Does making mistakes help you grow? Do they help you become better than you were yesterday? Yes to both of those questions. Virtually everyone wants to become their best, whether it is wanting to influence major changes the world – like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa - or just being the best person you can be and positively impacting the lives of the others you care about. However, achieving the best version of yourself doesn’t come easy, and it doesn’t come overnight. Learn how making mistakes can help you grow into the person you were meant to be.
You may be thinking, “How does making mistakes help me become a better person? Mistakes are often considered undesirable; how can that help me become better?” In many respects you are right. Most people often view mistakes as undesirable, but most also realize that they are virtually unavoidable; we are only human, after all, and human beings do make mistakes from time to time - no one is perfect. In fact we often think that things are perfect, and sometimes we even think that we are perfect. Perfection only exists in our mind, while others think that we are not perfect at all, nor is the project we might be working on perfect in any sense of the imagination. There is always room for improvement.
When you make a mistake, you need to understand why the mistake occurred in the first place and how to prevent it from happening in the future. Then, the mistake is worthwhile and can help you grow as a person. This is because you know what you need to do to avoid it, and how to proceed so that you can complete your best work.
It wasn’t long ago when Peter made a mistake and fortunately he had a supervisor that understood that mistakes are inevitable. The first thing he did was to own the mistake and indicate that it was his responsibility to correct it. But Peter didn’t know how. After listening to his story, his supervisor said to him, “What did you learn from the mistake?” That took him aback a bit but after thinking about it he was able to point out a couple of things he had learned.
Look she said, “When you make a mistake, realize that we all make mistakes then consider what you did in terms of the situation, what were the factors leading you to make the mistake, think about how you can do it better next time and then develop an action plan to improve the situation or yourself. Taking responsibility for the mistake is a good thing but doing something about it is better.”
What Peter’s supervisor did was not give him an answer about how to correct the mistake but gave me a process about how to analyze the mistake and then move on to correct it.
So what happens if you don’t know how to correct it – in other words you don’t have the skills to correct the mistake. You really didn’t know how to do it in the first place, but you tried anyway and it didn’t go right. Well that sounds like a skill deficiency and the first thing you need to do is skill-up. Improve your skills so that you can avoid making the mistake again.
Mistakes are truly unfortunate or undesirable when we repeat the same or similar mistakes over and over again, a sure sign that we haven’t learned from them. As the old saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This saying suggests that mistakes are not the undesirable factor most make them out to be. When we actually learn why we made the mistake and how it occurred we can then avoid it in the future. This is how mistakes can help you become the best version of yourself.
Finally making mistakes leads to wisdom. Wisdom often comes out of experiences we have had as well as the experiences of others. When you learn from your mistakes and take corrective action you are training your mind to avoid the mistake in the future. And, in the process you are gaining much needed wisdom. Anton Chekhov says, “ Wisdom…comes not from age, but from education and learning.” So, becoming wise is a quality you can acquire through learning from your experiences and those of others.
In conclusion, don’t see mistakes as something bad or undesirable. Learn from the experience the first time a mistake occurs so that you can keep the same or similar mistakes from happening again. Take note of the situation when you made the mistake. That will lead you to why you made the mistake in the first place and then you can take the necessary steps to keep the mistake from happening again. By learning the actions and skills necessary to prevent a mistake from occurring again, you are taking positive steps to improve your skill set and gain wisdom, and reach your full potential.
Thank you for reading and as always, stay safe, keep healthy and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
Time management principles are important and we need to be reminded of them from time to time. Often we go about our work and business in a hap-hazard way, leaving what needs to be done for another day. The problem is that often that day doesn’t come in time and we find we are behind the proverbial eight ball. It is important that we understand our goals, how we action them and the tasks that we need to complete them. The following seven tried and true time management tips may help you be more effective as you go about those daily tasks.
1. Prioritize Your Tasks Each Day
Before you start each day, or the night before the next day, identify the top three most important goals you have to accomplish. Each of these should be moving you toward attaining a long-term goal. Also identify the tasks you didn’t accomplish that day and determine whether they are still relevant, can wait for another time, or can be delegated for someone else to complete.
2. Use Music to Boost Concentration
When you have trouble focusing, try low-level music or even white noise to block out distractions and help you stay engaged. Music that has helped me in the past includes classical music, soft jazz, and Gregorian chant.
Low-level music can improve creativity, lower your stress level, and allow you to concentrate for more sustained periods.
3. Put Your Phone on Hold
Today’s great distraction fits in the palm of your hand. Put it on hold when you are working on something important. There is no need to respond immediately to most text messages, emails and phone calls. It is best to work in 90 minute spurts and then attend to your phone calls, emails and text messages. It takes a bit of discipline to do this but you will find it is worth it in the long run.
4. Stop Multi-tasking.
Here is the thing. When you try to focus on more than one thing at a time, you don’t actually do a very good job of either one of them. Studies consistently show that multi-tasking results in poorer outcomes and higher levels of stress. People believe that they can multi-task but the reality is that they can only concentrate on one task at a time. Learn to schedule your tasks, give them a priority and deal with them one at time.
5. Complete The Hardest Thing First
After you have prioritized your tasks each day, tackle the most difficult or the least appealing task first. Often people start with the easiest task and then procrastinate on the more difficult ones. This is not the best way to go. You usually have more energy earlier in the day and hence working on the more difficult piece of work is more effective. Think about it this way, by leaving the more difficult task to later in the day the more you will be filled with anxiety, particularly if you are not leaving enough time to complete it.
