Monthly Archives: March 2017

Are you Teachable?

When you were young, your mind is simply absorbing information like a sponge.  You are learning all sorts of things and it comes from actual practice or doing to observing and listening.  A child learns from all mediums whether good or bad.  A child is teachable and the more teachable a child is, the more a child will learn.  When we become adults, and perceive that we know it all, we become set in our ways and not very teachable.  When that settles in, it is almost impossible to grow and mature.  People who struggle the most with change and adapting to different situations are often those who have lost the teachable mindset.  They are no longer open to learning or to be “taught” by others.

Are you teachable?  Are you open to learning and changing?  Are you willing to humble yourself to admit that you don’t know and need to learn?  What do you need to continue to be teachable?

There are 3 key ingredients to having a teachable mindset:

  1. Humility: To be humble, to admit that you need help, to change, to learn and to grow.  To acknowledge, that “I Don’t Know” is hard for some.  Those who are arrogant and prideful will find this first step extremely difficult and will probably justify away the “I don’t know”.  Have you met anyone who will not acknowledge their lack of knowledge?  Have you met anyone who will give excuses as to why they got it wrong or made a mistake?  When we do not humble ourselves, and acknowledge that we need to learn, we stunt the growth process and will eventually end up making a fool of ourselves.  We don’t have a look hard to find in the news today who we could put into this category.
  2. Growth mindset: A growth mindset is one where the learning never stops.  Learning is a continuous process and the journey never ends. Learning and innovating is as critical as the air we breathe.  Therefore the mind is always searching for new knowledge and is teachable.
  3. Seeking out assistance: Seek out people who can teach you, to learn from.  Seek out mentors, experts in a field.  Read and study.  Join groups or networks to learn from.  Do not be afraid to ask for help.  Having a teachable mindset requires that you seek out avenues to learn from.  Like-minded people will share your desire to learn, brainstorm and explore new options and solutions.

What are the signs that you are teachable?

  • Acknowledge mistakes: You will acknowledge and apologise for the mistake.  You will take ownership and make the necessary steps to ensure that you learn from it and hopefully not make it again.  You will learn from the mistake and make the adjustments.
  • Seek out knowledge: You will have a desire to learn and your reading habits is a good sign.  People who are perpetually learning are usually those who read ferociously.  Reading materials can range from any topic or subject.  The wider the range of reading materials, the great the breadth of knowledge.  You will have mentors, coaches, networks of learning groups and so on.  People learning from one another is a great source of knowledge and wisdom.
  • Take risk: Taking risk sounds like a strange sign but our greatest lessons in life comes from risk.  When we take the risk of embarking in a new area, we are putting ourselves in very uncomfortable situation.  It is in those situations, that we humble ourselves and learn.  Failures will occur but therein lies the greatest learnings.  Don’t be afraid of taking risk or of failing.  Read my blog on Fear Cycle.
  • Open to new ideas: You will listen to other people and are open to new ideas or thoughts.  You are willing to consider your ideas are not the only ideas that could be viable.  Open to challenging your assumptions and testing out other options.  Don’t be defensive when new ideas are being discussed.  Be open to listening to all the possibilities and the final solution might be even better than the first.  The number of conflicts that we can settle if only people would be open to the ideas of others and not be bound by just one way of getting things done.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my teachable meter?
  • When confronted, what is my initial reaction? Is it negative?  Is it open to learning?  What is my response?
  • How comfortable am I to acknowledge a mistake?
  • What is my greatest barrier to learning? Is it my pride?  Is it my stubbornness?
  • What circle of friends do I have? Do I allow people around me to challenge me?  Do I only want people to agree with me?
  • What is my response when I fail? What is my mindset with failure?

If you have taken the time to ask yourself some of the questions above, it’s a great start to knowing just where you are on the “teach-ability” meter.

PS – Are you curious about coaching and what it can do for you?  Find out more here.

