helpgrowchange

What Is Your Next Step?

You have been sitting in the same job for a few years, you know the tricks of the trade, you are the grandmaster. What next? Where can you go from here? What is the next step? Is there even a next step?

Let him that would move the world first move himself. – Socrates

Review your success

I am frustrated at the moment. I have a feeling that I am falling behind, not yet achieving what I am meant to be. I feel I should be working harder, constantly trying new things, pushing the limit to achieve the next level of success – whether it be at the office, or with my writing. I’m working hard, tapping away at the keyboard, or leading my team. Always striving to reach the next step, but never quite reaching it.

But then I look back over the past few months, review what I have achieved, and I realise that I have, indeed, been reaching that next step. The fault has been mine in that when I reach the next step, I’m already looking at the one after that.

I believe this is essential in achieving your purpose. Always looking to the next step – always moving, always improving.

Move forward

In order to attain our version of success, we must have a ‘next step’. That next step can be anything, as long as it’s something to work towards. Authors want more readers, minimalists want less stuff, or spiritualists want to be more content. They are successful at achieving these goals if they are continuously working towards the next step, the next level in achieving their vision.

If you are where you have always wanted to be, then kudos to you. But life is always changing, you are continuously evolving. On the other hand, what if you are not where you want to be. You are stuck in a rut, and don’t quite know where to go from here. That is actually the easier position to be in. In my experience, it’s easier to work towards getting to the top, than it is to stay at the top. How will you do this, though?

All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move. – Benjamin Franklin

Don’t stop moving. Move in any direction, do anything that matters (that fits your goal). What is essential to keep in mind is to learn, adapt, and improve. Achieve one thing, and move on to the next.

Don’t follow your passion

The theme of today’s self-help media and content is ‘find your passion!’, ‘do what you love!’, or ’you can do whatever you want to do!’. That doesn’t really work in the real world. We still need to pay the bills, eat food, and have a roof to sleep under. Simply ‘doing what we love’ gets us nowhere (my passion for watching T.V., for example).

My take on these messages is to rather find something that you enjoy doing. You enjoy it enough to work with it every day. Focus on that, learn more about it, and take action. Make bold decisions (any decision is a bold decision) to get it out there for people to notice. Whatever it is, it is you.

I get up every morning thinking about a positive impact I can make on my small area of the world. I may write about this passion, I enjoy writing about it, but writing certainly isn’t my passion – it is the action I’m taking to make my impact. The writing is the means of implementing my passion.

Grow confident

As you become more confident, take it to the next level, and ask yourself ‘What is the next Step?’, ‘what should I be doing in order to make this bigger, or maintain where I am now?’.

My own next step is to continue focusing this blog on the self-improvement and self-growth path, as well as gain further exposure through guest posts and building strong relationships with good people such as you.

Have a think about your next step and work towards it. Any big steps you want to share?

[Featured image: Wesley Eller]

Let’s Build Something Together

When I started this blog in 2013, I had no idea where it would take me. I just knew I wanted to get my message out there. Eventually it found its way to you and the idea began to grow and gather some momentum. By joining me on this journey, you have helped me find my true passion.

And I would love for you to continue to help me pass on this message. You can be a part of something new today. Something good that will help change your part of the world. Something great that will show you just how important you really are to yourself, and the people around you.

Since that first article last year, this blog with an unknown message has discovered its meaning. helpgrowchange.com has never truly been clear on the message I’ve been trying to pass on, but I now know what it is – that is to help people grow ideas that change their world.

A distinct message to show that you control how your day goes, or you are the one who makes your life. Not your boss, not your husband, not even your God.

You.

The purpose of this blog needs a new name showing the meaning and message – helpgrowchange.com just doesn’t cut it. Over the next few weeks this blog will become

Help Grow Change

There are many meanings that can be derived from these three words. Some examples being;

  • Help grow change.
  • Help people grow ideas that change the world.
  • Help yourself, grow yourself, change yourself.
  • Help others grow themselves to change their life.

You can take whatever message you want from these words, but they will mean the same thing. This is one of the main reasons I love it.

But, this is not about me, it is about you and whether this message is right for you. This is where you can help in getting this message right. You’ve read my articles over the last few months. You’ve been on the receiving end of my work, and I am deeply appreciative of that.

I want you to be a part of this movement. I would love to hear from you on the following;

  • What would you like to hear more of?
  • Where do you think more energy needs to be focused?
  • Does my message and the way I write it ring true?

I am really excited about having a name for this movement. Help Grow Change feels right as the brand of the message we’re discovering as we grow. And you are key to that (if you reply to this message 😉 ).

Thank you for your contributions so far. Let’s see where we can go from here.

