Category: Busy-ness

How’s your sense of direction? Do you know where you are growing to?

By , September 5, 2013 7:42 am

3D business white people. Mobile phone with GPS“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are that you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you? Not much.”

~ Jim Rohn

How’s your sense of direction?

Most people simply let their life happen to them. They wait, procrastinate and react. There’s no sense of urgency and certainly no strategy. They just get busy doing stuff…and time rolls on.

They stay stuck because they don’t know what to do.

We all burn through time so quickly. Before you know it most of your life is behind you. Reality sets in that you should have been more proactive and strategic, rather than waiting and putting things off.

I think it was Charles Handy who wrote that we live life backwards: the longer we live the more we learn and experience, by the time we have it all figured out we’re too old to do anything about it!

…But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can DECIDE TODAY to stop waiting and reacting!

As a career strategist, I sometimes work with people who are confused because they have no idea what to do with their life, career or business…

It’s a bit like they are lost in a foreign city without a map. They don’t have a sense of purpose or direction. Their growth is random and chaotic. They drift from one idea to another and have no clue to where they want to go. In this confusion they collapse into a coach for the answer.

Here’s how I see it…

You have to develop your own sense of direction by creating two reference points:

1. ‘You are here’ – In other words, you need to know where you are now. Unfortunately this doesn’t appear on a notice board with a big arrow on it (like in a big city or shopping mall!). You have to sit down work it out for yourself. But there are some clues…

Your direction in life begins with SELF-AWARENESS. As John C Maxwell says: “You must know yourself to grow yourself!”

You have to get to know:

  • Your strengths
  • Your weaknesses
  • Your passion
  • Your opportunities

From my experience, most people lack self-awareness, don’t know their strengths or the value they bring to their daily lives. Start by focusing your attention here, because your natural strengths and passions are where you have the most potential for growth.

Do things that you are passionate about, not just interested in. There is a difference in the energy of these two words! Pay attention to:

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • What would you like to do?
  • What are you good at (other people will tell you this)?
  • What would you like to do more of?
  • Why would you like to do this?
  • How can you get to do more of this?
  • Who can help you?
  • What is your investment to make this happen (time, resources, money, sacrifice)?
  • What’s your first step beginning today?

Get to know yourself and accept who you are in this moment.  This can take time.

Okay… Our second reference point is…

2. Where you want to go –Your strengths hold the key for where you have the most potential for growth. So start here. If you focus on growing your strengths, you will build confidence in your abilities and these can help you to set a course for where you want to go. Look for opportunities to use your strengths along the way.

Knowing yourself and growing yourself are intertwined. The path might not be clear at first, but you’ll get momentum on your journey by learning new things and applying them as you go.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • DECIDE to be proactive and take it seriously.
  • COMMIT to action and be consistent.
  • GET SUPPORT – You can’t get to reach your destination on your own. You’ll need the help and guidance of others who can teach you.
  • TAKE DELIBERATE ACTION even when you don’t feel like it.

Life is short and we don’t get any rehearsal time so I encourage you to develop a strong sense of urgency and proactivity.

How’s your sense of direction? Do you know where you are growing to?!

 

Why are you constantly working long hours and feeling exhausted?

By , August 28, 2013 2:31 pm

Man chained with office table (workplace) 2“Remember this: Burnout is not a crisis of time, it is a crisis of spirit.”

James Autry – Author.

In my role as a coach I notice the working habits of my clients as they share their working world with me. There is no difference between the habits of a corporate employee or a business owner: the patterns are the same. Most people are working too hard and the balance between work and personal time is sometimes non-existent.

There’s too much to do, not enough hours in the day and you’re unfocused because you’re getting splattered and distracted too easily.

You know you need to prioritize, etc. Most of us know what we should be doing. The main issue is actually a deeper one and while time management principles might help it’s important to also address the cause.

Let me explain…

If you don’t have some balance in your personal time and your work, then I can guarantee that you won’t remain productive for very long. I’m sure you have proven this to yourself in the past (I have for sure!). Overwhelm or burnout is waiting around the corner. You’ll soon start to make mistakes and become exhausted.

