etc.) in my belly to get out there and create a new life for her and I. To this day I don’t hold a grudge and now I am grateful it happened, as I wouldn’t be where I am today. They say the greatest revenge is success (not that I was seeking revenge).
  8. You aren’t learning anything new.– Leadership and learning are indispensable of each other. All positive change is the end result of learning.  Jack Nicholson once said, the day you stop learning, you are dead.

One Small Example of Letting Go

Several months ago I was struggling with the vision and mission of my company LeadershipHQ. I had built over ten years ago from a blog and as much as it is successful, something was missing. The company had great impact around the world and it was making a difference in the world of leadership however the strategy wasn’t working. I was lost and confused. So I worked harder and harder and it didn’t work. I met these two women who said I needed to let go if what I thought LeadershipHQ should be and work on a new strategy and vision. They said I want you to focus on your brand, Sonia McDonald. With tears in my eyes I said I couldn’t let it go and focus on me. It was more challenging than I thought it would be.

They worked with me for weeks and months on creating a new strategy, brand, website, programs, events, workshops and so forth that was more aligned to my values, story and purpose. I still struggled on letting my company go. Then I met someone else who is very successful in my space for a coffee. He asked me where I was at with LeadershipHQ and I told him my story. He smiled and said – YES! I was confused. He said – Sonia, I have been watching your journey for years and you need to be the Simon Sinek of Leadership. I replied – I can’t, I am not Simon Sinek. He said – do you think Simon Sinek thought he was Simon Sinek? You have got this. He was right. I had to let go of LeadershipHQ to become the Sonia McDonald of Leadership. Now I have a wonderful direction and purpose that I love. And stay tuned for a completely new and exciting LeadershipHQ with a new vision, mission and purpose! I hadn’t let go of it entirely however I had to let it go to find it’s new spirit and purpose.

If you want to start becoming a more courageous leader, learn more about my Courageous Leadership Course and Program! 

Sonia’s Books – Leadership Attitude and Jus Rock It! Grab them HERE. 

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organizations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

 

 

courage value

Courage is Valuing Yourself

Valuing those around you – appreciating the things they do for you, the things they say, who they are as a person – is often much easier than valuing yourself. Many of us struggle to appreciate the things that make us great, and the things we have, for fear of coming across as too cocky, or as if we’re bragging. It’s time to stop worrying about what others think of us for valuing ourselves; it’s time to have the courage to value yourself.

When I mention bravery, you’re probably thinking of heroic deeds like running into a burning building to save someone, or rescuing someone from drowning. However, courage isn’t just big acts – even something small like saying “no” to your boss when they ask you to add too much extra to your workload is an act of bravery. Valuing yourself enough to look after your best interests is the kind of courage I want to help everyone have!

Here are some common scenarios where having the courage to value yourself will lead to a better outcome for you:

  • Staying in a job or career you dislike, purely for the money.
  • Keeping relationships (romantic or friendly) even though they are negative and giving you nothing back, only taking.
  • Worrying more about being a people-pleaser and saying “yes” to everything, no matter how overwhelmed you get.
  • Comparing your life to others.

Settling for less than you deserve in any circumstance will leave you unfulfilled and unable to reach your full potential. Stop wondering if there’s something better – you’ll never know if you don’t take that leap!

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
― C.G. Jung

Taking the first step is hard, but as I’ve written about in my blogs 7 Ways to Overcome Fear and The Brain and Overcoming Fear, the most effective way to get over your fear – whether it’s of saying “no”, or of being alone (which is why you prefer bad company over none) – is just doing it. The more you do something, the less intimidating it becomes. I wish I had an easier answer for you, but that old saying is true! Nothing worth having comes easy!

Take a look in the mirror and find the courage to tell yourself these things:

  • I deserve to be happy.
  • I deserve the best.
  • I am a valuable part of many peoples’ lives.
  • I have so much to offer.
  • I am me. Nobody else is me, so why compare myself to others?

I love mantras, and repeating the ones above as often as you can will help you start to see your value. The more you repeat them, the more you believe them – and you’ll find the courage that comes from valuing yourself will flow. True courage is knowing your own value, believing in it, and showing others that you know your value as well. Those who can admit when they can’t take on any more work, need to step back from a toxic relationship, or that something else just isn’t working for them, are the ones who earn the most respect – and they’re much happier, too! What do you value about yourself? I’d love to hear!

If you want to start becoming a more courageous leader, learn more about my Courageous Leadership Course and Program! 

Also sign up to my Sunday Sessions where each week you will get the greatest articles, blogs and news straight to your inbox every SUNDAY! What a great way to start the week.

