No F@#%! given

Mark Manson was onto something when he wrote his book ‘The subtle art of not giving a fuck‘ in terms of conserving our life energy.

And, while you could accuse him of being somewhat crude, the basic philosophy gets our attention straight up. Manson’s premise is simple. Life is short. Life is precious. Make sure you focus your energy on the things that matter.

So, for me, the importance of this approach is really simple.

It reminds me to honour both ourselves and our mates, especially those that are no longer with us, and live a good life well, doing the things that matter.

Manson in his glorious brutality sums it up in his quote below by encouraging us to choose wisely and consciously where we invest our energy.

You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact. And if you go around giving a fuck about everything and everyone without conscious thought or choice—well, then you’re going to get fucked.”

Mark Manson 2016

 

 

SMALL THINGS. BIG RESULTS.

If you have been struggling, for a long time, or are just feeling depleted and focused on how ‘unfair‘ life is; then this is the book for you.

Seven simple ways to change your life? is a small collection of the things that you can do to create big results.

If you want to be challenged or want to find a better way, this simple read will provide you with ideas to bounce off and it also has simple wisdom from a range of masters!

Download the book here: Seven simple ways to change your life?

 

 

 

Leadership in the trenches

Give me a gritty, wounded, leader any day.

 

I am not interested in the polished, perfect, take no risks model of leadership.

 

Give me the messed up, made mistakes, didn’t quite get it right leader any day.

 

Nor am I interested in the stand on the fence and point fingers style of leadership.

 

Give me the leader prepared to lose it all.

 

For they have taken their shit seriously, they have been prepared to put themselves out there, to be vulnerable and to be proven wrong.

 

Because I know that this leader, in the trenches, covered in mud is clear about one thing.

 

This leader is clear about what drives them.

 

Their North Star, their ‘why’ might include a better school.  A better business.  A better organisation.  A better community.  A better country.

 

A leader in the trenches is clear about their ‘why’ and they know that ‘better’ comes with effort.

 

Want to chat about business, life and leadership.  No pressure. Just a life health check?

Flick me a line and let’s compare stories and see what we learn.

10 things that I wish I had known before starting a business

Are you caught in start up hell?  Or some sort of small business purgatory?

Do you even remember why you thought that going into business for yourself was a good idea?

Perhaps you thought that business was going to give you freedom?  And, a lifestyle that dreams are made of?

Here is a list of the ten (10) things that I wish that I had known before starting my real estate business five years ago.  I am sure that you may have some others to add to the list; but I hope that it gives you some comfort that you are not alone.

1. You will need to be resourceful

The skills that supported me during the startup phase, proved to be useless in the next phase.  My ‘excellent’ technical skills became redundant once staff and customers arrived.

You will need to find a better way.  A better option.  A better answer.

2.  You will need to be abundant

Being in start up phase was terrifying for me.  I knew what needed to be done, but my ‘to do’ list didn’t match my bank balance.

It is in these moments, when money is tight, and it will be, that you need to keep your eye on the big prize and have faith in what is coming.  Hard work and an abundant mindset will fix most things.  Better days are coming.  I promise.

3.  You will need to be mindful

Start up is, and was, lonely.  In this phase, I found myself catastrophizing the worst of the worst.

Practice mindfulness and deep breathing.  Otherwise your monkey mind will chatter to you about all of the problems.  Tell it to be quiet and keep focused on the big picture.

4.  You will need to be creative

I let my creativity run screaming out of the building at times.  Usually when the bank was demanding something from me.

But, simply, the same thinking that got you into the mess, will not get you out of it.

5.  You will need courage

Over and over again.  I found that starting the business was the easy bit.

That rush of blood to the head and excitement during start up won’t last long.  Keeping going will be the tough bit and when you need your courage the most.

6.  You will need to be tough

Some how, in the early days, I didn’t understand that the ultimate responsibility stopped with me.

No need to be an arse about it, but no-one else is going to make the hard decisions that will need to be made.

7.  You will need self belief

Starting out, I made use of the social media arena to get our message out.  Guess what?  It wasn’t, and isn’t, always kind.

Leave the critics to their job and get on with yours.

Truly, there are enough people ‘out there’ that will find fault with your work; back yourself in with an unwavering self belief.

8. You need a North Star

During my darkest moments, and on the days that I want to quit, I will bring myself back to my ‘North Star’ or ‘why’ I started this journey in the first place.

Getting clear about your big arsed ‘why’ will help you.  Especially on the hard days.