I’ve noticed that a lack of balance causes burnout in a couple of ways:

1. Obsessed with work – Nothing else in your life matters. Everything revolves around this. Work becomes the priority and you find reasons to work and excuses for avoiding any other activity such as creating personal time or family time. You become addicted to work and you feed off this stimulus. Burnout is when your relationships fail and your health becomes a problem because you’re not paying attention to the basics.

2. Overwhelmed by work – Workloads become so much of a burden that you lose all sense of any meaning or value in your work. You become disillusioned both on a psychological and emotional level, that you feel trapped and stuck. “Is this all there is?” You feel pretty miserable and exhausted.

Most successful people are dedicated, hard working and conscientious and there are times where you have to burn the mid-night oil or work through the weekend to get something done. This is perfectly okay and normal. There is a significant difference, though, if this is happening all the time and it is relentless.

No one is productive for 7 hours a day. So you’ll be even less productive if you consistently work 12, 13 or 15 hours a day (Research has proven this)!

So if this is happening there is a problem that needs addressing.

Here are some questions to ask your self:

  • Why are you constantly working long hours and feeling exhausted?
  • Are you really being productive in all these hours you are working?

If the answer is…

NO - You may be working long hours and staying late at the office, but without any real focused activity. This is a self-related issue.

  • You may be using your work as an excuse to hide from other activities such as an unhappy (or no) personal life.
  • You might not know what to do with yourself when you are not working because you’ve gotten out of the habit of relaxing and enjoying hobbies, interests, family and friends.
  • You have become addicted to work.
  • You may be dis-organized and need to practice some self-management principles consistently.

Get some support to help you learn and consistently implement some self-management principles, get focused, set some boundaries and begin to create a personal life for yourself outside of work.

If the answer is…

YES - If you are being productive in all the hours you’re working, then this is telling you a different story because this is a job-related issue. Here are some things to consider:

  • You have too much to do!
  • The structure of the job itself needs to be reviewed because it’s impossible to achieve everything in regular hours.
  • You may have become a people pleaser saying yes to everyone else and no to you.
  • You’re trying to do everything!
  • You think that saying no to extra work is a weakness.
  • You are not realistic about what you can achieve.

You might need some support to help you learn how to delegate or outsource aspects of your role, get some hired help, set some boundaries and learn to be more assertive and say no. Review the role it’s not realistic.

I used to work in an organization where the managers defined dedicated hard workers as people who worked consistently long hours. This is a false delusion because you won’t accomplish more because you’re not able to be as productive. The quality suffers and you’ll make mistakes.

If you manage people, then role model balance to your team if you want them to be more productive and focused. You can’t expect them to do one thing, but you demonstrate another.

Check in on your working habits and do one thing today that helps you to create a healthier balance between your work and business life.

 

How to make problems work for you

By , August 7, 2013 5:58 pm

Success word on puzzle piece“Problems are the raw materials for your solutions.”

~ Christine Kane, Mentor to women who are changing the world

 

Most of us are conditioned to see problems as a negative thing that rears its head causing irritation or reinforcement that you shouldn’t have taken the risk in the first place!

For sure, problems can stop us in our tracks. We often react to them from a negative place as they steal our confidence and cause extra stress or worry in our working day.

Here’s the thing though…

Problems actually help us function and reframing how we think about them can help us to find a solution more effectively.

Taking action, doing new things or taking a whole new approach to something is risky (and healthy!) and problems are a natural part of the process.

The truth is that if you want to create new things problems will show up along the way…

Accept that problems are actually an inescapable part of life and business. No matter what you do, your work will produce problems, especially as you’re learning and growing. See yourself as a solution finder by expecting to encounter and deal with them.

Whatever business you’re in, it’s important to reframe any problems because they are the raw materials for your success:  shaping and creating new solutions.

Here’s how I see problems…

Problems are portals for solutions. You can only create a solution if you are prepared to look at the problem a different way.

Problems are puzzles to solve and opportunities from which we can learn grow.

Past experiences don’t always help us to find the solution in Today’s world, as change isn’t linear (past experiences no longer shape a constant for future success). You are creating new solutions to new problems.

When you give yourself permission to see a problem as an opportunity you’ll start to see what the problem can actually do for you and your business in terms of learning and growth.

Whenever I’m confronted with a problem I ask myself the following questions:

  1. What is this current problem teaching me right now about the situation and/or my business?
  2. What is it telling me about myself and about life?
  3. How can I put this raw material to work to find a solution?
  4. What do I already know about the situation?
  5. What don’t I know but need to find out?
  6. What can I control here?
  7. What’s my very first step?

Solving problems can take time. Allow some space to think things through so you can take full advantage of the learning opportunity that is being presented to you right now.

Don’t expect to always find the solution on your own. All of the amazingly successful people that I know have a support network of like-minded and trusted people whom they feel comfortable to bounce ideas off. Sometimes just sharing the problem out loud can help you find the solution.

Remember… You can’t do it EVERYTHING on your own!

How you think about your problems on a daily basis makes a huge difference to how you negotiate them. When you give yourself over to solving the problem there is a shift in attitude and you’ll want to find out what the problem can actually do for you instead. Your attitude is everything as it determines the quality of any solution!

There is ALWAYS a plan B – Don’t give up. You just haven’t thought of it yet so keep thinking and exploring options. You’ll work through it.

Problems are exciting and fun. They are the raw materials for your future success.

Accept that things go wrong and sometimes we screw up. You can’t always prepare for it but shit happens! Failure means that we have to grow – It’s all about learning and being compelled to figure it out. You are presented with the raw materials for your solution. Work the problem to create your solution.

My mentor says that business is a full contact sport!

This is so true!

Hang in there…Completing is not for the faint hearted. It takes hard work and stamina to finish. There might be problems along the way. But all the hard work is for nothing if you don’t show up to finish. It requires extra energy and drive to see things through and it’s the most difficult bit– But so worth it! Reach inside for that extra bit of courage.

List any current problems you have in your business and in your life.

This list is the raw materials for your solution so start working with it.

Get some support from like-minded people who can help you on your journey.

There is always a way through – Go find it!

 

Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done!

By , July 31, 2013 10:42 pm

Git 'er Done!“Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you virtually unstoppable.”

~ Dan Kennedy, Business Success Guru and Author

The truth is that most of us are easily distracted.

Many of us are almost willing to be de-railed from our busy schedules by the lure of the excitement of a bright shiny object; especially if what you are working on feels like hard work or it’s something you don’t want to do.

This then leads to procrastination and avoidance.

Most of us know what we should be focusing on but lack the self-discipline and determination to make it happen. Instead we use excuses to justify our avoidance such as I’m too busy or I didn’t have time rather than getting clear and refocused on what needs to be done.

…And just getting it done!

There’s a form of inner laziness that prevents us from getting things done. I regularly see examples of this in the business world.

Here are a few examples:

  • People who can’t seem to make it to meetings on time.
  • Arriving late/unprepared for a planned coaching session.
  • A business owner who avoids marketing because there’s always something else that needs to be done first.

People who arrive late for meetings are usually unprepared. Their lack of focus and attention wastes time, because he/she has to take time to catch up before they can give any value.

A common theme for many people with time management challenges is the lack of self-discipline.

I admit that some days I feel secretly lazy and it’s tempting just to blow the day off and do nothing instead. Especially when you are your own boss!

Instead of allowing this to take control, I’ve learned how to refocus and become self-disciplined…

Self-discipline is a powerful antidote to procrastination and avoidance.

Self-discipline neutralizes the laziness and gives you the ability to get things done and to get it right the first time. Excuses and old habits fall away as you begin to move forward, take control and get things done.

Here’s how to encourage self-discipline:

1. Make a weekly plan in advance. What do you want to achieve? This will help you stay focused and feel in control of what needs to be done. Stick to the plan – hold firm! Remind yourself what’s important.

2. Show up at the scheduled time and be prepared and ready to work. Yes… It’s that simple… Common sense right?! But it’s NOT always common practice. This includes showing up for ALL appointments that you make with yourself.

3. Meet your deadlines and commitments. This alone will make you more successful. More opportunities will start to present themselves and others will be attracted to you because you are making things happen. Success breeds success.

4. Do it even when you don’t feel like it. Self-discipline requires a 100% commitment. It’s not just when you feel like it. It takes self-discipline to productivity – invest energy and time to your intentions. This investment pays off every time. Be aware of those lazy voices in your head and challenge them EVERY time!

5. Take deliberate action. Take action and make things happen. Every day consciously do one thing towards your Intention – small steps. Get deliberate in your thoughts and behaviors. This will inspire you to make different choices and create new habits. Take action

All successful people are self-disciplined. It’s a necessity that requires continual work every single day.

Self-discipline is all about choice. You can choose to chart your own path and create value by getting things done.

There’s a huge difference between someone who talks about it and someone who actually gets things done!

Which one are you?

As my American friends in the South say, whatever you’re putting off just now:  Go “Git ‘er done!”

 

Why Busy People Need to Take Holidays!

By , July 17, 2013 11:25 am

Deckchair and parasol on white background. Isolated 3D image“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.”

~Herodotus

So many of my clients are working too hard and not taking any time to rest, relax and recover from the demands they are placing on themselves everyday.

Achieving a healthy balance in life and work requires discipline. In other words, you have to work at it by setting some clear boundaries and have the persistence to make it happen.

We all have busy lives which is why it is hugely important to power down and take time away from the ‘do-do’ of doing and spend some time ‘being.’ Otherwise you can easily lose focus and perspective about WHY you are doing all this busy stuff in the first place. You become out of alignment with what’s really important in your life.

I take my holiday time very seriously because it keeps me healthy, happy and sane. I also feel refreshed and I’m more productive when I return.

Okay… I know what you’re probably saying: The last thing you instinctively want to do is to slow down! You haven’t got time to slow down because you’ve got too much stuff to do – right?

Holiday time is often put off until later because you never get round to it. Your personal time at the weekend is frequently held hostage to busy-ness. It is used as a buffer so we can ‘catch up’ and finish the work we were unable to do during the week.

Because you are always on the go you probably won’t see tiredness and exhaustion creeping up on you.

Human beings are not designed to work at this pace constantly. There’s loads of research to prove that biologically we need to step away and take breaks to charge our batteries and rest. Some people are literally killing themselves!

You need to take time out to relax, regenerate, reconnect and renew your love affair with your life!

STOP and take a break…

For me, regeneration time involves no work-related activity at all. I might take a day, a weekend or even a whole week.

Here’s how I create mine…

  • Schedule pockets of regeneration time in advance and commit to them (a day, weekend or week). Book several long weekends or weeks out during the year. These could be trips away from home. If you don’t make a plan – it WON’T happen!
  • Set clear boundaries – Regeneration time is where everything is powered down. That includes phones and computers. The day is COMPLETELY work-free. Don’t read the newspapers, watch television or listen to the radio. Step away. Teach other people how to treat you – no compromising! They’ll get the message and will start to respect your boundaries.
  • Leave the ‘office’ – Commit to being out of your office (away from work). This could also be your busy home life as well as your work. You’re not contactable or available to anyone: staff, colleagues, co-workers, boss, and even family (unless of course there is a REAL emergency). It’s interesting how some urgent things aren’t really that important. Don’t get sucked into the drama!
  • Delegate responsibility and ownership – Allow others to take responsibility and ownership for their own decisions during your time away. They can handle things for themselves and learn how to make their own decisions instead of relying on you all the time. This builds self-confidence and helps them to develop their own decision-making ability.
  • Focus on being fully present and having fun – What do you enjoy doing? Start doing some of them. I love hiking and immersing myself in the beauty of Nature. Breathing the mountain air or feeling a warm sea breeze on my face really invigorates me. It makes me feel alive again.What does fun mean to you?

Create your own list. Here are a few of my favorite things:

  • Hiking
  • Having a massage
  • Booking a long weekend away in a hotel
  • A spa day
  • Walking on the beach
  • Hanging out with friends I’ve not seen for a while
  • Skiing
  • Sleeping in
  • Experiencing another country

Regeneration days are all about restoring and resetting your energy. You may have work withdrawal symptoms for the first day or so of a holiday, but you’ll soon re-adjust and embrace your newly found freedom time. You’ll soon start to feel relaxed as you stop listening to that busy voice in your head.

