Starting Out Blogging


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 : )


How to create a movement

I’m currently on a 3 1/2 day course for work. I won’t go into what it’s about, apart from that it involves Project Office methodologies and that I should end up accredited! And in consideration of that, I do have an exam in the morning and I really shouldn’t be on the internet (especially because I have a head cold and I should be resting!).

Anyway, half way through day 1 the Facilitator, in an effort to pep up her ailing students, played the following You Tube video for us. I had actually already seen it but I had forgotten how good it was. I also hadn’t thought about using it within the context of what I do as a career (which I only realised 2 months ago that what I am doing now can actually be a real career!).

I hope you enjoy it – it made me smile, and it made me think again about what my perception of leadership was, and about how important ‘followers’ actually are in creating any kind of change!

You’re a leader. Really?

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

The word ‘leader’ is bandied about a lot these days, at times blurred by the muddied waters of labels, titles and job descriptions – ‘manager’, ‘supervisor’, ‘director’, ‘chief’, ‘head’, ‘guru’, ‘prime minister’, the list goes on. But just because you have worked yourself into a position to be called one of these, it does not mean that you are automatically deserving of being called a ‘leader’.

A leader earns their label, and they get it because of the work they do, the humility and integrity they continue to hold, and the people they help and take along with them on the way.

What are your thoughts?

The Young Women’s Leadership Program experience

The Young Women‘s Leadership Program (YWLP) booklet ‘Journey to Leadership’ was officially launched this week. This sees the culmination of 6 months on hard work, laughter and tears.  I was lucky to be one of the girls blessed with the honour of speaking during the night.  What follows is the speech I provided.

My experience in the YWLP program has been challenging. Before even registering for the program, I had been considering a career change – and had already taken a step back from being a Project Manager in order to do a bit of soul searching after suffering from burn out.  Although to be honest I wasn’t doing much searching – I wasn’t doing much of anything apart from working and paying the bills.

It’s at this point that I need to send a really big thankyou to Ambreen – my work colleague, class mate and friend – along with her Mum.  If it hadn’t been for Mrs Beg, then we both wouldn’t be here, and if it wasn’t for Ambreen, I wouldn’t have known about the YWLP.  I had also initially thought I was ‘too old’ to join, but thanks to some coercion from Ambreen, I contacted Alicia to enquire about joining, and she welcomed me with open arms.

Anyway, a couple of weeks before the program commenced my Nan passed away.  This was after the discovery of a 7cm tumor in her throat just before Christmas 2009, of which was a huge shock.  She had recovered from a battle with Lymphoma a few years earlier, and had bounced back from that with a new lease on life.  Her decline was rapid and she unfortunately she suffered a lot.  As a small family, we were not ready for what was to come.  She passed away in her home, looking out into the nearby trees and paddocks at the cockatoos and horses, finally reunited with Grandad.  To see her released from her cage was a relief but it was still a shock to the system.  She was one of the most beautiful people in the world, she never had a bad word to say about anyone, treasured all life, and was incredibly open-minded.  I know I could talk to her about anything.  No longer having her in the world – the loss seemed too much to bare.

As life goes on for those left behind, the day to day routine continued as best as it could, and then the YWLP commenced.  I must admit that I wasn’t in the right state of mind to meet new people and certainly wasn’t prepared for the workshops on life analysis. So to be confronted in the first few workshops with 25 strangers, and various tasks such as questioning our personal values, dreams and goals – it was the last thing I wanted to be doing.  The climax came in the workshop about discovering our ‘Passions’, where we had to determine and discuss what we were passionate about.  When I could not identify anything – I was so incredibly upset and disappointed with myself I just wanted to chuck it all in.  Of course, what I realize now is that I was going through the natural grieving process, and that I was struggling with a relapse in my depression.

Thankfully, as the end of the program nears, I can gratefully say that I have now realised what it is that I truly value in life, and have ‘re-discovered’ my passions, as well as a few new ones. In fact one of my passions had always been writing – of which I had almost forgotten about – and what more could I have asked for then to have taken part in the creation of our booklet ‘Journey to Leadership.’

This brings me to what I think has been one of the most important things about the YWLP.  The YWLP has provided me with a safe, trusting and supportive environment in which I could embark and continue on a life changing journey, thanks to my fellow class members and of course, Alicia.  This has resulted in the strengthening of, and the creation of some very special friendships.

On another note, it has been due to the opportunities offered via the program, and the ‘soul-searching challenges’ we needed to undertake, that I do actually find myself happy.  It is a strange feeling, and I do have to pinch myself occasionally, as I have gone through most of my life telling myself that ‘I just want to be happy’, and it has been through this program, where I finally focused on other things…well…it has brought me what I had been looking for all of this time.  Indeed, it’s like a shroud has been lifted and I can see a whole new world.