Thursday, October 24, 2013

What are you 'feeding' your mind?

Imagine a farmer has two healthy fields, side by side.

iStock_000009570322SmallIn one he plants corn. In the other he plants poison ivy.

If he nurtures both crops they will flourish. Corn will grow in one field and poison ivy in the other. The fertile field treats the corn and the poison ivy the same. Each, if nurtured will thrive and grow.

Your mind is no different to a fertile field. Whatever you plant in it and nurture will grow. If you plant seeds of success and nurture those seeds with materials that help you to learn and to create your successes, your mind will come alive with ideas and suggestions to help you on your journey.

If you plant seeds of negativity in your mind and you nurture those seeds with self-doubt, negativity and material that is designed to keep your mind occupied and not energised, your mind will fill itself with reasons why success can’t be created, excuses that caused you to fail, resent for others who are successful, blame for everything that prevented you from being successful, jealousy for those who are successful and many more dark perspectives that drain energy and stop you from creating the success you desire.

What is a simple, time effective way to nurture your mind with success?

Multiple studies have identified the benefits of mobile learning practices such as listening to audio learning programs. In Australia data suggests the average commute is 45 minutes, each way to and from work. This equates to an average 600 hours of commuter travel per year (assuming 48 weeks of work and four weeks holiday).

For time poor people, using this time to learn material that will help you on your journey to create Life Balance and Personal Success is an opportunity waiting to be put in to action. Imagine adding an extra 600 hours worth of focused learning material to nurture your mind! Given the research indicates that mobile learning does have benefits (it isn’t perfect, but learning benefits do exist) why not turn your commute (by car or public transport) into your very own mobile university. Buy audio books and subscribe to relevant podcasts that will enable you to feed your mind with material that will nurture it and keep it healthy. 

Given an average full time university semester equals around 500 hours of learning, you could be accessing the equivalent of a full semester of academic learning if you choose to use this strategy. 

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Saying I will try is useless

“Are you coming to the party this weekend?” Your response, “Hmmm, I’m not sure I’ll try to get there.”
“Can you get me the report by tomorrow afternoon?” Your response, “I have a lot on. I’ll try to get it to you.”

Self talk, “I know that I should read more so I’ll try to read fifteen minutes every day.”

“Have you lost some weight?” Your response, “Yes I’m trying to get fitter and to lose a few pounds.”

“Are you coming to training tonight?” Your response, “I’m going to try to get there.”

I’ll try.” When you read the above statements are you filled with confidence that the person is really going to do what they are saying they will “Try” to do?

When I hear people say, “I’ll try” I’m about 98% sure that whatever it is they are saying they are going to “Try” to do isn’t going to happen, get done or achieved.

The statement is pathetic and provides an instant ‘get out‘ clause for not doing something.

If you are serious about creating success in your life you must drop this statement from your vocabulary. Instead, follow this formula.

1. Make a commitment
If you are going to do something properly commit to it. Make the decision. Saying “I’ll try.” is neither a decision nor a commitment.

2. Be clear with your responses
“Are you coming to the party this weekend?” Your response, “Yes. I’m there, count me in.”

“Can you get the report to me by tomorrow afternoon?” Your response, “Done!
Self talk, “I read for fifteen minutes every day on topics that are helping me to improve my skills.”

“Have you lost some weight?” Your response, “Yes I’m getting fitter and healthier. This ‘new me’ is here to stay!

“Are you coming to training tonight?” Your response, “No. Not tonight. I have a more important commitment to my family. I’ll be there next week.”

Your language should support your commitment and decision.

3. Imagine success
Whenever you make a commitment to something, imagine what success will really look like. See yourself handing the report in to your boss thirty minutes ahead of schedule. Imagine the pleased look on your boss’s face when she reads through your report. Imagine the appreciative comments you will hear her say.

When you have a goal to be fitter and healthier ‘see’ the new you being active and looking good, not just for a short period, but for as far as you can see into the future.

4. Create a plan
No doubt many things can be planned in your head. If something is important and really must get done, then having a plan that lives in your head is a major risk to your productivity. Instead, write your plan down. Identify clear outcomes. Identify your starting point. Work out what you need to do (your actions) and then work out which actions have the highest leverage – in other words if these actions don’t happen then the job won’t get done or won’t get done to the required standards.

For example. You’ve committed to getting the report to your boss as requested. It now has to be delivered a day early. You have already imagined what success looks like so write what you imagined in Step 3 above. Next, write your current starting point. If the report is 50% complete, then write that down. If you are waiting on some data from Jane, write that down. Next, identify the actions that you’ll need to take to complete the report and to get it to your boss as requested. Out of the tasks that you have listed, identify the ones that have the highest influence on achieving your objectives. These need attention and focus and must be completed as soon as possible. In this example, such an action would be to contact Jane directly and explain to her how the deadline for the report has been moved forward and how you will do whatever you need to do to help get that information from her.

Your list of actions will also include less important tasks that someone else could do. Quickly delegate those tasks to other people. If there are no other people then you have to do them yourself. But do these after the most important tasks have been completed or are under ‘control’.

5. ‘Do’ your plan
Take action. Follow your plan. Adjust if necessary but stay focussed. Create the success you desire.

These five steps will take you from being someone who “Tries to be successful” to someone who is “successful”. Do yourself a favour and drop the word “try” from your vocabulary. It’s useless and it doesn’t work.

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.