Swallow a light bulb. 

There are days when I’m not really into shining brightly. Usually, when I’m sick or I have had no sleep. But I still give it an epic crack.

Why?

Because it’s part of the reason people remember you. Maya Angelou famously said: people won’t remember what you did or said, they will remember how you made them feel. 

This is the truth, people do. We all feed on energy and our demeanour has the opportunity to change not only the interactions we have, but also the opportunities we are given. If you’re a dead fish about it, they’ll remember that instead.

Kids are balls of energy. People love to be around them because it “keeps them young”. I also get the old favourite, “we should bottle that energy and sell it”, when my two boys are running amuck. No need. We all have it – even us tired, old adults. We just have to be willing to share it with everyone, the way kids do.

When you meet someone for the first time there’s a transfer of energy. It is usually positive or negative, and the experience cannot always be controlled by you alone. But the best foot forward is always a warm hug. Not necessarily literally, more in the sense that inner joy will always trump awkward, angry, shy, rude, fake, impersonal, dull.

This is especially true in business.

When you write an email try not to write it like you would rather be doing anything else. Focus on the importance of the message and what it means to the person you are sending it to. Do you know them well? Could anything be misinterpreted? Have you thoughtfully read your note before sending? Energy.

When you look your kids in the eye and listen to their weird stories about dragons and cars, give them a thumbs up and smile excitedly, just as they do, every time. Energy.

When you bump into someone you know, don’t look down and hope they didn’t see you. Genuinely smile from the inside and out, and then simply wave if you don’t have time to talk. People like to be seen and feel recognised. Special. Energy.

When someone you don’t know starts a random conversation, make sure you give something in return… for what if you’re the only person to care enough that day to have a kind heart and listen – and it changes everything for them. I feel this way especially about older people on buses, alone. Energy.

You don’t have to give it all away. Keeping some for yourself is just as important. But truly listening and giving more than a granule of energy to everything you do will be remembered. Because people don’t like dead fish, unless it’s severed up as part of a delicious meal (no offence to the fruitarians, vegetarians and vegans of this world).

Seed your dreams in action. 

It’s hard to wish and wish and wish, only to feel like you are the unluckiest wish maker that walked the earth. Why is it that some people seem to have all the luck?

But is wish making really about luck? Or is it about your ability to crystallise one thing worth wishing for, and then find a way to go after it?

There’s a simple beauty in making a wish. Birthday candles, dandelions and wishing bones. All times that offer pause to pinpoint that twinkle in your eye.

If you look closely though, in the breath of a dandelion you’ll find hundreds of new wishes born and ready to be discovered. By the sheer momentum of action, your wish fragments into millions of tiny little pieces that seed the next steps to be taken.

Some people are naturally lucky. Annoying fact. Most people need to rely less on luck and more on themselves. For in the days spent waiting for your lucky stars to align you have lost time and potential defining moments that you can never get back.

Next time you make a wish you should still absolutely aim for the stars, but be willing to then make a plan that relies only on you working your booty off to get there. Then, and really only then, is the sky the limit.

Nothing remarkable is achieved without a sprinkle of fear and risk. 

Someone close to me recently asked what I would do if I removed fear from the life equation I was struggling with. Fear of failing, fear of disappointing people, fear of making money, fear of doing the wrong thing by my kids and family. Fear, fear, fear. She’s a friend and a very successful businesswoman who I trust greatly as a professional advisor. I found my instantaneous answer clear and enlightening.

I realised in that moment the power fear can hold over you, if you let it. I also realised that all of the things I feared were born out of the pressure I placed on myself to avoid taking too big a risk. If I removed that I was left with excitement, energy and a vision for the opportunities that were right before me.

If you’re weighing up a big decision, ask yourself what you would do if fear didn’t play a role and see where you land. It was amazing to me how quickly I was able to clearly see through the clutter of all the variables.

In the end, to be remarkable at anything I truly believe there needs to be an element of risk and fear. It’s there that you find the kind of greatness most people aren’t willing to be uncomfortable for.

Make it your business to know the person with the least power. Leticia Cavallaro

If you do nothing else, do this!

I have had the good fortune of working with some incredibly gracious, generous and inspiring leaders. They have meant more to my career than I can probably yet predict.

What I can predict is how important their guidance and operational style has been to my understanding of what really makes a good leader.

Time. Everyone is time poor. A good leader understands this and treats everyone’s time with respect, regardless of their position in the company. This includes giving time to those who need you, especially for mentoring or decision-making. There has been nothing more frustrating to me than a leader who demands something for urgent review and then takes a lifetime to review it. Without explanation, that’s just rude. Everyone is busy, including the people below you. It’s also been empowering to watch a select few inspiring people continue to treat those below them with the respect most leaders reserve only for the c-suite. It’s incredibly powerful to see what that means to the people in a business.

