Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Power of Questions for Creating Success

Less than 2% of the people I work with have a written plan for personal success.

A main cause for this number being so low is that people often say, "Gary, how can I write down what I don't know? I don't know exactly what I want for my future. And that scares me because it seems that I am supposed to know what I want!".

I have now worked with over 5,500 people and helped them to create one version or another of their OTM Plan for Personal Success®. I have never had a single person who was not able to write down something that related to the future they wanted.

The evidence is overwhelming. Even when people say that they don't know what they want for their future, they are able to write down future focused descriptions of at least some aspects of their life. You don't need to know everything. In fact, knowing the direction that you want your future to go in is just as powerful, if not more powerful than having a single clear objective.

Identifying the questions that we would like to have answered in our future provides direction for our personal success. When we know the questions that we would like answered, we then have the power to create a plan to explore those questions so that we can discover our own answers.

A common statement that people say to me is, "I'm not sure if this is the career that I want to have."

When creating a personal plan for success this statement can easily be turned into the desire to have answered a powerful question. In simple terms, when a person is saying this type of statement, they are really saying something like; "In three years time I want to have discovered the career that I want to invest the majority of my working life in." or something to that affect. What a wonderful vision!

Obviously this person's starting point would be that they aren't sure about their career. In addition they may have a job and qualifications and even some experience. They can then establish a plan that will enable them to explore career options over the next three year period.

Are they likely to experience dead ends?

Yes of course they will.

In the context of exploration, are dead ends bad?

No they aren't.

Humans are amazing explorers. In fact we have created this amazing world through our ability to explore.

So I encourage you to explore the questions that, if you could have them answered, would provide amazing foci for the future that you are trying to create. The process of answering our own questions is a powerful secret to personal success.

What questions are you exploring?

Gary Ryan helps people clarify what success means to them and then how to create it. If you're concerned that because you don't know what your future should be that you will therefore end up a failure, then contact Gary at info@orgsthatmatter.com now.

Friday, August 24, 2012

How to start your day - lessons from the successful

This article by Kevin Purdy from Smart Company provides some practical advice from some of the worlds high performance experts in Brian Tracy and Anthony Robbins.

Best of all is the fact that the advice is practical.

Check out the full article here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What does 'Realistic' mean?

Through my work in facilitating the OTM Plan for Personal Success® Program, which has now been provided to over 5,500 people in various formats, I am constantly asked, "Is this goal that I have written down realistic?".

I reply by helping the person to understand that there is really only one person who could possibly know the answer to that question, and that is them. In addition, it may be a question that does not have an initial "Yes it is" or "No it's not" response.

Often the only way to find out if something is realistic or not is to go and try to achieve it.

Our mindset plays a huge role in self determining what is realistic and our mindset regarding 'reality' is forged at a young age.
What's your definition of 'Realistic'?

Recently my 10 year old daughter had a wonderful life experience about taking a chance and doing some hard work to discover  what 'realistic' meant for her.

When the school year began in January this year, Sienna was commencing Year 4. In 2011 as a Year 3 student she had participated in her school aerobics team and had attended the inter school championships in her school's third ranked team. Her primary school's first ranked team, which consisted of girls from Years 5 and 6 ended up becoming National Champions, which was a terrific result for them. My daughter's team were State finalists but that is where their journey ended.

Sienna said that she wanted to be in the "First ranked team this year", but believed that it was "Impossible" because she was only in year 4 and hadn't even been in the second ranked team last year.

I said, "If you could have what you really wanted, which team would you like to be in this year?"

She replied, "The first ranked team... But it's impossible for me to get in."

"When are the trials?", I asked.

"Late March." was Sienna's reply.

"So, you have about six weeks between now and the trial." I stated.

"Yes. But it's still impossible." Sienna re-stated.

"Okay, just go with me for a moment please. Let's pretend that it is possible for you to make the first ranked team.What would you need to do to give yourself every chance of making the first ranked team?"

"Well, I suppose that I would need to train every day." Sienna suggested.

"Okay, what else?"

"Maybe I could ask my teachers what they think I should focus on when I'm training so that I'm doing the right things?"

"That sounds pretty smart." I affirmed.

"Now, you've said that this year you want to be in the first ranked team. You've also come up with a couple a smart things that you could do to give yourself every chance to make that team. What if you go and do the two things that you have suggested. Do you think that you might have some chance of making the team?" I asked.

"Well, yes.", was Sienna's response.

To her credit Sienna did the practice and she asked her teachers what she should focus on.

In March she made the team, along with two other Year 4 girls. They went on to win their Regional Final. They then became State Champions and last weekend won a National Silver Medal.

So between January to August Sienna went from believing that it was impossible to get into her school's first ranked team, to becoming a National Silver Medalist.

What a wonderful lesson to learn!

