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On Holiday? In a Cage? Neither.
On Holiday? In a Cage? Neither.

On Holiday? In a Cage? Neither.

Within any work environment there’s an ever present culture enforced by every day employees. Enforcing underlying ground rules (UGR’s) knowingly or not, which are either empowering to the team, or completely destructive to the workforce and customer a like.

Stef du Plessis is an amazing Key Speaker in South Africa, whom I had the privilege to meet on a particular Saturday workshop a few years back. Seeing the mentioned UGR’s in practice, is definitely different from reading and hearing about it in theory.

With my allowed capped data I was able to attend two zoom SA’s best Speakers webinars in April which Stef presented to us with a variety of Guest Speakers. (1) Sam Silverstein, (2) with Sharon King G. Below I’ve summarized important notes to take into consideration going forward with business during this Pandemic. No matter in which sector you’re involved in. Be quick to view all 17 of the webinars on Youtube! > click here – Available till 20 May 2020< I’ll be using some midnight oils and night cap to get to ’em all! What will be your excuse?

AUTHOR’s NOTE : I hope this will be a lovely read for you to encourage some optimism going forward when you’re done with it. It is a little bit lengthy, as I refused to split it up in sections – as it’ll bombard the whole concept out of context.
Bare with me, take a moment of pause when you must, but come back and finish this piece.

Let’s start with Sam’s Webinar |Monday 13th, 10am:

I related very much with what Sam had to share about accountability among your employees within any company. Where the ever present goal is to be better than yesterday. Not necessarily being better than a competitor – “because then you’ll always be at least one step behind.” But being an improved, unique version of You. Because, lucky for some of us, tomorrow we get to do a make-over. There’s value within the choices we make. Now’s the time to make a choice between whether you’re the person to think this is an extended holiday; Or whether you believe it’s time to shift to a new gear and be as innovative as ever within your current practice.

As he continued to elaborate about accountability and what it means to be a good or great leader, I couldn’t help but feel grateful towards my own Employer – and the way they had approached this whole COVID-19 thing since the very beginning. How they handled things with open communications, asked for our creative input, our real concerns, and then they shared the harsh reality to be expected within the next few weeks (if not months…) And we together brainstormed a way forward. I felt a part of something bigger – a valuable connection within the whole – a soul not to be forgotten.

I’m serious. In this time of extreme difficulty – I’m honoured to have a leader who mandates people to manage their own tasks and bottom line with some necessary tools already provided by them. We can get a job done. From what ever creative interpretation towards taking responsibility and accountability for our actions and implemented results each step of the way. (Most of the times.) A leader who is more concerned about the relationship and well-being of his people, in-balance with his heart that’s been invested in this company for the past 27 years; truly leads by example to keep going, and not going down without fierce input effort first.

However, I stand to argue that to inspire someone else to be accountable, they first need to be open to influence. And indeed Sam agreed! There was a discussion between A- and B- Team players compared to the bottom line, and how one can influence the other, and how they both can encourage a greater interactive workforce across all levels of the company. Or at least help identify who don’t belong there, nor want to accommodate compassion to be a fit team member...

Of course, the work culture is a lot more complicated than this, as the underlying ground rules are always ever present and influential. Best way to explain this UGR concept : once you’ve hired a new employee ask them to observe the office for a week, and then to share their thoughts about the tabo’s and other influences enforced by the existing team and processes. Eg. How they talk to one another, the shared assistance and over all approaches and tolerances towards one another and customers alike. But again, the map is only the territory – it’s still not as simple as this.

Feeling of shared investment to a greater goal and achievement – I personally believe could be the glue to good accountability within a team.

Then, moving away from the birds eye view which looked at the team’s influence on the company and one another – the talk with Sharon |Wednesday 22nd, 3pm zoned in closer to the Self and the influence our thoughts may have.

She started us off with a brief introduction followed by a lovely breathing exercise, which she did actively with us! It went like this :

  • Relax your body, shift it a lil – loosen up.
    Breath through your nose and count to 4. 1…2…3…4…
    Hold 7. 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…
    And counting through your mouth with exhale 8. 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…

    This exercise tries to help a little with calming the mind and to think a bit clearer in that moment.

    Repeat at least 3x times.
    Do it now.

    You may repeat each series of breathing for however many times you like. Please stop should you reach dizziness or light headedness…

    Within this exercise the exhale is more important than inhale, as it stimulates the vagus nerve – helping you to get into that EQ required to handle the moment.

This particular breathing exercise also helps to ground us to this moment, helping us to focus on what IS in our control right now – and not be all frantic stations about the COVID-19 influences on our businesses, homes and financial states. Chatter in the skull keeping us in turmoil over and over and over… Rather rest, and digest while focusing what’s in your control.

Sharon made good observations then already, that webinars are indeed popping up everywhere. We need to consider what we are doing with our time, and our mind at this time. We know it’s never been a question about time, but rather priorities and how we decide to scale them.

During this lockdown, she personally changed her perspective towards that it’s rather a gift having an additional 1h to be more resourceful in, than having to commute to work. Shining light on those who’d argue working longer hours won’t be as effective, than spending time rather on more practicing healthy rituals and habits daily…

The question remains simple : What are you doing with your Time?

