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Are you a survivor?

With cancer month upon us, we thought we would ask the question – are you a survivor?

Surviving, to you, could mean that you managed to get through the day without a cigarette.  For some, it may mean living on a deserted island, with nothing but your trusty Leatherman and the shirt on your back. For others, the fact that their tests came up negative, is a sure sign that they have survived.  In the business world, surviving can be paying your accounts, and seeing that you have enough to eat for the rest of the month.

It is a tough world out there, and no matter what world you live in, or what struggles you are faced with, surviving is a unique and subjective experience.

Many will ask whether surviving can be rated according to the level of injury, and is surviving really all about sustaining an injury?  Should we be looking at life as a series of events that we have to get through, that we have to survive?  Has it really come down to that we are not really enjoying life, but struggling through it?

Some feel that they had no control over the circumstances that assailed them, others realise they could have avoided it by making different choices.  No matter really, it all comes down to whether you can survive or not.

And, the short and long of it is, in my humble opinion, is that we all are survivors.  For the few out there that just decide to give up on whatever they feel they cannot continue with, they too were survivors up to that point.

From the moment we are pushed into the stark and glaring light of this world, to the moment that we close our eyes, and take our last breath, we are fighting to survive.

In short, if you follow a few simple rules, you will find surviving, if that is what you want to name it, much easier.

Balance it

We are told to try to live a balanced life, one that creates harmony between work and personal.  Easier said than done, but not impossible.  I call it the ginger moment.  Ginger, when eaten with sushi, is the pallet cleanser, so be sure to find your personal form of ginger, to bridge that gap between work and pleasure, a reboot if you will.

Don’t burn bridges

You never know when you may need that person – an old adage, but oh, so true.  Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. Simple!

Be humble

There is no harm in being confident in who you are and what you do, but arrogance is appalling.  Maintain a humble approach to life and those around you.  It will be much appreciated, promise!

Listen more, and speak less

Yes, we have two ears and mouth, and justly so.  Use them in that capacity, always.

Don’t gossip

To avoid rumours starting, which generally are never accurate, just don’t gossip.  Keep your thoughts to yourself, or if you really must say it out loud, find someone who you know will never repeat it.

Be kind

Such a simple activity, but many struggle to be kind.  As children, we are told often to be nice, play nice, and treat others well.  This instruction should be drilled into us adults as well, on a daily basis.  Just be kind, and the world will be kind to you.  True story!

Work hard

There is nothing that brings about success and results like hard work.  How you go about this hard work is up to you, but it is a requirement.  That guy on the yacht didn’t get there, most times, by sitting on his butt and doing nothing.  That lady that has retired to Tuscany and now lives off the land, didn’t rub a magic lamp and wish for it.

Hard work, people!  Never fails!

Leadership Skills – can they be learnt?

Are you a leader?

You may answer a sure ‘yes’ because you are already in a leadership role, but not everyone was born to be a leader.

The skill set is not for the faint hearted, and many believe that one cannot be taught to be a leader.  However, some are pushed into the position by circumstance, a boss, or by default.  Others choose to taken on the role, believing they are leaders, but many soon realise it is not as easy as they thought.

Leading people, getting them to do as you say, and producing results from your delegation and instructions, can be the hardest job you will ever take on in your life.

Now, we are not trying to throw a negative angle on leadership, no, we are merely pointing out to those that are currently in this role, or those who are contemplating taking this on, that they need to be aware of a few important areas around leadership.  These areas, if focused on, will assist you and enhance your leadership skills.

There are many books written, many articles publicized, and many a public speaker who has preached on the subject of leadership.  And for good reason, as mentioned above.  So, we have gathered a few significant pointers from all over the globe, and summarised them for you.

We firmly believe that there are natural born leaders, but that is not to say that a person cannot learn the fine art of leading.

Here are a few aspects of a great leader:

  1. Is a great communicator

On all levels, mind you.  Whether it be face-to-face, via email, a telephone or Skype call, his monthly blog, or a simple SMS, a great leader gets his message and meaning across in a powerful and precise manner.  You can tell when someone has the strength of leadership just through the way they command a conversation.  And, we don’t mean that they take over the conversation or correspondence method.  We mean that they steer the conversation in the direction that is both meaningful and productive.

