Is it your fault?

What would you say if I told you it’s your fault?

What would you say if a project you were involved in failed, and I told you, you had some part to blame for it?

How would you react when the person you just had a huge argument with and who was also hugely reactionary, said they were merely reacting to you?

What sort of response would you give if your co-workers believed you could brush up on your communication skills?

And what would you say, if I turned to you and said, “It’s your fault anyway”.

How would you feel?
How would you react?

What if, when the temper that rose then settled down and you considered, quietly, in your own time, that  the turn of events took place in response to your behaviour, your words and your action?

What if, you brought on, what you feel was caused by someone else?

Would you like to know a universal truth?
Everyone wants to be loved.

Everyone wants to be cherished, to be valued and to be heard. And if they are not, then they may react in a number of ways, which to some extent, is dependent on their life experiences and how they have been treated.

Some react by enveloping themselves in sadness. They may accept their situation or they may not but they feel they are victims – they cannot surpass or overcome it. They cave in to it. They are in despair and in grief.

Others react in anger and desperation. They don’t accept their situation but they need to make their case. They lash out at those around them. They cause hurt before hurt is caused. They view everything through the lens of their hurt; consequently, everything is viewed as happening to them, for them or in relation to them, regardless of whether it is so.

Whether they react, wallow or lash out, consciously or not,  they want to protect themselves, to insulate themselves from more pain and anguish.

If you are mindful of this as you see every word, thought or deed that ensues, you can potentially change things for yourself and for the hurt person. Otherwise, you merely react to what you see in front of you and the cycle continues.

Someone must be the bigger person. Someone must be willing to pause. Someone must see what is really at stake.


Why you need to be ok with venturing out, venturing alone

Striving for balance you can live with

One of the hardest things to figure out when you begin something new – whether it’s a project or a business – is whether it’s going to succeed or fail. Oftentimes, when success comes, it’s easy to look back and see the signs you had not noticed initially. We tend to come to the conclusions we want to make and find the supporting evidence or points where we choose to look.

And when failure hits us, perhaps it is easier to just move on. Who wants to dwell on  the negative?

Anything new…
Anything you have no experience in …
Anything that makes you worried or scared …
is fraught with anxiety.
We are unsure of outcomes, processes and perhaps, even the milestones that may  guide us.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So when a new venture beckons, you’re really striving for a perfect balance as you move ahead.

You don’t want to be over eager and launch before you’ve set your path and laid the foundations for success.
And yet, you also don’t want to think too much and over analyse every move or result in line with the vision you’ve set.

The amount of thinking done needs to be weighed against the amount of action taking place. You’ve got to know when to push it out there – to ship it – and when to hold back for another revision. When what you’re doing is brand new to you and brand new in the space/industry you’re in, then there is no one you can really go to, to get guidance or a helping hand. You’re in this alone and that is typically the case when you’re making your own dreams happen.

Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength –  Napoleon

And you’ve got to be comfortable with that. You’ve got to be internally driven, guided by your expectations and a vision only you truly understand.

It’s scary.
But it’s also helluva exciting.

When pushing through with something new, something different, you’re in it alone but it’s ok.
Others may not get the vision or dream but it’s ok.
You can see the vision but you can’t quite articulate it as well as you’d like to but it’s ok.

Remember that there needs to be as much action as there is thought.
You’re content in the knowledge that you may just need to fumble your way forward.
But it’s ok.

#vision #courage #failure #success

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. 
I run Vertical Distinct, a media and learning organisation supporting both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog here on the entrepreneurial journey. I write for Women of HR and am also Associate Editor at the HR Gazette. Feel free to connect to talk or let me know how I can support you.

Thank you

Sometimes it seems presumptious.
As in “thank you for your consideration” when you see it at the bottom of a letter asking you to get stuff done that you don’t want to do.

Sometimes it seems insincere.
As in when an HR personnel thanks you for the time you’ve taken to put in an application to their company. And then proceeds to reject you.

I don’t miss those thank yous.

Sometimes it seems that it may be easier to recall the fake thank you.
I don’t miss those thank yous.

