What does integrity mean to you?

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Integrity is undervalued in today’s society. Many are willing to undercut and do the bare minimum for what they feel is gain. Many are willing to lose their soul for fame and fortune, stepping on the very people who were supportive when they had little.  The world has become entitled, losing it’s morals and values in the process. 

Three scenarios:
On starting a new job, you notice your colleagues take well over an hour for lunch. It appears to be tolerated. Do you follow suit?

The sales assistant hands you extra change in error, on realising do you return to the store or walk away with glee?

You find a mobile phone on the train, do you hand it in at the train station or keep it?

This quote sums it up;

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From a young age most of us learnt to shed blame and use others as scapegoats i.e. “Jane did it so I thought it was okay to do it”.  It is only when our parents stepped in to correct us (mine certainly did!) that we took an element of responsibility for our actions. 

We should not use others as a measure for the way we live our lives. We should set high standards for ourselves. We may not always meet them but the importance is that they exist in the first place. 

We will always be tested, on a daily basis in fact, it is entirely down to us to choose to do the right thing even when it costs.  Our word carries far more than we can ever imagine.  Our yes should mean yes. If we are unable to meet a need or complete a task, we should be honest and say so rather than committing and then backing out. 

Do you demonstrate integrity on a daily basis?

How important is integrity, to you?

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Identifying your strengths and weaknesses

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As adults the majority of us are well aware of our strengths and weaknesses.  We can put on a good show and even fool others but we cannot lie to ourselves.  We may choose not to admit the weaknesses to others for fear of appearing weak or vulnerable.

Your weaknesses should in no way hinder you but be a work in progress. Especially if you need to develop on your weakness in order to excel in your field or if it is having an unhealthy effect on the way you view yourself.

Starting with the positives first, my strengths are;

1. Consistent

2. Loyal

3. Articulate 

4. Organised

5. Problem solver

My two weaknesses (I deliberately chose just a few – trust me, there are more!)

1. Perfectionist 

2. Self-critical 

I recall studying mathematics at secondary (high) school.  I was able to do general calculations but anything like complex algebra went way over my head and to be honest it still does. I accepted defeat and felt an element of shame that I just could not grasp it. Do you know I even retook the following year to receive the exact same grade – who does that?!!

At times it niggles at me that I do not ‘get’ complex mathematics and on occasion I have questioned my intelligence because of it.  I am slowly learning that I cannot expect to excel in everything. I remind myself that I have major strengths in other areas. 

This quote by Melchor Lim sums it up;

“Every one of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, it is only when you accept everything you are and are not, that you will truly succeed”. 

Can you easily identify your strengths and weaknesses?

How important is it for you to work on your weaknesses?

How comfortable are you in discussing these with others?

Four points to consider when working towards your goals

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Your goals in life may be personal, family or career orientated. Whatever they are, you should be working on these daily. 

I have a number of goals for my family, career, small business and church ministry. A few are over ambitious but I feel it is important to set goals high. If you aim for 60, you may hit 50/55 whereas if you aim for 100, you may hit 90/95. Big difference!

I love this quote by Don Lancaster;
“Most ‘impossible’ goals can be met simply by breaking them down into bite size chunks, writing them down, believing them and then going full speed ahead as if they were routine.”

This quote resonates with me on so many levels. It reminds me that reaching my goal is simply a process that I must follow consistently and diligently. 

So, the four things to consider;

1. What is your purpose?  What expected outcome are you hoping for? There has to be a reason for setting your goal.  This reason will keep you motivated and focused when tough times come (and they will!)

2. How much are you willing to sacrifice?
Desiring to achieve goals is not enough.
You will need to pursue then daily. You may need to brush up on your skills, read books, network at events. All of which will monopolise on your time. 

3. When do you want to achieve this by?
There has to be a set end date to ensure you meet the deadline. You can then plan the steps you will make to meet it.

4. What impact will this have on your family? It is far better to have the support of your family. Will striving for your goals eat into family time? Communicate with your spouse and children at all times. Balance family life and work/project life. I know this may not be for everyone but I sacrifice a few hours sleep to work on my goals.  I can then focus my time on my children during the day. 

Do you have defined goals?

Do you work towards these on a daily basis?

Six reasons why you need discipline in your life

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Discipline and success go hand in hand. You simply cannot excel in life without incorporating discipline in your life. 

In today’s society, some underestimate the power that self discipline carries. They commit to very little and rarely exceed beyond what is expected of them. 

What springs to mind when you think of discipline?

Discipline to me means reading the bible when you would much rather watch a programme on television, it means leaving a family gathering early so you can go home and work on your business/book/project/job application (delete as appropriate!)

According to Oxford Dictionaries, it is defined as;

“The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour”

“Activity that provides mental or physical training” 

Now for my six reasons;

1. Discipline helps you to remain focused in your everyday life.  You are more likely to set goals and work towards these on a daily basis. Distractions will come but they will not throw you off course as your eye is on the ball. 

2. Discipline helps you to gain respect by others. Think about your place of work. I am sure you could quickly list the officers who displayed behaviours of self discipline such as excellent time keeping and meeting deadlines. 

3. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle demands discipline. Discipline will get you up and out for a morning jog regardless of how cosy your bed is. Discipline will help you curb your eating habits.

4. Self control.  Those with self discipline take ownership of their behaviour and think before they speak. They avoid becoming involved in petty disputes. 

5. Reduced stress. Discipline means you do not leave tasks until the very last minute but you tackle them bit by bit aiming for a specific deadline. 

6. You will have more free time as your day is structured. Disciplined people generally do not procrastinate. 

Have I missed anything?

In which areas of your life are you self disciplined?

Which areas would you like to improve upon?

Five tips for working in excellence!

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Working in excellence will set you in good stead in your home, place of work, business or church ministry.  Be the one who exceeds expectation rather than just meets it. 

We should aim to do everything, not just some things to the best of our ability. It is true that we may not be as excited to do tasks that we least enjoy – ironing anyone?! However, it is still important that those tasks are completed well. Sloppiness has no place in our lives. I repeat – sloppiness has no place in our lives!

Below I will give you five tips on how to strive for excellence:

1. Work on changing your mindset.  Some tasks will never be exciting but as they are necessary you cannot run away from doing them.  The next time you have to complete a task that you would rather not, plan a small treat for yourself to enjoy afterwards.

2. Spend time with people who challenge and inspire you to move out of your comfort zone. Whilst it is easier to do as we have always done, we will not develop our skills or our character. 

The well known quote by Albert Einstein rings true;

“Insanity: Doing the same things over and over again, but expecting different results”.

3. Look at how you will go on to benefit others and take the focus off of yourself. Think about doing for others and learn to enjoy giving of yourself. Go out of your way to be a blessing whether it be with your time, skills and expertise, financially or emotionally. 

4. Improve your skills and quality of life.
Book onto a training course to develop your skills in an area you are passionate about. Join forums/groups to network with people who have similar interests. You will be surprised with the ideas you can bounce off one another.  Look after your body inside and out – eat healthily, drink lots of water and incorporate 30 minutes of exercise into your day. 

5. Learn from past failings but do not dwell on them.  Everyone has failed at something Do not allow this to deter you from being the best you can.  Learn from your mistakes by not returning to them. Do not be afraid to take risks. 

What does working in excellence mean to you?

Are there tasks that you carry out half-heartedly? If so, why? 

Kick-start your day into action – my tips on staying ahead of the game!

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I am not a morning person, sure I wake up in time to get ready and catch my early train but anything else, NO!  I have made my morning regime as pain free as possible by implementing seven rules which I will share below.

1. Plan your journey ahead of time by checking your door to door route online. Do not take the train/bus that will allow you to arrive with five minutes to spare. Always, always allow for delays. Looking and feeling flustered for a meeting or appointment will not put you in a good light.

2. Select your outfit the night before – from underwear to shoes (yes, I am being that specific!)  Lay it out in a spare room or hang outside your wardrobe.

3. Select your handbag and ensure your purse, diary, travel ticket, mirror, umbrella and other items are packed in it.

4. Have a last minute look at your appointments. Are you required to bring any documentation?

5. If you wish to make calls or send emails on your commute, bring the necessary contact details. I use my commute and lunchtime to read the bible, other books, to send emails and make calls. I rarely make or take calls during weekday evenings as this time is dedicated to my family.

6. If you have young children, hang out their clothes, shoes, school bag (ensure homework and reading books are inside) the night before.  Lay out their breakfast utensils.

7. Take out your evening meal unless you have a cook (aren’t you fortunate!) or plan on eating out.

What takes ten minutes at night will take you far longer in the morning. Whether it is because stress levels are higher or you are more likely to feel pressured, I believe this to be true.

Do you agree?

How do you plan from the night before?

Do your family support you on this?

Be prepared and ready for action!

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With our busy lifestyles it can be difficult to manage meetings and appointments. From business appointments to projects, just how do we fit everything in and ensure that we are well prepared?

I use my diary to within an inch of my life. If I plan to follow up on my customers, I note it in my diary. If I would like to spend time updating my Facebook business page, I note it in my diary. I am sure you get the picture!

Preparation is key. Working in excellence is key – at all times not just when it is convenient for you. Preparing in advance sets us in good stead. What you do today, impacts on your tomorrow.

Below are several tips on how to best utilise your diary;

1. Firstly, I recommend that you use a hard diary and electronic diary on your phone . Reason being, if you mislaid either you would still have access to your dates.

2. Prepare in advance for your appointment/meeting.  Are you required to contact the organisation or gather specific information?   Being unprepared looks unprofessional, thus creating the wrong impression.

3. Set reminders on your phone to prompt you to prepare. It is all too easy to have it at the back of your mind but a prompt kicks it all into motion.

How prepared are you?

Are you ordered in every part of your life or just your career?

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!