Volunteering for Growth – Two Birds, One Stone

I have long loved volunteering – long been committed to supporting, enabling and celebrating volunteering in all its diversity.

I have done a lot over the years but there has been so much going on in life for the last few years that I am not currently volunteering in any capacity. And I’ve just realised in the last few days that – I miss it!

My new job is great, my little company is motoring along quite nicely (VERY excited to have a new client this week for whom I will be doing a brand refresh and from scratch website build!) and aside from some pretty hefty political turmoil in the world I have no reason to be in the slightest bit dissatisfied.

Yet it has felt that something is missing and my recent realisation was that it was having something bigger than myself and my little life. So …

I usually find volunteering opportunities through http://www.Do-It.org (A great website BTW where you can search a HUGE range of opportunities but location) but in looking over the last few weeks have struggled to find anything that fits.

That’s not to say there aren’t a huge amount of opportunities out there but I need something that fits around work and OurOtherOffice and opportunities with that kind of flexibility seem few and far between.

And then inspiration struck, why not combine my two passions? So today I am putting some meat on the bones of my plan to offer my time and services through ‘Our Other Office’ free of charge to local charities.

And whilst doing the necessary research for writing and building a new web page for this offering and constructing a MailChimp campaign to see if anyone will be interested in taking it up I have gathered the makings of a blog on why volunteering is such a wonderful, life enhancing and personally/ professionally gratifying thing to do.

Herewith my top 5 reasons why you should be thinking about it too …

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  1. It’s Good For Your Health

Many studies have found that when we stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone other than ourselves we not only have the capacity to help them but reap our own benefits.

Your stress levels start to decrease, your immune system is strengthened and your overall sense of life satisfaction increases.

This is because helping someone else interrupts inward focus and stress building patterns and replaces it with a sense of purpose, positive emotions and high confidence levels. It is all a matter of keeping things in perspective really.

Peer support doesn’t just work one way,” says Dr Casiday. “Even if you’re in a mentoring role, simply talking to someone else who is struggling with the same issue can support you as well. It’s not just an act of charity. In a lot of cases, the volunteer is helped as much as the patient.

2. Develop Your Soft Skills

Emotional Intelligence is a big buzz word at the moment, employers in particular love a candidate with a range of soft skills but they can also enhance all the other areas of your life.

emotional intelligence
noun

the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically

Volunteering without a doubt gives you plenty of opportunity to develop the soft skills that are essential to anyone wanting to be a well rounded and high functioning individual in every sphere of their life.

When volunteering you can be faced with problems on a daily basis, you have to deal with a mix of personalities and all this whilst adjusting to life outside of your comfort zone. This kind of character building and varied experience is immeasurable in helping you to improve your teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and people skills.

3. A Real-World Experience

Another amazing motivator for volunteering is the insightful, real-world experiences that volunteers gain in the field. Get ready to gain a hands-on experience, to get stuck in.

Often in the real world of work it can be difficult to escape the confines of your job description and if you are the kind of person who likes to get creative and be on a constant learning curve this can be quite confining.

Being just that kind of person I have always seen volunteering as an opportunity to flex the muscles that I don’t really get to flex in my day to day role as an Executive Assistant kind of the same reason for starting up Our Other Office really but with a hefty amount of altruism thrown in) There is nothing unusual about having a job that doesn’t tick all of your boxes, there is something wrong with not doing anything to seek out ways to tick those boxes yourself.

Pick your passion and then you get to live your dream in real life!

4. Career Boosting

Did you know volunteering is an excellent way to boost your career prospects? So just what makes employers love volunteers so much?

It helps you create a positive impression in any interview!

Broadly it will make you appear more innovative, creative and gives you a range of useful skills. Not only that but there will be an immediate impression created that if you are a volunteer you are a greater team player, inevitably an all round nicer person for having done something for nothing in a world where this is increasingly rare.

It’s not just us that believe this, recruiters do too!

