Striving for excellence …………

What does it take to achieve true excellence in your chosen field of endeavour?

  • Consistent effort?
  • Trusting the process?
  • Putting in the time, to achieve skill and mastery?
  • Clear vision?

Careerresilience Aug 2016 1

As we come to to the end of the Rio Olympics it strikes me that people who truly excel in their field, whether it be business sport, drama, writing, might just have found the right ‘mix’ or balance between focusing on the outcome they want to achieve and the process that will get them there.

Observing the world class athletes at Rio, it occurs to me that there must be times when it is most useful to focus solely on the outcome; breaking that world record, winning that gold medal. And using this ‘focus’ to fuel your motivation, your passion and your drive to continue on with the practice and to keep on trying.

However there must also be times when the focus needs to be on the process, getting the technique right, looking at your physiology and nutrition and making the time for daily and consistent practice.

Perhaps even breaking the process down into it’s constituent parts, so you focus at a ‘micro level’, really ‘polishing’ your technique and achieving excellence at this level. Maybe not that exciting, probably quite tedious, but this level of detailed focus might just make the difference between winning the ‘gold’ medal, achieving success and not.  This I think is what team GB did in a number of disciplines.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection” – Mark Twain

It’s all about focus and timing.

Careerresilience August 2016 2

Paradoxically, when it comes to the big event, the race, the final throw, the final performance that might be the time to ‘Trust the process’ and ‘Let go of the outcome’. Trust that you have been meticulous in your preparation and your practice, trust you have put in the consistent effort, trust that you are in fact ‘ready’.

By letting go of the outcome you might actually give yourself the best chance of achieving it. By being fully focused and present with the ‘moment’, I believe you can run your own race. In my view it’s a bit like taking a penalty, have always thought it made more sense for the ‘penalty taker’ to focus on the process and forget the outcome, forget the ‘occasion’ and just score the goal.

If the ‘player’ is too focused on the occasion and the outcome of their shot this may well take away from their ability to do what they have done countless times in practice. That is, to simply drive the ball into the back of the net.

Because in a very curious way, world class athletes are really competing against themselves, against their own fears, against their own doubts and comparisons, and against their own anxieties and then they win.

So until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

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Creating a team with synergy and strength ………..

Holly Caulfield and I met on a video blogging course and now after some six months of supporting each other around making videos for our respective businesses we are now also exploring how we might combine our experiences and skills to create a series of team bonding days.

Careerresilence July 1 2016

In our view it is not enough to just ‘chuck’ a group of people together even if it is packed with highly competent, experienced and skilled, individuals. If you want and need them to operate as a team, they will need that ‘extra ingredient’.

Team building 3

That ‘synergy’ that turns them into a team.

In other words, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’.

So with this in mind, today’s post is all about strength and synergy and what it might take to develop and maintain this within a team.

So, for this month, my questions are:

  • Is there real synergy within your team?
  • Does it have that ‘extra special, ‘ingredient’?
  • If not, how might you find it?

Perhaps for some, that ‘missing ingredient’ might just be ‘quality time’ together. The time to build trust through shared experiences, the time to establish team goals, boundaries and roles. The time to reflect, to plan, evaluate and identify team strengths. Maybe even just the time to acknowledge and celebrate team successes and achievements.

For others that ‘missing ingredient’, might well be trust and respect. Maybe you have had time together, but for one reason or the other there is no trust, perhaps there has also been no real and honest communication between you as a team. Past mistakes and issues may well have been poorly dealt with, leaving everyone with a ‘bad taste’ going forward.

A lack of shared goals and vision might be what’s missing for others. The ‘team’ such as it is, has no real idea of its purpose, team members may well be questioning the point of the team and be choosing to do their own thing. Their attitude might well be, ‘why bother, I’ll do the best I can on my own’.

Leadership, might also be lacking and contributing to the team’s lack of purpose and understanding of individual roles and boundaries.

Supportive systems and procedures might also be missing from some teams, so that most of their time is spent ‘ firefighting’ and coping with administration issues rather than working towards their shared goal.

That missing ‘ingredient’ may not be huge it may well be the equivalent to a ‘pinch of salt’, however, whatever it is, it will need to be found and added, so your team is able to reach its full potential.

Team building 1

Oh, and one last thing, Holly Caulfield is an award winning Chocolatier and we both certainly think that most teams would benefit from a bit of chocolate😉.

If this is of interest to your organisation, please do get in touch.

We will also be producing a series of videos about our approach to team bonding over the coming weeks. So, look forward to seeing you there.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

PS Chocolates shown are from past chocolate making workshops, by Holly.