If you are clear about what you want, work out what needs to be done to create what you want, then go out and do it, it is amazing what can then become possible.

The lessons in this story are just as applicable to adults as they are to children.

What are your examples of creating your own definition of 'realistic'?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Great Service The Fijian Way

Recently I had the great pleasure to take my family on a vacation to Fiji to celebrate a relatives wedding. We stayed at the Outrigger on the Lagoon which is located near the small town of Sigatoka on Fiji's main island.

The resort is on land that is owned by the two local villages and the vast number of staff have been recruited from those villages. From the moment we arrived until the moment we departed the resort we could not have had a more wonderful time. My wife and I, our five children and nearly 60 relatives and friends were not only impressed by the physical standards of the resort, but more importantly the staff who were always smiling and happy to please.
The talented Erami leads a water aerobics class

Despite talking about 'Fiji time', a reference to taking time to get things done, our experience was that requests of staff were always met by prompt responses and action, something that service and hospitality organisations here in Australia could learn from.

The culture of teamwork and the desire to create a wonderful experience for guests was self evident for our entire visit. Due to the genuinely friendly nature of the staff you could not help but make 'friends' with them. One of the staff with whom I had the pleasure to speak with at length was Moses Saukalou, one of the hospitality managers with vast experience who managed a large team of staff.

When I asked Moses about what drove the staff to be so friendly and willing to work, despite their relative poor pay (by Australian standards) he told me that the answer lay in their culture of respect.

"Respect is something that we value and it is taught to our children from a very young age. That is why it comes across as being genuine - because it is!".

The staff work six days per week and many of them were multi-talented, being able to speak several languages, do public speaking, take water aerobics, weave baskets and hats and serve incredible cocktails as well as singing. And what I have just described is the skills of a single employee!
Singing good-bye on our final morning

When the staff heard of our imminent departure during our breakfast on the final morning of our visit, they gathered in front of us and sang us a good-bye song. While the staff were singing to us another team member came forward and explained the meaning of the words to us. We were being thanked for visiting their land and they were wishing us a safe journey home. It was very moving and once again was not contrived - it was genuine. We really felt like we were leaving special people. My brother, who was with us with his family mentioned how emotional he found the experience, a comment that was uncommon from him.

It was really us who should have been saying thank you, or as they do in Fiji, "Vinaka!".

There is a lot that can be learned from the Fijians with regard to how important it is to have respect for other people at the heart of your approach to delivering service excellence.

And 'deliver' is exactly what the staff at the Outrigger on the Lagoon in Fiji certainly did!

Gary Ryan saves you time by helping you to know what to do to raise service standards in your organisation

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Incomplete Quadriplegic to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro

Jason Barrie is an inspiration.

In May 1999 Jason was seriously injured in a suburban Australian rules football match playing for the Monash Gryphons in the VAFA competition. I was the senior coach at the time and the memory of Jason's injury will never leave me. Neither will the site of him lying on his hospital bed at the Monash Medical Centre that evening. He had cut his spinal cord.

In October 2012 Jason is planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise $50,000 for Independence Australia, an organisation that helps people who have received spinal injuries cope with and to come to terms with their injuries. Jason wants to pay them back for their support to him throughout the early years of his recovery. Donations can be made here.

At this point I believe that it is best to leave the full story in Jason's words, which are published for you below. I urge you to support Jason as he is an inspiration, a role model and a wonderful human being.


On the 1st May 1999, my life was turned upside down.

In playing a local game of Australian Rules Football, I suffered a Spinal Cord injury in that my C4 / C5 Vertebrae dislocated, with one going one way and the other going the other way, which cut my spinal cord. While Cat Stevens may say the “First Cut is the Deepest” this, thankfully, was not the case with my injury although the Doctors did not know that at the time.

When I was packed off in the Ambulance on that day, I had no idea that I would forever be classed now as C4/C5 Incomplete Quadriplegic. My focus at the time was I won’t be able to work at the local Video store that night…..and how were they going to be able to cope without me ?

I remember my jumper being cut apart in Emergency……..then nothing for a few days………saw my Dad in Intensive Care with me at the Monash, where my first thought was “Did Celtic beat Rangers in the Scottish Premier League, Dad ?” His negative response did not assist my situation, but I look back now and realise my naivetĂ© with regards to my injury did assist my situation.

I did not remember the Doctor coming and telling me I would never walk again…….

I did not remember crying solid for a day after this news……

I did not realise that I had lost a full week and bit, by the time I finally came to…….

These were things I was told a week, or months later by my Girlfriend at the time, now wife.

I worked at Mercedes Benz Finance at the time with my girlfriend and they were awesome in allowing her time off to be with me on a full time basis for the next month…….my enduring memories from those times in ICU at the Austin Hospital, will be her wiping my mouth because I couldn’t move my arms…….struggling to breathe as I had had a Tracheotomy…..again, finding out later that both my lungs had collapsed and that golden staph had set in, to complicate things further.