But the thank yous I miss?
When the feedback I had given was not appreciated or wanted.
When my good but small deed went unrecognised.
When the door I held open didn’t even get a passing nod.
When I made the move before it was even requested.
When it was anticipated and attended to. Quietly.

I wouldn’t change the things I did because I would do them anyway.
But I sure miss those thank yous.

#thankyou #gratitude

Doesn’t a fake thank you bother you? What do you do about it? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I also write for Women of HR and post on LinkedIn. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.


Kill fear. Do it anyway.

Blank page.
Many things to say.
None seem worthwhile though.
And so you keep quiet, moving on to the next tab on your browser, something to distract you, something else to do that you will call ‘work’.

The last event attracted 200 people.
This year’s is potentially going to double that number.
The stage had a ‘wow’ factor and yet, it was incredibly daunting.
You got the invite this year, one more time. Again, you hummed and hawed.
Made excuses, told them you would not be able to speak.
And so you just keep walking by these opportunities you call problems or a waste of time.

Do you have an idea you know will work? Yes.
Have you done anything to explore it? No.
Are you actually making excuses? Yes.
Does it keep popping into your head when you find a spare moment or when the busyness of the day begins to settle down? Yes.
And so you keep carrying on, filling your time with lots of stuff to do, while quietly stilling that inner voice that is both bold and scared at the same time.

You have important things to say. But you don’t say them.
You have things that you know you should do. But you don’t do them.
You have ideas you so badly want to explore. But again, you hold back, waiting for the perfect moment to present itself to you. It’s as if you are waiting for something or someone to shout out that it is safe to go try, that this indeed is that moment to jump.

It’s not going to happen.

No one is going to make you do it.
No one is in your head, living your life, thinking your thoughts or dreaming your dreams.
Not everyone is going to understand if you do go explore your path.
Not everyone is going to support your journey.

So, here’s the question?

Will you do it?
Will you do it now?
If not now, then when?
If not at all, why?


Fear gets to all of us, even those who are successful. But we can’t let it beat us, we need great hacks to beat fear down and get us to a place where we are living the life we want to live. What do you do to beat fear? Please share your thoughts in the comments, as I too want to learn from you.

I run the VerticalDistinct platform to support both Human Resource and Technology professionals. I blog on the entrepreneurial journey. I write for Women of HR, post on LinkedIn and am an Associate Editor at the HR Gazette. Let’s connect, let’s learn from each other. Let me know how I can support you.


Do You Really See What’s In Front of You… Or Do You See What You Want to See?

HR trends, tech trends, communication trends, the list goes on. And there’s a fair number of organisations and consultants out there that want to impress you with their ability to see the trends before they actually arrive.

To those predicting, perhaps it serves to showcase their authority and expertise.
To you receiving, perhaps you’d like to catch on, catch up or just be aware of what you’ve missed.
But I don’t know that it is always so good to catch up on all these trends.

What do you really see before you? Is everything not subject to perception and positioning? Could there occasionally be a touch of smoke and mirrors?

I think we are inundated with data and our lives would be simpler if we cut back on our obsessive need to keep abreast with every development out there. You simply can’t keep up anymore, you have to be selective. And the problem with keeping up to date with all that data, I fear, is that you simply do not spend an equal amount of time, truly processing what that data means to you.

Our obsession with looking over our shoulder, to our past or future, does not leave us enough mental space and energy to deal with what is right in front of us. And we need all the energy and space we can to make sense of it, because there’s just so much to deal with. We need to make sense of events, emotions, decisions, consequences, nuances, interconnectedness between different elements as they all kick and scream and manipulate their way into our consciousness.

You know, what we have, in front of us, is more than enough for us to deal with. So why take on more than you can chew?
Let’s just deal with here and now.

How Will You Know If That Is The Way To Go?

You’re surely not asking for the answer to that very specific question in your head, are you?

Because if you were, you and I both know, that the only one who can answer that is you.

You will decide which way to go and your decision will lead to the choices you make. Or you may choose not to decide and your decision may still lead to some choices being made.

You know that for every person who will tell you to head left, there will be another to tell you to go right. It doesn’t matter whether there are more requests to head left than right. Nor does it matter whether it’s backed by reasons you can believe in or not. What matters is that the opinions of others are based on their interpretation of what they perceive, not yours.