6. Be Aware Of Your Mental Chatter
Keep notes about how you talk to yourself for a few days. Make special note when you are beating yourself up or being critical of your actions. Also, document when you are praising yourself and acknowledging your accomplishments. Note how you are feeling at the time, and what set off the chatter.
You can learn a lot about your mental state, your emotional responses, and how to be kinder to yourself when you pay attention to the thoughts you express to yourself.
7. Improve Your Environment
The space around you influences your thinking, motivation, and outlook. Improve them all with these simple suggestions for improving your environment.
I hope these seven tried and true time saving tips have helped you. If you find that you can’t do them all at once then think horizontally and put one of them on your list each day and in seven days you will find you are better organized, sleep better, and have less stress.
Thank you for reading and continue becoming the best version of yourself. Stay safe, keep well and enjoy your day.
Eileen Caddy “Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level.” Eileen Caddy
The problem you may have, no matter how big or small, may be stymied by how you are approaching it. This article approaches problems from what may be considered a contrarian way of thinking: solving problems by letting them go, accepting that there is a right time for everything, giving in to a greater power, and encouraging a mindset of abundance. Let’s talk about this.
1. Letting go of problems
Many people have great difficulty in letting go. They want to hang on to everything and think that is a way to control their life. Recognizing that that there are things outside of our control is the first step towards reducing much of the stress we heap upon ourselves. Yes, trying to control things outside of our control packs on stress.
Sometimes when solving problems you make mistakes but don’t want to let go of them. The mistakes become your problem. And the problem you tried to resolve could be outside of your control or within your control. If they are truly outside of your control then let the mistake go and learn from it. If you can control the fix then get on with resolving it.
You need not beat yourself up when you make a mistake. You are not perfect. Understand why you made the mistake and fix it, but don’t hang on to the negative feelings you have about it.
Recognize that mistakes can have positive outcomes. A positive outcome occurs when we learn from our mistakes. A negative outcome happens when we approach them with an attitude of finding fault. We have a choice. We can be positive or negative. Choose positivity it will gain you more in the long run.
2. Accept that there is a right time for everything
Every problem has two sides. We can let it overwhelm us or we can see it as an opportunity.
When we let it overwhelm us we tend to worry, become anxious and overly stressed. Often we emotionally freeze which stops us from acting on it. When we see a problem as an opportunity we recognize that everything happens for a purpose and for our benefit and solutions come at the right time. In that sense there is a right time for everything.
So, timing isn’t the issue. We receive what we want and need at the exact time we are supposed to have it. It is really about solving problems when the time is right. Have you ever wondered why when you have a problem you read something that addressed it, or you took a break and a solution popped into your mind when you least expected it, or someone walked into your life that had a solution. When these things happen problems are solved at the right time.
Sometimes we need to put a problem into our “too hard basket” - that compartment within our brain where we don’t want to think about it. What we are doing is waiting for the “right time” to resolve it. We just need to recognize that “there is a time for everything under the sun” (Ecclesiastics 3:1) and our problems will be resolved when the time is right.
3. Engaging a higher power to help you through the difficulty
Some of the problems we face are bigger than us and are out of our control. They overwhelm us to such an extent that we call upon a higher power to help us. This is where faith takes over. A faith that says we can’t handle this difficulty at the moment so we surrender it to a supernatural being, knowing that we are now safe to go on with our lives.
Often fear prompts our faith. We are faced with a fear that is so challenging that we become frozen in time. It could be a threat of war or something actual like an economic downturn, job loss, or substance abuse, or any number of things outside of our control. It is not that we can’t do anything in these circumstances, for instance we could advocate for peace, save finances for economic disaster, find other work, or attend treatment for substance abuse. People of faith however, put what we do within the context that no matter what we do we will be alright and that there is a way out of our crises.
Through faith fear is lessened, responsibility is strengthened, choices are solidified, and a way out of difficulties are found. The focus is on blessings received and freely given and life is to be lived and not feared.
4. Having a mindset of abundance
Another way of approaching problems is facing them in a way that you steer them in the direction you want them to go. Your power comes from within yourself and not outside of yourself. This is not a contraction with number 3 above but a recognition that any power we have is sparked by a power beyond us and that we are not invincible. However, we still need to make things work.
You are the one who takes action. And the action you take is with a mindset that you can affect the course of your life by how you think about yourself, the world around you and the choices you make.
This problem solving method doesn’t consider a win-lose outcome, but an outcome where everyone has the possibility of winning. This is essentially abundance thinking where solutions are not taken or acquired but “tuned into” as Wayne Dyer once said. You are empowering each other to find solutions bigger than each of you – a breakthrough solution – and you are pleased with each other’s success.
“Instead, I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the successes of others, the pie gets larger.” Steven Covey
In conclusion I have tried to present four approaches to problem solving that may not be considered in problem solving textbooks but are still fundamental approaches. These are: view mistakes as opportunities, problems and their solutions always come in a timely manner, faith and a higher power are important in solving problems, and an abundant mindset allows us to find successful breakthrough solutions.
Thank you for reading, and as always....
Take care, keep well and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
I have ended several posts with the phrase “continue to become the best version of yourself”. What do I mean by that? Well it is not about dreams and aspirations. It’s about doing your best on a day to day basis. Some people call this striving to reach your full potential. However, striving to reach your full potential is more about achieving your dreams and aspirations. There is nothing wrong with that but that is not what becoming the best version of yourself is all about.
