What We Think


Working Women’s Wealth Podcast interviews Nina Pearse

Nina Pearse was recently interviewed by Lisa Linfield for the Working Women’s Wealth Podcast.  We would love to share some excerpts from the interview with you.  Lisa has an impressive goal to teach 1 million women about money.  She speaks to companies, women’s groups and entrepreneurs about how to lead their best life possible by reaching their financial goals.  

Lisa Linfield: Thanks for joining us, Nina.  You have a fantastic story about finding your passion and purpose and stepping into a future with so much potential.  Tell us a little bit about your journey.

Nina Pearse:  I started out in finance and accounting.  I worked in banking for a while and then quickly realized that I didn’t want any of those jobs for myself. I moved into what I loved as a child. I would often looked up at a teacher and thought that was what I’d like to do.  I decided not to go into school teaching but into adult learning and development. I’ve now worked in that field for about twenty years. I started out in SAP training.  I then moved to Delloite and worked in People and Change.  I worked in Dimension Data for many years in Human Resources, looking after the Leadership Forum and Employee Engagement.  For the last six years I’ve have been designing and facilitating learning for leaders and managers as an associate with Conamara and with Ceed, a Digital Learning Company.  I’ve learned a lot there and loved what I have been doing.  I’ve worked with awesome people, but I’ve had a feeling growing within me that I want more.  I have more to give and I have more of a specific purpose. That’s what lead me to start thinking about my own venture.

Lisa:  You have now molded and shaped a company called Creativity Wake-Up.  You provide courses where you lead leaders, executives, business owners, really anybody through a process of waking-up their creativity. What has been the biggest thing that you have needed to learn to get from a stage of “I think I need to do something” to actually having implemented the course?  

Nina: I think it has been a big shift in mind-set and that has come through probably a few influences, one of them being a book called The Slight Edge, brought for me by my husband.  It completely shifted how I think about things.  The Slight Edge is about how we are all on a journey and the most powerful force behind that journey is time. According to the author, Jeff Olson, time is always working for or against you.  He says that this applies to every area of your life whether it be fitness, health, wealth or personal development.  Unless you are focusing on your habits and aware that what you do every day matters, the negative habits can compound over time.  He says that no one goes broke or becomes unfit overnight. It is those tiny little decisions that you make every single day that lead you to that point.  

An example of this is everyday lunch time choices.  Do you buy an Energade spending R20 or $5, or do you have the free water that is offered at the office?  What is the impact of that choice?  Will it matter today if I have the Energade?  No, it’s not going to really matter today, but over time it will have a big impact. Every time you make that decision you are first of all spending that money that you could have been spending elsewhere.  You are also filling your body with sugar which is going to make you a bit hungry in the afternoon which is going to make you eat a bit more each day.  It’s going to get your brain more addicted to that sugar and so on.  It’s the tiny things that are so mundane and small, but they make a big difference in the long term.  This concept started shifting my mind because I looked at people around me who had successfully started businesses and it always seemed so far out of reach. I couldn’t see how the small things that I do each day would make a difference. What I’ve learned is how not to scorn the small things and small beginnings.  I’ve learned to have more perseverance.  It’s okay to start out small and take a longer view.

Another influence was book called Think, Learn, Succeed by Dr Caroline Leaf.  It focuses on the brain and how our brains are neuro-plastic.   We have neuro-genesis or new cells growth in our brain every single day.  It is up to us how think, decide and choose.  This kind of victim mentality of “Ah, I can’t do this” or “I have a bad memory” is all rubbish.  You decide how you will think.  That really started changing how I think and approach things.  I could see that I started to think differently as I started implementing the things that Dr Leaf discussed in her book.

Another big influence was your Side Hustle course, Lisa.  I listened to your podcast and was intrigued about the course that you offered.  I signed up and was amazed that this quite technical, financial, business, strategic course started with such a strong psychological beginning.  You started off by saying “Why do you want to do this?  What do you want to get out of this?  Why are you going to spend time and effort on a side hustle?” That was inspiring for me because I realise that I often give up too easily.  It gave me the strength and the mental perseverance to actually start something new and to step into something brave.

Lisa:  I agree. It is little small steps that you’ve got to take every single day.  Those little things that accumulate over time, that you wake up and think “goodness, look where I am!”  

We would love you to join us for next week’s blog for more excerpts from Nina’s interview with Working Women’s Wealth.

Posted 47 weeks ago

Waking up my creative thinking. Step one.

What is it about the first step that can make a new endeavour so hard? Even unachievable.  The stony silence of the blank page. The indeterminable dread of the empty spreadsheet. The mysterious darkness beyond the lighted path. Your mind grappling with where to place your foot: How? When? Where? Should I? Can I?

I am experiencing this first-step fright as I undertake simultaneously to begin a journey to develop my creativity, whilst at the same time developing learning to help others do the same. Two wise people recently said to me, on two separate occasions, “Stop going on courses and trying to get more qualified, you banana*! <my addition*>  You have everything inside of you that you need. Just start.” (You know who you are @TanyaVanderWaal and @LisaLinfield.) It was just the kick in the pants I needed.  

So here goes.

I have this weird sense that my whole life has been a slow process of waking up. I love waking up. Let me clarify. I love waking up to being aware of new facts or understanding something that I didn’t understand before. Whenever I learn something new, I take a mental look around and think, ‘Wow, how have I not known this before? I’ve been fast asleep in relation to this. But, I’m unconscious no more. I see it now!’

