53 episodes

Welcome to The Blue Pea Leader Podcast with Ruth Sanderson! If you want to become a leader of an organization where people feel alive and fully contribute, one that really understands who you are, lets you contribute your talents, live your purpose and make a difference. Listen in now as we share the latest practical ideas and techniques to experience authentic success through leadership.

The Blue Pea Leader Ruth Sanderson

    • Business
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Welcome to The Blue Pea Leader Podcast with Ruth Sanderson! If you want to become a leader of an organization where people feel alive and fully contribute, one that really understands who you are, lets you contribute your talents, live your purpose and make a difference. Listen in now as we share the latest practical ideas and techniques to experience authentic success through leadership.

    Success Principles – Imagination

    Success Principles – Imagination

    Welcome to the 2nd Podcast on Success Principles.   

    Our mind has several higher faculties – these include reason, will, perception, intuition, memory and the one I’m going to talk about today – IMAGINATION. 

    Of course depending on how you use these higher faculties, determines what you think about and therefore bring about. 

    Imagination for me is one of the most powerful and possible the first faculty you need to learn to work with and harness the power of. 

    In fact, Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge” 

     

    Let’s Practice 

    Close your eyes for a minute and imagine yourself lying on a beautiful sandy beach, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, hear the waves gently lapping the shore line.  Now add in the action of your choice – perhaps your children are building sandcastles, or you’re about to swim in the ocean. 

    You can spend as little or as much time on that beach using your imagination. 

     

    I think sometimes we forget we are creative beings.  We get to run movies in our head of pain or pleasure.  Of things working out for us or against us.   

    Of course we can delegate this faculty to others.  When we read the news or listen to others they’re giving us a narrative, a stream of instructions that we imagineer in our heads.  Just like I gave you the instructions to see yourself on a beach.   

     

    We need to pay attention to what movies we run.   

    Amazon and Netflix recommends other movies based on movies you’ve watched (and liked).  Our mind does the same thing.  We imagine relaxing on a beach and then our mind goes ooh what other holidays can we imagine (or recall) and what other ways of relaxing are there. 

    All good stuff. 

    And the mind doesn’t discriminate – you run a movie of giving a presentation for a job and it being a flop and then your mind goes, how else could we be a flop, be rejected, make a complete nit of ourselves.  Or when else have we made a mistake, been rejected, or made a fool of ourselves.  

     And down the rabbit hole we go.   

     Now I said that what we think about we bring about.   

    Which is true, and there are a few additions to that. 

     

    The power of repetition

    Firstly we have to repeatedly think about it – and as I’ve said the mind is like Netflix, so we don’t have to repeatedly think about the same beach scene, variations on a theme are repetition enough. 

    We also have to feel it.  Now if you run the movie of the beach scene for a couple of mins you’ll feel more relaxed, happy, peaceful etc – unless of course you have a real dislike for the beach, all those grains of sand getting everywhere, in which case you might notice you’re increased frustration or annoyance as you continue to imagine yourself there. 

     

    What does it mean to use Imagination as a success principle? 

    By running a movie of you experiencing success in something regularly, with feeling, you’ll begin to build a bridge between what’s currently going on for you and what you wish were going on for you. 

    You’re impressing your goal on to your subconscious mind.   

    Your unconscious mind will now be on the look out for any opportunities to get to you your goal.  I.e. the thing you’ve been imagining and thinking about.  And so when anything that is a fit and a match to the map of you getting from A to G, your unconscious mind will seize upon it. 

    And some of these actions that you take will be outside of your conscious awareness. 

    Let me illustrate.  Have you ever given someone a compliment about something they’ve just done and they said nothing.  A little later on they’re telling someone else about the event and highlighting all the things that went wrong.  No mention of your positive feedback.  Their unconscious view of what happened / the global narrative they have of themselves is what they’re sharing.   

    • 9 min
    Are You Using Your Creator Archetype Fruitfully?

    Are You Using Your Creator Archetype Fruitfully?