9.  It’s actually nothing to do with ‘them’

When times were tough, I found it really easy to fall into the blame trap and find fault with ‘them’.

Really, it comes down to you.  Each and every time.  What are you going to do about it?  How are you going to fix it, influence it, change it.

10.  And, it is the singular best personal development journey

I love learning.  Full stop.

But nothing prepared me for just how much learning there is small business.

And, I am not talking about technical stuff, but all the big stuff.  Stuff about you.  Stuff about humans.  Stuff about growth, decision making and leadership.

Truly business is the singular best personal development journey of a lifetime.

Nothing can ever beat what I learnt about myself, other humans and business in the five years since launch.

Want to chat about business, life and leadership.  No pressure. Just a life health check?

Flick me a line and let’s compare stories and see what we learn.

The real truth about leading people

Are you leading or managing people and feel like a juggler in the circus?

Or perhaps you feel like, when it comes to your team, that you are the proverbial duck gliding on the water but madly paddling underneath?

Want to know the real truth about leading people?

It’s actually nothing to do with them

It’s all about you.

But, here is the thing. We tend to get what we expect.

Meaning, if we expect that this person is going to be difficult to manage, likely they will be difficult to manage.

Your insecurities are going to be challenged

Or looking at it another way.

Your fears, challenges and choices are going to be exposed when you are a leader.

Meaning, instead of avoiding that tough conversation with your team, leaning into it will be scary (for you) but so important to the growth of you all.

You need to stay out of your head

As a leader of people, we can choose to make a whole bunch of assumptions about what is going on for our team; or we can have a conversation.

Meaning, if we spend too much time in our head in an unregulated way, we will tend to create a series of stories to justify our beliefs.  Stop it.  Have the conversation and find out what is really going on.

It’s going to be scary

Humans are herd animals.

It is wired in our DNA that we want to stick together, because there is safety in our numbers.

And, really, while we all want a bus driver to take us home.  As a leader, our job is to jump on the bus and take our tribe somewhere.

It’s going to be lonely

Yep, at times, it will be incredibly lonely.

Your health matters

The best version of you, helps them be the best version of them.

Investing in your health helps everyone.

And, finally, the real truth, it is all about you

It’s actually nothing to do with them.

Your leadership journey will be more about how you cope and how you are able to manage your fears and insecurities.

Your leadership journey will be more about your health, your resilience and your ability to choose the tough road.

Your leadership journey will be one of the most rewarding games you have ever played.  The real trick is to find the support crew.

 

Keen for change?

If you are keen for change, but don’t know where to start, how about seven simple ways to change your life?

Living your best life starts the day you make a choice to take the scary, creative, and audacious road.

I have spent a lifetime making choices that take me down the scary road.  It has been bumpy, scary and the best thing I have ever down.

I have also spent a lifetime solving problems.  Business problems. People problems.  And, of course property problems.

And, along the way I have found a number of #lifehacks that have helped me to make change.

I have outlined these simple #lifehacks in my free book 7 Simple Ways to Change Your Life.

7 Simple Ways to Change Your Life is a small collection of the things that you can do to create big results.

If you want to be challenged or want to find a better way, this simple read will provide you with ideas to bounce off and it also has simple wisdom from a range of masters!

Jump onboard here for a free download 7 Simple Ways to Change Your LifeAnd, let me know how you go….

 

 

How to create a life you love?

Do you feel unsatisfied? Unsure?  Not clear on where you are going or why?

Simply, have you thought there just must be something more?

 

I think we all ask ourselves this at some point in our lives.  Usually, this reflection comes when something bad has happened.  Like losing a job.  Like losing a loved one.  Like missing out or falling short on something important.

It is at these times we are more likely to ponder the meaning of life.  But, how to create a life that you love?

George Bernard Shaw probably summed it up best when he said:

Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Kerry Swan How to create a life that you love

Identify what really matters

When we lose someone special, it is really easy for us to identify what matters most.  But, what about the other days?  How do we craft a life that we love, when things are going good?

This is where the tough work kicks in.  Recently, I have been challenged to identify my values by a colleague who specialises in leading change.

Now the easy bit is to rattle off veneer thin value statements like ‘I value integrity, hard work and creativity’.  Nice.  But what does that really mean?

The real challenge is to identify what I value by probing my belief system which translates into my day to day actions.

Mmmmmmm.

A belief system that says ‘hard work is important’ could translate into compromising health, rest and social connection.

