Consistency brings results!


Recently I watched a short video of Mr Denzel Washington giving a short speech on consistency and commitment;

“Without commitment you will never start, but more importantly without consistency, you will never finish”.

It takes strength and perseverance to be consistent, more so when you do not see immediate results.  At times we do not want to wait months or years and if there is no passion so to speak, we can easily allow our ideas to fall off the wayside.

My first year into blogging, I was totally dissatisfied with my number of followers and comments left after each blog. I naively questioned whether blogging was truly for me as if it were, where were all these people swarming my blog?  On reflection I knew I had a passion for writing and made a decision to write once weekly regardless of how many people read my articles.  There are thousands of bloggers all over the world working to find their niche. Some are talented with a natural flair for writing and I have learnt from them. However, I will maintain the notion that among the thousands there is also a place for me. For this reason I will continue to use my voice.

The number of actors/actresses and business owners who have been on the scene for years; building up their profile by networking, attending auditions and business meetings only to be rejected for someone more talented and experienced.  You rarely hear of such people when they are on route to making it, only when they have made it.  This can give one the impression that their road to fulfilling their goal was straightforward; that everything fell into place for them. Not so!

I will admit that being consistent can be tedious and dull.  Some days you will not feel like working on your business plan/project/other but if we only did what we felt, how many of us would leave our house until noon? Nobody reaches their goal by doing what they feel. Famous authors, entrepreneurs, innovators did not make it by limiting the amount of time they spent pursuing their goal. They made the necessary sacrifices with their time and their finances.  They put in the hard work in order to reap the fruit. We must be willing to put in the work – there are no shortcuts. 

My three tips on remaining consistent;

1. Reflect on your “why”. Why do you want to fulfil this goal?

2. Schedule time slots in which to work on your business or project. Work around them as if they are non-negotiable. Inform friends and family you are not available at these times.

3. Go back to point 1!

How has consistency contributed to you fulfilling your goals?

What advice would you give for those who struggle in the area of consistency?

 

Reignite your passion!

Reignite your passion!

The other day I reflected on the activities I do and where my real passion lays.  I enjoy encouraging and lifting up others and listening to their life experiences. I have a strong passion for teaching and mentoring whether on a one to one basis or in a group setting.  I am stepping out and developing my “public speaking” skills by taking all opportunities that come my way in sharing my experience and knowledge depending on the setting. 

When I am in discussion and a topic is brought forward that I am passionate about, I work hard to contain my excitement.  I am aware I can be more focused on getting my point across than listening to the other person.  I am bursting to speak – not because I love the sound of my own voice but because the topic touches me personally and brings out various emotions. This runs in my family. My husband has commented on a number of occasions that when my sister and I are deep in discussion, it looks as though we are arguing.  Oh the shame!

Without passion, one will struggle to work in excellence and enthusiasm.  There must be a burning desire within you to make that change, to reach a certain group  of people. It may derive from personal experience (good or bad) or an area of interest you have developed over time. Either way it must exist as this is what will keep you committed and focused when you face challenges and self -doubt. 

It is of course possible for one to have a career they are not highly excited about. On a daily basis, I witness commuters on their way to work with glum faces and that “I would much rather be in my bed” look.  Perhaps they are frustrated with their day to day workload, long hours, long commute, working conditions or the increasing pressures of working.  Changing career may not be feasible for them at present.  It is highly unlikely one would choose a hobby or commit to voluntary work where they have little interest.   This is unpaid work so there would need to be an immediate incentive.

Do not be that person who lives half a life. Do not be that person who fails to discover what sets your heart alive, what gives you a purpose.  Instead discover and nurture your gifts and interests. If you are not in the job of your dreams, identify how you can shape the role you are in.  Shadow an officer who works in a field of interest, implement a new system, offer to assist on a project. Bring passion back into your life!

What is your passion?
Have your passions changed over the years? 
What has contributed to this?

 

Do you prefer to lead or be led?

Whether we have given this much thought or not, many of us are leaders; in our place of work, in ministry/voluntary work, in the home.  We make decisions; quick ones and those that require days or even months of deliberating.

The more confident of people are happy to take the lead when situations arise. They may not have the answer but they are willing to work towards finding a solution. We all know that one person who always rises to the challenge – perhaps it is you!  The less confident of people will stand back and allow others to make decisions or find solutions as it is means they are not required to do anything. This is likely to be a result of having a lack of confidence and/or being struck with a condition called laziness.

