Driving Change or How to be a Pineapple in Someone’s Armpit

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I had a boss once – when I was working as a Public Relations Consultant – who described me as “the Pineapple in his armpit.”

At the time I didn’t really understand what he meant by the phrase –  he used it to describe me in the middle of a particularly vexing conversation where we were discussing how the business I was managing in Australia was performing (READ: We were essentially arguing).

In the years that followed then, and as the comparison kept being used, I came to understand it was a kind of compliment from him. After all he liked pineapples – he appreciated what they added to the world and actually enjoyed having them in his life – but by imagining them in such an uncomfortable location, he was essentially referencing my ability to get under his skin and challenge him in an unexpected way.

After all he liked pineapples … but by imaging them in such an uncomfortable location he was … referencing my ability to … challenge him in an unexpected way

Years later then, and still working in areas that push people out of their comfort zones, I often find myself wondering if I am being enough of a “pineapple”? Am I challenging norms enough to bring about positive change? Do I do it in a way that encourages people to sit up and take notice – that surprises them and grabs them in unexpected ways? Or am I just doing the same old thing that every one else is – am I just being an ordinary piece of fruit? (OK – so I may have gone too far but you know what I mean).

In the years since the phrase was first used to describe me, I’ve worked on a number of things that I would proudly call “Pivotal Campaigns” or henceforth “Pineapple Campaigns”.

These would be best described as initiatives and/ or projects that have actually lead to some sort of change in the way that society operates and would include the following:

  • Getting access for women to treatments for breast cancer that were being withheld by public policy;
  • Working with amazing people to “re-position” breast cancer from a women’s issue to one that affects whole families;
  • Working with another amazing group of people to get kids out of detention centres in Australia; and
  • Currently working with some incredible people to not only increase the efficiency of Charity Christmas Toy Drives but also raise awareness and support for families with premature and sick newborns while at the same time working to get a change in public health policy which ensures all women are told about their breast density during their regular mammograms.

We didn’t take to the issues like a sledge hammer but by standing tall, while remaining sweet, ..(we)… worked …(like) … pineapples and as a result we’ve helped bring about positive change!

In each case, the idea we came up with, or the stance we took, resulted in a level of discomfort across the wider community becoming so great that a change resulted. We didn’t take to the issues like a sledge-hammer but by standing tall, while remaining sweet, myself and the people I’ve worked with have been pineapples and as a result we’ve helped bring about positive change!

So why be anything else?

Yours in prickly anticipation – K xx

be-a-pineapplePS In signing off I just wanted to acknowledge I’ve been gone a while and to apologise. Life has been challenging this last 10 months – not bad – just challenging and I guess I just haven’t “felt” my voice. Sometimes you can only tackle so many things at any one point in time – and while it’s early days I’m keen to reconnect and I’m looking forward to hearing from you all again.

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Domestic Violence: The Silent Truth – A Guest Post

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I’m honoured this week to offer you a Guest Post. For legal reasons the Author can’t be identified however she is someone who has my respect, admiration and love. Sometimes the greatest acts of courage are those that are never seen or acknowledged by someone else – but they are the ones that ultimately free you or someone you love. I only hope that in the same circumstance I could be as brave as her.

To the thousands who have been silenced, may your voices be heard through the small number who can speak up.To those who listen, amplify the stories for those who can’t speak.

From my beautiful guest …..

They can’t speak. Sadly, one other very real and prevalent reasons is that our legal system prevents talking about it. Women, who are victims of domestic violence, are silenced by the very court system in place to protect them.

This week we will see an influx of information in the media about domestic violence. It will be a week that newspapers, bloggers, magazines, posters all espouse the reasons for the ongoing prevalence of this abomination in our society and what can be done to prevent it and help those who have fallen victim to it. Again and again we see the same questions asked of the victims:

1. Why did you stay?

2. Why didn’t you leave?

3. Why didn’t you tell anyone what was happening?

4. How could you put your children through that?

 In the aim of protecting children from news that women know will shatter their ideals and realities and dreams of men, mothers stay silent. Protecting their children from the reality of their existence.

I don’t suppose to answer any of these questions. I do not at any stage presume or assume that this is only a crime against females. I am female however, and don’t presume to know the experience for many men who are victims of domestic violence. I don’t know the individual women who are daily added to the statistics that make this sad, desperate issue one that touches so many families in such devastating ways but I have been a statistic myself.

Why don’t more women speak up? Why don’t more women become like Rosie Batty and advocate against domestic violence when they themselves have been victims? Why do women stay silent and not help their fellow womankind?

I do not believe that it is because they don’t want to. I don’t believe that it is because they are so shocked by their experience that they are silenced. Domestic Violence happens in all of our most affluent areas of society where tertiary educated women have been abused in all kinds of heinous ways. These women can speak and write and tell their story. Yet, they don’t. Why???

1. The children. Like any parent I understand the need to protect our children from news that is disturbing and will affect them in negative ways. The Paris attacks, bombings, slavery, abductions – all these things can be mainstream news that it is hard to protect children from. Violence in their own homes however, we are somehow meant to protect them from.

How does someone do this? They stay silent. They don’t say anything. In the aim of protecting children from news that women know will shatter their ideals and realities and dreams of men, mothers stay silent. Protecting their children from the reality of their existence.

