In December last year we decided to undertake a short survey (only 6 questions) with our readers to see how people felt about 2018, and to determine what each of you was seeking in 2019. We promised we would share the survey results!
Well firstly, thank you to the many people who undertook the survey. I so appreciated how many people took the time to respond. Humbled indeed.
Secondly, wow, over 62% of you do not want 2019 to be like 2018.
So what are you looking to change this year and what are your areas of greatest concern?
The issue was not with family, partners and friendships but with careers, physical health/wellbeing and financial situations.
In fact the two top concerns for 2019 in order of highest responses are:
The next markedly lower category of concern was around Health and Personal Ageing.
When we asked if you did 2019 like 2018 would you be satisfied, 62% replied No! Not surprising.
However, the next question asked what changes would you make in 2019. You would have thought people would address their top concern of Finances and Career, right?
Well, the top three answers were: improve my health; go on a holiday; and improve my relationships. Interesting isn’t it!
As a group we listed our top concerns as Finances and Career – and yet what we want to change in the year ahead relates to Health, Holidays and Relationships!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make change to these three areas, but I do think it’s interesting that we don’t seem to want to prioritise the things that are really worrying us.
Let’s go a little deeper.
The final question of the survey addressed the future, identifying your big question moving forward. We broke up the responses here into the categories of finances, career, and let’s call it wellbeing to fit in with the top concerns.
Result – 60% of you had questions around work and careers, the remaining 40% were equally split between wellbeing and the bigger life questions like “Will there be peace in the world” or “What is my purpose?”
In summary, the majority of you don’t want to repeat 2018 in 2019, and your big questions for 2019 deal with issues related to your work and careers.
You can see that as a group we seem unclear on how we should deal with the issues that cause us most concern.
This begs the question – what will you do differently in 2019 in light of your concerns?
If you address just one of your questions, 2019 will not be like 2018;
- Who will you ask to be your coach and / or mentor this year?
- What professional development or program will you undertake in 2019?
- What network(s) will you become more actively involved in?
- What magazine / reading material will you subscribe to? Think about how you can access information about future trends, innovations that will help you to prepare for the future. Some links to Book Lists.
- Whats the one thing you will do differently and be held accountable for?
Ultimately making change is up to you.
SPECIAL COACHING OFFER TO HELP YOU CHANGE 2019:
Keep In Touch: subscribe to our monthly newsletter for tips, advice and insights that will improve the decisions you make in your life and career.
As a competitive intelligence practitioner – what does it mean to be future ready?
If I look at this question from a competitive intelligence (CI) perspective my response must provide options for actions for being future ready. So where to start?
Let me start with the original question itself.
- Does the question relate to individual future readiness or organisational future readiness?
- What are some critical uncertainties around the future that would impact anyone’s readiness?
- What are the assumptions or biases inherent in the question?
This means I need to be clear about these factors and any others facing the decision-maker before I drive through the plethora of information. And, talking about the plethora of information…. It is not just the information that is available on the internet or has been published that is important. When it comes to the future, it is vitally important to talk to people.
Yes, I know you can ask people on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for answers however I wonder how many people would really be capable of providing insightful comments to such a question?
This means we need to go out and seek answers from people who may have an idea of what any plausible future will look like.
From an organisational perspective, that could mean talking to academics, journalists, futurists, customers, suppliers, distributors to just name a few. Many of them may not have published their future intentions on the internet for you to find via a single simple search on Google! So let’s say I now have a lot of information at hand and am well informed about an array of possible futures. Does that make me future ready?
In my opinion, absolutely not! It does not answer either ‘so what does this all mean for me?’ nor does it tell me ‘now what should I be doing?’
We need to analyse the information in light of our current situation. Based on over 25 years of business experience, this is without a doubt one of the weakest steps that managers and individuals face. Analysis is the cornerstone for insights yet far too often we see summaries instead!! From an organisations perspective all the information needs to be analysed in context of the organisation’s capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, etc to identify the gaps it needs to address to be future ready, irrespective of the future that plays out.
Some suggested analytical techniques that would help here would include techniques such as
- Scenario Analysis
- Critical Success Factors
- Driving Forces Analysis
- even SWOT (done properly mind you – not the silly little four boxes!!).
