What is your spark? How many hats do you wear? What’s your internal voice telling you? Is your ladder leaning on the right wall? And why, why, why are you coming to me with this idea?


These are just a handful of questions which we were asked in a one-hour session during the latest ‘BeNext’ session – “Reignite your spark: Moving from reactive to proactive”. After a short debrief, where the common theme was “we really covered a lot of ground”, we were onto our 2nd break-out room. Our group was led by Danielle Ainsworth – General Manager Home & Disability Services at Australian Unity. (Click here to read Part One)


PART 2: Tribes, Teamwork and Time


Danielle invited us to explore two topics:

  1. How to stay motivated as leaders
  2. How to motivate our teams


To kick things off, Danielle stressed the importance of finding your tribe. What is a tribe you ask? A group of people who share a similar passion, have an understanding of your challenges, will celebrate your wins, share your losses and fuel your drive. A tribe allows you to speak freely and offers understanding. In this way, Danielle stressed that you won’t ‘download’ thoughts, feelings and emotions on your own team unnecessarily. I think this is a great lesson for all young leaders.


Danielle challenged us to find a mentor, who can assist in overcoming challenges and discussing issues. Mentors are a great was to grow as a leader and can assist in providing direction. It made me reflect on my own experiences, and the success we’ve had as a business since enlisting the help of a mentor. I liked Danielle’s use of ‘download’ which I could definitely relate to. During my mentoring sessions, I often feel as if I’m just dumping thoughts and ideas on my mentor, spending much more time talking than him. Although friends and colleagues of mine will tell you that this is pretty normal. The one thing I can confidently say, is that I always leave my mentoring sessions more motivated and clearer in my decision making.


We then discussed the importance of self-care. Danielle highlighted how our own actions as leaders are viewed by our teams. She noted the importance of leading by example and that maybe spending 10-hours a day behind our desks without a break may not be driving healthy practices within our teams. In saying that, as a small business owner, an army of workers who do 10-hour days without a break could be pretty useful. Imagine what we could get done!


To achieve balance and efficiency, Danielle noted that “structuring time” was a great way to approach each day. Danielle encouraged us to consider our most productive times. In contrast to Danielle, I’ve always known that I’m most productive first thing in the morning. She encouraged us to recognise these times and schedule our most important tasks within this period. It was interesting to hear that Danielle shares her calendar with her whole team, so they know when she is “on”. This also encourages her team to take a similarly structured approach to their day. I thought this was a great insight.


Finally, Danielle encouraged us to commit time to exploring our passions. Continue to ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing; or how you can realign with your passion or purpose. This could involve taking on a side project or being clearer in our goal setting. In the chaos of our working weeks, as we progressively pen a growing list of “to-dos”, there’s no doubt that at times we can lose sight of what is actually driving us.


Danielle’s session had the following key messages:

  1. Make sure you’ve got a support network
  2. Practice self-care
  3. Use your time effectively
  4. Ensure you don’t lose touch with what drives you


Whilst Ian’s presentation provided ways to ensure proactivity in leadership, I think Danielle’s presentation was more about making sure we don’t lose our spark. Both sessions provided a great balance and timely reminders of some of the key lessons which I’ve learned as an age services worker and young leader in recent years.


If I could give one piece of advice to readers looking for their spark for 2021; I’d encourage everyone to be proactive and find ways to expand your thinking and connect with people who inspire and motivate you. In BeNext, you may just reignite your passion, become a stronger leader and find your tribe.

Click here to read Part One


Simon Kerrigan is the inaugural National LASA Next Gen Young Leader Award winner, an innovative physiotherapist, the Managing Director at Guide Healthcare, and LASA Next Gen Ambassador.

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