Archive for Strengths

H is for HEALTH

H is for HEALTH_26 top tips to change your life

Never take it for granted!

Poor health limits your options whilst great health opens many more doors.

Don’t wait till it’s too late.

Make time every day to nurture the health of all 10 parts of your life.

The Great Life Redesign shows you how to nurture your health, every day.

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

The Workstation Warrior’s Guide to Freedom

Had a bad day at the office?

The Workstation Warrior's Guide to FreedomAs a child, when someone asked you “What do you want to do when you grow up?”, it’s unlikely you would have said, “Oh, I’d love to spend my days in a small, beige laminate 3 x 3 space with my very own lockable cabinet.”

Yet many of us do and regardless of whether you’re doing a job you enjoy or not, your work space has the power to suck the very life out of you! Arriving early, you boot up your computer and wander round to the kitchen to let your sandwich hang out in the fridge with mouldy lunches long forgotten.

By the time you’ve trawled through the sea of red emails crowding your inbox (that appeared seemingly out of nowhere overnight), it’s time for a heart starter coffee.

Grabbing your regular coffee buddy you make your way to the usual cafe. While your skinny latte’s making its way into a polystyrene cup, you shoot the breeze with the other workstation warriors you see most mornings.

Back at your cubicle, you try to get your head into that report you’ve been writing for days. Just as you’re starting to make progress, it’s time for an important meeting. (Oh joy, another hour of your life to be wasted in a windowless meeting room, listening to endless discussions about who knows what.) You look interested whilst pondering how to make it across the road to your next back to back meeting on time.

After downing your lunch at your beloved workstation and catching up on the latest online news or Facebook goss, it’s time to do battle with those now even more out of control emails. (Doesn’t anyone pick up the phone or get off their bottom and come round to talk anymore?) By 2pm it feels like you’ve spent more time looking for things than getting them done.

An urgent request to prepare slides for your boss’ presentation to the board tomorrow suddenly shoves everything else onto the backburner. Yes, it was scheduled 3 weeks ago, but for some reason it slipped his mind and now it’s up to you to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. And if he could have the preso by 5pm so he’s got time to read it over, that would be great thanks.

By the time you head out the door to battle the peak hour traffic, you’re exhausted.  You’re racing to pick up the children and you’ve no idea what’s for dinner! Somehow none of this was part of the plan when you started your career and surely there’s more to life…

Sound familiar? Read on!

These Workplace Warrior Survival Tips will make life bearable while you hatch your freedom plan.

#1. Take Control of Your Space

Make time to clean up your workstation and ruthlessly biff anything you no longer need. Keeping your physical space uncluttered goes a long way to regaining your overall sense of control and freedom.  Within the boundaries of your work place, personalise your workstation or desktop with images that inspire, amuse and motivate you.

#2. Schedule Self Appointments for the Important Stuff

Given how much our workdays are dictated by electronic calendar invites, I’m constantly surprised how few people book an appointment with themselves to get the real work done.  Block out Real Work Time, get your head down and instantly feel more fulfilled by what you are able to get done.  If you need to work uninterrupted, book a meeting room or work from home, disappear and focus on the task at hand.

#3. Decide what Meetings You Really Must Attend

The ‘need to be needed’ and ‘in the know’ drives many people to attend meetings they can neither learn from nor contribute anything meaningful to.  If the meeting invite doesn’t state a clear purpose nor included an outcome oriented agenda, politely decline and reclaim productive hours back into your week.  If the outcome of the meeting you declined is important, you’ll find out about it one way or another.

#4 . Get Out at Lunchtime

The work will always be there and heroically downing your sandwich with one hand whilst answering emails with the other, won’t get it done any quicker. Research shows that those who clear their heads with a brisk walk or go for a run during their lunch break, are significantly more productive in the afternoon. Use the headspace time to regroup or decide what you’re going to cook for dinner!

#5. Plan Your Great Escape

If your current job isn’t remotely linked to what you really want to do, it’s time for a change. Decide what your dream work looks, sounds and feels like.  Find out what it involves and research the options. Create a plan to bridge the gap between now and your ideal future. (The Great Life Redesign provides a simple blueprint to make this easy).

#6. Change How You Look at Things

Once your Great Life Redesign vision and plan are crystal clear, the work you’re doing now becomes your ticket to freedom! Having clearly decided your future, your current role becomes a necessary, temporary transition job, rather than your life’s work. When each day is deliberately bringing you a step closer to your dream, today’s job takes on a whole new meaning.

Better still, when you’ve packed your Thrival Kit with resilience, perspective, courage and success, each day becomes noticeably easier.

