Children Do Listen

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As a part of my daily routine I listen to a lot of podcasts. I find the podcasts give me a positive lift for the day and I learn from them. To this end I have them playing in the car while the children are also in the car. I have had mixed reactions from the children, however I have come to realise the positive impacts of the podcasts in their lives.

For example the other week I was dropping my son off at Tae Kwon Do and we had a conversation about university. He had a concern about being able to do university without debt, as I listen to the Dave Ramsey Show. It was good to be able to discuss with him about how I have two degrees and no debt and he can too.

Then there was the other weekend when we went for a family camp down the coast and one of my daughters started to talk about her favourite interview question on the “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast. It is the last question about what would you do if you woke up in another world like earth with…… The interviewees give great answers to this question.

I personally think that it is great that it is not just myself, but my children, that are getting the positive influence from these and other podcasts. It is not just the impact that these podcasts can have on their lives, but also the interesting discussions we have about the topics of the podcasts. After all, would it be great if we all had children that completed their studies without debt to have to pay back…….

 

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Preoccupied with everything else in his life

The other day in the office there was a disconnect with a gentleman that works there. I observed a conversation where the two people were on completely different wave lengths. As we observed this interaction one of the other ladies in the office commented “preoccupied with everything else in his life”. The reality is that this is most likely the truth.

We are all preoccupied with everything else in our lives…. How many times have you had a conversation or discussion with someone and the two of you have been on different wavelengths? If you are like me, it is more often than you can imagine. I know recently that I had to talk with a staff member that was not performing at the level that they are capable of. In asking questions I discovered that there is a lot going on in their personal life.

So next time you are talking, discussing and tasking someone, think about are we on the same wavelength or are either of us preoccupied with life? I find that asking questions of the other person helps me to understand the preoccupations of the other person.

 

  • How do you understand the preoccupations of the people around you?
  • How do you work through the preoccupations of others?
  • How do you manage your preoccupations?

 

 

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Asking the Right Questions

The asking of questions is a good way to gain knowledge and understanding. The asking of questions can help to clarify a point. Of course this is the case if the asker of the questions is doing so from a position of curiosity. It is important that questions are not used as a tool to pressure or push an opinion on someone. Being curious is the key to gaining knowledge and understanding.

However being curious is not enough…. We need to ensure we ask the right questions. This includes challenging assumptions. How many times have you been asked a question that has an assumption in it? When asked a question that has an assumption in it, it is hard to answer the question. When asking questions ensure that you do not have an assumption in it… Also ask questions to challenge the assumptions. Challenge assumptions to ensure they are grounded in fact. Challenge assumptions to ensure that they are correct.

Another point that I would like to add is to ensure that your questions open up conversations. I know when I ask a question that has a Yes or No answer it often leads to a dead end conversation. Instead of asking “Is this the case?” I am working on asking the question “What is the case?” The second question is more likely to increase my knowledge and understanding. It is more likely that I will discover something that I did not know.

Today I challenge you to review the questions that you ask…. I challenge you to ask open questions from a position of curiosity. I also challenge you to ask questions that test assumptions. With this curiosity and the right questions I am sure that we will develop our knowledge and understanding.

 

  • What type of questions to you ask?
  • Do you approach questions from a position of curiosity?
  • How do you challenge assumptions?

 

 

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Returning Home

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The other week when we were returning home from from our week long army exercise there was a great sense of emotion that came over me… I felt these emotions in three ways:

  • Joy,
  • Satisfaction, and
  • Lost.

There was the joy of going home to see loved ones. When away on exercise you are away from the ones you love. They wait patiently at home while you are caught up with activities of the exercise.

There is satisfaction of getting in and doing the job well. Working together as a team on exercise you work crazy hours and do a bunch of tasks that is different to what I do in civilian life. Getting these tasks done, brings a sense of satisfaction in the outcomes and training.

There is lost. The lost is of the mateship you develop when serving together in the service. Out in the field no one person can perform their role without the support of others. There is a special mateship that develops when out in the field for a period.

It has been good to be home again, while at the same time we have the next exercise on the horizon. So I guess it is all about enjoying the moment and planning for the future….

 

  • How do you enjoy the moment, while planning for the future?

 

 

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Where am I?

The other week after coming off a one week army exercise, I woke in the middle of the night and was not sure where I was. I jumped out of bed and tried to get my bearings. Looking around to see where I was sleeping, just to find that I was home in my bed. At the time I was uncertain and uncomfortable, even though I was home.

It is funny how the mind can play tricks on you. I have had this experience I number of times during or after travelling. It is a sense of not knowing where I am and being uncomfortable with that. It is a little funny looking back on these experiences. However many people live their life like that.

