Self-reflection could be a missing link for many people who either think they have imposter syndrome, or who feel they lack confidence.

I actually think people sometimes do not know themselves well enough to genuinely show up authentically.

Establishing (not guessing) what your values are, as a human being, and then understanding what environment you work best in, or who you might work most effectively with, can be a game-changer. (if this is not something you’ve explored yet, I highly recommend this exercise to find out what yours are)
Knowing your values, and therefore what situations could challenge them, or cause you to feel uncomfortable, can help you to show up as your most authentic self (or not show up, if that’s the right decision for you!).

And – if you realise along the way, that there are ways you are being misunderstood, due to different personality types etc, you can adjust or explain accordingly, while still showing up as your authentic self.

Having done many (many!) different types of personality styles exercises and quizzes, I’ve figured out lots of reasons why I

  • have struggled to work with certain people,
  • ended up in conflict with others,
  • found myself managing teams where I didn’t know how to motivate the people I was supposed to be leading, or
  • couldn’t see ways to be able to get them to work together cohesively.

Eventually, I realised that it wasn’t all ‘them’…

I learned how to look at my own behaviours in each of these scenarios, and established ways in which I could adapt my responses to the individual situations, instead of always expecting everyone to do things my way. I learned to self-reflect. To lead myself first.

If you have no idea why you react the way you do to certain things – whether it’s

  • how you are being spoken to,
  • what is being said, or
  • who it is that’s setting the reactions off,

then why would you expect the other person/people to be able to figure it out?

The more you learn about yourself, the more prepared you will be if you see the situations arising, and the more able you will be to lead yourself more confidently. You will understand the best way for you to authentically take part in the discussion. By being more self aware, you can take a deep breath before a challenging conversation, ask yourself what you each need from the interaction, and then be able to more calmly be in control of what you want to say.

The more self-confidence you gain by being authentic, the more you will realise the benefit of self-reflection. And the less likely you will be to blindly walk into a situation without seeing potential red flags first.

For me, being able to know who my ideal client is – not just from a ‘needing my services’ perspective, but from a similar values angle – makes it much easier to know whether we are a good fit to work together.
It doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t work with people outside of your personality style or your values, but so long as you are going into it with that level of understanding, you will at least be aware of any potential area where you might not agree, or you might need to remember that the clients values are not the same as yours. Within reason of course – for example if one of your values was friendship, and the potential client was all business, no chit-chat – this shouldn’t prevent you from being able to help them, or work with them. But – it also shouldn’t require you to change who you are authentically – if the person can’t deal with your friendly chit-chat, then maybe it is the wrong fit!
A lot of it is going with what feels right – trusting your instincts. And knowing yourself and your values, helps you trust your judgement.

I’ve found over the decades of experience I’ve had in corporate, small and family business, the places I’ve enjoyed working the most and the ones where I’ve done my best work, are the ones where I could be myself. As soon as I have to do the extra thinking around how I’m ‘supposed to’ behave here, the more time I waste worrying about that, not getting on and doing the work! Being true to yourself, and working as often as possible with others who are similar, will help you strike a much better work/life balance, and help to prevent burnout.

Being fake is exhausting – take it from someone who pretended to be an extrovert for over 40 years!

Since I did my own self-reflection, and recognised that my energy generation was dependent on time alone, I’ve been much more conscious of not over-stuffing my calendar. I may not be cramming as many meetings into my week, but the ones I do go to, I’m so much more engaged, can offer up more insights, and am confident and prepared enough to share much more than I would do if I was running from one to the other, exhausted and spread thinly across the subject matters.

I am not someone who enjoys being ‘busy’ for the sake of it – I’d rather be the person who can do 5 projects excellently, than 10 projects half-heartedly – which person would you want on your team?…

All me, all in, authentically!

I’d love to hear your own stories of self-reflection – what surprising things have you learned about yourself?

Oh and MY values are: Leadership, Ethics, Creativity, Friendship and Privacy.
I plan to write about each of them to explain them further – watch out for those stories of self-reflection!