If you like a person and spend enough time with them, you will begin to see and perhaps, even foresee how they think, even the ways in which they may respond or react to given situations. If you decide to seek that person’s advice, then it’s possible that you do so, because you already know the kind of answer you might get. And what does that tell you about what you are deciding?

In many ways, there may be no clear lines sometimes.
There may be no simple answers, even if this is what we seek.
It just means that, ultimately, we have to place trust in ourselves, in what we know, in our perception and go from there.
It is not meant to be an unhealthy self-reliance; but sometimes, the best way we can learn is just by doing. By putting ourselves on the line and seeing what happens. By falling and picking ourselves up again.


if you know which way you want to go, then go. And stand tall in that choice.

if you don’t know, trust yourself to make a call and run with it. It just might be the best call you make.

If You Could Focus on One Skill To Develop, What Would It Be and Why?

I know I said one but that was just to hook you in. The truth is I think there’s six. They vary in weight but there’s an interesting dynamic between of all them.


Some may call it foolhardy but it takes courage to walk down the road you’ve chosen, one you may not articulate to the ones you love. You may find it hard to justify your goals or actions or maybe, you just don’t see the point in doing so. Whatever it is, at some point, you walk your road alone. And the only thing you have going… is the belief that you’re doing the right thing by yourself and that this is what you’re meant to do.

Courage is not always in the bravado acts, the ones we see and identify with. It takes as much courage, if not more, to do the things we need to do, in the shadows, day in and day out.


They go hand in hand. You don’t need to persist when you are succeeding, do you? You persist when things go wrong, when you are flailing. And God help you because they don’t teach you this in school. You either learn this because your mama or papa took the time to drill this into you or you built this up yourself, one day at a time. One project, one experiment, one experience at a time.


If you don’t have the presence of mind to take a step back every now and again to evaluate what is going on, then you run the risk of blindly moving, racing through life till you come to the bitter end and see the mess you’ve created. Because there is no one to blame for the choices you’ve made, except yourself. Whether you’d care to admit or not. On the outside, you could blame a lot of things – your parents, your upbringing, your culture, your financial problems, insert your lack of whatever – the list is endless if you go down this road.

But while we cannot control all the circumstances we find ourselves in, our greatest joy and success comes from our ability to control how we respond, react and deal with the stuff we face. When we boil it all down, every one of us has a story to tell. A story of hope, a story of desperation. Of loneliness, regret, anger, disappointment and loss. Of ambition, passion and hope. Of losing out and breaking through.


You’ve got to live a live of hope or it simply does not work. If you click out, if you say that your life is mapped out for you, from the choices you’ve made so far, if you let your situation dictate your response, that is not a life of hope.

Hope will take you through your darkest days, it will hold you strong through your weakest moments. And to hold hope strong is to believe that anything is possible.


If you are curious about your world, the relationships you make, the wider goings-on, if you have an interest in how things happen and why, that curiosity will fuel you. It will give you ideas, it will open up new vistas, it will bring more into your life than you imagine.

Embrace failure

This is a big life lesson. I will consider my job as a parent more than half done if I can pass this on successfully to my kids. What you want to get to is the development of a mindset where you are not fazed by failure. The highest point would be almost an embrace of it – a kind of egging on. To get to a place where your ego and self worth are unaffected by the results you get, where you don’t question everything you are about and what you do. A place where you can quietly look past the failure and see what is beyond. Where you can look at your failure, right in the eye, to see how and when and why you failed.

I am slowly warming up to the idea that success may lie in still running the race. For success ends the minute you choose to check out.

You’re still here, there’s still the brightness of another shiny new day. You’ve got your head, your heart. You’ve got a dream.
What more do you need?

Why Don’t We Listen Well?

We don’t listen well because it’s quite simply, hard.

We are, at our baseline, emotional creatures, whether we care to admit it or not. People and situations get us irritated and quick off the bat. We are eager to get our point across, to defend what we believe in and to make sure that others hear us. So we speak louder and faster. So we repeat.

It may not work but it soothes us. It helps us deal with it on an emotional level but the real issues are still left unresolved.

It’s hard to stop and really listen. To suspend judgement and listen with an open heart and mind.