Conducting a SWOT would be equally valid for an individual. The output of these techniques would identify options, opportunities, and threats that an organisation or individual could address to make itself future ready.
This approach would provide real insight, and outlines what should be done to best prepare for the future. To be future ready for me is not just about knowing what future may likely play out but about being prepared and alert to meet any future with the best possible advantage. What do you think?
If you would like assistance to become future ready – get in touch with MindShifts.
Babette Bensoussan is the CEO and founder of MindShifts and was appointed a Fellow of SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals). In 2006, she was the recipient of the SCIP Meritorious Award, which is the most prestigious award within the international CI community. As a qualified counsellor and MBTI practitioner, with certification as a business coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching in the U.S.A, Babette is well placed to assist executives and organisations to improve their future performance and success both personally and professionally.
My wonderful colleague Jack Speer from Delta Associates http://delta-associates.com wrote this wonderful post. I just had to share it with you. It is about how you really see yourself when you look in the mirror.
Are you happy or horrified? What is your self concept when you look at yourself? Some people can’t get enough of their own face in the mirror, others avoid looking at all. Where do you sit?
As an executive coach one of the most important aspects of coaching is working on what a person sees when they see themselves—their fundamental self-concept. You have to get self-concept right for anything else to be right. The ”Me” in the mirror is fundamentally a reflection of how you perceive life. What you see will literally be what you get in your life.
The health of your self-concept is almost as important as your physical health. It is so fundamental and foundational that no matter how smart you are, how many degrees you’ve earned, your work experience—self concept trumps everything else. To a great extent your self-concept will determine your station in life, your wealth, your happiness and well-being.
Do You Accept False information about Yourself—Why!?
My father was not a self-disclosing person, so it surprised me one day when I was a teenager when he told me that he would have been happier and more successful in life if he hadn’t been so ugly. Nothing could have been farther from the truth as revealed by his childhood photos. Later in middle age, he was a very good-looking and distinguished man. He simply accepted false information that he was given about himself.
You may be carrying around false information that was given you very young, and you still believe it.
The Wrong Kind of Humility Can Ruin Your Life—Stop It!
Religious upbringing, parents, and culture have a lot to say about how you’re likely to see yourself. I grew up hearing sermons about being humble, and my West Texas parents told me and my brother over and over again—”don’t get the big head.” If I had ever told my parents I wanted to grow up rich and famous, they would have sat me down for a good talking to. It was out of the world view of my West Texas relatives. The opposite of humble is not really haughty. It’s a belief in yourself to be self-confident and to serve those around you.
Change Ideas that Will Change Your Life—If You’ll Do Them!
Here are some thoughts for you every day when you look in the mirror—they will change your life, but not all at once—changing your self-concept is as difficult as anything you’ll ever do. So here it is . . .
1. Be true to you–your very own guru. When you look into the mirror, you’re seeing in you a unique individual, never ever to be repeated in the history of the world. There are many guides and sources of knowledge and inspiration—but you are the only one capable of evaluating what you receive, and making the final decision.
People spend a lifetime looking in the mirror and trying to dress, speak, and style themselves like someone they have seen and admired. What they say is what they think people want them to say. When they walk into a room, they wonder who they should try to be.
You certainly must remember you’re not God nor Superman. At the same time, you must trust yourself ultimately. It doesn’t mean you have to abandon your belief, faith, or respect for authority—nothing further from my point. It simply means that you are the last word. Otherwise, you run the risk of drinking someone else’s Kool-Aid—not healthy!
2. Be your own hero—There is no one else you should admire more. When I became my own hero people around me began to look at me differently—like a leader they depended on. Previously, nobody ever beat up on me and put me down like I put down myself. When I was victim of my bad self-concept, everyone responded to me accordingly. Every time I tried to take a role of leadership, I got the feeling that people were saying, “Who do you think you are?” The reason they responded that way was I didn’t believe in who I was. When I believed in myself, others believed in me.
3. Don’t let anyone put you down or limit you because of physical appearance—there’s no “Leaders Look”. At 5’8” inches, I’m getting shorter every year as people grow taller. I go to the gym several times a week and pass by young people who are anywhere from 6’5” up to approaching 7 feet. I am a dwarf compared to these people. Yet short people are doing some really tall things. One of my favourite personalities is Meet the Press host, Chuck Todd, 5’3”, who beat out a lot of very tall people for that position. So if there is something about your physical appearance that you can do something about, work to change it, certainly. But short, tall, fat, homely people who believe in themselves are achieving huge accomplishments every day.
4. Develop your own style that works for you. Leaders come in all kinds of wrappings. I have also known leaders who are incredibly shy, physically unappealing, take-charge people, don’t make any waves folks, sharp elbowed, aggressive personalities, quiet, talkative—all who were successful within their own styles. These people see themselves as leaders and when they walk into a room people often ask, why? It is because of their own self-concept and belief in themselves. Every day you are auditioning for the leading role in the greatest movie of all—the stage play about your life. As the star of that play, you don’t want to walk out on the stage, forget your lines, and fall on your face. It’s not easy to be a star, but you’re in that role. Play that role to the hilt. It’s worth the performance.
Find out how you can improve your self-concept. Get in touch for a complimentary coaching session – click here.
One of the ways we generate energy is as a result of the words we use. Every word spoken or read creates an image and energy in our minds.
Did you know that we actually remember positive words better than negative words!
Here’s an example: Don’t dump rubbish here! Sounds OK. It communicates! But in your mind something amazing happens when you read this – amazing but not good. Why not good? Well, when you read an instruction that is worded negatively, you have to switch tracks from “I can’t dump rubbish here” to “where in the world AM I supposed to dump the rubbish!”
What’s better and more effective to say is: “Dump rubbish here.”
Eliminating one word turns the negative order into a positive order that can be easily followed and avoids having to switch around in a thought dilemma, which wastes time and creates negative energy!
Here are a couple more to consider:
So think carefully about the words you use and the positive energy they bring to you and to those around you.
This month, practice using positive words and let me know how you go. You could always share how you are going on the MindShifts Facebook page.
Beliefs are thoughts in our heads that influence our emotions, behaviours, attitudes, and actions. Some beliefs can be empowering, which can lead us to great success, or self limiting which stops us from achieving our goals.
However, we need to be cognisant that beliefs are only thoughts and that they are not real. With the power of choice we can change our thoughts whenever we want to. We have the power to choose what we want to believe and not believe. Successful people have chosen to believe in thoughts that empower them. What are you going to choose?
Here are some empowering beliefs that I have come across:
- I am not afraid, only excited for what is ahead
- I am responsible for the life I create – The choices I make are ultimately my own responsibility.
- Failure means nothing to me – I look for outcomes and if the outcomes are not what I expect, then I assess what I need to do to change those outcomes
- I embrace challenges because I will always find a way to overcome
- I am the person who has to decide. Whether I will do it or toss it aside; I am the person who makes up my mind.
- Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, joy, courage, creativity and empathy. Vulnerability gives me strength and fuels my belief in me.
- The past was who I was, the present is who I am and the future is who I may become.
- I am on a continuous journey of learning, which will never end.
- I accept that sometimes I can stuff up, make mistakes and that I am not perfect however I never stop trying to be the best person I can be.
- I always dream big. I strive for that which is out of my reach as the impossible is worth striving for.
One of my favourite quotes is from Lao Tzu –
Watch your thoughts, they become words
Watch your words, they become actions
Watch your actions, they become habits
Watch your habits, they become character
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Do you want to change some of your thoughts?
The first step to changing how you think is to decide what the results are when you act on your existing beliefs.
Don’t worry at this stage whether your beliefs are right or wrong. Just stop and question: What are your key beliefs about yourself and your life now? What are the consequences of those beliefs in your life today? How do these thoughts serve you?
Now for the next 10 days choose one empowering belief and repeat it three times a day – preferably looking at yourself in a mirror. Each day try to behave and act in a way that supports the thought that you have chosen. Then watch how you begin to feel different and begin to transform.
Once you commit to living your life as an empowered individual you will have no option but to experience a life full of success and fulfilment.
Why wouldn’t you?
Let me help you bust those self-limiting beliefs, send me an email today at email@example.com.