5 Characteristics of people who Fail at Failing

Has anyone NOT experienced failure?  It would be one uneventful life if you have not had the blessings of failure.  Where would we get those great moments to laugh or cry over if there were no failures in our life?  Where would our character development be found?  Of course, it is NOT pleasant when we are going through those moments where our failures can range from minor to epic.  It is unfortunately the way we learn and grown.

We learn not to make the same mistakes again.  We learn to try a new approach to solving a problem.  We learn that we are not define by the mistake or failure.  We learn that we are stronger and tougher than we thought before the failure and after the recovery.  We learn that one step away from fail is success.  There are many benefits of experiencing failure as part of growing and maturing if you can get up and learn from the failure.  There are however people who fail and fail to recover.  What differentiates those to who experience failure and comes out stronger vs. those who come out worse off?

I think that are 5 characteristics of people who fail and come out worse off and they are:

  1. Not having a goal in life. Sounds counterintuitive in a way as if you have goals and not meet them, then wouldn’t that we consider a fail?  Yes, if the goal in life was purely just achieving goals.  No, as life is not about maturing in character as we move towards achieving our goals.  Not having a goal is a sure way to fail as there is nothing that one is striving towards.  How can one be successful if you don’t know where you are going?  Set goals for yourself.  To help you with goals, check out my previous blog here.
  2. You are not teachable. You are not willing to learn and you are not willing to receive feedback.  You are inflexible and unwilling to accept help.  Having a teachable attitude will help you to learn from mistakes and ensure that you do not make the same mistake.  We are never too brilliant to not be able to learn more.
  3. A negative mindset. It is critical that we define failure in the right context.  Failure is not definite and not permanent.  Having a negative mindset will only hurt in the learning process as the perception is far worse than reality.  A negative mindset creates a perception that the failure is worse than it is and without hope that it will get better.  Hope is a critical ingredient is ensuring that we get back up again.  Change the perception of what failure is and change your mindset to see the silver lining behind it.
  4. No commitment. No or lack of commitment to see your goals through will result in giving up too early.  People who are successful are commitment to their vision and will persevere through enormous obstacles to see your goals come to fruition.  Commitment is fundamental in ensuring that we stay the course and learn from failure, improvise and continue moving forward.
  5. Waiting for perfection. Waiting for the perfect time, the perfect idea, the perfect opportunity and so on.  There is no perfection.  It is pointless to wait for perfection as it does not exist.  Waiting does not get you anywhere.  Waiting for perfection certainly will not get you anywhere.  The only way to know if your idea will work is to just do it.  Plan for it and then act on it.  Learn and improve and continue to just do it.

Don’t be afraid to fail as that is how we learn and mature.  Don’t allow failure to stop you from failing.  Take the risk of failing and have the right mindset and attitude of:

  1. Failure is a temporary setback in achieving your goals.
  2. Every mistake or failure is an opportunity to learn from and be better.
  3. Every negative situation and thought as a positive upside.
  4. You will develop muscles in perseverance, commitment, discipline and focus.
  5. Keep straining forward is the only way to move forward and not backwards or stagnant. Don’t let the setback make you negative or bitter.  Use it to keep you stronger.

Don’t allow your failures to stop you and prevent you from living life to the fullest.  Don’t let it stop you from taking risk in a business opportunity or as you move up the career ladder.

 

PS:  Special for March, I am conducting a special free 30-min session to help you with any questions around coaching that you might have and how coaching could be the resource to help you have a purposeful year.  Just click here to start the journey.

Most Productive Day Ever!

 

Productive

Have you ever had one of those days where it was just the most productive day ever?  Everything that you wanted to do, you did.  Not only did you complete it but you were just brilliant.  It is like you are walking on cloud nice and nothing could go wrong that day.  Of course, you know that won’t last but you are certainly enjoying the day and how it makes you feel.

I have been wondering about that recently.  I have been wondering why those days are so sporadic.  I have days when the creative juices are just flowing and every word that comes out of my mouth was just wise beyond my age.  And then before I know it, I am back to earth feeling mortal again.  What happened to my super powers?  This got me to do some research to discover what is behind those productive days.  Various writers have viewed this topic from morning rituals, super charged mental attributes, great strength and perseverance, to lifestyle that breeds calmness to creativity.  In summary, I have discovered that there is no magic formula.  It all comes down to you and a variety of options that suits you.

