Camilla Gray-Nelson is a farm-girl turned entrepreneur and author with a unique take on finding success in life, love, and career. Camilla coaches, cajoles and commands her audience, teaching important life lessons on leadership and personal empowerment with lessons learned from the animals that have shared her life. Drawing upon years of studying animal behavior first-hand, Camilla discusses the similarities between animals and humans and the subtler side of leadership – why bigger and louder isn’t better and how universal social cues can be applied to all of life’s important situations. It’s a powerful but pragmatic approach designed to help audiences better achieve their goals – not only with their animals, but with their staff, their clients, their children and partners alike. Here’s a few gems of knowledge Camilla shared during our Confidence Conversation:
Failure is a part of the process. Whether it’s in business or in life, failure is a part of the process. While it can be upsetting at the outset, if we open our hearts and our minds, we can learn a lot about ourselves and the world around us. It all starts with being introspective and taking the time to analyze the disappointments we’ve experienced.
Nature is a teacher. Camilla began to crack the harmony code during one of the roughest seasons of her life. At the time she was broke and divorced, trying to understand why things weren’t as she thought they should be. As she spent more time in nature and quietly observed the interactions between the animals around her, Camilla was able to make sense of relationships, success, and how everyone and everything has an important role to play.
Being in flow is akin to being in harmony. There are two basic situations in which we find ourselves: (1) a situational advantage where one has power, authority, and resources, or (2) a situational disadvantage. There is no middle ground here. The key is to not see either place as being necessarily good or bad because regardless of our station in a certain situation, we still have the ability to get what we want and need. For example, in nature, those who are not in power achieve what they want by building alliances and friendships with those who have power. In business, the power lies with the customer/clients, not with the business owner rendering services. Thus, to make the most of our relationships, it’s important to understand who we are, the power dynamics, and the active role we can play through the spirit of generosity and partnership.
The key to success is generosity. The spirit of giving and selflessness to others is the foundation of a successful business or personal relationship. The more you are able to contribute to others and their success and develop an alliance with them, the easier it will be to close a deal and to establish trust. You want to approach the situation through the lens of how you can give or add value, rather than looking for what you can gain. Once you establish your value in that way, you won’t have to worry about closing the deal.
Building trust starts with honesty and transparency. At the core of any successful relationship is trust. In Camilla’s six-tiered Harmony Pyramid, in order to have harmony and flow, one must first establish trust. The key to doing this is being honest and speaking up even when it's uncomfortable. When we come from a place of transparency we open ourselves up to criticism, but in the right situations we also unlock the possibility of establishing a deeper and stronger connection because we put our ego aside for the greater good of the situation at hand.
Little gestures go a long way. We don’t have to make grand impacts to be successful. Small, consistent steps that we take on a daily basis are what really help us grow and establish credibility and value.
Tolerance and empathy are two of the most important skills to develop. When we take a look at ourselves and do the dirty self work and self development needed to understand our past and make sense of our present situation, the result should be that of tolerance and empathy. This is because at the core of it all, when we understand how we behave and how we contribute to certain situations, we can also understand the reactions and interactions of others. Now, this isn’t to say that we should be tolerant of ill-treatment from others, but it is to say that we can begin to de-personalize the experience or outward display that someone may have towards us because we are able to put it into context.
If you want to stop being overlooked, start with understanding your strengths and passions. When we understand our talents and refine them, we are able to position ourselves as assets. The key is to find what you enjoy doing, how that joy can be translated to the work that you do, and how that work can directly benefit others.
To be a strong leader, you have to do away with the inclination to be over-accommodating. Develop your standards and guidelines and stick to them. Sure, your rules won’t be for everyone, but you have to set a standard of how people should treat you and your business in order to be a respected leader.
Learn more from Camilla when you purchase her latest book, Cracking the Harmony Code: Nature's Surprising Secrets to Getting Along while Getting Your Way.