  1. Motivates and Inspires

A great leader will always look for ways to motivate his followers and even his peers, friends and family.  He or she would act in such a manner that they would be an inspiration to those around them.  The old adage that goes around that one must lead by example, couldn’t be truer for a really impactful leader.

  1. Always connecting with people

Relationships are vital to a leader, and even more so, creating and cultivating good relationships.  Without solid relationships, a leader cannot lead.  Trust and integrity come into this aspect, and is the reason why it features as number 4 on our list.

  1. Is honest and has integrity

We are not painting a picture of a perfect person, and we are not saying leaders are perfect in every way.  You may think so after reading these few pointers, but if we took all else away, and left just the factors of honesty and integrity, you would still have a great leader.  Living an honest life and always trying to act with integrity, is something we all should strive for, but as a leader of people, these two values are vital.  How can your employees think about following you if they cannot trust what you say and do?

  1. Tries to empower others

A leader does a lot for himself, but he is also a stickler on empowering others to do.  He or she believes that if you give a fish to a person, they will eat for a day, but if you give them a fishing rod, they will eat for a lifetime.  Teaching others is paramount to a leadership role.  Show, do, and then teach.

  1. Has a plan

Leaders always have goals in mind, for themselves, and for others.  Their goals may be short term or long term, but they will always have a strategy to go with those goals.  A great leader will never let you tell them about your goal and leave it at that.  They will ask how you plan to get there.  They will ask you if you have mapped out a road to reach that goal.  Another cliché’d quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish”

  1. Has a positive attitude

Sure, things go wrong, and we all get down, as do leaders.  But, it is their attitude to life that matters the most.  And, that can be said of all vocations and positions, but even more so for a leader.  He or she must always present a positive sentiment to their followers, even when the going is pretty tough, and the future is looking bleak.  A positive attitude can get you out of any mess – just try it!

  1. Is creative

This one may have you baffled, but one has to turn on the creative juices in this day and age.  Thinking laterally, is a term bantered about, as is “think outside of the box”.  Creative Thinkers are a novelty, but an essential part of every business, and every lifestyle.  One doesn’t have to be an artist to be a creative thinker.  One just has to be able to see the possibilities that could be from an adverse situation.  Problem solving is part of being a leader, but the smart part of this is putting it back to your employees, asking them what they think can be done, probing, prodding and feeling out just what would be another way round the problem.  By asking the right questions, a leader can get their staff to come up with the most creative answers and solutions.  Leaders are both creative and critical thinkers.

  1. Always asks for help

A leader isn’t a magician.  He does not know the answer to everything.  A great leader will know when to asks for help.  He or she will reach out to the professionals and the people in the know, when they are confronted with a dilemma they cannot solve.  They know that there is no weakness in asking for assistance.

 

 

Why Your PA is so essential to your business

You know that feeling?  The one where you miss something only when it’s gone?

 

Well, finding yourself with a telephone to your one ear, a cell phone to the other, your jam-packed calendar in front of you, and a pile of papers to your left about to topple over, and you will get that feeling sweeping through your body in no time.

 

Much like we rely on our smart phones nowadays, when it’s gone, we feel quite lost and panicked.

 

Take a moment to consider all that your PA or secretary does for you.  You may not even realise the extent of her duties.  Those instructions you blurt out at odd times of the day to her are just a drop in the ocean as to what she is really taking on.

 

Your Personal Assistant is so essential to your business, and we are going to remind you just how much.

 

  1. They know how to balance all their tasks and can ensure, that by the end of the day, all is complete and in order
  2. They have an uncanny ability to know just what you are about to say and often have already attended to the issue before you instruct it (think of Donna from Suits … minus the witty remarks of course)
  3. They are very good at screening your calls and eliminating time wasters who call in at all odd moments in the day
  4. They see things clearly when you don’t – think about how many times your PA has pointed out a gross error in an email you were about to send, or possibly even when your shirt is sticking out of your zipper … mmm … or for the lady bosses, that time your skirt got stuck in your panties …
  5. They let you get down to the business of doing business, taking the flack off when the going really gets tough
  6. Your PA will ensure you stay on track with appointments, from your dentist to that very important meeting with a new potential client
  7. They are great at picking up those little tasks, such as scheduling your flights, your accommodation, buying that gift last minute, that you forgot to buy for your mother, and even your dry cleaning
  8. Where you are lacking, she excels. Often times, your assistant fills in the gaps where you suck (to put it plainly).  She can make you look good by covering the small areas you cannot
  9. She or he is the face of your business, and often the first person people see on entering your office. Their engaging manner can be a great selling point for your business
  10. You can get to other important aspects of your life, such as exercise, your family, and other personal activities that are essential to leading a balanced life

 

With Secretaries day looming up on the 7th of September, consider showing your appreciation for your right hand lady or man.