2. They can’t speak. Sadly, one other very real and prevalent reasons is that our legal system prevents talking about it. Women, who are victims of domestic violence, are silenced by the very court system in place to protect them.

These laws are understandable in a system that is about the protection of children. I wholeheartedly agree that the children need to be kept away from so much of the awfulness of their parents experience. They deserve the right to innocence.

Often, women will apply to the courts to have clauses added to Family Court proceedings to prevent denigration of either parent in front of the children. This will include, but not be limited to, talking about abuse in front of the children, family talking about issues, publishing details on social media or other outlets, allowing children to see documents pertaining to proceedings. While, on the balance of objectivity, this all seems to be a logical and necessary step, it also means that any woman (or man) who is currently in Court or has been to Court where these orders are in place, is effectively silenced.

These laws are understandable in a system that is about the protection of children. I wholeheartedly agree that the children need to be kept away from so much of the awfulness of their parents experience. They deserve the right to innocence. Unfortunately though, these same laws protect the perpetrators of crime from having their actions brought into account from wider society. It also means that women (and men) are unable to stand up and tell their stories. They are unable to speak with a voice of conviction and solidarity with their fellow survivors. While their children and/or perpetrator lives, they are silenced.

For every story like Rosie Batty, there are thousands that cannot be told. There are children to be protected and lives to be restored and healed.

To the thousands who have been silenced, may your voices be heard through the small number who can speak up.

To those who listen, amplify the stories for those who can’t speak. Volunteer at shelters and listen to the stories. Stand alongside men who are against violence to women. Advocate for those who cannot speak.

Together we can help stop this scourge on our society.

Sobering Stats Shouldn’t be Hard to Stomach

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If I told you there was an initiative that could reduce alcohol related violence across our State by 24% would you support it?

It’s interesting when someone holds a mirror to you and you see something so obvious that was previously invisible. Stuart (Kelly) is right – Australia is an alcoholic.

People in the know argue we are a State, and Nation, in crisis when it comes to effects of alcohol in our community – our “love affair with booze” is literally causing us to be blind to the negative consequences of its over-consumption.

Every year 70,000 people are the victim of alcohol related violence – that’s 70,000 sons, daughters, brothers and sisters – and the annual cost to our community is a very sobering $187 million dollars.

Yet in February 2016 our State Government will face enormous pressure to reverse legislative decisions that have proven to deliver what, I would suggest, are some of the most successful community health and societal gains in recent times.

It simply isn’t arguable – these new laws are saving lives and there are young people sitting at home tonight thanks to their introduction.

Thanks largely to the efforts of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation shining a light on the impact of alcohol related violence, this massive reduction in occurrence is not merely a dream – it is exactly what the NSW Government and NSW Police Force has been able to achieve since the introduction of earlier closing hours for bottles shops across the State and lock out laws in key trouble areas.

I was one of 700 people who recently turned out to support the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation at their Take Kare Gala Dinner. The NSW Premier Mike Baird; the Lord Mayor – Clover Moore; the Prime Minister’s wife – Lucy Turnbull and NSW Police Commissioner – Andrew Scipione were also there along with a host of other important guests from the business, medical, sporting, entertainment and advocacy communities

All of us had the opportunity to hear what I think is one of the most heartbreaking but also inspiring stories of our time of a family who, in the face of unimaginable loss, harnessed what they could to ensure a loved one’s death was not in vain.

 A 24% reduction in alcohol related violence across the State … not just a small change but a movement of mammoth proportions

No-one on that night was more eloquent than Thomas’ 17 year old brother, Stuart. In an inspired speech he talked about his family’s sentence – one they would carry for life. A sentence best described as “the lost opportunity for future memories” of his brother.

“It’s time to change,” he said quite simply. “Australia is an alcoholic – we need to rethink the way we drink”

See: http://thomaskellyyouthfoundation.org.au/home for a complete video of Stuart’s speech.

The words of that young man were then amplified three fold as the Premier spoke. He didn’t claim all acts of domestic violence involved alcohol yet he cited it as a significant contributing factor and he called on sporting organisations nationally to take the lead and find suitable alternative sponsors to alcohol.

The move away from tobacco sponsorship by cricket all those year’s ago lead to an extraordinary change across our culture. Could cricket be our hero yet again?

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione then presented the hard facts supporting what has been achieved to date – they were simply breathtaking.

  • 24% reduction in alcohol related violence across the State
  • extraordinary reductions in alcohol related violence in key hot spots between the hours of midnight and 6am with something like a 60% reduction in the hours between 3am and 6am.
  • Heads of A&E in neighbouring hospitals reporting that admissions and incidents had dropped from upwards of 12 a night to perhaps 1 each evening.

It simply isn’t arguable – these new laws are saving lives and there are young people sitting at home tonight thanks to their introduction.

And yet, even with all of this, there is concern: concern that the interests of big business in the form of alcohol manufacturers will be put before those of our kids and our community.

It’s interesting when someone holds a mirror to you and you see something so obvious that is was previously invisible. Stuart is right. Australia is an alcoholic. We have a relationship with a cold beer, a glass of wine or a rum that goes back way to far.

All night drinking though in any sort of venue is a relatively recent development. Not that long ago the only venue in Sydney that was open after 1pm was the “Bourbon ‘n Beefsteak” in the Cross and if you weren’t in there by 1am you didn’t get in.