    In this episode of the blue pea leader, I want to explore the use of archetypes, well one specifically.  But what are archetypes, well they’re a language of power and a route to know ourselves better.  Why do we do what we do, respond how we do.  What makes us attracted or repelled by someone/thing. 

    When a particular archetype is active is influences or shapes how we view the world or our life.  We already speak them fluently and unconsciously recognise them in others.  It’s ours at play that we need to become more conscious of and learn to use as a powerful resource. 

    Becoming more conscious as a leader is something I help my clients achieve.  Understanding their archetypes is a significant element of this. 

    So then in this podcast I want to explore The Creator archetype specifically. 

     

    Creating…something new 

    The Goal or purpose of the creator archetype is ‘the creation of something new’. Fairly self explanatory then, so let’s look a little deeper. The gifts of this archetype or the resources available include creativity, vision, imagination, following your vocation and identity. 

    This archetype should be at its most obvious when we’re brainstorming, problem solving and setting the vision for our business. It should be allowed expression so that we can create our desired reality.  

    However all too often it’s stamped down or worse out by the processes and conditioning of life. Children are initially very creative, the other day I was sat on a rock on the beach when a child of about 5 or 6 claimed the next rock, except it wasn’t a rock, no it was a hotel and she was inviting people to check in and the other rocks, well rooms of course.  Although some were not for these guests.  There was at least 15 mins of fun as everyone checked in and out of their rock hotel.  Children have make believe friends, yes that’s who these rooms were reserved for.  Yet as adults we become more disapproving of this.  It’s fine when you’re 6, but not when you’re 16, or 36, it probably becomes OK again when you’re 86 if you can remember how to do it.   

    And that’s the thing, we’re encouraged to leave behind this form of creativity. Now I’m not suggesting for a minute that we have imaginary friends at work, but somewhere along the way some of us have had the creative stuffing knocked out of us.  

    So perhaps it’s time to get back in touch with this resource. 

    Because that’s what it is. A powerful resource, an antidote to stress, handling uncertainty and the route to creating more of what you do want in your life and business. 

     

    Benefits of the creator archetype 

    People who can easily access the creator archetype tend to have many ideas, flights of fantasy, what if moments, and they’re not too attached to them in the first instance.  

    It’s only when they’ve dwelled upon an idea that attachment forms. So these people are good at innovating and coming up with ideas to solve problems (both practical and impractical) they just don’t filter for a start. Of course if as an individual or a business you get too creative, then you need to ensure there is enough space to make things happen (and there is some element of market reality or demand) or you can go in to overload and nothing happens. 

    If we look at this from a leadership perspective then the creator archetype allows us to come up with the vision and describe it in such a way that others buy in and want to follow.  

    If we look from a brand perspective then this archetype is about producing wonderful works of art, and I mean that in the looser sense.  A good example would be Apple. 

     

    Now of course if you draw upon the creator a lot, then you may find yourself shying away from boring or routine work and people who lack imagination. On the other hand people may perceive you as eccentric or just plain weird. The Creator is also about vocation and identity,

    • 10 min
    Working With Fear

    Working With Fear

    This year I’m exploring and attempting to understand what drives fear(s) more. I know what a topic to pick. Maybe something smaller for next year 😆

    However fear is a powerful emotion.  It stops us in our tracks, influences our thoughts and the words or actions we take.

    Let’s take Psychological safety – so important in any relationship, work or personal.  Fear is a significant component that reduces this.

    So I’ve been asking myself questions like:-



    * As a leader how do we reduce the amount of fear present?

    * Is fear ever healthy?

    * What’s the toll on our health, productivity and creativity?

    * How do my fears determine what’s possible for me / the group / business?



    Big questions, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll have more answers to these.

     

    Did You Choose Your Fear?

    An email from Thoughts From The Universe dropped in to my inbox.

    If you don’t subscribe yet go to TUT.com

    A particular sentence jumped out at me

    ….Even your fears and challenges are admired, along with the courage it took to choose them. (Yeah, you chose them.)…

    It stopped me in my tracks and I reflected.