Sonia’s Books – Leadership Attitude and Jus Rock It! Grab them HERE. 

 

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organizations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations.

She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.

  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

Overcoming Fear

The Brain and Overcoming Fear

A lot of leaders still subscribe to the idea that they must present an image of confidence and control; they must be a ‘fearless’ leader to be effective and get the results they desire. You’ve probably met many of these leaders in your career and wondered if they really were unafraid of anything – and the truth is, everybody gets scared! It’s not a weakness to feel fear or to share those feelings. In fact, vulnerability is being recognised as a valuable trait for leaders to have, because it endears them to their team and helps foster open communication and authentic relationships. It’s only natural to feel some trepidation each day, as you don’t know what others are going to do, whether they’re clients, your team, or your leaders. Any time you feel you lack control often triggers a feeling of unease – it happens to all of us. But you can’t let your fear reach unhealthy levels, because then it seeps into your behaviour and destroys relationships, opportunities, sales…just about anything, really! You probably feel confident when you know all the facts and feel like there’s going to be a positive outcome, even though you can’t be certain, right? And you feel fear when you’re uncertain of what’s going to happen and you focus on that uncertainty.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela
So how do you overcome your fear in a healthy way? The answer lies in MIT neuroscience professor and cognitive specialist Earl Miller’s research, where he found that humans have an inability to multitask, and looked at ways to increase brainpower. This research doesn’t apply to fear as an emotion, where it is instant or unconscious; we can apply it to the fear based on perceptions and expectations that we feel on a daily basis, however. What you need to understand about this type of fear is that we consciously think about it – and when you understand this, you can then apply the research to just about any situation. What does this mean? To put it simply, since we can only focus consciously on one thing at a time if you start doing something then your fear will start to dissipate. Conscious fear can be reduced by taking action – to take the plunge, start doing, and you’ll find your fear fading! Have you ever noticed how you feel scared in a new situation, such as meeting someone for the first time or starting a new job, but then as you dive in and start talking to people and doing things, you’re not as afraid anymore? That’s taking action to overcome your fear, and you didn’t even know you were doing it! It can be hard to take that first step though, can’t it? To get yourself to talk to that person or take that action, to shake off the fear, you need to commit to doing so. Commit to taking action when you feel fear, and you’ll find yourself focusing on other things instead. This commitment should be unbreakable; it’s more than just an idea or decision, you need to follow through. There’s no other option. You’ll feel more and more confident as you stick to your commitment because your action will lead you to success, and success makes anyone feel confident! It’s a cycle, because if you aren’t feeling confident then you should take action because the confidence will then come to you, and then you’ll have success because you’re not thinking about fear anymore! Now that you know about your brain and its inability to multitask, you can start to overcome fear instead of letting it hold you back! About the Author
Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organisations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader. Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations. She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognized for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries. Keynote Topics for 2019 Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.
  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership
Phone 1300 719 665 www.soniamcdonald.com.au
CHANGE IS HARD

WHY CHANGE IS HARD – and how we can make it easier.

By Sonia McDonald LeadershipHQ

Change is a constant factor in human history. What is distinctive now is the rate and scale of change. (Robinson 2001) Why do people find it so hard to change, or resist change even when it might be good for them? As leaders, we are constantly driving and facilitating change, yet research in this area has demonstrated that 70% of change initiatives fail! Why?  How can we make change easier and more successful? The neuroscience of change is an area I am passionate about and in this article, I am going to share with you why understanding our brains is vital to managing and coping with change. Brains are wired for survival. Our brain functions as a survival tool by helping us avoid danger.  A part of the brain called the amygdala helps monitor our responses and tells us when to run from danger or towards safety.  It also tells us when to step towards a benefit or away from a threat. When change is happening around us in our society, relationships and workplaces, we can feel threatened and that activates our amygdala. We feel outside our comfort zones, triggering fear and anxiety. While this is good for our safety it does come at a cost.  When our brains are in safety mode, protecting us from a perceived threat, they cannot function well as a problem solver or creativity generator.  In the workplace, the fear of change causes people to rely on tried and true routines, rather than create new strategies to move forward.  In effect, the brain shuts down the part that is really needed at that time. Basically, the amygdala of your brain has been hijacked and this is not the best time to make an important decision. So whether you are a caveman running away from the threat of hungry dinosaurs or your boss has just informed you that there are going to be major changes to the department, your brains and bodies will continue to react with the same chemicals and hormones that we need to run away from physical danger.  Such is the effect of the threat of change at work. Now you see why 70% of change initiatives fail. By understanding how the brain works we can manage change resistance and develop strategies to maximise change potential. Additionally it gives us insights into how people learn, engage and remember as well as manage emotions. Brains are lazy. Considering that our brains weigh around 1.5 kilograms and absorb around 20% of our body’s energy, our brains are energy efficient and actually pretty lazy. Our brains prefer comfy habits as they require a lot less energy. They don’t really like to learn new habits or ways of doing things as this takes effort! The design of the brain is not always helpful.  The part of the brain which is responsible for thinking and high order processing (the pre-frontal cortex) requires a lot more energy to function than does the part of the brain which deals with emotion (limbic system).   That means it’s a lot harder for us to cope with change than to return to our tried and true habits. How can we break habits and form new ones? In his book “The Brain That Changes Itself” Dr. Norman Doidge tells us that the brain can be changed by our thoughts and actions.  They physically alter the structure of the brain itself, which in turn changes the way it functions.  This is the most important breakthrough in neuroscience in four centuries. This ability of our brain to change and make new connections, re-wire itself and even grow new brain cells as a result of experience is called “neuroplasticity”. Change is about forming new wiring, habits, and behaviors. Yes, we can teach an old dog new tricks! How can we harness neuroplasticity of change? By tapping into the emotions… Brains are affected by emotion. We know that often our behavior is controlled by emotion rather than common sense.  What that tells us is that the limbic system in the brain has some control over the information that is passed onto the cortex, which controls our decision-making system. In other words, our thoughts and actions are coloured or skewed by the emotion that we are feeling.  You’ve heard of rose-coloured glasses, the phenomenon that makes certain things look better than they really are.  That’s an example of the limbic system influencing our beliefs and perceptions. When people are afraid, as they usually are at the thought of change, our limbic systems color our perceptions with threat and fear.  People only see the negative side of change because that is all their brain permits.   If the change is brought about for positive reasons then people will accept it and be ready to involve themselves in making change happen. Making the brain work for you. So, we know that our brains are wired for survival, that they are lazy and will take the easiest thought out of there, and that every thought is colored by emotion. We also know that actions and thoughts can change the physical structure of the brain. How can we use that knowledge to make the brain lead us towards supporting change rather than running away from it? There are two key solutions. First, you can use neuroplasticity to your advantage and provide opportunities for people to develop new thoughts, and practice new actions and behaviors, thereby rewiring the brain. Second, you can make the limbic system work for you by creating positives around change especially to reinforce behavior and thought changes. We need to build organizational change systems that capture the important role of emotions in determining behavior, particularly in the contexts of engagement, resistance, cooperation, and commitment.  What that means in the workplace is that every small step forward needs to be acknowledged. Change leaders are essentially helping people to develop new connections within their brains.  Our role should involve creating opportunities and interventions which give people the chance to trial new behaviors in a safe environment.  We should allow them to take the ‘risk’ of doing something uncomfortably new and succeed at it. The more fun we can build into the experience, the more people will become involved in it. Positive reinforcement is essential to help embed the new thoughts and behaviors and to show the limbic system that this change is nothing to fear.  The more often we can encourage people to repeat the new actions, the more comfortable their brains will allow them to feel.  When people are comfortable, their high order thought processes resume functioning and their creativity and decision making skills start firing again. If you are leading change in your organisation you can create the right atmosphere for change by building a safe and positive environment for your team and identifying ways to acknowledge and reward new actions or behaviours. What is your organisation doing to support its people through change? Email me your thoughts and insights – or you would like to know more about creating these environments to sonia@leadershiphq.com.au

About Sonia

Sonia McDonald believes we should lead with kindness, from the heart, doing rather than telling and is known for her mantra ‘Just lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her one on one practical coaching, leadership training for teams and organizations encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped hundreds of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of HR. She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realize what it takes to be a truly great leader. Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is recognized as a LinkedIn influencer and has become an in-demand keynote speaker, starts important conversations. She is an award-winning published author and writes regularly for publications such as The Australian, HRD Magazine, Smart Healthy Women and Women’s Business Media. Sonia has become recognized for her commentary around the topic of leadership, developing work-life balance, championing the up and coming leaders of tomorrow and advocating for women in business and male-dominated industries.

Keynote Topics

Sonia will give you peace of mind when booking a speaker. She is a proven world-class professional speaker with the skills to “rock an audience”. Her energy, empathy, kindness, sensitivity, and humor will enhance any event she appears.
  1. Leadership Attitude
  2. Just Rock It
  3. Leadership for Small Business
  4. Leading the Next Generations
  5. Courageous Leadership
  6. Future Leaders of Leadership
  7. New Kindness of Leadership
Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616 www.soniamcdonald.com.au sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au