Why is it then that we now accept this story that venues need to be open until the wee hours of the morning?

My parents always said “nothing good happens after midnight” – and in this case these results just go to show that, on this point, they were spot on.

To those that say the violence has simply moved well I think the solution there is pretty simple. Monitor it, and if the statistics show that to be true, expand the communities within which the new laws apply.

at the moment there is no statistical evidence to support ..(increased violence is other areas due to these changes laws) …, if through monitoring, we begin to see a significant shift then we will need to take action

As NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said, “in areas where we were seeing problems there is no doubt these laws have created not just a small change but a mammoth change.”

As to whether there has been flow over to other areas – “at the moment there is no statistical evidence to support this but, if through monitoring, we begin to see a significant shift, then we will need to take action.”

Perhaps that is the warning to the alcohol industry – be careful of the stories you spin lest they come back to give you a response you will be even less happy with.

Yours in stopping the tail from wagging the dog

Kylea

 

 

 

Step Away from that Charity Registration!

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Just don’t do it until you have read what I have to offer…. Ultimately, the answer is not always in reinventing the wheel. Often it is in finding someone who is already spinning it and seeing if you can help push if harder and further.

Did I get your attention? I hope so – because if you, a loved one, a business partner or a community group are even considering registering a new charity in Australia in the next 12 months I implore you to back away from the idea. Just don’t do it until you have read what I have to offer.

It’s not that I doubt your desire to do good. It’s not that I doubt you have spied a need you think needs addressing or that I doubt that you have the passion, drive and motivation to get it done.

It’s just I think that, in the absence of any natural market forces, the not-for-profit and charity sector in Australia has gotten to a point where the sheer number of organisations is far too big for our small community to sustain and ultimately there must be more duplication and wasted resource than there is innovation.

Frighteningly, 221 new charities registered with the ACNC in August alone!

 

Rather than just taking my word for it though, lets look at the numbers.

While exact figures in this area can be difficult to lock down, in 2010 the Australian Government’s own Productivity Commission estimated  there were around 600,000 not-for-profit organisations registered in Australia. Yes – that is a 6 followed by 5 x 0s!

Of these 59,000 were classed as being “economically significant”, contributing $43 billion to the Australian GDP and employing 8% of the community (in 2006 – 07).

When you consider our national population is only just over 23 million, that is a staggering number of organisations that are reliant on “public goodwill” for their funding and provision of service.

I would argue it looks like we are slowly but surely building a  massive industry that, in all likelihood, is currently perpetuating duplication of services and missions rather than striving for improved results through cooperation, collaboration and innovation.

Granted – I acknowledge NFPs and charities are actually quite different. Afterall, one generally relies on public grants while the other relies on public donations.

Regardless – each type of organisation exists in its own right to return some form of good to the community at large. As such, while I don’t love that we tend to group them together, I understand that by fundamentally working in common areas it makes sense to categorise their existence into a  single sector.

Fast forward to August 2015 then and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (more commonly known as the ACNC) has just over 53,000 registrations on its database. Frighteningly, 221 new charities registered with the ACNC in August alone!

Why do I say this is frightening? Because from where I am sitting, I would argue it looks like we are slowly but surely building a  massive industry that, in all likelihood, is currently perpetuating duplication of services and missions rather than striving for improved results through cooperation, collaboration and innovation.

Indeed the lack of what I would call “natural market forces”, ie competition around price, product and position, means that just about anyone can establish and promote a charity while few are forced to regroup, consolidate or close. When was the last time newspaper headlines screamed of a “factory clearance” for a charity? Or headlines spoke of a charity CEO being forces to step down because of “shareholder dissatisfaction”?

 

…if there was just one thing I could do to help improve charitable outcomes across Australia it would be to put a moratorium on the registration of any new charities for at least the next 12 months.

Put simply there are few barriers to entry in the first place and this creates a situation where opportunities to collaborate are completely overlooked in preference for “setting up your own”.

While it may seem like a harsh statement then, if there was just one thing I could do to help improve charitable outcomes across Australia it would be to put a moratorium on the registration of any new charities for at least the next 12 months.

Instead I would encourage anyone interested in doing public good to a spend a significant amount of time researching the existing environment. Is there someone out there already working in this space – carrying the overhead costs that come with running any existing business and building the connections you would need to get the job that you see that needs doing done? Even if they are not specifically working on the opportunity that you have identified – are they targeting the same consumer group? Are they reaching into foreign markets where you would like to see good done? If yes – what can it hurt to approach them and talk to them about your idea.

Ultimately, the answer is not always in reinventing the wheel. Often it is in finding someone who is already spinning it and seeing if you can help push if harder and further and if you need help doing that we are here to help.

Yours in creating exciting new opportunities for our communities

Kylea

“Charity” should be a verb – not a business model

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The words “disruption” and “innovation” are dominating business headlines at the moment. Every industry from retail and travel, to banking and telecommunications are either trying to drive, or bracing for, disruption across their sector.

If I had my way, within 10 years, there would be no such thing as the “charity” business model.

New ways of doing business are completely reshaping what it means to be a successful company. Who would have thought that one of the largest, modern transport network company’s in the world would be able to boast that it owns none of its own vehicles? Well Uber is exactly that.

