Categories
Personal development

Importance of pursuing what makes you happy

For many years I have surfed only in the white water, the only times I have been out the back is in a lesson. I did not learn to surf until my late 40’s which prompted me to learn to swim. Surf camps are great way of getting out very day with a group and last week I took part in a 5 day surf camp with Surf camp Australia in Gerroa. My husband was back at work and I was on compulsory leave, so perfect time for me to get away and do what I love (husband does not surf).

Over the years I have travelled on business on my own, even went to Bali 5 years ago on a surf/yoga retreat for women, but I was surprised at how nervous I felt going away on my own for the first time in a long time.

The fears disappeared fast when I was surrounded by like minded people of all ages and cultures. The staff also made everyone feel very welcome.

Being in nature, with all the elements (many storms) in beautiful scenery, deserted beach, in pristine blue water, empties your mind and makes you feel at peace with yourself and the world around you.

A lot is written about doing a job you love, but outside of work, it is equally important to find the time to do the things that make you happy. My take away from the week, was that I need to find more time to be in nature, it really makes a big difference to our mental well being.

Categories
High Performing Teams Personal development Time Management Work life balance

How to improve productivity?

Being productive and feeling a sense of achievement at the end of the day or week, is critical to feeling successful and high performance.

Here are four performance rules I live by every day.

1. Todo list management

TODO lists are critical, as none of us can remember everything we need to do in a work context. Covey 7 habits of highly effective people is a great way to prioritise what is important as opposed to interruptions and time wasters. Use the four quadrants to section your todo list. That way you focus on the right items first.

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2. Track Projects

In addition I track projects. Todo lists are not good for managing projects, so I keep projects seperate and populate the todo list and quadrants with activities related to the projects for the week. This is one of the many take aways from the book “how to get things done”. I use a project tracker, which I keep in a word document. Each project is listed with next steps and a RAG status. I publish the list to my team and peers, which enables them to view progress, but also contribute, ask to participate or lead, ask for prioritisation and help them when communicating with their customers.

3. Weekly set aside time to plan your week

Each week on a Sunday evening or late friday evening to set the priorities for the week using the above techniques. I block time in my calendar for activities. This is good to do for two-three weeks out. That way if you any one “diary dumps” you can decide which is more important.

The other key thing I do, is I was start with the tasks, never email. I am more productive in the mornings, so I get on with the heavy tasks and early.

4. Email

As for email, I only check twice a day late morning and late afternoon. All my CC emails are on Auto direct to a cc folder. I only read when needed. If someone has given me an action, then I need to be in the TO line not CC.

Other tips:

  • Turn off email pop up alerts
  • Make emails short (no more than 5 sentences or 5 dot points)
  • Break the chain – pick up the phone instead of engaging in email trails
  • Text if it is urgent
  • Avoid Reply All and adding ccs
  • Set clear instructions – For Action, For Info, For Approval.
    • Say up front when a reply is needed.
    • “To” means action/reply needed.
    • “CC” means the cc must know this.
    • If neither applies then don’t email!
  • Inbox “Zero” Rules
    • Delete
    • Delegate
    • Do Now
    • Defer
    • Discuss

So here are 4 key productivity activities you can do that will make a difference:

1. Todo list management

2. Track Projects

3. Weekly planning ahead

4. Email

Good luck with achieving more by planning for success. Let me know how you get on?

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Mentoring Personal development Work life balance

Taking responsibility to how we get treated

treatmentToday I was in a coaching session with a young female I have mentored for over 6 months. She has grown so much in a short amount of time, she is also happier and equipped with skills to ensure her success. Today I asked her about how she is getting on with repair bridges that have been well and truly burned. The same question I ask her each time I see her. She had made no progress.

I asked her what was getting in the way of having the conversation. She opened up and said that it would be too painful. Do you practice forgiveness? She looked alarmed. Forgiveness is the opposite to resentful, when you let you go, the emotion and time spent feeling resentful is released into positive energy that you can use far better.

Holding on to resentment is not helpful or healthy.

It’s too painful, she repeated. I asked Why is it so painful? She replied: It was bullying and it went on for months. What did you do about it? She stopped, I did nothing, I was embarrassed. Did you speak to anyone about it? No. So you suffered not knowing what to do. Yes she replied. She went on to say I want to forget it and move on. I replied, it will happen again, I can guarantee you, so what are you going to do about it when it happens? She looked surprised and taken back. It will happen, I talked through some incidents that I had personally dealt with. As a women, certain leaders(men and women) need to assert their authority and the way they do it, is not acceptable: Humiliating, raising voices, aggressive and threatening. If they do it once they keep doing it as the boundaries have not be set properly.

These are the steps to take post incidents with people who put you down or harass you or raise voices and aggressive:

1. Straight after incident document verbatim what has happened including time and date.

2. Within 24 hours and when you are calm, take the person to one side in a room and not where others can hear

3. This is what you say: The incident yesterday where you said quote un quote, you made me feel inadequate and very uncomfortable. Your actions destroyed my confidence, something that is extremely fragile in women. I dont want you to ever do that again, do you understand me?

Once the accused has acknowledged and apologies. Say this is not going to be discussed ever again, this is between you and me. Lets move on. Confidentiality is critical as it rebuilds trust.

I promise you will never have another incident, with this person.

In that moment the lights came on and she said ” I own this, I can take control”. Absolutely you do! Never let anyone make you feel bad, people who do this are fundamentally insecure. There is no excuse for the behaviour, but you are responsible for setting the boundaries.

