Peel Back The Layers

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If you are serious about your own personal development and continual growth an area of work that is never complete is building self-awareness. The majority of inspiring people that I have met in my life have had incredible self -awareness and saw this as an ongoing project and an area of their life that they were always willing to do more work on.

When I initially meet prospective coaching clients one of my first jobs is to ascertain how much work they have already done in this area. Some people have been lucky enough to have worked for organisations that have invested in people development and therefore these clients have attended training courses, developmental activities,360 degree feedback and even sometimes had psychometric assessments. Each one of these experiences has enabled the person to understand more about themselves, the good bits and the bad bits.

I was certainly privileged to have had such opportunities during my corporate career and learnt a lot however the learning hasn’t stopped since leaving and it is this ongoing commitment to personal development and self-awareness that is critical in achieving high performance either as an individual ,a leader of a team, in employment or self employed.

My advice would be to take every opportunity you can to learn more about yourself. What are your natural strengths? What are you passionate about? What interests you to the point that you choose to do it in your own time? What do you want to learn more about? What do others say that you are good at. What feedback have you had either formally or informally? What do you find easy to do? What are you motivated by?

On the other side of the coin what don’t you enjoy? What do you find difficult no matter how you try and apply yourself. What subject matter or tasks do you avoid as they don’t interest you? What feedback have you had from others regarding skills and behaviours you need to improve. What are you quite happy to pay others to do as you know this is more effective in terms of both money and time.

When looking at ourselves consider the following layers

  •  Personality … what do you naturally like doing and what are you naturally good at
  • Motivation…. what interests and inspires you, what makes you feel good
  • Confidence … what are you naturally confident doing
  • What are your values and beliefs… what is really important in your life, what do you stand for? What do you firmly believe in?
  • Attitude… day by day how would describe your attitude to daily life? How do you show up in the world? How would others describe you? A Ray of Sunshine always positive and inspiring , Cloudy – sometimes positive, sometimes negative or a Dark Storm – one of lifes victims.
  • Behaviour… what do you do and how do you behave day in day out.
  • Image … what image do you present to the world, how would others describe you?

These are just some of the things to consider as you become self aware.Learn more and how to apply this to audit and build your life plan in Own It available from Amazon http://amzn.to/2phNU6t

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The Feel Good Factor Of Quality

Dormy HouseFor 24 hours last week I was reminded of how good it feels to experience quality service. Quality experiences along with quality products and the positive impression this creates is so important. It also makes me realise how rare these experiences are and that is why they do stand out head and shoulders above the average which is sometimes what we settle for or indeed accept as the norm.

From the first enquiry to the venue, through the confirmation process, to the initial personal welcome to departure; the whole environment and service throughout the stay was first class with attention to detail, unique finishing touches plus added extra surprises. In some of the training workshops Kudos have delivered over the years we have often encouraged organisations to ensure all the touch points with prospective or existing customers are positive and memorable. These touch points are often called “Moments of Truth” and can leave either positive or negative impressions. This venue did any outstanding job from start to finish, from the personal welcome on the steps through to the goodbye goodie bag issued at checkout. It appeared as if a lot of thought had gone into the entire customer experience with some surprises thrown in at various stages to solidify the exceptional experience.

This feel-good factor of quality can impact us as individuals on multiple levels. Here are two impacts just 24 hours had on me.

It got me thinking how often do we audit our own work to ensure our customers are experiencing excellent levels of service at each stage, is this consistent and does it cross across both the service and product part of our offering. When was the last time you walked through the entire customer experience and critically asked is this exceptional? What could we do to make it more outstanding so customers leave us and go and tell others how wonderful it was as this is what happens. When each of us have an exceptional experience, we tell others (it also works the other day when things are a disaster we also tell others probably even more so!) Another question to ask in the mini audit of our customer journey is what could be added in that is a little bit different to make this experience unique and memorable for the right reasons? What little twists could you offer that is over and above the norm?

The second thing I came away thinking was how good it feels to be surrounded by wall to wall natural rather than forced quality. Why should we settle for anything less? How can you get more of this in your life so that it becomes the norm and the standard you therefore set for yourself? A lot of the service I experienced over the last 24 hours was down to the attitude of all the people we met, they were attentive, professional, friendly, natural and delivered the element of the service they were responsible for to an extremely high standard. None of these things cost money so really, we can all do this and, we should all strive to surround ourselves by this especially if we are going through a challenging time, maybe having doubts or just not operating at our best.