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Making sure your dreams are big enough ………….

  • To include your values, your aspirations, your beliefs and anything else you want to chuck in there.

Quite some time ago I published a post on values and how they might be related to a process called ‘Core Process’ designed and developed to help people identify and articulate their personal mission.

Careerresilience 1 June

So whatever your ‘Process’ is, it is described simply as a two-word phrase, the first word being a verb and the second a noun.

So, Creating Harmony, Promoting Peace, Creating Order are examples of individual ‘Core Process’.

The whole point of ‘Core Process’, is to identify that ‘something‘ that excites, engages and energises you, but also that ‘something’ that runs through you like writing through a stick of rock.

It’s likely that’s it’s related to your core values and something that shows up in most areas of your life, both consciously and unconsciously. A colleague of mine often relates the story of one of the delegate on their course, tidying and straightening up the training room. It then turned out their core process was ‘Creating Order’.

Mine was identified over four years ago but then it felt ‘too out there’ for me to really pursue or share. So much so that in my original post (link below), I chose to reword it, so it was in the same ‘ballpark’ but sounded more sensible, more ‘acceptable’ and not so ‘Woo Woo’.

Now fast forward to today, and I’ve come to realise and accept that it is a very big part of who I am, it’s not going anywhere despite my attempts to ignore it. It is determined to play a ‘big part’ in my dreams and aspirations and anything that attempts to ‘ignore’ it, or ‘down play’ it, is too small and just will not work.   So what is it?

Releasing Freedom ………

Have always known that freedom is a big value of mine, freedom to study, freedom to choose, freedom to learn, freedom to live but now I am taking full ownership of my ‘Process’ and recognising that for me at least it needs to be released.

And I think it…….

  • Explains why I have become increasingly impatient and frustrated with the ‘world of work’ as it currently is and have decided to become involved in another type of business.
  • Explains why I have become more concerned and focused on finding ways to actively thrive
  • Explains why I am thinking more in terms of how people can future proof their futures and not just their careers.
  • Explains why I feel compelled to spend time by the beach, reading, writing, social media-ing and dreaming.
  • Explains my fascination with all things social media, I see so much potential and opportunity here for individuals, communities to create, build and share.
  • Explains why I have always been more interested in resilience and people being able to take full ownership and control of their careers.
  • Explains why I am probably largely unemployable (in the traditional sense), at this stage of my life and career.
  • Explains why I am so intrigued and attracted to network marketing and the potential and possibilities I see here.
  • Explains why I may not be the right coach for you if you are focused on a more ‘traditional’ career path, however I may well be right for you, if you want to ‘bust out’.

So what is my vision, my dream?

To be honest, it’s not fully in focus at the moment but once it is, I do know it’s going to be as big as I can possibly make it.

Not unlike Mr Magorium’s response to his doctor, when he is asked what the Eric Applebaum character is doing, in the film Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, “making sure I have enough space to sleep” while Eric creates a ‘real’ night sky for him in hospital.

So there you have it, until next time.

PS to read the original post, click on the link below:

https://careerresilience.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/your-values-do-they-really-matter-part-two/

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Posted in career change, network marketing, values | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The tussle between my ‘Tortoise’ and my ‘Hare’…………………….

Most of you are probably familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare and how in the end the hare lost their race through pride.

Today I want to share what this ‘race’ or competition has meant for my career and explore how these types of ‘tussles’ might impact on yours. Have come to realise that this metaphor beautifully illustrates the two ways in which I have approached some of my major career and quite possibly life choices. There have been times when I have been very strongly led by my ‘hare’ and at others very much by my ‘tortoise’.

Careerresilence May - June 3 2016

Which has resulted in some seemingly random, seemingly unrelated possibly illogical choices. My ‘story’ is in some ways a bit random and perhaps a bit haphazard, but it’s the only one I have. So I certainly need to make the best of it and I certainly need to make sense of it first, before I can expect others to do the same.

The important thing is  to understand your own story, so you can clearly and concisely explain it to someone else.

So before I go much further, I’d better introduce these two characters:

My ‘Hare’ :- As you can probably imagine, enthusiastically leaps from new project, to new project. Not always taking the time to fully reflect on the learning or to fully consider the consequences of each move. Or indeed to recognise repeating patterns of behaviour.

It seems to me that in today’s world of 24 hour access to media social or otherwise, we might find it easier to get caught up with each ‘new shiny thing’ I also wonder whether we also develop FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), making us more anxious as we assume everyone else is switched on and tuned in with the exception of ourselves.