Multi-Tasking – and why you shouldn’t do it

We would all like to think that we can multi-task, especially women, but is it really a good idea to juggle a few activities at once?  Are we really doing justice to any one of them?  Is there merit in focusing on one thing at a time?  Weren’t we told to do just that as a child? Focus.

For a brief moment, we will explore, which a huge bag of salt, why multi-tasking isn’t such a great idea, and how you can get just as much done without pretending that you are a clown with a couple of balls.

  1. Causes brain damage

This one was a little scary.  A test performed on a few folk in the UK, revealed that when taking part in multi tasks, such as texting and watching television, their MRI’s scans showed a definite decrease in brain density in the area responsible for emotion and cognitive control, as well as the empathy area.  So, don’t send that emotive, as its damaging your ability to express emotion.  (go figure!)

  1. Lowers your IQ level

Some smart fellows researched and found out that doing two or more activities at the same time lowers your IQ levels by as much as 15 points.  They even went as far as stating that your brain power was equivalent to that of a person smoking marijuana.  This makes one think twice about sending that email whilst chewing on an apple and checking Facebook.

  1. It slows you down

While the idea behind multi-tasking is to speed things up and get more done, the fact that you are not completely focused on any of the activities, actually renders you slower at all of them.  A test was conducted where candidates were split into groups.  A few were asked to take part in two or three tasks at once, whilst the others asked to complete the tasks one at a time.  The latter group finished first.

  1. You are prone to making mistakes more often

There is merit in focusing and focusing means giving attention to that one specific thing completely.  We all know that we can do things better if we pay more attention to it.  Even switching between very different tasks can cause you to lower your productivity level by 40%.  It is best, then, to complete one type of task, such as emailing, first, then move on to the next task, like speaking to a colleague about an important project.

  1. Stress levels are raised

There are many people that are just better at handling multiple tasks, but the general population will find it very stressful to know they have to tackle a few items on their to-do list at once.  Breaking it down into sections and giving yourself a time period to complete each one is better than trying to get them all done within, say an hour.  And, it is not the tasks themselves that are stressful, but rather the consequences in not finishing them.

  1. Memory issues

If someone is talking to you and you are looking at the rugby playing out on the television above their head, there is a chance that you will not remember all that they have told you.  That is, not only rude, but a waste of yours and their time.  It would be best, even if received with a “humph”, to ask them to hold their conversation for a minute whilst you check out the game.  Now, we are not saying this is PC, so don’t hold us to it if the person, say your girlfriend, gets all het up.

  1. You can put on weight

That sounds like an odd issue, right?  But, if you pair eating with another activity, you are more than likely to overeat, not realising that you are full.  Your brain will be trying to focus on the cell phone you have in your hand, rather than your digestive system.  It really takes only about 10 minutes to eat a standard sized meal, so give your brain a break and eat with no distractions.  The work will be there when you are done.

  1. Your creativity will be lacking

It makes sense, when creating something, to focus on it.  The one side of the brain that produces those creative juices, may not gel well with the side that is trying to work out what someone is saying to you.  You will find, that focusing on the project at hand, without a voice in your ear, or a television blasting behind you, will help you produce more creative work.

 

So, now that we have given you the low down on multi-tasking, please put turn the television off so you can read this again properly.

The Importance of both Traditions and Innovation in building organisational culture

Webster’s dictionary defines culture, as it pertains to business, as: The set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterises an institution or organisation.

There are many elements that go into building a successful organisational culture.  Each successful organisation has different factors that contribute to making its culture successful.  Typically, among these factors, both tradition and innovation play an important role. Traditions help to make a company distinctively who it is, and are instrumental in demonstrating to both employees and the world where it comes from. Without traditions an organisation pays only lip service to culture, and strong traditions that are applied throughout an organisation are one of the best ways to maintain a healthy organisational culture.