In Own IT- regain control and live life on your terms: http://amzn.to/2nzRFne as part of the momentum chapter 6 I encourage people to have a ” what makes me feel good list ” I am just going to add “immersing myself in quality experiences” onto my own list as it feels good and it inspires as well. Also, when you audit who you are spending time with chapter 8 are you surrounding yourself with others that expect and deliver this level of service?

Thank you Dormy House http://bit.ly/T6XRnn  for inspiring this blog post and the recent experience … we will be back.

A G.A.M.E. Plan – executed

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So it has been a while since the last blog and the months have certainly been busy. Just prior to the end of 2016 a project that I have been working on met a key milestone when the paperback version of my first book was published. It took a few more weeks until it was on Amazon in both kindle and paperback version; a few more weeks before it was officially launched and hit number one in 3 categories of Amazon.

The whole experience from the idea, through the planning phase. the writing process followed by the final editing has been amazing. I have learnt so much from those people that are experts in this field and also from others who have already trod this path and kindly shared their experiences and own learning.

The whole project came about very quickly, in fact this time last year I had no intention of writing a book in 2016. This is what happens when you find something that you love doing and it ticks a lot of elements in the individual motivational mix we all  have inside of us. Having spoken with other coaches who had written a book I initially just began to explore the possibility of writing one in the future. I was so inspired by the simplistic process that the publishing company suggested that I decided to commit myself to the project in full in July 2016 by investing a whole day in planning the book outline. This turned out to be one of the best investments I made as in the space of 7 hours the ideas for content I already had inside my head having practiced as a coach for 20 years were formulated into 10 chapter headings. It was during this planning exercise that A G.A.M.E. model was also born as a way of formulating how I could convey to readers a few things; the way I work with clients, the way I have achieved major projects in my life and in the end the methodology to actually write the book OWN IT. I will take you through each element in more detail in future blogs but just as an introduction this is what it stands for

A – Awareness of self

G. – Goal Clarity

A. – Act Daily

M. – Momentum

E. – Enjoy & Evaluate

So that’s what I did with the book project. I knew I had the necessary discipline to take the project on, once I set my mind to something I do it! I set myself the goal of writing the book by the end of the year. I worked on some writing each day, I set up a system of writing on my IPAD then transferring it into a word doc in order to keep the momentum of writing alongside my busy schedule. I definitely enjoyed the whole process and I have evaluated what I have learnt for book two!

What I also did was surround myself with the right people – more on this in another blog

If you are interested in finding out more take a look at  http://amzn.to/2m3l8Vl or http://www.own-it-book.com

 

 

When Things Don’t Go To Plan

 

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The 12 Emotional Steps

I am a planner by nature and whenever I embark on a project the first thing I do is draw up a master plan. This normally works in my favour enabling me to manage workload, meet deadlines, engage other involved parties and set up contingencies in case things go wrong. So when I think I have planned for every eventuality and something happens that blows the plan completely out of the water it is quite a shock and an experience that isn’t that familiar.

  • The first emotion is shock – wow I wasn’t expecting that!
  • The second emotion is disbelief – how did that happen, events that were completely unpredictable with the knowledge at that given time.
  • The third is anger – how can this be happening to me?
  • The fourth is disappointment – the master plan didn’t work and I thought it would
  • The fifth is uncertainty – now what do I do, I thought this was going to happen and now it isn’t
  • The sixth emotion is annoyance as others try and rationalise and suggest alternative courses of action to the one you wanted.
  • The seventh – bouncing between acceptance and disappointment gradually more days of acceptance rather than any other emotion
  • The eighth – learning and questions, so what did I learn about the plan, the process and myself and what do I want to do now
  • The ninth – possible alternatives come into mind and get serious consideration
  • The tenth – acceptance of situation, acceptance of any personal learnings and the acceptance of an alternative way forwards
  • The eleventh – uncertainty again during the evaluation of all alternatives and decision on one way forwards – will it be as good as the one I originally planned for
  • The twelfth – enthusiasm around the new alternative chosen

Now the big question – how much planning do I do for my new option? – should I be less attached to the outcome and more fluid with my planning. Should I trust in what will be will be rather than planning things with military precision and going through the twelve emotional steps above or is that just life?