On a funnier note, I kept thinking that there was a Chinese Take Away within ICU at the Austin Hospital and wondering how they got that past the State Government……

My move to the general ward for Spinal patients came after two weeks in ICU………I had another 5 weeks in this dedicated ward for Spinal patients at the Austin and was in the ward next door to Robert Rose when the Code Blue was called and he passed away due to complications. Even then, I kept thinking I would be ok and I would get over this sickness…….little did I realise how bad things were and how much it had affected my family. Already, my Grandfather was making plans to build a house for a wheelchair bound Grandson…..that he was moved to tears every time he left my ward……

I started to get some strength and movement in my arms, but everything was ‘gross movement’. Trying to do anything meant using your hands like a lump of wood – if the TV was on a channel, that’s where it stayed……for some time.

It was about 4 weeks in when they decided to get me into a wheelchair for the first time……..it lasted 3 seconds before I fainted. A common tale……..day by day, I was getting winched over to a wheelchair, and day by day I got better at it and was able to sustain longer periods of time in the wheelchair. Then one day early on, a fellow spinal patient bumped into my foot and I went ‘ouch’. A common response to any able bodied person, but he instantly reacted and said he ‘envied me’……I was a bit slow and didn’t realise why, but later I would understand, if you can’t move your legs, it’s usually because you can’t feel them !!!!

This was a good sign, and by the time I left the Austin to go to Royal Talbot, I could slightly move my right leg !!!!

Over the coming months, I got movement back – fine movement too, especially on the right side of my body. They then winched me into a machine where they would stand me up to begin the routine of leg muscles getting used to be on two feet again. Even then, the Physios never guaranteed me anything….no promises were made, and in all our planning, it was to a house that would have to be modified for a wheelchair.

My family are pretty religious and my recovery was labelled a miracle and that I had overcome all these obstacles, but reality is, I was the luckiest person, but also the unluckiest!!! The family wanted to tell the Doctors off for their negative response at first, but MRI’s and X-Rays cannot tell them how much damage is done to one’s spinal cord. Knowing what I know now, if I was a Doctor, I would say the same thing. In such a litigious society as ours, could you imagine what would happen if you told a patient he would be ok, only for him to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life ?

My support networks were awesome…..the Footy Club, my Cricket Club, my Grandfathers networks, my work place, the support was incredible and I kept every single card that I received from that time.

I left the Royal Talbot mid-October 1999, with the assistance of crutches…….I used a wheelchair for longer distances, but crutches were great for 10-20 metres. Over the next 6 months, I started back at work two days a week, rehab the other three……I had to have Driving lessons again and by Christmas I had to get a new car that was slightly modified to assist with my strengths and weaknesses. By March, 2000 life was back to normal, albeit a lot slower. Everything took me a lot longer to complete……and there were a lot of falls.

Good friends, Dean Henderson and Stephen Davey, were strong cyclists and around 2004 they introduced me to Cycling. My balance is not good, and while I try to stretch for 30 mins every day to soothe the damaged nerves in my body, I was at first very fearful. Over time though, I began to enjoy it and after a while I really, really enjoyed it. So much so, I spent money on a decent bike and clip on pedals !!! On Beach road no one realised I was disabled, which I cherished……I was just a slow cyclist, however, they didn’t realise that I pretty much cycled with one leg, but if you looked closely at my calves, you would quickly realise that one leg was more favoured.

In 2008, I took my bike to France to spend a week cycling 600kms of the Tour De France route prior to the professional cyclists – as a guide, my 2.06 hours to do the 58km Time Trial was done in 1.07 by Cadel Evans on the penultimate day to the end of the tour. I attempted the Round the Bay in a day that year, but only completed the 168 kms from Melbourne to Mornington – it was a 30+ day that day, and I was the last one on the road !!!!!

Finally, I took up swimming in 2010…..yet another sport where people did not recognise my disability, however, now I revel in and are not shamed by it. Only taken me 6-7 years !!!!! I remember the days, I would never put my disabled pass on my car, as I did not want people to know that I was disabled…..amazingly, I’ve had every comment from “Do you have Cerebral Palsy ?” to “What did you do to your leg ?”

I’ve learnt now to keep it simple “Just an old footy injury mate….”

In January 2012, I completed my first Lorne pier to pub……in 61 minutes !!!!!! Aim is to improve for next year……

Once again I urge you to support Jason in his efforts to raise $50,000 for Independence Australia.

Donations can be made here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shawn Achor in this TED Talk highlights why focusing on what you want, not what you don't want is a key to ongoing happiness and achievement.



If you are frustrated because you aren't sure what you should be focusing on, or if you do know what to focus on but don't know how to bring that into reality, then the OTM Plan for Personal Success® program will solve those challenges for you.