In a competitive job market, prospective employers want to see what makes you different from all the other candidates, and volunteering is a great way of standing out from the crowd. By demonstrating that you take part in meaningful activities in your spare time, you will show an employer that you are a well-rounded person with some interesting life experience.

Kate Edwards, Volunteer Services Manager, The Abbeyfield Society

5. Making A Real Difference

Volunteering, in whatever form, gives you the chance to vote every day about the kind of community and world you want to live in.

If you, like me, think that that is something that is particularly important in a country, a continent, a world and, ultimately, a species that seems to be pulling itself apart discussing how much we should give and to whom.

It gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself and to do something for the greater good.

There is a lot of antipathy and hatred in the world at the moment and whilst there is very little we can do as individuals to combat that there is much we can all do on a more individual and local scale.

Without people who are willing to sacrifice their time and skills to meaningful causes, a lot more people and animals would be worse off.

This is one of my favourite quotes of all time

JFK Try.png

Not sure where to start in your volunteering journey?

Your reason for volunteering should begin where your passions lie, be led from a place of talent and intention.

That way all the hard work to come will be worth it. You will naturally be more committed to the cause and as a result, your impact will be that much bigger!

And if you want to get some ideas on the kind of thing you can do you should definitely visit http://www.do-it.org. Enjoy 🙂

 

Small Seeds #8 -Automate Your Decisions

Did you know that your brain power functions much like a battery?

This means that each decision you make throughout your day will drain this precious resource.

Luckily, people can mitigate behaviours that drain them – simply by automating decisions.

This is precisely why Steve Jobs wore the same jeans and black turtleneck everyday. Streamlining his decision-making around clothes preserved mental energy, allowing him to focus on his critical objectives.

And then there was Albert Einstein. It has been reported that the famous physicist bought several versions of the same grey suit because he didn’t want to waste brainpower on choosing an outfit each morning.

According to a Forbes article, President Obama is another one that finds these kind of repetitive habits useful!

“You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” Barack Obama

We may not have the kind of insanely hectic and pressured life that a world leader has and you may not have a trusted staff to automate every food decision.

But you should also consider removing the day to day problems from your life, the things that absorb most people for meaningful parts of their day.

Is your precious morning, the first impactful moments that define the rest of your day, really worth cluttering up with wondering which clothes to wear?

However, imagine if you could commit to the same nutritious breakfast everyday! Not only will your body thrive, but your mind will be primed to conquer the day too.

I had a lovely boss until recently who used to have the same boring sandwich every single working day. A £1.25 Tuna Mayonnaise Sainsbury’s sandwich. I could never figure it out, how boring and mediocre. But it just now occurs to me that it was for this very reason! One less thing to think about when there are so many more important things worthy of attention.

Perhaps you too should consider the things in your life that you could automate.

Until recently I always used to think that my work attire of almost exclusively black trousers and a variety of pretty but quite muted (grey or purple being my colours of choice, I’ve no idea where the brand colours came from!) was just a little bit boring and perhaps I should liven it up a bit.

It’s not something I spend time worrying about any more.

It is worth spending some time considering this question in relation to your life – what daily decisions could you do without?

Milking The First Minutes Of Your Day

There are two types of people in the world:

Those who like Marmite, and those who HATE it.

Generalists, and Specialists.

 Those who make things complicated and those who make things simple.

Those who love to talk and those who love to listen.

Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

And, of course, the point that it is taking me a little time to get to, as is my tendency …

People that hate waking up in the morning and people who don’t.

grumpywakeup

Which one are you … one of the snooze button abusers, the duvet divas, the “I’ll just tell my boss I had a flat tyre” crowd? Or one of those who leaps out of bed the minute your eyes open looking forward to the excitement the day has in store for you?

I completely understand what it’s like to battle the desire not to pull the duvet back and swing my feet onto the floor, praying that a shower will help me feel ready for yet another day at work.

When you think about it, really think about it, it is a thoroughly depressing way to start every day!

So, what’s the answer?

Well, I think I stumbled upon a few of the answers recently – quite by accident!