Or that one of the fastest growing, worldwide accommodation leaders would similarly not own a single bricks-and-mortar property – hello Airbnb.

In this changing world then, the charity and not-for-profit sector can not expect to not also be similarly challenged.

The word “charity” started life as a verb – it was an act that someone chose to do – but somewhere along the line groups of people came together and high-jacked the word so that it became all about an organisational approach. A model that largely relies on a “hands-out” approach ie the generosity of others, to get important social work done.

Already there are rumblings across the sector – talk of charities repositioning themselves from being at the “begging end” of the business spectrum to the more successful “social enterprise” end are dominating many strategy discussions at the moment (or at least the ones we are involved with at KTA) and this excites me because if I had my way, within 10 years, there would be no such thing as the “charity” business model.

To me the classic “charity” business model has no place in our forward focused world.

The word “charity” started life as a verb – it was an act that someone chose to do – but somewhere along the line groups of people came together and high-jacked the word so that it became all about an organisational approach. A model that largely relies on a “hands-out” approach, ie the generosity of others, to get important social work done.

That approach may have worked through the 1900s but the reality is that ever since that calendar rolled over into the new century the pressure has been on the sector to redefine itself – to make itself more transparent, accountable and sustainable.

In that context we should all be excited by initiatives where organisations that are working for a greater societal good, adopt smart business ideas to drive either greater corporate or individual support, and consequently drive results faster and further.

Things like the SW/TCH Festival – run this past weekend – by the Cure for Brain Cancer Foundation are literally brilliant. (see http://www.curebraincancer.org.au/page/124/switch)

Fundamentally this “charity” repositioned itself from being an “asker” to being a valued business partner and that’s just plain clever.

Faced with a market place where many traditional “Corporate Partnerships” were closed to them because of long-term, “hands out” agreements, this Foundation envisaged a completely new way of engaging and securing corporate support. An approach that not only drove the funds they needed to invest in scientific research into curing brain cancer but that also met a business need for the corporate partners involved.

Fundamentally this “charity” repositioned itself from being an “asker” to being a valued “business partner”, adding as much if not more than they were receiving and that’s just plain clever.

The bottom line is that in this era, where time is of the essence, analysis paralysis will see many older “well established” businesses be left for dead as they try to come to grips with ways to innovate.

Similarly those organisations that currently class themselves as charities need to look at why they came to be, what they are trying to achieve, and in many instances, why they haven’t achieved it yet because, like just about everything else in this world, people don’t want to wait for results any longer and the reasons to support someone “just because they ask” are getting more thinly spread.

Imagine if your social enterprise could be the next Uber or Airbnb for the societal issue you are passionate about fixing. And if you can imagine that, we’d love to help you achieve it!

Yours in riding the disruption,

Kylea x

Contact us at kylea@ktassociates.net.au; sam@ktassociates.net.au; or natalie@ktassociates.net.au to chat further

 

The Road to Reinvention

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As a Gen Xer the reality is I am much more inclined to approach this road with trepidation and reserve.

Now there is a name for a book if I have ever heard one! Because basically there aren’t many of us out there who haven’t at some time in our lives felt like we have already walked this road or are about to walk it.

As a Gen Xer the reality is I am much more inclined to approach this road with trepidation and reserve. After all – I am the generation that was raised on the concept of a “career for a lifetime” while, I’m assured by futurists, that those from Gen Y through are actually destined to have a “lifetime of careers”.

While I think I instinctively knew this to be the case I didn’t realise just how much of a cliché I was until I attended a conference recently where I was surrounded by other business chicks of all ages.

I have also learned .. that your gifts aren’t all necessarily presented to you at once. Like anything worth having the reality of new gifts (of skill, personality, potential) is that they can appear at any time and with new gifts come new ideas and new opportunities

In that environment, while all of the attendees were absolutely amazing, there seemed to be something that united the women over 40 – most of us had partners/ or significant others; some of us had kids; some of us had pets and almost all of us had a house. And, for many of us, after a period of time off, we are heading or had headed back into the workforce either by setting up our own businesses or by jumping back into the corporate world.

Easy “focus on what you can gain rather than what your could lose”(thanks Margie Warrell) – and, if you’re still not sure where your passion lies that’s completely ok. Time will take care of that.

The three-day event provided plenty of opportunities to learn and connect and I can honestly say that by the final day I didn’t want to do the morning activity as I just needed to get everything that was happening inside of me out on paper. The ideas were literally racing to the surface and the level of energy and motivation were barely containable.

In the after math of the conference though I’ve also been left with a sense that I was so lucky to have had this opportunity to be “re-inspired” and so much more is needed out there for people like me: be they female or male – as it’s pretty obvious I am not alone.

I guess the upside of growing up is that you realise there is a heck of a lot of life left to live, explore and invent post the age of 39. The days of a quite retirement and gardening at 65 are long gone (thank goodness) but with its departure comes the challenge of being open to trying something completely new no matter what point in life you are.

So, at this point in time and given everything I have learnt until now, what advice I would give for someone wanting to walk the road the reinvention?

Easy “focus on what you can gain rather than what your could lose”(thanks Margie Warrell) – and, if you’re still not sure where your passion lies that’s completely ok. Time will take care of that.

