The Achievement Shift

The Achievement Shift

You’re a high flyer at work. You get sh*t done. You’re known for doing whatever it takes to get projects over the line. Let’s face it, you’re good at achieving.  Then along comes this bundle of joy, with not a care in the world. No concept of time and space. Just a pure existence.  An existence that consumes your energy and your time and in return offers you pure love. You catch glimpses of enjoying this love and for the most part, you’re thinking I need to do stuff. There’s important stuff I’m not doing because the nappy changing, clothes washing, feeding cycle never seems to end.  You find yourself finishing off dinner, doing the bed and bath time routine, then falling into an exhausted slump on the couch and find yourself asking what did I actually achieve today? So many executive parents find themselves at a loss after having a child because they can no longer relate to their pre-child achievement criteria of being in control of: Getting a project done on time.Getting through a task listGetting feedback on your progress and performance After a child is born it’s the polar opposite, things are often out of your control. They rarely run to schedule, the task list gets bigger and no-one gives you feedback on your progress and performance. “You cleaned that bottom meticulously today, well done” – yeah right!  Feeling like you’re not achieving leads to resentment, frustration and can also lead to anxiety and perceived lack of self-worth, like you’re never doing enough or never get enough done.  Redefining achievement post children comes down to feeling...
Aligning Family and Work

Aligning Family and Work

If you don’t yet know who she is, Jacinda Arden is one of the greatest political leaders of our time. In the aftermath of the Christchurch Attack, as prime minister, she has navigated the community with empathy, love and political grace.  She has requested other world political leaders to focus on peace and empathy for their muslim communities, as she leads the way on how to do this in New Zealand. She is a powerful, peaceful force to be reckoned with.  But what has this got to do with working parents? In an interview with Waleed Aly, she is asked the question, “Have you had time to be with family?” She has a 9-month old baby. She replies, “No, not much.  Actually, at the moment my time with them probably wouldn’t be quality because I feel such a draw to be focused on doing what’s needed for those who have lost loved ones” (An interview worth watching). She responds with conviction and congruency that her nation needs her presence more than her family right now. A few short months ago, she made political history by taking her baby to the UN and in an interview at that time when asked what made her take her baby, she replied that her baby needs to be fed to keep her alive. Amen to that! How often do you find yourself torn between work and family? How does Jacinda manage it all? Now of course not all things are equal – Jacinda has a great deal of support and flexibility in her role as prime minister. However, she demonstrates what is fundamentally...
A busy parent’s guide to raising awesome kids

A busy parent’s guide to raising awesome kids

As time poor parents pursuing full careers and creating amazing childhoods for our children, we have our work cut out. When you first found out you were having a baby, no doubt you read every book or article you could get your hands on and attended classes to prepare. Once baby arrived, you knew your life would never be the same again and you would love the miracle that lay before you in a way you never previously imagined. What you didn’t know and couldn’t prepare for was how much you’d be required to change to accommodate this baby, this person. And as much work as it is, you wouldn’t have it any other way. Add a career to this picture and there is a reality that kicks in, logistics of child care and school (when they are of age), the carers and teachers to connect with, other parents to catchup with and then the paperwork – who knew there’d be so much paperwork?! On top of this you find out all sorts of things about your partner that were OK to handle before a child, after a child – not so much! Come on, be honest..or was it just me? And in amongst all of this reality, nowhere once are you taught how to thrive in amongst the sheer volume of responsibility. It’s not a question of reducing your career (which is an option some choose), it’s a question of how do I do all the things that make me feel alive and ensure my children and family thrive too? Now, let’s be clear this is a conversation...
Why are parents forgetting to invest time in the most important leadership role of their lives?  By Jenny Vanderhoek

Why are parents forgetting to invest time in the most important leadership role of their lives? By Jenny Vanderhoek

Throughout my last 10 plus years in corporate, I attended minimum 2 leadership courses or conferences a year. I always came back feeling refreshed from the learnings and ready to kick off the next project with some of the newfound skills that I had learnt. When I was pregnant with my kids, I spent a lot of time reading bookings and getting information from new apps about the different milestones of pregnancy and labour. I did this because my doctors, midwives and friends suggested it. After I had kids, I just went into survival mode and even getting through the day was an achievement. I was constantly googling every time my child and I met a new milestone that I didn’t know how to manage yet… tantrums, sharing, biting, fussy eating, hair pulling, whinging- you name it! Once my kids hit toddler age, friends in the same position would often reassure me that the tantrums were just normal, and this was referred to as the ‘terrible twos’ or and was simply a natural progression of growth. What I didn’t recognise, was how much the ‘terrible twos’ affected me. I felt lost very often as to what to do. I was tired, frustrated and felt guilty that I didn’t seem to be nailing this parenting gig. I was worried that my kids behaviour might have been due to my poor parenting. When you talk to other parents about it, you would often get recommendations for books or articles or gurus to follow on social media. However, I must admit, not one of these solutions ever truly resonated with me as...
Every child is genius

Every child is genius

Yesterday was the end of year assembly at my boys’ school. It’s the one where awards are given out and the school captains are chosen. There is excitement and I can imagine for many children, there is disappointment as they watch others receive medals and it’s never them on stage. When I went to school, I was an all round achiever, meaning I was above average at English, Maths, Science etc. but never the best at anything. Never the one that got any awards. It’s 30 years on that I know why as hard as I tried, I could never have been the best…because what I excelled at wasn’t measured by our archaic system. Whilst ‘archaic’ seems a little harsh, let me ask you – how many jobs have you got recently where you have only needed IQ? How many of you were creative and felt out of your depth or bored to death at school? How many of you excelled at human behaviour and emotional intelligence that was never even mentioned at school, let alone measured? How many of you have developed a successful life without any formal qualifications whatsoever? In the past 7 years I have changed careers and I now know what it feels like to be the best. Because when I sit with another human being, be it a parent, a teacher or someone else. I am able to help them be their best and do what they love. Every. single. time. I am able to facilitate transformative results that did not even exist in my realm of possibility for most of my life. Why?...
Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The myth and legend says that slow and steady wins the race, yet in recent years the world around us has been speeding up. Faster cars, faster trains, faster planes, faster internet, faster food, faster learning and the list goes on. There’s also another area where we have gone faster.. the speed at which children are growing up. They are encouraged to read and write earlier, be engaged in an organised sport, learn an instrument earlier. Whilst all of these are desirable in the long-term, does structured learning too early in an effort to develop a child’s skills, set them up for winning in the long-term game of life? Peter Gray Ph.D advocates early academic training produces long-term harm.  He shares the following research: “In the 1970s, the German government sponsored a large-scale comparison in which the graduates of 50 play-based kindergartens were compared, over time, with the graduates of 50 academic direct-instruction-based kindergartens. Despite the initial academic gains of direct instruction, by grade four the children from the direct-instruction kindergartens performed significantly worse than those from the play-based kindergartens on every measure that was used.” So for us as parents, how much do we need to see external achievements to see if our child is on track? Are we able to trust that a child will learn when left to play and discover at their own pace? “It does not really matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” -Confucius Yesterday, a young mother and child were climbing up the hill of the street I live on. It’s quite a steep hill and this child around age...