My ‘Hare’ is also a bit of a collector, gathering ideas from lots of different places, but not always checking facts deeply enough. In this age of Google, it is so easy to gather information, which is not necessarily accurate, truthful, or fully evidenced.

My ‘Hare’ is also full of ideas, wanting lots of action, energy and fresh perspectives.

On the other hand…………….

My tortoise, is generally more focused and deliberate.

Careerresilience May-June 2 2016

My tortoise wants to keep me safe, comfortable and secure. Not always a bad thing. It’s likely that it’s kept me out of trouble as much as it’s prevented me from ‘grabbing’ some really great opportunities.

In writing this I recognise that I am more naturally predisposed to my ‘Hare’ and so need to consciously balance ‘it’ with my tortoise when faced with a decision, career or otherwise.  I sometimes have to deliberately ‘slow myself down’, whereas someone else might need to ‘speed themselves up’.

The trick is to recognise which one you are more naturally predisposed to and keep it in balance.

Balancing the two sides allows you to utilise the strengths from each so that whatever decision or choice you make, it is both considered and timely.

Please feel free to share or comment.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

Blue Sky Career Consulting

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

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The movie was just the start…..Part one

What we can learn from Walt Disney

Was originally going to write about Walt Disney’s creativity strategy, but whilst checking through my sources came across this 1957 info graphic.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3048046/infographic-of-the-day/the-secret-to-walt-disneys-corporate-strategy

Careerresilience April 2016

I was both distracted and intrigued by this 1957 info-graphic, as it clearly shows a man with a strong vision. Walt Disney didn’t just churn out movies he had the vision to plan out a strategic pathway for each one, so he could fully leverage the content in terms of books, comics, merchandising, music, parks etc.

He identified different ways of leveraging the content and putting it to work in ways relevant to his audience, whilst ensuring that each pathway didn’t overlap and impede the progress of another. It was as much about timing as leverage.

Had wondered in the past why Disney didn’t release movies as a series, now I realise that each movie needs the time, exposure and planning to fully reach its potential. Clever not to confuse or muddy the waters with too many of them at the same time.

So as I watch successful Bloggers, YouTubers, coaches, trainers, writers etc. do the same with their content it occurs to me that those with more traditional employment patterns might well be able to take a similar approach to leveraging their career highlights and achievements.

If this applies to you, you might with careful and thoughtful timing, leverage your own career achievements and highlights by:

  • Promoting and sharing them with friends, colleagues and family in person and via social media.
  • Using them to open up and explore new opportunities
  • Using them to access development and training
  • Highlighting them on your CV as a pathway to future career change or new role.
  • Reviewing the skills gained through the achievement, what went well, what obstacles you had to overcome.
  • Using it as a positive story in an interview situation
  • Recognising your patterns of achievement
  • Identifying situations where you more naturally shine
  • Identifying when and where you are at your best
  • Identifying your particular strengths
  • Linking them to your values
  • Linking them to your interests

In this day and age, perhaps we do need to be taking more of a Walt Disney approach to managing our careers. Looking for more creative ways to brand, share and promote the skills we have.

Think that’s about it for today, but will be revisiting this topic.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

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Learning to dance on a shifting carpet……

‘In an uncertain world instead of seeing the rug from being pulled from under us we learn to dance on a shifting carpet’ – Thomas F. Crum

careerresilence March 2016

This quote always makes me laugh as I imagine myself ‘skipping’ and ‘hopping’ about on my own ‘shifting carpet’.

It also captures perfectly for me what it means to be resilient – having the ability to dance’, adapt to what life may throw at you. Perhaps with some grace and hopefully with a fair bit of humour. I also like the way this quote includes the notion of learning and the implication that we can if we so choose develop and enhance our levels of resilience.

My long standing interest in resilience comes from recognising that this is one of the biggest lessons I have learnt throughout my life. I believe that these days, I have a fairly resilient and robust view on life.

However I am now also becoming increasingly interested in how people can not only be resilient, but also how they can truly thrive. Or as Siebert (2005), describes it ‘Discovering your talent for serendipity, the ability to turn misfortune to good fortune’.

Reference: – Siebert, PH.D, A. (2005): The Resiliency Advantage; Master Change, Thrive Under Pressure, and Bounce Back from Setbacks; Berrett-Koehler Publishers: San Francisco

So going back to our ‘shifting carpets’, resilience for me would then be about having the ability to dance about as things change. Thriving on the other hand might be more about being able to ‘fly’ with your carpet and steer it where ever you want to go regardless of the conditions or situations in which you find yourself.

This for me takes things to a whole new level and perhaps I am expecting far too much. So my question for this month is…….

What would it take for you to move beyond resilience, towards really thriving?

