Archive for Life Lessons – Page 5

10 Easy Ways to Make Any New Year a Ripper!

Know where you are and decide where you’re heading.

New Year, New Life ChapterAs this year hurtles at break-neck pace towards its finale, we vow that somehow, 'next year will be better'. But, hang on, is 'better' good enough?  Don't we want it to be the best ever?

Like a fresh, blank page in a book, the New Year marks a brand new chapter in your life. Whether you’re on track to achieve bigger goals or wanting to make smaller changes, these tips will help you set next year up to be a 'ripper'.

1. Learn from the past and move on

If you’ve made a few mistakes this year, don’t worry, we all have! Take time to identify what went wrong, convert your precious life lessons into wisdom and move on. By extracting the lessons from mistakes or failures, you can let whatever was ‘wrong’ about that event go.

2.Take stock of where you are

Step back and give each area of your life an A – F grade. Review what’s working and what isn’t in your relationships, health, wealth/finances, career, home, environment, community, challenge/growth and spirituality/beliefs.

3.Consciously decide what to keep and what will be different

Having mentally reviewed each room in your ‘life house’, decide and make a list of what needs to change. If you do make a change, what will actually be different and how will that be better than what you have today?

4. Create a Next Year Vision

If next year was to be your best, what would you most like to achieve? By this time next year, what will be happening that isn’t happening today. Write down change keywords to decide where you’re going to invest time, energy and effort. Based on where you’re heading, what will it look, sound and feel like and who will be there with you?

5. Decide how you’ll make your vision a reality

This includes setting goals and developing strategies to bring your vision to life. Without these your vision will be based on wishful thinking – unlikely to ever be realised. Make concrete plans and hold yourself accountable for making change happen. Set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with everything you need to make it happen.

6.  Keep it simple

Unecessary complexity often creates drag on life redesign plans.  Like barnacles on a boat, the more you add, the heavier it gets and the slower progress moves.  Before you know it, your big plans have ground to a halt, bogged down in red tape.  Pack light, only do what's necessary and remove any unecessary clutter.

7. Commit to the plan

Change without commitment is like a car without petrol – there's a limit to how far you'll get without it!  What will it take to commit to the necessary action and stick with it for as long as it takes?  Deciding what to say 'no' to will help create the necessary time and energy to make important life redesign changes happen.

8. Engage your support team

Even Hilary didn't conquer Everest alone.  Behind every great achievement is a strong support team – those people who'll protect your back and cheer you on.  Identify what challenges you're likely to face and who you need to keep you on track.  How can you best help them? Remember, life is karmic – what you put out will come back to you many times over.

9. Celebrate the wins

In the quest to 'get things done', we often forget to celebrate our achievements big and small. Take time to feel the satisfaction of achieving each goal and notice what it was that helped you get there. The ‘high’ of achieving a win will keep you motivated for future success.

10. Embrace the small stuff

The greatest enjoyments in life are often hidden in the small events that happen every day. Unfortunately in today’s fast paced life, we are often too busy to even notice them. If you need ideas, check out 1,000 Awesome Things. Revel in life’s little pleasures and start your own book of Awesomes – you’ll be surprised how quickly you fill it.

How next year shapes up is well within your control. Great and not so great things will happen but that’s not as important as how you respond to them. So, go on, make the most of it, ‘let rip’ and love every moment for what the new year gives you.

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

Unexpected Life Lessons from an Unconventional Teacher

So much wisdom from one small vegetable!

Unexpected Life Lessons from an Unconventional TeacherOK, so I’m not the world’s most gifted green thumb but when I planted my winter veggies back in April, I did expect to be harvesting a few fresh cauliflowers by the end of June. The label even said they’d be ready within eight weeks.

By the end of July I had promising looking leaves but no cauliflowers.  In late August the leaves were even bigger but nothing more.  By September I’d forgotten all about them and given up.  It looked like a self-fulfilling prophecy – I’m hopeless at growing veggies and this proved it!

The vegetable patch was soon taken over by enthusiastic weeds as I resigned myself to failure and other priorities took over.  The cold wet winter gave way to warm spring sunshine and towards the end of October, I decided to give up on the winter crop.
Besides it was time to plant fresh lettuce, baby cucumber and sweet tomatoes and transfer my hope to the lovely tastes of summer.

Approaching the veggie patch to clear it all out and start again I suddenly stopped.  There, to my amazement, was a perfect cauliflower, peering up at me amidst the weeds!  A few days later, two more beautiful cauliflowers appeared.  Nearly seven months after they were planted, they'd finally decided the time was right.

