I'm writing this blog fresh from a great one to one coaching session yesterday afternoon... One of the topics that came up was the power of writing things down. It's come up a few times in recent coaching sessions, workshops and meetings, so I thought I'd capture a few of my thoughts...
My 'to-do' list
It sounds really simple doesn't it...surely we all have to-do lists? You'd be amazed at the number of people that I work with that completely free-style their days and weeks without any structure at all. The act of writing a list for the day or week (or longer) can have a huge impact on our effectiveness. Once I have my to-do list I then factor chunks of time for each activity into my electronic calendar. That way I get a little reminder that pops up when I need to complete a certain task. It keeps me focused on what I need to achieve,and also enables me to track how I'm doing with my personal effectiveness. I can also move the diary slots around as I need to re-prioritse to make sure I stay on top of tasks.
I think 'journalling' is probably the current term for what I describe as scribbling stuff down! I wouldn't say that I'm renowned for any natural skill in reflecting and reviewing, but I have found that capturing a few thoughts on what's gone well, where the challenges have been and what should be on my radar every so often is a really useful technique.
Somehow it seems to make the processing of emotions much easier. It helps me to identify how I feel about things and my brain seems to tune in a bit more to the specifics of the situations that I'm reflecting on.
As a freelancer/business owner, it also serves as my useful record of what's happened. It's easy to forget your achievements and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, or any learning that you need to embrace when you're quickly moving from task to task and project to project!
You can use this technique to shift a negative mindset too. Before a meeting that you're dreading, or when you're feeling particularly low, or demotivated, try writing down all of the reasons for your demotivation or negativity, what you want to say to someone (or call them!) and what's really frustrating you. Read through it once you've finished the list and then literally screw it up or shred it and throw it away. Give it a go and see if it shifts that mindset - You're literally binning your negativity!
Committing yourself to action...and achievement
I work with so many organisations that use an electronic system for recording their work goals for the year . In my coaching & training sessions, I always recommend that people WRITE down their goals before they enter them into an electronic system. The simple act of grabbing a pen and paper and writing your goal down means the brain starts to make a connection with what you're working to achieve and sees it as more important. Typing doesn't enable the brain to process the information in the same way. Some research suggests that writing your goals on paper could mean an 80% higher likelihood of them being achieved!
Ideas and creativity don’t last forever
How many bright ideas have you had that never come to fruition because you forget about them?! Most of my ideas come from when I'm sat on a train, in the car or, rather annoyingly, when I'm laying in bed!
I now have a few 'creative pages' allocated at the back of my notebook. I scribble down any new ideas that I have, quotes I like, articles and news stories that grab me or useful stats that I come across. When I have some down time, often on a train journey, I have a glance at the pages and see if I can move any of them forward. I've had a few ideas that have been on the pages for a fair while, but every time I've looked at them, I've enhanced them or acted on them!
Someone once told me to sleep with a pad of post it notes next to my bed. That way if I'm struggling to sleep because of all of the things going on in my brain, I can spend 5 minutes scribbling, knowing that because I've written things down I can forget about them as I'll see my notes in the morning!
If you're like me you're not a natural 'reflector', but give writing things down a go - Its a great way to learn, capture ideas and stay focused on what you're working on!
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Mind your Language!
The importance of your language in developing a positive mindset and being more resilient…
I’ve been working with a good few people of late who have been keen to build a more positive mindset.
The words that you use and the self-talk that you tell yourself can have a huge impact on your mindset. It can make the difference as to whether you go home at the end of a busy day smiling...or frowning!
Having a positive mindset isn’t just about walking around all day saying “OMG, everything is awesome”, “the world is amazing” or “everything is perfect”, because sometimes it’s just not like that.
When you say things like:
“I can’t be bothered”
Guess what, those wonderful brains of ours have a process that enhances and fulfils that to make you feel even worse and fulfill that thought.
It’s easy to focus on negative emotions and we can always find reasons not to do things. If you were ‘tired’, but I offered you £300 to leap out of your chair, run around the block and do 20 star jumps, I bet you’d miraculously find some energy!
Rather than saying “I’m tired”, reframe it to be a bit more positive and action focused: “I could do with more energy” might be a better choice of language.
In effect, you’re making a request to your brain for more energy. Your intellect kicks in and tells you “I know how to do more energy”. The brain releases chemicals, changes your breathing, your posture and your magic mindset, all because your brain will have given you more energy.
Just think about the impact that mindset could have on others around you, your ability to lead, influence and engage.
Instead of “I’m bored”, how about “this could be more interesting”. You’ll be amazed at how interesting you’ll start to make it!
Spend some time tuning in to the language that you use and write down some of the phrases that come out of your mouth, then spend a bit of time thinking about how you could shift that language to grow a more positive mindset.
What questions are you asking yourself?
What behaviour and mindset are you building or validating by the language that you use?...take some time to reflect...
All of us 'learning and development folk' have come across learning styles before. In fact, we probably now live and breathe them without even realising it! For me though, many of the training sessions and workshops I have attended have had something missing...FUN!
From a really young age we start learning stuff every minute of the day. We start to make sense of the world we are in through the wealth of different situations we experience. How much we observe and take in has a huge impact on how much and how fast we learn things. Children learn more when they are having fun and are actively engaged in things. Playtime is really important for learning. It's where the magic happens.
Be it trying to navigate a toy train around the cat without it noticing, making shapes out of playdough, or getting the scalextric track to do a triple loop (I could never work that one out!)...we learn...and we do it best when we are relaxed, engaged in what we are doing and having fun!
So why is it that when we go in to the wonderful world of work we end up putting ourselves through often dull and bland 'corporate' type training?...we spend all of our time focusing on model after model and so many theories that we don't know our Maslow from our Hertzberg!...Sure, the stats and the research are important, but I don't think they should detract from us having fun and learning more on workplace training...bring out the inner child!
You can expect to have fun on an 'INSPIRE-IGNITE' training programme...it's what we do...you won't find much 'blue sky thinking' or 'thinking outside the box' type stuff...just things that you can enjoy learning, and therefore take back to your workplace and apply in reality!
Find out what we do at www.inspireignite.net or drop Shaun a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
in the meantime, make learning stuff FUN!
Over my career to date I have been lucky enough to work with some great organisations, great people and great leaders. All of them really passionate about developing awesome leaders. It seems to be a common mind-set that leaders make the difference in any organisation...would you agree?
In my learning, training and talent roles I have often been asked 'how?'. How do we develop awesome leaders? How do we focus on developing the 'right' skills? How do we come up with a clear expectation of 'what awesome actually looks like?'.
My response has always been that truly awesome leaders have great self awareness above all else. They know their strengths and also understand where their personal potential can be found...Until we can have real clarity on those things, it's tough to develop 'skills' like influencing, impact and coaching...
A great leader doesn't just use a 'one size for all' approach...that's usually where we go wrong - we ask for consistency and to treat everyone in the same way.
To be awesome, a leader needs to understand themselves, their style natural style of leadership and how they are perceived by others. Each individual and team member has their own style too - some similar, and some very different to that of their leader...Only by flexing and adapting, responding and connecting to our team members can we get the best from them, maximise engagement and drive the achievement of results!
As a consultant, coach and developer of awesome teams at 'INSPIRE-IGNITE', I use Clarity4D as a tool of choice to help leaders and teams develop their self awareness and also support the development of strong, effective, engaged and generally awesome teams. It introduces the concept of 'colour' to create and build a common language across teams and organisations.
Check us out at www.inspireignite.net or give Shaun a call on 07709 342610.