Many years ago I learned an invaluable life tip. One of my teachers always stressed how we have one mouth and two ears; and that listening is far more valuable than just talking.
Have you ever asked someone to do something and they nod their heads and “yes, yes” you only to have them return with a result only remotely related to what you asked for?
There are a number of reasons for this: they may be distracted, you may be distracted, they may not understand what you’ve said, and/or are afraid or “too cool” to ask for clarity, or you may not have explained it well – all of these have to do with weak listening skills.
So what are some tips to help us all be better listeners?
- One of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People©” was to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Put listening before talking, it’s the key to communication.
- Let others know you’re listening by rephrasing what they’ve just said. It also confirms what you think you’ve heard.
- Avoid putting words in someone’s mouth and never finish someone’s sentence (nothing is more annoying and rude!)
- If you’re talking in a place that’s noisy or your phone keeps dropping out, be sure you clarify and confirm what you’ve heard rather than filling in the missing blanks yourself.
- If you’re face-to-face with someone, maintain healthy eye contact!
- Focus on what they’re saying. Multitasking is highly over-rated and some research has found it results in being about 40% less effective. Certainly this is true with listening. So don’t be watching for a text or ordering coffee while someone is explaining something. Stop and listen!
- Let someone finish what they’re saying and learn the art of asking sensible, clarifying questions.
Communicating well takes skills in both talking AND listening. Major in listening and you will never go wrong!
Take some time to reflect on this month’s Motivation and how it might apply to you, and get in touch if we can help.
We all struggle with our habits — sticking to them, staying motivated, getting started, dealing with disruptions, it can become a big struggle.
And yet, to change our habits is to change our lives. If we can’t make habit changes, we will be stuck in our current way of doing things, which might not be so helpful.
If you want to lose weight, beat procrastination, write a book, get fit, live mindfully … you have to develop habits.
Luckily, the process is simpler than most people realize. Simple, not easy: you have to be committed and really want to make the change. Otherwise you’ll just quit when things get difficult.
Here’s the first thing to keep in mind: just choose one habit for now. Yes, you’ll want to change a bunch of things. Don’t ignore my advice. Later, you can form more, but for now, focus on just one.
With that in mind, follow these simple steps:
1. Start super small. I’ve said this a million times on this blog, so you might gloss over this one — but don’t. It’s the most important thing. Do one habit at a time, and do it super small. How small? Just meditate for 2 minutes. Just write for 5 minutes. Just do 5 pushups or 5 sun salutations. Just eat one vegetable a day. If you start small, you remove the resistance to starting, which is the hardest part. I used to tell myself, “Just put on your shoes and get out the door,” and that’s how I formed my running habit, and I ended up running several marathons and an ultramarathon because of this small habit. For meditation, I tell myself, “Just get your butt on the cushion.” For drawing, just get out your pad & pencil.
2. Remove choice. Don’t think about it — make a decision ahead of time to do it every day at the same time for at least a month, then each day, don’t make it a decision. Just start. Have a trigger that’s already in your daily life (like waking up, or showering, brushing your teeth, starting the coffee maker, eating lunch, whatever) and use that as the trigger for an when/then statement: “When I wake up, I’ll meditate for 2 minutes.” Put written reminders near where the trigger happens. The main point is: make the decision to do it every day, and then just do it without thinking.
3. Get some accountability. Have at least one person you report to — an accountability partner. Or a group of friends. Or a walking/running partner. It doesn’t matter how you set it up, but having someone to report to means you are much more likely to push yourself past resistance when it comes up.
4. Make it fun, find gratitude. Don’t just do the habit as if it were a chore. See if you can enjoy it. How can you make it fun, play, joyous? Can you find gratitude in the middle of your workout? The habit is much more likely to stick if you focus on the parts you enjoy, rather than mindlessly try to check it off your to-do list.
5. Be committed. Why are you doing this habit? Reflect on this during the first week, as you do the habit. What deeper reason do you have? Are you doing this habit to help others? As an act of self-love, so that you can be healthier or happier? If you’re just doing it because you think you should, or because it sounds cool, you won’t really push past the resistance.