Throughout the day we are make decisions consciously and sub-consciously.  Deciding what to wear,to cook, what time to go into town.  Even choosing to do nothing is in fact a decision!

I often joke to my husband when we are planning family holidays that I have absolutely no interest in self-catering accommodation. I want to be fully catered for and why not? In my day-to-day life I am making decisions at work, church, running the home, rearing young children, cooking until it goes out of fashion.  Whilst on holiday I only want to think along the lines of;

“What am I going to eat?”
“What am I going to wear?”
“”What excursion are we going on today?”

Surely this is why people holiday – for a break!

Back to taking the lead, it comes naturally to some and others have to work hard at it. If you observe a group of young children playing or working on a project, you will without a doubt spot one or two that take the lead. When my daughter attended pre-school she had a good friend who was rather similar to her – strong headed. They were like two peas in a pod when they got along and spent the remainder of the time at loggerheads.  This was inevitable since they were both of strong character.

Unlike my daughter I was far more introverted as a child. I knew my own mind and always have done but was quiet with it. I have had to work on taking the lead, often deliberately stepping up in situations in order to develop my skills and offer my contribution. I take on opportunities which push me completely out of my “safe” zone and the results are usually positive. My confidence grows each time whilst self-doubt reduces.

To end, ownership means you resist “passing the buck”, it means accepting you have a part to play in finding a solution, it means you can be relied on when the challenges come.

Do you take the lead? Is it second nature to you or an area you have developed?

How would you encourage someone who struggles to take the lead?

What would you advise someone who takes on too much ownership, stepping on toes in the process?

Perception versus reality

Perception according to the Cambridge Dictionary is;

1.A belief or opinion, often held by many and based on how things seem

2.The quality of for being aware of things through the physical senses; especially sight

3.Someone’s ability to notice and understand things that are not obvious to other people

The majority of us live according to our perception, we react and make decisions through the way in which we see things. We look at how a situation or action affects us personally.  Our perception at times will most certainly be wrong and we will still act on this.  Be honest and think back to the number of times you have made wrong judgements based on what you chose to see and your prejudices.

See the example below;

David joined your organisation last week as a project officer.  Though generally pleasant to his peers, David is rather aloof and separates himself from them. A few officers have aired they feel David isolates himself and contributes very little in team meetings. As David’s supervisor you are planning to raise this issue with him, however your view is he suffers with anxiety and struggles to work closely with people.  Same situation – two very different perspectives.

It is all to easy to make an assumption on why someone acts the way they do. Once we have created an impression of who they are in our eyes, we go on to treat them accordingly. Often we do not have the full picture and no real desire to actually understand the “why”. We simply run with our idea as it makes perfect sense to us.

Newspapers and magazines exist to inform us while heavily influencing the way we look at politics, the economy, the government, the rich, the poor, fashion, beauty, ourselves and so on.  Most people base their views on the information they have been fed (which nine times out of ten times is misleading) rather than first hand. I ceased buying fashion magazines years ago as I felt it began to change the way
in which I viewed myself and others.

There is an old saying “our eyes cannot lie” but we can choose to see that which justifies and supports our beliefs. We can jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts because it is easier to do so than exploring that little bit more and thinking outside of the box.

How much do outside influences skew your views?

Do you work to keep an open mind – what practical steps do you take?

Do you see failure as the end or the beginning?

I am sure the majority of you have read about Michael Jordan’s plight to becoming a leading basketball player. What stood out for me is he did not give up on what he knew was the right path for him.

Failure is inevitable in this life unless of course we decide not to take any form of action or risk. How dull would our lives be if we only lived within the remit of what we could easily do?  Our comfort zone is not the place to be, though it feels cosy it brings nothing but the same of what you already have.  For the majority of us there is an element of excitement we derive from trying a new activity or starting a new venture. It is this which makes us feel alive.

Failure is not necessarily the end. If we do not try a new venture/join a course, how will we know it is in fact not for us? Some know exactly what they are good at from a young age and go on to excel in this.  Others will take various opportunities and find a particular course or career is not suitable for them. 

There are stages in life when we close the door on a business or career path and this too is fine if we are 100% certain we have to change course.  Perhaps we did not understand the sacrifice it would take; financially, emotionally and physically.  Perhaps we walked into it with the wrong motives.

Looking back to my school days, I looked forward to English, History and Geography class and had a strong dislike for mathematics.  I was and am able to understand basic mathematics but struggle with the likes of deep mathematics. It just did not click for me no matter how much I concentrated. I desperately wished to understand the formulas and refused to accept answers without knowing the “how”. I even retook GCSE mathematics and received the exact same grade – who does that?!!

