helpgrowchange

3 Ways to initiate change

I’ve written a number of articles trying to pass on the message that you can change your world. You can make your own changes in your life to better your job, your family, or simply… you.

You’ve been thinking about making a change. But you don’t know where to start. Do I start a new hobby? Should I try change my team structure? What will happen if I say no when asked to do something?

After re-reading some of the articles and some thoughtful feedback from my wingman (ie my wife), it has become evident that I often don’t mention how. Let me remedy that right now.

When you want to initiate change, there are 3 is simple rules to remember:

  1. DECIDE
  2. TRY
  3. LEARN

Decide

The first thing that needs to happen before any action happens is to make a decision to do it. We have to be willing to take that first step. We have to be willing to take a risk. We have to be open to the possibility that this might just fail. We might fall far short of what we dreamed and planned. In the same breath, we might surprise ourselves. We might far exceed our expectations. We might just make it happen.

Decide on a new hobby. Decide on a possible new team structure. Decide on whether you are going to say ‘no’.

We choose change by making decisions. The magic begins with the decision to at least give it a go. We have to try.

Try

Action must be taken on the decisions we make. We simply just don’t know what will happen when we try. Good or bad, the truth of the matter will only appear once we attempt to make the changes necessary. The attempts don’t have to be big either. I’m suggesting that you make small ones.

Like starting one little bit of your new hobby, or reviewing the team structure with peers or the team, or saying ‘no’ when you can’t take on a new task.

What happens next is just as important. Whatever the outcome of our actions from decisions, we must learn from them.

Learn

There is no point in trying out our decisions if we are not willing to learn from the outcomes. That is like hitting your head against the wall and hoping the next time won’t hurt.

Enjoyed the introduction to your hobby? Make the decision to explore some more. Didn’t enjoy it? Ditch it and make the decision to try something else.

The review of the team structure didn’t go so well? No problem, now you know what the team really wants.

What happened when you said ‘no’? The person maybe said ‘ok’, and carried on their path. Or they asked ‘why’, and a more fruitful conversation evolved about your workload.

I seem to have oversimplified how you can initiate change, but I fully believe it is as simple as this. Make the decision, try the decision, learn from the experience.

[Featured image: Sylwia Bartyzel]

Create something out of nothing

Are you an artist? Can you pick up a paint brush and whisk up a wonderful piece of work? Can you write up a song or story that will take our breath away? Don’t worry, neither can I. But you know what, you can create anything you want. It doesn’t matter how wonderful it is. It is something that you have taken out of your head and made it available for all to see.

What we tend to forget about ‘artists’, is that they live and breathe their art. Before the great works of art were created, they have practiced for years on end, moulding, sculpting, tweaking their skills to make them perfect. They worked endless hours making countless mistakes. Failed many times. Even now, they make mistakes and fail every time a new piece of work is created.

We are all naturally creative. Look around you. Who created your office workspace, who created your budget at home, who decides what paint colour to put on your child’s bedroom wall, who decides to lay out the lounge seating arrangement? It’s not all about a paintbrush or a song. It’s everything you do, every decision you make. You are injecting your own creativity, adding your own flair and imagination all the time.

Sure, it might not be the best, or look like something from a top designer. People might not buy it. But you know what? Who gives a crap? It’s yours. You created it. It came out of your fantastic mind. You created something out of nothing.

You took that thought, you acted on it, and you made it.

Creating your own stuff has a few side effects. Passion and Confidence. When you realise that you have actually created something, a sense of achievement can appear (at least for me, it does). The realisation that me – an average non-creative person – can create something from nothing. You feel inspired to do more, to test the limits of this new found creativity. You wake up each day excited to work on your project. Even once you’ve finished the project, you can’t wait to start on the next.

After a while you come to a further realisation that, actually, your creations are not actually that bad. You take the chance of sharing with a friend, and another, and another. Naturally, you become more confident as you practice. Confident to take on something bigger and better.

I pose a challenge to you.

I know for a fact that you enjoy doing something, everybody has something they have liked during their lifetime. Something that has piqued your interest. Explore that interest. Try something new. You might fail, you might discover that it’s not for you. The main point is that you tried. How do you know what your true creative outlet is until you actually try it? You might just be pleasantly surprised.

