In the next couple of months, things are going to look very different around here. We’re having a rebrand.

Since closing the workspaces in 2020, I’ve continued to do the work that fuels my passion and drive, and makes me want to get up out of bed in the morning. For me, not much has changed, except I now have more time on my hands as I don’t have bookings, maintenance, marketing and community management of the coworking space in my remit any more.

But I realise that outside of my bubble, it might not be so easy to know what Central Business Associates mission and vision is now.

So I thought it was probably time I changed the wallpaper, got myself a new name badge, and gave the world some context on the changes.

I am very lucky to work most days with a collective of humans that have been my rock during the last decade – whom I mention and praise often, as they very much deserve. We have even created a co-operative since we decided to all work together in the one space – Sage Room Co-op , and have spent many hours working hard on our individual and shared businesses, learning about our shared values, and how to work together – even when we don’t always agree. Our accountability sessions have paid off, and we learn from one another every day.

Time for Change

So when I decided Central Business Associates needed a brand makeover, I was able to engage Kathryn from SteinArt. She facilitated an insightful brand development workshop. We ended up managing to find a way to honour all of the things that were most important to me when I started up the business, including flexible working, collaboration and community. We also brought in the values and strengths that are a true representation of who I am, and what I bring to my work and my community.

These values will come into play much more now I have more time available, forming much of the content I will write about. Alongside those pre-existing subjects I already mentioned.

Expect to hear from me about Leadership, Creativity and Perspective, alongside more on Collaboration, Community and Flexible Work. I’ll be calling for guest posts on subjects that are important to my client base, and outside of my strengths. See, that’s Collaboration and Perspective covered already!

Keep an eye out for the sweeping brand change – it’s definitely hitting the Creativity button!
Another thing I have more time for these days.. And you can even find out what an Umbrella Space is..

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.

Establish (don’t guess) what your values are, as a human being. Understand what environments you work best in, or who you can work most effectively with. If this is not something you’ve explored yet, I highly recommend this exercise to find out what yours are.
Know your values, and therefore what situations could challenge them, or cause you to feel uncomfortable. This 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. And still show 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

  • struggled to work with certain people
  • ended up in conflict with others
  • found myself managing people I didn’t know how to motivate, 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. 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.

Do you understand why you react the way you do to certain situations –

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

If not, 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 with confidence. 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.

Knowing who your ideal client is, makes it much easier to know whether you can work well together. Not just because they need your services, but from a similar values angle.
It doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t, work with people outside of your personality style or your values. So long as you go in with that level of understanding. You can be aware of any potential areas 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. However, it 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.

Authenticity and Environment

Over the decades of experience I’ve had in corporate, small and family business, I’ve found that 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. If I have to think about behaving differently, I will waste time worrying about that, and not getting on and doing the work! Be true to yourself, and work as often as possible with others who are similar or who you are comfortable enough around to be yourself. This 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!

Authenticity and Energy

Since I began my own self-reflection, and recognised that my energy and creativity generation were dependent on spending 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. Offering up more insights, 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 FYI – 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

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. They 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. 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. Just saying…).

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. 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 MobyCo

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…

Sometimes I miss the corporate world.

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 6 months to begin with, 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 through.

Our Leadership and Accountability group has now been running since 2018,

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 determine, or even 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.

19th January 2015..
I don’t really remember that first day. Bit of an exhausted, excited blur..

Probably have little memory of the first year actually – it just flew by, with all it’s newness and excitement and my heart beating out of my chest, and some things going very wrong, and some things going very right…!

And here we are, half a decade later.

Central Business Associates – we are celebrating five years in business, and I wanted to do a little ‘check in the rear view mirror’.


Starting a business like this, making ‘flexibility’ the core concept – if I’d known what that would actually involve, I wonder if I’d ever have agreed to do it!
But I’m so glad I did – making flexibility my key offering has opened up so many more doors, meetings and opportunities that never would have happened if I’d stuck firmly to a plan.
So my version of a ‘plan’ has really been around ideas – and values.

Flexibility, Community & Collaboration – those have been the core values that have helped me make big decisions along the way.

  • We’ve had businesses move in, flourish, grow and then move into their own spaces,
  • we’ve seen businesses collaborate on hundreds of projects, and
  • we’ve made lots and lots of friends – lifelong friends, that we might never have met if this business didn’t exist.

We’ve held events, hosted workshops, created membership programmes. We’ve laughed, and cried, been angry and ecstatic.