Now that isn’t to say that this isn’t something I have been reading about for years, intermittently wishing that I had the strength of will to do them and scorning it as complete rubbish.

But I am a convert since I recently changed jobs!

My previous job was over an hours drive away and whilst the commute was at times very painful, it was something that I was in a well worn routine of doing.

Namely, getting up at the crack of dawn and leaving the house at just about the time that the majority of people were hearing the first chirps of their alarm and turning on the light.

And that leads me nicely into my first point …

1: Get Up Earlier

I went straight from one job, on a Friday, to my new job on the Monday with no break in between. Not the best laid plan (especially after a rather ‘enthusiastic’ leaving do with my old team!) but necessary unfortunately.

One of the effects of this was that I just continued to wake up before my next door neighbours cockerel with little say in the matter – my brain and body was simply in that routine.

And it didn’t take me more than a couple of days to realise I was more awake, more productive and a WHOLE lot less grumpy 😉

Now, I have worked with C-Suite executives for a long time and one thing i have consistently noticed running through and through this extraordinarily diverse group of talented individuals????

They, with only a very few exceptions, all regularly saw the sun rise!

There may be truth to the old saying, the early bird really does catch the worm.

2: Tuck Your Devices Into Bed Early

If you have to take your devices into the bedroom (And I would strongly recommend you try not too – there is lots of research on how looking at any of them directly before sleep is bad) at least put it far enough away from your bed that you have to get up to look at it.

Your phone doesn’t need to sleep, but you do. Resist the temptation to have it near you at night!

I must admit my phone spent nights on my bedside table along with my Kindle until very recently. I changed that when I realised recently I regularly went to bed early, shattered, only to stay awake for over an hour with Twitter/ Candy Crush/ LinkedIn and the like and then reading my Kindle for an hour after that.

I’ve always wondered if it was true that this kind of behaviour affects the quality of sleep so moved the phone out of reach and returned to a good old fashioned paperback and have to admit that I not only drop off much quicker but sleep more soundly … brilliant!

3: Ditch The Nokia Tone

Your phone is the best alarm clock ever and you really are not using it to its full potential.

Rather than waking up to some god-awful buzzer or sound effect every single day of your life, why not set your alarm to a song?

What vibe do want to create for the start of my day? My current fav is the Kungs with This Girl … now that will give you a jump start in the morning 🙂

No matter what you choose, just make sure to let the song play for at least a minute before turning it off. Another great reason for having the phone well out of reach!

4: Drink a Glass of Water

After  the Kungs have roused your from your lovely warm bed … make sure your first move is to put your phone down!!!!!

Resist the urge to start checking email and social media.

BELIEVE ME I know that is harder for some of us that it sounds. My usual order of checking used to be Twitter (Quickest trending news top up), The Guardian (Real news top up),  Email (Generally overnight junk) and then Linked In (Getting into a business mind-set for the day)

Absolutely nothing urgent or largely even very useful at 6am in the morning.

Instead go to the kitchen and get a glass of water because, after 8 hours, your body needs water more than it needs Social Media and False News.

5: Do Your “Two-do” List

We all have never-ending to-do lists of things that need to be done every day.

Rather than begin your day thinking about the minutiae going on in your life, spend a few minutes focusing solely on your “two-do” list.

The TWO most important things that you are going to make happen today.

Close your eyes and imagine them already done.

Think about how that will make you feel!

Your “two-do” list can consist of anything from cooking dinner for your family, walking 10K steps or crushing that big presentation — all that matters is that you decide what the two things are and let them rise above everything else going on that day.

Rather than continuing to dread the morning, try amending your routine for a week with these small changes and see how it makes you feel.

I’m not promising that you are going to be jumping out of the bed but they can make waking up a little less painful.

These are just a few tips for transforming the first ten minutes and priming your mind and body to have a great day. Give them a try.

Small Seeds #3 – Distraction Lists

So, everyone likes a productivity hack don’t they? 

This is one of my absolute favourites! 

I like to think of myself as a bit of a creative …I love to write, playing with PowerPoint is just about my favourite activity to pass any amount of hours and I am a visual learner. 