[Featured image: Jennifer Trovato]

Why Being Lazy Is Good For Productivity

When it comes to procrastination and laziness, I think I could take home the prize most of the time. If something can be done tomorrow, I’ll postpone my effort until then. Provided a choice between the easy route or the hard – I’d pick the easy one every time.

I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but I do the bare minimum required in order to get the job done right. I’ll see through the time necessary in order to ship out an article, finish a project, or even complete a performance review for one of my team members.

But it has to better than last time.

When I read about certain productive people, or watch them speak, it seems like they have it all together. They are like machines, keeping in high gear day in and day out. They have all their ducks in a row, with their products being shipped out, and their tasks being performed pro-actively. I look at my own productivity in comparison and see a limping effort, wandering around aimlessly like a lost puppy.

I am prone to bursts of productivity and stagnant pools of laziness – as I’m sure most of us are. We go through hyper-productive waves where we achieve our maximum potential, but then stand idle as we get bored or unclear on where we want to go next. I don’t believe this is a bad thing.

As long as the next burst of productivity achieves a level higher than the previous one.

For those machine-like people, being the best with their time management and project completion comes naturally to them. They maintain a steady pace of productivity like clockwork, and they churn out tasks like nobody’s business. For the rest of us, however, it’s a daily struggle.

It’s a struggle to maintain the motivation to start, to create, to finish what we started. It takes a huge amount of effort and energy. So much so, that when we get a success or two, we rest, we get bored, we get lazy.

But after a while we realise how lazy we are, and that we need to kick start again. We pick up the pen, we brainstorm more ideas, and we get moving. The passion begins to burn again. More ideas start flowing and action starts to happen. The period of laziness renews our energy to achieve more. Only this time we need to remember what we did the last time, and do better than that.

We must do better otherwise the time we were being lazy was just us being… well, lazy.

It proves nothing, gets us nowhere, and we haven’t really grown.

There is nothing wrong with being lazy. I’m a self-confessed procrastinator and a lazy bastard. The most important thing for me – and what drives me – is that when I do get going again, I go further than I went before.

Now, go. Be lazy. Put off that important task until tomorrow. The world isn’t going to end, it will just be slightly delayed. Just remember to be better than before.

Do What Is Right For You

We go through our lives each day thinking and dreaming about other ‘stuff’. Wondering what it would be like if things were done differently, or why certain things happen to us and not ‘those’ people.

What can we do to change that? How can we go about achieving the same success as those people we’re viewing through the looking glass? We follow our own path, that’s how.

All through my life, I’ve been trying to be someone else. In school I wanted to be like the ‘cool’ kids (I wasn’t). All through my career, I have tried to fit in with what I thought was the right thing to do. Sometimes this felt right, most times not. Which would probably explain why I’ve changed so many jobs.

We all want to be different just like everyone else.

Becoming a leader changed all that. I discovered within myself that it is not about doing the things to please other people. It is not about dressing right, or saying the right things. All that does is make you fit in. You become one of the sheep in the herd. Another person that thinks they’re different, but – really – they’re not.

Being a leader has taught me the value about being yourself. Not being afraid to take risks and the responsibility that comes with the consequences.

In a similar way, you can be your own leader. You decide your own path and take the necessary risks to keep to that path. That means sticking to what is true to you – not your boss, your colleagues, or your friends. Your wife/husband/life partner is a different matter, but that is a whole new post about partnership.

You are the one that controls your life path. The only way it’s going to change is by you stepping up and making that change yourself. It’s not going to come from me, your mom, or your religious entity. It’s all on you.

But you know what? I am confident you can do it. It’s not as big a step as it sounds. There are little things you can do to make your own change. Here are three suggestions:

  1. If you want to be more productive – Say no.
  2. If you want to help with Climate Change – switch off unused lights and appliances.
  3. Try something new – a new food dish, a new hiking trail, or even a new hobby.

What will you be doing next that is right for you?

[Featured image: Danka Peter]

Hope In Your Darkest Hour

How do we all get up each day and fight through the hard times? The times when we feel it’s all about to end. Situations where we are certain there is no way out, nowhere else to go. It doesn’t matter if those situations are life or death, poverty, or crappy jobs.