Celia

#authenticity #selfconfidence #selfleadership #selfreflection #leadyourselffirst

I get a real buzz out of providing business support –

..when I see business owners wasting precious time, making things more difficult for themselves, or that they could be happier in their lives. And I do that in as many ways as I know how. It’s what I’ve built my career on in many varying forms, including through customer care, sales, marketing, and operations.

I spent almost 6 years running flexible workspaces and promoting the (at the time) still relatively new concept of coworking, and during that time I helped many businesses improve and expand, because it gives me huge job satisfaction to see people succeed and reach their potential, and to feel I supported or helped them in some way.

I’ve also supported some people who might have given up otherwise – helped them try to figure out why things weren’t working as well for them as they’d expected or hoped – finding them the right collaboration partners – ones that matched with them for personality, values, expertise, or even from a cost perspective – in fact I’ve been called a Business Cupid– I can often save people the months or years of frustration before they realise they are in a (business) relationship with the wrong kind of collaborator or referrer, or not working with anyone at all.

If you want to go fast, go alone – If you want to go far, go together

I’m not even going to try to tell you who said this quote, as it has been said in so many places, by so many people, over a very long time (this article from an Australian data scientist actually shows it’s almost impossible to tie down to one individual, although he does interestingly point out that the research became much easier when he asked other people for help….!).

I think Simon Sinek’s work around The Infinite Game is another indicator of this being a true phrase – we have to work together to create real sustainability.

Working From Home

To be clear, working from home is a great idea – I did it for about 7 years. It’s extremely cost-effective!

And for many, especially with the effect that Covid has had on everyone’s working life in the last few years, the flexible-work bandwagon is on an exceedingly fast roll! But you know what – the novelty wears off quite quickly, and is often replaced with loneliness, especially if you work for yourself, and it almost (almost!) made me consider going back to the commute, and working in a city. But deep down, to be true to my proudly introverted personality, I wanted to be based in my suburb – so I went out and found like-minded people, and I opened the shared space.

Flexible Workspaces

I’d often be asked why I set up the flexible workspace, as I would get so frustrated that I didn’t have time to spend with the very people who I set it up for! Others would ask why I didn’t hold more networking events there, but returning to that introvert personality I mentioned, I was already running low in the energy banks, and had little left to give.

Over a period of time, I realised I was spending more time marketing and selling the workspaces to make sure I could pay the enormous rent bill every month, and not as much time doing what I loved – helping the community of people who were choosing to work there.

Not everyone who worked in the space wanted the connections and the collaboration opportunities – some people were just there to use the facilities. And I think that’s when I realised that I had already achieved what I’d set out to do. I’d created the base community, and cemented the idea of being able to grow faster together.

That’s when I made the difficult decision not to renew my lease when it came up – it was time to move on to the next stage, and deliver the services I’d been struggling to find the time for, in amongst the role of playing host in the workspaces. I could see all the possibilities within the trusted network we had created as a community, but I wasn’t finding the time to help move us forward.

Our core community were able to take our big leap towards independence, by taking on a shared lease – one that was just slightly bigger than we needed, so we could still have occasional coworkers and meetings as required, and room to grow.

I now spend my days, in my element – knee-deep in research, reports, marketing and business development, being part of the growth and support of those individual businesses in our suburban community.

Collaborative Co-operative

We have even taken things a stage further, having just launched a co-operative called Sage Room Co-op Ltd, and we plan to offer services to assist others in their growth journey. I now have more time to write – blogs and books, which I have been procrastinating about for the last 6 years (and then some..), and germinate my ideas.

Suburban Collaboration Hubs

One of those ideas, is to help other groups create a similar co-operative way of working. Demonstrate how we can create more Suburban Collaboration Hubs. Where there is no one individual expected to take on the huge commitment of a large-scale commercial lease, but each hub considers keeping a little bit of extra desk space that can be hired/utilised by those who need a place to collaborate or connect. Let me know if this is something you’d like to know more about.

Business Directory: coworking

As an aside, I’ve kept my business directory running in the hope that we can make this happen – I did such a good job of marketing my space all those years, that I still get pretty consistent enquiries from people who are looking for somewhere to work in this area. I’d love to have more potential places to tell them to contact, so get in touch if you are local to me, and have an office that you’d be happy to let out occasionally!

