Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling in which a person feels a strong sense of emptiness and solitude resulting from inadequate levels of social relationships. However, it is a subjective experience. Loneliness has also been described as social pain — a psychological mechanism meant to alert an individual of isolation and motivate her/him to seek social connections.  (Wikipedia)

Recently I’ve read somewhere that if you’re a CEO or MD of an organisation, and you can relate to the saying that goes “its lonely at the top”, then you’re doing something wrong. Very wrong. I think the same goes for anyone else.

Someone very close to my heart also recently told me that they went walking through the mall one day, just strolling around window shopping on a public holiday. He went on to tell me that he on purposely walked the mall twice hoping to see someone he knows. Let me say that again: he walked the mall TWICE, in the hope of seeing someone he knows. My first thought to that was “how very sad”. Not pathetic. Just very sad.

How many strangers, family, friends, or colleagues have we passed by in our lives feeling like this?

Losing people, whether it be through death, divorce, children moving out, or just being alone “at the top”, I’ve come to realise one thing. Loneliness holds no discretion against who or what you are in the world, it comes when it comes and to whom it comes. It gives you no warning of its taste or lingering effect. You can be the most lovable person there is, and still feel lonely. Most famous, always surrounded by people, but still lonely. Or just alone with no-one around, and utterly lonely. I dont know whats worse.

How does one help the lonely? By always being there? Or by shepherding them? Guiding them to a different outlook on life?

It seems the busier life becomes, the lonelier life becomes for some. Ironic in a way. All I want to know is, is there a cure for loneliness and where in the universe is it? If not, how can I/we help the lonely?

All comments are welcomed… 🙂

The ‘Hero’

Heroes. Everybody loves a hero.

I’ve discovered a hero I don’t quite like though – nevermind love!.

I discovered the kind of ‘hero’ that looks pretty, in control on the surface, but pretty darn ugly on the inside. I’ve discovered that they live off others truthful qualities just so they can remain in control on the surface.

We have a lot of these kind of ‘heroes’ in our workplaces. You. Me. We all have them. The kind of ‘hero’ that seeks – whether knowingly or unknowingly – the approval of others – no matter what the cost. They will keep their shining armour of gold to their name. They are hard-working, helpful, friendly, and would do just about anything for the organisation… But at what cost to those around them, I ask? Nevermind to themselves.

I prefer honour, than golden armour to my name.

I prefer truth, than pretend.

I prefer a hero that does what he/she has to do because it’s what really matters.
What really matters.

Dont live your life on the instant gratifications, live it for the long-term one’s… the one’s that really matter over time. The one’s you really deserve a medal for!

My first Agile Retrospective


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Last year I suggested facilitating a retrospective for our team before the next phase of work began.

This was my first time leading a team of 16 members through a retrospective.

After a quick survey with the team, questioning to see how I can make this relevant to them, I decided to do some more research into Agile Retrospectives. The feedback I got wasnt enough to base an entire retrospective on, plus, I knew already what the team needed. Thats the positive about being a team member as well!

I researched websites, and researched…. I emailed Karen Greaves and Sam Laing from Growing Agile http://growingagile.co.za/ , and seeked advice. I received the ESVP idea from Karen. I also received a link to Cara Turner’s blog, http://facilitatingagility.com/author/caraturner/. Cara’s blog listed a whole lot of retro techniques. Now the only question I had was which one!

The main feature of the Retrospective (aside from the alice in wonderland side show) was The 4L’s by Mary Gorman and Ellen Gottesdiener, http://ebgconsulting.com/blog/the-4l%E2%80%99s-a-retrospective-technique/ . This tool exposed some interesting and vital insights in our team. I took this concept a bit further by adding actions to the insights we discovered. Breaking it down even more into short term (what we can still do in 2012), and long term (2013) actions. Trying to keep it as realistic as possible.

I used Esther Derby’s, http://www.estherderby.com/category/insights , Agile Retrospective slide for the 1st half of my retrospective, and the 2nd half was sown together by the other retro ideas which I also adapted slightly again, to make it relevant and clearly understandable for our team.

The result?

They LOVED it! They all participated and 13 team members out of 15 are all EXPLORERS. That was especially interesting to discover because if the team is eager to learn new ideas, it shows they are willing, and if they willing, there’s so much propects/opportunities for this team.

Believe me, I had nightmares the night before. I prepared myself for failure… Why do we do that?.

They surprised me in a good way 🙂

Now comes the hard part. .. Gathering the information to make sure that the actions we all agreed on, are actioned. Its important that the team see’s progress or there will be little faith in these kind of tools in the future.

The feedback?

To do this more often on a 6 month basis during the work phase – not just after it.

Plus mostly ‘liked’ dots!… mostly.

Here’s some pics of our retrospective and the presentation slide …

So… tell me what you think.?

oh, and photo credits goes to Judith Cross… thanks Judy!







“the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words”. Thats the dictionary explanation.

I always thought it was just talk between two or more people. Never an ‘exchange of ideas‘.

Our friends, family, colleagues – are all surrounded by conversations with each other. Conversations with our colleagues about a particular problem or solution, can do alot more than an email could ever do. Its the physical human contact, and whether you like it or not, we all crave it.

Blogging is a conversation. But it will never live up to the conversation I could have with you face-to-face.

We’ve got to have conversations more often in our lives. I’m talking about REAL conversation.

Not just ‘talking’. Any dumb-ass can do that. I’m referring to the exchanging of ideas between people. The excitement it leaves you with after that conversation. Thats what I’m talking about!

Having a conversation with someone about life, the universe and everything else does matter. Its food for the soul and our soul needs food just as much as our physical bodies.

Have you had a conversation with someone that left you alive with new ideas or questions ?

If you havent, then remove the people from your conversations that doesnt energise you, and find one’s who does.

If you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about 🙂