Often tradition is depicted as the enemy of innovation and vice versa. However, Ivan Misner, Founder of Business Network International (BNI) has this to say, “These values may at first seem counterintuitive but as the Apple example proves, it is the secret to success for contemporary businesses. Our traditions lay the foundation to who we are by showing where we came from. However, we must always be leading with innovation to stay current. This means that new advancements in technology and thinking must be absorbed into our process. Don’t lose touch with new changes in business and don’t be afraid to try new things at BNI.”

One way in which tradition and innovation are complementary organisational values may be as a result of innovation being a conscious facet of a company’s traditions. When tradition and innovation are at loggerheads within an established organisation, one way to combat any resistance to innovation, or change, is to backtrack to the origins of the organisation. It may be extremely beneficial to reconnect with the breakthrough innovations that in live in the history of the organisation and to share this tradition of innovation with employees and stakeholders.

 

If you wish to build innovation as a tradition within your organisational culture it is important to clearly define what innovation means for your company. Having a defined strategy with regard to innovation throughout your organisation puts paid to pursuing innovation for innovation’s sake. It may well also save wasted time and investment, preventing the desire to innovate from being a fruitless pursuit; particularly in the event that the goals for innovation within different departments within an organisation are contrary to one another.

 

Another practical way in which tradition and innovation hold hands is illustrated in an article in The Economist entitled Second wind, which discusses how some traditional businesses are thriving in an age of disruptive innovation. The article states … the more that disruptive innovations like the internet boost the overall productivity of the economy, the more room there will be for old-fashioned industries that focus on quality rather than quantity and heritage rather than novelty. Sometimes the best way forward is backwards.

I am Woman – Hear me Roar

Us women, we must be special.  After all, we had a public holiday created in our honour.  I don’t see no Men’s Day, do you?  Ha!  No, really, all bra-slinging put to one side, woman are pretty special and I won’t cover the obvious differences between men and women, but rather that we are a diverse and dynamic gender.

But, do you know why there is a public holiday allocated to celebrating women in South Africa?  It has been watered down a bit over the years, and most, if asked, have no clue why it began.

History Lesson

So, here is a little history lesson.  Back in 1956, the FSAW (The Federation of South African Women) wanted to make a statement, as they were unhappy with a few sections of the Urban Areas Act.  The government was insisting that all African women had to carry a pass on their persons always.  The reason?  Very simply, the government wanted to differentiate coloured women from African women, stating that coloured women were to be employed first when a choice was given.  They were so strict that any foreign African women had to be removed from the urban area.  Their reasoning in implementing these passes was born from finding control over the influx of foreigners into the land.

As you can imagine, the women took great offence to this, stating that they were not slaves, and passes made them so.  They rebelled, but with no positive results.  So, the ANC commissioned a few ladies (which ended up being almost 20000) to put together a march.  This civil and peaceful march took place on the 9th of August, 1956 in Pretoria, and was deemed a great success, ending with a full hour’s silence outside the Union Buildings.  It has gone down in history as one of the largest attended peaceful marches to date.

Today, there are no passes issued for African women or otherwise, so we celebrate this fact every year on the 9th of August.

The age-old fight of women vs. men goes back many more years before this standing, but, this day is not about that feud.  It is about segregation, and that no one, man or woman, should be penalised for being different, or at least different in the eyes of some.

It should be clear, that while the original issues are not so prevalent today, there are still significant problems that women face today.  From workplace sexual harassment, various parenting issues, pay variances to men, and domestic violence cases.

While many of these don’t affect you, you may know of someone who has or who does experience one of them on an ongoing basis.  The 9th of August is there for you, not to sit back and take a day off, but to get involved, and protest any or all of these issues.

What has changed since 1956?

It is important to take note of what actually has made progress over the years because of that march and this day.  Let us take the percentage of women representation in parliament firstly.  The official public holiday of Women’s Day commenced in 1994, and since then the percentage has raised from barely 3% to almost 50%.  That is a significant rise.

In terms of equality in the workplace and at home, there have been many great leaps and bounds on that front.  Just the fact that there are more organisations supporting violence against women and children, shows us that there is a very real awareness out there.

How can I get involved on Women’s Day?