Becoming the best version of yourself is about your core true self and mirroring those qualities on a daily basis. It is your internal struggle of becoming who you are as you grow and develop your deepest yearnings and becomes an expression of your personhood, your character and your wholesomeness.
This article explores five ways to nurture that best version of yourself.
1. Become the best version of yourself through personal reflection.
In order to become the best version of yourself you need to take the time to go deep within yourself and reflect on who you are. In one way it is about determining what your potential is…that is your potential as a person which is not related to what you do as a person. It is not about achievement which relates to your goals, action plans and tasks you complete so that you can reach your full potential but more about how you wish to live with purposeful intent. It is about discovering the decent qualities you exhibit or want to exhibit, the universal values you hold and how you carry those out daily. The only way you can get at that type of personhood is through honest reflection.
One other thing. When you go deep within yourself you may find that you uncover negative aspects of your life – the hurts and the uncomfortable feelings you have about yourself and others. When you are faced with this mirror don’t be afraid of what you are finding. This part of your journey may be gut wrenching and it takes courage to work through it. It is through this process where you will begin to heal, become whole and forgive yourself and others. If you need help with this aspect of your journey seek professional help.
2. Become the best version of yourself by writing your own story.
After you have spent some time reflecting on who you are and what you believe sit down and write out your story. Let your story unfold as to who you think you are and who you want to become. In your story put aside your ego because your ego will play tricks on you. It will try to describe you in unrealistic terms, either through self glorification or false humility. You will get caught up in lying to yourself.
The best way to ensure you are being honest is to share your story with a trusted friend, colleague or coach. Ask them to be honest with you about how they perceive who you are. Listen deeply to them as they tell you your story. Engage them in an open discussion of clarification and dialogue. After all it is your story and you need to fully understand it.
3. Become the best version of yourself by living in the moment.
Yes, you plan for the future but you can only live in the future today. You make your future a reality on a daily basis by living in the moment. Don’t get me wrong your plans are important. They chart direction for you particularly if they are realistic. meaningful and give you a step-by-step approach to achieve where you want to go in life. But you can only carry out your plans, no matter how far they reach out into the future, today. Not only in the space we call today, like 24 hours - or even in the space we call morning, afternoon or evening - but only in the precious moment in which you spend the time in fulfilling them. It’s in that moment where you expend the energy in carrying out your best effort as a person. And each of those moments stack up as a monument to your character.
4. Become the best version of yourself by making sound choices.
It is in making choices that reflect your true self. If you are choosing with integrity, honesty, fairness, justice and forgiveness you will be mirroring the goodness that is at the root of who you are. It’s not about making quick choices to accommodate shady deals or questionable characters, but to think about the choice and do the right thing. Sometimes this requires quiet discernment to ensure you are making the right choice. In the end your choices reveal the type of life you choose to lead and who you are as a person.
5. Become the best version of yourself by surrounding yourself with good people.
We can often tell a person’s character by the people he/she associates with. Here I’m not talking about the customer that comes to you in what appears to be unrulily or disheveled condition. Nor am I talking about acquaintances that pass through your life like ships passing in the night. These are temporary happenings where we give whoever they are respect, dignity and loving service. What is meant here are the people you admire, appreciate for their genuineness, and who will guide you as you continue throughout life to grow into the best version of yourself.
In conclusion… we can become the best version of ourselves if we believe we can truly become the person we are meant to be. Believing in your own best version is essential in building your confidence, strengthening your relationships and living a life of purpose beyond yourself. But it is not necessarily easy. It is something we have to work at and prove to ourselves that we can live the best version of ourselves. It is in the way we live that we eventually become our true self. And because of that, people will be able to describe us, hopefully as a force for good in this world, our community and our neighborhood.
When we think about it, when we work at becoming the best version of ourselves we are strengthening skills in our ability to be reflective, write stories, live in the moment, make choices and surround ourselves with good people. It’s a serious business of character building while at the same time fulfilling our destiny.
If you want to delve further into this topic consider “Become The Best Version of Yourself” found in the FM Storefront.
Thank you for reading and as always take care, stay safe and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
One of the most difficult challenges for solopreneurs, or for everyone for that matter, is to find the time to achieve everything they want to achieve. Yes, like the rest of us they have all the time they need to be successful but they must use it wisely. And that is the rub. A consistent theme running through all of my coaching with solopreneurs is helping them get back in control of the time they have. We all have 24 hours in a day and the difference between those that make it and those that don’t is how well the former uses their time. Let’s remind ourselves of eight tried and true time management techniques….
1. Priorities – time scope them. The first thing you need to consider when sorting out your priorities is to determine how important the task is and to estimate how long you need to spend in getting the task done. Sometimes this is difficult when first starting out because you may not be familiar with how long it takes to carry out a priority task. Don’t let that deter you. Estimate the time anyway and then determine when you will complete the task, in other words build it into your calendar. If it is a high priority set it for first thing in the morning. That way you will not have to think about it during the day. Make this a habit those that accomplish much do this exercise daily.
2. Who is on first, who is on second. Many of you won’t remember Abbott and Costello, but they had a skit where they played with the phrase ‘who is on first and who is on second” using a baseball game as an analogy. When we set priorities we need to identify the level of importance. Of the priorities facing you which one is the number 1 priority and which ones have greater flexibility. You want to make sure you are getting the number one priority completed before the day is done. If that priority is something you can’t complete in your day, then break it down into smaller chunks and work on it during the week.