As I think about where am I? I ask this question not just in terms of a physical location, but also in terms of where am I in life? By knowing where I am and where I want to be I can come up with a direction to get there. Without knowing where I am how can I come up with a plan and direction to travel in?

 

  • Where are you?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • Do you have a direction to get there?

 

 

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On a High

I have been on a high the last few days…. And I am not talking about an experience with drugs. I am referring to a natural high. A high on life…. In the next two weeks there is a major fundraiser, the Community Sleepout and an Army Exercise that I am involved with. These are both keeping me busy with things are are contributing to my personal level of drive.

It is funny how, for me, I am driven by having projects on the boil. Some people are drained by having lots of projects on the boil. However, though I am tired after a 15 hour day, I am enthused about the next few weeks of activities. I have come to realise that I actually get energy and drive from having exciting projects on the boil.

 

  • What drives you?
  • What do you get energy from?

 

 

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150 Donations


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Last week I attended the Red Cross Blood Service for my 150th Donation. I donation Plasma on a regular basis. The reason for this blog post is not to say how good I am, but rather promote donating blood. There is a real need for people to donate blood. The Red Cross Blood Service in Australia supplies blood and blood based products to save lives.

I am always running into people I know at the blood service. There are many people that donate blood and I thank you all for your donation. Yes, I am aware that there are some people that can not donate due to living in the United Kingdom and for other reasons, however there are many more people that could donate, but do not… I encourage you to donate.

I also thank my employer and other employers that are supportive of blood donors, through flexible work conditions or even paying donors as they donate. Each of these employers contribute greatly to saving lives.

I personally find that donating is a great time out for myself. No mobile phone, so just me and a good book to read. The staff are very friendly and I even get a milkshake while I am on the machine…..

If you can, I encourage you to donate…….

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Team beats Individual Skill

Today I had the pleasure of playing laser skirmish with my children at Funland in Ulladulla. When asked if we wanted to play teams or as individuals the children wanted to play teams. What they wanted was to play the three of them on one team and just me on the other. So we did…. Their justification was that I have more experience with this type of activity. Even so I got beaten badly. I did get the most kills however I got killed the most.

As we drove back to Canberra, I was thinking about the experience. The children had good fun shooting their dad, however my higher skill level could not win out against the team of less experienced players. How many times have we been an individual performer and not performed as well as we would have with a team?

I know at times I push on and can either leave the team behind or I can even try to do everything myself. However as today’s experience showed me we are better off in a team. Yes we need to ensure that we are in the right team with the right people. However as a part of a team we can perform at a higher level and achieve more…

 

  • Do you sometimes avoid the team and try to do things yourself?
  • What is something that you can do better with a team?
  • How can you develop the right team with the right people?

 

 

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Time Away

It has been a very busy two weeks since my last blog post…. I was away on Army Exercises for ten days and then playing catch up at my job. This weekend I have been fortunate to have time away on my daughter’s scout group family camp. So yes, I am away from home again, however a lot more relaxed.

While I have been away I have learnt so much and had much come to mind. I will share some of my thoughts over the next few blog posts. However while away I was short some junior leaders and had to do the role of a Troop Commander for an Engineer Troop in the field. This was a great experience to get me back to basics and remember what is is like to be a Troop Commander. It has been many years since I have done this role, yet I have a number that report directly to myself.

I wonder how many of us move on and up in our careers and forget what is was like in our previous roles. As we do move up we often end up tasking people that are in our previous roles and yet we start to lose connection with the role. The ten days on exercise helped me to get back to a good understanding of a Troop Commanders role in the field. This will certainly help me with my planning and directing of engineer tasks for the the next few months of exercises. I am glad that I got this opportunity….

  • What roles have you done in the past that you may have lost understanding of?
  • What ways have these roles changed since you have done the role?
  • What is one way that you can get a better understanding of the role?

Running Bare Foot

Yesterday morning I did my morning run a different way than normal. I ran without shoes. I had heard a little about barefoot running and wondered what it was all about. It was an interesting experience. At the start it was a very strange feeling and then after a little bit it become a very relaxed feeling. I was enjoying the run. However that relaxing feeling did not last as I developed some blisters….

There is much writing online about the pros and cons of barefoot running or minimalist running. I am not going to get into the benefits or the disadvantages of barefoot running as it is not my personal area of expertise, however I will say it was a new experience and it did have me running differently.

My experience of barefoot running had me thinking about many of my new experiences… At the start a new experience can feel awkward and very uncomfortable. However over time we get more comfortable with the experience and over time the experience can seem the norm. I encourage you to explore your curiosity…

 

  • What is something you are curious about?
  • What is holding you back from exploring your curiosity?
  • What can you do this week to start your exploration?

 

 

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