Ultimately we all have a purpose (thanks Karen James), we are all given unique gifts and they are there for us to make a contribution to our families, our communities and our society.

I have also learned though that your gifts aren’t all necessarily presented to you at once. Like anything worth having the reality of new gifts (of skill, personality, potential) is that they can appear at any time. With new gifts come new ideas and new opportunities. You just need to be open to them.

Yours in embracing the only certainty in life – change.

Kylea x

 

Pressing Control Alt Del on Life – What Anxiety Taught Me

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Space, peace, quite, calm, love, authentic connections and a real sense of connection to your true purpose are essential every day experiences so don’t wait for the Universe to bring to your knees to find these.

I have mixed feelings about sharing the following. I’ve wondered whether putting this out there was the right thing to do but then, in seeking inspiration for what to write this week, I came across the draft of a post I wrote in March 2014 and it acted as both a reminder for me not only of how valuable all of life’s lessons are but also of how important it is to remind yourself how you got to where you are at any point in time to ensure mistakes become learnings rather than repeated behaviour.

In that context perhaps the second realisation is more important for me because, if you had tried to tell me 12 months ago that I would now be sitting in a completely new office, working with incredibly talented and inspiring people, on projects designed to disrupt and inspire the NFP/ charity and social enterprise sector I would not have believed you. At the time the world was too uncertain and I was too tired – and yet here I am – and with that benefit of hindsight I’m hoping that what I share might just help someone else.

Because, if nothing else, that’s what my experience taught me – there is always light, you just need to keep choosing to be open to receiving it.

Sadly rebooting your life sadly isn’t as easy as it is with our much relied upon computer. No matter how tough or messed up it gets, you can’t simply press “control alt delete” and have everything magically reboot.

My own experience taught me that no matter how desperately you try to find those keys, the reality is that nothing short of time, patience, compassion and love can actually get you through a truly crappy time.

Looking back on my experience it had been brewing for a while – I just didn’t recognise it.

It was April 2013 when I first noticed a short sharp, persistent pain in my abdomen. Friends commented Diagnosis: lower back weakness. Treatment: physio.

Three months on the symptoms were worse. I was feeling nauseous most of the time, I had completely lost my appetite and started dropping weight rapidly. Back to the GP and more tests. This time diagnosis: gastro bug. Treatment: rest.

I would dry wretch every morning. I couldn’t think straight or make a decision. Life seemed blurry and I was terrified … all with no obvious threat in sight.

This is where it got really crazy as, in just 6 weeks I literally lost my appetite completely (along with it 8 kilos); I found it impossible to sleep; and started experiencing what I now recognise as panic attacks (but at the time I thought were strokes!) – moments where my pulse rate escalated to the extreme, prickly heat would sweep up my body, sweat would break out on my neck and face, my breathing would quicken and my mind would catastrophise what was happening around me. I would dry wretch every morning. I couldn’t think straight or make a decision. Life was blurry and terrifying … with no obvious threat in sight.

The whole time I struggled with my own internal dialogue. I was a reasonably intelligent, competent woman with a loving family and a great job and yet here I was, unable to move, and rapidly beginning to feel like I was going crazy. I was stuck in a vicious cycle and no amount of telling myself to “stop the nonsense and get on with life” helped.

How could I rationalise something everyone was telling me wasn’t based in the conscious, rational mind? What was I going to become when the medical advice was I needed to radically change the life I had fought so hard to build? And why did it all just suddenly stop working? I’d been living that way for over 20 years – what had happened to make me so “weak” now?

Almost half (45% or 7.3 million) of all Australians (aged 16-85 years) met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder at some point in their life, with one-in-five (3.2 million) having experienced symptoms in the last 12 months

Applying my logical mind I soon learnt I was alone. In fact almost half (45% or 7.3 million) of all Australians (aged 16-85 years) met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder at some point in their life, with one-in-five (3.2 million) having experienced symptoms in the last 12 months.

Women seemed to have higher rates than did men (22% compared with 18%), while younger people had higher rates than older people. Surprisingly for me, anxiety disorders were the most common disorders, affecting 14% of all people (aged 16-85 years)!

Meanwhile, in the media of the time, there were a series of devastating stories about people of profile either taking time out, or losing to, some sort of “emotional unwellness”.

Successful high-profile people like Ian Thorpe and Adele were reported to be “reassessing life” and “taking time to recover” while other, seemingly competent, talented and caring people – like Charlotte Dawson and Robin Williams – seemed to lose their battles.

Thankfully for me I had some incredible people in my life. The team at the Happiness Institute in Sydney were there from the get go, offering guidance and support. My family was incredible and rather than telling me to wake up to myself they stepped in and were there for me with hugs and reassurance. Friends were great – often talking me down when I got worked up and mum and dad were there – driving the 6 hours one way just to check on me. My GP was incredible and stepped in to help bring it back under control.

In hindsight, the whole experience was one of the most challenging in my life. It forced me to stop and take stock of what was most important and to make some pretty radical changes.

Eighteen months on I’m actually really grateful for the experience for, as tough as it was, it has brought me to where I am today and I’m not sure I would have gotten here in any other way.

That being said then, and with the benefit of  hindsight, I thought it was worth revisiting my draft and reframing it in a way that I hope offers others, that may be where I have been, some words of encouragement and ultimately some light at the end of the tunnel.