[Featured image: Tambako the Jaguar]

Have the Audacity to Ask

While looking for a new webhost, I came across a site that had a few mistakes on it. I had an idea about asking if the owner would consider exchanging my editing services for hosting services. I thought it was preposterous and arrogant. But you know what happened? He accepted.

This got me thinking about other times we don’t get what we want (or anything at all) because we don’t ask. We are afraid of rejection, accusation, or the perception that we are arrogant.

When you have an idea that you feel will benefit both parties, why not go ahead and ask? So what if someone rejects you? You are no worse than where you started – and at least you know where you stand. You will know for sure that this path is closed to you for now. But as the old saying goes, ‘if one door closes, another opens’. This couldn’t be more true.

Think about those times where you have wanted to ask for something. Maybe it was a pay increase, or someone to look after your children so you could have a break, or even a discount at the furniture store. When I think about those times in my own life, I realise now what would’ve happened if I had simply asked…

Nothing.

The recipients of my question would simply have said ‘no’, and we would have carried on with our day. Or, they could have said ‘yes’, and a different outcome could have occurred.

Sometimes I get irritated and despondent with people that always seem to get the good deals, or always seem to have opportunities fall into their lap. I look on as they stroll away with not a care in the world, while I sit here sweating away trying to do what’s best for me and my family. How do these people get their opportunities? Why do good things always seem to come by there people?

They ask.

They don’t accept what they have, they see an opportunity, they say yes. They ask about a discount, or an exchange deal. They work smarter to get the best out of a deal or situation. That is what you and I need to do too. We need to take that bold step to ask for something we feel we deserve.

So next time you have an idea, ask the question. Challenge yourself, ask, and you might just be surprised by the answer.

Don’t Let Fear Hamper Your Growth

A few years back, I was offered the opportunity to lead a newly formed team in another part of the company I work for. I had proven myself to be competent at leading an on-site team, ensuring service was delivered to a customer. This new team, though, was different. It would challenge my leadership style and experience, as well as take me to the next level.

There was much uncertainty within me around leading this new team. Uncertainty into how it would run. Uncertainty into how the members of this team would react to me as a team leader (as I had worked with them as a peer before). And still further uncertainty into whether I was the right person for the job. I pondered on the decision to move to that team for a while. I let the fear hamper my ability to make a decision quickly.

I would think to myself, who am I to be leading these team members, who have so much more experience than I do? How would they react to me assigning tasks to them? Would they simply just disregard me – eventually leading our team to become a drifting boat without a sail?

Be nervous, but not too nervous

I finally decided I would take the opportunity, but it was a nervous start. I saw myself as a lesser, inferior person to my team members. They had many more years experience than I did. I stammered when I spoke, I was overwhelmed with the new workload, and I believe this lack of confidence could be seen by the team members, and filtered through into other aspects of the job. Every time I made a mistake, I would lambaste myself profusely.

Through the year, though, things changed. I grew as a leader, my confidence began to shine. The more confidence I had, the more I got to motivate my team. The more motivation there was, the more confidence they had to perform their jobs, initiate innovative ideas, and make a difference in our company.

As a team we lead the way in innovation, standard of work, and a team other people want to work with, and join. All this led to me being offered the opportunity to do this all again in another team…

Challenge yourself

When you are offered an opportunity that has an uncertain future, fear comes home to roost. Fear instils ‘what if’ scenarios that will attempt to turn you away from success and fulfilment.

Lean into that fear. Embrace it. Use it to build life experiences that will help you grow, make you stronger, and enable you to take on bigger challenges.

By all means, be nervous, be fearful, but don’t let it hamper you on your path to being the best you can be.

I didn’t hesitate in taking up this newer challenge. I am nervous again, but this time I know not to let that nervousness let me down.

[[Featured image: Paxson Woelber]

How Mindless TV Is Like Meditation

Update: I do not agree with my own views in this article. They have changed over time and that’s ok (read about it here).

There is some real crap on TV today. Reality shows, movies, and soapies are great examples of TV that suck us in and keep us watching. At the end of the hour, the show ends. We haven’t learnt anything, we haven’t been challenged, and we forget the show within the hour.

But sometimes we need this mindlessness.

We are all so busy all of the time. We are working, creating, socialising, being active. All of this is so much hard work. It’s hard to have to constantly think of new things to write, or maintain relationships, or workout every day. It’s even harder to go into the office and be focused for 9 hours straight (and then still create, maintain relationships, workout…).

That’s where mindless TV comes in. It’s a form of meditation (my form of meditation). Experts say we should meditate for a certain amount of time per day, but neither you or I have time for that. I have a full-time job, a long commute, a wife, children, and a passion for writing.

