We’re back from our summer breaks, but none of the business clients I’ve spoken with this week feel refreshed. No one feels they’ve had a proper summer break. We’re all still tired. Me included.

We’ve seen this before. In 2020, on the back of the bushfires. And again in 2021, on the back of 2020’s shock and awe.
Each of the past three summers everyone has felt their summer relaxation swallowed by worries and a national sense of helplessness.

Each year we swore we’d have a “proper” break at Easter. We could limp along until then. But then we kissed winter holiday plans goodbye and worked through. We promised we’d rest over Christmas.
We dragged ourselves, exhausted, to the finish line of 2021, knowing in the back of our minds that 2022 wouldn’t magically make it all better. But that’s what we told ourselves anyway.

But then Omicron. So we’re still worried and exhausted.
That’s two Christmases we’ve kidded ourselves that summer would fix everything.

So here’s what we’re going to do about it.
1. We are going to simplify business processes and create structured support around us #getacoach
2. We are going to work smarter, not harder (as cliched as that sounds)
3. We are going to schedule REGULAR breaks and TAKE them ... That includes blocking out public holidays (too many of you forget to do this!)
4. We are going to observe and monitor early signs of not coping and ACT on them
5. We are going to take care of our physical AND mental health
6. We are going to seek help when it’s needed, AND accept it when it’s offered
7. We are going to allow ourselves time to just think
8. We will be strategic, not reactive
9. We are going to watch out for each other

Let’s carry the wisdom we gained in 2021 into 2022 and pace ourselves.
Let’s not bullshit ourselves again.
Let’s PLAN rest, PLAN self-care, and PLAN time for working on ourselves and on our businesses. And then let’s follow through on each of those plans.

Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make these changes.
Take care of yourself and each other.

Much love,

Shout out to all my business-owning clients and colleagues, but especially those who've ever been called "difficult", "bossy", "intimidating", "opinionated", "ambitious", or had other leadership qualities weaponised against them. I hear ya!

We spend too much of our energy trying not to offend others, trying to keep everyone happy, and still somehow making all of the difficult decisions our businesses demand of us.

I've embraced my inner "difficult woman" over the years, firstly as a young woman inspired by my fabulously "difficult" mother-in-law, but more recently as a boss who has had to make the tough calls sometimes.

I've learned that my team functions better when I'm clear and decisive, even if they don't always like what I'm being clear and decisive about. Equally, I love them for feeling safe to disagree with me. Mutual trust and respect is what matters.

I've stopped worrying about being liked, and focus more on being respectful, inspiring, and providing strong leadership. And no, I don't need to be an arsehole to be a decisive leader.

Sure I can be difficult. Because I might disagree with you. Or I might have an idea that challenges YOUR comfort zone. Or because I don't tolerate non-constructive criticism, abuse, or judgement from those whose opinions don't matter.

I've found solidarity in working with other "difficult" leaders making the tough calls while also caring deeply for their staff, their clients, their families.
I've found unity in standing tall with others who won't let fear of judgement and criticism hold them back.

Because leadership is disruptive.
Inspiration is loud.
Change is often unpopular.
And these things make others feel uncomfortable.
And that's okay.

Love ya!
Tess x

*Mug from QVWC