There are many ways you can show your respect and support for the day, and we have a few ideas for you:

  1. As a business owner, you could host a breakfast with all your female clients, and ask them to donate to a worthy womanly, such as violence against women and children, or any of the other issues mentioned
  2. There are many events that run on this day, from breakfasts to evening do’s, and even visiting under privileged sites and mothers in hospital.
  3. Think about putting together little packages and dropping these off at an old age home or hospice. The ladies will love you for it.
  4. Give your domestic cleaner the day off, if you didn’t plan to, and even get her to the spa for a lovely treatment
  5. If you have female staff, send them for a mani or pedi, showing them that you appreciate their worth as a woman

The sky is really the limit when it comes to ideas on how to celebrate Women’s Day.  Use your imagination and if you are really too busy to get out to an organised event, just pay it forward with a kind gesture of some sort.  Even your time spent with another woman is worth tons.

I am Woman – Hear me Roar!!

Do, Delegate or Dump

You are busy.  You have so much to do; and you don’t know whether you’re Arthur or Martha.  You have papers piling up on your desk so high that you cannot see past them.  You are starting to drown and you cannot see a way out.

Sound familiar?

Well, you are not alone.  There are many who struggle to balance tasks with time.

When it comes to that to-do list, one has to learn to either do, delegate or dump.

While that sounds fairly simple, it still requires some application processes.  There are a few ways you can apply these three actions and come out the other side in one piece.

#1    Make sure you have a to-do list

It seems like an obvious first step, but often times we just take on a whole lot of tasks and don’t really even know what all we have to do.  Making a list helps to bring it all together and certainly helps to make sense of the mayhem.

#2    Why are you doing it?

Take a real long and hard look at the list, and ask yourself why you are doing it.  List the reason why you need to do that particular task.  If the reason shows you that someone else can do it, then delegate it.  If the reason shows you that it is not an important task, then dump it.  And, lastly, if the reason tells you glaringly and obviously that you are the one to handle it, then do it.

#3    What is more important?

Splitting your list into the Do, Delegate or Dump piles, is just part of the process.  Now you need to split each of those piles into further segmentations.

A                =                High Priority (i.e. Needs to be done today)

B                =                Medium Priority (i.e. Can be done tomorrow)

C                =                Low Priority (i.e. Can be done in a few weeks time)

Once you have split your tasks into these priority piles, then you are well on your way to making good work on getting rid of them.

And that is the key to all of this.  Getting rid of the tasks.

#4    Following through is paramount

Now that you have done the groundwork, get going on implementing.  And, by this I mean either … you know it …

DO

DELEGATE

Or

DUMP

 

The Doing part

These are yours and you need to attend to them in the order of urgency as you segmented earlier.  Take your diary or calendar.  Plot out when you have time to do these tasks and slot them in like appointments.  Again, from most urgent to least urgent.

Even better, is to use a system, such as the Task list in Outlook, which will allow you to set a due date and reminders.  There is nothing more satisfying, when it comes to tasks, to tick it off the list as completed.

By having a to-do list and sticking to the outline you create, in getting rid of the task, you will feel, immediately lighter and less stressed.

 

The Delegating part

Not all of us are great delegators, but it is literally impossible to do everything oneself, so one must delegate.  This may mean giving work to a subordinate, most times, but it may also mean giving work to a colleague, an equal.

If you are a man-alone business, it may be sourcing outside assistance. There are many small businesses that offer services that involve administration help.  Simple tasks like filing, tax returns, copying, delivering, data capturing and marketing, can easily be outsourced for a small fee.  In the long run, it will come back to you tenfold.

Possibly, dependent on your business, you could do a service swap, whereby you help out another small business owner, and they do something for you.  Another idea is to share with someone.  Reception services, cold calling, and other similar jobs can be shared with a business in the same industry as yours, or even if they are not.

You could even make use of a virtual assistant if you cannot afford to employ someone.  Virtual Assistants don’t sit in your office, and are, literally, virtual.  They work remotely at their own premises and can cover a wide range of tasks that do not require them to be in the same office as yours.   I have known virtual assistants to be located in another country to their employer.  It works. Try it!

In a corporate environment, it is important to establish, from the list of tasks, if you are meant to be doing that particular task.  Sometimes we get straddled with tasks that actually do not fall under our job description.  Be careful not to be the “ja broer”, always accepting tasks that get thrown up into the air.

