I saw a great quote on Facebook today (courtesy of Little Penny Thoughts):
It's funny the number of times I've blamed other things for not being happy, "when I have this, this and this then I'll be happy" - funny how it doesn't work like that!
A while ago - I took part in a vision board creation course. When I look at it now it bares no resemblance to what I want and what makes me happy. It has posh handbags, boots, watches and cars on it. Most of which I now have, but they bear no weight on my happiness. It's funny how you think by sticking these things on a vision board means it'll bring happiness.
While I'm a big believer in looking to the future, for me vision boards just don't work. No image I find online or in a magazine can replicate my idea of happiness and fulfilment. Which is why I started off working with word art - and sometimes creating it. Words are so much more powerful than images.
It does also apply the other way - not taking to heart what others say to you.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a fascination with how people understand and interpret things (as well as swimming!) so I couldn't help but write this post!
Standing at the back of a fitness class I started observing others members in the class - mainly because I couldn't see the instructor (because I was hidden at the back). The class was a Body Pump class, if you've never been, it's structured around lifting weights to music - it's much more fun than it sounds, and burns loads of calories (i.e. cake!)
Anyway, I could hear the instructor, so had a good idea of which lift I was supposed to be doing and to what beat, but because I couldn’t see him I was watching some of the other members. It was really fascinating to see quite a few of them either not doing the right lift, or being totally out of time with the music.
When you have “Thunder” by AC/DC blasting out, it seems, to me, quite easy to lift with the beat - it’s not a subtle beat by any means, yet some of the class members clearly weren’t hearing what the rest of us were. Some people it seems had their own tune in their minds and it certainly didn’t correlate to what I was hearing.
I’m not saying that I should now go and profile every member of my Body Pump class, but what I am saying is that in all walks of life - whether in business or leisure - people simply hear things differently to you.
So bear that in mind before you jump down someone's throat about something they’ve said, or done. Or before you complain about someone at work - just consider that what they heard may be completely different to what you heard.
And if you ever see me dancing around - don’t laugh, I just hear somethings completely different to you :)
I always remember trying to choose my options for GCSE – there was a whole Open Day thing where the teachers were ‘selling’ their lessons, ‘selling’ their qualifications. As far as I can remember English, Maths and Science were compulsory and everything else was a choice.
I couldn’t actually tell you what my choices were in the end, without looking at an old CV telling me my qualifications, however, one thing I do remember from that ‘Open Day’ was going to see the Geography department. As I sat there looking forward to what the teacher had to say she told me that she thought Geography would be too hard for me – because there’s a lot of course work. That’s an abiding, long lasting memory that trumps all of the qualifications I did actually get.
It doesn’t help when your sibling and cousins are all super clever, then a teacher – who you have respect for – tells you that, you start to think that maybe you’re a bit stupid, not the brightest bulb in the box. But this isn’t a sympathy story, it’s more of an interesting revelation story.
I have probably been beating myself up for years for not being clever enough; I can’t even begin to list qualifications I’ve gained to ‘prove’ that I’m not daft (although that sounds daft in itself). Having since done quite a lot of training in psychometric profiling, to understand communication and how others communicate, I now see that comment in a completely different light.
I am someone who will ask questions and need more detail to figure something out – it may take me a little while but I’m like a dog with a bone. The ‘geography is too hard for you’ now translates to me as ‘you’d be too difficult for me to teach geography to’. I honestly think that I probably would’ve been a student that needed more information, maybe more attention, than others and that makes teaching, for some people, too challenging. Some teachers just want to deliver a lesson, have the students listen, copy off the blackboard and not ask questions and that's it.
This is just my experience, which was quite a while ago, I am not saying all teachers are like this. In fact I know many teachers who are simply brilliant and it reflects in their students. Those teachers get really annoyed by the ones with no real desire to help and understand the students.
There are also many entrepreneurs out there that were deemed to be ‘not good enough’ at school, or ‘wouldn’t amount to much’ and then went on to prove everyone wrong.
Proving that anyone can learn anything, with the right level of understanding and communication.
“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.” ~Unknown
I love this quote – I don’t know about you, but I’m forever comparing myself with others, whether it’s swimming, drawing, career success etc etc… But this quote reminds me that it’s OK to be you – whether that’s mediocre or average – that’s OK
This week I just wanted to share this link to podcasts that I’ve really enjoyed listening to – interviews with an array of different creatives – learning how their journey’s started and the persistence (and some luck) that they went through to get where they are…
The Creators Journey: http://charlesgupton.com/podcast/
Another great book I’ve discovered is What Colour is Your Parachute – helping you figure out what you REALLY want to do
I had a sudden realisation the other day that situations in life can be very similar to the comparisons of open water swimming v pool swimming.
Which probably explains why I LOVE OW swimming and just enjoy pool swimming!!
Pool swimming, while it is quite calming and meditative – it’s restrictive. You have to swim in a line, following that black line on the bottom of the pool continuously. Like certain things in life that you HAVE to do, such as the 9-5, cleaning the house, doing the laundry.
Where as open water swimming is like the really fun stuff – you don’t have to follow lines, or those dividers that look like giant candy necklaces, you can swim where you like and not come across a single person in the open water – you really are free to do what you want!
So I guess my aim is to have a life that is constantly like open water swimming!
For as long as I can remember I've always been looking for better ways to manage my time. I see other people that seem to get so much done and wonder how they've done it - I have the same number of hours they do!
Having read about some business leaders I realise that one thing they do have, that I don't, is the lack of need for sleep - or so it would seem. So that is not something I can replicate, but I've always been convinced that there is a better way, a more efficient way of doing things. Here in lies the quest!
So over the last 12-ish months I've been devouring nearly every blog post and website that talks about time management (to the detriment of my own time-management, but it is all in the name of research!)
Here are some of the top tips I've picked up - some you might like, others you may not, but hopefully there's something for everyone to help make the day go a little smoother and be more productive:
1. Overcome Procrastination:
"Eating the Frog" - according to Brian Tracey! Tackling the worst jobs first means you're less likely to keep putting them off. When you keep putting tasks off there comes a point when panic overtakes and you HAVE to do them. When you're in the "panic zone" it's not always the best place to tackle something. Get it done first, then forget about it!
2. Getting things done AND taking a break:
The Pomodoro Technique is a great example of how you can be more productive in a short space of time, and also give yourself a break. It creates focus and gives you the chance to put any distractions to one side. Because it's only for 25 minutes it makes it easier for the brain to focus solely on that one task.
3. Batch your tasks together:
By looking at your week ahead you can "batch tasks" - putting all the similar tasks together and getting through them in one go. An idea I found through the Shaa Wasmund site, she suggests that batching is a form of time management that allows you to leverage your powers of concentration and decrease distraction. Similar types of work get grouped together and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the task, setting aside a defined amount of time to complete it.
4. The Bullet Journal:
I LOVE this idea - as someone who loves new stationery, planners, notebooks etc - this really appealed to me, not least because it meant I NEEDED to buy a new notebook! They call it the analogue system for the digital age. The Bullet Journal is a way of keeping track of the important stuff, while still keeping one eye on the "other" stuff.
One of the chapters in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks about Personal Management, and this Time Management system is very similar to the quadrants of time management that Stephen Covey writes about. There are also some really good tips on procrastination on that site too.
I suppose the other time management skill is the old Nike saying: JUST DO IT!!!
Talking about it, thinking about it, searching the web about it, isn't going to get the task done!!
I do love a swimming/life analogies. I think it's because it's the one time that my mind just shuts up and I have these realisations that swimming is just like life!
This morning was no different!
I've been trying to get my 400m time down. I'm not planning on entering the olympics or anything, it's just something I like to challenge myself on. Like people aim to run 10 minute miles, or 5k under 30 minutes - you do it for the self satisfaction. So, I started doing a few lengths, trying different speeds - some were comfortable, some were a little uncomfortable and some were, well, close to drowning kind of lengths!!
Yes, I know, get to the point... The thing I found was that the harder I tried, the slower I was. The more I relaxed the quicker I was, I felt I was just gliding through the water with ease (in my head I was like a shark, stealth like. In reality I'm sure it was completely different - but, hey, that's a whole other blog post!!)
Which got me thinking that sometimes life (and work) is a lot like that, the harder you try at something the more difficult it becomes. All that effort and time you put in to that pitch, and then don't win it. All the research and business planning only to be told it's not viable, or you can't have the funding.
I'm not saying that if you do a pitch, or put in a bid for a business loan that you shouldn't bother. On the contrary, go for it. Just do it without the 'over-thinking', without the 'trying to be someone else'.
Answer the brief, answer the questions - there's no hidden meaning in there, be yourself and don't over-think it - often the simplest answers or solutions are the right ones.