So, in essence, although once again my method of delivery has changed, I am still right where I wanted to be, doing what I want to do – in the midst of a community that I love, helping other businesses find ways to improve and grow, sustainably.

Here’s to Flexible-work practices, Collaboration, Sustainable growth and Business support services!

As I wrote this article, I was able to see my own journey. I’ve been talking about these same subjects – collaboration, flexible working, work-life balance and sustainable growth, for a number of years now, and whilst I’ve made some changes to my business in that time, the message has been consistent.
It’s funny how sometimes you don’t see it yourself until much later – my colleagues have always maintained I was consistent, but I’ve often felt I was being a bit ‘random’!
So I’m glad I wrote this one, even if I’m the one who most benefits from reading it.. 😉

Imposter Syndrome rears it’s head. This is kind of like the episode where they try to bring in the new person playing Dr Who so you get used to them.

That’s how I feel right now ha ha – not that I’m putting myself in a category with Dr Who – but I do almost feel like an imposter, a cuckoo trying to sneak into the nest while no-one’s looking, except I’m introducing myself, and we’re both staying, and we’re the same person…

Right, that analogy failed. Let’s try again.

There are many sides to me. I’m a consultant, a parent, a woman, and…. (I used to be a singer, but that’s a story for another day…)

I’m also a writer, of sorts. I’ve been writing, in different forms, my whole life, and in more recent years, I’ve been taking it a bit more seriously and actually realising other people are taking me seriously too (thankfully!). I don’t profess to be great, and I didn’t study it anywhere – I just love it, a lot. It truly sparks joy – isn’t that what we are all supposed to be looking for?

And, as you will know if you’ve been around for any length of time on this site, or in my life, I like to blend my life and work as much as I can, so I’ve been trying to make a point of doing this more and more. So, this is another extension of that. I’ve been working (extremely slowly) on some serious writing, for a couple of books (one fiction, one non-fiction) and also on a bit of a fun blog, and I wanted to at least associate them in some way, so people will be able to connect the dots if they want to. (I personally love connecting dots!)

The Blog

Growing up, and moving through my corporate years, I was frankly mostly exhausted.

I wondered how everyone else seemed to cope with everyday life, and I was often this crumpled heap in the bathroom, trying to take a quick power-nap before rejoining for round two of ‘Get over it, this is your normal workweek’!

It wasn’t until I hit my early 40’s (I’m not that quick at figuring things out, I like to be sure before I make big life decisions!), that a series of ‘aha’ moments while reading some insightful articles, had me realise that

  • I’m an Introvert (Myers Briggs INFP for anyone vaguely interested, but I won’t judge you if you’re not😉)
  • I’m Highly Sensitive (not in a ‘oh poor me, pity me’ sense, in an actual scientific, can’t help it, I can assure you! sort of way)
  • I don’t like keeping my creative and business lives separate, as it makes me feel like I’m being inauthentic, which is frankly exhausting. Which takes me back to the beginning of my point!  

So – I decided it was time for a merge…. The blog and it’s socials have been quietly (and like I said, sloooooooowly) running in the background, since 2016, and whilst they will still retain their own site, I thought it was time they were connected in some small way, so I can stop feeling like I have more than one identity – plus how else would you know to come and ask me to do any writing for you, 😉 if you happen to like my style? All joking aside, that’s not why I’m here – my intro is done, I’ll leave a link between them now, and make sure I say hello now and again in each, as each – if that makes sense… You are welcome to join me on either journey!

Signing off, quietly…

a dark forest with a stream flowing through it, lit with sunlight coming through the trees, taking you on a journey..

The past few years have been a different kind of chaos for those of us in small business.

I’ve heard people talk recently about how it was actually nice to have the occasional 3-day lockdown and spend time at home with family or binge-watch that show you’ve had on your watchlist for 6 months. And I agree, that time was precious, and should be repeated more often!

However, for those of us who rely on everyone being out and about and doing ‘normal’ stuff to keep our small businesses financially viable, we were more likely living in a state of anxiety day-to-day, wondering when everyone was coming back out to spend with us again.

As most of you know if you’ve been following me for a while, when I started Central Business Associates, I wanted to find ways to bring people together, to show them how to collaborate, to share their skills and learn from each other, and team up with others who were good at the tasks they didn’t like doing so much, or that just weren’t within their range of expertise.