You can start with just the first item above, but I would recommend adding as many of the other four as you can during your first week or two, because you’ll be increasing your odds of success with each one.
This is doable. You can change your old ways by consciously doing something new repeatedly, until it’s a habit. Take small steps to get started, remove choice so you don’t think about whether to start or not, get some accountability and understand your motivation so you push past resistance, and find gratitude in the midst of the action.
One habit, done daily. Small steps with intention, support and a smile. It can make all the difference in the world.
Source: This above article was written by Leo Babauta, “The 5 Keys To Forming Any Habit”, April 21, 2017.
…that silently sabotages us in life…
1. I’m too old
2. I’m not smart enough
3. I am not educated enough
4. I’m afraid of trying and failing
5. You have to have money to make money
6. I’ve already tried everything
7. I can’t do that
8. I don’t feel I really deserve it
9. I’ll never be able to do that
10. All the good ones are taken
Maybe you can relate to some these statements? If you are subtly making yourself a victim by your unconscious thought, try exchanging some of the things you say by more positive, actionable and responsible things which gives you control. You can choose.
Some positive statements:
1. I’m too old – You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream
2. I’m not smart enough – I am good enough. I am smart and I can do anything I put my mind too
3. I am not educated enough – I am intelligent enough to succeed
4. I’m afraid of trying and failing – Yes I might fail but I don’t try, I’ll never know
5. You have to have money to make money – Just start, take actions, embrace uncertainty and create your future
6. I’ve already tried everything – Try again or try something new
7. I can’t do that – What have you done successfully in the past?
8. I don’t feel I really deserve it – Am I being fair saying that?
9. I’ll never be able to do that – Well never is a long time.
10. All the good ones are taken – They are still lots of interesting and kind people out there
When faced with a tight deadline, many leaders just go with their gut. How can you avoid bad moves in decision-making, and feel confident that you are making the best decision?
- Don’t rely on intuition alone. Overconfidence in your own intuition, can lead you to select data that supports your initial conclusion, rather than looking at the broader picture. Be more analytical and fact based in your approach.
- Be aware of bias and realistically assess your knowledge of the situation, by bringing a range of data to the table. If you don’t have the time initially to get all the facts, be aware and open about this and factor it into your decision – allowing a review once a clearer picture is available.
- Do a pre-mortem to deal with pitfalls before they happen. Look at why your decision may lead to failure, listing all the possibilities, and use this information to tweak the decision to avoid this outcome.
- Review whether past experience offers a reliable platform to move forward from. Actions already taken can anchor subsequent thinking. Avoid the emotional response to believing previous decisions were correct and look from an outside perspective when addressing a new situation.
- Be aware of emotional platforms that may sway your decisions. Open your eyes to blindspots. Understand who or what are the major sources of influence that may affect your objectivity.
Taking these extra steps when facing tough decisions can mean the difference between success and failure.
Leaders need to be aware that they may have surrounded themselves with people who think as they do. Everyone needs a challenger – so don’t shy away from opposition: embrace and encourage it for better decision-making.
If you are looking for a creative and ethical challenger give me a call on +61 (0) 2 9411 3900– The Decision-Making Maverick.
Here is a wonderful article from Marshall Goldsmith, giving advice on how to be more effective in influencing up. Maybe there is an answer there for you too.
1. Accept the facts
Every decision that affects our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision, not the “right” person or the “smartest” person or the “best” person. Make peace with this fact. Once we make peace with the fact that the people who have the power to make the decisions always make the decisions and we get over whining that “life isn’t fair,” we become more effective in influencing others and making a positive difference. We also become happier.
2. Realise You Must Sell Your Ideas
When presenting ideas to decision-makers, realize that it is your responsibility to sell, not their responsibility to buy. In many ways, influencing ultimate decision-makers is similar to selling products or services to external customers. They don’t have to buy–you have to sell. No one is impressed with salespeople who blame their customers for not buying their products. While the importance of taking responsibility may seem obvious in external sales, an amazing number of people in large corporations spend countless hours blaming management for not buying their ideas. A key part of the influence process involves the education of decision-makers. The effective influencer needs to be a good teacher.