The key here is that you make a list of all the tasks you need to complete, give each of them a priority of one through three and fit them in during the day. To use the analogy, which one is ‘on first’ and which one is ‘on second and third”. Set your priorities for the next day every evening or when you close off your day. This is another secret in ensuring you are focusing on the right task.
3. Email control. Depending on the nature of your business you could receive up to a hundred or more emails in a day. That’s a lot of emails. Now many solopreneurs let those emails clog their inbox. In fact I have worked with people who had a minimum of 25,000 emails in their inbox. You read that right – 25000 emails in their inbox. There are ways to solve this problem. One way is to set up a file system and when an email comes in make a decision about when you will answer it, if it needs to be answered, and when you will do it. Set a time aside once in the morning and once in the afternoon when you will attend to your emails. Once you are finished responding place the email in the appropriate file for future reference. And don’t forget to use the delete button for those you do not need to keep.
4. Calendar control. It is interesting that we have 365 boxes to figure out each day of the year, yet many solopreneurs don’t use them to their advantage. Using a calendar allows you to determine how your day will look like, especially if you color code time slots. Frankly I recommend that you do several things when it comes to your calendar. Take a big picture view first. Look at your month and sort out which goals you will work on in the month. Write them out and have them overhanging your month calendar. Then focus your attention on the week and sort out how you intend your week to unfold, and finally take a hard look at your day and figure out how your day will work it out.
Make sure you set appointments within your calendar. Color code important functions you want to achieve during the week, for example color code the type of appointments, the major functions you want to accomplish and don’t forget to add in time for your administrative responsibilities. In this way when you look at your calendar you have a color coded picture to remind you when you will achieve your tasks, priorities, meetings, email responses, project preparations and social media planning.
Think horizontally rather than vertically, in other words rather than just looking at your day one day at a time, fix your week as your default view. Last, but not least, keep one day as a flex day allowing you to catch up on things you haven’t been able to compete during the week, and in the interest of balance set aside one day for rest, relaxation and spiritual renewal.
5. Social media control. One of the advantages of being a solopreneur is that you can use your social media platforms to your advantage. But there is a drawback that you need to watch out for - social media time waster. You can spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling social media posts for example, scrolling posts on Facebook, YouTube , Pinterest, Tic Toc, and the like.
Use social media as a method to strengthen your relationships with your clients. If necessary separate your family and close friends from your social media activity or set up a separate page for client posts. Don’t let social media manage you. You manage your social media output. One way to ensure this is to identify in your calendar the time you will spend on social media. Set whatever time is necessary to complete your social media activity but don’t give into your scrolling habit. That just becomes a time waster.
6. Your Decision tree. It doesn’t matter what you are doing in the time management sphere the reality is that you are making decisions. The decisions you make either puts you on course toward your goals or takes you off course. Clearly in order to make the right decisions you need to understand where you are going, which really means clarifying your strategic direction. That is what having a purpose and goals are all about. If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there. The problem is the path you take may not lead you to where you are going. So first determine your direction.
As you go about your day you will be confronted with your work which comes in the form of tasks, emails, appointments, projects and so on. As you confront each work-task make decisions as to its priority, whether you will do it now, defer it to another time, delegate it to someone else for not do it at all. And if what you are faced with has several tasks associated with it then set up a project plan and sort out how you intend to action it.
At the end of the day, review the decisions you made during the day and ask yourself whether they are leading to your overall direction. If they are not, question why that is so and determine whether they should be done in the future. This type of review stops you from spinning your wheels and building up a stream of frustrations.
7. Plan the night before. I have sprinkled this thought throughout this post but I want to emphasize its importance here. The planning process doesn’t take long, approximately ten minutes. Just review what you accomplished and what still needs to get done. If there are remaining tasks you must complete and they continue to be priority activities schedule them for first thing in the morning, and then identify other priorities you need to do the next day.
Because we are constantly bombarded with new things everyday make sure you keep time spaces within your day to deal with those new items. The key is to not plan your next day so tight that you leave no room for new priorities that crop up during the day. And don’t make your list so long that you can’t possibly achieve it. Keep your priorities within reason. A good rule of thumb is three to five items per day. Too many causes stress. Again think horizontally rather than vertically and spread your items throughout the week.
8. Plan but focus on the Now. Our reality is that we only have the moment to complete anything we start. So even though we plan for the future it is only in the present that we can work on our plan. Planning reduces our anxiety about what may be coming down, while working on our activities in the present with our goal in mind keeps us on track. Make the best of your time in the present using techniques outlined in this post and you will ultimately achieve your purpose and goals.
In conclusion I hope these eight daily time management tips help you become the best you can be in whatever you choose and wherever you are in life. As a final suggestion don’t try to implement all eight tips at one time. Take one of them, implement it until it becomes a habit, then take another. Sometimes when we try to implement everything at once we become overwhelmed. Take one tip at a time and you soon will have the tips down pat.
Thanks for reading and as always folks, stay safe, keep healthy and enjoy life.
P.S. You may enjoy reading: "Home Office Business Stress: It's Causes and Cures." You can find it in the FM Storefront
A vision is a driving force for both individuals and organizations. It is regarded as a foundational part of a person's life or an organization's existence. Vision is the ability to see beyond the present and its challenges. It gives direction as it allows one to imagine and make decisions about their desired future. However, the journey between your starting point and the desired future is not easy, unless you dream small. Every visionary needs courage to have their aspirations become alive.
Of all the things that can help you carry out your business vision, why should you focus on courage?
