helpgrowchange

My 5 Favourite Articles After Year One

It started off on a cold, rainy winter’s night in July 2013. I published my first article to browntel.net – simply wanting to get my message out to the ether. A year down the line, I am reviewing what I’ve done over this first year before I kick into the next. I’ve got some big things planned over the next year with Help Grow Change, and I really hope you join me on this journey. For now, sit back, relax, and have a read of five of my personal favourite articles.

Let’s begin with the very first article, which pretty much set the tone for everything to come; a short, simple post about keeping things simple.

The Key To Efficiency Is Simple

 
The first few months of this blog was inconsistent. I had no clear message that I was passing on except a few opinion pieces. I wrote about living in an earthquake city, second hand smoke, and even privacy concerns. One article that stood out for me was today’s toys for our children. But the one article that got me going was the one I laid myself out for all to see.

This Is My Story, And What It Means To You

 
That was September 2013. My writing was starting to take on a certain theme now. I was getting more confident and excited about having the ability to change people for the better. An idea had sparked. In the new year (and after I began my regular newsletter), I published about why you will never be good enough.

Why You Will Never Be Good Enough

 
I believe the writing from then on has had a similar theme, which I hope is appreciated by the people that read it. The next favourite article was a simple one with a simple message.

Take Action

 
In March 2014 I had renewed inspiration with helping, growing, and changing people. It started with an article which struck a chord with me, and I love it. Be you, be awesome.

Be you, be awesome

 
Ok, I lied. There were so many articles out of the 47 I have written so far, that I couldn’t keep the list limited to 5. One message I truly believe (and couldn’t not put it in here), is that there is always hope.

Hope In Your Darkest Hour

 
Thank you for your support over this past year. I hope you continue on this journey with me. A journey that will move us out of mediocrity and into awesomeness.

You Are A Leader

Being a leader is not about a fancy title or a corner desk. It’s about taking the responsibility to grow other people. It’s about being passionate about initiating change. Having the balls to make decisions and take responsibility for the outcomes.

Be helpful

When I was still a system administrator, I never thought I was a leader. I was helpful and genuinely interested in resolving other people’s problems. I never thought I could be one of those great, important, managers who I reported to or walked past in the corridor.

However moving into a proper team leader role changed all that. Once I realised the responsibility that came with my newly acquired position, I took the initiative to learn more about what it means to be a leader. What happened next, I didn’t expect.

I discovered my true passion – growing people.

Being able to initiate ideas to show my team that they can be more than what they are, then seeing them go and do it. Seeing my team (and even others) go on to achieve great things inspires me further to help the ones still around me.

As I delve further into my life purpose, I realise that being a leader is about helping everyone. Those that are struggling and need some guidance, as well as the high performers to help them continue on their highway of achievements.

What I also realised, is that you don’t need to be in a leadership role to guide others. You are a leader already. When someone comes to ask your opinion on a particular topic, they respect you enough to seek guidance from you. When your management ask you to run with high profile tasks, they believe you have the ability.

Yes, that does mean you are a leader. You’re just leading in different ways, more subtle ways.

Have the balls

One of the first times I realised the importance of making hard decisions was during an extremely high profile system failure. I realised I couldn’t hide anymore. I couldn’t escalate to my own leader. I couldn’t simply stick my head in the sand until someone else took care of the situation.

On that day, I accepted the challenge. I stood strong, faced the crisis, took control, and we got through it pretty well. One important aspect I believe a leader must have is to be calm in the face of danger. A leader must filter the critical mass from the crap and pass only the relevant information to his team.

There have been a few more tough times since that first emergency. There have also been a few other types of challenges that I have had to adapt to. But that is the nature of this very blog. It’s all about growing and changing when the time calls for it.

You can do the same. Yes, it’s scary – I was nervous as hell (I still am a lot of the time). But the great thing is it gets easier every time. You gain valuable experience, the situation isn’t as scary the next time, and even less scary the time after that. Each time you’re in a similar situation, you can make better decisions. With better decisions, you become more comfortable.

When you’re more comfortable, try challenge yourself with different situations. Try to find that nervousness. The nervousness means you’re out of your comfort zone – that’s a good thing.

The more you are outside of your comfort zone, the more you are learning, growing, changing…

How are you leading others through helpfulness and decisions you’re making?

[Featured image: Kumar Appaiah]

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]

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]

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