Because, if nothing else, that’s what my experience taught me – there is always light, you just need to keep choosing to be open to receiving it.

Firstly, I learned anxiety is an actual physical health issue. It presents as physical that’s not pretty

Secondly, I learned anxiety can effect anyone. It seems obscene that in this society of plenty, with my beautiful family and so much going on I could feel this way. I can’t explain it – it’s not logical – but it is real and it is tough.

Thirdly, I  learned anxiety can be managed. My moments of reprieve in those first few months gave me the glimpses of hope that I needed and I was constantly drawn to that phrase – this too will pass. Eighteen months on I’m a changed person – but I like to think changed for the better.

Fourthly, while I’ve got no doubt it is tough for those around someone going through this to understand, ultimately authentic connections with people are essential. Withdrawal will seem easier but you actually need to reach out to those around you for help.

Trust me – if you don’t get the whatever lesson the Universe is trying to teach you the first time around, it’s just going to keep on trying to get through to you and subsequent experiences aren’t much fun.

Some will turn their backs, pretend they don’t see, or find it too confronting to get involved in – but for those that sincerely care for you, no matter what, this is the opportunity for you to trust in them completely. Surrender to the experience and you may just be surprised by how much you learn.

Fifthly, and perhaps most challenging for me, I learned it takes time! There is no quick fix and just because you start to feel better doesn’t mean you should bowl back into life at full throttle.

Trust me – if you don’t get the whatever lesson the Universe is trying to teach you the first time around, it’s just going to keep on trying to get through to you and subsequent experiences aren’t much fun.

And finally when putting it all back together I finally understood some things need to be nonnegotiable in every day: space, peace, quite, calm, love, authentic connections and a real sense of connection to your purpose are essential every day experiences so don’t wait for the Universe to bring to your knees to find these.

Recognise what your nonnegotiables are today and make time for them no matter what. It’s those things that will carry you through when everything else exhausts you.

Yours in celebrating all life’s lessons,

Kylea x

 

Relationship Advice for Corporates and NFPs – Helping Head and Heart Speak!

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We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve turned to a friend  to ask for relationship advice and have been offered a pearl of wisdom like: “never go to bed angry”; “forgive and forget”; or “absence makes the heart grow fonder”.

Similarly, over the years I’ve received some great career advice like: “do good work and the money will come”; “never ask someone to do something you wouldn’t do yourself”; and “it’s business – not personal”.

what advice would I offer to assist people from the commercial and not-for-profit (NFP) sector to build productive relationships when, fundamentally, the two groups are often coming from completely different mindsets (ie “for-profit” vs NFP).

Each time, in whichever life space, the advise has seemed relevant and I’ve been happy to receive it – if not always act on it!

As Kylea Tink & Associates gets up and running then, I have found myself frequently discussing what advice I would offer to assist people from the commercial and not-for-profit (NFP) sector to build productive relationships when, fundamentally, the two groups are often coming from completely different mindsets (ie “for-profit” vs NFP).

After all, how many commercial entities worry the ratio between their production and marketing spends will ever be scrutinised by their customers? I’m not certain, but I’m guessing a bottle of water costs a lot less to make than is spent on advertising it. On the flip side NFPs often dread a call from a newspaper challenging them on their spend ratios.

Similarly, I’d suggest NFPs rarely worry about being challenged on their intention to add something positive to a community. While those taking people’s savings and turning them into shareholder profit need to be well rehearsed on their response.

how many commercial entities worry the ratio between their production and marketing spends will ever be scrutinised by their customers? I’m not certain, but I’m guessing a bottle of water costs a lot less to make than is spent on advertising it.

While fundamentally Kylea Tink and Associates is all about helping organisations navigate this divide, realising we can’t be everywhere at once, we wanted to offer at few suggestions on how a conversations between for-profit and NFP can be framed to help achieve faster results

Firstly, know you are not speaking the same language because you weren’t necessarily raised the same way:

Many of the people involved in the NFP space are there because they are drawn by their hearts. They may never have worked in a big corporate environment nor will they. They haven’t “grown up” in an environment where efficiencies are about exponential year on year growth. They often measure their success not by achieving an ultimate outcome (ie all homeless housed) but rather by measuring the “amount of good” they are doing. This can be hard to get your head around when you are coming from a commercial enterprise.

Secondly, just because you have come from a successful commercial background doesn’t necessarily mean you will be successful in a NFP environment.

 Government is about pragmatism – statistics, fact and politics; Commercial is about profit – rewards for owner, staff and customer; and NFP is about heart – it’s high on emotional intelligence as it taps a different part of people’s psyche to get them engaged.

Having now had experience across all three sectors (Government, Commercial and NFP) I think I can say with some perspective that success in one doesn’t necessarily translate into success in another.

This is because in my experience each sector is driven by a different fundamental philosophy.  Government is about pragmatism – statistics, fact and politics; Commercial is about profit – rewards for owner, staff and customer; and NFP is about heart – it has to be high on emotional intelligence as it taps a different part of people’s psyche to get them engaged.

Given this finding the right person for the role you have and the organisation you are trying to create is absolutely key to success for any of the sectors.