All great things for my work and life in general. But, there is a but! 

It means my mind tends to wander and be easily distracted on those wanderings. 

In many ways this serves me well and is something that I love. After all it is only by having a wandering and imaginative mind that you build up a colourful and broad knowledge that feeds creative endeavours.

However sometimes it can be a problem when I have a deadline or really need to focus on one thing. Then, being distracted is just a colossal pain. 

Because, I know that – however brilliant that idea might be for a presentation or that topic would be great for a blog or that article really would be a brilliant tweet for my followers – if I move away from that thought I am likely to not come back to it after I have finished whatever I am trying to focus on at the moment. 

Enter the Distraction List! 

Write it down, add it to your list of things to come back to so you remember your brainwaves. 

The practicalities are up to your personal taste but my advice would be to pick one method and stick to it. Scrappy pieces of paper or reminders in the middle of the days notes just get lost. 

I’ve found that the best way is to have a dedicated place to put these thoughts, somewhere you can easily get some inspiration when needed! 

I’ve tried Trello, Wunderlist, One Note, emailing myself … The possibilities are endless! Just ensure you find the method that most suits the way you like to work so it isn’t a drag. 

Personally I find a pencil, yes a real one made of wood not plastic, and my favourite A5 softcover Moleskine are the best thing for me 🙂 It comes with me everywhere and I don’t know what I would do without it now. 

Looking for a high impact low effort productivity boost? Give it a try, I highly recommend it! 

It’s Not Genetic – You Can Be A Problem Solver Too

It is a much overused word, it seems everyone claims to be a problem solver in their CV’s today, but what does it really mean to be one and how do you hone the skills.

My job demands that I am good at this particular skill.

With a to-do list that rarely maintains the same content/ priorities for long and as the go to person when things go wrong you really wouldn’t get too far without it.

Being a creative problem solver is not a skill you are born with but a skill that can be consciously developed, here are some of my ideas on how you could become one too …

Being Comfortable With Change And Uncertainty

An essential part of being a creative problem solver is not needing everything to make sense up front. As a born organiser this is something I struggled with early on in my career, I felt unsettled and out of control if I wasn’t able to make things happen immediately.

It took me years to realise that I would only able to count myself as really great at my job when I had learned to become comfortable with …

Not knowing how things were going to be around the corner

AND

How they were ultimately going to work out.

The flip side of this and one I think you will find with many people reliant on being able to deal with constant change … they build lots of routine in to their lives to balance it out.

We all need a balance between structure and spontaneity.

My weekdays at work are hectic and based upon an ever changing landscape so my weekend/ home life are based catching up on my peace and continuity.

No one can run at a hundred miles as hour all the time and unless you want to burn out you really shouldn’t try.

First Attempt In Learning (FAIL)

You can’t be worried about failing – it absolutely will happen and you should never take it personally. Many people try to hide from failure because of the almost primal feelings of inadequacy and frustration associated with it.

Successful people know that these feelings, however strong, should be entirely ignored. To be human is to fail and the only productive way to deal with it is to reframe the experience and make a decision to move ever onwards and upwards as soon as possible.

My 8 Year old very excitedly told me about FAIL when she I came home from work one day a few weeks ago. She had been learning about it in school and was delighted with the concept.

The first time I really realised the power of it was when I was teaching her how to ride her new and much bigger bike last weekend … she was frustrated with falling off and on the point of giving up when we talked about FAIL. Instead of descending further into the stubborn and relentless ‘I DON’T WANT TO’ as children her age can have a tendency towards she got up, brushed herself off and carried on trying.

Realising that there are times that you will fail helps you accept, deal with and move on when you do.

It isn’t the number of times that you fall that count

BUT

That the number of times you rise always outnumbers them by 1!

Have The End In Mind But Be Flexible On The Route

You can only work out the most efficient route to a destination when you know where that destination is. What exactly is it that you are trying to achieve and work backwards from there.