We have consistently looked for new ways to help local businesses connect, collaborate and grow.
I am grateful for every person who came through these doors, and thankful for all the lessons that I have had to learn along the way.

Whilst I can’t predict the future, and what the next 5 years have in store for us, I do know that if I learn as much as I have in the last 5 years, things will definitely be flexible, fun and phenomenally interesting! 😁

We’ve all been there (and if you’re reading this, you’re probably procrastinating right now). The clock ticks by, and with it your productive working hours. But you find yourself doing anything but the project at hand.

You chat to colleagues, flick through emails and social media, and ignore the growing project pile on the desk in front of you. You head home, determined to make a fresh start, but find yourself caught in a Netflix vortex and before you know it another day has slipped by.

But are we looking at procrastination all wrong? Could procrastination actually be serving a very real (and very valued) purpose? Could it be that you don’t have to feel guilty? Could we look at TIME in a different way?

The answer to all of the above? A resounding YES. But also NO. Here’s why.

Procrastination as a virtue, not a vice

Our culture idolises busy-ness. Go, go, go at all costs. Don’t stop. Check notifications. Respond immediately. Be across everything and don’t you dare stop for a minute. It’s no wonder that sometimes our brains put up a little STOP sign.

But why the stop sign? What is procrastination trying to tell us?

It could well be that you’re procrastinating over a particular task because your ideas and concepts aren’t fully formed yet. Imagine being a painter and forcing yourself to sit in front of an easel and DEMAND of your creative self to create a beautiful landscape between the hours of  9 and 5 that very day. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But just because we’re in business doesn’t mean that we don’t still have creative minds. Perhaps procrastination is part of the creative process as your brain mulls over different concepts. Takes its time to fully formulate ideas before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Another potential reason for procrastination is that you may be run down. Sickness, both physical and mental, can take quite the toll on our capacity to produce our best work. Give yourself time and space to rest and recover rather than beating yourself up about not performing at your best when you’re down in the proverbial dumps. No one can be their best at all times – not even Beyonce. If you wouldn’t expect your colleagues to work at 100% all of the time, why would you place those same standards on yourself?

  • Maybe you don’t feel comfortable with what you’re doing.
  • Maybe it’s not the right ‘fit’.
  • Maybe your procrastination is really the universe telling you that something’s not right. Take the time and space you need to look at things from a fresher angle. It’s okay that you can’t get that task done today.
  • Maybe tomorrow will be better.

When Procrastination is your Worst Best Friend

Before you pat yourself on the back for all of your procrastination, consider that sometimes there are negative reasons behind all of your workplace mucking around.

  • Is the task too hard? Delegate, prioritise and move forward.
  • Do you just not want to do it? Fashion the task into something that sparks joy.
  • Missing key information? Get all the pieces in place before you start work.
  • Not gelling with your team mates? See if you can shake things up.
  • Scared of starting something big? Reframe your mindset. We have anxiety about making big moves because they ask us to jump out of our comfort zones.

Procrastinators Unite! Eventually!

What’s your procrastination really telling you? Stop reading this article and get back to work to find out.

I really wanted to take a bit of time to delve in to explain what collaboration means to me.

Why I feel collaboration is such an important part of what we do here at Central Business Associates, but also why it is of great importance for us all to learn how to do it, and do it well!

You really do say it a lot…!

I know, I know! I never particularly used the word ‘collaborate’ until I began planning the concept of Central Business Associates, but I found myself naturally saying the word increasingly when I was explaining my business ideas, and also came to realise that I had been ‘collaborating’ for my whole working life! It was actually one of my major strengths, so I started looking more closely at it.
My research found me suddenly seeing the word everywhere  (you know how that happens – it feels like coincidence, but it’s just your brain seeing what was always there, in a new light!), but there were varying ways that it was being perceived and understood. So I wanted to clarify to you what it means to me, and how I use it in this business, so you can understand how it might benefit you, and how you can access the relevant services for you.

Teamwork!

For me – collaboration is about teamwork – it’s about recognising you can’t do it all alone, or more to the point – you don’t have to do it all alone! If we all work together and use our strengths, we don’t have to battle away alone, and try and do the things that we are not so good at (or that we secretly really don’t enjoy doing!). It’s about give and take – for a partnership to work, everyone has to be bringing strengths to the table, or the imbalance will eventually weigh heavy on the relationship. But it’s also not about expecting something every time you give – it’s about the teamwork – knowing that if the other person or people can help you, they will.
Knowing you have a group of people who have your back is an amazing feeling, and makes you all stronger – isn’t that worth pursuing?