Life’s too short to be chained to a workstation merely marking time to pay the bills.  Focus on what you really want, play to your strengths by doing more of what you love and do well.

Plan your escape and enjoy each day as it comes.

Do you have a favourite workplace survival tip that gives you more freedom?  If so, please share, I’d love to hear it.

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

YOU can be ‘The Voice’

using adversity to find your voice

Karise Eden shows how to convert adversity into success4.54 million viewers broke TV ratings records and tuned in on Monday night to watch 19 year old Karise Eden take out the coveted title of Australia’s inaugural ‘The Voice’.  While her amazing voice captured Australia’s attention, it’s her triumph over tragedy story that is truly inspiring.

As a state ward, estranged from her birth family, living in refuges, battling self-harm and agoraphobia she seemed destined to a hard life.  However, she also has a unique and powerful gift – a distinctive singing voice that now ‘discovered’, could set her on a road to what would have been unimaginable success a year ago.

Yes, it’s great television that must have delighted the 9 Network, but they couldn’t have manufactured Karise’s past that preceded The Voice experience, celebrity and fame she’s now enjoying.

Even if she doesn’t realise it yet, there are 3 keys that transformed Karise’s adversity into success:

1. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

While Karise may have felt she had little to lose, her fear during her first live audition was palpable. She had no formal singing training and was up against hundreds of other more experienced hopefuls.  With downcast eyes under the glare of bright lights, a studio audience and in the company of famous celebrities, she gripped the microphone, opened her mouth and started to sing.

Sometimes you just have to take a chance and all it takes is courage!  Even when there are no guarantees of success, allowing a vision of what’s possible to drown out the fear will propel you forward.  Take the first step and ‘go for it’.

2. Convert the Pain into Power

The genuine raw emotion in her voice helped Karise connect with so many people.  Thousands of viewer votes came from those who not only appreciate her unique sound but also connect with and relate to her painful past.

When you’ve been through tough times and are coming out the other side, it’s tempting to ‘put the past behind you’ and ‘move on’.  Whilst useful, it’s far more powerful to harness the pain and use it constructively.  Using pain constructively places the past in context by turning a negative into a positive – something good can come from anything. The bonus this brings is richer talent, greater insight, wisdom and perspective.

What have you learnt from a painful past experience and how can you use it in a positive way to make your unique difference?

3. Find People who Believe in You (even when you don’t believe in yourself)

When the opportunity to audition for The Voice arose, self-doubt and fear of criticism would have been constant for Karise.  It seemed as though everyone could see her talent and potential, except Karise herself.  Her foster Aunty Marian and Uncle Frank accompanied her to the blind auditions and all four celebrity coaches turned their chairs around.  Seal took on the coaching challenge which seemed more about helping her believe in herself and step into her ability than refining her technique.

A dedicated support team will stop you from running the other way when it seems too hard and overwhelming.  They’ll back you against the odds and hold unshakeable faith in your ability until you believe in it yourself.

So, who’s on your support team and who do you need by your side to achieve success?

Every one of the 4 finalists in The Voice overcame the odds to be there and all would have been worthy winners.  Like each of them, you too have an amazing talent and you owe it to the world to step up and share it. 

The Great Life Redesign tells the stories of others who have converted a passion or adversity into an opportunity.  Your dream doesn’t have to include fame and notoriety and may be more about living your passion through being yourself.

If you’re wondering what your talent or purpose may be, your ‘voice’ might just lie in the adversity you’ve overcome. Go on, revisit your past, extract the gems, leave the pain behind and hatch a plan to be heard.

Carpe diem

Caroline Cameron

 

Calling all Mothers… do you know how to fly a kite?

Why Mothering is like Kite FlyingMy mother is a wise woman who has taught me many things.  As Mother’s Day approaches I’ve been thinking about her most valuable ‘pearls of wisdom’. The one that stands out most is that mothering has a lot in common with the art, skill and joy of flying a kite.

Like many, when I became a mother I was overwhelmed by the responsibility.  In spite of all the experiences and advice readily shared those who had been there before me, I was bewildered.  There was no definitive guidebook and besides, like all children, my daughter was unique. The book on how to raise her had yet to be written and I was floundering.

After patiently listening to my anguished account of one particularly gruelling day, my Mum shared this insight and suddenly it all made sense.

Mothering is like flying a kite.

To prepare we ensure the kite is sound; the string is firmly attached; the handle is strong and our feet are planted firmly on the ground.

When our babies take their first steps, we let the string out a little. As it whips and turns we hold on tight and keep it close.  Invariably in those early days, it comes crashing to the ground whilst occasionally floating for a few precious minutes.