It is one of the principles of great project management …

Know where you are going

But constantly reassess your route and goals

AND

Be flexible and open minded enough to make adjustments along the way.

There can be many paths to the same place.

And you should never assume that the place you are aiming to get to remains the same either. Over time and with changing priorities the destination might change, always keep that in mind.

Never Stop Listening, Learning & Questioning

I read as much as I can, listen to as many people as I can and question what I am doing/ how I am doing it almost constantly.

Sometimes it feels exhausting to be honest but for 99% of the time I know the benefits that an inquisitive mind affords me … especially in my capacity as a problem solver.

You should never assume you have the absolute right answer.

And being aware of and questioning your assumptions should be constant.

The greater your knowledge and experience the greater the well from which to make connections/ innovations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.

Never tire of building up those resources.

Add A Word To Your Vocabulary … YET!

This is an important word for problem solvers, use it more!

I haven’t found the answer … yet!

It isn’t quite right … yet!

I am not sure how we get that done … yet!

It reminds us that this is a process … an ongoing process that will follow you through life.

And the better you get at it, the easier and more productive life becomes!

————————————

And on that note … enjoy the rest of your weekend, J 🙂

Resilience – Because You Weren’t Built To Break

So, resilience has been on my mind the last few days.

I have a second interview next week for a rather fabulous job and given that it is quite a challenging role they want to discuss my ability to be resilient … well, now there is something I can definitely do!

And so a blog was born!

What does the dictionary have to say about Resilience?

  • It is the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
  • The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

Anyone can deal with that which we see coming, for which we have time to prepare.

Resilience, to me, is something different.

It is about dealing with the completely unforeseen, recovering and moving on from the shock of the unexpected.

Resilience is about a strength of character, a mind-set, an attitude, an essence, a toughness of spirit – a RELENTLESS and optimistic unwillingness to ever give up whatever the obstacles.

It seems like an eminently relevant word for the world today in general, but without doubt it is relevant to the world of small business entrepreneurship.

I am quite looking forward to my internet wanderings today ….

Harvard Business Review – How Resilience Works

HBR – rarely a bad place to start!

A great article on the question we all want answered – why do some people crumble into quivering wrecks in the face of adversity when others have the seemingly indestructible ability to rise up again and again not matter what life throws at them?

This reporter, Diane Coutu, sees it as an important study in times that seem to be hell bent on trying humanity to the limits of it’s endurance – physically, mentally and spiritually.

“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”

Inside Of Ourselves – The Essence Of Resilience

My husband is oft to be heard bemoaning my tendency to veer into the pessimistic side of any situation – I ignore him, quite frequently actually 🙂 Personally I think it is more about being a problem solver … starting from an unflinchingly realistic position and moving ahead from there.

In all seriousness, it is necessary to acknowledge the practicalities and worst case scenarios in any situation but you can’t stay stuck in that mind frame.

To move through any problem or change you need to make a conscious decision to switch to the positive, weigh the alternatives, see things from a different angle …. REFRAME!

By reframing experiences or aspects of ourselves we don’t like we can compost them and let them lift us towards a future we desire rather than one we feel we need to ‘settle for’.

By asking more of ourselves, lifting our sights to a ‘higher’ place it becomes possible to see things differently. The key is to learn to look at ourselves and our circumstances in ways that assist our growth and evolution rather than inhibiting it.

You may well have seen this very famous picture before but it is a great way to demonstrate the brains innate capacity to switch thinking and reframe – do you see a horrible old hag or a beautiful young lady?

For Our Careers – 10 Ways To Boost Your Work Resilience

The key here is that resilience is NOT a passive quality, but an active process. Not a character trait you are born with but a learned skill.

How we approach life, and everything it can throw at us, has a massive impact on our experiences. Resilience is a person’s capacity to respond to pressure and the demands of daily life.

The dictionary definition above says it all for me – it is the ability to bounce back, and to do it in such a way as to learn and grow in the process.

At work, resilient people are better able to deal with the demands placed upon them, especially where those demands might require them to be dealing with constantly changing priorities and a heavy workload.