3. Focus on contribution to the larger good – not just the achievement of your objectives
An effective salesperson would never say to a customer, “You need to buy this product, because if you don’t, I won’t achieve my objectives.” Effective salespeople relate to the needs of the buyers, not to their own needs. In the same way, effective influencers relate to the larger needs of the organization, not just to the needs of their unit or team.
4. Strive to win the big battles
Don’t waste your energy and psychological capital on trivial points. Executives’ time is very limited. Do a thorough analysis of ideas before challenging the system. Focus on issues that will make a real difference. Be willing to lose on small points. Be especially sensitive to the need to win trivial non-business arguments on things like restaurants, sports teams, or cars. You are paid to do what makes a difference and to win on important issues. You are not paid to win arguments on the relative quality of athletic teams.
5. Present a realistic “cost-benefit” analysis of your ideas – don’t just sell benefits.
Every organization has limited resources, time, and energy. The acceptance of your idea may well mean the rejection of another idea that someone else believes is wonderful. Be prepared to have a realistic discussion of the costs of your idea.
6. Challenge up on issues involving ethics or integrity – never remain silent on ethics violations
The best of corporations can be severely damaged by only one violation of corporate integrity. Refuse to compromise on company ethics. Take action immediately.
7. Realise that powerful people also make mistakes
Don’t say, “I am amazed that someone at this level…” It is realistic to expect decision-makers to be competent; it is unrealistic to expect them to be anything other than normal humans. Focus more on helping them than judging them.
8. Don’t be disrespectful.
While it is important to avoid kissing up to decision-makers, it is just as important to avoid the opposite reaction.
Before speaking, it is generally good to ask one question from four perspectives. “Will this comment help 1) our company 2) our customers 3) the person I am talking to, and 4) the person I am talking about?” If the answers are no, no, no, and no, don’t say it!
9. Support the final decision.
Treat decision-makers the same way that you would want to be treated. If you stab that person in the back in front of your direct reports, what are you teaching them to do when they disagree with you?
10. Make a positive difference–don’t just try to “win” or “be right.”
We can easily become more focused on what others are doing wrong than on how we can make things better. An important guideline in influencing up is to always remember your goal: making a positive difference for the organization. Focus on making a difference. The more other people can be “right” or “win” with your idea, the more likely your idea is to be successfully executed.
11. Focus on the future – let go of the past.
One of the most important behaviors to avoid is whining about the past. Have you ever managed someone who incessantly whined about how bad things are? Nobody wins. Successful people love getting ideas aimed at helping them achieve their goals for the future. By focusing on the future, you can concentrate on what can be achieved tomorrow, not what was not achieved yesterday.
In summary, think of the years that you have spent “perfecting your craft.” Think of all of the knowledge that you have accumulated. Think about how your knowledge can potentially benefit your organisation. How much energy have you invested in acquiring all of this knowledge? How much energy have you invested in learning to present this knowledge to decision-makers so that you can make a real difference? My hope is that by making a small investment in learning to influence decision-makers, you can make a large, positive difference for the future of your organization.
Source: This above article was written by Marshall Goldsmith, “11 Ways to Influence Key Decision makers”, April 30, 2015.
Today’s business environment is best described as VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. VUCA is, quite simply, the expression of the fact that the rate of change is outpacing our ability to adapt.
As a result of this, businesses, industries and careers are disrupted faster than ever before. We have to seriously rethink about how we lead ourselves, others and our organisations. Old ways of leadership have to give way to newer mental models based on agility in decision making, critical thinking, adaptable learning, people orientation and responsiveness to change.
Whilst none of us is really in control of our environment, most of us are working hard to anticipate the changing conditions of our business.
In his series of blogs in HBR late 2010 – early 2011, the late former US Army Colonel Eric Kail outlined adaptive leadership tactics for operating in a VUCA world –
For Volatile Situations…
- Communicate clearly
- Ensure that your intent is understood
For Uncertain Situations…
- Get a fresh perspective
- Be flexible
For Complex Situations…
- Develop collaborative leaders
- Stop seeking permanent solutions
For Ambiguous Situations…
- Listen well
- Think divergently
- Set up incremental dividends
While his advice was constructed within the context of small-unit combat activities in the military I believe it is easily convertible into applications for all organisations.
