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Avril Henry

Avril Henry

14 August 2018

What Matters Most

Many people I know here in Australia and around the world are having a challenging year – ill health, financial difficulties, job insecurity, loss of loved ones and increasing dissatisfaction and disengagement with political leadership around the world. At times it feels as though the world is becoming less tolerant, less generous, less kind, more judgmental, more impatient and more willing to exclude anyone who doesn’t “fit in”, whatever that means. My family and I have not been immune to these challenges, and many times I have felt my patience and resilience tested.

In its 28th year, the Global Summit of Women was held in Sydney, Australia, with over 1,000 women attending from more than 65 countries. It was three days of sharing, networking, wisdom and fun. I have had the privilege of attending three summits and being a speaker at each of them – Beijing (2010), Paris (2013) and Sydney (2018). At every summit, I have met amazing women from around the world, made new friends and learnt so much from each of them. Every woman attending the conference, every facilitator, moderator and speaker were incredible, smart, generous and often humorous, way too many to mention specifically by name. This month’s newsletter seeks to share a few of the lessons and wisdom from this year’s Summit.

6 March 2018

What's The Lesson

Building on my January mantra of:“Find the joy in every day and situation, no matter the circumstances,” my mantra for February has been “What’s the Lesson?” I had decided that following some demanding situations at the end of 2017 that I would find the joy in every situation, and was delighted to find that there is always joy in every situation and every day. This got me thinking that if we were asking ourselves to find the joy, and the circumstances were challenging, then we should also ask ourselves “What’s the lesson?”

1 February 2018

FIND THE JOY

As part of reflecting on the year that was 2017, I decided that in 2018, I would create and adopt a mantra for each month, then reflect on its effectiveness at the end of each month. I thought I would share with you how that has worked in the first month of 2018.

January’s mantra:

Find the joy in every day and situation, no matter the circumstances. 

Time for reflection is very important for our mental, physical and emotional well-being, and our ability to engage in self-care. I think it is indicative of our “busyness” that the number one workers compensation claims today are stress related, rather than physical injuries. Stress is also the most significant contributor to ill health. And yet we work harder and harder, much of which is driven by fear of loss of security through loss of employment. Yes, things are challenging economically in Australia and around the world, however, I believe there is too much fear-mongering and negativity, which simply compounds many irrational fears.

As a nation, this month we will unite for the celebration and remembrance of Anzac Day and those who have died for the freedom of this great country in which we live.  A past federal Treasurer speaking on Anzac Day a few years ago said Australian ideals had been both tested and proved at Gallipoli.  Further, he said: “What emerged was a moral value that rapidly established itself as our supreme national virtue: a combination of bravery, resilience, the ability to improvise, and the duty to stick together in hard times and protect your friends.” 

As someone who has lived my adult life in Australia, and who regards herself as a very patriotic Australian, these words resonated with me about what it means to be Australian – brave, resilient, adaptable, sticking together, looking after your mates, persevering , courageous and reaching out to our community!

Six key tips to be bold for gender equality change without fear of losing your job

If women are not willing to be bold, nothing will change. Given the glacial pace of change for women in the workplace, including politics, at the current rate of change it will be over 100 years before we have gender equality in leadership roles, and it is projected that it will be over 300 years before we have pay equity! A working woman will earn $1 Million less than her male peers, and will retire with over 50% less in superannuation than men. Women need to be bold, fearless, and above all relinquish the desire to be all things to all people, in order to change things for themselves and other women!

I have just returned from a 4-day visit to Hong Kong where yet again I was starkly reminded of how technology is controlling a significant part of our daily lives, both professionally and personally.

As we sat at dinner in a Michelin star Chinese restaurant, with beautiful surroundings, classical music, exceptional service and delicious food, I noticed with frustration and sadness that at every table, except the one occupied by myself and my two friends,  people were on their mobile phones, either texting or on social media.

I asked a number of Gen Y female entrepreneurs on social media the following two questions:

  1. What are your top 3 issues for the election?

  2. Are you engaged, disengaged or disillusioned with the current election campaign? Why?

“It is better to remain quiet and be thought of a fool, than to speak up and remove all doubt”

Anonymous

Most of us don’t actually listen, we simply hear. This means that we comprehend less than 50% of every verbal conversation we have, so much of the message is either forgotten or lost. Many of us practice the art of “half an ear” or “stunned mullet” listening. We are so busy these days that I believe our capacity and willingness to truly listen has diminished significantly in the last two decades. I truly believe that the greatest gift you can give anyone – your team members, peers, clients, partners, children and friends is to actively listen with intent, and to be truly 100% present.

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