    And here’s the magic or the power. I did choose my fears. All of them. In a nano second there was a conscious choice. After that my fears run on autopilot which makes it feel like I didn’t choose them.

    Some fears make sense, there is an event and you can correlate it to the fear.

    Others, well they’re there, and yet the event that started it all is forgotten. And we wonder why, and did I really pick this one, because it makes absolutely no sense at all etc.

     

    39 Steps

    After all, who’d choose to be scared of steps. I mean I’m 52 for goodness sake and still when I walk up or down steps I have to talk to myself – hilarious.  Really, I do see the funny side of this. I was in my 40’s when I almost fell down a flight of stairs, but I’ve had this, what seems like an irrational fear, forever.

    I know the saying feel the fear and do it anyway.

    And sometimes that works.  We grow, our fear shrinks, or we just find a way of managing the fear, keeping it in proportion or at a level that it doesn’t change our actions.  In other words if we didn’t feel the fear we’d still do this same action.

    And we should feel proud of the fact we’re taking the same action, even though we feel anxious or whatever.  It’s true, every time I successfully navigate a set of steps, I acknowledge that I didn’t let my fear make other choices for me.  Because sometimes there is a voice in my head shouting there is a lift over there you could take that, who cares that it’s just one floor.

     

    Is It Fear?

    There is another possible outcome to feeling the fear and doing it anyway.  We feel elated afterwards.  In other words at times we get confused between the feeling of fear and excitement; as they can produce similar sensations in the body.  It’s all a matter of how we label them.  And more often than is useful we’re quick to label the sensation as fear.

    Butterflies in the stomach is a sensation commonly present in both emotions.

    The fear of presenting is a very a common fear.  It’s another one I had.  Now notice I use the past tense with this fear.  That’s not to say I don’t experience a few nerves occasionally.  It’s an alert telling me there is something else going on, another fear.  A fear that has usually has nothing to do with presenting perse.  What is normal for me to feel is a few butterflies, a slight buzz, it is a feeling of excitement.

    Years ago I had the pleasure of chatting with an actor and we were talking about walking out on to a stage.  I was describing how I used to be…. aka, a nervous, shaking wreck that spoke to either the floor or the...

    • 11 min
    SUCCESS PRINCIPLES – ATTITUDE

    SUCCESS PRINCIPLES – ATTITUDE

    Welcome to a new series I’ll be covering throughout this year on Success Principles.   

    The first principle I’ll be exploring is Attitude.  

    Humans have one of those luxuries – something we take for granted and overlook. 

    Freewill. 

    Often we act like we don’t have a choice. We forget to use our freewill. And something that contributes to this is our attitude. 

    Perhaps we get stuck on something and think it’s our ability that’s holding us back from making progress. I need to learn more to do better at this – and maybe you do.  And just check in with yourself, what’s your attitude on this subject? 

    What is attitude? 

    Your attitude is what’s going on inside of you, your thoughts and feelings about (you/others/subject). 

    As you show up, eg to a meeting, what frame of mind are you in? What’s going round in your head, what mood are you in? 

    There is something else that feeds into your attitude and that’s your archetypes.  These are deep patterns of thoughts and behaviours that run unconsciously. On the other hand they’re a fabulous resource for shifting attitudes when you’re consciously aware of how to use them, rather than the other way around.   

    Lets briefly explore one. The Realist. In its helpful format it will enable you to process disappointment, learn what you need to learn for your future, increase your resilience.  

    In it’s unhelpful form it allows you to wallow in self pity, feel powerless to whatever has been the source of pain. Your attitude would be one of pessimism / cynicism  

    In the healthy realist it’s about helpful risk assessment , in the shadow realist it’s more like fatalistic there’s not point / it’s won’t work.  

    Now we may not be aware of archetypes in ourselves, yet we will see them in others. The example I’ve just used. I’ll see both expressions of the Realist somewhere in conversations with others this week.  