The antidote to VUCA is about moving from Volatility to Vision, from Uncertainty to Understanding, from Complexity to Clarity and from Ambiguity to Agility. This means exercising leadership in every aspect of our lives and exercising leadership means making wise decisions.
Adapted from: “Adaptive Leadership for the VUCA World: A tale of Two Managers”, Paul Kinsinger, June 6, 2016, Global Business Magazine
Here is a wonderful letter and answer from my friend Dr. Sylvia LaFair giving advice on how to achieve a healthy balance. Maybe there is an answer there for you too.
Dear Dr. Sylvia,
It’s summer and all the ads show people sipping lovely drinks at a pool or beach. Except me. Now, I shouldn’t complain. Life is good when you are busy? Right?
It’s just that I am over-scheduled, over-committed and overextended.
I am proud that so many people want so much from me. And yet, I am desperate to get some down time.
Now, don’t tell me to just stop and smell the roses. Actually, I have allergies so I would then just sneeze my head off.
What I need from you is a strategy that will go with my busy lifestyle. I need some kind words from you to tell me that life without stopping is normal and really a good thing. I need you to tell my wife and kids to leave me alone, that I am making the money so they can sit by the pool and sip lovely drinks.
I need you to tell me to keep doing what I am doing because it is the right way in business these days.
Can you please reinforce my crazy busy life model as a good one?
You, sir, are on INTERACTION OVERLOAD. And the signs of this are to be both filled with pride and desperation at the same time.
The only thing I can do to be helpful is to give you the results of research that will prove you are truly crazy by being so busy!
Look, we are built to both spend and then renew our energy. Think of a pitcher full of clear lovely water. It is meant to be used and used up. Then when the pitcher is empty it needs to be refilled to replenish us with what is needed for growth and health.
Here is my BIG QUESTION for you: when you are left alone with your thoughts in a quiet time what do you think about?
For so many crazy, busy individuals there is a mighty fear about reflection and solitude. The fear is that what we will bump up against is the deeper, negative feelings we so often push away with work and food and all the other addictions that abound.
Here’s the bad news, dear pooped. Suppressing negative feelings only gives them more power. Get busier and busier to avoid them. I think that may be what you and millions of others are doing. These feelings are like stuck plumbing (funny you named yourself ‘pooped’) and sooner or later they will build up so much muck they will eventually spill over and create a huge mess.
Better learn to live with yourself, with the solitude, with reflection time, with memories.
Mindfulness to the rescue. Learn to meditate and my dear friend Chade-Meng Tan has written a marvelous book to help you learn to look inside yourself, titled Joy On Demand.
Meng could have become a crazy busy guy, since he was one of the first engineers at Google. Instead he learned about balance and meditation and mindfulness, and he shares his wisdom with all of us.
And here is one more thought. If you are worried about some awful thing happening when you take time to be still, not to worry. Research by Kerri Smith in Nature magazine states that even in a do-nothing state the brain is still active. It is completing the task of integrating and processing your experiences.
So, take a break and let your brain do the work while you relax.
Are you feeling that your life is spiralling out of control? Not sure how to get yourself back in control.
1. Remember that habits are changed by practicing new behaviour. By practising new thinking every five minutes, you’ll soon began to master the art of present-moment living.
2. Do an honest assessment of your “problems”. You’ll very likely discover that almost all your problems are really in your head and not located in reality.
3. Take time to be mindful of everything around you. Begin to look at your entire surroundings in a new light. Observe every detail on every face, every building and every project. If you do this often it will become a habit that will facilitate your being alive in every moment of the year.
4. Change your attitude. Begin an attitude-redevelopment plan. That means practice enjoying everything you do.
5. Be specific about what you want and take action. Decide on one thing you would like to work on and do it today. Work at it daily, rather than making it a long-range objective.
6. Create a self-improvement agenda for yourself. Put on your agenda whatever activities you’ve always thought about but never had time to do. Do them now.
7. Rid yourself of mundane chores that are not really that important. Spend more time making your life a pleasure.
8. Eliminate procrastination as a lifestyle. Instead of talking to yourself about what you are going to do next week or even tomorrow, use this time to start a new task.