As our children grow and set out to explore the world, the kite becomes more confident.  The string tenses and we let it out a little further.  Magically, it stays afloat a little longer – catching the breeze, sometimes dipping and turning before it returns safely to us.

Through the teenage years the kite seeks to fly higher and the string tightens, straining to be free.  Cautiously, we let the string out a little further.  Sometimes it becomes tangled in the trees and we carefully climb up to retrieve it.  Winding it back in a little, we firm our grip until it feels safe and secure again.

Some days the kite won’t want to go out flying, preferring to curl up on the couch in its PJs, safe and secure in the comfort of home.  Brought in for running repairs, all the kite needs is a bowl of hot soup and a cuddle.  It doesn’t need a mother to tell it how to fly, it simply needs a mother to stay attached on the other end of the string.

Over time we become more adept and the kite stretches further into the sky as our children soar towards independence and freedom.  While it reaches great heights, swooping and arcing until it becomes a dot in the distance, it’s always attached.  With pride we watch it achieve great things, catching the currents of life and weathering occasional strong winds.

The art of mothering is all about knowing when to let the string out; when to reel it back in and when to simply leave it be.

Now my daughter is a young adult, we’ve learnt how to fly the kite together.  These days we venture out to fly alongside each other, sharing flights and experiences whenever we can.  More often we fly solo, always knowing that the string is attached.  I know that when the time comes, I'll be there gently guiding my daughter as she learns how to fly rather than be the kite.

Thank you to my mother for teaching this valuable lesson, to my daughter for allowing me to make mistakes and to both of them for helping me master the art of kite flying.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those Mums out there who are learning how to let their children soar. 

What 'pearl of wisdom' has your mother shared that's made your role as a mother that bit easier?

Carpe Diem
Caroline Cameron

 

What do You Want to BE When You Grow Up?

a question for all adults and how to make the answer easy

What do you want to BE when you grow up?

If you ask any child under 10 what they want to be when they grow up, chances are you’ll get a quick, enthusiastic and certain answer.

When you put the same question to grown-ups, the answers are often vague and vexed.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost our ability to connect with what we really want to do. Fulfilment seems hader to find. Fear replaces courage and indecision leads us on a never-ending quest to find the ‘right’ job.

When I became a management consultant many years ago, I thought it would be the perfect way to find my dream job. Working with many different organisations would give me a ‘sneak peak’ into a wide variety of careers. I fully expected to walk into a company, see someone doing something I’d love and ‘bingo’ – there’s my answer!

The reality was very different. While I did get to check out many different jobs, industries and organisations, I mostly saw people who were struggling to find their ‘perfect’ job, just like me. Many had fallen into roles opportunistically, being in the right place at the right time, rather than consciously deciding that this was what they really wanted to do.

Fast forward 5 years and I’m now being paid to do something I love but it didn’t happen until I worked out how to find my dream job. If this sounds like you, take heart!

How to find work that feeds your soul and puts a roof over your head

1. Go back to your childhood!

Mining your past for vital clues is a great way to spark your imagination. What did you love doing as a child when anything was possible? Recapture your childhood dreams and notice what it was about each one that excited you.

When you were a kid (before reality set in), limitations were few which created the freedom to be whatever you dreamt.  Notice how you focused on what you wanted to ‘be‘ rather than ‘do’.  Hmmm, there’s another clue.

2. Stock take your career and life so far

Looking back over everything you’ve done, list the achievements and tasks you’ve really enjoyed. Even the less fulfilling experiences will provide clues about what you could and should be doing. Now write down everything you haven’t necessarily enjoyed and quite frankly, never want to do again. What was it about the positive experiences that ticked all your boxes and the negatives that left you cold?

3. What are you good at?

Inevitably, what you’re good at is probably what you enjoy most. Over the years you’ll have gained skills and knowledge that have led you to become an accomplished expert in one field or another. Even if this type of work has past its expiry date, the strengths you’ve gained in this area can be converted into transferable skills.

4. Know what difference you want to make

There’s a reason we’ve all been put on this earth and now’s the time to reveal your overall purpose. Far bigger than a single job or career, this shapes who you are in all the life roles you play. What problems do you like to solve and what really matters most to you?

Often this is more closely related to what you care about, than what you do for work. Knowing it consciously will give you far greater choice and help you make clear decisions about where to from here.

5. Get curious and explore all the options

Many of today’s jobs weren’t even invented 5 years ago and the path to fulfilling work starts with curiosity. Your answers to the previous questions will have revealed some key themes.

  • What do your childhood dreams, career and life so far, strengths and your purpose all have in common?
  • What do they reveal about you?

Once you’ve identified these themes, start researching what’s possible.