    And there will be times when it’s me doing them  

    It’s not about eradicating, rather knowing how to switch to using it in its positive form.  

    If you want to know how to work in harmony with your archetypes, check out our Archetypes Programme.

    So all of the above comprise your attitude.   

    The thing is our attitude is often determined by our past experiences and expectations. We forget that like the clothes we put on this morning, we can choose to change at any moment. 

    And we don’t even need to find a telephone box and remove our glasses and whizz around a few times. 

    Yet shifting our attitude can be as powerful as the transformation superman and wonder woman got in their telephone box twirling. 

     

    3 Approaches to Improving Attitude 

    Want more success, here are 3 attitudes that will help 

    1. Think with an open mind.  For that we need to be curious, expansive.  And indeed suspend, even if it’s just temporary, our judgements, allowing us to consider more than we thought possible. 

    Here is a podcast that expands on this 

     

    2. Think for yourself.  The truth is we like to kid ourselves that we think for ourselves.  I’m an adult or course I think for myself.  Yet if we pay attention to our thoughts and follow them back to where they originated from.  Only a small percentage will have originated from within us as adults.  Most of our thoughts come from what others have said about us, social media, marketing, the news.  Or from our previous experiences when we were a child.  Turns out thinking for yourself is less common than we believe. 

     

    3. Think constructively.  Which is a more expansive useful variation of think positive/optimistic, minus all the happy clappy,

    • 9 min
    10 Ways To Reduce Your Stress Levels

    10 Ways To Reduce Your Stress Levels

    Burnout, exhaustion, stress gone too far. 

    For some of us last year we found ways of getting through the turbulence and we entered this year hoping that things would improve.   

    It’s possible that you defined last year as stressful or exhausting.  I know several people who by April this year were longing for a holiday and a time to rejuvenate.  I also know they wouldn’t’ have used the words burnt out. 

    Yet in more recent conversations and there are some early warning signs that the reserves are depleted and unless attention is paid then burnt out is the destination. 

    So if you’re finding yourself with less and less energy here are 10 things you can do to either stop the leaks or restore the energy bank balance. 

    1. Set boundaries – be clear with yourself at the very least on what you’re saying yes and no to.  I did an earlier podcast on this subject.  So if you want more information check out the October 2019 episode, The Benefit of Setting Boundaries at Work.  

    2. Do something that requires absolutely no brain power for you.  For example, this could be cooking, taking photographs, swimming, even ironing.  It’s an activity that for you doesn’t much thought.  So it’s something that either you’re a natural at or you’ve honed your skills enough that you’re unconsciously competent.  And ideally the activity should be pleasurable.  

    3. Do something daft or hedonistic – Next time it rains get your wellies on and go jump in puddles.  Or take your ordinary bath time and add some va va voom, make it a hedonistic experience.  It could be some luxury bath foam, a glass of champagne, candles, aromatherapy, music, any and all of them.  Move it from a functional experience into something that lifts your spirits.  

    4. If life is all routine, then shake it up.  Have a freestyle day, half day, even an hour will make a difference.    

    5. By contrast, if life is all over the place, then what can you make routine and predictable, in a pleasurable relaxing fashion.  

    6. Lists – I love them.  In this case though I’m not suggesting you write a to do list, you probably already have one of those and a long one at that.  Instead write a things I love about ______ list.  Ideally do this about your work.  Then see if you can schedule a day where it’s all the things you love.  Not only is it something to look forward to but that day will recharge your batteries too. 

    7. Disconnect – always on, always available, always comparing.  Ideally each day you should set a time when phones and internet devices are put away and then you can read, talk, chill, meditate or if you absolutely must binge on Netflix.  On a weekend schedule a day for no social media / newspapers or email.  And then stretch yourself to have a longer vacation from social media and the news.  I did about 3 months this summer.  I didn’t plan for it to be some long, and after the first 4 weeks it wasn’t a 100% absence, however I was selective as to what I re-introduced.  And very aware of how it impacted me.  