Take a break – I guarantee that you will become more rested, relaxed and more productive when you return to your busy life.

Stepping away will help you to re-focus on what really is important in your life.

Busy successful people take holidays!

 

Do you struggle with how long things seem to take?

By , April 24, 2013 6:59 pm

iStock_000009447353Small“Infinite patience brings immediate results.”

- A Course in Miracles

Every summer holiday when I was a kid my Mum and Dad would take us to the seaside. We LOVED it! It was the highlight of the school holidays.

Being on the beach was so much fun. Driving to the beach, though, was a different story! My Brother and I dreaded the journey because it was tedious and boring. We sat in the back winding each other up and usually after only five minutes of travelling we’d grow impatient and repeatedly ask: ‘Are we there yet?!’ This trip always seemed to take forever. It was so frustratingly slow in our anticipation of being able to play on the beach!

Some of my coaching clients struggle because they want it all – NOW. During our first session they want the answer to EVERYTHING so they can just run a successful business or just get promoted into that leadership position.

“Give me the information, the tactics and I’ll rush in and get on with it!”

We live in a fast-paced world where everything is needed NOW! So there’s a lot of pressure on getting instant results – quick fixes – making money fast!

I saw this recently when coaching people in a modular business program. Two clients wanted all the content at the beginning instead of working through the program a module at a time in order to build a firm foundation. There is a difference between racing and pacing your way to success. Yet our impatience gets in the way.

As my mentor taught me: “It’s not just about information, it’s about implementation.”

Building a successful, sustainable business or becoming an effective leader takes time. You have to build the knowledge, skills and gain experience. Sometimes you need to start by creating a firm foundation and then experiencing things. It’s about creating consistent action and understanding the depth and breadth of what you are learning.

In our haste to be successful we create urgency and pressure to get it all done as quickly as possible. Racing to tick all the boxes doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome – you are missing the depth and breadth of understanding and connection along the way. This urgency gets in the way and blocks your progress.

Here’s the thing…

There is no destination… you’ll never be done! Your work isn’t about trying to get somewhere – it’s about being somewhere right now in every moment. I’ve noticed that sometimes the faster a person wants to zip through things the slower they actually move. They miss out on the experience and other messy stuff! Which is a huge part of being a leader or running a business.

They get bogged down in frustration, overwhelm and beat themselves up for not being successful. Instead of focusing on their current experience right now. It’s those little steps – one after the other – that creates momentum and ultimately completion. This can’t be taught – it has to be experienced.

If you just want to get the work over with in order to achieve your goal, then I guarantee it’ll be hard work, tedious and dull (like sitting in the back of the car with my Brother on the way to the beach!).

1. Take a deep breath – Breathe! This helps you to create a circuit breaker from your current thinking. Focus on your breathing and take your attention away from your frustration and urgency. Create some breathing space.

2.  Recognise and then let go of any anger or frustration or judgments – notice them but decide that they don’t drive you. You get to choose your thinking. Look out for any resistance and let go of old stories and doubts that no longer serve you – they are not the truth. Rushing ahead isn’t always a good strategy; it’s not about ticking boxes and getting stuff done.

3. Be fully present in the moment – This moment! Focus on the scenery along the journey, not just the end goal or the length of the journey you have to take. Savor the moment. Take time to enjoy what you’re doing. This will dissolve any anxiety and boredom and neutralize tedium. When YOU show up so does everything else (trust me on this one!).

4. Keep it simple – Focus on one thing and do it well. Break things down into small doable tasks and do them one step at a time. Where you place your attention is EVERYTHING! Attention creates your experience and connection with the one thing you’re doing right now in this moment. Have fun with it. Protect your attention from any BSO’s (Bright Shiny Objects).

5. Slow down to speed up – Create the right pace for yourself. Stay grounded and re-align yourself to where you are now and check in on where you want to be. Focus on reality and know that completing the ordinary stuff makes a difference because you’re creating momentum and completion through implementation. Things are more joyful when you slow down and stop trying to kill yourself!

For me, success is all about your thinking. You are what you focus on. Choose to move away from frustration and impatience instead of rolling your eyes at how long things will take to get done!