Now you’re consciously aware of what you want to be and therefore do, career magnets (ie those roles, industries and organisations that tick your boxes) will jump out at you. Keep and open mind, imagine and explore what a ‘day in the life of…’ would be like?

The key to finding fulfilling work is to ask the right questions. Rather than saying, “I couldn’t do that because…”, ask yourself, “If this were possible, how could I make it happen?”

6.Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

Once you’ve decided which direction you’ll take, develop a plan to bridge the gap and commit to one small step at a time. The transition to your new career will take as long as it needs to and gaining the support of family, friends and mentors will help convert your possibility into a reality.

What would a day in your perfect job look like?  Life’s too short to not be doing what you love. Blow away the excuses and discover what you should be doing, now you’re ‘grown up’!

Carpe diem

Caroline

 

 

How to Love Your Job

7 simple ways to love the job you have.

How to love you job

There’s something kind of corny about the concept of loving your job, isn’t there? Besides, we’re often more likely to ‘put up with’ our job – a far cry from loving it! Yes, most of us work to pay the bills but that’s only part of the story.

Research shows many of the upsides of work, besides being paid, include challenge, variety, fulfilment, social connection and validation that your effort makes a positive difference.

Take a moment to rate your job against each of these criteria (Great, Average or Poor). How does it fare?

If you answered ‘Great’ to each of these, congratulations – you’re obviously in the right job and loving it. If your job didn’t rate so high, you may be feeling slightly disheartened.

It’s tempting to think about jumping ship and looking for a new job. However, this isn’t easy and can often take months or even years to achieve.

Fortunately you don’t have to change jobs to find one you love! The following tips show you how to love the job you have and best of all, it costs nothing but a change in mindset and action.

#1: Adopt a positive attitude

Boredom, frustration and stress are insidious and rapidly become self-fulfilling prophecies. Check in on how you’re thinking and what you believe. Turning problems into opportunities and focusing on what’s within your control has an immediate and positive impact on how you feel. Ask yourself, ‘How would I rather feel instead?’ and actively seek ways to create the better alternative.

#2: Connect your job to your purpose and priorities

What were you put on this earth to do and what specific difference do you want to make? Yes, it’s a ‘big’ question but once you have the answer, you can uncover opportunities to fulfil that purpose through your work and other parts of your life. Identify your core values and write down what’s really important to you and change how you work to a align it with what you believe.

#3: Identify your 8 key strengths and use them

Actively using your key strengths every day and in everything you do will shift your focus to doing more of what you like and are good at. For example, if you are a strong leader, create ways to unite people around a common goal. If you have great organisational skills, consciously use them to get things done efficiently. Strengths can be applied to any role, regardless of whether you’re a receptionist or CEO.

#4: Make life easier – understand your preferences

We all have preferred ways of working and behaving and there are many tools available to help you understand your preferences. If you’re not enjoying your job, chances are you’re being compelled to work in a way that doesn’t sit right with you. There are many different tools for discovering your preferences including Myer-Briggs, DiSC, Herrmann Brain and Social Styles.

Once you know your preferences you can flex your style to better suit what’s required and/or enlist the help of your manager and colleagues to work in a way that fits your style.

#5: Change how you work, rather than what you do

Every job has stuff that we’d rather not do, given the choice. However, they are often unavoidable and procrastinating about them won’t make them go away. Once you understand your preferences, you can create challenges in the seemingly most boring of tasks. This could include report writing, administration, handling emails etc.

Consistently set yourself the challenge of completing the task ahead of time, more efficiently and to a higher standard (going beyond what’s expected) and notice the higher level of satisfaction you feel.

#6: Apply judgement carefully

Sound judgement is an essential skill for analysis and decision making but often falls short when applied to our working relationships. Judging people based on your own personal values (They never… or She always…) rarely results in them changing to be more like you and less like them! More often, it leads to frustration.

Replace judgement with acceptance and notice how much easier it is to work with someone who operates differently from you. Parking judgement opens the door to constructively resolve issues that arise from behavioural differences.

#7: Set long term goals and work steadily towards them

Taking a bigger picture view makes it easier to keep things in perspective. Cast your mind forward 5 years – what would you like to be doing, if it were possible? Once you’ve established your professional vision, create a career plan with goals, actions and timelines to realise it. Actively build your knowledge and experience in that area.

Many skills are transferable and you may be surprised what development opportunities your current role holds, that you haven’t yet tapped into.

Applying any of these tips will make a big difference to how you feel about your job. Hold yourself accountable for your own levels of satisfaction; take daily action to experience it and notice how much more you love the job you have.

Do you have a handy strategy that helps you love the job you have, regardless of what you do?  Please share it – your simple tip could make a big difference to someone who’d love to love their job… if only.

Carpe diem