Through being involved in local networking events and running the workspaces in Wynnum for almost 6 years, I was able to find people I needed most to work with – who had skills that I either lacked, or that I needed an enhanced version of, in order to move my (and their) business forward. And others found me for the same reason.

I thrive being able to help people achieve their potential. My main values are Leadership and Ethics, and I want to inspire people towards self-leadership and learning, but in a sustainable and purposeful way, and not only for financial gain (we can’t ‘take it with us’, as we are often being told!)

In general, I’ve met and connected with, so many incredible and talented people, all within this suburban community of Brisbane’s Bayside in Queensland – I’d never have imagined it was possible in such a small part of this vast country we live in. It’s made me realise the huge potential there is for this type of collaborative working (and co-operative – more on this in a later blog – there is exciting news coming soon!) – not just flexible-working – which is the big buzzword out there at the moment (and I was talking about it more than 5 years ago by the way…😉).

I see collaborative working in the small business context like corporate teamwork in a way – it’s getting together with, or putting together, a good group of people with a great mix of skills who can do just about everything between them – high five! 🙌

So – back to that chaos..

There is no way to properly explain the difference that having those others around made to that chaos. The calm that it brought to the panic that each of us individually felt, at different moments, over the last few years.

  • I can’t do this!
  • I need to go and get a job, I can’t sustain this business any more!
  • There’s not enough work!
  • I’ve got too much work, and not enough hours in the day, but I can’t afford to hire anyone to help!

Slowly, we all came to realise that we were all in different boats, but in the same choppy waters. So, we tied our boats together. And shared our fears, and funny stories, and our skills and experience.

And we are still here. And we are probably stronger, and much more sustainable (dare I say buoyant!) than before.

Collaborative Partners

So, I just wanted to do a bit of a shoutout to a few of those collaborative partners, and say thank you for rescuing me from the storm – I’ve come out the other side, and I’m in much calmer waters now, and excited about the next bit of the journey. In no order of awesomeness (actually, I made it backwards alphabetical, for a change)

Michelle, from Lanceley Marketing and…… (something else, coming soon!!!),

Lauren, from Bayside Admin,

Kelly, from Adaptable Quality,

Kathryn, from SteinArt, and

Amy, from Nurturing Confidence

my thanks to you all for your various contributions to my survival, and my business growth in the last few years!

Next time, I will be talking about what I got up to when things were not so busy in my consultancy boat… (

With our office move becoming public, I was excited to be asked to do an interview with Leisa from Dot Dash Events, as part of their Tide Talks series.
It gave me another opportunity to let more people know where we are heading off to, and what services I will be able to spend my time offering once we move.

All of us who are moving into the Mt Carmel Centre are looking forward to see what new collaborative opportunities it will create for all of our businesses.

Check out the full interview here on their website, have a read of the previous blogs and chats. Maybe even see if you’d like to feature in their future interviews!

*This blogpost will be archived soon, as the Mount Carmel Centre was sadly closed to external parties by Brisbane Catholic Education in early 2021.

I have an announcement to make.

From 1st October, Central Business Associates will be based in the iconic Mount Carmel Centre in Wynnum.  Yes, it’s just across the road from where we are now (I really do love my community!) and it’s a big change, but the time has come.

Why the move?
When I discovered last year that Mt Carmel were offering space to hold events, I’m not going to lie – I was quite jealous! I’ve basically spent the last year sitting at my desk, looking out of the window at the building, and clearly manifesting myself a way to work there!

The Mount Carmel Centre has amazing meeting rooms and facilities, and as we speak, they are in the process of looking at how they can also offer coworking desks. I’ve explained how many people have been using our flexible workspaces here and I wanted to be sure that as many of my current and past clients could be accommodated as possible.
I’ve spent over 6 years making flexible working a reality in our area and am delighted that the Mount Carmel Centre can continue most offerings for our local community.

Now more than ever, it’s even more relevant to have suburban flexible workspaces available in our communities. Many people are reluctant to commute (COVID19, or just the wasted time), or don’t have space at home to comfortably and professionally work from. I certainly won’t stop campaigning for and promoting that aspect of what I’ve achieved over recent years. Because I continue to be passionate about helping people to live a balanced life.