Not that this is wrong or the place to pass judgement; but rather it means a whole lot more when we do the hard work of probing our beliefs.  Beliefs translate into actions.  Actions translate into our realities.

So, if we want to craft a life that we love.  We start by examining our pre-existing beliefs, so that we can identify what we need to create or change to achieve a life that we love.

And, then we can identify what really matters.

Kerry Swan How to create a life that you love

Back yourself

If we are to create a life that we love, we need to get our heads around a fundamental truth.

We are the Captain of our own ship.

Meaning, that if we are waiting for someone to save us or fix us.  Or if we are waiting for the right moment, the right advice, the right relationship; life will probably pass us by.

I am the master of my fate:  I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Simply put, we need to back ourselves into the race, because no-one else will.  And, a person that knows what they want and how they are going to do it, has a far great chance of creating a life they love.

Kerry Swan How to create a life that you love

Be passionate

If we are to create a life that we love.  Well we are going to have to give a shit.  We need to identify what truly moves us and get passionate about something.

Living our lives through Netflix binge sessions, small town gossip and a series of excuses about ‘why I can’t’ does not make for a life that you love.  It is a life that is fueled by the easy path and the short term trade off.

A passionate, full on life means that you get up in the morning and do the hard stuff, because it matters.  It matters to you.  And, it matters to the world.

Kerry Swan How to create a life that you love

Stay in your own lane

Life will fill you up with diversions, distractions and energy thieves.

When you are working at the highest version of yourself, you do not have enough room, time or energy to explore what happened in the car park at school.

If we are to create a life that we love, we need to stay in our own lane and focus on our journey.  Not the journey of others.

Kerry Swan How to create a life that you love

Hold the vision.  Trust the process.

Truly.  The hardest and scariest part to creating a life that you love, is that the responsibility sits at your feet.

It’s on you.  It’s your choice.  That’s the scary bit.

BUT, the solution.

Craft your vision for your life.  Identify what you stand for.  Identify what you want.  Take action.  And, then trust the universe.

For what is the alternative.  Netflix binging and chocolate?  Or a life well lived?

 

If you are keen for change, but don’t know where to start, I am always up for a chat.

Living your best life starts the day you make a choice to take the scary, creative, and audacious road.

I have spent a lifetime making choices that take me down the scary road.  It has been bumpy, scary and the best thing I have ever down.

I have also spent a lifetime solving problems.  Business problems. People problems.  And, of course property problems.

So if you are up for a no obligation, free chat, flick me a line and we can find a space in our worlds where the stars align and we can chat.

What does a leader really look like?

Ever wondered what a real leader looks like?  How does a leader act?  How do they behave?

But, more importantly, have you ever wondered what it would take to feel like a real leader?

To be honest, I am not sure that there is a one size fits all answer to these questions, but this I do know this.  Leaders are all around us.  Everywhere.  In every school, group, business, organisation that you can name.

Kerry Swan on LeadershipTake the single parent who, doing it alone, decides to go back to study and finish her nursing degree.  She may not hold a formal ‘leadership’ role at her part time, pay the bills job, but she does show leadership every day in her choices and belief in the future.

Or take the netball coach who, despite the fear in her belly, puts up her hand to coach a team of kids for the first time.  Scary as all hell.  She faces the parents, the opposition, hell even the kids themselves; and makes a decision to be there, week in week out.

This is what I call Leadership in the Trenches.

It is the unglamorous reality that we all live.  Day to day.

This is not the sexy, media driven perceptions of leadership.  You know, leadership that is successful, wears crisp white shirts and commands a media interview.

Leadership in the Trenches looks more like showing up to a parent teacher interview when you are tired, hungry and asking the good questions.

You see leaders are all around us.  And, way more common than we know.

They make choices

Leaders in the Trenches make active choices, every day, to be a better version of themselves.

Leadership can be as simple as committing to regular exercise and getting a healthy meal on the table.  Because it matters for their families.

Leaders don’t allow others to take away their right to choice.

 

They believe in themselves

Leaders in the Trenches back themselves, their belief systems and what is right for them.  Right now.

Meaning, leadership can be as simple as upholding their standards.  Standards like how they will conduct themselves at work.  A leader will hold themselves accountable to get the job done, because they believe in their ability to get it done.

Leaders don’t look for excuses or a scapegoat as to why ‘it didn’t happen’.

