30 Jul

Have you got your filters on?

Everyday we are bombarded with bigger, better and cooler ways of doing stuff and achieving our goals. Better ways to run, meditate, cook or market our businesses to become gazillionnaires. Everyone’s solution is quicker, faster, healthier, more cost effective and more time efficient than everybody else’s solution.

There are great advantages to having all of this incredible life and business-altering information at your finger tips, but it also has its disadvantages.

It can become completely overwhelming! With so much information so readily available it is like being a kid in a candy store, you cannot decide as there is just so much on offer.  What often happens is we either stuff as much candy into our mouths as possible, afraid to miss out and end up with an awful stomach ache. Or we choose a lollie, but secretly doubt our choice and end up always wondering what the other lollies would have tasted like. We end up disappointed.

So before you start running around in square circles, landing up with a stomach ache and finding yourself exhausted, try thinking about why you are doing what you are doing.

Instead of looking at solutions first, think about your personal and business objectives first. Why am I doing what I am doing?

By defining who you are, what’s important to you and how you want to be seen in the world, will provide you with an incredibly strong foundation. So, when the multitude of solutions start flying at you, you can confidently decide which ones will add value to your pre-determined life or business goals and which ones are just smoke and mirrors.

By firstly defining your purpose, values and objectives, you put yourself in the driver’s seat. You take back the control of your journey.

And that is how you turn your filters on.

23 Jul

When last did you stop to discover the treasure?

Have you ever experienced disappointment? That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, when your hopes seem to evaporate into thin air?

Most of us have been disappointed, and there is no doubt that we will be disappointed again in the future. Such is life; full of swings and roundabouts. I don’t want to start a pity party and pay unnecessary attention to the “what ifs”  and “could haves”. My focus here is on “What are your actions after you have experienced disappointment?’

Do you sink into the failure and bury your head in the sand or do you steamroll ahead and start planning your comeback?

What would happen if you did neither? What would happen if you lifted your head out of the sand or just stopped for a second, stepped back and took some time to really looked at the so-called unwanted end result?

So often we don’t look at and accept the end result for what it is. We are so set on a pre-determined outcome that if the end result is slightly off the mark, it is deemed a failure and rejected.

The following questions could assist you in discovering buried treasures.

  • When last did you look at a failure and ask yourself how did it benefit your life?
  • What were the lessons learnt from this “failure”?
  • Due to the unforeseen end results, how did your life change for the good?
  • Why did the plan fail? What caused the failure? 

Do not hang on to what went wrong. Stop beating yourself up, its not worth it. Rather try to understand the lessons of why it happened and use that to move forward.

Treasures come in many packages and most of the time not how we envisioned them to be. Just be open-minded and seek to understand the lessons and stop with quick dismissive judgments.



09 Jul

Okay, I’m ready to be motivated!

Sorry to disappoint you, but there is no big secret to being motivated. There is no magical formula, expensive pill or exotic herbs you can take. Yes, you might attend a motivational talk or read a motivational book or actually even take exotic herbs, but these are just tools you use along the way. These are not your core motivators, they don’t maintain your motivation, they simple assist you in your journey.

To maintain your motivational levels you firstly need to understand and accept that no body or thing can motivate you except for yourself.

Newsflash! The main motivator in your life is you.

Waiting around for other people to motivate you is just doing an injustice to yourself. The more you depend on others, the more power you surrender to them and the less control you have over your life. Which inevitably affects your self-esteem and confidence levels.

The research says that intrinsic motivation is motivation that stems from genuine interest and ambition, and not from external motivators such as status and power. It’s about engaging in specific behaviours because you want to, and these behaviours bring you happiness and personal reward. You do these activities because you want to do them, not because you have been told to or seek reward from someone else.

So how can you increase your intrinsic motivators?

Instead of focusing your energy on other people and how demotivated you are, start focusing on what you are genuinely interested in. Be careful not to randomly select activities or work which you think might interest you, or select something because someone else enjoys it. Really spend some time reflecting on what activities inspire and drive you. Once you have discovered these genuine interests, you can stop relying on others to motivate you, and channel and develop those interests into intrinsic motivators. These is where you take the power back. This is where you start controlling your life.

To  spark you in your discovery of what your internal motivators are, try asking yourself these questions:

  1.  What energises you?
  2. When do you feel most alive?
  3. What are your three greatest accomplishments? What made these accomplishments stand out for you?
  4. What specifically is it about your work that lifts your spirit?
  5. When are you at your best? When do you believe you are adding value to yourself?

Take your time to answer these questions. It may take a few days to really reflect on them and to feel comfortable with your answers. Once you have come to an answer, you can start your journey.

You see, the thing is that it isn’t about what other people think or do, it’s just about what makes you happy.

02 Jul

Smile, you’re on stage!

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, says that “we learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instructions”.

To illustrate this point I would like to carry out an experiment with you. Think back to the time you supervised someone for the first time. It could be recent or many years ago.  Honestly, how did that work out for you?  I bet that with the responsibilities and added stresses in this new role your default management style was similar to your then or previous supervisor’s management style?  So your first management role was either a success or a disaster?

Whether you like it or not, you subconsciously mimic your superior’s behaviour. You follow their lead and depending on how influential or dominant they are, you often fall into the trap of becoming a “mini-me”. An unwritten rule develops that certain behaviours are tolerated within the organisation, whether they are good or bad, and a “that’s how things are managed around here” culture develops.  It gets passed on from one manager to another through direct experience and example setting.  Incorrect behaviour is justified and made acceptable, just because a superior behaved in that manner.

Remember that you are not just influenced by your direct superiors, but you also influence the people you are suppose to manage, lead and support.

Are you happy with how you are influencing the people who look up to you? If not, how do you break the cycle?

Perhaps consider the following pointers, which will encourage you to become more self-aware:

  • First and foremost  you need to realise that you are permanently on stage within the working environment. Your conduct is continuously on show for all to see and is being imprinted in the minds of your trusting employees. The  behaviour at the coffee station is just as important as the behaviour in the board room.
  • Ask yourself these question.
    • If I behave in a certain way, what will the consequences of my actions be?”
    • “How would I like to see my supervisor handle this matter?” – Then do that.
    • “The behaviour I see in my subordinates, is that my behaviour?” – Stand back and evaluate yourself. Look at improving your own behaviour before trying to change everyone else’s.
    • “Does my behaviour reflect my core and aspirational values?”
    • “Am I able to recognise the difference between my own behaviour choices  vs. previous behavioural influences?”
  • As Vikor E. Frankl says in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”.  Remember that “the space” is your ally use it to your advantage. Think before you act.
  • Ask a trusted and respected colleague to provide honest feedback should there be a need for it.

So think before you act or react and always put on a good show!