But it’s time for me to move on to a new chapter….to help my clients grow and thrive, by offering them services to improve how they manage their business. And work in a balanced way to suit their lives. I’ll still offer Membership, just with different benefits.

What I’ve learnt along the way

  • I’ve been able to refresh and learn new skills over the past 5 years – in the areas I am passionate about, including Leadership & Management, Change Management, Strategic Management, and Small Business Management.
  • I still see many small business owners trying to ‘wear all of the hats’! Trying to be the Operations Manager, the Marketing Manager, the Finance Manager, the Sales Manager, the Customer Service Manager – it’s no wonder they are exhausted! That is a lot of weight to carry around on your head! (pun intended…)
  • It’s important to find new ways to help stay passionate about the business each of us start in the first place. To look at how small changes to customer care and people management help in retaining ‘best’ clients and attracting more like them.

The future is bright. My services will evolve in this next phase, as they have throughout my 14 years in small business. Adapting and change are where I thrive.

Of course, the goal is always balance – what’s the point of starting your own business if it takes over your life and you have no time to enjoy what’s around you? I really believe we each need to be passionate about our business. Because if you don’t take care of yourself – there won’t be a business.

Change really can be as good as a holiday. Let me help make your business more manageable and productive.

If any of the above resonates, please get in touch. I offer an initial 30-minute informal consult to see if we can see the benefits of working together.

Yours in continued collaborative business success,

Celia

Balance the Grind is on a mission to create a work-life balance hub focused on conversations, ideas and community.

Publishing conversations with people from different careers and lifestyles; from startup founders to CEOs, entrepreneurs to independent musicians, designers to software developers, and plenty more.
Work-life balance, work-life integration, work-life harmony; whatever you want to call it, Balance the Grind believes that work should (mostly) be calm, healthy and sustainable over the long-term.

We were delighted to have our Community Manager, Celia Newlands, featured alongside the many inspirational stories on their website.
Read Celia’s interview in full below, and check out some of the other amazing stories of those making flexible work a reality around the world!

*These options have been updated. Please click here for up-to-date Membership info.
Below is a table to show details of inclusions for each Membership Type.
Please contact us if you would like to become a Member, change your current plan, or get more information on any of the inclusions.

About two years ago, I realised that one of the things I missed about the corporate world (and there are actually quite a few!) was getting together around a boardroom table, discussing how each of our departments had performed in the month. We would include positives and negatives, and as a team, discuss how we might be able to help one another with issues we had encountered.
I began to realise that one of my biggest strengths was being able to see simple solutions, utilising existing structures where possible. Being able to collaborate with others. Helping others see how instead of butting heads, we could pool resources and create win/win outcomes.

I put the concept to a few colleagues I was already collaborating with, and we decided to run with it for at least 6 months, see what sort of format we could work with, and whether it would be beneficial within the world of small business. I drew up a basic plan for us to work with.

Our Leadership and Accountability group has now been running for almost two years,

with no sign of slowing enthusiasm! We actually now have at least two business retreat a year as well, to ensure we take a few days out to work on our biggest business challenges. Every one of those businesses has grown considerably in that time, and I’m delighted to have seen us all benefit from the process.

For some, particularly if you are the only person in your business (whether a sole trader, or just a one-person entity), it can seem strange to consider yourself a Leader. Who exactly are you supposed to be be ‘leading’?

The answer is ‘everyone you interact with’, in one way or another. You need to be able to lead your business – and that includes any contractors, suppliers and even your customers. You need to bring them on the journey with you, and show that your business vision is worth them coming along with you.

We embedded this same concept within the Memberships at Central Business Associates. You would join a Leadership group and work through your challenges with other small businesses or sole traders. These groups had a real mix of people, with different-sized businesses, within various industries, but often some of the challenges were similar, and someone around the table would offer some insight – even if it’s ‘what not to do’. Brainstorming these issues can bring so many different strengths out in the participants, and can lead to innovative and successful solutions.

Although we no longer offer this specific service, we do now offer collaboration consultancy services. This can help you find the right people to work with, with similar values and different skills. Contact me if you’d like to know more about this option.