As we start wrapping up another year here at retailu and look forward to 2019, I like to reflect what I have learned in life, business and leadership through the past year.
Twenty eighteen was a hectic year; lots happened from moving our website to a new platform, bringing on new team members to support growth and content build, as well as marketing and general admin.


When I think about what we have accomplished, it took commitment, sacrifice, teamwork and action.


In my career, I learned so much this year how to manage through change, overcome adversity, and stay connected to the people that matter.


Personally, my son moved to the USA to attend high school; I learned to love driving to Buffalo at the weekends and with all of this I restarted my meditation practice, hit the gym and managed to get a few weekend breaks in.


When people say to me "I don't know how you do all of this"


It makes me chuckle, for me, I do what I love. I think I am one of the fortunate ones that get up everyday living my passion. I genuinely believe that if you are lucky enough to have found your purpose in life, then you owe it to yourself to not waste a single moment not fulfilling it.


This week I was chatting with a long-time family friend, who had known me from my early beginnings in retail when I was working as a store manager in Miami Beach with two young kids. At that time, I didn't know what my career path was or what I wanted to do, I thought more about working to pay my bills and provide for my two kids. Looking back now, I guess I was just not aware at that moment what my strengths were. I knew I loved people and connecting with others.

Today my favourite thing to do is work in the store, talking with team members and customers. Whenever I get the chance to work in-store, it reminds me of my days managing one. In-store I get to serve others, which is what I believe we are all here to do in some form or capacity. The best way I can describe it for me is I get to be mindful of others needs versus my own which I find truly rewarding.


So as I reflect on some of my leadership life lessons in 2018;
It all sums up to "MINDFUL LEADERSHIP." What is mindful leadership? I would attribute the following to being a conscious leader.

Success comes to those that help others succeed. What goes around comes around. I can't emphasize this point enough. I believe in Karma and the law of cause and effect. The universe brings you more of what you give. I have been fortunate to learn this lesson early in my life through different experiences; if you think you can get ahead to benefit yourself think again, this is a very superficial thought process. If you feel like this, it's time to think bigger and beyond. A mentor told me about five years ago making money is easy, making money and doing the right thing with it is difficult. If you have a vision for your life, ask yourself does that vision includes others? If not you may want to rethink it.


Be mindful. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Work on yourself while you work on others. Be aware of what you are overcoming. Take 15 minutes a day to sit back and connect with your thoughts, concerns and excitements, and be mindful of other peoples. They are working on themselves just as much as we are on ourselves.


Perception is real; We are what other people perceive us to be, but I have learned that does not always match how we see ourselves. Work on matching them both, and you will be an authentic person. Being authentic is living your truth and being honest with who you are. Being honest is the highest form of leadership.


Be empathetic towards others and yourself. Empathy and compassion are two of my favourite words. This is not a sign of weakness in leadership it's a strength. I was fortunate to have a senior executive tell me this over twelve years ago, and it was the best advice. Empathy and Compassion are key EI competencies. If you don't develop them, then you will never work well with others. If you think about my first and second point, it's a must to work with others, help others and build others.


Sometimes being patient is all that is required. Patience is a virtue and patience takes mindfulness. I was waiting at my friend's gated community yesterday where they check your ID before driving into the area. It was about a 30-minute wait, it felt like forever, but at that moment I thought about the lady at the gate, working on a holiday to let everyone in and how she was diligently ensuring all the residents were safe. It easy to get fed up and frustrated it takes mindfulness leadership of ourselves not to let that take over.


Apologize and forgive fast. When I mess up in my relationships, I say I am sorry, own it, and I am mindful of my part in the problem. When others do the same to me, I forgive and move on. I tell my son this as he is very emotional. Getting frustrated with others is letting them control you, not the other way around.


The world needs mindful leaders, leaders that care, leaders that teach others the same, leaders that think larger than themselves and leaders that pave the way for future leaders. If you hold a leadership role, ask yourself how mindful are you? And what can you do to be more mindful in 2019?
Hope this inspires you to think about 2019 and what kind of leader you want to continue to grow into.
Thanks for reading.


April

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