Courage is the ability to meet situations which frighten us or allows us to confront pain and uncertainty. It is a trait every person needs. Generally, our lives are marked by a series of events that fill us with fear and doubt. We face opposition, loss, disappointments, rejection, natural disasters, and other risks where we ask ourselves, "Is this worth investing my time and energy?".
People have often given up opportunities that would have changed their lives because they gave way to fear, doubt, and discouragement. This is one of the reasons why, if we want to carry out our vision, we need to be courageous and face life and its challenges head-on. If we don’t we will see our dreams wither and die or watch others implement our ideas. And, as we plan our future, we need to ensure that we prepare ourselves for the obstacles that may come our way so that we remain standing.
Needless to say, courage can take us to new heights and help us stand on grounds others wouldn't dare set feet on. Courageous people know no bounds or limits besides those they set for themselves. As John McCain once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.” (Fast Company, 2004).
We often think of courage as an innate ability to conquer fear, but courage can also be considered a skill that we can learn. When we learn something we practice it over and over again to get it right.
We can develop courage by facing our fears, overcoming them and then building on that strength. Like everything that is learned it takes discipline and consistent action to make it come alive for us. Acts of courage happen out of our strength of conviction and are an expression of our character and our character is developed through positive learning and reinforcement.
Now, if you are a visionary you often need to step out and step up with courage. For instance, consider these real life situations:
So, how can you channel the courage you need?
1. Understand the source of your fear and address it – there are various reasons why people lose courage. If you know the root of the problem, resolving it is easier. (see also)
2. Focus on your vision – before you let fear take over your life, think of your vision and why it is important to you. Ask yourself what is bigger, your reasons to be afraid or your aspirations. Most importantly, ask yourself how much you stand to lose by giving in to fear. Where dreams are big and are linked with purpose, fighting fears and doubts should be one of your priorities.
3. Have a strong support structure – sometimes your dreams scare you because you are walking the journey by yourself and you don't know who can help you when you have a need for emotional, psychological, or financial support. It is important to build relationships with people and keep those close to you who think like you and who understand your vision.
4. Understand your value – if you are earning an earnest living, respectful to others, a visionary, and you’re doing your best to make things work, you do not have a reason to feel inferior to other people. Understand that those who made it in life are by no means better than you. They also started where you are.
If you are starting from a lesser position than others and you still have the will to move forward without stepping on other people's toes, then you deserve respect. The point is, as you walk into a room full of successful people, walk with your head high and chest out like they are your equals. In most cases, they understand where you are and are ready to help you. Therefore, fear not. Even if they are disingenuous, understand that your vision depends more on your courage and confidence than it does on the opinions of people who do not bring value to your life.
Walk into every room like you have already made it but remember to remain humble and take lessons from those wiser than you.
5. Understand the turns of life – sometimes we lack courage because we also lack an understanding of things that are just part of daily living. People don't always succeed with what they try. They are rejected, they take risks where success is not guaranteed and, among other things, they make seemingly perfect plans only to meet the unexpected along the way. That's life. Nobody is immune to challenges. Expect to face obstacles and be prepared to find a way around them. Remember, there is always a way.
Thank you for reading and always stay safe, keep well and remember to become the best version of yourself.
Adapted from “Build Your Vision” found in the Storefront.
5 Strategies For Team Learning
Team leaders who understand learning as an on-going process have greater success in developing team knowledge, skills and abilities and synergy than those who view learning as events. This article discusses the difference between individual and team learning plus gives five strategies for effective team learning.
Peter M. Senge authored two ground breaking books in the 90s, the Fifth Discipline, and The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. He drew attention to the art and practice of the learning organization. Senge's approach was instrumental in advancing the notion that learning is continuous - something not fixed in time but always evolving. His books take time to digest but are full of relevant strategies and tools for strengthening a learning organization.
Learning means integrating knowledge in order to do something different including becoming more human such as strengthening relationships, being non-judgmental and acting non-defensively.
When individuals apply themselves to learning they often experience a steep learning curve, whether that be a new skill, new process or a different approach to a past practice. They are also often tired because learning can be taxing on the brain and hard work.
On the flip side, finding new ways of doing things differently can be exciting. Yes, our energy can be drained but then it is restored especially when we apply our learning to a new task or relationship.
Like individual learning team learning takes effort, expends energy, and needs discipline. But unlike stand alone individual learning two things happen almost simultaneously in teams - both individuals and teams learn at the same time. That's even harder work.
Individuals can learn something new by reading a book, attending a conference or a lecture. They then decide to apply what they have learned through consistent practice. No one else need be involved. What they learned will no doubt influence others, but the learning is individual.
Teams on the other hand, are a collection of individuals, all with their own expertise, behavioral strengths and weaknesses, personality traits and mix of skill levels. Team learning is about taking all these ingredients and melding them into a cohesive whole so that the team runs smoothly like a pleasant piece of music. And in the process the "I" is subsumed within the "we."
The purpose in team learning then is to take the collection of individuals, who are experts in their own right and who may have "egos" that tend to override others and blend them into a cohesive whole; and to do so without undermining the confidence of team members.
The balancing act of keeping the confidence of individuals intact while strengthening the confidence of the team is crucial to effective team learning. Team members can best do this through empathetic dialogue and on-going conversations that connect the members.
When each team member unselfishly contributes their expertise and talents to the benefit of the team and work together to find breakthrough solutions to problems or support one another in change, or respectfully share observations, then the team comes together. And as it does, it continues to learn in the process.