Let me summarise what those possibilities would look like:

  1. You. You need to know you.  What do you need to know?  Here are some questions:
    • What is your working style?
    • What is the best time for you to do your most creative work? What is the best time for you to do the most challenging work?
    • Where do you get ideas from?
    • How are you feeling today?
    • What can you do to enhance that?
    • Where do you find inspiration?
    • Do you have any inspirational quotes that you remind yourself when the going gets tough?
    • What drives you?
    • What is your desired outcome?
  2. Lifestyle or Habits. There are some good and healthy lifestyle choices that each of us should make.  Research has proven that:
    • Exercise is critical in living a healthy life which gives you more energy and helps to destress.
    • Eating healthy and well will fuel your body correctly and you will feel the difference.
    • Rest and sleep are critical for our bodies and minds to repair, recover and rejuvenate.
  3. Relationships are what we are designed for. We need people to love and be love, to learn and be challenge, to grow and to mature.  People who are happy are generally people who have great relationships with people around them.  When you are happy or filled with joy, you tend to be in the right frame of mind to think, rationalize and innovate.
  4. Resourcefulness enables you to be creative in finding solutions to challenges. When you face a roadblock to productivity, resourcefulness will help you find ways around it.  Hitting your head against the roadblock is usually painful but getting around it usually just takes a more creative approach to the challenge.
  5. Fear Not will enable you to view possibilities. Being productive requires that you face those daunting days and still be productive despite it.  Eliminating worry and fear goes a long way to ensuring that you mind is not trapped in the fear cycle but is free to explore solutions.
  6. Just do it. I love this motto because to get through those ugly days, we just do it.  No need to grumble or complain, just press forward.

The key is to know and take advantage of those days.  Set the right expectations and work towards simple goals to achieve.  It is better to achieve goals no matter how simple, than to wait for the perfect day as that is just a waste of time.

PS:  Special for March, I am conducting a special free 30-min session to help you with any questions around coaching that you might have and how coaching could be the resource to help you have a purposeful year.  Just click here to start the journey.

 

 

A Bad (Hair) Day

A Bad Hair Day.png

It is one of those days where you have woken up late, the coffee machine does not work, you are rush out the door and just when you are in the car you remember that you left your laptop bag at home and the list goes on.  Arriving in the office is not the end of the bad day but in fact just the next stage.  You discover that you are behind on your sales forecast and a deal that you were counting on for the month has just gone south.  You wonder to yourself, what else could go wrong?

I can safely say that all of us has had one of those days.  Those days may look slightly different for each of us but the outcome is the same…. It is a bad day and to top it off… Your hair looks bad.

I have had my share of bad hair days and the silver lining is that the day will end at some point.  It is also great fodder for jokes when the day ends.  Acknowledging that those bad hair days are not one off and it will most probably happen again is a realist view.  What can we do to straighten the hair just a little bit without keeling over?

Acceptance.  Accept that it is just one of those days.  It happens to the best of us and just going with the flow and making the best out of it.  After all, being stressed and upset about it isn’t going to change the fact of what has already occurred.  You can however, change the way you respond to the situation.  This leads to the next step.

Respond and not react.  When you react, there is typically very little thought process that goes into the action.  It is usually impulsive and not well considered.  It may land you in deeper trouble than you are already in.  So, take a deep breath or two and think about what is the best way to respond to the situation.  Think about how best you can salvage a difficult situation.  Change your perspective and look for opportunities and learnings. Naturally that will lead to the next step.

Think about options and possibilities.  Have a quick brainstorm or meeting session with some of your colleagues and think about options.  What are some alternative actions that can be taken?  What perspective needs to be changed?  How can you be resourceful and creative about finding a solution?

Take a break and go for a walk.  Taking a break will help you settle down and you might even find a funny side to the day.  If you can’t laugh about then it just adds to the bad day.  So you might as well laugh it off and start the day afresh.