    8. Exercise – dance, walk, yoga, boxing.  OK so some require the gym, others you can do in the privacy of your own home.  Just 20 minutes can see a positive biochemical shift in your body, which will help to reduce your stress levels.  

    9. Gold stars – if you can’t do this every day then do it once a week.  What would you give someone in your life/work a gold star for?  And tell them.  Now comes the harder part, what would you give yourself a gold star for?  And yes you have to give yourself one.  Then allow yourself to appreciate your star as a gift.  In other words, don’t dismiss, or fault find.  

    10. Sleep – get yourself 8 hours, it’s a magic number.  Or allow yourself a mid-afternoon or post lunch powernap, 20 mins.  My go to during the day is meditation, 5 mins.  Works wonders for restoring balance.  Slows down my mind,

    • 10 min
    Hybrid Working and Your Leadership

    Hybrid Working and Your Leadership

    A return to the office and the more traditional way of working is starting to happen.  Of course there are risks and rewards of doing this.  And from several conversations I’ve had with clients I know there are many preferences for the future.  I also understand that remote working has challenged our ability to stay connected in a meaningful way.

    A Gartner CFO Survey showed that 74% of companies intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently. Whilst some companies have pushed their return to office date to early 2022 we’re likely to see a hybrid working model become the norm.

    And what impact does this have for our leadership?

     

    Command and Control

    Whilst leadership wasn’t all about command and control.  There was an aspect of more immediate feedback when we were in the office and so we could respond accordingly.

    Now we can’t physically sense and see one another, any kinks in the relationship and there is a tendency to overcome these by managing things, and with that people, more tightly.  Micromanagement is on the rise.  Issues of trust are on the increase.  And when you factor in the swift ways things have been changing our thinking has become more tactical than strategic.

    All in all a potent recipe for demotivation.

     

    Situational Leadership

    What’s been asked of us as leaders is our ability to stay open minded, present and alert to the context we’re managing and leading at the moment.  What’s required today, this week, could very well and probably will be different the next week.  What one person needs right now could shift in 24 hours, depending on what’s happening.

    We long for certainty, stability, predictability.  What we find comfortable is because it’s known.  Even if something is better for us, the team, the business, if it makes us feel uncomfortable, we look to reduce it to lessen the anxiety.

    Autonomy and responsibility are something our employees have been seeking, and the last 18 months have given us a huge window to allow them to take this.

    What it’s shown us is how much we perhaps spoon fed or picked up the pieces.  Or how much we smothered and never realised.

    Now we really can empower our staff to make decisions.

    And in the transition, we need to watch that they don’t feel abandoned.

    If there is a lack of clarity, feedback and communication of expectations, then once again we’ll see motivation drop.

     

    Outcomes v Activities

    An opportunity in this shift in how we work is that our focus should be on agreeing outcomes, i.e results, rather than a list of activities and things to do.  Once we both know the desired result, then how we get there, the things we do and how long it takes are where our autonomy kicks in.  And by how long it takes I’m taking about a shift in mindset from 9-5, or working super long hours.  Agree a deliverable date for the result, not the number of hours you think it should take to get the result.

     

    Isolation and Fatigue

    Of course in remote working we’re seeing a rise in isolation and fatigue.  In the office, even if you were only there 2 days a week you could notice if some one was isolating themselves or being isolated.  You could spot signs of fatigue before it became burnout.

    Remote working and one that’s happened through crisis, fear and loss, means it’s far harder to spot these things early on.

    Our challenge is to help people cope with the blurring of personal and work life.  What’s absolutely fine, what’s OK, what’s desirable, what’s not acceptable.

    Share, humanise, give clarity.

    There are some zoomies… and if you don’t have your video on, or you do and your other half walks into the room singing their head off, it really doesn’t matter.  There are other zoomies and I want to see you, bad hair day, bags under your eyes, cat walking across the desk, the lot.

    • 8 min

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Great nuggets on leadership

Ruth knows and understands leadership at a deeper level than most. I lover her insights delivered in a quirky and friendly style