When we look at winning teams in sports we witness well organized, integrated, energetic and disciplined effort that has come about by individual and collective practice. Winning sport teams spend hours honing their ability to work together as one - they don't view the process as a onetime event, they keep at it day in and day out and build on both their successes and mistakes. Their learning is not confined only to the field, arena or court, it is also found in the locker room, team meetings and gatherings outside of the game and practice settings. Everything they do and all the conversations they have as team members contribute to the melding of the team.
From all of this, the real learning for individuals who operate primarily from an individualistic value base is to learn behaviours that lead to a "relational value system." Daniel F. Prosser in his book Thirteeners offers a trilogy of relational behaviours necessary to succeed in today's workplace - "cooperation, collaboration and co-creation." These form the basis of a "relational value system." And building on this trilogy individual team members perform at high levels.
Learning starts with the individual. First and foremost, individuals need to be open to learning, and when they are, they are usually:
Team learning starts when individuals have a team perspective. As team members, they:
5 Strategies for team learning
Be open to dialogue
Dialogue is about coming together to understand each other's point of view. It's respectfully listening to each other, speaking in an empathetic manner and coming to a decision. However, reaching the decision doesn't mean achieving a 100% agreement. It does mean that team members have had the opportunity to fully participate and that their point of view has been considered. The role of the leader is to listen, discern and when necessary break the log jam of disagreement by deciding. The decision isn't arbitrary or dictatorial but one where people have had their input through engaged conversation. The team leader summarizes the discussion and ends with a decision based on a majority consensus.
Take ten minutes to share
Teams can take 10 minutes during the team meeting, best at the beginning and at the end, to identify the way the team is working together and focus on one or two questions like: "How can our team become more effective?" or “What can we do to help us become better at what we do as a team?" An excellent exercise at the end of a meeting is to ask: "What did we do well in today's meeting?" and "What can we improve for next time?"
Seize opportunities to learn
From time to time individuals can attend conferences or workshops outside of team settings. It is sound practice to share the new-found learning with the team, and let the team discover how to integrate it into the way the members collaborate and cooperate with each other.
Taking time out
Sometimes teams just need to take some time out from all the buzz that goes on within the team and around them. Some teams go on retreats to regroup; others build in short quiet times before a team meeting to allow team members collect their thoughts and calm themselves down from the rush of work; and still others have found a way to introduce meditative practices. Phil Jackson, in his book Eleven Rings. devotes a chapter on how he introduced meditation to a championship basketball team.
Continue to Learn
Team learning, just as individual learning, is always evolving, and doesn't stop. It continues to build on past performance and applies past experiences to new challenges, not so that it does the same things over again, but to apply the learning to help the team become stronger. It's all about encouraging team members to get on the same wavelength so that the team has the power to perform at a higher level.
A team that clicks as one means that the members have learned how to work well together and have made the effort to ensure that everyone contributes to the benefit of the whole. They know that to become a winning team it takes individual and collective energy, discipline and practice. Teams learn to function as a synergistic whole, where individual egos are buried but their expertise is respected and shared so that the team achieves outstanding performance as one.
As always, thank you for reading and continue becoming the best version of yourself, stay safe and keep well.
(Edited from “The Eight Interlocking Building Blocks For Successful Teams” - Building Block #7 Learning Mentality)
According to Elizabeth Scott, PHD, in an article found at VeryWellMind, "Procrastination, passive-aggressiveness, and rumination are examples of unhelpful coping mechanisms that we may consciously or unconsciously use to avoid tackling a tough issue or facing thoughts and feelings that are uncomfortable."
The world is a difficult place. But we know the world has always been a difficult place. The difference today is that things are moving faster than ever before, and issues appear to erupt from out of blue. Our social media and newscasts are filled with negative vibes causing us to come to the brink of exhaustion.
The turmoil we face might drive us to run from our troubles. Regrettably, if we habitually flee, we will be constantly running and hiding from our problems.
Does this sound familiar to you? Perhaps you are one of those who run away from your problems rather than facing them head on.
Unfortunately, problems just don’t disappear when you run away from them. They do have a tendency to come back and sneak up on you. So, how can you successfully tackle them and move toward a future where you are no longer afraid of them? Here are some ideas to help you quit evading your troubles.
Chunk Your Problems Down Into Small Steps
Greenberg, author of the book The Stress-Proof Brain, advises working through the easiest phases first after splitting the problem into manageable sections.
The idea here is to make sure you are clear about what your problem is and then break them down into smaller steps. Looking at the problem as a whole could freeze you or cause you to flee. An old Chinese Proverb states, “It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” Wise words for us to follow.
Chunking your problems into small steps may go something like this: you are faced with writing a memo about a problem you are having, rather than stewing about it state the problem clearly, what you want to achieve in solving it, the steps you want to take to solve it, how it will make your life or organization better, how its resolution will affect your overall goals or the goals of the organization, and end with a concluding statement.
Use Your Support System
Our support network is often an underappreciated asset. Sometimes we feel alone and overwhelmed by our problems and cannot find an anchor.
Are you someone who has the impression that no one cares about you and that no one is eager to assist you?
If you do, you should have a look around. There is always someone who would be delighted to assist you in overcoming a problem you might be facing. Remember that we encounter a slew of issues on a daily basis. Many of the issues we face are often similar to those of others. They can give you a hands up regarding your problem. It won’t be exactly the same but a good listening ear with someone can help you sort through your issue. There is no need for you to believe that you must solve all of your problems on your own.
If your support system is wanting then it’s time to buckle down and get to work! Don’t be afraid to reach out and create one that works for you. You can look for them within your faith community, workplace, circle of real friends, and even within your family.