Finally, I’ve come to believe the answer is not in just “shipping in” people from the commercial sector to get a faster result  – rather it’s about  supporting the NFP sector to build its own capacity through training, mentoring and support. 

 I actually stopped learning in the truest sense of word in that I didn’t have any outside training/ education. Rather my learning came from trial and error on the job and in this context, once I had exhausted everything I had been previously been taught, I literally exhausted myself.

For me this is a particularly personal observation as I was one of those commercial types who landed in the NFP sector. I’d never wanted to work for a NFP as I had often found them “clunky” ie slow to deliver results.

However when someone I admired from afar passed away I thought it was right to help and what was initially a three-month stint turned into  six years doing some incredible work with an amazing group of people.

Drawing on my most recent experience at that time though (ie global consultancy for over 10 years), the team I built were mostly people from the “real” business world. My thinking was bring that expertise in and leverage it.

Looking back, while there is little doubt that approach helped us shape up quickly and get some great results, I think I also missed a trick as, rather than stopping and looking at what I might have been taught about life in an NFP from others that had chosen that career, I dived in.

What I now realise then is that during that time I actually stopped learning in the truest sense of word in that I didn’t have any outside training/ education. Rather my learning came from trial and error on the job and in this context, once I had exhausted everything I had been previously been taught, I literally exhausted myself.

I now also know that wasn’t necessary – there are developmental scholarships for those working in the NFP sector so my advice: ensure you feed your own intellect at the same pace as you are feeding your organisation, or at the very least, tap into resources outside your own organisation to stay connected to the latest thinking.

On that last note, know that the team at Kylea Tink & Associates is here if you feel you would like some help navigating your relationships. After all, that is why myself and the amazing team of people I am now working with again, have chosen to go this route.

Now there’s a great relationship opportunity worth pursuing!

Kylea

Kylea Tink & Associates

Contact us at: kylea@ktassociates.net.au; sam@ktassociates.net.au; elise@ktassociates.net.au

What’s Wrong with Charities today or Why Just Doing Good Works Isn’t Good Enough

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While it may seem a completely contrary and heartless thing to say, I think it’s time we acknowledged, and accepted, that just because you are working for the greater good, does not mean you are doing good work!

… the currency of ‘being the good guy’ is simply not enough.

All too often I have come across people, and organisations, that think because their intentions are good, they should be supported.

“Who wouldn’t want to support an organisation that is trying to help someone at risk?” they argue.

“Who doesn’t melt just a little when confronted by images of people or animals or places facing threatening situations? Who doesn’t believe that fundamentally the world is made beautiful by the development of art or the production of beautiful music?”

The reality in today’s society though, where there are literally hundreds of thousands of not-for-profits (NFPs) and charities around the world, is that the currency of “being the good guy” is simply not enough.

In my opinion, good works only count is they are delivering a tangible outcome and are ultimately seeking to provide the solution to the problem at its very core.

Rather than doing this (ultimately solving a problem) … we seem to live in a society that never quite fixes one thing before it becomes distracted by another.

Funding programs that barely touch the side of an issue because it is “the issue of the moment” is, in my opinion, a waste of time. I’d suggest its better to stay focused on ‘what you are already working on, fix it, and then move on! In this way you get results and provide the opportunity to return, and rally people, with a concerted and focused, effort to the new challenge.

Rather than doing this though we seem to live in a society that never quite fixes one thing before it becomes distracted by another. Ultimately, by failing to solve a problem at its core, we perpetuate a need for NFPs and charities to be forever fundraising.

 Just like any good business decision the question you need to answer is will my work  deliver a positive, tangible outcome – will I get a result.

A case in point: some time ago I spoke as part of a NFP CEO panel addressing major  clients of a well-known bank. To each side of me there was a CEO from a significantly older and larger charity with infinitely more resources than I had access to at the time.

During our discussion I asked them if they had a clear idea of how the problems they were tackling could be solved and, if yes, did they know how much that would cost them?

Both CEOs answered in the affirmative and proceeded to talk to the gathering about their needs.

I suggested then that, given this, wouldn’t it be great if every other charity stopped fundraising and “get out of their way” so they could raise what they needed to fix their problem. The quid-pro-quo for what I was offering though was , once the money that these existing, older charities needed was raised and their problem was fixed, they would no longer fundraise. I thought it sounded reasonable?

Perhaps not surprisingly in hindsight, both CEOs said they would not be able to make that commitment – not because they were worried about not having the money (remember the preface of my offer was they had all they could need) but because they were worried people would forget and disassociate from their brand…. seriously!

 In western society we get so hung up on “idea ownership” … there would be much to be gained by our society looking more to the east for guidance (as) … an eastern philosophy doesn’t worry about whose idea it was but rather recognises the fact that the idea would never have been possible without someone else’s prior thoughts and ultimately their idea will only be a step for someone else.

By not just solving the problem, at its core, not only do we perpetuate the need for constant fundraising, we also create the space for disenchanted people to re-invent a wheel that someone else is already turning. Wouldn’t it make more sense to work with what we have?

Muddying the waters by establishing something that competes with that which already exists simply takes the community, and those you love, further from the outcome – this is simply irresponsible.

Instead, get involved with those that are already doing – add your amazing thoughts and ideas to their mix.

In western society we get hung up on “idea ownership”- it flows for us that if it was “my” idea then I am really clever and deserve accolades.