9. Don’t give up control of your life to others. You cannot enjoy the present moment if you are busy trying to make everyone else like you. People respect you more when you operate from a position of strength and self-reliance.
10. Feel good about yourself. You are a magnificent human being. Always feel good about that self that you are always with.
Source: Adapted from Hay House – Dr Wayne Dyer newsletter, 3rd January 2017
According to the Mayo Clinic job burnout can result from various factors, including:
- Lack of control. An inability to influence decisions that affect your job – such as your schedule, assignments or workload – could lead to job burnout. So could a lack of the resources you need to do your work.
- Unclear job expectations. If you’re unclear about the degree of authority you have or what your supervisor or others expect from you, you’re not likely to feel comfortable at work.
- Dysfunctional workplace dynamics. Perhaps you work with an office bully, you feel undermined by colleagues or your boss micromanages your work. These and related situations can contribute to job stress.
- Mismatch in values. If your values differ from the way your employer does business or handles grievances, the mismatch may eventually take a toll.
- Poor job fit. If your job doesn’t fit your interests and skills, it may become increasingly stressful over time.
- Extremes of activity. When a job is always monotonous or chaotic, you need constant energy to remain focused – which can lead to fatigue and job burnout.
- Lack of social support. If you feel isolated at work and in your personal life, you may feel more stressed.
- Work-life imbalance. If your work takes up so much of your time and effort that you don’t have the energy to spend time with your family and friends, you may burn out very quickly.
Can you relate to any of the above? Take action now and seek support before your health and relationships are affected. Remember, you have the power of choice, and it is your choices that will lead you out of situations that lead to burnout.
Job burnout is not to be handled lightly. To help turn things around, I’m offering the opportunity of an initial free 30 minute session where we can identify how to take control of your life and work towards a healthy and positive future.
CLICK HERE NOW!
This one off is only for my subscribers and valid until the 15th April 2017.
This question seems so simple however a company that defines its competitive set too narrolwly can miss disruptive attackers and high potential growth opportunities. Just take a look at Blockbuster, Nokai and Kodak. They were all market leaders who fell pray to either disruptive technology or market changes. How can your company avoid a similar fate?
Let me guide you:
1. Define your target/objective
Far too often, organizations make decisions too quickly and without a strategic context — it is a case of ‘ready, fire, aim’ The internet has not helped this mindset, as the speed to market has become a more critical factor. Understand what you are looking to maximise.
2. Ask the right question or questions
Experience has shown that ‘asking the right question’ is one of the hardest steps for management. The key here is to understand what your business really wants, and how the insights uncovered will directly relate to a management decision or course of action.
3. Manage information effectively
The next driver for understanding what you have and don’t have within the business needs to come from studying the forces at work on your business’s competitive ability. These forces include competitors, technology, consumers, new entrants, industry trends and so on. Getting information on these forces is the first step in becoming knowledgeable about your competitive environment.
4. Analyse for insight and intelligence
A strategic plan that doesn’t include insight about the near future is truly next to useless. Yesterday’s information and methods are increasingly ineffective for making today’s decisions — and even less effective for identifying tomorrow’s opportunities, problems and unknown competitors.
The value of insight is early awareness, as it enables you to recognise and monitor the future as it unfolds, thereby reducing risk and minimising mistakes.
Today, managers are faced with many pressures — they may sometimes seek only short-term gains — but costly mistakes from managers making uninformed decisions are no longer an option.
Today, competing effectively is not just understanding existing competitors and the current business environment. It is strategically about having a picture of what the future business environment will look like and addressing the following questions:
- What business are you in today?
- How will new technology affect you and your customers?
- What new opportunities does the disruption open up?
- What capabilities do you need to realise these opportunities?
- What are you doing to protect your business performance when new and sometime unusual competitors are just now a click away?
- Are you aware of the external changes that are going to take place in your industry and how it will affect the business’s performance?
How your business prepares this future will provide you with either a strategic advantage — or the demise of your business. The most critical strategic issue for a business is its competitiveness.
Looking for a mentor in strategy and competition for you business or division? Give us a call (02) 9411 3900 or have a look at some of the projects we have worked on here.