Make sure you are not splitting yourself into too many pieces.  There is much to be said for giving the busiest person more work, but if you are spinning out of control, you will, eventually, drop a ball or two.

When you delegate, follow through.  Check up on the person you gave the task to, even if you know it was not your job in the first place.  Somehow, along the line, it became yours, and it is still your responsibility to ensure it is completed.

Create a separate task list of these delegated to-do’s, and diarise to check up on them in a given timeframe.

There are many systems on the market that allow you to assign tasks and keep tabs on them without having to physically ask the person what’s happening.   A few that come to mind are Evernote and Workpool.   You can share tasks via these and other platforms, keeping track as the task is attended to.

Google Docs is another great free option, and works in a slightly different manner to the former platforms, where you create a document, share it with someone, and then you and they can make adjustments to the document.  Remember, though, once the change is made it is live and saved.  Any prior work will be lost when written over.

 

The Dumping part

It is not easy to dump stuff.  We worry that, somewhere, in the future, that it will become necessary. We worry that if we get rid of it for good that it will come back to bite us in the end.  So, when we say dump, we say just file away rather.  If a task was given to you at some point, it may have been important at the time. But, sometimes, tasks have sell-by dates.  If they are not attended to in a given timeframe, they lose their appeal and necessity.

A good example may be that you were to have followed up on a special on airline tickets for your bosses business trip to Chicago.  Because you didn’t, the special has now passed and his flight needs to be booked via the normal way. Dump it!

Perhaps, you had thought it a good idea to have all the servers cleaned by a professional cleaning company.  But, since then the servers have been replaced with brand new ones.  That task isn’t required anymore. Dump it!

Deciding to dump a task takes much thought and it may be that you don’t have the authority to dump something. So, make sure that you do and if not, find out who does.

 

With the Do, Delegate or Dump technique, which really can be applied to many angles of life, the groundwork does take a little time, but in the death, you will be saving so much time.

Now, every time, a task crosses your desk or email, apply the trio rule.

Do I …

DO

DELEGATE

Or

DUMP?

Live the Life You Love

We are all given choices in life.  Most times it doesn’t feel that way.  We go from day to day, telling ourselves that we are in that situation, that predicament, that life, because of outside forces, that we didn’t plan it that way.  Sure, life does hit us with a few curveballs along the way, but we have the choice as to how we will deal with those balls.

Everyone has dreams.  Everyone aspires to live a life that they can proudly and confidently say they love.  And, it is not such a far reach.

I am not here to throw you with the “10 steps to achieving the life you want” or “5 tips on reaching your goals”.  No, I simply want to help you realise that living the life that you could love is a matter of attitude.

When we were younger, we didn’t have too much say over what we got to do each day.  We were trundled off to school, told to sit and listen, given instructions the entire day, and then sat in front of a plate of food, with don’t-even-think-about-moaning looks, expected to eat whatever it was.

But, we all had dreams.  And, now that we are big and grown up, what is stopping us achieving those dreams?  Our stupid job that seems to be going nowhere?  Our partner, who doesn’t ever seem to do anything worthwhile?  Our children, because all they seem to do is cost money?

No.  All that is mumbo-jumbo and in essence just cop out excuses.  You have the power to change your circumstances or except that where you are right now is the best place for you.  You wake up each day and decide what mood you will be in.  Yes, there are those that will try to hit you with a negative vibe, and it can be hard to ignore, hard to stop them hitting in on your good attitude.  But, it really is up to you.  No one else.

Loving the life that you are living can be made easier by looking around you, at the people, the places, the fact that you have stuff, and that you are alive.  You may not like all the people around you, you may not like where you are living or working, you may think you need more stuff, and you may not be in the best of health, but in comparison to many others in the world, you are the king of your castle.

The old adage, “is the glass half empty or half full?” is a question we should ask of every situation you find yourself in.  To your naked eye, you may be quick to answer, “half empty”, but if you dig a little deeper, you will find that it isn’t all bad, and seeing the glass as half full is still a matter of attitude.

So, next time you are feeling a little iffy about your life, and wondering how you can love it, think about the reasons why you could.

Honour is a Powerful Human Motivator

In the modern western world the concept of “honour” has largely been replaced with that of “integrity”, which is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. But, in truth, only the language of honour is missing, not the idea.