Here’s what I’ve learnt from such a seemingly mundane event:

  1. Don’t give up too soon – success could be just around the corner
  2. Surprises happen when you least expect them and are all the sweeter for waiting
  3. Expectation often generates disappointment
  4. Many things happen in their own good time if you simply ‘leave them be’
  5. Patience is a seriously underrated virtue

These are all timely reminders for anyone experiencing change.  Whether you're redesigning your life – changing jobs, relationships, where or how you live or going through change in your workplace, pearls of wisdom will make the transition easier.

Who knew I could learn so much from a cauliflower?  Now that my conscious awareness is switched on, I’m looking for learning and timely reminders everywhere.

What unexpected life lessons have you learnt from an unconventional ‘teacher’?

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

Too much to do, too little time – are you busier than ever?

Something’s puzzling me and I can’t quite work it out.

Too much to do, too little timeToday, we have more time-saving, convenience creating, effort reducing resources than ever before and yet we seem to be busier, more stressed and time poor.

I just don’t get it.  There’s now an app for everything and you can DIY or outsource pretty much anything so in theory, life should be getting easier, right?  Wrong!

As as an executive coach visiting clients in various city offices, I notice an insidious, entrenched and common theme.  My clients are smart people working for  corporate, government and non-profit organizations, all with very different purposes and yet one way or another, they all lament their lack of time.  Here are some of the expressions I hear often – maybe you relate to them:

  • I don’t have the bandwidth
  • I’m in back to back meetings all week so won’t have time…
  • My inbox is killing me
  • We’re really stretched at the moment
  • There isn't time (the common cry of a pressured project team juggling multiple priorities as they stare down the barrel at a ‘go live’ for their system in 3 weeks)

The ‘inbox’ one was interesting.  One guy had over 2,000 unread emails in his inbox and his way of surviving the email tsunami was to ignore them until the sender spoke to him directly.  “I figure that if it’s important enough, they’ll come around and talk to me or pick up the phone.”  Hmmm, sounds good in theory but I wonder how that works if the email is from the CEO.

Yet, he’s also onto something here – he's Filtering.  By prioritizing his emails based on a set of criteria (in his case the personal contact effort made by the sender), he’s filtering in what he believes is important and ignoring the rest.

With millions of bytes of information coming at us every second, we’d soon drown in overload if we didn’t filter it.  Our natural reaction is to distort, delete or generalise as a mechanism to keep control of our lives.  Yet, if that was an effective technique, why are we all still so busy?

If this is how it is for you, it's time to spring clean your filters.

Like every other useful resource we can call on, our information filters need routine maintenance.  Over time they become clogged with the exhaust fumes of life.  Rather than consciously and regularly sifting out the obsolete and unnecessary crud whilst keeping the important, they become blocked.

Understand what’s driving your ‘busy’.

Our actions are driven by an underlying cause that often isn’t connected to the activity or its outcome.  This can include ‘a need to be needed’, a determination to be seen to be 'on top of it all' ( superwoman/man syndrome – a common one for perfectionists and high achievers), or procrastination because we’re not sure what to do or how to do it.  This can lead to aimless ‘fluffing’ and before you know it, you’ve blown hours or days and achieved little more than frustration.

Recognising the real cause of your lack of time helps you take steps to reclaim it.  Think about it – if we valued time as much as we value money, wouldn’t we have more rather than less?  Imagine how different it would be if you had plenty of time in the bank and were time rich rather than time poor.

Decide what's important

The best way to get the ‘busy’ under control is to check in on what’s most important and ensure you’re focus is largely on your main priorities.  Do you really need to attend that meeting that you know will go round in circles or is it just that you don’t want to
miss out on being 'in the know'?

Know what matters most

Check that your priorities will make a real difference.  One of the best ways to identify this is to ask, “Of all the things I’ve got on my plate, which will make the most difference a hundred years from now?” Chances are not many, but it’s a sobering thought.  If it doesn't really matter – don't do it!  Choosing not to do something is surprisingly liberating.

Identify the best return on your time investment.

If there were no limits, what would you choose to be doing right now?  Yes, you do have a choice as to how you spend your time, far more often than you realize.  Which task is going to pay back far more than the time you'll invest in it?  This is a great way of stripping out the time wasters from your day.

Clogged filters are making us busy.  That’s my theory but I’m sure it’s not the whole story. With so much more at our fingertips to ‘save time’, why do you think we’re still soooo busy?

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron