I have been busy with corporate work this year, doing resilience training for a law firm, mental health awareness sessions for beyondblue and project management for Cure Cancer Australia. I'm also privelidged to be coaching several amazing small business owners. These activities, plus distance education (Masters in Human Services) and training for the SMH half marathon, are leaving very little time for my writing courses, so the April 22nd workshop is the last one I am planning on doing in Sydney this year.
So please consider taking a day out to join me if you can spare the time. I have a great group already booked in and have room for about 3-4 more. Just email email@example.com or phone 0408-606-111.
At a presentation held by AMP where I am doing some consulting, leadership expert, Jim Brown, was concluding his one-hour talk about Level 5 Leadership. This was based on the concept in the book "Good To Great", where 1,400 top performing companies (from 1970s to 1996) were analysed to see what leadership qualities their CEOs had. When he talked about "beyond Level 5", he mentioned several Human Development Models, each of which had a tier beyond individual and organisational goals - these related to societal or "the greater good" principles. The first he mentioned as Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs - apparently in his later life, Maslow went beyond "self actualisation".
The second he mentioned was Graves concept of "Spiral Dynamics". My father introduced me to "Spiral Dynamics" in 2004. He had been very interested in the concepts and told me about them, intending to find ways of applying Spiral Dynamics in his voluntary community work. Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly soon after this conversation, so didn’t have the opportunity to take it any further. I was glad to be reminded about the subject and am going to do some research to learn more about this and the other models mentioned. It will tie in nicely with the Master of Human Service Management and Policy studies I am commencing in 2010.
Turning Activity Into Productivity
When I started to think about Christmas this week, I reflected on how the year is flying by, and then wondered how I was going with my 2009 goals!
I bet you’ve had a conversation recently along the lines of “I can’t believe it’s September already… More than half the year’s gone!!” So how is your year going? You may have been busy, which is great. But have you have been truly productive?
Frantically crossing off the next small task on your list is easy. So, on the whole, is keeping customers happy in the short term. As difficult as it feels sometimes, simply putting your head down and ploughing through day after day of hard work is relatively straightforward. What is a whole lot harder is escaping these short-term, low-payoff activities long enough to identify the long-term, high-payoff activities that are truly going to transform your business and life.
Keeping busy is easy. Staying productive and focused is hard.
Just for a moment, I suggest you try and forget today’s pressing tasks. Instead, consider the big goals you set for yourself this year. When you’re relaxing on the balcony next January, what one achievement would you most like to reflect on? Forget the big strategic plan. Just grab a post-it note, write down the one or two big goals that you resolved to complete this year and stick them on your mirror. Then at the start of each day ask yourself what you can do to progress them a little further.
There are only two options. You’ll have them done by the end of the year or you won’t. Now’s the time to get your head down, get focused and get busy doing the stuff that matters. Are you on track to achieve your 2009 goals? What are you doing about it? If you need help, get help.
It can be a big step to make a distress call to someone trustworthy, someone who will listen calmly, who will give reassurance, and give simple, sensible advice. Someone who will follow up the next day and check that things are OK.
The conflict can be very real, and the reaction to it quite justified. But reaching out in the midst of it all can provide a circuit-breaker to the cycle of negativity, and inject some realism and positivity into how the situation feels. It can give strength and peace – which may have taken days or weeks to achieve without reaching out to a trusted friend or advisor.
Without that listening ear and those calming words, the perception of the severity of the situation can be amplified by mulling it all over and thrashing out possible reasons and solutions. Most importantly, by reaching out, the feelings of hurt and confusion can be re-directed into an understanding of the situation.
Reaching out to a trusted advisor can help even the most capable among us.
Is innovation part of your business culture?When tough times hit, research, development and innovation can be the first things to get cut. But smart companies realise that innovation isn't about money, it's about ideas - ideas that will get you ahead while your competitors are slowing down. Having a business and personal belief in an innovation focus, putting clients first can help you set a steady and profitable course in these uncertain economic times. Rather than seeing change and uncertainty as a threat, smart business owners are taking the time to do a reality check and take innovative, constructive action in their business. By identifying what would improve their business, what new market niche opportunities are opening up or defining what makes a loyal customer different from a one-time or occasional customer, smart business owners can not only survive the tough times, but feel invigorated by them, and find new ways to boost their business. I have experienced this sense of new possibilities and growth into new markets, making the tough times very promising indeed.
How creative and life writing can improve your emotional intelligence, sense of wellbeing and social/professional life.
Most of us aim to have a balanced and integrated life style, where we are able to deal with the stresses and strains of our projects, our workplace and modern day living. Many of us have heard or Emotional Intelligence, self awareness and the importance of "me" time. Yes, I know this all sounds like a luxury for busy project managers like us, but I am converted! It is not a time consuming endeavour to jot down thoughts and ideas, and sure helps keep things in perspective.
Journal writing, or creative and life writing give us a practical tool for getting our thoughts down on paper, make sense of work and daily living, help us be more in touch with ourselves, understand the behaviours of others and express the meaning in our lives.
By putting thoughts and ideas onto paper, we can reduce stress, tap into our capacities and strengths, and enjoy our creative side.
Creative, memoir or life writing is a rewarding and life-enriching endeavor. Telling the stories of our life, or writing from our imagination, is important for ourselves, our friends, and our relatives because it preserves our thoughts in a deep, meaningful format that can be accessed again and again. Whether or not you intend to publish your memoirs or stories, you can benefit from the ability to get in contact with your life experiences. Equally, creative or fiction writing allows you to express another side of yourself. This is important for task focused project managers.
Writing helps connect us with our life. It allows us to develop a rich body of material drawing from our life experiences and our rich imagination. We can gain access and awareness to diverse areas of your life, such as events and relationships, both past and present. We can turn your day dreams into tangible stories for your own pleasure, for your loved ones, or for wider publishing. If we can make a little time to write even snippets of our thoughts and ideas, it can help us crystallize our perspective on our past, present, and future.