 

5 Reasons WHY You Can’t Get Things Done…(…And how to deal with them!)

By , March 13, 2013 3:36 pm

iStock_000012995878SmallThe No. 1 common challenge for many of my coaching clients is the problem of getting things done!

Most of us have been on numerous time management workshops and read books on the subject. We know what we should do, but we still can’t seem to apply the strategy consistently.

Having the tools, processes or strategy is one thing…Setting your thinking and programming your inner dialogue for success is another!

Here are the top five reasons for not getting things done that I’ve experienced when coaching and training my clients (Oh! And I’ve observed a few of them in myself too!):

Overcomplicating things – It’s easy to become overwhelmed and create a complex strategy for something that is relatively simple. If you have too much to remember: doing this, not doing that and worrying about the other, then you become anxious and worn out and nothing gets done. You’ll look for other distractions.

You keep a complex plan in your head – You add to the problem by trying to keep a complex plan in your head. Relying on your brain as a storage device to remember EVERYTHING doesn’t work! Have you ever thought you’d remember stuff, then when you’ve gone back to it later, you can’t remember the detail and have to start all over again?

“I’m just not very organized…” This label is an excuse to give you permission to stay stuck. The reality is that you are VERY organized at being UNORGANIZED: You are following entrenched old habits and patterns. They just take you to a negative outcome. You’re just organizing the wrong things! See the pattern here? You may feel out of control, perhaps your emotions have taken over.

Quality of your inner dialogue – If I say to you: ‘Don’t think of the colour blue…’ What do you do first? You think of blue before you decide not to think about it! So if you’re saying to yourself: ‘I mustn’t forget to…’ you are programming yourself to forget! This is known as a bad command in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) terms. If you repeat this to yourself, you are likely to forget! You are focusing on forgetting rather than remembering!

You are too busy to think about it – You are stuck in the ‘do-do’ of doing and don’t take time to think something through to decide how you might do it differently. You wallow in procrastination. Thinking seems too easy to do so you resist or you perceive that it’s not a valuable use of time.

Here are some potential solutions:

1. Clear out the mental clutter – You can over-plan and over-strategize. So step back and get rid of the clutter. You might have far too many steps in the process, or you’re going into too much detail.

  • Lighten the load by simplifying your process.
  • Place high value on simplicity!
  • Look for an easier route. You have to choose the right strategy for the situation.

2. Get out of your own way – Are you fighting with yourself, getting caught up in drama and creating feelings that are sabotaging your progress? Notice what is going on inside – write it down. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself.

  • Become organized at being organized!
  • What needs to change?
  • What would being organized look like for you?
  • Lose the label and dump the excuse of being unorganized.

You can do this!

3. Change your language – Listen to your inner dialogue. Are you giving yourself bad commands? Remember if you’re saying to yourself: ‘Don’t forget to call Jenny.’ You are actually saying: ‘Forget to call Jenny.’ You are more likely to forget! Change the quality of your inner dialogue by turning it around to something like: ‘I will remember to phone Jenny today.’ Give yourself commands in a positive way.

4. Make time to think it through – Allow thinking time! Use visualization as a tool to set your mind for success. See yourself making the call to Jenny:

  • What are you saying?
  • When are you calling her?
  • Walk this through in your mind several times.
  • Then take action straight away to make it happen.
  • Make a post-it note and keep it in sight so this call is your mental radar today.

You are re-training your brain to get things done. Simple strategies work well. Think simple!

5. Attitude changes everything – To change your thinking you need to change your perspective towards the situation. The situation IS the situation, it doesn’t change – you are wherever you are right now. If you know that this is something you should do, then change your attitude towards it. This is what is holding you back.

  • What would it be like to be in control or on top of this situation?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you saying?
  • How are you acting?
  • How will you feel when you’ve completed it?
  • What difference will it make?

Having a coach can help take responsibility for getting things done.

Clear out the rubbish in your current strategies for getting things done, stop fighting yourself, listening to your negative inner dialogue, and getting lost in the mountain of steps in your process.

Simplicity is everything! Look for a more effortless path and don’t be so hard on yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

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