 

 

De-Cluttering

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I have been working with a lot of clients this month in the area of time management and making sure they are working on the right things. When you have really big goals you want to achieve or you have a lot of different conflicting things happening in your life it is vital to make sure you are not falling into the trap of being a  “busy fool” . I love this phrase as we can all fall into this trap, we rush round feeling very busy and stressed but when we look back on the week or month its difficult to identify what we have achieved.

One thing that can really help in this area is to ensure your surroundings help you focus. Sometimes just the sight of my desk can stress me out if I have just dumped customer files, training materials and  items into the office without sorting them out and putting them away. These sort of surroundings can set the scene for a unproductive day or week if they are left like this.

When you walk into an area or go by someones desk that is super tidy it creates the impression that this person is organised and in control.

To prevent getting into this cycle of clutter, disorganisation, working on the wrong things or being frozen into inaction due to the mountain of stuff to sort and do it is useful to have an ongoing system of putting away, de-cluttering, scheduling and creating time to sort out all of this. A lady who has written a very different book in this whole area is Marie Kondo in her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up  https://www.amazon.com/Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering-Organizing/dp/1607747308. Worth adding to your reading list.

 

Finding Your Passion

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Wouldn’t it be great if every Monday morning you woke up at the start of the working week and you were excited about your diary schedule. When each day. although you were going about your work, it didn’t actually feel like work at all. When you find out what your passion is in life and then find a way to earn money via utilising this passion this is what it feels like.

When working with people as a coach and they are unhappy with their current career it is useful to talk about what they are passionate about in life, to see if there is a way of leveraging from this in future job roles. Some people find it very difficult to answer the question ” so what are you passionate about?”  If people have never had this question asked of them before sometimes they struggle. If someone is going through a tough time the answer often comes back “nothing”

In Robin Sharmas book “The Greatness Guide” he suggests you list your 10 Greatest Passions, 10 activities that fill your heart with joy and remind you of how life can be”

What would your list of 10 be ? Have a go how many have you got on your list?

My top two would definitely be Personal development and Ashthanga Yoga.

If you were unhappy with your job this could be vital information to start exploring. Even if you are happy with your work the Robin suggests in the same book that over a 10 week period you schedule on of those passionate pursuits into your diary so that you get back to doing the things that lift your spirit.

What if you still can’t think of anything you are passionate about. Maybe these 3 guidelines might  help. To be passionate about something

  • We need to perceive we are free to do it therefore we shouldn’t feel obliged to do it.
  • It should have infinite potential for growth e g never ending
  • It should give us a sense of contribution which means we feel we are doing it for some reason bigger than ourselves.

So take some time out this week to see how your list of 10 shapes up and are you spending enough of your time on things you are passionate about.

 

Which Career Are You On?

 

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Someone many years ago told me “there are three careers in each one of us….”. Talking to people a lot, as I do as a career coach I am now thinking this needs to be changed to “there are 5 careers in everyone” People are definitely getting more comfortable with the idea of changing roles if they are not happy and consider changing sometimes to completely different professions or ways of working.

 The world of work is definitely becoming more fluid my parents were of a generation where they were encouraged to stay in a job, especially if it paid ok and had good prospects with a generous pension scheme. I remember they were horrified when I resigned from a “job for life” role in the civil service because I was bored and everyone there spent many hours a week complaining about their roles and cutting out adverts from the local paper to apply for different jobs but never did.

 Depending on how you define career I am definitely on my third one if not my fourth and each one of these has been good serving me well for eighty percent of the time. Getting used to making changes and having the confidence to take sometimes a leap of faith into the unknown is hard. The easy option is to carry on doing what is comfortable and if the individual is truly happy with their work and the environment they work in then that is fantastic. If not however and your working life has become mundane, if you are not feeling passionate about what you do each day then maybe there are still some more careers out there for you?

 Look at what you enjoy doing, ask yourself the question if money was not important what would you love to do? What are you passionate about? What are your best days and what is it about those days that make them good… The answers to all of these questions may lead you to your next career…