If all else fails, just remember that the day will end.  For tomorrow is another day and don’t forget to set the alarm!

PS:  Special for March, I am conducting a special free 30-min session to help you with any questions around coaching that you might have and how coaching could be the resource you might need to help you have a purposeful year.  Just click here to start the journey.

Breaking the Fear Cycle

Fear as per the dictionary is “distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”

All of us feel fear.  There is no escaping fear.  In fact, there are many benefits of fear such as:

  • Helps you to survive
  • Keeps you safe
  • Keeps you within the law
  • Drives you to improve and be better

Therefore having a healthy dose of fear is good for you.

However, on the flip side, fear is also the number one reason for a life not lived.  Fear does not start and end with just one act, it creates a perpetual cycle – the Fear Cycle.  The fear cycle looks something like this:

fear-cycle

The fear cycle will generally consist of these 4 elements:

  1. Paralysis:  You are so afraid that you will literary decide to do nothing.  It is perceived to be safer if you did not try anything new or to take risk.  Over time, you will not learn, not grow and not progress.  You will continue to just live within the boundary that is perceived to be your comfort zone.
  2. Excuses:  You will then look around and wonder “Why is my friend so successful?”.  “Why am I not progressing?”.  “Why has nothing changed?”.  To these questions the answers will be “Oh it’s just their luck”.  “Right place at the right time.”.  “I was not given that opportunity.” “I just don’t know where to start.”  You will create reasons or excuses but never face the realities of what your fears are preventing you from achieving.
  3. Negativity:  Over time, the lack of progress will cause you to believe your excuses and further create a negative perspective of situations and of your life.  Negativity will creep in and you will know its symptoms when you have emotions such as envy, bitterness, anger, self-doubt and so on.
  4. Purposeless:   When nothing seems to be happening, and everything is just bleak, you will not be able to see or define a purpose.   To drift through the everyday purposeless.  You will see signs of that when you wonder what you have achieved, what is this life about and so on.  You will just go through the day living out the routine and not being fulfilled.

The most common fear is the fear of failure.  The only way to break free from the fear cycle is to address it head-on by changing the definition and perspective of failure.  The fear of failure, is the result of what you perceive failure to be.  For example, you perceive failure as:

  • Personal:  I am a failure and I will always be a failure.
  • Talent or Intelligence related:  Only the NOT Smart or NOT good fail
  • Defect:  There is something wrong with me or I am NOT good at anything
  • Self-Worth:  If I fail, I will always be a failure.

Therefore in order to break that cycle you will need to redefine failure and more importantly what it is NOT:

  1. You are NOT a failure.  To fail in an activity does NOT mean that you are a failure.  The task and the person are two distinctly separate entities.
  2. Failure is NOT avoidable.  Once we realise that we cannot run away or avoid failure, you will come to accept that it is just part and parcel of life.  It is part of learning and growing.  It is life.  Don’t try to avoid failure.  Learn to learn from failure and be better.
  3. Failure is NOT permanent.  You might fail in a certain task but as you learn and improve your skills, you will be able to accomplish whatever the task.  To fail does not mean that you will continually fail.  It is not permanent.
  4. Failure is NOT a step backward but a step forward.  Just because an activity did not get the results that you had hope for does not mean that you will never be able to achieve the goal.  It provides you with lessons on what not to do and what to do next.  It is a step forward for you.

 

 

Establish a New and Healthy relationship with failure.  We will all fail even in doing something that we are good at.  To fail at something provides us with lessons on what to do and what not to do for the next time.  It is a step closure to getting it right.  In fact you will learn more when you fail than when you succeed.

Think about:

  • What you would like to achieve in 2017 and beyond?
  • What goals are you working towards?
  • What are the challenges and barriers that you will need to overcome?
  • What do you need to do to overcome them?
  • What help do I need?
  • Where can I find the resources to help me?
  • How do I build my action plan?

PS:  Special for March, I am conducting a special free 30-min session to help you with any questions around coaching that you might have and how coaching could be the resource you might need to help you have a purposeful year.  Just click here to start the journey.