Some initial thoughts…….

Things are not likely to get easier any time soon, so we do need to become stronger and tougher, mentally, psychologically, physically and emotionally.

As a consequence I think we may need to consciously choose to thrive rather than survive in the current climate, it’s here for a while. What else are you going to do? Waiting for the ‘storm to pass, may not work as a strategy…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciarasworld/5644979489/in/pool-1464893@N25/

So it seems to me that we may need to become tougher in protecting our boundaries around work, rest and play.

Perhaps we can:

  • Become tougher about what we say yes and no to.
  • Prioritise the things that bring us a bit of joy, peace and harmony and simply go do ’em.
  • Be a bit ruthless about how and who we spend our time with.
  • Recognise that life is simply too short to spend solely in survival mode.
  • Question whether the energy it takes to maintain the current state, might be better spent on learning to thrive.
  • Learn to create our own portable ‘Eco Systems’ that are with us even if the external environment is not too great.
  • Find ways to simply laugh more, most of us as adults are probably not laughing anywhere near as much as we could be.
  • Be grateful every single day ……

It’s your carpet and if you want to not only stay on it, but take it ‘flying’ you may need to just make that bold and conscious decision to thrive.

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

 

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Warm and cuddly or tough and focused?

My title is very ‘tongue in cheek’, today but does I believe very broadly describes the differences between the MBTI Thinking and Feeling preferences.

This is the final part of my four part introduction to the Myers Briggs preferences, links to the three earlier posts are available at the end of this post.

Careerresilience thinkfeel

The Thinking/Feeling preferences that are part of the Myers Briggs questionnaire, refer to how people prefer to make decisions. Both approaches are equally valid and rational, there is no right or wrong preference. Though there will, as with the other preferences be advantages and disadvantages to both, depending on the context and the situation.

It’s just the basis on which people will in general base their judgement or decisions.

Someone with a preference for feeling, is more likely “to judge things and situations on the basis of personal values”

“They prefer to be guided by personal values and tend to strive towards harmony and individual recognition.”

Someone with a preference for Thinking, “probably likes to judge things and situations on the basis of an objective analysis”

“They prefer cause and effect reasoning and tend to strive towards the more impersonal, objective standard or truth.”

Reference – Anita Wood, Type in a Nutshell

So what might this mean on a day to to day basis?

If you have a preference for Thinking’ you will in general tend to have a ‘task first’ focus, may find that you find it a little easier to deal with conflict and debate.

As someone with a preference for ‘Thinking’ I do need to come clean here, I love a bit of debate and discussion. Gives me a bit of a buzz, when there is an argument, in terms of a reasoned debate with opposing views and someone presenting their evidence in a coherent and clear way. A younger ‘me’ may well not have minded a bit of ‘argy bargy’.

However if you have a preference for ‘Feeling’ you may find that your general approach of ‘people first’, might make it difficult in times of strife and stress to take the tough decisions. You may lose sight of what needs to be done as you are perhaps more focused on the people involved, their emotions, wishes and perspectives.

On the other hand – someone with a preference for ‘Thinking’, under stress may be so focused on the task that they completely lose sight of the people, which could be equally disastrous. It may feel more ‘natural’ for ‘Thinkers’ to distance themselves from the people/situation in order to gain some perspective. Whereas individuals with a preference for ‘Feeling’, may try and gain perspective by stepping into the shoes of those involved.

As a more naturally ‘task focused’ or task oriented individual I do sometimes have to remind myself to do the ‘small talk’ first before leaping into the work/ task. This is also I suspect, influenced by my preference for introversion. Did find myself fairly recently having to ‘bite back’ the urge to get everyone back on track at a recent meeting.

People like me with a preference for ‘Thinking’, can lose patience if we perceive the issue or task is not getting resolved as quickly as we would like. Whereas, those with a preference for ‘Feeling’ may lose patience or trust if they haven’t had the opportunity to build the relationship first.

There are times when I am saying to myself, “bollxxks’ to this let’s just get this problem sorted. If warm and cuddly doesn’t work – I will go in with tough and focused.”

Though it has to be said I don’t always have the patience to do warm and cuddly for too long………

Still working on it.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Links to the earlier posts:

Do you sometimes feel like an alien in your own team?

https://careerresilience.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/do-you-sometimes-feel-like-an-alien-in-your-own-team/

So they are not just trying to wind me up?

https://careerresilience.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/so-they-are-not-just-trying-to-wind-me-up/

In the here and now or away with the fairies?

https://careerresilience.wordpress.com/2015/11/26/in-the-here-and-now-or-away-with-the-fairies/

 

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