One thing gets us through.

Hope.

A few years back, I worked in a really bad job. The hours were long, the commute was tiresome (as well as travelling during the day), and the pay average. Those things I could live with. But the worst part of the job was my boss.

She was both the best and the worst boss at the same time. You wouldn’t know who you were getting when she walked into the office every morning (never mind switching moods during the day). She would be the sweetest person trying to find homes for kittens or doing charity work, then immediately switch to fiery dragon, flying off the handle at anybody who looked at her funny.

This work environment seriously affected me and my willingness to work. I loathed coming into the office every single day. After four months of employment I decided to move. But my boss upheld the 3 month notice period, which seriously affected me and my opportunities – as no other company wanted to wait that long.

When you’re down in your lowest, darkest place, it is hard to see any good in this world. The Universe is against you, testing you. You think to yourself ‘Why can’t it test someone else’?

Each day in the job got harder and harder. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. With no job opportunities, I took the plunge and resigned. I risked my livelihood (well, a steady income) to not be in this prison anymore. I believed in my ability and experience that I would find new employment before the 3 months were up. I hoped each day that someone would reply to one of the résumés I had sent out.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I believe there is always hope.

Making a big, risky, decision for you to better yourself or your situation, there is a renewed vigour within you. You are able to pull more resources together knowing that the end is near – there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I find it amazing, too, that things seem to ‘fall in to place’ once that decision has been made. With your new resolve, you take more action. With more action, more opportunities present themselves. About halfway through my notice period, I received a job offer that would eventually lead to me gaining valuable experience and opportunities to get me where I am today.

What I learnt from my bad work experience is that no matter how bad the situation is, it can always be worse. I learnt that I can take risks, and still be ok in the end. I learnt that work is not everything, and being happy at the office is a huge part of our lives.

If you’re in a tough situation at the moment, don’t be afraid to take that first step towards the light. I know it is difficult, and it might not be life threatening, but your vitality and well-being is hampered if you don’t take that first step. The initial step is the hardest one of them all. Find the tiny glimmer of hope within you. Grab it, hold on tight, and use the crap out of it to initiate the vital change to get you where you want to be, where you need to be.

[Featured image: Steve Spiers Photography]

Dream it, do it

I dream way too much. I dream of a new phone, more money, a holiday on some remote Pacific island. You’re dreaming about it too – the white sandy beaches, the crystal clear water… maybe one day we will get there.

You and I always fall into the same trap with these dreams. One day I will be able to afford a holiday. One day I will get a top-of-the-range phone. One day, when I get a promotion, I will get that money I’ve been dreaming of.

One day will never come about. Your dream will always be exactly that – a dream – until you make them into plans.

Take action

Instead of dreaming about one day, why not start planning today. Take action and begin the journey to reach that dream. I’m not saying put the island holiday on the credit card and book flights tomorrow (that’s a bit crazy), rather begin to formulate a plan.

Write it down

While you are dreaming about that phone, holiday, or training course, write it down. It doesn’t matter what format, just whip something out and start writing the ideas down. Things like what time of year would be good, what is the actual price of the item, why do you need it?

Slowly, a picture will form. A picture showing you what is required for you to attain your dream. When I’ve done this before, I have found that I think of other factors that I would not have thought of if I were simply dreaming about one day. For a holiday, necessities like passport requirements, currency, or even local hazards such as earthquakes or volcanoes. For a phone, I would think about specs and data speeds that are compatible with the phone. And even for more money, it’s a matter of what do I need to do to get there?

Plan it

Once notes have been made and a little research done, you will feel a sense of achievement. That is because action was taken, something was done, a step was taken towards that dream.

When you physically note something out of your head and onto paper (or a screen), you have taken your dream and made it a plan. You make your dream more real, more feasible, more attainable. You have something tangible you can work with. You can mould it, shape it, and work with it to reach that dream.

You can also decide where you will go next. Do you need to save money? How much? For how long? Do you need to compare products, services, providers? What area do I need to focus on to improve in order to get that promotion?

All these questions can be answered with a little planning and action.

[Featured image: Thomas Galvez]

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