Reimagining work and life.

As I begin this week’s blog post I wish to acknowledge some of the learning I have had that informs my thinking. 

In 2015 I studied Roche Martin’s Emotional Intelligence trainer programme and became their New Zealand trainer assessor and coach. This has and continues to be, a privileged and hugely rewarding position.

To add to this learning, in March 2019 I became a Dare to Lead certified facilitator, which is based on the work of Brene’ Brown. To go deeply into her work and to be able to stand with credibility as I share her work is a profound privilege.

These are the two main influences upon which I call upon as I speak to you this week.

Over the Covid19 shutdown, I found myself re-thinking many elements of my life. This has caused me to make some major decisions about where I wish to live, who I wish to surround myself with, and how I wish to honour not only my clients, but myself even more. After many conversations, I know many of you have also taken this time to re-think how you will navigate your lives as you move forward.

That is why this week, I wish to call-upon the emotional intelligence competency of “self-actualisation” as a point for reflection. The competency of ‘self actualisation’ is underpinned by three major qualities: Passion, Achievement drive and Work-life blend.

Let’s call-upon some of Brene’ Brown’s work to give us an understanding of what “self-actualization” is and what it isn’t from a leadership perspective. Her work frames it up under the titles of Fear-Based or Daring/Courageous Leadership.

Being passionate

is about leading from the platform of our values, being enthusiastic and motivated. 

What it isn’t

Fear-Based Leadership

Hiding behind cynicism with comments such as “oh that will never work”, “we’ve tried that before”, or “good-luck with that!”

Using criticism (of self or others) as self protection.

What it is

Daring/Courageous Leadership

Modelling clarity, kindness & hope

Making contributions & taking risks


Achievement drive

includes being a goal setter, you are able to work to a plan, and you achieve.

What it isn’t

Fear-Based Leadership

Driving perfectionism & fostering fear of failure.

Working from scarcity & squandering opportunities for joy & recognition.

What it is

Daring/Courageous Leadership

Modelling and encouraging healthy striving, empathy & self compassion

Practicing gratitude & celebrating milestones & victories


Work-life blend

Is when we pursue a healthy lifestyle, are contented, and have broad interests.

What it isn’t

Fear-Based Leadership

Rewarding exhaustion as a status symbol & attaching productivity to self-worth

Hustling for our worth

What it is

Daring/Courageous Leadership

Modeling and supporting rest, play & recovery

Knowing our value

We can be any one of these at any given moment; that is the nature of being human. The emotionally intelligent courageous leader however, will be able to quickly recognise when they are operating from fear, and utilise their learned skills and strategies to switch towards daring, or courageous leadership.

We are not born with a finite serving of emotional intelligence. It is a set of skills that can be learned,  that we can become literate in.

Daniel Goleman defines Emotional Literacy as,

A set of skills we can develop, including the ability to read, understand, and respond appropriately to one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.

Daniel Goleman, The Triple Focus

I’ve found that when organisations put their efforts into developing their leaders at a deep level, they are able to lead in this Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous environment with a strong back (inner pou), soft front, wild heart and agile feet. 

This week I ask you to consider where you and your leaders are in relation to the emotional intelligence competencies above. Do you lean towards one side more than the other? Is it time to go deep?

Like a lot of my clients, you might be wondering how to keep your learning initiatives going in these disruptive times. I’m in the thick of creative planning with many clients about how we can help their people to thrive, and we’re coming up with some super-cool solutions. I am also still coaching and mentoring, and holding professional learning sessions virtually. If you’d like to chat about what’s possible, drop me a line.

MA :)

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