There are many facets, but at the core I truly believe one of the most important characteristics of a good leader has to be the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes… especially those beneath you. There you will find a group of ambitious, dedicated and hard working people who are at the forefront of your business and its ability to operate. They have ideas, often big ideas and they can understandably resent not having an avenue to share them. They also see the things that don’t work very quickly, simply because it’s their day-to-day jobs that are often affected by decisions at the top.

Understanding who people really are and what they really do should be mandatory for making good, sound strategic decisions. Without this understanding it is easy to lose touch with what makes the wheel turn and how long tasks really take.

No good leader is born at the top. I’m hugely grateful to all of my mentors for reminding me what matters, their endless graciousness and the time and experiences they have shared with me… even when I was the person with the least power.

Don't miss the art in smart. Leticia Cavallaro

Creativity creates value. 

I have always loved art. Words have been mine, but I’m a huge admirer of all forms, especially painting and music. Both beautiful and cathartic.

In the less literal sense though, you’d be smart to see the value of adding a sprinkle of art to everything that you do. It will make you more creative and more memorable. The artistry of your actions and choices is what makes you unique, what sets you apart.

What do I mean? It could simply be your outlook or the way you respond to things. Both of which have the power to change the situation and set you apart.

At home, parents naturally do it all the time. Counting pegs to keep the kids happy while hanging clothes on the line. Berries in a pancake to make eyes so that they actually eat, or racing to see who can get dressed first when you’re struggling to get out the door.

In the office your art could be reading body language to make better choices, or creatively handing out tasks to keep your team aligned. Even more subtly there is an art to understanding how to make best use of individual strengths to achieve the best results.

In any situation, if you can, be smart and be brave.

Perspective is everything. Leticia Cavallaro

Perspective is everything. 

Sometimes life gets tricky and the last thing you want to do is think about the person making it hard.

Over time though, I have come to appreciate the merit of trying to react to any given situation based on the ‘full’ picture. Taking 5 seconds to ask myself ‘if I were them, what would I have done?’ helps me to frame my thinking in a more balanced and positive way.

Balance and perspective are less regrettable than rage and hurt. As often as you can, walk away with your head held high.

What passion really means. Leticia Cavallaro

What PERFECT really means. 

I really don’t believe in perfection, only versions of it. In some circumstances the words might shift, but when it comes to work, parenting and love this is what it looks like to me.

Perfect is an important concept that you need to define for yourself, because it is often our barometer for success. If you’re relying on someone else’s definition of what that looks like you might not cherish your own victories quite as much, which can be damaging and unproductive.

Go with the first word that comes to your mind for each of the letters and then think about what that looks like as a group of words. You might need to swap a few out, or maybe you will nail it the first time. Don’t be too quick to dismiss what does first enter your thoughts – often this can tell you one of two things; what you know to be true, or what you know needs to change.

If you come up with a word that you think doesn’t quite fit, ask yourself why it popped into mind. The answer may be that it was just the first word you could think of with that letter… but sometimes it tells you so much more.

In the end, your definition should be something you can own and work towards, so that when you evaluate that “perfect” moment, it truly reflects who you are and what you are aiming to achieve.

How does your acronym read?

Life is too short to blend in. Leticia Cavallaro

Be bold, and brave. 

For a really long time I did what I could to blend in. To not cause a scene or stand for anything too cray cray. And when it didn’t work and I ended up at the center of something silly I spent hours beating myself up about it, which was even sillier.

Now, I think life is too short. Kids and time have helped me to realise that owning who you are and what you have to offer is the best foot you can put forward in life.

Last night I got dressed for an event. I felt good. My husband walked in and asked if I was sure I wanted to wear what I was wearing, because “most women wear dresses” to this particular fancy pants dinner. I told him I was sure that my tight black jeans and silk top were the perfect platform for bold red lips. And, that I didn’t mind if everyone else was wearing a dress.

Cherry red lips. Leticia Cavallaro

He was right. Everyone was in a dress.

I was right. It was better to stand out.

Light a fire under your spirit. Leticia Cavallaro

Find something that makes you tick!

You will know when you have found it because it doesn’t feel like work. Ideally, you can find this one thing and turn it into money. That way you get the holy grail of passion and profit.

But, let’s be real… that’s not always realistic. If this is the case, don’t focus on the fact that you can’t make money doing that one thing. Instead, find ways to spread the joy and energy it brings to your life to the things that do.

Not sure how? Ask yourself these three questions: what could do all day, every day? What’s your greatest strength? And, where do you want to be in one year?

Somewhere in there should lie the answer. Go after it.