Penny Locaso is a master of change. Having spent 16 years in large scale project management and change management at Shell, she then founded BKindred where she now teaches others how to make positive change and find happiness in their lives. For those of us who feel disengaged at work (a mere 24% of Australian employees are engaged in the workplace) or in our personal lives, Penny shares with us five bite sized steps that will lead to greater fulfilment and happiness in our day to day lives!
What has lead you down this road from change management in a highly corporate environment to empowering others to create happy change in their lives?
In my previous work I was never unhappy, but I was highly stressed and I didn’t realise it, I was always operating at 150%. I felt like I was always planning or working towards the future and therefore never truly present or enjoying the moment. After I left Shell, I undertook ‘100 coffee dates’, reaching out to people I had never met who were creating businesses driven by purpose and passion as opposed to profit. I would email them saying, “I love what you’re up to. I’m at a crossroads and I’d love to learn how you made the transition from what you were doing to where you are now.”
All I knew at that point was that I wanted to have more meaning in my work, a positive impact on the lives of others and show my young son that you could create a sustainable business by doing good. BKindred was born in October 2015. I wanted to leverage 20 years of commercial experience, my love of human connection and change to teach others how to build the confidence, the clarity and the skill to make meaningful and happy change in their work and their lives.
What an incredible journey! Let’s talk about 5 actionable things that anyone can do to create a happy change in their life, from their personal lives and into the workplace.
I often have people come to me and say “I’m a professional, have a 6 figure salary and an amazing career, but I’m unhappy, I seek change but I don’t even know what I want to do.”
The reason for this is that they have never created the headspace to think about what truly matters to them and brings them happiness. Ask yourself, “How much is your happiness worth?” Once you work that out, schedule the headspace for change as you would a weekly recurring meeting, even if you can only afford an hour and a half a week.
Make sure this time is scheduled when you are at your highest energy levels. Perhaps on the weekend, or early in the morning. Working on your personal development at the end of a busy day is not recommended. This work takes energy, focus and time to be fruitful.
1) Define happiness on your terms in the next 12 months
Have you ever written down what happiness looks like for you a year from now? I recommend focusing on no longer than a year. Change is most effective in bite sized pieces and the intent of this work is to provide you with a north star to guide your happiness journey and inform your decision making process along the way.
Try this short visualisation to gain clarity on what happiness looks life for you.
Imagine you are looking back on the last 12 months and you’ve created happiness in your life, close your eyes and ask yourself:
What does that happiness look like to you?
What have you achieved?
How do you feel?
How have you made others feel?
What impact have you had?
What does your average day look like?
Grab a pen and paper and write down what came up for you. Stick it on your wall to remind you daily of the happiness you seek.
2) Write a curiosity list
This is a list of things that interest you that perhaps you don’t know that much about but would like to know more of. Pick one thing on your list and start learning about it. Start reaching out to people in that area for a coffee, do some research, attend meetups or events. Without a doubt there are many things out there that are unexplored that you don’t even know yet could make you happy. There is no one path to happiness for you, there could be thousands that may deliver equal enjoyment.
Trust that the clarity will come in the action. It’s not about right or wrong or making mistakes, but acknowledging that everything is a stepping stone to where you’re meant to be, even if you don’t know where you’re meant to be. You’ll make connections, fuck up, learn new things and that’s where the magic lies. Action this curiosity list and as long as you’re feeling uncomfortable, you’ll know you’re operating in the right space.
3) Ask yourself why
Once you’ve defined what happiness looks like for you it’s important to clarify why it matters. What impact do you want to have and why?
It can take around 2 years of focused work to gain clarity on one’s purpose. Introspection and exploration cannot be rushed. Author Carolyn Tate wrote an excellent book ‘Conscious Marketing’ and within it there are some brilliant tools that talk about how to create your purpose statement. It’s where I started.
Once you start to explore your purpose and question why, it has an effect of programming your subconscious. Without knowing you start to observe what has meaning to you, you tend to reflect more and go back to this work to tweak and refine as the clarity unfolds.
4) Surround yourself with disruptors
I don’t mean disruptors like the Mark Zuckerbergs or the Bill Gates because we don’t all have access to people like them. I’m talking about your local game changers that are constantly stepping outside of their comfort zones, taking risks, applying a different lens to problem solving and who are challenging the status quo.
Look at how you can extend your networks in the disruptive space. Venture into a co-working space like OneRoof Women and work there for a day or even a week, listen to people who are telling their stories at Fuck Up nights. Use sites like Meetup and Eventbrite to your advantage. There is so much to be gained by corporate professionals and entrepreneurs co-working together regularly and sharing skills and resources to improve ideation, innovation and social awareness.
5) Practice the power of getting comfortable with discomfort
Vulnerability is the new authenticity and an underrated powerhouse for personal and cultural innovation. Vulnerability builds resilience, enables diversity, makes us more relatable to the people who matter and builds true self acceptance.
How do you get comfortable with discomfort? Practice small acts of bravery. Choose something small that makes you feel exposed but that you have wanted to do for some time. It could be as simple as going to a networking event where you know no one and walking up and introducing yourself to a stranger. It might be as simple as sharing something on social media that makes you feel slightly vulnerable. Think of all the things you’re afraid of doing but know might would make you happier, pick just one.
Just like that, you have five tactics that you can employ tomorrow to move you closer to happiness on your terms.
Are you feeling stuck at the moment? Are you interested in learning more about how to create happy change in your life and your work?
Agency Iceberg have partnered with BKindred to offer a free seat on Penny’s four week foundational online program #NakedForChange101, starting on June 19th, 2017. This is the place to start when you don’t know where to start. #NakedForChange101 is designed to teach the how of getting comfortable with discomfort in order to navigate the most effective route to personal or professional happiness.
Valued at $449 (AUD), to win this giveaway, you must:
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading ‘NakedForChange101 Giveaway’ telling us why you want to find more happiness in your career and what your instagram handle is.
Competition closes by Tuesday, June 6th and the winner will be announced the following day. Entrants from all around the globe are welcome to enter.
Connect with Penny Locaso here.
Photography by Breeana Dunbar.