As a learning experience designer and facilitator, I love watching people wake up to new things; seeing the proverbial 'lights going on.’ It’s a privilege and a joy to be part of that process. There are mini wake ups, like from little naps, where a salesperson grasps a handy new selling method or a manager connects the dots between her role and the company strategy. Then there are the big wake ups. I’m talking about Sleeping Beauty waking up from one hundred years of a strange coma requiring no life support or cryogenic freezing. It’s the wake up you feel when you recognise a hidden motive in your life, discover a real talent or unearth your true purpose.

Waking up your creativity thinking is a big wake up. Not just because it’s so thrilling but because at a neurological level, when we start firing up our brain to think creatively for a specific task, we are training it to think creatively in other areas too.  The new brain science is fascinating but a bit too big of a subject to get into here. Suffice to say, recent studies  show that when you think creatively, the 'Big Three’ networks in your brain (the default network; the executive network, and the salience network) start to operate as more of a team. When  researchers from Harvard, Yale and others last year compared brain scans of people engaging in creative work compared to those that were not trying a creative task, they found more connections being made between the areas commonly associated with those three networks. So waking up creativity starts to rewire our brain and build new connections that help us to think differently in the future.

What I love is that the creativity spills from the area that you are focusing on, to other areas in your life. If you start expressing your creativity in a hobby, you will see that creativity starting to come out in your work. When you get creative with your kids, you’ll notice your creative problem solving starting to improve.   Waking creativity is an ongoing process that is a virtuous circle. Starting to experiment with your creative thinking begets more creative thinking. Yay!

Come with me!

So although I think I do some creative thinking already, I really want to boost my creativity and see what happens.  It’s an experiment! It’s not going to happen overnight, I know. It will involve some persistence, grit and hard work. But right now, I’m all about the small, little steps for today. One day at a time. I’m psyched for this ride. I invite you to be a travel-buddy with me as I apply some of the many great tools, exercises and practices out there to develop creativity and share with you what works for me. Bon voyage to us!
April 16th, 2019 3:08pm 

creativity creativitywakeup creativethinking innovation personaldevelopment creativebrain creativemums


How creative am I?

Working Women's Wealth Podcast Interview

Slowing down is vital for creative thinking

Waking up my creative thinking, step one

Why Creativity is the Most Important Skill in the World

by Paul Petrone for LinkedIn

Recently at LinkedIn Learning, using the power of our Economic Graph, we determined the skills companies need most.

And there was a bit of a surprise at the very top of the list: creativity.

Technically, creativity is the second-most in-demand skill in the world, with cloud computing at the top. But cloud computing is a hard skill, which means it applies to only a section of the workforce and doesn’t have the staying power a soft skill has.

Conversely, learning how to think more creatively will benefit you the rest of your career. And, macroeconomic trends suggest creativity will only become more important moving forward.

Hence, it’s no stretch to say creativity is the single-most important skill in the world for all business professionals today to master. Why?

Let’s start with the what.

What it Means to be Creative: The Ability to Solve Problems with Relevance and Novelty

When many people think of creativity, they think of artists, graphic designers, writers, painters, etc.

But that’s not what it means to be creative, because creativity doesn’t mean artistry. Yes, an artist could be creative, but so could a software engineer, a mathematician, a salesperson or a CEO.

What does it actually mean to be creative? LinkedIn Learning Instructor Stefan Mumaw, who has authored six books on creativity, has this definition: “Creativity is problem-solving with relevance and novelty.”

Let’s break that definition down into its two parts:

  • Relevancy: Relevancy means actually solving the problem. As in, it was relevant to the problem at hand, and provided an actual solution to it. A solution without relevancy is no solution at all.
  • Novelty: Novelty is harder to judge, but it’s when you are able to solve a problem in an original way. A way that isn’t what’s expected or has been done before.  

Putting it together, creativity is really just solving problems in original ways.

Mumaw also believes creativity isn’t strictly innate. Yes, like anything, some people are naturally more creative than others. But, by putting the time in, you can learn how to be more creative.

“Creativity is a skill and any skill that you can undertake, the byproduct to it being a skill, is that you can get better at it,” Mumaw said in his course, Creativity Bootcamp. “And we've never really thought of creativity as being something that we can get better at. But you can.”

Why Creativity is So Important Today: Process-Driven Jobs are Going Away

Using that definition of what creativity is, why is it the most important skill for professionals today?

It really comes down to commoditization. Today, basically anything that can be automated has been automated or soon will be automated, which cuts down on a lot of process-orientated tasks.

Use the example of the news industry. In the old days of newspapers, it took teams of people to set the layout of the paper, create the printing press, print the paper and then deliver it to subscribers. Today, with most news dispersed electronically, virtually all of that process-driven work is automated.

What’s left? Journalists who can tell news stories that cut through the noise and connect with people. That takes creativity; i.e. a relevant and novel solution – what are the stories that aren’t being told already that people want to hear?

That same phenomenon is happening across every industry and every function. Software companies don’t just want someone who can write code, they want someone who can dream up new softwares to fix old problems. Companies don't want business analysts who just crunch numbers; they want analysts who can think of creative solutions based off what the numbers are telling them.

What this all means to you: There’s no Better Investment You Can Make Today Than Strengthening Your Creative Skills

As AI continues to become a bigger part of this world, process-driven jobs are becoming even more obsolete. No longer will companies pay people to do the same task again and again; robots can likely take on those tasks.

Instead, companies are most interested in finding people who can think of new, better solutions.

So, if you want to “future-proof” your career, there’s no better approach than focusing on thinking more creatively. Stop settling for solutions that worked previously and push yourself to think of newer, better ideas.

And, despite what you might have thought before, creativity is a skill. And, like any skill, it means you can get better at it – if you work at it.

© Copyright Creativity Wake-Up 2019