As well if it’s a deep personal problem there is always professional help to support you as you work towards resolving it. Check you counselling services in your area or go to someone you trust in your community, perhaps someone who leads your faith community could be a resource for you.
Develop a Plan
Planning is nothing other than looking ahead and determining how to proceed in the present. So if you are procrastinating or running away from your problems then stop and think about how you can overcome it. Think about how you can approach your issue. Just because you don’t have a solution at the moment doesn’t mean that one doesn’t exist. What you need to do is spend some quiet time in coming up with a solution.
For instance, create a quiet space for yourself, identify the issue you are facing, make two columns one for identifying what is bothering you in specific terms and the other for possible solutions. Don’t stop until you have drained your brain. Then take a hard look at your solutions and prioritize them giving the best one the top priority.
As you sort out the problem you can also do some research about it and find out how others have come to grips with it in the past, but make sure the information you find is accurate
Once you have sorted out what you are going to do about your problem it is now time to hold yourself accountable. This is one of the great ways to overcome problems in the long term. For example, if you're attempting to better manage your spending and food intake, you should keep track of how much you eat or you're spending habits. Better yet make a budget for all your sources of income and expenses. Then hold yourself accountable to following it.
Ask others to help you be accountable. Share your goals with others and the steps you are taking to work through your problems. Ask these people to keep an eye out and ask you about your progress. And make sure that you update them about your progress on your own.
One final note on accountability. When you succeed in overcoming your problem give yourself a small reward. Others will probably not give you a reward but you have mastered the issue and found a solution so why not rewarding yourself for a job well done.
Running Away Is Not A Viable Long-Term Solution
This is most likely the most crucial aspect of learning how to quit running away from issues. It's admitting that fleeing isn't a long-term solution. And no matter what time or far you flee, you can never really run from your problems.
Running away from problems is a common way for us to try to avoid them; it's a protective strategy. Running, however, does not completely shield us from anything. Avoidance solves none of our problems. It has never done so in the past, and it will never do so in the future.
Facing our problems is the only way to solve them. This may take time, courage, effort and commitment, but in the end, they are solved and no longer pose a burden on our emotional and mental health. And, as an added bonus, overcoming those problems helps us build inner strength and resilience.
Thank you for reading and as always keep safe, stay well and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
Other Readings: Just go to the Front Page and type in problem in the search bar on top of the page.
Are you kind to everyone you meet? Would people describe you as big-hearted? That is not the same as being a people pleaser. Do you sometimes accommodate others even though you'd rather not? That still might not be enough to classify you as a people pleaser.
To be clear I am not talking about pleasing customers, clients, friends and others in a positive sense. I am referring to a deep seated pattern of pleasing others without regard to self.
People pleasers are those who get caught up in a lifestyle of saying yes to everything and everyone because they are incapable of saying no. At a subconscious level they are saying, “If I don’t buy this product or please this person they will think less of me.”
At root is their search for acceptance and so they allow others’ wants, arguments, and desires to take precedence over their own. They fall prey to the smart marketing strategy of the seller without fully understanding what is really driving them to buy.
This is great for the seller, not so great for the buyer. And if you are dealing with an unscrupulous seller they don’t care ‘why’ you are buying their product, they are only interested in selling it.
People pleasers who grab everything that comes their way go beyond a level of no return in their quest to be successful yet continue to purchase more without a clear vision or strategy of their own.
Everyone wants to feel safe, accepted and loved. It's literally written in our DNA because humans are social creatures. We form communities and we always have so we have evolved to seek acceptance from others. Unfortunately, people pleasers figure out the most effective way to find acceptance is to allow someone else's wants, wishes, and desires to take precedence over their own. It's fine at first because it seems to work for them.
We experience less conflict so everything must be great, right? The only problem is that external conflict dissipates while internal conflict builds.
In business we often hear of people pleasers who become desperate because they have bought too much. They become anxious, guilty, depressed, and stressed. They fall into a sense of ‘victimhood’ and ‘buyer’s remorse.’
For many it has gone on too long by this point, and if this is like you you've been marked as someone who says yes to everything and trying to redraw your boundaries will become stressful. You feel guilty with every no and worry about upsetting or disappointing people. Sometimes, you have to choose between yourself and everything else.
People-pleasing is denying yourself and your needs to accommodate everyone else's. You're a nice person, but you're hurting yourself in a bid to serve others. There's a good chance you're stressed out, exhausted, and overworked. This might take a toll on your health, both mental and physical. You're running out of time and energy and you may be approaching the breaking point. Don’t become worn out and rusted out like the vehicles of old.
There is a way out of this conundrum because you can help others without harming yourself.
Take Care Of Yourself
Your needs should always be met first. If you, do it the other way around you will never have the time or energy to address your needs. It's okay to make yourself a priority. If someone makes a request of you, you can simply explain you have some things to do for yourself right now. It's all about setting and enforcing limits thus prioritizing yourself as important. You have to recharge your batteries. The important point here is if we don’t take care of ourselves it becomes difficult to take care of others.
Keep to a Schedule
Many people keep tabs on their finances. Think of your time like you do your finances. Afterall they say in the business world that ‘time is money’ for a reason. Just as you sit down and create a budget, you can sit down and create a schedule for your time. What time do you need for yourself? What time do you need for tasks, errands, and responsibilities, and what is left over? When someone asks for your help, you can consult your schedule.