 

They work towards something bigger

Leaders in the Trenches have their eye on the prize.  A goal. An outcome. A purpose.

Leadership might be about making the necessary short term choices to save for a rainy day so that, when the time is right, they can invest in a future holiday, car or education.

Leaders don’t allow themselves to be caught up in the fun of the moment and the easy path.

 

They don’t sweat the small stuff

Leaders in the Trenches truly realise that life is precious.  They realise that we all have a limited account of passion and energy.

Leadership can be truly simply saying no to the energy thieves and not getting involved in the gossip or drama of the moment.

Leaders will not allow themselves to be stuck in the minutia of every day life, but rather they are focused in their own lane.

 

They look like us

Leaders in the Trenches take a moment to ponder, reflect and then act.  They are strategic and big picture focused in their own way and make good choices to advance their cause.

Leaders simply look like us.  They are not fancy.  They are making the best of their lot, their resources and want to extend their influence, in their own way.

Leadership is not about a fancy title or special authority.

Leadership is everything about how we hold ourselves in the world.

And, really a leader just looks like the person in your mirror.

So, for my ten cents worth, be a little discriminating and surround yourself with Leaders in the Trenches and you will be amazed at how your life will change.

KJSx

If you are keen for change, but don’t know where to start, I am always up for a chat.

Living your best life starts the day you make a choice to take the scary, creative, and audacious road.

I have spent a lifetime making choices that take me down the scary road.  It has been bumpy, scary and the best thing I have ever down.

I have also spent a lifetime solving problems.  Business problems. People problems.  And, of course property problems.

So if you are up for a no obligation, free chat, flick me a line and we can find a space in our worlds where the stars align and we can chat.

Life is precious, invest wisely

So, here is the thing.  In the last 10 years, I have lost an Aunt and an Uncle to suicide.  With all the love and care in the world, these precious souls found it just too tough.

I have also buried my best mate, thanks to Ovarian Cancer and my love has buried his first and only thanks to Adrenal Cancer.

Other precious family members and friends have come and gone.  Nothing is permanent.

I also have the T-Shirt for the Separation, Divorce and Rebuilding Club in my collection.

More recently, I have faced my mortality with a series of health scares including loss of cognitive function (for fuck sake I couldn’t actually use my brain) and irritating complications with my boobs continue to remind me that looking after myself is a priority.

So, excuse me universe if I don’t take some of your shit too seriously.

And, especially, this stuff that I see around me where women (and men) feel the need to tear each other apart for the sake of scoring some cheap shots.

It is always ‘them’ that are not doing the right thing.  Not us.

We are all guilty of judging our own intentions as good and THEIR actions as wrong.

We are all guilty of judging our own intentions as good

and

THEIR actions as wrong.

Here is the cold hard reality.

Each and every one of us has already won the FREAKING LOTTERY.

We have our health (mostly) our families (mostly) and the opportunity EVERY DAY to choose how we invest our energy.

How precious.  To choose every day how we invest our energy.

For me, I am choosing to create something magical to honour those that couldn’t.

My challenge to you, is simple.

How are you going to invest your winning ticket?

KJS x

 

If you are keen for change, but don’t know where to start, I am always up for a chat.

Living your best life starts the day you make a choice to take the scary, creative, and audacious road.

I have spent a lifetime making choices that take me down the scary road.  It has been bumpy, scary and the best thing I have ever down.

I have also spent a lifetime solving problems.  Business problems. People problems.  And, of course property problems.

So if you are up for a no obligation, free chat, flick me a line and we can find a space in our worlds where the stars align and we can chat.

 

How to live your best life

Ever wondered how you ended up here?  How exactly did life happen?  The kids, the bills, the mortgage, the soul destroying job and the never ending housework and things to do?

Where did that free spirit, idealistic and opportunistic version of you go?  Did you disappear?  Sometime around 30, or maybe 25 or even 40.

A few months back I was lucky enough to work with a dynamo who told me all about her struggle.  The struggle to make a choice.

Imagine.  Coming home from work.  Tired.  It’s late.  Too late.  And, Deb, well she is tired.  Bone tired.  Her real job, her life, has sucked the marrow out of her bone.  Too many clients.  Too many pressures.  Too much conflict.

But at her core.  Deb knows there is a better way.  AND this is where the conversation gets interesting.

Choose the scary option

You see, the thing for Deb was that she actually knew the answer.  But, the struggle is real.  In Deb’s world there is a choice.  A choice between the conservative, safe road and the creative, but scary road.