There would be much to be gained by looking to the east for guidance in this area. I’m no expert but my understanding is that an eastern philosophy doesn’t worry about whose idea it was as they recognise the idea would never have been possible without someone else’s prior thoughts and, ultimately, their idea will only be a step for someone else.

We live in an era where more and more pressure is being placed on NFPs and charities to be there for people when the system fails. With horrendous rates of violence within our community, apathy and neglect running riot, it is simply not good enough to say that just because you want to do good work you deserve support.

Just like any good business decision the question you need to answer is will my work  deliver a positive, tangible outcome – will I get a result.

Yours in not settling,

Kylea x

 

 

 

Looking Back From Pluto?

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Sadly, there’s no doubt organised religion has a lot to answer for.

I guess you could say it’s what I think someone on Pluto might see if they chose to look back at us through our media!

In a fantastic interview with Bishop John Shelby on the Weekly Show with Charlie Pickering (on ABC TV last week – see https://www.facebook.com/theweeklytv) the controversial American Bishop lamented the fact that “Church” is often the slowest mover when it comes to adopting positive societal change.

He discussed racial discrimination, slavery, and the subjugation of women – all as examples of issues where society has moved faster than organised religion in accepting and making positive changes.

He made no excuses for the poor performance and instead, when specifically discussing sexual orientation discrimination, actually pointedly apologised for what he called “the ignorance” of leaders within the Church. He sees it as a travesty that people of influence continue to espouse values that are clearly based in bias and prejudice rather than scientific fact.

He was not only eloquent but inspirational – I would love to be present during a direct conversation between himself and Cardinal Pell!

Despite it all the Bishop continues to have a strong faith and has not left the Church. Rather he has made it his life’s passion to challenge and question bias he sees as rooted in popular opinion rather than known fact – that is opinino based in fear and hypocrisy rather than in love and compassion. “Who are we to judge?”

 

… to challenge and question bias that he sees as rooted in popular opinion rather than known fact, and in this way based in fear … rather than love.

His comments got me thinking – If the Ten Commandments where set today what would they look like?

I don’t want to appear blasphemous but many find the ones in the bible hard for us to fathom let alone reconcile with our modern society.

So I took today’s media (paper, radio, TV and on-line) and used the content as the context to try and interpret a set of Modern Commandments – something reflecting how we are behaving right now. It resulted in the following.

COMMANDMENT 1: Any individual, organisation or Nation with a lot of money, should be honoured and protected. Don’t overly tax or annoy them or challenge them to do more good within society. You don’t want to put them off side.

COMMANDMENT 2: Losers should be shunned. Teams, individuals, and/or organisations that make mistakes should be abandoned and torn apart. Let that mistake not be forgotten.

COMMANDMENT 3: Raise up those that entertain us. A social media following is a modern Congregation so if they make you laugh, show you how to wear your clothes, play sport really well, date the right person or cook amazing food worship them. They are today’s Saints.

COMMANDMENT 3: Raise up those that entertain us. A social media following is a modern congregation

COMMANDMENT 4: Show no compassion but zealously guard your borders – turning those in need away. If you happen to end up with some people in need, make it someone else’s problem.

COMMANDMENT 5: If a person is struggling, pay them off. Make it easier to live dis-empowered, unemployed and displaced. Heaven forbids you to help them develop self-respect. Whilst doing this though, complain bitterly about their lack of initiative.

COMMANDMENT 6: Take everything you can get – now! Have no consideration for future generations. The only hole that matters is the one in your pocket. A clean environment is over rated.

COMMANDMENT 7: No matter what “IT” is, tear “IT” down. Consistently look for the worst in people and don’t stop looking until you find it.

COMMANDMENT 8: Disrespect and mock parents. Make it harder than ever for families to have time together. Schedule work 7 days a week and make the cost of living prohibitive.

And while we’re at it – make sure that only your definition of family is acceptable. After-all, it would be ridiculous to suggest that “love” is at the heart of any family! It’s obviously about the sex of the parents and their consciously, coupled, biblically ordained status.

COMMANDMENT 9: Define love within tight boundaries. Judge others openly and make a lot of noise to justify your opinion.

COMMANDMENT 10: Elect people who generally encourage others to continue to have the lowest of societal ambition. Leaders that seek to inspire minds and open hearts shall be few and far between and generally run down by the system before they can do any good.

And while I hate to say it, I think this modern generation actually has an Eleventh Commandment:

COMMANDMENT 11: Whatever you do, do NOT treat others as you would have them treat you. Cut in front, yell, honk, snarl, snatch, complain, push  – the world is not made of “fairy-floss” so stop looking for the sweet in it and protect yourself and your turf at all costs.

Am I being too cynical? ……… Maybe.

It’s important to note the above exercise isn’t an expression of my opinion. Rather it’s what I think someone on Pluto might see if they chose to look back at us through our media.

Having said all that I am eternally optimistic – I might worry I live in a world of “fairy-floss” (ie a world where good always wins and the best in people need only be encouraged) but ultimately I can’t think of wanting to live any other way.

In this way you might be able to accuse me of living  “naively” but Bishop Shelby Spong’s interview, and my observations today, have made me more determined to not live “ignorantly”.

Yours in forming inspiring, informed opinions

Kylea