I do not have time to sit in silence doing absolutely nothing.

After arriving home, dealing with the whirlwind of dinner, the children, and their bedtime routine, I can finally relax on the couch with my wife and the T.V. on. Going away from my wife to another area of the house to meditate in sombre silence is not my cup of tea.

However, some nights I don’t feel like concentrating on browsing the web or social media. I don’t feel like having a deep, meaningful conversation with my wife. And I particularly don’t feel like using my brain to concentrate on an informative documentary (although these are immensely interesting and I watch them often).

So, watching mindless T.V. is an ‘online meditation’ of sorts.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am extremely motivated. I push myself at the office, and test the boundaries of my comfort zone by writing articles such as these. I just can’t seem to find any benefit for me in meditation – without having to sacrifice some further time with my family and wife.

Meditation may work for you, it may even work extremely well. But for me and my wife, our relaxation is each other’s company, with mindless T.V. in the background.

Is there anything you do that relaxes you and tunes you out of the hectic day?

[Featured image: Stephane Betin]

Working in the pressure cooker

It’s been a week of hard deadlines. Half your team has been on holiday or off sick. You’ve taken up a new role in a completely new side of the business. And, to top it all off, it’s the time of month where people go crazy – billing time. That sums up my week, and probably a large proportion of yours too.

I had pressure to perform from my management, pressure to make an immediate impact in my new team, and ultimately pressure from the clients to know what I was talking about in order to provide them the best service possible. There was pressure, still, to perform the tasks from my previous role.

This got me thinking about pressure. How we react, and perform under intense pressure. Some people run and hide at the first sign of it, others will stick it out for a while and eventually crumble, while others still continue to work and push through to the end.

This is my completely scientific and methodical findings on pressure. (not really)

Reaction types

I am always amazed at how people work under pressure. In my mind there are two types of pressure; once-off, quick-developing situations (imagine services failing), and longer term sustained pressure (imagine too much work, too few people).

When the crap hits the fan, it’s always interesting to see who skulks into the corner, or who dives in to sort it out. I believe there are three types of people when it comes to this; The Vanisher, The Punisher, The Follower.

The Vanisher
The Vanisher is nowhere to be found when the going gets tough in the once off pressure situations. When pressure mounts, and more intense pressure is mounting by the hour (or minute), the Vanisher is the one making excuses, dodging decisions, and making their way to the exit.

They fair a lot better under sustained pressure, as they can perform their tasks during ‘normal work hours’. They will deal with the workload they can, having an excuse to get out of the extra work. Finding new employees is not in their job description.

The Punisher
The Punisher is a resilient beast. One that has courage to get stuck in and put in the all-night stints to get shit sorted. As the Vanisher begins to fade into the background, so the Punisher begins to lead the resolution of a once-off situation.

The Follower
The Follower has the same resilience as the Punisher. They are willing to put in the hard yards when trouble comes around. They may not be as gung-ho as the Punisher, or as skittish as the Vanisher, but the Follower adjusts their handling of pressure situations accordingly. Sometimes, when the Punisher is not around, the Follower will gladly take up the challenge to lead the resolution. I fall into this group

Going the distance

All three of the reaction types are capable of performing the work required, the difference is when a little thing called pressure enters the game. Which of these types of people go the distance?

The first to fall
The first to fall when there is sustained pressure is the Punisher. Why? Because they are like lions, completely awesome, but in short bursts of activity. They wear themselves out so quickly (from being awesome), that they are good for the real high pressure one-off situations.

The second to succumb
The second pin to drop is the Vanisher. Although the Vanisher will disappear when a once-off pressure situation develops, they can still perform under the longer term sustained pressure. However, this ongoing pressure eventually gets to them. They begin to think they shouldn’t have to have this constant pressure and that it’s unfair on them. They crumble, they complain, and they leave (again).

The third to (maybe) trip
The Follower understands their capability and how to pace themselves. They know when to fade into the background, and when to step up and when to put in the hard graft. The Follower can maintain the pressure in short bursts and for the long term. They relish the pressure, as they know it teaches them how to adapt, solve problems, gain vital experience.

Which one are you

There are benefits to each of these types of reactors. The world needs the Vanisher to be there for the day to day stuff. They’ll be sorting out issues, being innovative, and just as hard-working as the next guy. But only on their terms and within their job description.

The Punisher is needed as the go to person when tight deadlines need to be met, when intense situations arise, or simply to finish off something that needs to be done now.

Last, but not least, is the Follower. We are needed to be the bridge between the Vanisher and the Punisher, able to switch to high gear at any time.

Which type are you?

[Featured image: Daniel Go]

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