My role as an EA is a place of constant change – having jobs thrown at me at a moments notice, having 3 things on my desk that really could have done with being submitted YESTERDAY, an inbox that is the very vision of one step forward and three back, people coming up to my desk several times an hour looking sheepish and saying ‘Julie, is there any chance you could just…’.

I love it. I love being the person who everyone comes to when they need anything and absolutely everything. I love the pressure. I love the variety. I love being a font of all knowledge. I love solving problems on the run. I love the fact that I learn something new everyday. I love being needed.

BUT it does make for a hectic life and takes considerable resilience. It is the very foundation of what I do. To keep calm when everyone around you is throwing their hands in the air and getting into a state.

My systematic thoughts in such a situation …

Is anyone going to die?

No?

Then CALM DOWN

Flapping is only slowing you down

Take one step at a time!

And as to why this is one of the top five skills every single one of my previous bosses would immediately mention if asked?

It isn’t a consciously learned skill but one I have gained through experience over the years – perhaps having a baby in my second year of university? Completing my final year with a part time job and a two year old in tow? Being private secretary to an MP in the middle of a financial crash?

My one opportunity at life is far too short for needless drama, and I learnt through experience and age that most things that stress us out really are just passing storms.

Optimism is the Key – Sometimes it is necessary to switch reality off

And I don’t mean it in a ‘head in the sand’ ostrich kind of a way. For the record, that NEVER helps – by all means have a few hours with your head under the pillow refusing to acknowledge the world but you really should get up sooner rather than later.

No, what I mean by this is social media, tv, newspapers (especially the rags) etc etc etc.

The last few weeks have been tough here in the UK – the horribly abusive EU referendum campaign, the murder of an MP, the terrible result (well for 48% of us), the crashing economic situation and now the blood bath that is evident on both sides of the House of Commons.

It is all fascinating but at the same time you should also be conscious of how these things are making you feel. I can be in a perfectly great mood and then find myself falling into a slump of feeling increasingly hopeless about the future/ economy/ state of the environment having being sucked into some trending hashtag on Twitter!

To be resilient you need to be conscious of your own feelings and moods, what triggers them and how to snap yourself out of it.

Anyone who knows me or follows me on Twitter will attest to the fact that I am a sucker for a good inspirational quote, I have ridiculous numbers of positivity books (such as ‘7 habits’ or the totally fabulous ‘Go-Giver’) and shelves full of great mood enhancing DVD’s.

Being in a rut is something you have complete influence over … take control, know how to make yourself feel better and move on with your life.

We discovered that people who don’t give up have a habit of interpreting setbacks as temporary, local, and changeable. (“It’s going away quickly; it’s just this one situation, and I can do something about it.”) That suggested how we might immunize people against learned helplessness, against depression and anxiety, and against giving up after failure: by teaching them to think like optimists.

Inside Our Children – How People Learn To Become Resilient

Well, if like me you have some event to stress about at the moment (for me it is a considerable and completely incorrect tax bill from the Revenue – arghh!) the story about the boy with the ‘bread sandwich’ will certainly start to pull you up short.

I find it is never a bad thing to seek out the things that will put any first world situation into some serious perspective.

An interesting read on where the strength for resilience comes from!

Human kind has a natural tendency to err on the side of the negative and dramatic, but the good news is that we also have the power to overcome that instinct with a conscious change to your thinking.

“If I had said, ‘Do you have kids in this school who seem to be troubled?,’ there wouldn’t have been a moment’s delay. But to be asked about children who were adaptive and good citizens in the school and making it even though they had come out of very disturbed backgrounds—that was a new sort of inquiry. That’s the way we began.”

For The Planet – Get Resilient In An Unstable World

So as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a bit of a workaholic. I absolutely love what I do and when I have finished my employed working day I come home and start on my other passion – OurOtherOffice.

Anyway, the point of telling you that was to lead up to saying that my full time job is as EA to the Chief Financial Officer of a really rather fabulous renewable energy company – and I can sometimes be a bit evangelical about their wonderful and indescribably important mission.