Shakespeare wrote: “Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honour, I lose myself.” To understand more about what honour is, it helps to understand it’s opposite.  In Western understanding, shame is the direct opposite of honour and arises when a person feels he or she has not lived up to his or her own expectations.  Going beyond personal shame, in Asian cultures “group shame” arises when a person has not lived up to the community’s rules and expectations. Upholding this concept of cultural honour is what drives Asian society; honour and shame are bound together.

Defining honour

If honour (as a noun) is the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right, and an honourable person is someone who believes in truth and doing the right thing, and who tries to live up to set principles, then honourable conduct must, therefore, have to do with people and actions that are honest, fair, and worthy of respect as judged by oneself and other people. It may be said that honour is maintained by doing the right thing for the right reasons, at the right moment, with an element of selflessness.

How does maintaining honour play out in modern society?

Honour is linked to the principal of being true to your word

Honouring one’s word is something that is often taken too lightly. Too many people make empty promises without realising the damage that not following through will bring about.  This does not only hold true when making promises to others. Nothing is more powerful in building one’s own self esteem than honouring your promises to yourself.  C.S. Lewis wrote, “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”

Honour is based on reputation

Honour is based on how others view us and on how we view ourselves.  When a person stops caring about their reputation, and shame goes out of the window, it follows that this person will devolve into doing the least they can without getting into legal trouble or being fired. Here lies the road to mediocrity, incompetence and even corruption.

Honour cannot be legislated in communities and networks of trust

Honour cannot be regulated by commands or legislated by law, but is a bond among comrades. To activate and engage the passions of an entire group of people it is important to transform the group into a highly-functioning community of individuals who want to be their best, who feel exceptionally valued, and who celebrate one another’s successes.

Honour leads to acts of selflessness

Showing honour entails treating another person respectfully because we value them highly.  We often think in terms of granting honour to those who have earned it or deserve it, but what amazing occurrence might be initiated if we just “gave” honour to someone without any expectations of payback?

Here are four practical ways to honour someone:

  1. Show loyalty:  As a loyal associate you may not agree with your comrade all of the time and will not always have the same opinion, but a loyal associate is always honest and impartial, wanting the best for the other person.
  2. Give someone your expertise to help fix a problem:  Honour someone by giving them a hand! You never know, through the law of reciprocity, when the same honour may be given to you.
  3. Listen:  Just listen. Oftentimes when people ask for advice, what they really want is to go over something they just can’t get off their mind.
  4. Don’t judge:  When someone comes to you for help, chances are they are feeling pretty vulnerable and they are trusting you to listen without being judgmental or condescending.

Who do you know that deserves honour?

5 Tips on Being the Best Woman Entrepreneur

Following a few surveys and stalker-like manoeuvres we sourced a few tips from around the world from the greatest woman entrepreneurs.

When it comes to working in a man’s world, these powerhouses don’t believe there is such a thing as a man’s world. It is just our world, and we all have a place in it.

From Coco Chanel to J.K. Rowling, from Arianna Huffington to Oprah, we have a lovely little treasure chest of golden rules to follow. Whether you intend to or are already deep into being a woman entrepreneur, sometimes it is best to take a leaf out of a fellow woman’s book.

1.            Work for it!

Perhaps one of the most iconic businesswomen, Estee Lauder, said that she never dreamt about success, she worked for it. Wise words from this great lady.

2.            Make Mistakes

Sara Blakely, the youngest self-made millionaire in America, and the Founder of Spanx, believes you have to make mistakes, and that sometimes those moments are the most memorable.

J.K. Rowling had a similar message, but delivered it so poetically, we just had to share, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all–in which case, you fail by default.”

3.            Be Thankful

Oprah Winfrey has much to be thankful for, but we know she worked dang hard to be able to have what she has, so we will take her profound words to heart, “Be thankful for what you have; you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

4.            Don’t be Fearful

It is very easy to fall prey to our fears, but Arianna Huffington, Founder of the Huffington Post, says she exercises her fearlessness muscle daily, so that her fears do not run her life.

5.            Create a Legend

Another great beauty mistress, Coco Chanel, taught us much to do about how to be graceful and make the most of our faces, but she had some nuggets of truth about life too. In her words, “May my legend prosper and thrive. I wish it a long and happy life.”

While there are many, oh so many more great women with great pieces of advice, we feel that these 5 powerful statements can set your world on fire.