Author, speaker, coach and presenter Sandy McDonald is one of our most active and innovative faculty members here at Slow School. Over the past 30 years she’s been making waves throughout the online world. Her business Get It Right Online helps entrepreneurs find clarity around their purpose, which in turn empowers them to communicate most effectively with their audience. Clarity complements Slow School’s guiding principles of Consciousness, Co-creation, Creativity, Compassion and Courage. Slow School intern Georgia Gibson had a chat to Sandy about how these philosophies have helped her in business.
“You can’t develop clarity without being very self-aware. That’s because you have to dig deep into who you are as a person, to understand what it is you can bring of value to the world,” Sandy observes. She attributes finding intention and purpose to being self-aware and acting consciously, “When I work with people in the online space, what I’m actually trying to do is get them very clear on their intention… When they’re clear on that, what tends to come out is the principles by which they operate their business – the same way that Slow School operates its business on its 5 key principles.”
Sandy believes in co-creation 100%. “That’s the only way I can work, in a co-creation space,” she remarks. Sandy has found that working in the online environment is often thought of as being a linear process: somebody with a need buying somebody’s expertise, a very “servant and client” relationship. Sandy dedicates her work exclusively to people seeking to move beyond that paradigm – people who will work with her to find their intention and what they want to achieve in the world. “That can only be achieved online through total collaboration,” Sandy points out.
We all know it takes courage to announce what we truly want to achieve, particularly online where exposing our most heartfelt intentions can open us to all manner of criticism and scrutiny. “It takes enormous courage because you have to dig very deep – first of all into who you are, what you are and what you have to offer. You then need to have the courage to stand up and be recognised for what you have to offer,” explains Sandy. “I think it’s courageous to say, ‘I’m going to present what I have to offer. By doing that, not only do I deliver that to the world, but I stand up and I’m comfortable in my own skin.’ ”
Current research suggests that creativity is tapped best when we enter into a comfortable “play space” – a physical place. Sandy has first-hand experience with the amazing results this approach can deliver. “If you do a brainstorm, all ideas are good ideas. There’s no negative, no strategising. You’re accessing your right brain and therefore you’re in play space. That’s when total creativity comes about.” We can then apply this to our business, Sandy continues, “That’s when you start to realise your wonderful values, your principles, your ideas, your immutable laws, how you operate in the world.”
Where is the link between compassion and the online space? Sandy answers, “The Internet shows us that we can harness compassion and galvanise action. That builds community and, with such a community, what we can do together is yet to be imagined.” Sandy has acted on this belief through her charity KasCare, a foundation which developed the Knit A Square initiative. People from all over the world send tens of thousands of squares, all of which are made into blankets to warm these desperate children. You can find out how on www.knit-a-square.com
The recipients of these blankets are children orphaned by extreme poverty or the devastating consequences of AIDS. The KasCare charity unites knitters from all over the world, and provides a compelling example of the Internet’s power to move compassion into action.
Sandy is a facilitator of Slow School’s flagship program Talk on Purpose (formerly Is there a TED-style talk in you?), where she helps participants clarify their purpose and articulate it in a short videoed talk in front of a live audience.
Further information about Talk on Purpose can be found at:
To learn more about Sandy McDonald and her work visit:
Sandy has also interviewed Slow School’s Founder, Carolyn Tate, on the topic of purpose and clarity: