It’s my passion to motivate and encourage people to go get what they want in life and achieve their goals, but the fact is the path to success is not always a straight road. There is much to be learned from failure and it happens to all of us on occasion. It’s best to take a hard look at our mistakes and learn from them to insure greater success the next time around.
- Don’t obsess over failing but do analyse your mistakes. Did you do enough preparation and planning? Did you account for possible road blocks to your success?
- Don’t let ego, disappointment and even embarrassment cloud your judgement about what went wrong. Use another person’s perspective to help you determine what you could have done differently in order to succeed.
- Isolate the cause of your failure. Go back over your behaviour. Were you too talkative; Were you an active listener? Did you fail to make a good presentation; did you walk and talk with confidence; could you back up your statements with facts?
- What was your mindset? Did you think you would succeed before you tried? You can’t expect to succeed if you’re defeatist.
- Once you’ve reviewed your mistakes; make sure you don’t repeat them. It’s easy to fall into negative behaviour patterns.
- Be a graceful loser; a bad loser leaves a negative impression that’s hard to erase.
Believe in yourself. Have the confidence and faith to know that there’s another opportunity waiting around the corner.
It’s unrealistic to think that you’re always going to feel good about yourself because frankly you’re not. That’s only human. However, you can do a few basic things to help build yourself a foundation of confidence that will carry you through many of life’s ups and downs. Here are a few of my top suggestions to either get you started building or remind you of the confidence you already have within.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. What a waste of time and energy. You can’t possibly know all that lies behind someone else’s facade just as they don’t know what lies behind yours. For all you know, they may be plagued with problems and you may not want to swap places after all.
- Acknowledge your insecurities and talk to someone about them. It always helps to get an outside perspective on what you perceive as a weakness.
- Make a list of your signature strengths. We’re all good at some things. Write a memo on your phone so your power strengths are at your fingertips when you need reminding.
- Adapt a positive mindset. Act positive even when you don’t feel that way. You’ll find that your proactive behaviour will have an impact on your attitude. Don’t let others make you feel inferior.
- Be thankful for what you have. Many of our insecurities stem from thoughts that we are lacking something. Best to remember what you do have and give thanks.
- Don’t strive to be perfect, no one is.
- Exercise and eat right. The better shape you’re in, the better you will feel about yourself.
- Use positive affirmations. Make friends with your mirror and create a positive mantra that you can repeat to yourself every morning and evening. They really do work if you use them repeatedly.
Stand tall and believe you can achieve anything you what you want to achieve.
Happy 2014! Here’s to all the happiness and challenges this year may bring all of us. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. After years of unfulfilled personal promises I know with certainty that actions speak a lot louder than words. Real, lasting change requires conviction and dedication to the cause. Human metamorphosis are not something that happens in a few weeks but over a period of time. It is a journey. So, this year be steadfast in your conviction to make positive transformations in your life. Whether you choose to let go of bad habits that hinder your happiness, make slight life adjustments or if you need to do a complete about-face, here are a few suggestions that can help you keep your changes on track.
- If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t bother. You’re much more likely to work hard for something that will bring you happiness, so start there.
- Declutter your brain. Dump all negative influences and energy drainers. They will only bring you down.
- DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!
- Set yourself realistic, attainable goals. Don’t try to make too many big changes at once.
- Break your goals down into bite size pieces. Put time measurements on your progress and check yourself regularly.
- Keep a record of your goals and progress on paper, on your mobile and any other place you’re likely to see them on a daily basis.
- Have a support system in place. Goals are often very personal, but it’s important to have someone with whom you can share your successes and frustrations. Perhaps you can do the same for them.
- Don’t be put off by disappointment. We are usually keen to succeed when we set goals for the New Year. However, as time moves along our commitment to success can fade and frustration sets in. In comes the same old mundane routines and excuses that sabotaged you in the past. Don’t let disappointments and set-backs defeat you. Use your support system and determination to get ourselves back on track.
Let 2014 be the year you follow through on your dreams. Work to your potential and follow through until you achieve your goals. Life is what you make of it anchor your future in this sage advice:
“To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
To all charity.”
Sharing our Christmas Spirit
I love Christmas. I can still remember the anticipation of waiting for Santa to arrive, putting out the milk and cookies and trying to sleep for what seemed like endless hours until daybreak. What kid can wait to open Christmas presents at the crack of dawn. My parents used to get ‘Santa’ to call us on Christmas Eve to ask if we were naughty or nice that year. The threat of a bag full of coals and switches served as incentive to my siblings and me to keep our high-jinx in check!
Going to church was always a central part of our Christmas celebrations. We always gave thanks for how fortunate we were to have a loving family, food on the plate and we always gave to those less fortunate than ourselves. My parents wouldn’t have it any other way. They wanted us to realise how lucky we were. Even though my relationship with the church has changed through the years, my spirituality and since of family traditions is firmly intact.
Naturally, everyone has different experiences. This time of year I have clients who worry about how they will cope with the Christmas holidays. There’s so much pressure to buy things regardless of whether you can actually afford them. There’s the stress of mounting debt you could face in the New Year. Of course, Christmas also reminds us of loved ones we’ve lost and those we feel obligated to spend time with who in fact have a way of ruining the Christmas spirit for everyone.
In reality, if we can peel back the commercial and material facade of the holiday season and put aside our personal differences for the sake of briefly uniting our families, then perhaps we can get to the real spirit of Christmas, the celebration of a life force inspiring us to be all things good and great. I realise that is not easy to follow the light in a world full of so much darkness. However, we must persist. Where would we be without hope?
Those of us who have a good quality of life should quiet ourselves long enough to say thank you for the blessings and the challenges that touch us in this life. Furthermore, this is a time to give, not just gifts, but give of ourselves to those who could benefit from our help. Whether it’s time, food or money, every bit helps. Perhaps you will be touch and inspired to continue to give to those in need well into the future. Giving feels good. It’s a gift to yourself.
Christmas is not the only season to give but it’s a great time to start.
I know it’s the holiday season, but in between sipping bubbles, give yourself the gift of ambition by networking with someone who may be able to help you get to the top of the job ladder. In today’s incredibly competitive working world it’s important to master as many business skills as possible and knowing how to effectively network can potentially secure you future business opportunities. Still many people would rather play wall flower than mix with a room full of unknown faces! So here are my top tips on how to get the hook-up:
- Choose the right events to attend. You’re not going to chit-chat you’re going to make business connections. So don’t go to mingle at an Art opening if you should be at a lawyers gathering.
- Do your prep work. Try to get a list of whose going; identify who you’d like to meet, who can advance your career and get researching. When you arrive, find your targets and use your confidence to approach them.
- This is the hard one; look for physical clues that people are willing to be approached. Find a group or pair that is not in a closed conversation. Suss out who the leader is and ask to join in the conversation. If you can’t bare this idea, then ask the event organiser to introduce you to the person you’re keen on meeting. This is more direct and my preferred method.
- It’s not all about you. No one wants to do business with someone who talks incessantly about themselves. Be an active listener, interesting and articulate. Be discriminating about who you give your business card.
- It’s not what you do; it’s what you can do. Don’t talk about what you do, talk about what you can do for your target. It’s far more appealing to your prospective business connection.
- When you get your moment, know what you want to say. Have three or four key points you want to stress about your business acumen. Keep it short, smart and sweet.
- Don’t forget to follow through. Nothing is more annoying than the person who says they’re going to send something and it doesn’t materialise. If you say you’re going to do it, then do it. Don’t be the one who flakes. You never know when your networking will pay off!
I’m not saying this is easy, I’m saying it’s worth it!
A few days ago one of my clients mentioned that one of her close male friends broke down and cried about the amount of university work and stress in his life. My response was good for him. Obviously he needed a good cry. When I met her friend a few days later, she mentioned in his presence that she had told me about his upsetting moment. His immediate reaction was to deny the incident; however, after I quickly chimed in that many men come to my office and breakdown, he perked up. “Really” the 20 year old replied, “yes, really.” I said. I’ve had CEO and board directors cry their eyes out and use up an entire box of tissues over the course of an hour session. They will all tell you it was a cathartic release. They felt so much better after opening up the dam and letting the tears flow. But, I’m not sure how many of them would tell their friends that it’s okay to cry.
In this day and age it seems so ridiculous that there is still so much negative stigma attached to a man crying. Boys are told to toughen up and “take it like a man”. It would be much better to tell your boys and your men to let it all out. Not only would it lessen their burden but it would help them to communicate more effectively. I’m not recommending a blubberfest, but I am saying when a person is overcome with emotion, let the water flow! Free yourself with emotional intelligence.
Our daughter turned 17 recently. She’s in that hazy transition between pubescent teen and real woman. It’s only in the last few months that she has started to realise that she will soon take full responsibility of her actions and words. In one year in the eyes of the law she will be an adult.
She’s moody and concerned that she hasn’t got a grip on what she really wants to do with her life. She’s grappling with trying to find her driving motivator. She is driving my husband and me nuts! No question these probing thoughts have been pushed to the forethought of her consciousness because she took the initiative to leave the cloistered environment of her private school to spend her last two years in a school whose student body has a real world reflection. While it still offers her an opportunity to have an excellent education, she has to be proactive and more organized to reap the full benefits of this less restricted environment.
I’m doing all I can to be there for her but there comes a time when a parent has to step back and let their child make their own way into the real world. Sometimes I wish she would hang onto my apron string a bit longer. I’ve noticed she’s stopped saying ‘love you’ every time she leaves for school. My girl is carrying a load slightly heavier than her backpack these days.
I take comfort in the fact that I have 16 years of ‘Iove you’ in the bank. As those strings get longer and longer and I watch her walk away from me, I encourage her to be strong, to believe in herself and respect herself and others as she steps out. While she is learning to cope with growing up I am learning to cope with growing a bit older and certainly wiser. I will do my best to be her anchor should she need to mind the tide and occasionally have to stop herself from drifting. Together we grow and the dynamic of our relationship changes but the ‘love you’ will always be in our hearts if not on our tongues.
A few of days ago I was teaching a workshop full of smart young men trying to find away to get ahead in life. Ages 19 to 23, many of them are trying to make their way from man-child to grown man. They’re clever enough to know they just don’t want to make money; they want a career, a job that will ignite their passions. They are perplexed by the challenge of how to be practical yet fulfilled in their jobs. They’re struggling with a crisis of confidence.
After attending a prestigious boy’s school some of them have yet to find a permanent place in the working community, others have already been made redundant before they made a mark. Many feel they will never live up to their potential. They came to the workshop looking for answers and hope. While hope is important, it is not a method.
My message was clear. There is something very important that they’ve overlooked. Before they can find the answers to all of their pressing questions, they need to know the answer to what I consider is the most important question:
What makes you happy?
I was sad that some of my boys couldn’t remember the last time they felt pure happiness. Others had to peel back the layers of self imposed and external pressure to find a shining moment of genuine joy. I asked them to anchor themselves in that moment so they don’t forget what it feels like to be happy, because honestly, happiness is fleeting. You want to catch it and savour it when you can. There’s nothing as precious as a hearty laugh or the joy you experience when helping someone in need or perhaps it’s the bliss of the moment you realise you are so happy you can’t imagine being anywhere else.
We can’t expect to find that happiness every day. You have to catch it when you can. But knowing what it feels like will inspire you to seek it out in every facet of your life. When you follow your passion and align it with your values and beliefs, you will find lasting happiness. Now that’s the kind of job you want.