A renewable and sustainable future is essential to secure the future of our species – not the world, US! The planet is resilient, much more so than humanity. I’ve never come across ‘Get Resilient’ before but it has some great stuff in it, the following animation is well worth a watch!

Surfing the Waves of Change is an animation exploring the idea of community resilience using the metaphor of a surfer to explain how communities can make themselves more resilient in these changing times.

Harvard Business Review – How Resilience Works

A great article on the question we all want answered – why do some people crumble into quivering wrecks in the face of adversity when others have the seemingly indestructible ability to rise up again and again not matter what life throws at them?

This reporter, Diane Coutu, sees it as an important study in times that seem to be hell bent on trying humanity to the limits of it’s endurance – physically, mentally and spiritually.

“More than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics, and it’s true in the boardroom.”

For All Of Us – Just because I think we should all do a bit more of this!

What do you do for a living, for fun, for the betterment of your fellow man? Are you proud enough of it?

The folk tale goes like this, one day a visitor came to the space station and asked a cleaner who was sweeping up what job they did there. The cleaner replied ‘I help put men on the moon

Do You Spend Enough Time Reaching For The Stars???

 Quotefancy-12197-3840x2160.jpg

Become A Master of Change

Change seems to have been the one constant in my life – and in the middle of 2016 it is looking like that isn’t going to change any time soon. And there I was hoping that this year would be quiet!

Sometimes it is a colossal pain – it takes energy and perseverance that you sometimes just don’t feel like you have. Whether it be change at work, at home or on a national/ global economic scale it is something that everyone has to deal with.

But the one thing I have learnt is that change is the one area where attitude really does matter! I have learned to make change work for me, especially when it is a change I don’t want.

Change is a part of life, you can’t afford not to embrace it. If you don’t learn to manage it, it will swallow you up.

Below, I have listed some of the strategies I use, since long before I was conscious that I was developing a change management philosophy, to thrive on change.

Don’t React, Anticipate

Consider where things are going, anticipate what might happen. Worrying is counterproductive but anticipating the variables is just plain common sense. Keep your ears and eyes open. Be conscious of what is going on around you.

Prepare, Prepare And Then Prepare Some More

Be Informed. If you don’t know something, find it out! Read, read and read some more – in this age of instant access that we live in there is no excuse for being uninformed about anything. Make specific plans for upcoming changes so you feel more in control. Be active, not passive. Putting you head in the sand doesn’t achieve anything.

Accept The Inevitable

Don’t fight change that is inevitable. Embrace it and move forward. Be flexible. Be imaginative. Create! Don’t procrastinate. It is important to adapt and innovate as quickly as you can. Make lemonade out of lemons!

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Seek Out Support & Inspiration

There is no reason to feel isolated! Find someone who will listen. People can’t always give you the answers, but sometimes a problem shared really is a problem diminished. Look for someone or something that will encourage you, lift you up, inspire you, and spur you on. Read inspirational and motivational books and social media.

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Don’t Unpack and Live There

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you are feeling down or can’t adapt as quickly as you had hoped or others expect. We’re not perfect beings but our greatest strength is our capacity to adapt and learn, to grow from that which challenges us.

 

See The Opportunities

Keep telling yourself that you are stretching out of your too familiar comfort zone. It is inevitably uncomfortable but that is the nature of growth. Try to concentrate on the lessons and be positive about the new opportunities opening up to you. See both the danger and the opportunity, but focus on the latter.

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Practice Change

People instinctively avoid change, avoid moving away from their comfort zone. Make small changes occasionally to become more comfortable with it. Take a different route to work, take the bus, try a different restaurant, strike up a conversation with a random person, visit a museum, go do something you wouldn’t usually consider, try line dancing classes, sleep on the wrong side of the bed. Comfort zones are lovely, but exploring the unknown is our route to growth.

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And Finally … Hang Tough

There is one truism that I have learned to trust, this too shall pass! In a day, a week, a month … it is all just weather 🙂