I have shared this with very few people as for years (over two decades to be exact) I felt utterly ashamed and embarrassed that I could not master maths. This no longer has a hold over me so I can be vulnerable and share it. Thankfully I have passed all my assessments on applying for jobs – whether or not my strength in English influenced my results, I will never know and certainly am not complaining.

I shared my experience as it is often easier to relate when you know others have tried and failed and also tried and succeeded.  If you do not take a step forward you will never know. Why live a life of “what if?” when you can use the knowledge and expertise you have today?

I made a decision to push forward in order to reach my goal, if one road is blocked, I will try another. If I need to move on then I will with no guilt, shame or a need to justify myself to others.  Every experience I have had, both painful and pleasant, I have learned from even if it is how NOT to do a thing. 

What do you class as a failure?
How have you overcome failure in your life?

 

Do you prioritise tasks over people?

My blog discussion came about as I remembered a few years ago, I arrived home from work tired. My daughter was trying to grab my attention and I was on a mission to prepare for the next day. I am one of those women who do as much as possible the night before; clothes hung out, toiletries in bathroom, shoes and coats by the door, lunch packed and in fridge. As I was saying, I could hear my daughter in the background and I tried to engage with her whilst buzzing about the house. Later that day my husband and I were talking and he said;
“It seems that getting work done is more important to you than people”

I replied with a defensive tone;
“No, that is not true”

I reflected on this for a few days and had to accept that it was indeed true. I have a long commute (four hours per day) and on arriving home, I touch base with my children, ensure they are fed and bathed then I focus on preparing for the following day. I have little time in which to get things done so just keep on going.

I am extremely task orientated – unsure where this derived from as my mother, though house proud knows when to give herself a break. Part of this definitely comes from my need to prove myself through the tasks and projects I take on. Clearly an insecurity which I need to deal with.

When one is task driven, they can miss people along the way. They can forget to; connect with others, to stop and smell the roses on a summers day, to enjoy the here and now rather than focussing on what comes next. Behind every project and task lies people with feelings, fears, insecurities, hope and aspirations. Regardless of how busy our day is, we must not lose the essence of connecting with others – stopping what we are doing to give them our full attention.

I now make a conscious effort to engage and it is an effort for me as I am an introvert, happy to be left to get on with my projects in peace. I often step out of my comfort zone by going a little further than I feel to. I am learning to deal with being interrupted at home and in my place of work, to become less irritated when someone “stops my flow” so to speak. Having children has certainly had an influence over my flexibility and adaptability. It is rather difficult (nigh impossible) for parents not to allow an element of flexibility in their lives.

Are you more task focused or people focused?
How do you maintain a balance?

How often do you delegate?

Delegating in my book is handing a task over to someone in order to free up your time to concentrate on other tasks. On some occasions the person may be better equipped than you and less so on others.

Richard Branson quoted;
“From a young age I learned to focus on the things I was good at and delegate to others what I was not good at. That is how Virgin is run. Fantastic people throughout the Virgin Group run our businesses, allowing me to think creatively and strategically.”

We delegate at home and in our working environment. The problem is it does not come as easy for everyone for at least one of the following reasons;

1. The need for one to keep control of the task/project by choosing not to involve others.
2. Fear of being told “no”
3. Not wanting to burden or overload another person with what we feel we should own.
4. Not wanting to feel out of the loop

In order to delegate, one must be confident to ask another believing he or she can deliver. If there are any reservations, you can work closely with this person until they are ready to run with the project alone.

We all started from somewhere and made mistakes along the way – well I certainly did! We must give others the opportunity to prove themselves and gain exposure which will push them forward in their careers.

Even in my home, I delegate small tasks to my children in order to build their confidence and equip them for teen hood and adulthood where they will be expected to have key skills and rightly so. Whether it be packing away clothes, hoovering or simply tidying up. Of course it would be easier for me to do the tasks – I would complete them in half the time but in the long run, I will not be helping my children.

Delegating does not have to mean giving up complete ownership of a project – no, you are simply bringing others in on it. The saying “two heads are better than one” is absolutely true. If someone can assist you along the way, why not let them? You too will be called upon to help others with your skills and expertise. You should have the same enthusiasm for assisting others as you do with others assisting you – it is a two way street.

Are you a delegator?
Do you struggle to let go?
What have you found to be the upside and downside of delegating?

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!