It means you have to stop thinking, stop planning your response, stop foreseeing the next argument about to be raised.
It means you have to let go of the outcome.
It means you have to come to terms that you do not control the situation but only control your behaviour and thoughts.
Are we capable of listening well?
Yes, with practice, mindfulness and a clear intent to do so.How well am I doing? On average, still very badly.
I still react and defend my position.
I still get emotional and retort rather than reflect and take my time.

But I am practising and working on mindfulness and more importantly, I want to.

What works?

Short pause. Midway or even at the end of a discussion, even if it feels too late. Barring some exceptional circumstances, it’s usually not too late to repair something done or said.

Big pause – sleeping on it. For bigger issues, taking the opportunity to call a half time on it and coming back to it later, refreshed.

Being open to rethinking it. Accepting that you don’t have all the answers, that perhaps the other view has validity, that you can step into their shoes if only for a while, to see things differently.

Letting go. Just simply doing that just removes all the weight off your shoulders that everything needs to go your way, that everyone needs to see your perspective and that everything is centred around your opinion. It doesn’t. And it doesn’t matter.

What do you think?

When You Lose Your Drive and Patience

It happens. It’s hard to always be on top, to be at the forefront, to keep pushing. Sometimes, you want to slow down but then you realise that every time you slow down, it’s really hard to get back into the groove. And it seems to make more sense to just keep going.

The life of an entrepreneur is one that can only be understood by an entrepreneur. It’s not said as if it were a badge of courage but a truth as much as any other. One only truly understands when in those shoes. But these ideas can resonate with anyone who is trying to achieve something meaningful or something they are truly passionate about, in their lives or careers.

Recently, I read a post by Tom Asacker about how time is relative. Tom says,

…Time speeds up when our experiences are rote.
When we’re standing still.
But it slows down when we experience something new and exciting.
When we’re flying high and engaging with the world.

Interesting because we all talk about how time flies by and it didn’t occur to me that perhaps it was flying by because of the regularity and similarity of what I was experiencing or doing.  And that can be one of the hardest things to acknowledge and accept when you are trying to do something really meaningful.

Because nothing truly good, truly worth your effort and time can be done in a short space of time. And when it gets pretty hard, when you can’t seem to see the wood from the trees, when you keep bumping into setbacks, the easy way out beckons. The call is strong and persistent and in moments such as those, you need to dive deep within. You cannot hope or look for the motivation or purpose from without.

You need question what exactly you are trying to do and ask yourself if these setbacks are really setbacks or a test of your conviction and courage. If it fails, then so be it. At least, you can call it what it is and go find something else to do. But if not…

…then you’ve just reinvigorated yourself.

Don’t you think?

How I Respect Your Time. Tip #13. Walk In Their Shoes

I think one clear way you can respect the time others take to devote to  you or your needs is to imagine walking in their shoes.

If you treat people the way you would like to be treated, you are bound to be given the treatment you ask for.

If you call for a meeting at a set time, be there on time.  If you take a call, accept no distractions or interruptions on the call. You cannot always control the distraction. For example, you cannot prevent someone from barging into your room but you could put a sign up or notify people that you are about to take a call. You can indicate that you are otherwise busy when someone decides to come into your room despite a notice. If a call comes in one phone, while you attend to another call, you can ignore it and let it ring out or mute it.

You decide what you need to do at any one point – you do not let circumstances dictate that for you. A ringing phone is best answered but if the situation calls for it, it may sometimes to prudent to let it ring out while you attend to something else.

If you call for a meeting and you check out by getting distracted by emails, calls or texts on your phone, you may not be vigilant about the message you send out with your action. But if you were to stop and consider, it would be obvious what that message is. And that is not pleasant. Not for you and certainly, not for the recipient.

So, it’s a simple plan but one that is difficult to execute at the best of times, given the number and variety of challenges you face in this very arena, on a daily basis.

More importantly, all these things can happen to you. However, you should make a stand about how you want to run your life, and the values you want to embrace. Things can happen around you but you can still choose how you react and respond in given situations. And that is, after all, the best approach, you can take.

This is part of a series of 20 posts on How I Ensure I Respect Your Time.

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