Categories
Book Quotes Judgement Leadership Legacy

Eckhart Tolle New Earth

Just finished reading this life changing book. Understanding ego, how it works and why we get ourselves into situations where we are unhappy. https://www.amazon.com/New-Earth-Awakening-Purpose-Selection/dp/0452289963

Our ego is our identity, without it we believe we are nothing. The reality without it we are happy people who can be present. So how does ego show up?

Eckhart Tolle uses examples and stories, that help you recognise where ego gets in the way of happiness.a new earth

Our image of ourselves is derived through where we live, the car we drive, the gym we join, telling others who we know, our celebrity encounters, what we know, our experience, qualifications and the list goes on. We believe we need these to be successful, but what is success if you get there are you are having no more fun!

“Nonresistance, nonjudgement, and non attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.” Summarised beautifully by Eckhart.

These are articles previously written on the topics:

How quickly can you forgive?

What am I working on? Judgement

The five levels of attachment

This is a book on spirituality and is not a religious book. There are references to religion only.

Further reading on Ego is the enemy of good leadership by Rasmus HougaardJacqueline Carter. https://hbr.org/2018/11/ego-is-the-enemy-of-good-leadership?utm_medium=email&utm_source=tgr_newnlsignup&utm_campaign=nlconfirm_mtod_notactsub_v20191101&deliveryName=DM60315

 

Categories
Leadership Mentoring Personal development Work life balance

How to manage your work/life balance?

Even after 25 years in leaderships roles, I still have times when I am overwhelmed with worklowork life balancead and my work/life balance is out of sync.  When it happens you stop doing the things you love and work longer hours. The cost is your health and relationships, it is never worth it. You are also very unproductive and not good to be around.

Tips for a better work life balance:

1. Ensure you schedule time in your calendar for your daily fitness. Make sure it’s visible to others so they can respect that you need that time to look after yourself. Talk to others about what you do and inspire your teams, peers and bosses to take care of themselves.

2. Book regular time off.  I take a minimum of a long weekend 2 days plus weekend 4 times a year, so I know every 12 weeks I have a break to recharge and spend time with my Husband and Friends.  First time last year headed to a health retreat for a week. Great way to reset your life and get back to healthy living and exercise.

3. Review how you spend your time: Are you the right person to take on the task? Do you have someone who could do this? Who could take on the task/project as a stretch, to help with their development?

4. Consider sharing with your boss your challenges and asking his/her advice about what he/she has done. Being vulnerable is a great approach as they can then help you with the solution.

5. Using the words no I cannot take this on, I am to busy: the only advice I can give here is that do that too often and you are seen as difficult, what I do is say currently these are my top 3 priorities A, B and C are you ok to get to this in a weeks time? negotiate is significantly better than saying No.

How to manage your work/life balance?

Categories
Book Quotes Career planning Leadership

What is your legacy?

What is your legacy? A decade ago we lost three friends in their 30s in the space of 6 months. That loss combined with mid-life crisis sent my husband Andy, dog Harvey the basset hound and the adventure of a lifetime.

We left our jobs and travelled Europe in a Rapido 7 meter luxury Motorhome. We had no idea as we pulled off our driveway where we were going or for how long, but what we did know was that there is more to life than what we were experiencing at that time.

We travelled to France and spent months in all the regions down the west coast, highlights being Normandy and Bordeaux, we travelled across the plains of Spain, San Sebastian, Salamanca  and  into Portugal, stayed in the Estrela mountains, and the ancient cities of Beja and Evora, spent months in the Algarve over winter before heading off to Italy.  The destination driven by the weather and living off the rent of the house meant budget camping on beaches which you can do in many places around southern Europe over Autumn and winter.

It took 3 months to truly unwind from the stresses of life, but when we did life was far more richer, as you  had time to smell the roses, explore, spend hours in the markets, learning languages, reading, speaking to people. Being present and totally living in the moment. What we experienced and learned about life was transformational.

We met the grey nomads, there were many from many countries, people that had travelled for decades following the fruit picking seasons. The Dutch travellers are the best, a couple we met south of Bordeaux in Mimizan on the coast, each winter they take their motor-home and a menagerie of animals including a budgie and live on the beach. There was a Dutch professor from Utah and his wife that escape the winter to San Vito Lo Capo in northern Sicily.. too many stories and so many magic moments.

When  you have all the time in the world, you start reflecting on your life and what you want from life. It From Aging to Sagingwas these moments that prompted me to read Aging to Saging a non religious book written by a Rabbi https://www.amazon.com/Age-ing-Sage-ing-Revolutionary-Approach-Growing/dp/0446671770, the exercises made me think about my future years and what I wanted from life. Looking at life backwards I understood, that although I loved my travels I need a purpose in life.

I always loved being in business, the people, customers, strategy and learning something new about people and my self every day.  I missed it, I only have to look at my dad who started a business at 50 and is now 70 and has a great balance of work and life as he loves getting away in the motor-home as my husband and I left it for my parents when we moved to Australia.

As the months of travelling unfolded the mist cleared and a plan emerged. We no longer wanted to live in England the weather was depressing and we needed to experience something new.  Although living in a motor-home for a year was fun we missed the luxuries in life, the experiences made us appreciate what we had a whole lot more when we returned to living in a home.

We all want to help others, it is in our blood, so what became clear is I wanted to help others to enjoy success and live a balanced life.  Through my work as a business leader I had the opportunity to embrace both. When I returned to the UK, we had the opportunity to move to Australia with the company I ran before we travelled, Andy and I jumped at the opportunity to live in Sydney. My legacy is all about others realising the potential  of others and creating a good life/work balance.

What is your legacy?