Starting Out Blogging


#PBAU

A good blogging buddy (and partner in crime) – Hajra Khatoon – and I recently started a 3 month blogging challenge. The aim of our challenge was to gather together an intimate group of personal bloggers to help shine the focus on the awesome-ness of personal bloggers for we felt that they weren’t getting the attention they deserved. We decided to call the group ‘Personal Bloggers Are Us (#PBAU)’ after struggling to come up with a name for it (finding a Twitter hash tag that hasn’t been used is really hard!). Just 2 weeks into the challenge, our expectations have already been exceeded.

This week we posed a challenge to the 24 participants:

‘Share with the PBAU group your FIRST EVER blog post’. 

We thought it would be interesting for every one to see how they started out blogging and how everyone had ‘developed’ in their blogging life – be it a short or long one.

In light of that, here is the first ever blog post of mine on this blog – Beginnings, published on 26 September 2010.

And here is my first EVER blog post, of which I wrote for an online community called Emergen (of which I’m now the Blogging Coordinator for), published 9 June 2010:

Learning From Past Mistakes

We can all learn from the ‘leaders’ we happen to come across throughout our lives, be it in politics, our families, work, university, church, etc.

Whether it be from the good they do, or the mistakes they make, some valuable insights can be picked up by merely observing and taking note. These things we observe can then be used to help ourselves grow as future leaders, and succeed in being the best we can be.

I’ve pondered my own experiences lately, and here are some tips that I’ve picked up over the years which may be useful to you are:

  1. Listen…and acknowledge that you have heard. Clear up any misinterpretations right then and there. It also makes people take note that you understood (you were listening!);
  2. Lack of communication can destroy a team and derail a project. It’s not brain science. Communication is key – and it needs to be clear! Less room for those pesky rumours and conspiracy theories then, or the good old ‘he said, she said’ scenario. In a day an age with phones, email, and all the gadgets, there really is no excuse (although face to face is best!);
  3. Pushing people till they break can get the best out of people, but take heed – it can also run people into the ground, and lead to stress, burn out, sick leave and resignations. When I started out in the workforce I didn’t know what I had in me until I was pushed, and when I discovered what I could do I was amazed! But I’ve also seen the other side of the scenario with too many colleagues, myself included, suffering from exhaustion. A sense of balance is good…
  4. A little bit of praise goes a long way. Even if it’s for a small accomplishment – everyone has to start somewhere, and sometimes a kind word and boost to the confidence is all someone needs;
  5. Don’t reallocate tasks without first communicating to the relevant parties about ‘why’. Did you know that taking work off of someone and giving it to someone else with no explanation can be considered as bullying – situation specific of course. If you ever need to re-delegate, just take a second and think ‘How would I feel if I was in X persons shoes.’ Sometimes there are time constraints, but there is email, there are phones…how you manage this situation could save a whole lot of heartache, gossip and dissatisfaction in the long run;
  6. Pitting people against each other does not work. Seen it time and time again, and in the end it always ends badly;
  7. Stay true to yourself…(now that’s not a quote from Marcia from Australian Idol ok!). We all encounter this at some stage in our lives – faced with being told to do something that just doesn’t feel right. Go with your gut. If you don’t agree with something, challenge it! Don’t just go with the pack. In the end you need to live with yourself. Sometimes you might feel that it backfires…but any good friend, colleague or organisation should be open to suggestions. If they aren’t, then you really need to consider whether their values match your own – and whether you belong in that situation;
  8. Don’t always provide the answers…a bit of guidance and encouragement to think outside the box and come up with a solution goes a long way;
  9. You aren’t always right. There’s nothing wrong with that – no one is infallible;
  10. Delegation is important. Don’t do everything yourself, even though at times you think you are the only one who can do it. How often I have been in this place!. Others need to learn what you do, and you need learn to let go. It also helps as a backup plan (leaders need to take time out and go on leave every now and then too!);
  11. Say thankyou.

And remember –

The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.

 Jim Rohn

Note: To check out the amazing posts from the Personal Bloggers Are Us crew, search #PBAU on Twitter, and enjoy : )

Monday Photo-day: The River


The river that flows through the city of Perth, where I live, was named Swarte Swaene-Revier (Swan River) by Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1697. It was named so after the famous black swans of the area.