Now the safe road means staying in the same job, with a predictable outcome and a predictable salary.  Safe.

But the creative, scary road, means taking a big jump off the cliff and investing in a new opportunity.  Scary.

So here is the thing.  We don’t grow in safe harbors.  We only grow when we are tested, pushed and shoved.  So my money is on the scary option.

Back yourself

Interestingly, we all, like Deb, forget that at some point, that the predictable job wasn’t so predictable before.

It was scary. Our first day.  Our first client.

So if we think about it, we have already proven to ourselves that we can navigate a scary road.

And, if we have taken the scary road before, we know that we can do it again. We have a proven ability to back ourselves into a new experience.

Laser like focus

When we take the scary road over the safe road we are going to need to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the horizon.  Because, again, we know that from experience, learning something new is tough.

Remember when you learnt to drive.  Do you remember the experience of changing gears, using an indicator and moving the steering wheel?  ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  It was a ginormous scary moment.  But these days, we barely think about our driving.  Often times we can arrive at home, not consciously aware of how got there.

So while we are learning to navigate this new, scary road, we do need to apply a laser like focus to our learning.  It will be hard.  It will be awkward.  But it will be worth it.

Sandy V Tailem Bend Australia
Vale Sandy V. 1973 – 2016

Own your own shit

Another great mate of mine, Sandy, left me with a lifelong lesson.  Sadly, she is not here today to take the credit, but every day I hear her voice.

Years ago, I was contracted to deliver a leadership session as a favor to a client.  Well lets just say that the feedback from the client was pretty bad.  About me.  And, the crap job that I had just delivered.

Well, Sandy bless her sat me down on a bar stool in our local, filled my glass and let me complain.  But, during the second glass into my assassination of this woman, she asked me the question that has changed my life.

Kezza‘ she said, ‘what is really going on for you, that this woman so far up your arse?’

Now this is not very elegant or a refined, psychologically approved approach.

But it is a gamechanger.

For you see.  This rough and ready approach, forced me to look at Kerry and explore what was going on for her such that the perception of another human had me so rattled.

This day, was the day that I truly got the lesson that we are all responsible for our own shit.

100% responsible for our own shit.

Other people will come and go with their shit, but we are responsible for identifying, owning and dealing with our shit.

And, guess what? On the scary road you will find your demons and you will need to slay them so that you can create the type of life that you truly want.

Living your best life

If you are keen for change, but don’t know where to start, I am always up for a chat.

Living your best life starts the day you make a choice to take the scary, creative, and audacious road.

I have spent a lifetime making choices that take me down the scary road.  It has been bumpy, scary and the best thing I have ever down.

I have also spent a lifetime solving problems.  Business problems. People problems.  And, of course property problems.

So if you are up for a no obligation, free chat, flick me a line and we can find a space in our worlds where the stars align and we can chat.

 

Yes! I want to live my best life!

We might talk about careers, kids, staff, leadership, decision making or simply how to move through some tough shit.

We can also talk about serious stuff like property, people and business.  Or we could just swap #lifehacks for living on your terms.

Either way.  It will be fun and shed some light on that decision that you need to make.

KJS x

 

7 simple ways to change your life

We are all conditioned to focus on ‘what‘ we need to do. We look at our never ending, daily, task list and this pushes our competition and stress buttons.

If we simply started with the ‘why‘ and got focused on creating the best version of OURSELVES every day, then we might just find ourselves with an abundance of opportunity and have the energy to actively seek out connection with others.

In this book, I share with you my top seven go to strategies for when life is tough. It is not rocket science, just wisdom earnt the hard way.

Lessons learnt through life and all of it’s glorious mess.

Small Things. Big Results.

If you have been struggling, for a long time, or are just feeling depleted and focused on how ‘unfair‘ life is; then this is the book for you.

7 Simple ways to change your life is a small collection of the things that you can do to create big results.

If you want to be challenged or want to find a better way, this simple read will provide you with ideas to bounce off and it also has simple wisdom from a range of masters!

You can grab a copy of 7 Simple ways to change your life by flicking me your contact details below.

I will send you a copy of 7 Simple ways to change your life back by email and it’s yours to keep. Forever. No cost. No tricks. No pressure.

 

I will add your name to our mailing list, as some-one who is interested in talking about Life + Leadership + Wisdom. And, that is it. This is a no-obligation, no-pressure simple way for you and I to ponder and chat about how we can make this ride a whole lot more fun!

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