Make sure you build in flexibility in your schedule. Don’t make it so tight that you do not have wiggle room for the unexpected phone calls, emails, interruptions that come your way. Be prepared because they will come. And it’s best to plan the next day before the end of the day. This way you can close off the day and sleep better.
Just as you do with time, you can also budget energy. Do you have the energy to undertake this request? Don't overwork yourself just because you feel bad. In the process make sure you are building in energy breaks. Work in 60 to 90 minute time frames if you can.
Delay Your Agreement
Don't feel compelled to agree to something or someone immediately. A common people-pleasing response is to immediately agree only to realize later that it's impossible. Giving yourself time and space to check your schedule gives you space to consider whether you want to or can help out.
If you are scheduling appropriately you have set out critical priorities for yourself. Work on these priorities first thing in the morning, place your emails, text messages and other interrupters on hold until you have accomplished your priorities, or at the end of the 60-90 minute time frame.
When you strive to only please others and get caught up in purchasing things you don’t need or they don’t fit into where you want to go in life, then it is time to simplify. It’s time to remove the junk and focus on the important and not the clutter. Clutter plugs up the mind and disturbs a peaceful environment, whether that be at your place of work or in your home. Clutter becomes a distraction and takes you away from where you want to be. Create the balance necessary to give to others while living simply for yourself.
When Else Fails Just Say No
While some say sorry is the hardest word, no is often just as difficult. At least, it is where people-pleasers are concerned. When you say no, do not feel as though you have to offer a justification. There is no need to provide an explanation or an excuse. Learning how to say "No, I can't do that," is a great way for people-pleasers to reestablish their boundaries.
If that sounds like the scariest thing you have ever heard, then you can practice with explanations and work up to a flat no. Just remember this, the more of an explanation you offer the easier others will find it to talk you into it. If you must offer an explanation, be as vague as you can to give yourself space.
If you think you fall into the category of ‘people pleaser’ you may need to check out where life is taking you, if this is you just drop a note in the comments below and we can talk. If you want help in becoming better organized fill in the contact form below. I look forward to hearing from you.
As always, stay safe, be well and become the best version of yourself through personal growth and development.
Thank you for reading,
No Fears and No Regrets
Psychologist Jeremy E. Sherman Ph.D. suggests that being indecisive in life can be a hindrance. An inability to make decisions leads to missed opportunities and potentially failure in our goals. Decisions are of course not always easy and certainly should not be rushed when important.
There are extremes when it comes to decision making with some people struggling to make choices while others plough through blindly without thinking. It is therefore important to avoid overshooting a more decisive attitude to life and blundering into bad decisions. Bad decisions lead to mistakes and could lead to feelings of failure.
Fortunately mistakes can be corrected, but feelings of failure cuts much deeper. We all make mistakes and they are part of normalcy but for some people mistakes lead to a sense of failure. They don't see mistakes as opportunities for growth, they see them as ways to clothe themselves in feelings of failure. They give up on themselves and have a foreboding attitude towards themselves as someone who won't or can't make it in life. It is an awful feeling of loss within themselves.
Don’t Let Fear of Failure Inhibit You
One of the biggest mental blocks we face when making decisions can often be our own fear of failing. Psychologist Guy Winch Ph.D. suggests that some people are so afraid of failing that their motivation to avoid disappointment overrides their motivation to succeed. Failing can make people disappointed, angry, frustrated, regretful and sad. See also
If you are afraid that you will fail you may shy away from important decisions and this is not a good thing. In order to let go of this fear of failing it is important to reach a new understanding of what failure is. Everyone who has achieved success in this life has encountered some aspect of the feelings of failure. It’s an unavoidable circumstance and should be viewed as a learning experience. Making a choice and failing or better understood as making a mistake is just education for the next choice you make.
Focus on Now
When being more decisive it is important to focus strongly on what is happening right now. Some people may dwell on the past and situations which have no bearing now. As an example, some people avoid choosing to get married because they saw their parents' union fall apart; or, someone in their family has lost their business, and so they are fearful of starting their own. The fear of someone else’s failure can sometimes affect our own decisions.
It’s not just the past that affects our decision making, sometimes an unrealistic view of the future can do so as well. Over planning something can lead to irrational assumptions regarding our decisions.
People may shy away from making decisions because they attach unrelated consequences. As an example, someone who wants to be a doctor but is worried their workload will be so high they won't have time for a family. Focus mainly on the now, not the past and not an overly planned out future.
Slow Down to Ease the Fear
Slow and steady wins the race. This may seem like a cliché saying based on a childish story of a tortoise and hare but it is more than that. The message is important, rushing into something can lead to more mistakes. And more mistakes can lead to a sense of failure and of course for those who fear this, it leads to indecisiveness.
Unless you are a firefighter, police officer, medical professional, or member of the armed forces your decisions will seldom be life and death. Take your time in making decisions, think them through. Ultimately, taking a step back to consider will lead you to more informed choices and less stress.
They Are Your Decisions
A big source of anxiety for some people when it comes to being decisive is a fear of letting people down. This could be parents, friends, romantic partners, or work colleagues. It’s true that sometimes our decisions affect others and we may have to consider them.
There are, however, plenty of times in our lives where the decision is ours alone and we take in what they may recommend but the decision is ours to make along with the consequences that may follow. For instance:
Do not fear others' opinions if you know the choice is right for you but always consider the impact the choice has on others and the value and good you can offer as you make those choices.
If you want to discuss your situation regarding a shift in career or thinking about establishing a business contact me below.
Thank you for reading and as always
Stay Safe, Keep Healthy and Take Care Out There,