As the river is the centre of the city, and many of the surrounding suburbs, so the river is the centre of many of the locals lives, including my own. As a child, I have memories of swimming in the Swan, knees sinking down into the black muck, reaching into the murky waters to grab a fist-full of mud and fling it at my brother. My Mum had swimming lessons in the Swan when she was at school, and always shares the tale of when she was a teenager, swimming in the river, and feeling something bump her leg…the river has been known to have many inhabitants…along with the prawns and crabs we used to fish for were dolphins and sharks.

These days I work in a building directly across from the Swan. Here are some photos of the historic Swan River that I took during a lunchtime last week:

The River: Lens: Buckhorst H1 Film: Kodot XGrizzled Flash: Off

Swan River via Retro Camera Connector for iPhone

Stalking bird

Bird at lunchtime

The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion – Dalai Lama XIV


Refugee camp for Rwandans located in what is n...

Image via Wikipedia

On Sunday I was blessed to have the opportunity to listen to the Dalai Lama XIV speak in Perth regarding ‘Spirituality in the Modern World’.

The Dalai Lama shared his wisdom with the 14,500 strong audience,  speaking of the benefits of living a compassionate and holistic life – and holistic in the sense of the world, not just within ourselves or our own countries.

“From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.”

As I write this I reflect on his words. At times I feel that my heart could break, thinking of those who have, or are suffering and struggling in the world. This is so much more poignant given the airing of a 3 part series on Australian TV  called ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’. In my lifetime, I do not believe that I have ever seen a TV show that has stimulated so much open discourse on such a powerful subject.

For those not in the know – or in another country perhaps – ‘Go Back to Where You Came From’ is a series whereby ‘six ordinary Australians agree to challenge their preconceived notions about refugees and asylum seekers by embarking on a confronting 25-day journey. Tracing in reverse the journeys that refugees have taken to reach Australia, they travel to some of the most dangerous and desperate corners of the world, with no idea what is in store for them along the way.

Deprived of their wallets, phones and passports, they board a leaky refugee boat, are rescued mid-ocean, experience immigration raids in Malaysia, live in a Kenyan refugee camp and visit slums in Jordan before ultimately making it to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, protected by UN Peacekeepers and the US military. For some of them it’s their first time abroad. For all of them, it’s an epic journey and the most challenging experience of their lives’.

Reality TV – yes. Produced with intent – yes. Powerful statement – of course. Within Australia, and many countries I have travelled to, there is always one common thread that stimulates ‘passionate’ discussion between people, and that is immigration. Over the last few years, this has been increasingly prominent within Australia, especially with the rise in people seeking asylum and the apparent increasing amount of boats approaching Australian shores carrying ‘illegal immigrants’ (or so the media would lead us to believe) trying to ‘skip the queue’.

I have very strong views on this subject. I have friends who are refugees, or have come to Australia for a better life. I am actually from a family who came to Australia for a better life – although we did not have to flee from mistreatment and injustice. I am not one to lecture (or am I?). All I can say is that I am thankful for this TV series, as it is challenging the atypical view that the mass media seems to perpetuate almost daily. I do have hope that it will succeed in opening up discussion and some people’s eyes. I hope that it strikes at the hearts of people – and that, as the Dalai Lama stated so eloquently, helps with the ‘development of love and compassion’ and in turn tranquility for all.

Things I Couldn’t Live Without


There are some things I just couldn’t live without:

  • Books – and by books I mean real books consisting of paper that are held in your hands and require you to manually turn the pages.
  • My Dog. My baby. My love. My beautiful girl.

What's Up?!

  • Music. Ah music…it has got me through so much in life.
  • Hugs.

  • My iPhone – okay, I admit it here and now…I have a problem.
  • My partner would probably say that I couldn’t live without my laptop…I mean, I could try! But I don’t want to!
  • My partners cooking. Until I met my partner I really didn’t look after myself. I swayed between not eating at all to eating too much. I now have a healthy appetite and love food – especially if cooked by my partner. He has such a talent and passion for food and cooking. I blame him for the added kilos I have put on since pairing up with him…at least now though I look healthy and not anorexic.

FOOOOOOOOD

  • Hot showers. I’ve tried living in England where most people have only baths in their houses. Hot showers with good water pressure were one of the things I loved about coming home after 9 1/2 months. I could not take one more day of bathing in my own filth, and washing my hair in the bathroom sink. A bath, to me, is a luxury – used for a good relaxation or pamper session for oneself OR to bathe the kids or the dog.

What is it that you couldn’t live without?