What are you choosing to do with your time? It’s about being more aware and having more energy, should your rituals serve You.

YES! We can argue that there’s no space to exercise – be creative and make one. Move furtniture around as you need the space available to move. Be careful not to get stuck within a loop of excuses why you can’t do things or get others done. Rather say what can we make of this, and make it better to work with You. Do a rocket countdown, get up, and get it done : 5…4…3…2…1..Go Go GO!

Its about taking the time to really think

To think about what you really have control over. To take that list and build some sort of structure around your day – planning around important happenings with relation to what’s important to you. Both personally and professionally.

Of course, it’s overly easy to be exhausted by our thoughts. Thus remember to do it in layers, as an elephant cannot be eaten in one go. Be gentle with yourself as you work through the madness of your inner clutter.

No one ever said it will be easy. I can vouch though, it will definitely be worth it.

Using the metaphor of ‘your mind is a garden, and we are gardeners.’ It becomes easy to understand that with a garden overrun with weeds – there’s no sense in planting beautiful flowers, before removing any of the weeds first.

With this time of not being able to go anywhere – it’s a lovely opportunity to take a journey through your own mind. A lovely exercise I also use and would suggest is journalling.

Could be abstract words, descriptive in some way. It could be free journalling jotting down randomized thoughts as they pop by. This journey of discovery allows for the growth of emotional vocabulary and understanding ( EQ) to truly evaluate our abilities to respond better within our every day moments, situations, circumstances, interactions, and self talk. See the weeds, your worries your fears, concerns, limiting beliefs. Go deep and uncover the weeds that aren’t serving you anymore.

Yet be careful, and gentle. You’ll discover we ‘ sometimes encourage the weeds to grow, instead of weeding them.’ Building on our awareness towards an understanding that our perception is our reality. Sharon really resonated with my inner perspective when she shared that.

The person you mostly speak to is you, with thousands of thoughts rushing through our minds daily. Statistically, most being negative (from a negative perspective.) It’s about carefully observing the ripples unfold as you begin to fully understand the real You in there. Go as far as to Google emotional vocabulary to build on everything you already have, and develop it.

And through significant transformation influenced by the understanding of the fundamentals coupled to emotional intelligence – you can be considered a good leader. And be a Great You every day, cause you wouldn’t dare to show up as someone lesser than…

These are only a few of plenty tools you could use to assist you with becoming calmer and more confident with yourself. Observing the ripple effect throughout everything you do and get involved in. Actively making your choices, and not living as part of a reaction.

Lastly for this chapter, NEVER loose sight of being Human.

Stef concluded this theme for me beautifully by unraveling the hardness of his truth and shattered reality COVID-19 swept over his path.

He’s developed a new sense of value towards tomatoes – as ‘the good old days with his Gran,’ even though it’s a lil rippled at the side you can cut that off and still eat the rest of it.

He expressed how STRESS is the effect from our EXPECTATIONS not being aligned with REALITY. You don’t have to know how much you want to change. It’s about wanting to improve the life you have, as much as you can. And that won’t happen because we read a book, or attended a webinar – but because we made a conscious CHOICE, a decision that today I will expect less.

You have the power to inspire others by identifying patterns of excellence from others, and start to implement them for yourself. This way, you’ll have a positive impact on others – even when you’re not with them. Physically.
Step up and UP your game – and be influencial.

[5] PAUSE ;
A semi-colon : a kind reminder to recognize where you are now and find peace knowing it’s not the end of the race. It’s just a break before what comes next. This too shall pass.

And to my own surprise – Stef made reference to Victor Frankl’s Man’s Searching for Meaning. [Surprised, because some of the principles Marijke de Jong 🐴had been constantly referring to within her Self Mastery sessions >here< had been referring to his concept towards our freedom with choice.] Anyway, Stef highlighted the marks to find purpose and meaning in our life.

Not only referring to things that may influence you, but sincerely motivate you to be creative, to imagine, to take action with thought. And then to connect that drive with others around us.

By believing in others, you help release their most inner potential. I believe in You, You believe in someone else – and so on…

  • Commit to people worse off than you
  • Phone those who are lonely
  • Demonstrate empathy
  • Commit ourselves to a cause greater than ourselves.
  • You don’t have to be a visionary to paint a lil something every day.
  • Validate another person’s existence – roll down that window and make eye contact.
  • Choose gentleness over and above anger and aggression with each interaction.
  • Behave like a fellow citizen and inspire others to do the same.
  • Don’t be forceful, your purpose will find you. Open your eyes to not miss it.

With that shared, we end of this golden nugget with a powerful encouragement :
Refigure out how to do things, and change our everyday culture. Make it more agile and more transparent together with demonstrating more care towards one another AND towards ourselves. That way we can generate authentic leadership and relationships throughout our communities. And inspire others to follow our example.

Should we be able to create our own UGR’s at home, and within our closest community… Being more careful as to what we tolerate, and love more deeply throughout our compassion… I can only hope to see what amazing outcomes will bloom from us at the end of lockdown, should you decide to take action.

Even if it only means to sit comfortable and learning how to take deep breaths towards calmness.


What had been the nugget that most resonated with you ?
Have you had a look at the material linked? And…?
Does any of this sound familiar, or will you be implementing something new from today ?


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