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Thoughts and inspiration

This blog as a source of inspiration and provocative thought.

Life lessons and a motorbike


I recently took the plunge and learnt how to ride a motorcycle. YIKES!

I have been wanting to get my motorbike license for close to two decades now and have finally done it. I didn’t anticipate the life lessons I would learn through the experience, and I wanted to share them with you. It is so fascinating from where deep learning can come when you adopt a beginner’s mindset.

I learnt how to drive a car in a manual—I decided to do the same thing when learning how to ride a motorbike. Despite having all the mental models in place regarding what is required to drive a manual transmission; balancing clutch, friction point, and throttle, different parts of your body are doing those functions on a motorbike. I found it so challenging to reassign those functions from my feet to my hands. For those of you who haven’t ridden a motorcycle before, your left-hand controls the clutch, your right-hand controls the throttle and front brake, right-foot controls the rear...

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Conscious reframing: a fresh perspective

I want to share with you a powerful ability that comes standard issue with being a human. That is the power of reframing. I wanted to do this now as I have recently released two modules about solution seduction and attachment, and reframing is essential to both.

For us to deal with our solution seduction or attachment, we can use reframing as a way to release the attachment. Reframing is our ability to look at exactly the same situation from a fundamentally different perspective, in so doing, reframing that situation. Our brains are pretty powerful. When you realise you’re not the thinker, (thank you Eckhart Tolle and many other spiritual teachers) you realize you do have control over your thoughts. And if you have control over your thoughts, then you can choose which perspective to hold as you make sense of any situation.

In my recent beliefs article I used a sketch of a high jumper to illustrate the powerful impact beliefs can have on our...

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Why cultivating self awareness is essential for transformation.

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2019

We do not have a shortage of frameworks, processes and technology options that describe alternate ways of thinking and acting. I am always talking about human Centred design as a powerful way of working to solve challenges facing humanity. What we tend to overlook is the change that needs to occur at the individual level to participate in the new interactions with technology, frameworks of thought or processes of action.

With each new framework, process and technology comes an expectation, though often not explicit, that people will adapt to the change that comes with each of them. The new technology means new interactions, the new process means new ways of working, the new framework means new methods of thought. But what also needs to occur for this change to truly have impact and for it to stick is also the explicit acknowledgement and support for new ways of being.

I am often asked what I look for before I agree to work with an executive and my answer is always the same, self...

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The anatomy of a belief.

beliefs thoughts Jan 25, 2019

I have spoken about beliefs many times as they are so important to how we perceive the world and show up in it. These beliefs run in the background, most of the time we are unaware they are influencing our decisions and judgements. I've learnt that becoming self-aware, and having mastery over which thoughts become reinforcing and which don't, introduces a sense of autonomy and agency to how you live your life.

Beliefs are really just thoughts that have been reinforced over time with direct experience (or sometimes without). Here's how I make sense of beliefs, explained with a little story about high jump.

This is Fred. He has never tried high jump before, has no past good nor bad experiences of anything that looks remotely like high jump. He is a person who enjoys new experiences, so runs towards the bar with abandon.

Unfortunately for Fred, the bar is set a bit too high for him, and he doesn't make it. The bar bumps him on the knee and it hurts. This is his first experience...

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The three dangers of certainty.

We tend to like to keep things knowable. And by knowable I’m referring to feeling as certain about something as we possibly can. The conundrum is that most domains that require design and leadership are complex and dynamic, and some aspects of these systems are unknowable. And where we have complexity and ambiguity what do we have? Yep… we have uncertainty.

The way we typically deal with uncertainty is to view it as something that needs to be managed. We do this in business all the time, we manage uncertainty with a risk lens. Coming up with multiple risk mitigation strategies to know what to do if a particular scenario plays out in an unpredictable future. And when we have a risk mitigation approach to uncertainty what inevitably happens is we get rid of as much of it as we can. Mostly because we feel more comfortable and in control. We feel we make better decisions when we have more certainty, in fact, we often wait to act as we wait for certainty to reach a certain...

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A personal note

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2018

Dearest Everybody,

It is nearing the end of the year and I wanted to post a personal reflection about what being human means to me.

I've made many changes this year, and dealt with many challenging moments, as I am sure you have as well. There are some things that have changed within me, and others... the deepest parts of me remain unchanged. I wanted to share those aspects with you, as they are very human. :-)

A desire to live deliberately and consciously. I remain aware of the impermanence of everything and swim in gratitude for life, no matter what form it shows up.

A desire to love completely and connect deeply with others. I remain in awe of the capacity of humanity, and I seek to connect deeply with those close to me and those new beings who cross my path. I do what I do so we can become more self aware and able to be more vulnerable with each other. To decrease the distance between each other and not feel so separate, like we need to do it all alone. 

A desire...

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Why self awareness is key to being in service of others

I am often asked, "what is the one thing you look for when working with executives?" I have one simple answer, "Self awareness". If we have self awareness, we also have the ability to learn, to reflect and to change. Without self awareness we are unable to see our role in a situation, how we are contributing to creating undesirable (or desirable) circumstances, and  are hindered in our capacity to make meaningful change.

I often use the words 'to be in service of others' and I'd like to explore the connection between this and self awareness.

First of all, let's define what 'being in service of' means.

Being in service is:

  • Genuinely caring and curious about the background context of others
  • Understanding needs, desires and concerns of others
  • Creating alternatives that improve the situation for others

Being in service is not:

  • Only caring about the context of others and ignoring your own
  • Forgoing your own needs to deliver on theirs
  • Making things more difficult for yourself while...
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More articles over at melissenova.com

Uncategorized Aug 06, 2018

There are loads of other interesting articles over at my blog at melissenova.com - please check them out!

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Authenticity needs practice

In the many years I have been working with large organisations to shift the mindset around customer centricity, I have seen a division occur. It seems we’ve decided that customers are different from employees in terms of their values. Sure, customers are different from employees from their activities, problems they are trying to solve and motivations, though their values are not that different. Especially, the deeper held values that often inform how people like to be treated and interacted with.

Here are two important reasons why you should have the same values informing your corporate culture and your customer experience:

Authenticity can’t be faked and needs practice

A key ingredient to positive interactions with people, inside (employees) or outside (customers) your organisation, is authenticity. Authenticity doesn’t always come naturally to us in a business context. In fact, it doesn’t come naturally in our social context either sometimes, so we...

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It takes real grit

courage grit inner work Feb 12, 2017

Are you ready? This is your training.

Just like an athlete trains their body, we need to train our minds. If we are to head out there into the world and re-wire the systems that contribute to the challenges facing humanity, we need to be professionals. We need to be Olympic Grade athletes at what we do. These challenges are tricky, they take commitment, resilience and determination. It takes real GRIT. To get there we need to commit to doing the work ourselves.

We need to be prepared to look under the hood, to explore what makes us tick so we know how it is affecting our work. We need to be willing to go places that might be a little ugly, and we might not like what we see, but that’s ok. At least we’ll know what to do about it.

The world needs people who care, who are deeply concerned about the state of things and want to do something about it. Sometimes people think that doing good is fluffy, that it’s flowers, unicorns and rainbows. To me,...

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